(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 oemden.com 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?


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.


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.