Mac problem-solving

A list of articles to help you solve problems on Macs running El Capitan or Sierra (10.11 and 10.12). For older articles about previous versions of OS X, see this article.

Essentials – also see Downloads item above for free apps available here

A Mac Troubleshooting Summary
Conventions and Standards for Mac Articles
What’s your Mac been up to for the last 3 months? Inside macOS’s hidden activity records
New insights into process performance: log load analysis
You can still sync apps and ringtones with iTunes 12.6.3
Consolation 3.0b9 can now open individual log files but…
The Time Machine Mechanic 1.1b: new version should run on High Sierra too
Using T2M2 to diagnose and treat Time Machine problems
Startup and shutdown key combinations for macOS Sierra
Why can’t I download and install macOS Sierra any more?
What to do when a macOS update goes wrong
I can’t log in: what to do when you forget your password, or its doesn’t work
How to tell whether a problem is in your Home folder
Fixing problems with preference files
Diving even deeper into preferences
Sticky preferences: why trashing or editing them may not change anything
The mystery of repairing permissions
Something odd you can’t fix? Sierra re-introduces repairing permissions
Permissions repair tools updated for compatibility with High Sierra
Should you repair permissions on your Home folder, and how?
Disk Utility: An ever-changing tool
Was that a crash, freeze, panic, or spinning beachball? A diagnostic guide
Kernel panics, and how to know when they occur
Firmware, the SMC, and NVRAM: reset and maintain
Startup tones, EFI, and fixing failed firmware updates
Which EFI firmware should your Mac be using?
There’s trouble in that firmware: EFI chaos
The universal panacea for macOS problems: install the Combo updater
Hasn’t macOS changed? How it doesn’t work like it used to
When should you re-install macOS?
Reinstalling macOS changed with 10.12.4
My Bluetooth keyboard doesn’t work properly
Dystextia, Apfelstrudel, Rosettavert and unorml updated for High Sierra
Dystextia: a platform for exploring Unicode encoding problems, obfuscating text, and spoofing
Diving deeper into drive health: SMART utilities compared
Code signing: confusing and weak?
Losing your Ethernet port unverifies your Mac

High Sierra – macOS 10.13

The first 2 weeks of High Sierra in 8 screenshots
Another High Sierra security flaw: Supplemental Update may downgrade security data files
Invisible security is no security
High Sierra “Supplemental Update” now available (updated)
What the High Sierra Supplemental Update actually updates
High Sierra Supplemental Update can’t always update
How not to release a macOS upgrade
macOS High Sierra: Installation and Issues (updated)
First small High Sierra installer was wrong one
High Sierra upgrade: cautions and problems
High Sierra 10.13: supported disk formats and file systems
Making a Sierra – High Sierra dual-boot system, if you must
Silent High Sierra night: security settings files in macOS High Sierra
Apple’s new reality distortion field
Disk Utility: An ever-changing tool
How Disk Utility can crack High Sierra’s encrypted volumes (updated)
High Sierra: security files, internals and some bugs
When should you upgrade to High Sierra? – extensively revised with latest info from Apple
High Sierra release is flawed for many users
Preparing to upgrade to High Sierra
High Sierra: Should you reformat your startup disk now?
Last Week on My Mac: Deciding about High Sierra
High Sierra: APFS “not supported” on Fusion Drives
APFS and High Sierra in trouble
High Sierra: How to make a bootable installer
High Sierra automatically checks EFI firmware each week
HEVC and HEIF: new video and still image formats
High Sierra’s Small Print: installation, firmware updates, Content Caching, and more
High Sierra, Sierra’s dispatching bug, and iTunes 12.7
APFS: iOS 11 and High Sierra will fix normalisation problems
The return of the volume
What is ‘copy on write’, and how is it good?
Apple File System: what it means, what it brings
Why can’t I download and install macOS Sierra any more?

macOS Documentation Project – please join us and take part

We need to document macOS
Thoughts on documenting macOS: do we have a project?
Extended Attributes: a draft example documentation page

Startup modes

Playing Safe: what does Safe mode do?
My Mac only runs properly in Safe mode
Recovery mode and its tools
Important changes to Recovery mode
Check your Mac with hardware diagnostics or AHT
I can’t log in: what to do when you forget your password, or its doesn’t work

Finding information and tools

All About This Mac: where to find that UUID, MAC address, etc.
Where is that app? – a brief index to bundled tools in Sierra
Which version was that? How to check which version you’re using
Disk Utility: An ever-changing tool
Preference settings: where to find them in macOS Sierra (v2)
Preference settings: where to find them in El Capitan
Mac shutdown and sleep cause codes
Sleep, Wake, and Startup: Hardware and ACPI
Self-starting Macs, startup chimes, and other secrets of NVRAM
Which EFI firmware should your Mac be using?
There’s trouble in that firmware: EFI chaos
Running repairs: Sierra’s handy tools, from Disk Utility to Storage Management
Dystextia, Apfelstrudel, Rosettavert and unorml updated for High Sierra
Interchangeability of Finder, Terminal, and AppleScript
Spotlight and iCloud Drive in Sierra
Show me your metadata: extended attributes in macOS Sierra
What’s a UUID?
Reliability of macOS Sierra: diagnostics

Security

FileVault: Making your Mac more secure
Mac malware gets more professional: DOK.C fakes the App Store
Did you download HandBrake recently? You might have got malware instead
Malware: OSX/Dok isn’t done yet
New macOS Malware: OSX/Dok
Apple pushes silent update to XProtect and MRT for OSX/Dok malware
More new malware: OSX.Dok.B or OSX.Bella, but we’re already protected
More new Mac malware expected soon: OSX.Snake?
Key security tools for Sierra and El Capitan
Malware has got the upper hand
Securing your router: keeping intruders out
How secure is your VPN?
What to do when your account might have been compromised
Unicode spoofing: when an аррӏе isn’t an apple at all
Just got a new Mac? You should check that its security protection is enabled
Silent Sierra night: security settings files in macOS Sierra (version 2)
Silent High Sierra night: security settings files in macOS High Sierra
LockRattler 3.5: new version should run on El Capitan, Sierra, and High Sierra
What should you do when LockRattler returns a worrying error?
Inside the OS X blacklist: XProtect
Sierra’s System Integrity Protection (SIP): beyond root
What malware does XProtect you against?
Blocked kernel extensions – analysis of those blocked by XProtect
LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons: Closing the vulnerability
Logging in and out in Sierra’s log
Quarantined: more about the quarantine extended attribute
xattred 0.4a3 fixes window resizing
Exploring and using extended attributes with xattred
Code signing: confusing and weak?
Another High Sierra security flaw: Supplemental Update may downgrade security data files
Invisible security is no security

Online

A break in the clouds: what to do when a cloud service plays up – including links to service status for iCloud, Adobe CC, etc.
A storm in the digest: why services will be going down
Prepare for IPv6: it’s on its way
Never download a Flash installer from anywhere except its official site
News feeds for this blog: getting less eclectic

General

What to do when told to pay VAT due on a completed purchase
My Pointer/Cursor Keeps Disappearing: what can I do?
Parental Controls: Safeguarding the vulnerable
Don’t die in the bath: mains power and mortality
Why you shouldn’t use cleaning or housekeeping apps
AppleCare and warranty cover for Macs
Apple Support in 140 characters – Apple Support on Twitter
Prepare for repair: taking or sending a Mac in
Prepare for repair: safeguarding your data
Shutting down and restarting your Mac
Power Management in detail: using pmset
Forgetting Facebook and annulling notifications
Controlling privacy in macOS Sierra
Living with the UK’s Investigatory Powers Act
FileVault: Making your Mac more secure
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to FileVault
What to do when the App Store doesn’t work properly
Teaching an old Finder new tricks: batch rename and Quick Look
Regex: searching with regular expressions
When Recent Items vanish: a possible bug in Sierra 10.12.6?
Recent Items, Launch Services, and SharedFileLists
Launch Services database problems: correcting and rebuilding
Show me your metadata: extended attributes in macOS Sierra
A Mac on the Edge of Europe – working in remote locations
Reliability of macOS Sierra: diagnostics
Losing your Ethernet port unverifies your Mac

Sierra bugs and updates

Known bugs in macOS Sierra 10.12.6: an incomplete summary
macOS Sierra 10.12.6 update is now available
What has been updated in Sierra 10.12.6?
Why doesn’t Mail size fonts correctly?
When Recent Items vanish: a possible bug in Sierra 10.12.6?
How iCloud Drive can break Time Machine backups
Known bugs in macOS Sierra 10.12.5: an incomplete summary
macOS Sierra 10.12.5 update released (updated)
Reported problems in macOS Sierra: an incomplete list – badly designed features, third-party apps, etc.
Something odd you can’t fix? Sierra re-introduces repairing permissions
Reinstalling macOS changed with 10.12.4
Contacts in Sierra 10.12.5 can unexpectedly quit
Fetch a translator: Apple says it has ‘fixed’ the App Store app
Hasn’t macOS changed? How it doesn’t work like it used to
Sierra’s Time Machine irregular backup bug: prevention and treatment
The mysteries of sleep: what’s making my hard drive sleep?
Known bugs in macOS Sierra 10.12.4: an incomplete summary
What’s in the Sierra 10.12.4 update?
macOS Sierra 10.12.4 update now available, and El Cap and Yosemite security updates
macOS Sierra bug not fixed: Time Machine backups still stop working
New and existing bugs in the unified log in Sierra 10.12.4
Thunderbolt devices and security: why the CIA mightn’t like 10.12.4
macOS 10.12.3 changes Power Management settings again
(When) should you upgrade to macOS Sierra?
macOS Sierra: installation
When Sierra won’t install
macOS Sierra 10.12.3 update is now available
Known bugs in macOS Sierra 10.12.3: an incomplete summary
About This Mac: Storage revisited
How reliable is About This Mac’s Storage tab?
Known bugs in macOS Sierra 10.12.2: an incomplete summary
macOS Sierra 10.12.2 and security updates
Sierra 10.12.2 is an urgent update if you use FileVault
2017 in Macs – software and hardware expectations for the year, including info on Sierra updates and planning for macOS 10.13
macOS Sierra and Dropbox: have the problems resolved yet?
Couldn’t stay awake any longer: Energy Saver ignored
The App Store 2.2 is still quite broken
Sierra’s limping camel: the App Store, as dysfunctional as ever
Bugs in macOS Sierra Finder: window maximise doesn’t
File system funnies in Sierra: folders that aren’t, and altered aliases
All about the macOS Sierra 10.12.1 update
Sierra’s Bluetooth drivers are still fairly broken
Protecting Sierra: SIP and its vulnerability
Known bugs in macOS Sierra 10.12.1: an incomplete summary
Known bugs in macOS Sierra 10.12: an incomplete summary – bugs in Sierra rather than third-party app issues
Getting Office 2011 and old apps to work fully in Sierra
Do home-brew ‘fusion drives’ work with Sierra?
Entering Recovery Mode in macOS Sierra: you may need a wired keyboard
App Store chaos + Power Coma + Time Machine blackout = Friday
A Bluetooth storm on the Magic Trackpad 2
Adobe and Canon in the firing line
Sierra, wide colourspaces, and browser engines
Obscured by clouds: how Sierra breaks copy/move
Dropbox, Sierra, and iCloud: your data is at risk
Useful Apple support links for macOS Sierra
Preparing for macOS Sierra: what you need to do
Sparklingly secure – checking old apps for the Sparkle vulnerability
An easy way to check your apps for the Sparkle vulnerability
Behind the scenes: a summary of changes in macOS Sierra
Why Wide Colour? A guide to its gains
Should Macs start a Night Shift?

Permissions and Extended Attributes

The mystery of repairing permissions
Fixing problems with preference files
Diving even deeper into preferences
Sticky preferences: why trashing or editing them may not change anything
Something odd you can’t fix? Sierra re-introduces repairing permissions
Permissions repair tools updated for compatibility with High Sierra
Should you repair permissions on your Home folder, and how?
xattred 0.4a3 fixes window resizing
Show me your metadata: extended attributes in macOS Sierra
Quarantined: more about the quarantine extended attribute

Scheduled Events

Reliability of macOS Sierra: scheduled and background activities
An Incomplete List of Sierra’s Dispatched Services
How macOS manages tasks on cores: a draft
How macOS runs background activities: 1 From within an app
How macOS runs background activities: 2 Time Machine backups
How macOS runs background activities: 3 When things go wrong
How macOS runs background activities: 4 Using XPC Activity
Exploring Sierra 10.12.5 startup in the log 2 Dispatch
Exploring Sierra 10.12.5 sleep and wake in the log, 2 DAS and CTS
Sierra 10.12.6 doesn’t fix the Time Machine bug, but changes it
Watching a Mac losing its grip: background services are vital
App Nap, Battery Endurance, and Grand Central Dispatch
DispatchView and DispatchRider updated for High Sierra
Two ways to run background tasks: comparing launchd and GCD
Watching Grand Central Dispatch at Work
How timely are scheduled events in Sierra?
Instrumenting macOS Sierra to investigate irregular backups and log problems
Blowhole command tool 3: new version should be compatible with High Sierra
Looking inside WebKit and the macOS dispatching systems using log data

Installers

Installing and removing software in Sierra
Making an Installer package the easier way
macOS Sierra will break many installers and updaters – Gatekeeper gets better, but also more intrusive
Bundle, package, library, or folder?

Apple’s New File System, APFS

APFS and High Sierra in trouble
High Sierra: APFS “not supported” on Fusion Drives
APFS: iOS 11 and High Sierra will fix normalisation problems
High Sierra and filenames: Apple is relenting
macOS High Sierra 10.13 and APFS
The return of the volume
What is ‘copy on write’, and how is it good?
Next Week on My Mac: All the fun of WWDC – macOS 10.13 and APFS
Apple File System: what it means, what it brings
APFS and macOS 10.13: many apps and tools will need to be revised
How to make your own APFS volume
How to normalise strings, and a new command tool to help
APFS is currently unusable with most non-English languages
File problems in iOS 10.3 and macOS 10.13: What’s in a name?
Untangling file names and normalisation with Apfelstrudel
Unicode spoofing: when an аррӏе isn’t an apple at all
Why we can’t keep stringing along with Unicode
Dystextia: a platform for exploring Unicode encoding problems, obfuscating text, and spoofing
Dystextia, Apfelstrudel, Rosettavert and unorml updated for High Sierra
What’s a UUID?
Watching macOS file systems: FSEvents and volume journals

Time Machine

Sierra’s Time Machine irregular backup bug: prevention and treatment
How iCloud Drive can break Time Machine backups
How to speed up Time Machine backups
Sierra 10.12.6 doesn’t fix the Time Machine bug, but changes it
Fixing Sierra’s Time Machine + bug: does macOS get overtired?
Mobile Time Machine and its transformation in High Sierra
The Time Machine Mechanic 1.1b: new version should run on High Sierra too
Using T2M2 to diagnose and treat Time Machine problems
Looking in the log: predicates, filters, regex, and find
Taking Charge of Time Machine Backups: backing up on demand
Why have my Time Machine backups stopped or become irregular?
Troubleshooting Time Machine: stuck preparing backup, and the deep event scan
Watching macOS file systems: FSEvents and volume journals
Advanced Time Machine backups: multiple sources, multiple destinations
Removing all your old backups: a tortuous tale of permissions and links
Diagnosing and treating Time Machine problems in Terminal
Watching a Mac losing its grip: background services are vital
How macOS runs background activities: 2 Time Machine backups
How macOS runs background activities: 3 When things go wrong
How to check that Time Machine is working properly
iCloud, Spotlight, and Time Machine
Has Apple fixed the bug which made Time Machine backups irregular?
The Time Bomb Ticking in Sierra: Grand Central Dispatch is broken
How Time Machine backups are launched in Sierra
Time Machine problems in macOS Sierra
Irregular Time Machine backups: is this a launchd bug?
FlexiTime Machine: how Sierra changes backups
Has Sierra’s Time Machine changed to backup on demand?

Keychains

Fixing iCloud Keychains, and backing them up
Why do I have to keep entering my keychain password in Sierra?
How to repair your keychain by making a fresh one
Tackling keychain problems in Terminal
How does your keychain work?
KeychainCheck 1.3: new version should run on El Capitan, Sierra, and High Sierra
I can’t log in: what to do when you forget your password, or its doesn’t work

Help Services

HelpHelp updated for High Sierra compatibility
Help Help: 2 What has happened to Help?
Help Help: 3 What the docs don’t tell you

Console, Consolation, log, and reading logs

Inside the macOS log: logd and the files that it manages
What’s your Mac been up to for the last 3 months? Inside macOS’s hidden activity records
New insights into process performance: log load analysis
Looking inside WebKit and the macOS dispatching systems using log data
High Sierra: security files, internals and some bugs
Why can’t I find anything useful in Sierra’s logs?
Getting more out of Sierra’s logs
How the new tools in Consolation 3 help to explore Sierra’s startup
Consolation 3.0b9 can now open individual log files but…
Looking in the log: predicates, filters, regex, and find
Regex: searching with regular expressions
Display of dense text information – colour styles in Consolation 3
How to read Sierra’s unified log as a normal user
Sierra’s unified log evolves: more persistent, and a valuable log log
MakeLogarchive can now catalogue any well-formed logarchive
Browsing the unified log in difficult circumstances
Apple’s new reality distortion field
Reliability of macOS Sierra: diagnostics
Next Weeks on My Mac: Where to go with the log?
Consolation 3, and Mac Geek Gab
Useful filter terms for Sierra’s logs
Bugs in the documentation of the log command, and in its handling of predicates
New and existing bugs in the unified log in Sierra 10.12.4
How far back does Sierra’s new log go?
Sierra’s log is now locked away from normal users
Blowhole command tool 3: new version should be compatible with High Sierra
Bugs in the logs: Sierra’s new logging system is a game of chance
Drift in the timing of log entries in Sierra
Sierra Log Tutorial: Getting started, Time Machine errors, and restarts – basic level
Exploring Sierra 10.12.5 startup in the log 1
Exploring Sierra 10.12.5 startup in the log 2 Dispatch
Exploring Sierra 10.12.5 sleep and wake in the log 1
Exploring Sierra 10.12.5 sleep and wake in the log, 2 DAS and CTS
Sleep, Wake, and Startup: Hardware and ACPI
When Recent Items vanish: a possible bug in Sierra 10.12.6?
Recent Items, Launch Services, and SharedFileLists
Logging in and out in Sierra’s log
What’s a UUID?
Sierra Log Tutorial: Exploring a startup – medium level
A phrasebook for LogLogger4 and log
Using the logs in Sierra: some practical tips
Bugs in the logs: Sierra’s new logs are far from perfect
log: a primer on predicates
Welcome to macOS Sierra’s new Console: it’s buried in Terminal
Sierra’s Console: promising but incomplete
Reading logs: shutdown and startup
Reading logs: waking from sleep and backing up
Getting El Capitan to run clean – using Console and guesswork to stop repeated service crashing
Lost in the log
Error numbers: the final hurdle – how to find out what they mean
Log race – understanding and using Console’s logs
Using Consolation’s log extracts
R as a platform for data conversion: JSON to Excel for log extracts
The Time Bomb Ticking in Sierra: Grand Central Dispatch is broken
Waking your Mac from sleep: log highlights
Mac shutdown and sleep cause codes
Transforming the log to a user tool
Adding Timing Features to an App: Tinderbox and Storyspace
Masterly account of Sierra’s new log system
Watching a Mac losing its grip: background services are vital

Last week on my Mac – a weekly review

Invisible security is no security (15 October 2017)
Apple’s new reality distortion field (8 October 2017)
How not to release a macOS upgrade (1 October 2017)
Updates, updates (24 September 2017) iOS 11, iTunes 12.7, Xcode 9, Swift 4.0
Deciding about High Sierra (17 September 2017)
APFS and High Sierra in trouble (10 September 2017)
Should we relocate? (3 September 2017)
Taking a break (27 August 2017)
Forks and other system cutlery (20 August 2017)
We need to document macOS (13 August 2017)
Personas, flavours and settings (6 August 2017)
Display of dense text information (30 July 2017)
Withering automation (23 July 2017)
Back to the future – (16 July 2017) markup languages and LaTeX
Making a mess of preferences (9 July 2017)
Next Weeks on My Mac: Where to go with the log? (2 July 2017)
Testing trust in system upgrades and updates (25 June 2017) – did Apple install alpha-test software in iOS 10.0-10.2?
The mystery of repairing permissions (18 June 2017)
Last Week Off My Mac: A1 and AI – issues from WWDC 2017, including ML/AI (11 June 2017)
Next Week on My Mac: All the fun of WWDC (4 June 2017) – macOS 10.13 and APFS
Making more sense of the log (28 May 2017)
Sierra 10.12.5, a shoddy update (21 May 2017)
Malware has got the upper hand (7 May 2017)
Going back to the book – search engines and how best to present complex information (30 April 2017)
New Macs and bad characters – coming iMacs and Unicode problems (23 April 2017)
No normal user – why should we all be admin users? (16 April 2017)
Summer’s coming, mostly – new Macs coming, and the new files system for macOS 10.13 (9 April 2017)
What the eye does see, Apple doesn’t grieve over – Sierra mid-term report, and Apple’s blindness to bugs (2 April 2017)
Compromised, or conned? – security threats from hackers and the CIA, or maybe not (26 March 2017)
Still looking for help, inside Apple Help (19 March 2017)
Loose ends and details, Apple Help, Installers, and whether Apple is doomed (12 March 2017)
Transforming the log to a user tool (5 March 2017)
Moving with the times and the data, JSON to Excel and Numbers, Tinderbox 7, Dash 4 (26 February 2017)
The value of log access (19 February 2017)
Stories of gods and Grand Central Dispatch (12 February 2017)
A Swift breeze blowing (5 February 2017)
Setapp and software rental (29 January 2017)
Silence is not golden – why silent security updates are bad (22 January 2017)
Workflow efficiency (15 January 2017)
Creaky old internet – ASCII still reigns in URLs (8 January 2017)
Last Year on my Mac: For better or worse? – review of 2016, looking forward to 2017 (31 December 2016)
The life you cannot foretell – forecasting battery ‘life’ (25 December 2016)
The fate of Yahoo! (18 December 2016)
More work needed – Swift’s potential as a scripting language (11 December 2016)
A tragedy to freedom in two Acts (4 December 2016)
The devil in the detail – Xcode and Sierra documentation and fixes (27 November 2016)
Ethel & Ernest and change – taking advantage of change (20 November 2016)
Apple hasn’t really changed in 25 years (13 November 2016) – broken websites and customer service
Try turning it off and back on again (6 November 2016) – rapid app development
Should Apple give up and go Windows? (30 October 2016)
Adobe and Canon in the firing line (23 October 2016)
Upgrade uptake (16 October 2016)
The strangeness of Time Machine, and App Store conflict (9 October 2016)
Changing diagnostics (2 October 2016)
Sierra, early impressions (25 September 2016)
How to report non-linear progress (18 September 2016)
It all rests on October now (11 September 2016)
Tracking and privacy, and the hidden OS X update (4 September 2016)
Where the law fails to protect (28 August 2016)
More flaws in the kernel (21 August 2016)
Hypertext for almost all, and fault-tolerant XML (14 August 2016)
Pistols at dawn (7 August 2016)
Finder fluff, and FileMaker (31 July 2016)
Does 10.11.6 cut the mustard? (24 July 2016)
Who remembers HyperCard, and a ban on encryption? (17 July 2016)
A new surge in malware? (10 July 2016)

Swift 3 snippets and tips

Swift Snippets 0: Introduction and Contents
1: Strings, Attributed Text, Arrays
2: Interface, NSDocument, Files
3: Preference Files, Property Lists, JSON
4: Numbers, Dates, Unified log, Objective-C
5: Bundles, Process, Background activity, Shell commands
Help Help: 1 Help Crafter – help authoring tools (HAT) for Sierra
Help Help: 2 What has happened to Help?
Making an Installer package the easier way
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: An app scaffold
Beyond Scripting in Swift: A preference sheet
Beyond Scripting in Swift: Preferences with and without UserDefaults
Quarantined: more about the quarantine extended attribute
Exploring and using extended attributes with xattred
Xcode 9: A big step forward, and some important steps back
Code signing: confusing and weak?

Scripting macOS using Swift

Last Week on my Mac: More work needed – Swift’s potential as a scripting language
Programming playgrounds: Swift on an iPad?
Withering automation (23 July 2017)
Goodbye AppleScript
Resources to help the non-novice learn and use Swift on macOS
Scripting in Swift: Scriptarian, take 1.2.1
Scriptarian: Swift scripting for macOS?
Xcode Swift playgrounds 1: freezing and failing
Xcode Swift playgrounds 2: Scripting files
Xcode Swift playgrounds 3: shell scripts, droplets, and actions
Xcode Swift playgrounds 4: running scripts without Xcode
Building a better console replacement: an exercise in Xcode 1
Building a better console replacement: an exercise in Xcode 2 – more lessons in Swift learned the hard way
Making a better app to check your Mac’s security systems
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: the signature shuffle
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: cheating with AppleScript
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: alerts and file save
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: max factoring
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: Swift Documentation Markup
LockRattler 3, LogLogger 5d, and signature silliness
If you’re still running El Capitan, Apple doesn’t care about you – Xcode 8 and El Capitan support
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: quirky commands
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: Radio buttons and more
Developing Consolation in Swift 3: mostly a breeze
A Swift breeze blowing (5 February 2017)
Instrumenting macOS Sierra to investigate irregular backups and log problems
Blowhole advanced: writing a command tool in Swift 3, and more
Beyond Scripting in Swift: turning Consolation into a full-blown app
Beyond Scripting in Swift: Preferences
Beyond Scripting in Swift: JSON and the Golden NSDictionary
Beyond Scripting in Swift: Implementing JSON to CSV conversion
Help Help: 1 Help Crafter – help authoring tools (HAT) for Sierra
Help Help: 2 What has happened to Help?
Help Help: 3 What the docs don’t tell you
Making an Installer package the easier way
Exporting HTML from Tinderbox 7: Using CSS for a Help Book
Using HTML from Tinderbox 7 to make a Help Book
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: Reading Plists, building popups, and more
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: Sorting with a closure
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: Finding apps, and calls that don’t fail
Xcode 8.3: better in parts, more confusing in others
Beyond Scripting in Swift: Keychains lost in translation
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: An app scaffold
Beyond Scripting in Swift: Who’s afraid of the big, bad buffer?
Normalising strings in Swift: scripting Apfelstrudel and beyond
How to normalise strings, and a new command tool to help
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: opening docs and converting text
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: huge popups, and strings too smart
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: Encoding conversion without tears
Beyond Scripting in Swift: Running background activities
Beyond Scripting in Swift: Reading and writing property lists
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: An app in a couple of hours
More Scripting in Swift: Styling Attributed Text
Beyond Scripting in Swift: Dates, Steppers, and parsing log entries
Beyond Scripting in Swift: Sets, Lies, and Videotape
Beyond Scripting in Swift: Of characters and closures
More fun scripting in Swift with Xcode: files and deep traversal
Diving even deeper into preferences
Sticky preferences: why trashing or editing them may not change anything
Beyond Scripting in Swift: A preference sheet
Scripting in Swift: Any perils – type safety and checking
More Fun Scripting with Swift in Xcode: String search
Beyond Scripting in Swift: Preferences with and without UserDefaults
More Fun Scripting with Swift in Xcode: extended attributes
Beyond Scripting in Swift: Direct access to xattrs, calling C, and converting Data to Strings
Beyond Scripting in Swift: When xattrs are not like files
More Scripting in Swift: Shuffling files and writing a property list

El Capitan, OS X 10.11

macOS Sierra 10.12.4 update now available, and El Cap and Yosemite security updates
Apple burns your boats: the vanishing of OS X
If you’re still running El Capitan, Apple doesn’t care about you
Getting El Capitan to run clean – using Console and guesswork to stop repeated service crashing
Q&A: El Capitan keeps beachballing
The Accessibility pane in El Capitan – a guided tour of what it has to offer all users
App crashed? it could be SIP – this new security feature in El Capitan can deliberately cause apps to crash
Fusion Drives: the best thing to happen to El Capitan
El Capitan and Yosemite: how CoreStorage changes hard drives and their care
How to check and repair your drives in El Capitan
How to defragment in El Capitan
Can’t install a kernel extension – in El Capitan
The Finder bug in column format is still not fixed in El Capitan
El Capitan: does it deal with network congestion at last?
El Capitan 10.11.2 – drag and drop bug
How to use San Francisco font in docs?
El Capitan: saving too much energy?
Remaining bugs in El Capitan 10.11.2: an incomplete summary
OS X 10.11.3 update (updated), and Security Update 2016-001
So what was all OS X 10.11.3 about? The real list of updates
Is your Mac a nightmare to update?
Inside the OS X blacklist: XProtect
Unintended consequences of SIP
Known bugs in El Capitan 10.11.3: an incomplete summary
Dyssomnia, or how did saving energy get so complex?
Energy Saver sleep settings solved
My network connection is not unplugged: a KEXT, a MAC, and an almost dead Mac
Apple brought my iMac to its knees, with a broken security update
Bug in El Capitan: Power management ignores setting to not sleep hard disks
Updating to El Capitan 10.11.4
The TLS mess in OS X El Capitan – SSL/TLS in 10.11.4
Holding down keys: accents or repeat?
An unwarranted login: things that go bump in the night
A complete freeze, restart, and lockout
Measuring colour: the ColorMunki’s missing software
Known bugs in El Capitan 10.11.4: an incomplete summary
How Apple’s Superdrive enforces obsolescence
Growing suspicions about El Capitan 10.11.4 and power management
SIP and ‘rootless’: El Cap going beyond permissions
SIP and rootless: protecting more than just system files
A panacea for El Capitan problems: applying the latest Combo updater
Silent night: El Capitan’s security settings files
How to uninstall complex software
How to restore your iTunes Music library after Apple Music
Some App Store apps don’t migrate properly
Setting up a new Mac: migrate or scratchbuild?
El Capitan 10.11.4 freezes are not confined to certain MacBook Pros
OS X El Capitan version 10.11.5 update
OS X Server 5.1.5 update
Significant security fixes in OS X 10.11.5 etc.
Apple’s vanishing release notes: arrogance or incompetence?
Lost in the log
Error numbers: the final hurdle – how to find out what they mean
Some good, some dangerous: Apple’s updates this year
Definitely not the cat: the sporadic freezes continue – 10.11.5 does not fix the problem, whatever it is
Known bugs in El Capitan 10.11.5: an incomplete summary
Reducing the frequency of freezes in El Capitan
Power Management in OS X
How to deal with keychain problems in macOS 10.11.2 and later
You cannot turn off Spotlight indexing on your Time Machine backup
How to uninstall OS X Server 5
Getting El Capitan to run – without freezing
El Capitan bug in Preview 8.1
Reading logs: shutdown and startup
Waking your Mac from sleep: log highlights (Sierra)
Reading logs: waking from sleep and backing up
Apple updates security and protection settings
El Capitan 10.11.6 security fixes, downloadable installers, and update notes
Known bugs in El Capitan 10.11.6: an incomplete summary
Last Week on my Mac: does 10.11.6 cut the mustard?
It’s summer, and El Capitan is still freezing
Fixing another X-Rite ColorMunki problem
Better blocks Air and Shockwave Player downloads, but not Flash Player
Preference lists, a running sore in OS X
Refining the Minimise Easter egg
Checking signatures with WhatsYourSign
Preference settings: where to find them in El Capitan
Has El Capitan changed kernel panics?
The app sandbox and how it protects
OS X Security Update 2016-001: it is really OS X 10.11.6.1
Last week on my Mac: Tracking and privacy, and the hidden OS X update
Has Apple prepared El Capitan for new MacBook Pros? – includes a full account of the changes in El Capitan Security Update 2016-001
That update just broke everything: what to do next
An easy way to check your apps for the Sparkle vulnerability

Advanced troubleshooting tools

The ultimate diagnostic tool: sysdiagnose
Activity Monitor, ps and top: probing processes
More useful information gleaned from sysdiagnose
Running tools within sysdiagnose individually
iCloud: some explainers, and how to diagnose its problems
Checking your drives with DriveDx

Building a cheap, large, fast external SSD

1 – Thunderbolt
2 – USB 3
3 – Performance and conclusions

More troubleshooting

Reviving the hopeless Mac: what to try before visiting the Genius Bar
My Mac don’t work – troubleshooting tools and techniques
Generic troubleshooting: how to fix something that doesn’t work
After the crash: replaying the journal to prevent disk errors
What to do when your Mac starts up all wrong
Restoring firmware after interrupted firmware update
The Eclectic Light flickers: my iMac might be dead
My network connection is not unplugged: a KEXT, a MAC, and an almost dead Mac
Service with a Smile – advanced troubleshooting of services and the startup process
Thanks for the Memory
Crash crash – Crash Reporter and ReportCrash, the crash handlers
Recovering from a hard crash – when your startup drive is missing or damaged

Storage

Cause of Death – how disks become corrupted and crash
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to FileVault
How long will the SSD (in my Fusion Drive) last?
Monitoring SSD wear and ageing
Choosing drives: which type, manufacturer, and capacity?
Which hard drive? 160,000 years experience analysed
Q&A – Dead Mac recovery – recovering files from a dead Mac
S.M.A.R.T.ypants – hard drive failure detection
Checking your drives with DriveDx
How to check and repair your drives in El Capitan
From disaster back to normal: rebuilding the RAID
From a broken Promise to an even bigger Promise
Keeping your Promise: upgrading a Promise Pegasus R4 RAID
Which disks can you install in an external RAID drive such as a Promise Pegasus?
Updating the firmware of a Promise Pegasus R4 RAID
How it took 2 days to upgrade my RAID, thanks to a bug in Disk Utility, and tired old HFS+
How can you tell whether it is a hard drive or an SSD?

Inside OS X / macOS

Asleep on the job – problems with sleep and wakening
What happens when you run an app?
How to uninstall complex software
How to uninstall OS X Server 5
Jack of all tasks: launchd, and how to run periodic tasks
Permissions: the heart of access control
Personal Preference – preferences from resources to XML
Diving even deeper into preferences
Preference lists, a running sore in OS X
Preference settings: where to find them in macOS Sierra (v2)
Preference settings: where to find them in El Capitan
Bundle, package, library, or folder?
Comfortable Computing – sitting and working in comfort and safety
Click, Tap, or Stroke? – alternative input devices including touchscreens, trackpads, and graphics tablets
What to do when your Magic Trackpad 2 fails
Is your iPad Pro a pain in the neck?
Printing without tears
Under The Spotlight: local search
iCloud, Spotlight, and Time Machine
Obscured by clouds: how to lose your audiobooks – info on restoring previous purchases from the iTunes Store
In the Dock – custom shortcuts
Dusting down – cleaning a dusty Mac
Someone’s been using my Mac – what to do when there’s been an intrusion
Magsafe compatibility – which power supplies can be used with which laptops?
How to uninstall an app
How to rename batches of files
How to unscramble a downloaded file
Q&A: El Capitan keeps beachballing
How to run an old version of OS X
Which password? When to enter your user password, and when to use your Apple ID
Q&A: Disappearing disk space
The Font of All Knowledge – fonts for the non-specialist user
Macs, hum, and unintended aerials
An unwarranted login: things that go bump in the night
The 501 orphan problem: why you shouldn’t delete the primary admin user
Error numbers: the final hurdle – how to find out what they mean
Wireless headphones and lip sync
File system funnies in Sierra: folders that aren’t, and altered aliases
So many times: the clocks in your Mac
Should you repair permissions on your Home folder, and how?

Network and internet issues

Network hardware – shifting packets
Securing your router: keeping intruders out
Securing your router: protecting your network
Small Networks Without Big Headaches – setting up and diagnosing a small network
Tackling network problems
airport: a hidden Wi-Fi tool in macOS Sierra
Checking a Wi-Fi connection, in the UK
What do you do when your broadband goes down?
The medium of the message – email clients and types
My email is broken – how to diagnose and fix mail problems
eMail without tears or fears
Protecting your Mac against malware and intrusion
Checking signatures with WhatsYourSign
Firewalls – Keeping Your Network Safe
Human aspects of security: what the software vendors don’t always tell you
When the backups stop – unravelling wireless backups
Which advertising companies are tracking your online activity?
Broken Clouds, or why you won’t find my embarrassing photos
Using Google Advanced Search
How to report phishing to Apple
Share and share alike: sharing docs from your Mac
How secure are your secure connections?
Don’t get cached out: the perils of cached data
If Twitter still seems all @#. to you… – a guide for beginners and experts alike
Multiple Apple IDs, multiple users, and Family Sharing
Scanning your Macs for security problems with Nessus
Banned browser extensions – how XProtect keeps adware etc. away
How fix a URL which breaks because of Unicode content
Creaky old internet – ASCII still reigns in URLs
USB 3 devices can cause problems with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

Data and its protection

There must be some mistake – preventing and detecting errors in data, in spreadsheets, databases, etc.
Guaranteeing Data Integrity
Layout to database 1 – Out of beauty comes forth structure – rescuing data from laid out pages
Layout to database 2 – Building a Database by Script – scripting automated data input to FileMaker
Keychain Cops – getting the most out of your keychain
Backing Up, Time Machine, and the Cloud – Managing risks for the Individual
Backing up your laptop: Time Machine local snapshots
Protecting Vulnerable Data – how to protect personal and other sensitive information on your Mac
Lost in the Cloud – Securing Protected Data in a Mobile World
Steganographic Slips – how Word can release removed content
High quality hash – using hash keys for one-way anonymisation
Who was first: 1 robust timestamping of documents
Who was first: 2 using OriginStamp via its RESTful interface
Documents and versioning
How secure are your secure connections?
Where are your off-site backups?
Tucking it away safely: archival media
Using hibernation to secure a Mac with FileVault
How’s your Personal Digital Archive?

Accessibility

The Accessibility pane in El Capitan – a guided tour of what it has to offer all users
VoiceOver, spoken and Braille guidance – assistance for those with impaired vision, in particular
Entering text without a keyboard – Dictation and other tools to help those with RSI and other problems with keyboards.
Wrise, a different word processor – superb app for those with reading and word problems, and many others too.
Text ↔︎ Speech, text-to-speech, and speech-to-text
KeyStrokes: the ultimate assistive keyboard
Touchy feely: haptic input
Making the most of your Magic Trackpad 2
Digging deeper into Force Touch and the Magic Trackpad 2
Unintended consequences of SIP
New products for new species
It’s about the interface, not the technology
Wireless headphones and lip sync
Watch the other hand: Apple’s evolving input devices
How the new Touch Bar can open access for those with visual impairment

Colour Management for the Non-Professional

1 – introduction, why we need it
2 – rendering and rendering intents
3 – colour calibration
4 – changing and using colour profiles, and posting to the internet
5 – close control over colour, for giclée printing, etc.
Fixing another X-Rite ColorMunki problem
Should Macs start a Night Shift?

QuarkXPress 2016

Reconstituting a document from PDF using QuarkXPress 2016
‘Desk Top Publishing with QuarkXPress 2016’: the manual
QuarkXPress 2016, Storyspace/Tinderbox, and HTML5

Affinity Photo

Basic RAW to JPEG development
Adjusting distortion, and cropping – on a photo of a painting

Data formats and conversion

From text to documents – formats and tools for working with text documents
Words of old – opening old Word documents
XML – Lingua Franca or Lost Cause?
Movie Formats and Conversion
Help me access my PNG movies – when a file format is no longer supported in QuickLook
Data compression – lossy and non-lossy
Open Government UK
Planning ahead: archiving for retrieval
Dystextia, Apfelstrudel, Rosettavert and unorml updated for High Sierra

Hardware upgrade and disposal

AppleCare and warranty cover for Macs
Prepare for repair: taking or sending a Mac in
Prepare for repair: safeguarding your data
Moving to a new Mac: planned, or pushed
Setting up a new Mac: migrate or scratchbuild?
Upgrade or Replace? – hardware upgrades to improve performance
Hard decisions – criteria for selecting hard drives
Drive safely: testing hard drives the hard way
Unsupported – how to re-use your old Macs safely
How to run an old version of OS X
Preparing to part with an old Mac
Disposing of a dead hard drive

Hypertext – Storyspace and Tinderbox

Storyspace and hypertext: index to articles (version 2)
Storyspace: the original hypertext app
Some selected readings on hypertext
Getting started with Storyspace 3 – beginner’s tutorial, part 1
Storyspace 3: using guards to structure reading – tutorial, part 2
Storyspace 3: building an interactive timeline – tutorial, part 3
Storyspace 3: digging a bit deeper with attributes, prototypes, and actions – tutorial, part 4
Storyspace 3: structuring hypertext using rules instead of links – tutorial, part 5
Storyspace 3: appearance attributes, covers badges, captions, and more
Structure in non-fiction
Storyspace 3: handling notes and references, how to implement notes and references in hypertext
Storyspace 3: More on references, using References attributes properly, and backlinking without tears, to result in proper references
Storyspace 3: timelines, outlines, and linked windows
Storyspace 3: exploding poetry, and progress bars, and Summary Tables
Telling the story: narrative across media, including spoken, written, movies, graphic novels, paintings, photos, and music
Structure in narrative (non-fiction) text
Making First Impressions: 1 Content and structure
Making First Impressions: 2 Prototypes and containers
Making First Impressions: 3 Joining up
Making First Impressions: 4 Ready for early test
Tools for making timelines
Marking Time: introducing the timeline
Marking Time: Timeline 3D
Marking Time: Aeon Timeline
Marking Time: Storyspace and Tinderbox
Marking Time: other routes to timelines
Marking Time: making good timelines
The Story Story – narrative, VR, and computers
Storyspace 3: Space and Time, more from the Map view
Analysing narrative paintings of Icarus and Daedalus
Storyspace 3.1: a world of difference
From database to hypertext: exporting from FileMaker Pro to Storyspace
Alternative methods of importing into Storyspace and Tinderbox
Developing content for Storyspace and Tinderbox on your iPad using FileMaker Go
Storyspace 3.1.2 and Tinderbox 6.6.0: details updated
QuarkXPress 2016, Storyspace/Tinderbox, and HTML5
Who remembers HyperCard, and a ban on encryption?
Storyspace 3.2 and Storyspace Reader for OS X
Hypertext for almost all
Storyspace Reader: a tutorial, 1
Storyspace Reader: a tutorial, 2
Storyspace Reader: a tutorial, 3
Dynamic stories: text substitution and stretchtext in Storyspace (and Tinderbox)
An illustrated glossary of links in Storyspace 3
Stretchtext: a hidden gem in real hypertext
Porting from WordPress to Storyspace, 1: imports and prototypes
Porting from WordPress to Storyspace, 2: links and stretchtext
Porting from WordPress to Storyspace, 3: alt stories and references
Porting from WordPress to Storyspace, 4: sidethreads and projections
Porting from WordPress to Storyspace, 5: galleries and timelines
Porting from WordPress to Storyspace, 6: glossary and index
Analysing and telling changing narrative in Storyspace 1
Analysing and telling changing narrative in Storyspace 2
Analysing and telling changing narrative in Storyspace 3
Analysing and telling changing narrative in Storyspace 4
Analysing and telling changing narrative in Storyspace 5
How fix a URL which breaks because of Unicode content
The Salome Story: analysing and telling changing narrative on your Mac
The Salome Story: first full release version for Storyspace and Tinderbox
Parallel hypertext: Storyspace metamorphosed 1
Parallel hypertext: Storyspace metamorphosed 2, including a full Latin and English version of Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book 1 in Tinderbox/Storyspace format
Parallel hypertext: Storyspace metamorphosed 3, includes the illustrated version of Book 1 in Tinderbox/Storyspace format
Parallel Text in Tinderbox 7: Porting Metamorphoses Book 1
The Best of Both Worlds: making hypertext for both Tinderbox and Storyspace
Adding Timing Features to an App: Tinderbox and Storyspace
Exporting HTML from Tinderbox 7: Using CSS for a Help Book
Using HTML from Tinderbox 7 to make a Help Book
Improving HTML from Tinderbox to Make a Better Help Book
Building a text database using Tinderbox
Moving a blog to Tinderbox: Troubleshooting Macs
Going back to the book – search engines and how best to present complex information
Moving a blog to Tinderbox: Progress and tidying up
Moving a blog to Tinderbox: Guiding decisions
A Tinderbox Scrapbook for Source Code: exporting in WordPress markdown
A Tinderbox Scrapbook for Source Code: plain text and public order
Completing and using a Swift Scrapbook in Tinderbox
LaTeXport: writing LaTeX documents using Tinderbox
LaTeXport: loose ends
LaTeXport: revenge of the templates, and on to Tufte Book
Tennyson, Pre-Raphaelites, and Storyspace: a rewarding combination
Adding ‘parallel’ text and a timeline to the Lady of Shalott, in Tinderbox and Storyspace

SDR (Software-defined radio)

The quiet but pervasive revolution in communications – software-defined radio
Getting started with SDR on a Mac
Radio reinvented: how SDR works
Getting started with an ELAD SDR: the FDM-S2 on a Mac – with audio samples
Tuning antennas with a Sark-110 VIAA
New book and learning resources
Variable voltage: how 12 V batteries are not
Variable voltage: a lighter alternative
The ELAD FDM-DUO, an HF transceiver for all – first impressions and a round-up of portable HF transceivers
The Code lives on: how Morse is still not dead

Polyglot programmer – lots of lesser-known languages

AppleScript – 21 years old and still going it alone on OS X – also Automator and visual programming
Some excellent programming environments for OS X
Which languages support the GUI?
Safe from prying eyes: a free script app for robust encryption – an AppleScript example worked through
Visual programming with Marten (Prograph)
Which languages generate standalone apps?
Playgrounds and generators – code playgrounds and apps which generate code for you
Script Debugger version 6
RIP APLX, and welcome Dyalog APL for OS X
Recognition by eponym, and maths on the meter
Writing SparkleCheck in AppleScript: don’t read the manual
Programming playgrounds: Swift on an iPad?
Writing LogLogger2 in AppleScript: dialog and advanced shell scripting
Try turning it off and back on again – rapid app development
Goodbye AppleScript
Resources to help the non-novice learn and use Swift on macOS
Scriptarian: Swift scripting for macOS?
Xcode Swift playgrounds 1: freezing and failing
Xcode Swift playgrounds 2: Scripting files
Xcode Swift playgrounds 3: shell scripts, droplets, and actions
Xcode Swift playgrounds 4: running scripts without Xcode
Building a better console replacement: an exercise in Xcode 1
Building a better console replacement: an exercise in Xcode 2 – more lessons in Swift learned the hard way
Making a better app to check your Mac’s security systems
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: the signature shuffle
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: cheating with AppleScript
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: alerts and file save
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: max factoring
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: Swift Documentation Markup
If you’re still running El Capitan, Apple doesn’t care about you
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: quirky commands
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: Radio buttons and more
Developing Consolation in Swift 3: mostly a breeze
A Swift breeze blowing (5 February 2017)
Blowhole advanced: writing a command tool in Swift 3, and more
Beyond Scripting in Swift: turning Consolation into a full-blown app
Help Help: 1 Help Crafter – help authoring tools (HAT) for Sierra
Making an Installer package the easier way
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: Reading Plists, building popups, and more
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: Sorting with a closure
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: Finding apps, and calls that don’t fail
Xcode 8.3: better in parts, more confusing in others
Beyond Scripting in Swift: Keychains lost in translation
More fun scripting with Swift and Xcode: An app scaffold
Beyond Scripting in Swift: Who’s afraid of the big, bad buffer?

Information and Communication Theory

Did you miss this toolset? Information and communication theory – introduction
Reinventing Morse Code using modern theory
Compressing the information in an image – how JPEG compression works, and how to get the best out of it
Compressing audio – lossless and lossy methods

Infra-red thermography on iOS

IR revolution: the FLIR One™ – introduction
So how well does the FLIR One™ IR camera work?
IR image of the day: Cows
IR image of the day: tree, cows, and the Greenhouse Effect
IR image of the day: village and downs
IR image of the day: coffee and chat
IR image of the day: a hot flue
IR image of the day: downland track
IR images of the day: Stately Home
IR image of the day: power lines
IR image of the day: cellular phone tower

Problems with data protection

Ashley Madison, the press and data protection
Privacy policies: how they do not protect us
Data aggregation: how it can break privacy
Privacy should be determined by the point of delivery
No Safe Harbor: how one court ruling has blown data protection apart
Internet-enabled toys, kids, and their safety practical advice
Unexpected Christmas presents: how Steam served the wrong user data
How secure are your secure connections?
Data protection: Europe might be getting it righter
Firmware passwords: a mixed blessing
Brexit and data protection in the UK
Last week on my Mac: Tracking and privacy, and the hidden OS X update
Last week on my Mac: The fate of Yahoo!
Can you trust Lynda.com or LinkedIn?

Privacy and the UK Investigatory Powers Bill

The Browsing of Others – the rise of electronic surveillance
Remembrance is not just before Chistmas it is also about freedom and democracy, and their defence
After RIPA, IPA: the UK’s draft Investigatory Powers Bill
The draft Investigatory Powers Bill has a zero-day vulnerability
Securing your Internet connections: VPN and more
Bricking up windows on privacy – how the draft Bill is onto a loser before it starts
Rhetoric of the impossible: Paris and privacy
An open challenge on encryption: show us
Who will bear the brunt of backdoors in encryption?
Wanted: people of vision – Tim Cook, Apple, and breaking into iPhones
Locked iPhones, Apple, and changing law
Who protects your health data?
The protection of privacy in medical research and clinical audit and ResearchKit
Encryption and the law: will vendors hand us the keys?
Six stand against the UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill
US and UK agencies reveal how they will break encryption
Who remembers HyperCard, and a ban on encryption?
Where the law fails to protect
Should you drop Dropbox?
Has someone been reading your emails?
Living with the UK’s Investigatory Powers Act
Last Week on my Mac: a tragedy to freedom in two Acts
Controlling privacy in macOS Sierra
Using hibernation to secure a Mac with FileVault

Encryption

SSL and HTTPS – should you trust them again? – has time healed the Heartbleed?
How secure are your secure connections?
Encryption: a solution or more problems?
Encryption: secure at the command line – secure encryption from Terminal commands
Safe from prying eyes: a free script app for robust encryption
Encryption: how Logjam can defeat secure connections
An open challenge on encryption: show us
How modern encryption works: iOS encryption, and AES
Encryption and the law: will vendors hand us the keys?
You can’t trust a word they say: smoke, mirrors, and unlocking iPhones
What changes with the FBI’s cracking of the iPhone?
US and UK agencies reveal how they will break encryption
Thunderbolt devices and security: why the CIA mightn’t like 10.12.4

Words on Macs – text processing and problems on Macs

Back to the future – (16 July 2017) markup languages and LaTeX
LaTeXport: writing LaTeX documents using Tinderbox
Compositor’s attempt on the Holy Grail of document processing
1 – Code-Breaking with Unicode – working with Unicode text in OS X
2 – Every Keystroke Counts – keyboard input and more
3 – From text to documents – formats and tools for working with text documents
4 – Command and control – version control and writing environments
5 – Spot the difference – compare and merge tools
XML – Lingua Franca or Lost Cause?
Beyond Unicode – lightweight fonts for language documentation
Easier than the Georgian verb – text encoding problems solved
Inside Dictionaries and Keyboards
The Font of All Knowledge – fonts for the non-specialist user
Terminology WordNet dictionary for OS X
Under The Spotlight: local search
Two centuries, two authors, two platforms – concordance tools for OS X
Concordancers for OS X – updated
Open Government UK
Opening PageMaker documents
Steganographic Slips – how Word can release removed content
Mark my words – Flesch-Kincaid reading grades and Word
Translation aids for OS X
Support for Celtic and other languages in OS X
Which font to help the dyslexic?
Wrise, a different word processor – superb app for those with reading and word problems, and many others too.
Weird characters in a newsletter
Holding down keys: accents or repeat?
I’m learning Google: no logic in translation
Why we need consistent content-sensitive selection of text
Building a text database using Tinderbox
Introducing Rosettavert: first beta-release of a text encoding conversion tool
Why we can’t keep stringing along with Unicode
Dystextia: a platform for exploring Unicode encoding problems, obfuscating text, and spoofing
Dystextia, Apfelstrudel, Rosettavert and unorml updated for High Sierra
Regex: searching with regular expressions

Troy under Seige – dylib hijacking, a new security vulnerability

DLL hacking – a new threat to OS X (initial article)
dylib hijacking – the story develops – a follow-up to the above
Troy under seige: 1 OS X and non-secure downloads (main article)
Troy under seige: 2 update 22 March 2015 (supplement)
Troy under seige: 3 more tools – SigCheck and DylibScan droplets to scan mounted disk images and more
OS X 10.10.3 is no defence – the vulnerability has not been addressed yet
Objective-See Knock Knock – essential security tool to check for persistence
Objective-See TaskExplorer: see what’s good and bad
Tools to calm your panic, and to protect
Is OS X getting too overextended for its own security?

Other security news

New security threats: MacKeeper exploit and more to come?
Use the wrong browser, visit the wrong site, and put your network at risk – UPnP vulnerability, cross-platform
XcodeGhost: has it compromised the iTunes App Store?
Book review: Abusing the Internet of Things, Blackouts, Freakouts, and Stakeouts, Nitesh Dhanjani
How XcodeGhost changes things
Wanted: Burglar alarm for OS X – NIDS or not?
Netgear router vulnerability
Novel use of a very old ‘attack’: voice injection of Siri commands
We know best: how stupidity maintains weak security
TalkTalk, a brighter home for whom?
How CCTV cameras tried to break a large cloud service
Check your extensions with KextViewr
App crashed? it could be SIP – this new security feature in El Capitan can deliberately cause apps to crash
The Independent newspaper blog may have ransomware attached
Internet-enabled toys, kids, and their safety practical advice
MacKeeper: potential security breach
Steam leaked, servers shut down – a caching fault on Steam’s game servers leads to leakage of account details
Unexpected Christmas presents: how Steam served the wrong user data
The Steam Christmas breach: more details and a call to action
How secure are your secure connections?
OS X El Capitan is probably due an important security fix
Losing their Sparkle: vulnerabilities in updaters
Scareware targeting OS X
How long would it take for Apple to break into your iPhone?
Should you use a PIN or a password to secure your iPhone?
MouseJack, Mac, and lessons
Troubles on the BitTorrents – watch out for ransomware
The adware has come
Sunday scare: had I been hit by ransomware?
Tools to calm your panic, and to protect
No fear of ransomware
SIP and ‘rootless’: El Cap going beyond permissions
New Mac malware can open a backdoor into your system
More Mac malware: OSX/Keydnap
Last week on my Mac: a new surge in malware?
Apple updates security and protection settings
What malware does XProtect you against?
Scanning your Macs for security problems with Nessus
Is OS X getting too overextended for its own security?
Banned browser extensions – how XProtect keeps adware etc. away
Checking signatures with WhatsYourSign
New Mac malware: Mac File Opener, or OSX.FakeFileOpener
Where the law fails to protect
Is crapware now the price of blocking tracking?
Another malicious version of Transmission
OS X Security Update 2016-001: it is really OS X 10.11.6.1
New OS X malware: Mokes A, a powerful backdoor
Sparklingly secure – checking old apps for the Sparkle vulnerability
An easy way to check your apps for the Sparkle vulnerability
Should you drop Dropbox?
On the eve of Sierra: macOS security is now central
OverSight: watching out for those watching you
Never download a Flash installer from anywhere except its official site
Shazam: it keeps listening even when turned off
Protecting Sierra: SIP and its vulnerability
TaskExplorer 1.5.0 – an essential update for every Mac user
Chain letter ransomware: how to hurt enemies
Making a better app to check your Mac’s security systems
Sierra 10.12.2 is an urgent update if you use FileVault
What to do when your account might have been compromised
Learning in a Flash? Education, Rasperry Pi, and the product that won’t die
LockRattler 3.5: new version should run on El Capitan, Sierra, and High Sierra
What should you do when LockRattler returns a worrying error?
Last Year on my Mac: For better or worse? – review of 2016, looking forward to 2017
New Mac malware: Fruitfly, or OSX.Backdoor.Quimitchin
Last Week on my Mac: Silence is not golden – why silent security updates are bad (22 January 2017)
Apple pushes silent update to XProtect from XAgent and MacDownloader, but forgets Flash
Apple pushes silent update to XProtect against Findzip or Filecoder.E
Last Week on My Mac: Compromised, or conned? – security threats from hackers and the CIA, or maybe not
Thunderbolt devices and security: why the CIA mightn’t like 10.12.4
No normal user – why should we all be admin users? (16 April 2017)
LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons: Closing the vulnerability

External links

iTunes Store policies and how-tos for past purchases (also see regional versions if outside the UK)
Phishing and other security concerns – Apple’s advice and details of how to send phishing messages to reportphishing@apple.com as attachments
AFP548 – Mac sysadmin and server related
Objective-See – security tools and information
MacScripter – AppleScript, Automator
Alan Wood’s Unicode resources
Multilingual Mac – language support and issues