You Can’t Change History

But, if anyone could change history, it would probably be Apple. They’re probably working on it right now. In fact they already have a Time Machine.

The reason I mention this is that in the latest update to iWork, I just noticed that it can now, finally, open documents from previous versions. Well I guess they did listen to feedback but it’s taken them years and it was still an amazingly stupid move in the first place to bring out an upgrade which couldn’t open previous versions of documents (see previous posts).

Ever since then I will gladly harp on about software, data and protocol short-sightedness, built in redundancy and the ability to open documents throughout one’s lifetime.

In fact, I would really like to open my dad’s documents which were written in Clarisworks.

A quick Google just now led me to which looks interesting and skimming it reveals that LibreOffice can do the job!

Well that is something I will have to try (with LibreOffice on my Centos 7 machine of course).

MacMail – Get Back to Simple.

To carry on the last post, and yes another Mac bashing post, my scanner worked quickly and easily on Centos, another win for Centos! I then ran into a nasty Mail problem, the one where it uses up all memory because it tries to load gargantuan debug enabled log files on startup and zip them. This is described copiously on forums. In my case the log files are created by one IMAP mail account which constantly tries to update the mailbox into the 100,000s of messages, thus producing a 20G debug log file.

I thought initially this poblem was caused by GPGSuite (which did not initially work with El Capitan) so I removed it after copying that set of tools to Centos. However, it turned out not to be the problem so I put the latest GPGSuite back on the Mac.

In the meantime I had spent an hour or so with first line Apple Support who had no idea about the problem and simply ran through the standard troubleshooting steps.

As I’ve said before, the system has become so complex, I don’t think anyone understands it. Get back to simple!

El Capitan

I wrote El Crapitan but the spell checker changed it. Just wanted to keep the blog warm with another gripe about Apple. Since the upgrade, which I performed a couple of weeks ago, mail now crashes every few minutes (with a certain IMAP account enabled) and my Epson DX5000 scanner no longer works (no driver).

I’ve written before about how bad I think built-in obsolesence is, and this goes back to changing Pages so it would no longer open files from the previous version. Heck, I’ve got ClarisWorks files that my Dad wrote that I want to open. Compatibility should last a generation and not on the short (max years) timescales fashionable today.

So I will have to get the scanner working on Centos 7 or Windows 10.

What Price Performance?

I was chatting to a young Apple store engineer and he said I could upgrade my one-legged dog, late 2012 iMac with an SSD. Apparently you can even recover MacOS over the internet with these models. Well I began to get interested to the extent of thinking about forking out £320 for the SSD.

However, on further investigation it turns out that only some of the 2.7Ghz i5 late 2012 iMacs can accomodate SSDs. How do you tell? And, even if you could it takes 60 steps, according to iFixit to install one. Don’t fancy that at all.

Leave well alone I think and let it run like a dog. I’ll stick to Centos.

I’m Almost Done

With MacOs, that is. My latest frustration is with a bug, or something recently introduced into Yosemite which resulted in Time Machine deleting my entire backup and starting again. Because I sometimes plug in another disk to make another backup. It took me a couple of iterations to work this out and I have had to do two full 600G backups of my Mac to QNAP over the network recently. Because it’s QNAP, it’s not supported of course.

This is the second big blow to MacOS on top of the last howler of not being able to open older versions on Pages and Numbers documents after I upgraded 18 months ago.

Trying to debug these issues is hard. MacOS has become so much bloatware. And slow as a mollusc with lumbago.

Centos 7, on the other hand is clean, fast and functional. Simple too, compared to Macs, it seems to me. This is going to be my next desktop full time next time Apple mess up my data.

Spotlight on Sloooooowness

Hmmmm. I have a new theory about why my Yosemite Mac is so damn slow.


I turned it off and (without any scientific tests) seemed to get a much better experience. I disabled it by adding the hard drive in the exclusions of Spotlight preferences.

Of course, I immediately started getting complaints from “other users” that they couldn’t find anything so I’ve had to be a bit less harsh on the exclusions.

I also wonder why indexing activity is not visible using iosnoop or iotop. Maybe it is and I’m just not looking at the output correctly or maybe it happens at such a low level that it doesn’t trigger any counters. Or maybe it all happens in memory in kernel interaction with the file buffer cache (unlikely but possible). However, if that were the case I would still expect kernel cpu to be logged.

Certainly worthy of a bit more investigation, i.e. “googling” plus some dtrace perhaps.


I’ve never liked Mavericks. When I got this new Mac a year ago, the first thing it said when I turned it on was that a new operating system was ready to be installed, i.e. Mavericks. I installed it as the least risky time to do it before I started using it.

However it’s always been dog slow and kernel threads seemed to leak memory which required frequent reboots, especially in the home scenario here where there are typically three people logged in at once.

So as soon as Update told me there was a new O/S I decided it couldn’t be worse than Mavericks and so far that has proved to be true. Noticably faster. We have lost GPG Mail but a small price to pay until they fix it.

There’s also the reprehensible behaviour of search data being sent home to Apple and Microsoft, which I have disabled as per

Need to keep an eye on that.

In the meantime, looking forward to finding out what good stuff there is in Yosemite.

Tinkering success

I was going to write a blog about industry cloud direction but I got side-tracked into tinkering with the Mac and found a couple of interesting commands which I want to make a note of.

This came about because my Mavericks O/S has been very slow. I noticed constant I/O to the disks and have been trying to determine what was causing it. I thought I would use dtrace and was delighted to find it was already installed! Even more delighted when I found two incredibly useful commands: iosnoop and iotop.

iosnoop quickly told me it was Logmein. As it happens, Logmein have started charging for using their app so I am happy to remove it, which the built-in remover seemed to do fine.

Looks much better already, see how it goes. I just wonder what it was writing the whole time, even when the client was turned off??? Bug?