macOS

Bear for Blogging

I had ditched Ulysses when it went subscription but during 2020, I’d paid for the subscription as I’d managed to get a discount code for it. It was good to be able to use it across my devices and it’s still one of the best plain text editors in my view - however, I don’t view it as being worth almost £50 a year - consider that Microsoft charge £60 for Office plus storage space, whereas Ulysses makes use of iCloud space to sync, so I’m not even paying them for syncing!

Email and Hook

I’d been looking at my email clients on the Mac for using with Hook. I like the ability to link any previous email, as it helps me link to emails I’ve received or sent within my Obsidian notebook, and to be honest, it’s paid off a number of times now where it was quicker to look for the specific email that I’d linked in my Obsidian notebook, rather than search for the email I needed.

FDS on the M1 Mac

So whenever I get a new machine, I always run an FDS benchmark on it - purely for fun and comparative purposes. I’ll often run it, even on a machine that isn’t likely to run FDS in a normal situations, such as the M1T Mini PC and Raspberry Pi. So with the M1 Mac Mini, there was no reason not to run the benchmarks as well. However, as the M1 Mac is based on an ARM based chip, I wasn’t expecting it to perform that well - after all, it would be running on the Mac using Rosetta 2, as FDS is compiled for x86 processors1.

QNAP TR 002 DAS

With the recent purchase of the Mac Mini, I needed to have an external drive - partly for Time Machine backups and partly as I only went 256GB internal drive. I’d got a couple of 2.5” hard drive caddies lying around, but also a 3.5” drive that wasn’t being used. Teamed up with the reduced number of ports on the M1 Mac Mini, I decided that I’d purchase a Direct Attached Storage (DAS) device for the Mac.

M1 Mac Mini

After the issues I’ve had previously with the Mac, I wasn’t sure I was going to get another Mac. But I did. I watched the M1 release keynote after it had finished and was impressed with what I saw. If it was true. However, after hanging around the Mac Power Users forum, I’d seen some interesting Mac apps that I fancied giving a go - things like Hook. I also wanted to continue using Photos, as I hadn’t really found an alternative on Windows that really matched it.

Insync

My current job sees me using Onedrive as the primary storage location for files, and since the initial lockdown in the UK, we moved to using Microsoft Teams and storing data in Teams instead, rather than our on site servers and mapped hard drives. This took some getting used to but suited me, as it meant that I could use my Mac Mini at home to access the files and work, rather than a work machine, which was good, as I had forgone the standard laptops that everyone else used so I could have an iPad for carrying out my risk assessments on, but this obviously isn’t as good for general office tasks1!

Issues With MacOS

Lately I’ve been running in to issues with macOS that I can’t seem to resolve and it’s beginning to annoy me no end. Startup I’d been running in to startup issues for a week or so - the Mac would boot up and I would see the Apple logo on screen with the loading bar. However, the screen would then go blank and I would only see the mouse cursor if I wriggled it.

PhotoSync, Photos and iCloud

I’ve been a fan of PhotoSync for a while now - I purchased the iOS version in May 2018, so I’ve been using it for 2 years. I’ve also purchased the Android version and it’s one of the key apps I’ve used regularly. Prior to finding it, I’d been using Dropbox to save a copy of my photos off my phone. This worked well, and the only reason I changed to PhotoSync was that I could choose different locations to send data (i.

PDF Expert vs PDF XChange

I work in engineering - one of the main formats that gets shared around a lot is the humble PDF. It often means that you can view exactly what the other person sees without the hassle of sharing additional items - I’m thinking CAD files here, where an architect may include a lot of references to external files within the CAD file that matches what the architect uses on the system, but won’t be installed in the same location or at all, on the clients machine.

Colours for Hue

Colours For Hue Getting Hue lights has meant that I need to control these. Generally, this works well using the Hue application and Siri (with HomeKit), though as I’ve got one in my office as well, it would be nice to control this from my Mac as well. This is where Colours for Hue comes in. It’s a Mac app that sits in the menu bar and acts as a Hue light controller.