Mac New Hardware Upgrade – 1TB PCIe SSD

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Product Announcement – MCE Technologies (MCE) of San Dimas, California has announced the world’s fastest 1TB internal PCIe-based SSD upgrade solution for the Mac Pro (Late 2013). Based on 4 Lane (x4) PCIe architecture, the 1TB SSD Upgrade features read speeds of up to 1400MB/sec and write speeds of up to 1150MB/s. All necessary tools to perform the installation, an illustrated installation guide, and drive cloning software are included.

The MCE 1TB PCIe-based SSD Upgrade for the Mac Pro (Late 2013) takes full advantage of the PCIe (4 Lane) architecture present in those machines. It can reach speeds of up to 1400MB/sec reading and up to 1150MB/s writing. The 1TB PCIe-based flash drives are compatible with all versions of Mac OS X capable of running on the Mac Pro (Late 2013) as well as Mac OS X Boot Camp, feature native TRIM and S.M.A.R.T. support to ensure longevity and each drive carries a three year warranty.

The MCE 1TB PCIe-based SSD Upgrade Kits for Mac Pro (Late 2013) retail for $699.00 (USD) and are user-installable. Each kit includes the 1TB PCIe-based SSD for Mac Pro, installation toolkit, illustrated installation guide, and drive cloning software.

macOS New App Release – Cocktail 10.3

Product Announcement – Maintain of Ekero, Sweden has released Cocktail 10.3 (Sierra Edition), the latest maintenance update for users running macOS Sierra 10.12. The update is highly recommended for all users of Cocktail (Sierra Edition).

What’s New:

  • Improvements on the “Delete localization files” procedure
  • Added ability to quit Finder by adding “Quit” item to Finder menu (Interface – Finder)
  • Added ability to disable animation when hiding or showing Dock (Interface – Dock)
  • Added ability to change default page zoom for Safari (Interface – Safari)
  • Added ability to auto-activate Terminal windows by mouse cursor (Interface – Misc)
  • Addresses an issue in which Cocktail may fail to restart dynamic pager daemon when run on a beta version of macOS Sierra 10.12.4
  • Added macOS Sierra 10.12.4 compatibility
  • Minor user interface improvements
  • Updated Help files

Cocktail is a general purpose utility for macOS that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. The application serves up a perfect mix of maintenance tools and tweaks, all accessible through a clean and easy to use interface. Cocktail’s features are arranged into five categories that helps you manage various aspects of your computer. It also comes with an automatic Pilot mode that allows you to simply press a button and relax, knowing that Cocktail will take care of the rest.

Disk:

  • Automatically check S.M.A.R.T. status of disks
  • Enable or disable journaling
  • Set disk sleep (spindown) time
  • Modify standby delay
  • Change other disk sleep settings
  • Force eject CD/DVD

System:

  • Run periodic maintenance scripts
  • Purge inactive memory and optimize virtual memory usage
  • Manage Spotlight indexing
  • Erase Spotlight indexes
  • Modify Time Machine settings
  • Rebuild Launch Services and Help databases
  • Rebuild Mail’s Envelope Index
  • Update locate and whatis databases
  • Force empty the Trash
  • Change startup mode or set startup delay
  • Disable startup sound
  • Disable Gatekeeper
  • Disable Notification Center and App Nap

Files:

  • Clear system caches
  • Clear user caches
  • Clear font caches
  • Clear virtual memory swap files
  • Clear temporary files
  • Clear Internet caches
  • Clear cookies, download lists, form values and history files
  • Clear Adobe Flash Player caches and cookies
  • Clear applications caches
  • Search for corrupted preference files
  • Delete unnecessary localization (language resources) files
  • Clear and manage (view, print and save) log files
  • Delete invisible DS Store files
  • Delete locked or inaccessible items

Network:

  • Change speed, duplex and MTU of network cards
  • Easily optimize network settings for common connection types
  • Modify IP configuration parameters
  • Configure File Sharing settings

Interface:

  • Customize look and features of Finder, Dock, login window and other system services
  • Modify hidden settings of Safari, iTunes and Launchpad

System Requirements: Cocktail (Sierra Edition) requires macOS Sierra 10.12 to run. Cocktail (El Capitan Edition) for OS X 10.11, Cocktail (Yosemite Edition) for OS X 10.10, Cocktail (Mavericks Edition) for OS X 10.9 are Cocktail (Mountain Lion Edition) for OS X 10.8 are available for download from Maintain website.

Cocktail is $19.00 (USD) for a single user license and available for purchase from the Maintain website. When unregistered, Cocktail runs in demo mode and will expire after the tenth launch. It can be downloaded from the website.

Review of “The Intruders”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “The Intruders” eBook was published in 2016 (the original paper edition was published in 1998) and was written by Robert Jackson. Mr. Jackson published has published over 50 books. This one is from his “Ken Armstrong” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in England during World War II. The primary character is RAF Squadron Leader Ken Armstrong.

It is 1940 and the war is still in its first year. The Germans are threatening invasion and the Luftwaffe is making an all out assault on the RAF to gain air superiority. Armstrong is chosen to lead a new squadron that will target German air bases in occupied Europe and act as night fighters against the German bombers pounding the UK.

The efforts of many RAF pilots, fictional and real, are told. Several dog fights between RAF and Luftwaffe aircraft are described.

I enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent reading this 161 page novel. I have read several other of Jackson’s books and have enjoyed them all. This is a combination of history and fiction describing much of the “Battle for Britain” that was being waged in the air. It was a little dry in places, but is still enjoyed it. The cover art is reasonable as it shows a Hawker Hurricane, one of the aircraft Armstrong and his squadron flew. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

macOS New App Release – Forklift 3.0

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Product Announcement – Independent developer BinaryNights of Budapest, Hungary has released Forklift 3.0, the important update to their popular file manager and file transfer utility for macOS computers. Forklift allows Mac users to copy files to and from SFTP, FTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, Rackspace CloudFiles, AFP, SMB, and NFS remote volumes. The dual-paned file manager also offers Dropbox support, remote editing, multiple file renaming, and much more.

Forklift 3.0 took two years develop and spent six months in beta testing. The app has been completely rewritten in Swift, allowing the BinaryNights developers to take complete advantage of all the new features offered in macOS Sierra. Forklift brings users the most stunning interface ever offered by any of the company’s apps.

Features:

  • Dual Pane file view
  • Dropbox Support
  • Favorite Sync keeps favorites, rename presets and more synced across multiple Macs via Dropbox
  • Disklet allows users to mount remote servers and make the, appear in Finder as local drive
  • Sync Browsing
  • macOS Sierra Tabs
  • Search for files and directories on local or remote drives, filtering by name, extension, and more
  • App Deleter completely uninstalls any application
  • Remote Editing offers the ability to remotely edit files
  • Dark Mode reduces eyestrain and makes it easier to concentrate on the work at hand

Forklift 3.0 allows users to remotely connect to SFTP, FTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, Rackspace CloudFiles, AFP, SMB, and NFS remote volumes. This makes it easy for anyone to manage their files across networks. Users can quickly connect to multiple servers at one time, allowing them to copy between servers with drag-and-drop ease.

Web developers and other remote-based users will love Forklift’s syncing features. Users can compare local and remote folders, automatically identifying new, modified, and deleted files, allowing them to synchronize files with the click of a mouse or trackpad. The app’s preview functionality displays important file information at a glance, and allows users to inspect PDFs, text & images files, and other popular document types. Quick edits can be made to files, whether they reside on a local drive or a remote server.

Forklift’s Multi Rename feature is an invaluable tool that allows anyone to rename a large number of files on both local drives and remote servers. Users can change case, replace text, add dates or sequences, and more. Multi Rename operations can be combined in a saved preset for later use.

The app’s Quick Open feature allows anyone to access their favorite files, directories, device and menu commands. It also offers the ability to open a selected file with a targeted application, or apply a saved Multi Rename preset on a group of files or folders.

System Requirements:

  • OS X 10.11 or higher (macOS Sierra 10.12 compatible)
  • 64-bit processor
  • 94.6 MB

Forklift 3.0 is usually $29.95 USD (or an equivalent amount in other currencies) for a single-user license and is available worldwide through the Forklift website. For a limited time, BinaryNights is making Forklift available for $19.95. A family license is also available for $29.95 (usually $49.95) and a small business license is available for $49.95 (usually $99.95) during the promotion. Discounted upgrades are also available to owners of previous versions of Forklift. A free trial is available for download.

Review of “Ocean of Storms”

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Book Reviews – “Ocean of Storms” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Christopher Mari. Mr. Mari has published 8 books and Jeremy K. Brown. Mr. Mari has published 8 books and Mr. Brown 7.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story takes place in contemporary times at locations around the US, Tanzania and in space. There are several major characters, but the primary one is Archaeologist Dr. Alan Donovan.

Tension between the US and China are on the rise. China is sword rattling with a fleet around Taiwan threatening invasion. The US fleet is near by to defend the independence of Taiwan. From out of nowhere an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) sweeps the Earth causing extensive damage and death.

Scientists soon identify the source as coming from the Moon and a newly opened 10 mile long rift in its surface. The only viable space powers, the US and China, ramp up programs to return to the Moon to investigate. The most common thought is that the EMP was alien in origin.

Because of what they expect to find, an Archeologist is wanted for the mission. The first choice is Donovan. Both Moon shot programs are plagues by failures and it looks like neither will get to the Moon quickly. World tension is on the rise with many conspiracy theories. In an effort to more quickly get to the Moon and discover the truth, China and the US join forces.

After this a lot happens, but without disclosing spoilers I can’t really say too much. The joint crew starts out at odds with one another, but gradually becomes a team. The effort encounters many ‘accidents’ along the road to reaching the Moon and you soon realize that there is a secret effort to stop their mission.

I really enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 412 page Science fiction novel. I enjoyed the characters in the story and I liked the plot. That said, I was a little disappointed with the end. I think that the novel could have had a better conclusion. I also think that this could easily have been stretched a little and could have become two novels instead of just one. The story followed the team on two separate but related missions. I thought that the cover art was a reasonable choice. I give this novel a 4.7 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Spain, Barcelona – Gigamesh Bookstore

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2016 Cruise – Day 3 – As I have mentioned before, we like to visit bookstores on our travels. The last stop we made in Barcelona before heading to our cruise ship was the Gigamesh Bookstore (Bailén, 808010 Barcelona  932 46 63 59). We had returned to our hotel to drop off our purchases, then we headed across town on the subway.

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The Gigamon was an excellent bookstore. It had a wide selection of Science Fiction and Fantasy titles (always something I look for) and a sizable collection of English language titles. There was also an area in the back of the store that seemed to be dedicated to gaming. There were displays with several of the figures used in gaming for sale.

Were I to return to Barcelona and be looking for a book, this is definitely the store I would go to.

With our time in Barcelona nearing an end, we headed back to the hotel. We were picked up by the same driver that had dropped us off on the first day. We arrived at the cruise ship dock mid afternoon and quickly completed the boarding process. We spent the rest of the day familiarizing ourselves with our ship.

According to my Apple Watch, I completed 13,279 steps. A substantial number, but nothing like we would experience later.


See my other Food and Location articles


 

Spain, Barcelona – La Boqueria Market

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2016 Cruise – Day 3 – After completing our shopping we continued on down La Rambla to the La Boqueria Market (Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, España). In this open air market you can find all sorts of food.

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Not only can you buy fish, meat, fruits and vegetables, there are also places to buy prepared food and drinks.

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We enjoyed strolling though the crowded market looking at what the many stalls had to offer. It was an interesting place to visit. Certainly far different than we are used to in Central Texas.


See my other Food and Location articles


 

Review of “John F. Kennedy and PT-109”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “John F. Kennedy and PT-109” eBook was published in 2016 (the original paper edition was published in 1962) and was written by Richard Tregaskis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Tregaskis). Mr. Tregaskis published over a dozen books.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in several different islands of the South Pacific during World War II.

This non-fiction novella tells about the growth of the use of PT Boats during the war years, as well as the exploits of then Navy Lieutenant John F. Kennedy.

It tells about the harrowing experience that Kennedy and the crew went through after their boat, PT=109, was cut in half by a Japanese destroyer. Kennedy let the survivors to safety, then set about to contact the US Navy to get them rescued.

I thought that this 2.5 hour read of 99 pages was interesting. I have read other accounts of the incident, but always enjoy histories of the War era. The cover art is reasonable. I give this novella a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

macOS New App Release – Sound Control 2

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Product Announcement – Static Z Software of Rochester, New York has released Sound Control 2 for the Mac. With this release Sound Control builds on its already great feature set. Sound Control 2 adds per-app EQ enabling more tweaking than ever before. In addition, Sound Control 2 also adds customizable audio routing. Now users can reroute audio from their apps to any audio device.

Sound Control enables users to easily and quickly change app volumes as well as selectively apply a EQ to their app’s audio. Sound Control does this by adding a software mixer to the menu bar of your Mac. In addition to the volume mixer, Sound Control also adds a software EQ to your audio output allowing users to easily tailor the sound of their Mac’s audio to their specific taste or to properly calibrate to the frequency response of their speakers.

Features:

  • Per-app volume control, including mute
  • Per-app EQ with 10 or 31 bands
  • Per-app audio routing
  • Easily controlled via menu bar item and hotkeys
  • Adds software and keyboard control to Displayport, HDMI and other audio devices

Compatibilty:

  • Mac OS X Mavericks (10.9)
  • Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10)
  • Mac OS X El Capitan (10.11)
  • Mac OS X El Capitan (10.12)

A demo of Sound Control is available and costs $10 (USD). The demo can be found at Static Z Software online.

Teaser for “Game of Thrones” Season 7

Well, sadly this video does not show anything about the season that will start July 16.

This will be the next to last season for the popular HBO series. I will be sorry to see the story end. I hope that George R. R. Martin finishes writing the series of book upon which the HBO series is based. Sadly the fifth book in the series “A Dance with Dragons” was published back in 2011.

I can’t wait for season 7 to begin, but at the same time it is sad to know that only a dozen or so episodes of the story remain to be seen.

Observations on SciFi, Books, Space Exploration, Robotics, and Productivity