The last version of SoftRAID that I looked at was version 3. The latest version of the software that delivers RAID 0, 1, 4, 5 and 1+0 without you ever having to buy a RAID box has been fitted out with a new RAID Engine which has been claimed to equal the performance and reliability of dedicated hardware RAID controllers. I tried SoftRAID 5.6 using two and four bare disks I use as spare and backup drives. I tested the solution with RAID 0, 1, 5 and 1+0.
Suites for mastering audio exist in all shapes and forms. IK Multimedia developed a mastering suite together with Gavin Lurssen, the owner of a multiple Grammy award winning mastering studio. It looks exactly like the real thing and is based on Lurssen's studio equipment. The app annexe DAW plug-in incorporates the best practices of the studio.
Objective Development's Little Snitch is your best defence against software that goes out on the Internet not only for updates but sometimes for snooping too. Little Snitch 4 is a firewall, network filter and network monitor that now lets you drill down easily into connections up to individual server level. It comes with a gorgeous interface that shows you where those servers are geographically based.
SketchBook Pro users enjoy a whole year of improvements and new features even, for a price of about €30/year. A few months ago, Autodesk’s sketch app was upgraded to version 8, which comes with textured brushes, a new predictive stroke and direct access to brush libraries created by leading professionals. I checked out if the new stuff is worth the subscription money.
Ergonis Software is celebrating its 30th birthday this year. In the beginning there was the first version of PopChar. It ran on a Mac Plus with System 6 and was soon acclaimed to be the best character finder on the Mac. Today, PopChar X 8.0 has been released. It’s a major new version of the company's award-winning tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. With over 40 new features and improvements, it’s going to be the best PopChar ever.
Mac users roughly have two options if they want to use bare SATA drives: use a Wiebetech (now: CRU) Ultradock device and connect the drive through legacy interfaces or USB 3, or a Thunderbolt dock. If the latter is opted for, there’s either the RocketStor 5212 with one Gen. 1 Thunderbolt port, or the Thunderbolt 2 OWC Drive Dock. And of these two, the latter is obviously the fastest way to access those bare SATA drives.
Things received an Apple Design Award in 2009 and today it’s on its way to a second such award. Things 3 is even more user-friendly than its predecessor. Feature-wise the new version gains a new design, improved interaction, a day planner with the ability add your Calendar events using huge dates so you can’t miss them, a week planner, headings to subdivide your task list, checklists, a Plus button that allegedly is magical (I only tried the macOS version briefly; the Magical Button is iOS only) and time-based reminders. Furthermore, the Mac version knows about split screen and multiple windows and lets you get rid of the sidebar.
Wacom’s new Intuos Pro graphics tablet is the thinnest since the company started selling graphics tablets many years ago. Wacom sells its professional line of tablets most often to graphics designers and photographers, but I managed to put it to good use with mocha Pro and Motion as well. The experience led me to try to use the newest Intuos Pro with Final Cut Pro X, my goal being to use it as a poor man’s control surface. For my tests, Wacom kindly sent me a large Paper Edition model.
Shooting film outdoors can be a lot of fun, but it’s detrimental to your equipment if the weather turns against you. That’s why companies like LaCie, CalDigit and G-Technology make these rugged drives you can toss around, drop and submerge. CalDigit’s bus-powered portable Tuff drive is a fine example of a really tough drive. It’s now available in 1TB format with an SSD drive inside.
OWC’s Thunderbolt 3 dock has the looks and the ports to appeal even to those who don’t need one. The company’s selection of ports to include has so far been the best I’ve encountered. There are 13 of them and they represent OWC’s experience with users’ needs in terms of support for legacy technology.