Alex Kaloostian

Apple Certified Master Trainer | Systems Integrator | Video Editor | Motion Graphics Artist

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A few discoveries after my first week with the new 2016 MacBook Pro

I’ve has the new 2016 15″ MacBook Pro with Touchbar (they really have to work on their naming) and I have learned a few things. Some delightful, some… not so much. I’d rather not re-hash arguments that have already been made elsewhere ad nauseam, but show you some real-world info.


Lets get one thing out of the way, right off the bat: USB-A, USB-B, and USB-C are connectors. Think of them like shapes. USB 1, USB 2, and USB 3, are bus speeds. To make matters worse, there are three types of USB 3:

USB 1: 12mbps
USB 2: 480 mbps
USB 3.0: 5,000 mbps & HD video
USB 3.1 genUSB- 1: 5,000 mbps & 4k Video
USB 3.1 gen 2: 10,000 mbps & 4k video

As far as ports go, thats where things get confusing:

USB-A supports: USB1, USB2, USB3, 15w power draw
USB-C supports: USB1, USB2, USB3, Thunderbolt3. 100w power draw, reversible plug

So USB-C is a reversible plug and can also be used for charging and Thunderbolt, which means its ALSO backwards-compatible with SATA, FireWire, HDMI, DVI, VGA… basically everything. It is, truly, finally, the one connector to rule them all. But not every device supports all of this. Thats where things get complicated. No longer can you just look at the shape of the jack and know what it is. You have to be intimately aware of the specs of your computer. This could have been a place for Apple to forge ahead and support everything, and make things easier on their users. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

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Apple as overhauled two-factor authentication…

…And its kind of crazy confusing. But its worth it in the long run, because the new format is much better, and much faster. It looks like I’m not the only one who had trouble setting it up in the first place. But if you use AppleID for Education, VPP, ApplePay or you’re just concerned about better security, you should read this and be prepared to support your users.

Unlocking a Mac with an Apple Watch requires two-factor, not two-step, iCloud protection—what?

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DropBox is acting shady; and some security tips

DropBox recently added some new tricks that were… surprising. Ever see an app be able to do THIS in the Finder before?


Whats all this, then?

Yeah, me neither. interesting. but how did Apple allow this? Spoiler: they probably didn’t.

And here’s some more info on how it was done, as well as a bunch of useful tips when you want to investigate anything on your mack with some command line tools:

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iOS and security

Theres a lot of talk about security and iPhones lately. Well, there always is, but even more lately. Here are a couple articles that should be required reading.

Parallax primer: why is Android less secure than iOS?

Cops can force you to unlock your phone with a thumbprint but not your passcode: 5 things to know.

Tim Cook says Apple will fight FBI’s order to unlock Farook’s iPhone

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What are all these hidden items on my Mac? Part 1

If you open the root of your Mac’s hard drive, you’ll see four very neatly organized folders: Applications, Library, System, and Users. But there is much, much more hidden from you, that your Mac needs to do what it does. Do you need to know what any of them are? Absolutely not. But you’re a geek, and you’re curious, so lets find out anyway. Continue reading

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Mandatory Reading for Mac Geeks

In classes I often mention a couple articles from John Siracusa of, but it can be difficult to find them. I’m finally compiling them here for my own convenience, and yours. Warning: these articles are deep and technical, but very good reading if you want a deeper understanding and respect of OS X.

Metdata, the Mac, and you

John’s in-depth review of OS X 10.4 Tiger, or jump directly to the page about Extensible metadata & uniform type creators

OS X 10.9 Mavericks: The Ars Technica Review, especially the section about Mavericks’ energy saving features.

Edit: Mr. Siracusa would like me to remind you you can find ALL of his writing here:

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Wiping the slate clean

I’ve got a bad feeling about this…

Yesterday my boot drive started acting up.

Its an OEM 512GB SSD that came in my lastest-gen 13″ Macbook Pro Retina. I haven’t heard widespread reports of these units failing, so I think it was just a stroke of bad luck. I wanted to create a new partition to install Yosemite, but it wouldn’t let me. I assumed it was because I was using FileVault, so I turned it off. Three hours later, I tried again- but DiskUtility still listed it as a Logical Volume. no dice. I tried the command line, I tried repairing permissions, repairing the disk, no dice.

Okay, fine, I guess Ill wipe and restore. I am one of the precious few people who actually regularly back up, so I wasn’t too worried, but just to be sure, I wanted to run Time Machine one more time. My backups were at home, but I had a nice, fast USB3 SSD, so I set up a new backup of everything, after deleting things that would waste my time like Dropbox, Google Drive, Adobe apps  and Warcraft. Those four folders saved me 100GB. I could just get it all back from the cloud, anyway.

So that left me with about 150GB to back up. No problem, I was expecting about 2 hours, and the progress bar agreed. But then a funny thing happened: it finished in a half hour. And the backup was only 40GB.Okay, something is clearly not right here, so I looked at the settings… somehow, I had excluded my entire home folder. So I un-excluded it (TimeMachine settings are weird) and backed up again. Again, it excluded the home directory.

Okay, so something is definitely strange. I booted into target disk mode, plugged in a thunderbolt cable, and tried to make a disk image with Disk Utility. After 20 minutes it was only 3GB into it. Okay, something is clearly not right here! Ran repair disk, it found some errors. Ran it again, more errors. Okay, something is clearly not right here!

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