Category Archives: Mac

Mac SSD speeds

There have been some complaints recently about speeds of SSD drives built into Mac computers, mostly MacBook Pro and Air. Supposedly current models are much slower than earlier models, sometimes as slow as only 50% of the transfer rates.

As I was curious I benchmarked mine. I used Blackmagic Disk Speed Test which is available for free from Apple’s App Store.

I got 416 MByte/s for writing, and 474 MByte/s for reading for my 512 MB SSD drive, which I consider pretty fast:

 

Blackmagic Disk Speed Test results

I have a MacBook Pro Retina, 15-inch, Early 2013 with 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7. My SSD is a APPLE SSD SD512E Media which is obviously made by SanDisk.

What about yours? Please comment here in my blog, giving your machine and SSD details.

“SSD-Lotterie” mit Apple

Ein Artikel bei heise online hat mich gerade nachdenklich gemacht: Dort wird berichtet dass SSDs unterschiedlicher Zulieferer teilweise dramatisch unterschiedliche Geschwindigkeiten aufweisen was dazu führen kann, dass ein aktuelles Modell des MacBook Air nur halb so hohe Transferraten erreicht wie ein Vorjahresmodell. Und das ist nicht das einzige Beispiel dieser Art, es gibt noch mehr.

Ich frage mich was “den typischen Mac-Käufer” dazu bewegt, diese Politik von Apple zu akzeptieren. Ist es schlicht Unwissenheit — was noch irgendwo “verzeihlich” wäre — oder ist es blinde Folgsamkeit, Hauptsache man besitzt das geliebte “Statussymbol”?

Zugegeben, die Formulierung ist ein bischen provokativ. Ich selbst besitze drei MacBook Pros, würde mich aber dennoch durchaus als sehr kritischen Apple-User bezeichnen. Nach zwei iPhones habe ich beispielweise Apple den Rücken gekehrt und bin “ins Android-Lager gewechselt”, weil die Plattform für mich einfach “offener” ist und mir mehr Möglichkeiten bietet.

Wie seht Ihr das? Sollte man Apple nicht durchaus mal spüren lassen dass man sich als Verbraucher nicht gerne auf den Arm nehmen lässt? Gibt es überhaupt eine Möglichkeit dazu? Oder kommt man in bestimmten Situationen bzw. Konstellationen nicht darum herum, “in den sauren Apfel (Apple?) zu beißen” und trotzdem zu kaufen? ;-)

Eure Meinung interessiert mich sehr — hier habt Ihr ein Forum. :-)

“MacX DVD Ripper Pro Halloween Edition” expires and lies to you

Halloween 2012 MacXDVD Software, Inc. gave away free copies of their “MacX DVD Ripper Pro” as a special “Halloween Edition”. This was a very generous gesture which I would like to explicitly recognize and thank them for.

When I recently wanted to reinstall that piece of software on my new MacBook Pro Retina and tried to enter the serial number I noticed that you can’t — the software said that it had expired. I was very disappointed. I didn’t remember that you had to activate the software before the end of the promotion. So I set back my system clock to November 2012, and presto, I could install the software again. :-)

After I ripped a DVD I set back the date to the current date, only to notice later when I wanted to rip another DVD that the software had expired(!). It does not explicitly say so, but it “lies” to you as follows:

MacX DVD Ripper Pro Halloween Edition lying to you

This message appears regardless of which DVD is in the drive (even very old ones that were released well before “MacX DVD Ripper Pro” itself was released), and even if no DVD at all is in the drive. So it is obvious that the above is not the truth, but a lame excuse for not telling you the truth that the software was time-limited from the very beginning.

Mind you, I’m not complaining about the fact that the software is time-limited as such. Even a software that is free only for a year or something is still a nice gift. What I’m complaining about is that MacXDVD Software, Inc. is lying to me. Why did they not originally include the notice that this is a time-limited copy of the software only?

The solution to this problem of course is to again set back your system time. This is not very convenient, but if you only occassionally rip a DVD it should not be a big problem.

iTunes app downloads are unsafe…

I recently bought Little Snitch because it was on sale, and just found something strange…

I launched iTunes to download an app that’s currently available for free (ok, so I am a cheapskate… ;-)), and when the actual download was about to start Little Snitch asked for confirmation to allow iTunes to connect to phobos.apple.com on port 80, meaning that the download is not protected by SSL…

IMHO this is a big security risk since it allows attackers to manipulate your download and replace the original app by another one (e. g. one that contains malicious code).

I can’t see any reason why Apple would intentionally not protect downloads by SSL — it just seems to be very bad, careless design… :-(

What do you think?

How to “clone” Finder windows under Mac OS X Snow Leopard…

I’m now using Mac OS X since 1.5 years, and something that I always wanted to be able to do is to quickly open another Finder window that shows the same path as another one.

Today I discovered how to do this (not exactly obvious, if you ask me!), and here’s how…

Press Cmd-N to open a new window. With the new window being active, click Cmd-Shift-G to open the “Go to the folder” prompt. Press BkSpc to clear the prefilled content. Now activate the window that you would like to “clone.” Click-drag the Folder symbol in the title bar and drag it into the “Go to the folder” prompt. Click “Go” or press Return.

Presto! You cloned your original Finder window.

If you know more hints like this, please do post them here!

Snow Leopard’s “Disk Utility” can’t create encrypted image

Two months or so I ordered the Snow Leopard DVD for my Macbook Pro. Finally I had the time to perform the upgrade from Leopard. Before actually doing so, I tried to create a disk image of my current Leopard installation. So I booted the Snow Leopard DVD and ran “Disk Utility” from it. Because the target of that disk image was an external hard drive shared by my team, I wanted to create an encrypted image.

Regardless of whether I selected “128-Bit AES” or “256-Bit AES” as an encryption method, I immediately received the following error message on screen:

Unable to create "Macintosh HD.dmg" (Cannot allocate memory)

What is this trying to tell me? No space on hard drive? Impossible, since the external hard drive is a 2 TB empty drive. Moreover, “memory” usually refers to “main memory”, or “RAM.” So is Disk Utility actually trying to read the whole 200 GB hard drive into the RAM, then encrypting it, and then creating the disk image from it?! I can’t believe that anyone would be that stupid to design a disk imaging program like this…

I finally changed the image format to “Compressed”, and presto, it worked!

Anyway, why, oh why is it so hard to generate “user friendly” error messages? And why does this happen under Mac OS X of all operating systems, supposedly being the “user friendliest” OS in the universe?

This is not the first time I receive such useless error messages in OS X. Hey Apple, care to finally make your homework???

Mac OS X “svn” client doesn’t know about common CA certs

I recently stumbled across a problem with Mac OS X Leopard’s “svn” (Subversion) client which doesn’t know about common root CAs (such as Thawte in my case,) even tho they are in the system keychain (which you can view using “Keychain Access.”)

It turned out that it only uses the certificates it find in /System/Library/OpenSSL/certs.

The strange thing is that the Thawte certificate in fact is already present on Mac OS, but it’s inside /usr/share/curl/curl-ca-bundle.crt, which svn doesn’t know about. So what I did to make it work is the following:

I extracted the certificate from /usr/share/curl/curl-ca-bundle.crt and copied it to /tmp/thawte.pem. I then determined the hash of the certificate as follows and created a link to the original certificate bundle (as superuser!):

#openssl x509 -in /tmp/thawte.pem -noout -hash
ddc328ff
#ln -s /usr/share/curl/curl-ca-bundle.crt /System/Library/OpenSSL/certs/ddc328ff.0

Voilà! Now I could connect to our Subversion repository without receiving a warning like the following:

Error validating server certificate for 'https://our.repos.de:443':
- The certificate is not issued by a trusted authority. Use the
fingerprint to validate the certificate manually!

MBP: Internal keyboard and trackpad lock-up

I just had another annoying problem with my MacBook Pro 4.1, running Mac OS X 10.5.6.

I left the machine unattended for like 10 minutes or so, and when I came back the screensaver was active. Sliding a finger over the trackpad wouldn’t produce the log-on dialog, nor would pressing keys on the internal keyboard. The machine was not crashed, however, since the screensaver animation was still running. What was even more strange is that the “Power on/off” button would work — when I shortly pressed it, the log-on prompt would appear.

Fortunately my view fell upon an external USB mouse, which I immediately tried. Voilà! I could move the mouse pointer with the external mouse, but the trackpad and internal keyboard were still dead.

I then attached an external keyboard, and that one also worked.

Back in Mac OS X I stopped all running applications, and restarted the MBP. Afterwards, all was fine again.

What the heck is this??? I thought Mac OS X was famous for its stability and reliability?! Is that what makes it “superior to Windoze” (according to a considerable fraction of Mac users)???

“Burn VIDEO_TS folder to DVD” nightmare

I had a VIDEO_TS folder with VOB files that I wanted to burn to a DVD in order to be able to play it on our DVD player.

The first step was to create an ISO image. This can be done with a tool that comes with MacOS. Open a terminal and enter the following:

hdiutil makehybrid -udf -udf-volume-name "<volume name>" -o /target/image.iso \
    /path/to/parent/folder/

Make sure you specify the folder that contains the VIDEO_TS folder as the source folder in the above command line. Parallel to the VIDEO_TS folder you should also have an (empty) AUDIO_TS folder. Also make sure that there is no .DS_Store file (remove from terminal if present.) And note that the above is one logical line (the \ is a line break).

So, how do you write the ISO file to a DVD? Continue reading “Burn VIDEO_TS folder to DVD” nightmare