apple

Mac Studio arrives…

The Apple logo on top of my Mac Studio. ©Neil Turner, June 2022

A couple of months ago I wrote about the amount of power that I perceived that I needed in a computer in order to efficiently edit images. Shortly after that I saw a Mac with an M1 Max processor in action converting batches of RAW files and I decided that I’d order a Mac Studio a couple of days later. I went for the base model with a 512Gb SSD and 32Gb of RAM for two reasons; the first of which was that it was easily going to be powerful enough for even the chunkiest RAW files and the second was that it was the only model that had any chance of being delivered in time for the heavy batch of editing that I am now in the middle of.

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Computer speed and power in my real world

When Apple announced their new desktop Mac – the Mac Studio – I watched the keynote address and was very interested in what this new bit of kit had to offer. Starting at £2000.00 including VAT it looks like a veritable speed machine. I have read some reviews and looked at test bench scores which are supposed to give us real world performance data so that we can compare one machine against another. With all of that in mind, it looks really good. But… what do those score mean for me?

In the editor part of my working life I often end up editing 200, 300, 400 or more RAW files from different cameras a day. When I am shooting my own pictures it is rarely that many and, of course, the files will all be from my own cameras and therefore not varied set of RAW formats. The most power hungry work will all be inside Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) and I want to know what time savings this new Mac will actually give me. Having watched several reviewers (mostly high-end video editors) talk about what has frustrated them in their workflow I started thinking about the relatively few times I find myself waiting for things to happen in ACR.

The truth is that there aren’t many things that take time and frustrate me with my ageing 15″ MacBook Pro but here are a few:

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Apple MacBook Air M1

Ten years ago I bought an 11″ MacBook Air. It went everywhere with me because it was so portable, so useful and did the job that I needed it to do. Four years ago I tried really hard to find a way to use an iPad to do the same sort of on-location quick edits that the small laptop had been so good for but I never really made it work. I kept the rapidly ageing laptop in service for longer than I should have and carried my 2017 15″ MacBook Pro on more jobs that I would have wanted to. When Apple released the M1 powered 13″ laptops earlier this year I thought that I might finally have found a solution and the reports coming from other photographers about how good they were helped me make my mind up to invest in one.

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Photo Mechanic 6, Macs and 32 bit apps

Coming March 25th 2019…

Slowly but surely application developers are replacing their 32 bit versions for Apple OSX with 64 bit ones. As things stand there are only two bits of software that I use on a very regular basis that are still only available in 32 bit and the most important (and dare I say “most exciting”) of those, Photo Mechanic, gets an upgrade later this month. It has been a while coming, and I have mentioned it here on this blog once or twice already, when the next iteration of OSX is installed it stops us being able to use 32 bits apps altogether. Because I have the luxury of having three Macs I always have one of them running the latest (or even beta) versions of everything. That way I can satisfy my curiosity without risking my production machines with untested or insufficiently tested software. (more…)

Don’t panic…

I use Apple products. In fact, I use a lot of Apple products and some of my less generous colleagues might even label me a “fanboy”. I’d call that unfair because I’m not blind to their faults and I know that, like all technology, it will fail at some point.

I have tried my best to develop ways of avoiding failures, making sure that they cause as little damage or disruption as possible and generally covering my back wherever and whenever possible. The other day, whilst doing routine updates to one of the Macs in my office, I experienced something that would probably have completely freaked most computer users out and necessitated a lot of aggravation or even a visit to a service centre or Genius Bar.

dock_error

Simply put, all of the applications went AWOL. The dock, of which you can see a screenshot above just showed a whole row of question marks indicating that the applications were missing and a quick visit to the applications folder showed that the Mac clearly thought so too. The error message said that I didn’t have permissions to use the folder which made me believe and/or hope that nothing was actually missing. The “missing” applications included Time Machine and all of the repair and diagnostic tools that I would normally go straight to. I looked in the bin and I tried to search for items that I know should have in my applications folder but found nothing.

This has never happened to me before and I have never heard it described so I tried solution number one – to use a different device, get onto the internet and search the collected knowledge of the world’s computer users. The general consensus appeared to be that I had a major issue and that I needed to reinstall the Mac operating system. Easier said than done given that, despite trying every kind of reboot and diagnostic test I could, the App Store, all web browsers and Time Machine were amongst the locked/blocked/missing applications.

I could have done it all from one of the other Macs but I have, for many years, had a back-up drive from which I can boot my computers. These days it is a USB3 SSD drive with OSX Yosemite loaded on it and I used that to reboot my computer and install a fresh copy of OSX. Twenty-five minutes later with a mildly raised heart rate and some cramp in my fingers from keeping them crossed my computer was back as if nothing had happened. No screwdrivers were involved and nobody had to drive anywhere. No data was lost and I could get on with work.

Just in case you are wondering, panicking wasn’t even in the top ten ways to sort this out – about five places below a stiff drink or three!

A case that proves the old military phrase that I was taught at school in the 1970s and 1980s – “precise and proper planning prevents poor performance”.