macOS Sierra

As Scooby Doo used to say, "
Ruh Roh! That was my first thought when I read the hardware requirement for macOS Sierra. Apparently, Macs from 2007, 2008 and many from 2009 are not supported any longer and won't be able to install Sierra. And of course the media is quick to jump on that and spread gloom and doom. But is it really true? When I was upgrading my Mac Pro 2008 last summer to Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) I supposedly was not going to be able to enjoy all that it had to offer. The hardware just was not up to snuff to enjoy Handoff, Continuity, the Metal APIs, Airdrop, etc. Sure, that would have been true if I had a STOCK Mac Pro from 2008 that had never been upgraded.

Apple draws up these lists of hardware requirements for an OS and does so with the original specs of those various Mac models. So, while the original Wifi/Bluetooth 2.1 card would not support Handoff and Continuity, the updated
Wifi/Bluetooth 4 card I installed DOES support them. Likewise, the old nVidia 8800 GT card does not support Metal, but the nVidia GTX 680 card I installed DOES support it. I imagine it will be the same with Sierra, if you have upgraded components, there will be a way to install Sierra and it will probably run just fine.

When I built the Mac Pro (3,1) last summer I had the hope that it would last me 3 years. Well, one year down and two to go. Even if I can't update to Sierra, El Capitan is serving me well and Apple will issue security updates for it for the next couple years at least. It is fast, stable and I am able to use all of the features of 10.11.5.

These new features for Sierra just seem like window dressing to me. I don't use Siri on my iPhone and iPad, so why would I care if it is on my Mac Pro?

I don't use Photos but
Adobe Lightroom instead. Using Apple Pay on your Mac for purchases but still need to authenticate with Touch ID on another device? Why wouldn't I just make the purchase on my iPad to begin with? The improvements to iCloud Drive and little things like Universal Clipboard and the new file system they mentioned are more interesting to me but not earth shattering.

Sierra just looks like a very minor update that brings mobile iOS features to the desktop. I just can't get angry like some that are going on about how their Macs are no longer supported. People forget that Apple is not charging money for these OS upgrades anymore. So, they are to give away a free OS update year after year and still be expected to support computers from 8-9 years ago?
Come on! And it isn't like they close the door completely. I was able to get my old 2006 Mac Pro past 10.7.5 all the way to Mavericks 10.9.5 because of some hacks that Apple probably could have shut down but didn't. I have no doubt that the Mac hacker community will find ways to get many of those unsupported Macs to update to Sierra.


Stratospherix FileBrowser


I have been using
Stratospherix FileBrowser for a couple of years now and feel many iPad users miss the boat with this app. In my opinion it is like having the Mac OS Finder for iOS. This is the main complaint people have with iOS, they want to be able to access files, copy files, move files where and when they wish to and not have to email files, or save to the Camera Roll, or use iTunes, etc.

The first app that should be bought for an iPhone/iPad user is the $5.99 FileBrowser. No, strike that, the first app paid or otherwise, has to be FileBrowser. Not a game, not Facebook, but FileBrowser.

I have this app installed on both my iPhone and iPad Pro and with FileBrowser I am able to access my Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, both Mac Pros and any hard drives connected to them, as well as a WiFi RAVPower device that has 64 GB of storage. I can move and copy files from anywhere to anywhere. Select something from Dropbox and copy it to a hard drive on my workstation Mac Pro, or select a file from Google Drive and copy it to the WiFi RavPower. I can select multiple files to move, rename files, make folders, organize, pretty much all the things that people are asking Apple to do within iOS.

FileBrowser lets you view images, stream videos and music. You can use the iOS
Share and Open In commands within FileBrowser to choose an app to open a particular file or to pass a video file to another app like Infuse. I can make Bookmarks to save favorite locations that I am always navigating to, no need to waste time going from folder to folder to folder. If you are reading a document within FileBrowser you can even create a Bookmark and it will open that document to that specific page.

Too lazy to open FB and then click on a bookmark? Stratospherix has you covered! The HomeScreen links allow you to create an icon that will be added to your Home Screen on your iPad/iPhone. Say you are having to use a certain location over and over, why not make a HomeScreen link for it? FB has a Toolbar actions menu and you can 'Create a Folder Link' and then 'Add to Home Screen'. Click on the icon and it will open FB and go to that designated location.

I find it to be a very robust app and covers all my needs. Need to download a file from a URL? Check. Paste from the iOS clipboard into a new file? Check. Supports
Airplay? Check. Does it have great documentation and how-to videos to learn the app quickly? Check. Even if Apple eventually gave us a Mac OS-type Finder for iOS it may never be as good as FileBrowser is right now. and Pluralsight Apple TV apps


I subscribe to both and Pluralsight (formerly Digital-Tutors) and love both of their iOS apps. What I would do is airplay a video tutorial from their apps on my iPad to the Apple TV to watch on a bigger screen. It was not ideal but it did work. Now both have released tvOS apps for the Apple TV and they are both great. Now I can eliminate the middleman that was the iPad and don't have to use Airplay. I just start up the app for either or Pluralsight and use the Siri remote to control things, much simpler. The tvOS apps for both are synced up so whatever playlists, history I have with either the iOS app or desktop apps is all coordinated. Just a great job by both companies in bringing their services to the Apple TV.


(SFOTT) 64on32

My old Mac Pro (1,1) from 2006 was officially not supported anymore and stuck at Mac OS X 10.7.5 (Lion). While being claimed by Apple at the time in 2006 as being a 64-bit computer, turns out the EFI was only 32-bit. This 32-bit limitation is what prevents it from having Moutain Lion (10.8) and Mavericks (10.9) installed. Or so I thought.

Turns out the Mac community will always find a way.
Tiamo on the Macrumors forum had developed a boot.efi that basically emulates a 64-bit EFI. Olivier over on had developed 64on32 (SFOTT) which took the drudgery out of making a USB key so that you can install Mountain Lion or Mavericks.

The process went something like this, you need an 8 GB USB drive, an installer of ML or Mavericks. This is where it got tricky because since I was using Lion (10.7.5), the app store checks your Mac and knows your system is not compatible and won't let you download the Mavericks installer, so you have to use another Mac that can upgrade normally. I had to go over to a friend's and use their Macbook (Hey, Dave!). His system was already on 10.9.5, Mavericks but I was able to use the App Store to download the Mavericks installer. I copied it to a flash drive and then went back home to my Mac Pro.

I copied that Mavericks installer to my Apps folder. Then I inserted the 8 GB flash drive and started up SFOTT and followed the instructions. It is an automated process and you follow the directions and it basically takes Tiamo's boot.efi and creates a patch or USB key for 32-bit Macs that allow them to install and run Mavericks.

The process went smoothly the first time around and I am running Mac OS X 10.9.5 Mavericks. I don't have any glitches or bugs so far but then I had upgraded many of the components so it is not just a stock Mac Pro from 2006. I have upgraded the CPUs, Wifi, Bluetooth, hard drive to an SSD, graphics card, etc, so it handles Mavericks just fine. I don't know how much more life this Mac Pro has in it but to be 8 years old and running the latest OS?


Firecore's Infuse


Firecore is a company that I had turned to when I was looking to put additional software on my Apple TV. I used the Sea3on Pass to jailbreak my 2nd Gen AppleTV and installed Firecore's aTV Flash. Then it was easy to install software like Plex. They have now developed their own iOS app called Infuse.

Infuse is a video player app that handles nearly any video file you could think of and supports subtitles. While I predominantly use Plex at home there are many times when I am out and don't have access to WIFI (my iPad doesn't have a Cellular plan). Also, I have a limited data plan with my iPhone so streaming with Plex could get expensive. This is where Infuse shines for me in that I download the videos to the iPad/iPhone and I am able to watch anytime without the need for streaming.

The user interface is first rate and it is a well thought out application. I love the control over subtitles, being able to control the color, size, and the vertical positioning of the text. Infuse automatically gathers artwork and metadata for the videos you add. It supports AirPlay so you are able to use it in conjunction with the Apple TV. If you took the time to convert your DVD movies in Handbrake and set up things like Chapters, they will show up with Infuse.
The best video player application of any platform, iOS or Android.

Update Dec 5th: Infuse has been refreshed with the new iOS 7 aesthetic. I paid for Infuse 1 and was able to upgrade for free to version 2 but now Infuse 2 is free for everybody. The catch is that to get the Pro features, new users have to do an in app purchase. Still worth the money to do so but now everybody can try the free version and see how great it is. Smart move by Firecore.

Mactaris Webcam Settings

I had been on a quest the past couple years to find a great webcam for my Mac Pro. Unlike the Mac Book Pros or iMacs, the Mac Pro requires you to buy your own display so there is no convenient iSight webcam. Turns out it was harder than I thought to find a quality webcam that worked well with a Mac. I failed miserably and then gave Logitech a second chance. The Logitech C910 HD Pro Webcam was the third webcam that I had bought and tried. I was impressed with it so much that I bought a second C910 and set it up with my mother for Skype.

The only issues I had with the C910 were the same endless issues I have with Logitech, the drivers!
There just is no Mac parity when it comes to the drivers. A Windows user has much more control over the C910 webcam. I had to turn to third party app developers to find drivers that would give me finer control over the webcam. The best solution was from Mactaris. Their $8 Webcam Settings app allows me to control the focus, white balance, exposure, pan, tilt, etc. In short, Webcam Setting gives me all the options that Logitech should have in the first place.

In my opinion, the Logitech C910/C920 coupled with Webcam Settings gives you the best webcam for the Mac right now.

360 Degree Stack is Awesome!

I bought Joe Workman's 360 degree stack for Rapidweaver a couple of days ago. I intend to use it to do turnarounds for some of my old sculptures but I see that it could also be useful in other ways. With my Vaudeville business card I can use the 360 degree stack so that one can use the mouse to pull the tab back and forth. It can be seen on the Vaudeville page.




Mindavenue's AXELedge was a program that was created back in 1999. There were many apps that were trying to do Web 3D. To be able to have interactive 3D within a browser like Explorer or Safari. I had a lot of fun with this app and did many tutorials that I posted online and even had two published tutorials in a magazine.

Mindavenue did not last long though, as they fell on hard times and the program was bought (and effectively terminated) by another company. Over the years there have been programs that have come out like
Swift 3D, Papervision 3D and the like which have brought 3D to Flash. And then there are other options like Unity 3D for doing games or apps.

When I was doing an inventory of all of my old tutorials for AXEL,
it made me smile and remember how much I enjoyed using this program. It is a defunct app, and the tutorials are of no use to anybody at this late date, but I have showcased some of my AXEL work in the Animation section.