StarCraft Remastered Coming to a Mac near You

starcraft remastered

At last the long wait is over, StarCraft Remastered is going to be released summer 2017. Blizzard have polished and updated the original game for modern computers and graphics. Enabling support for 4K UHD and modern operating systems including the Mac.

Check out this video:

StarCraft Remastered Features:

  • Buildings, units and environment visual upgrades.
  • Updated audio / music.
  • Higher resolutions.
  • Core gameplay true to the original and not changed.

Availability is summer 2017 and you can check out more on Blizzards website: StarCraft Remastered.

This game was a big part of my youth and one of the games I loved playing with my friends during our LAN sessions on the weekends. Apparently a lot of Mac users are searching for ways to get this game working on their Macs. Soon that will be possible and with updated music, graphics as well. Now we wait.

iPhone 7 Special Edition (PRODUCT RED)

iPhone 7 special edition (product red) was released by Apple today. If you buy a product in this category you support the fight against AIDS. A percentage of the profits goes to the global fund helping AIDS programs in Africa. The iPod nano was the first Apple product in the RED category and later on they introduced other products and accessories like headsets and cases.

Bono from U2 worked extensively with the late Apple founder Steve Jobs about these products and how the logo should be designed. Once in a while Apple also do some custom special products and auction them away. A one-of-a-kind red Mac Pro was one of those.

iPhone 7 Special Edition

The special edition of iPhone 7 and plus is available in 128GB and 256GB configuration as their other counterparts. The price will also stay they same as the regular colors. Apart from the color there are no difference in performance or internals.

The timeframe in terms of shipping is end of march and it should be available worldwide.

iPhone 7 Leather Case – (PRODUCT)RED

If a new device is to much to bear for your wallet, and for most people it usually is. A new iPhone 7 Leather Case in a red color will still give something back to help fight AIDS.

iPhone 7 Leather Case - (PRODUCT)RED

iPad Air 2 Discontinued. New 9.7-Inch iPad Takes its Place

Apple discontinued the iPad Air 2 today and replaced it with a new 9.7-Inch iPad with A9 CPU. This is the new entry level tablet from Apple.

iPad

As far as specs go this one have a brighter display compared to the original, but it lacks most of the Pro features like true-tone display, smart connector, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support. It also looks like the anti-reflective coating had to go. Probably to keep the prices down.

Specs:

  • A9 CPU
  • 2 048 x 1 536 Resolution
  • 8MP iSight (back) / 1.2MP FaceTime (front)
  • Two Speakers
  • Lightning and 3.5mm minijack
  • Touch ID

This is considered a low-cost iPad and pricing at this time of writing starts at $329 for 32GB and 429 for 128GB. You can get your hands on a device in the end of march.

iPad Mini 4 Storage Bump

If you decide to get an iPad mini you will get more storage for your money now. Apple have decided to discontinue the 32GB model and replace it with a whooping 128GB instead for the same price of $399. If you want a cell version the price increases to $599 at the time this article was written.

New 10.5-inch iPad Pro Is Coming (Rumors)

Sources on the Internet are saying that new iPads are on their way.

The rumors suggest that there are at least two different models Apple are planning on releasing this month.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who have leaked a lot of correct Apple rumors in the past are suggesting that we will see a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro model with the Touch ID built into the display and a nearly edge free design. This is supposed to be the new flagship iPad model from Apple.

We will also see updates to the 12.9 Inch and the 9.7 Inch model.

The current low supply of iPads in the market also suggest Apple probably are doing some updates.

The new  iPad identifiers for 2017 are looking like this:

– iPad 7,1
– iPad 7,2
– iPad 7,3
– iPad 7,4

Sources: TechCrunch / DigiTimes

Are you going to buy new a new iPad, and are you able to use it as your main computer for day to day tasks?

Unable to Type in Spotlight Search Bar

I am unable to type in the spotlight search bar occasionally. I can bring it up using the command + space shortcut. The input field appears as it should be doing, but when I start typing. Nothing is appearing in the search box. Even though the keyboard works just fine in other applications. If I start textedit for instance typing there works perfectly.

It was difficult to search for help about this issue because the search terms: spotlight, and typing are so broad, but eventually I found a forum post somewhere that had suggestions on how to solve this annoying issue.

To solve this issue you can try the following:

  1. Click once on your desktop
  2. Click the spotlight icon in the top bar
  3. Press backspace when the search bar is open
  4. Click the spotlight icon in the top bar again
  5. Press backspace when the search bar is open again
  6. Does it work now?

It did for me…

I have no idea why this is happening and what I am doing to get this problem. It may appear to be a focus issue. When you have a application open but if it isn’t in focus it won’t accept input. Just a theory. Hopefully Apple have plans to fix this in upcoming software updates. Let me know down in the comments if you have other solutions to this issue.

Strange Graphical Issues With MacBook Pro Late 2016

If you want to know what I think about this computer you are welcome to check out my MacBook Pro 2016 Review. With that said I have recently seen some graphical interface issues in macOS. When I am able to get those graphical issues on a screenshot it is obviously some software-related issue going on here.

MacBook Pro 2016 graphic issues

It doesn’t happen all the time, but I haven’t been able to figure out what is causing this issue. It mostly happens in the drop shadow underneath windows like that copy bar pictured above. It is also occasionally apparent when I bring up the spotlight search bar or use quick looking at files.

The current OS build I am running is macOS Sierra 10.12.3. I assume this will be fixed in software updates in the future. I dont notice any other issues when this happens, its only cosmetic for now.

Windows Alternative to Mac Apps

What if you wanted to move away from the Mac ecosystem and go back to Windows? The applications you used in macOS, do they have good alternatives on Windows?

Lets find out!

Most of the apps I suggest costs a bit of money, but I haven’t got paid to recommend these.

Time MachineBvckup 2 – A lightweight and fast backup app for Windows. It keeps a folder or hard drive in sync and thats it. It doesn’t make it bootable or anything like that. But that is how I like it. I just want backup of my data. An OS I can always reinstall myself.

Apple MailMailbird – You could use Outlook or Thunderbird, but I think Microsofts e-mail client are too bloated with too many features. Mailbird is simple and lightweight e-mail client for Windows with good support for multiple e-mail accounts.

Apple Photos – I use Adobe Lightroom but that is because I use a DSLR that shoots RAW files and Apple Photos doesn’t handle that in a good way. To organize my photos from a mobile device on Windows I would try Google Photos.

SafariGoogle Chrome – Chrome is the first thing I install on a new Windows system to browse the Internet.

If you are heavily invested in iCloud stuff you could always use Apples web applications on icloud.com. You have access to contacts, calendar, pages, numbers, keynote etc. If you have a lot of documents and media stored there the website can be used in a transition process over to Windows.

This list is by far not complete, the suggestions above are the ones I think are worth talking about. Leave a comment below if you have something to add.

Tim Cook Says Pro Users are Important to Apple

In the recent shareholder meeting with Apple Tim Cook reassured investors that pro users are very important to Apple. He also said “Don’t think something we’ve done or something that we’re doing that isn’t visible yet is a signal that our priorities are elsewhere”

Many feel that questioning Apples priorities considering the lack of updates mainly to their desktop lineup of computers are needed. Especially considering the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro who have had many years without updates.

If people are afraid that Apple is going to abandon desktop devices they should re-assess that fear. Tim also answered this to a question if they where going to merge the macOS and iOS ecosystem:

“Expect us to do more and more where people will view it as a laptop replacement, but not a Mac replacement – the Mac does so much more,” he said. “To merge these worlds, you would lose the simplicity of one, and the power of the other.”

So there you have it, Apple won’t abandon the Pro market. What do you think? Can you do your professional work on the current Mac lineup?

Source: The Loop

MacBook Pro 15-inch (2016) – Review with Benchmarks (Lightroom, 3DMark, SSD Speed, etc)

I can’t use this computer for the things I do, but that doesn’t mean it is bad. Lets find out what this new wonder from Apple can do.

15 inch MacBook Pro with Touchbar

An update to the MacBook Pro lineup was long overdue. When Apple finally released the redesigned and radically changed laptop it sparked some controversy as it always does when Apple release something new.

  • Only 16GB RAM
  • No Magsafe port
  • Only USB-C (Thunderbolt 3)
  • SSD Soldered on the motherboard

It even went so far that Apple reduced price on their adapters and new displays to somewhat meet the criticism.

So with the dust settled, how does this computer really work and perform? I have used it extensively for both work and at home for about a month and here I share my highly personal opinions about this device. (That means you may disagree, and that is just fine).

Design / Build Quality

As always from Apple the build quality is top notch. It feels like a solid and well built product. The aluminum enclosure gives it a sturdy and exclusive look, it feels like this is something that can last for years. Compared to previous models this one is thinner, and it is noticeable when you pick it up and carry it.

Ports

MacBook Pro USB-C and MiniJack Port

Apple got rid of all ports and replaced them with high-speed USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports and one minijack. I welcome these ports, its about time we got some high speed I/O and USB-C / thunderbolt 3 is great for that. The only thing I miss is the MagSafe-port. Now you have to yank the cable out of the port while you hold the laptop, but with MagSafe you could just break it off and go. I guess Apple felt that more high-speed ports was worth the tradeoff compared to the convenience with MagSafe.

Display

13 and 15 inch MacBook Pro

This is by far the best display I have ever seen in a laptop. It supports wide color gamut (P3) on its LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2880-by-1800 native resolution. macOS then scales the interface so it looks like 1680 x 1050 resolution.

Keyboard and Touch Bar

The Touch Bar is a cool thing, but I think it will take some time for people to get used to it. The thing I find most convenient with it is the Touch ID. Using my finger instead of typing the password to login is cool. Other than that I find myself not looking down on it that much. So I am not sure how useful it will be. At its default setup it requires an extra «click» for me to adjust volume and screen brightness but that can be solved with third party apps.

The trackpad is huge but as I am writing this my hands rest on the top corners of the trackpad and it works fine. No accidental clicks so far so the palm rejection AI is working very well.

The keyboard and keys feels weird, in a good sense. They give a distinct response when typing, but they are definitely more noisy compared to the older MacBook Pro. Still, I think they are pretty good to type on but you probably have to get used to it.

Performance & Benchmarks

Here are benchmarks to give you RAW data on how this computer performs. If you are missing a test. Leave a comment below and I might update this review to include new tests.

  • Model: MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2016)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-6820HQ
  • Memory: 16GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3
  • AMD Radeon Pro 455

Cinebench (macOS Sierra)

OpenGL: 78.68 fps
CPU: 682 cb

CineBench MacBook Pro 2016

Geekbench (macOS Sierra)

Single-Core Score: 4272
Multi-Core Score: 13324

Geekbench MacBook Pro 2016

Diablo 3 (macOS Sierra)

Although Diablo 3 is an older game, it works pretty good on the MacBook Pro 15-Inch Late 2016. Check out the 10 minute video below of some gameplay where I have it connected to a 1440p external display.

3DMark (Windows 10 Pro in Bootcamp)

I could only run the demo version of 3D Mark, I haven’t bought the full version.

Result: 1276

3D Mark MacBook Pro 2016

Metro Last Light Redux (Windows 10 in Bootcamp)

Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Quality: Medium
SSAA: Off
Texture filtering: AF 4X
Motion Blur: Off
Tesselation: Normal
VSync: Off
Advanced PhysX: Off

Avg FPS: 50.67

Lightroom Image Export (macOS Sierra)

Version: 2015.8 Release / Camera Raw 9.8

Exporting 52 RAW files to full size jpeg / 100% quality. File size is about 40-45MB for each RAW file and the files are placed on the internal storage.

  • Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch Late 2016 – 3 minute and 33 seconds
  • Windows 10 PC / Intel 5820k CPU on mechanical hard drive – 3 minutes and 13 seconds
  • Windows 10 PC / Intel 5820k CPU on Samsung 950 Pro SSD – 2 minutes and 40 seconds

It looks like the Windows 10 PC wins the image export test, even when using a mechanical hard drive! Very strange.

SSD Benchmark

Ironically I had to reboot into Windows 10 to get the correct results from benchmarking the internal SSD.

Crystaldiskmark MacBook Pro 2016

3006 MB/s read and 2238 MB/s write are great results. However the Samsung 960 Pro have up to 3500 MB/s read.

Closing thoughts

I wouldn’t have bought this computer myself, my employer helps paying for it. Performance wise it doesn’t quite work good enough with the stuff I do. Recording display while doing music production is too much for it. I also occasionally game, and for that a PC is the best option.

Still there are a lot of things to like with this device and I am sure it will be a great choice for a lot of people.

Time Machine Slow? Speed it up With This Terminal Hack!

Time machine slow for you? Speed up the initial backup with the following command and run it in a terminal window. To open up terminal just search for it using spotlight and start it.

The terminal window should look something like this:

time machine slow

Speed up time machine backup terminal command:

sudo sysctl debug.lowpri_throttle_enabled=0

Return to default when done (recommended):

sudo sysctl debug.lowpri_throttle_enabled=1

When you enter the commands above you will be asked for your password. It is the same password you use when logging in to your Mac or installing new applications. It won’t show the password when you are typing it.

Time Machine Slow Due to Low Priority Settings

The reason for time machines initial backup being slow is that it defaults to a low priority mode. When you enter the command above it will increase the priority with the cost of using up more resources from your Mac. The benefit here is that the initial backup will go much faster, and I would certainly welcome that over some more power savings.

When you are done, just remember to return to the default mode, if not your machine may feel slow because not only time machine but other background tasks are affected by this command as well.

When the initial backup is done it should be no big issues with the backups after that. In most cases it is the initial backup that makes time machine run slow. Most people just leave it on overnight and it takes care of itself, but if you are in a hurry the suggestions in this article should help.

Related content

Other Suggestions if Backups are taking a long time

Are you backing up via WiFi? That can slow down backups. Make sure you are close to your access point / router or use a physical network cable to connect your Mac directly to the router.

Format or check the hard drive you are backing up to. Open up disk utility and run a check on your hard drive. Maybe the drive is getting bad, or a repartition and a reformat could help.

If you have cancelled or unexpectedly interrupted the previous backup time machine may take a longer time when making a new backup again.

If you are running antivirus try disabling it during the backup as it may slow it down.

Virtualization apps like Vmware Fusion or Parallels can often write data to your hard drive and this may keep time machine going all the time. Consider excluding virtual machines from your backup.