When free becomes a PITA

It has been ten years since I made the decision at home to move from Windows to Mac. I had grown sick of the six monthly cycle of wiping my hard drive clean to re-install Windows and apps in order to regain my system’s performance [geek requirement!]. Back then I purchased myself a 15-inch MacBook Pro, by today’s standards it was HUGE, it came with a traditional hard drive, a superdrive (aka DVD burner) and the most minimal amount of RAM.

Another reason I enjoyed the move to Mac was one, rather stupid, experience I’d had after an install in 2002 when doing one of those six monthly re-installs. On this occasion I had idiotically forgotten to unplug from the internet, I wiped my desktop, spent the requisite time installing Windows XP and several application suites only to have malware self-install and take over my machine; you learn the hard way sometimes in life, don’t you. Whilst that was my only such experience, I grew sick of the constant need for annual anti-virus subscriptions, constantly shelling out funds to McAfee, Symantec or Kaspersky in order to protect my machine as Microsoft certainly wasn’t doing so out of the box.

Thus in 2009, I decided to purchase the MacBook Pro. Back then, Macs were not yet on the radar of hackers, at least not in any great way. Coming from a Unix-based foundation, OS X (now macOS) was better prepared to ward off threats. Despite this I was forced to eventually seek out some measure of protection and recommended sources suggested the free version of Sophos was worthy of installation.

Initially this worked well, however there have been a few issues along the way over the years. About five years ago there was an issue where key files had been identified as potentially infected files – yikes! Thankfully they resolved that quickly. There has also been an ongoing niggling issue that affects Time Machine backups, it really slows these down considerably and I was always forced to disable whenever I remembered to connect my backup drive [I’ve woeful for a geek at doing so].

Tonight, I have been forced to uninstall Sophos as it was blocking all web browsers from accessing the internet. I was near pulling my hair out trying everything from restarting, quitting mDNSResponder, deleting my wireless networks, deleting caches, and even considering re-installing macOS Catalina.

Before re-installing macOS, I decided I’d try removing Sophos. Poor design of this app requires your connection to the internet and a functional web browser in order to manage its features, thus removal was my only choice. I don’t feel I can go without protection these days, so I may need to look at alternate options now, at least my web browsers are restored to me.

64 smooth

So, I have had a little time tonight to jump in and play with macOS Catalina after installing public beta 7 last night. So far so good, and I do mean good, I haven’t came across anything that resembles bugginess within the operating system in a big way, only minor things relating to the TV and Podcasts app needing me to click their icon a second time as they didn’t display the app, or perhaps I was being impatient?

macOS Catalina seems to me to run more smoothly than did Mojave, networking is certainly more snappy with pages loading inside Safari much quicker. Sadly the app I was looking forward to from Apple’s announcement is yet to be released, Shortcuts. I am wondering if this will be released to the apps store as was the case for iOS? I hope this isn’t going to be delayed until a point release, that’d be a pity.

I had expected some apps to be incompatible with Catalina given the cut-off of 32-bit support in this release, however I seem to have escaped unscathed. Were developers listening? I haven’t tried sidecar as yet, but videos I’ve seen of this look so impressive, it’s a great and useful feature for an external monitor on-the-go.

Looking forward now to final release as well as the updates for iOS/iPadOS, watchOS and tvOS. Thank the stars I have unlimited broadband haha.

macOS wifi flakes

Lately our mac computers running macOS Mojave have been experiencing issues connecting via wifi to our NBN (broadband) router, whilst all our other Apple and other wifi-related devices continue to connect without issue. It often takes restarting my MacBook Pro one maybe two times before the connection to the router becomes usable, so I am not too sure what the issue is within macOS.

Given macOS Catalina (10.15) is now just weeks from its release I have decided to sign up to the public beta tonight, I figure it will be quite stable by this point I will be safe to start using it. I am hopeful by installing the next release operating system I may see an improved handling of my connection to wifi, plus get to experience all the new features at the same time.

The sign-up process was relatively painless, just downloading a small app and enrolling my MacBook Pro within the beta program. If only the download of the beta release went that quick, the 6.85GB download took an eternity, I didn’t time it but it took near 90 minutes on my 50 megabit connection.

Installation once the download completed was quite long. I am not sure whether this process might improve once code is finalised, it felt much longer than previous macOS releases before it, or maybe it’s just I’m suffering of Alzheimer’s and a severe case of impatience; overall I believe installation took over an hour on my late-2015 MacBook Pro w/TouchBar.

One feature I had been looking forward to within Catalina was the Shortcuts app, however this doesn’t appear to be available in this release. I am assuming this must be coming in a later release or might be released as an app within the app store as was the case with iOS. I so hope this is the case as I do love this app on iOS.

Starting up Catalina for the first time I was immediately hit-up for permission requests by apps to allow notification requests, the new security features clearly evident. I was forced to update my 1Password app to v7 as the extension for v6 was no longer compatible with Catalina’s version of Safari, convenient that; hello subscription fee 😦

Yet to explore much else of Catalina, the installation didn’t complete until late at night, so will be good to check things out in detail after work Monday.

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