Points in Focus Photography

🎞 EOS R5 Update, Mac OS Catalina Problems, and Fast Internet Access A Point in Focus Vlog

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In this episode of the vlog I talk about:

  • A brief update on what’s going on with my EOS R5 shipment
  • Some serious problems I’ve run into with Mac OS Catalina, specifically Apple’s Notarization security features and broken internet connections
  • A discuss some of my thoughts about cloud backups now that I have a high speed internet connection

EOS R5 Update

Canon rumors posted an update a few days ago, stating that they’ve received indications form various users with outstanding orders from B&H that Canon EOS R5’s wont ship out to them until the end of October or potentially early November. And according to Canon rumors this is when people can expect the next shipment of cameras.

Personally, I have an outstanding order for an EOS R5 with B&H. I got my order in about an hour in after B&H opened their orders, and I have not received an email stating that I can expect to wait until late October or November. In fact, the communication I have received from B&H is that they expect a shipment of R5s on, or around, September 16th — so next week — and that my camera should ship from that order.

The important point here is that while Canon Rumors, or any other site, can provide some interesting commentary on shipping delays, they aren’t providing the full picture. Canon and the associated retailers, almost certainly have a good idea of when shipments will be arriving and how many cameras will be in that shipment. It’s not like the cameras magically appear in Canon’s factories and nobody knows how many can be made or when.

As a result, it seems quite likely to me that B&H, and potentially other retailers, are now in a position to start telling their preorder customers when they should be able to get their cameras.

Of course, obviously things can change. But I given when I got my order in, and what communication I’ve received from B&H regarding my order, I’m doubtful that I wouldn’t have gotten an update had they expected my ship date would be delayed another month.

As always, listen to what your retailer is telling you, not what the rumor mills are saying. They know when they’re getting stuff, and they know where you stand on the list.

Also, again, Canon Rumors has kind of dropped the ball here in their rush to publish a rumor, but not including the critical context of when their source’s delayed order was placed. Which doesn’t help anyone else get a clear picture of how things are shaking out, other than that it looks like Canon’s making R5 shipments about once a every month right now.

Mac OS Catalina Problems

This is a bit more in depth, and I’m not going to get too into the weeds that is the details of what I’ve experienced. Moreover, I want to prefix this with a couple of caveats:

  1. I’m not a Mac OS developer or programmer with a deep understanding of their systems at a programmatic level. I think what’ I’m about to discuss is correct based on my research, but I could certainly be wrong.
  2. Regardless of what I end up doing, regarding buying another Mac in the future or not, I’m not arguing that anybody should do anything because of me. If you love Mac OS or hate Windows, or whatever, I’m not saying you need to switch or that you need to care if I do.

A big part of why I wanted to talk about this is that I’m often talking about trade offs in engineering; though usually it’s with cameras, and I’m often “justifying” something people are whining about Canon doing. Well this is another example, and the issue isn’t a simple as an overheating Camera or only having 5K recording capabilities.

So one of the new features in Mac OS Catalina and one ostensibly aimed at increasing security is a feature called notarization. 

The idea as I understand it is that every time your computer goes to launch an app, as well as some other things, it sends a message to Apple’s servers with the hash of the app that’s being run to insure that the app isn’t malicious.

So on one hand, this sounds like it should be a good thing. It’s supposed to improve security after all.

However, as with most things in engineering there’s a whole slew of trade offs that come with it.

First is the potential problems with privacy. While the app’s hash isn’t supposed to uniquely identify your copy of say Photoshop, it’s supposed to be the same for all copies of Photoshop. It does mean that Apple’s servers are getting about what program you’re using every time you start it.

Now there’s of course a long line of “as long as they don’ts” that go with this in keeping things “private”. For example, as long as they don’t log your computer’s serial number (which is correlated to your Apple account, and therefore name, address, email address, and potentially phone number), or for that matter computer’s IP address, or really log anything. Then I don’t see much of a privacy issue. Sure they’d know a computer at such and such an address (which is needed to send the response) requested the verification for some program with some signature, but there would be no persistence of that information beyond that, then that would be reasonable. But that’s also a policy that Apple can change at any time, and since the notarization is built in to the OS, and so far as I can tell can’t be disabled or stopped in any meaningful way… Well there’s that.

But I’m not interested in getting deep into the weeds of the privacy issues.

I want to talk about the real technical problems that can occur and how it harms the user experience.

So three Saturdays ago now, at least as of when this published, a sailboat behind my neighbors house was struck by lightning.

It was easily the closest lightning strike I’ve seen since I’ve lived here. And while it wasn’t a direct hit to our house, it was close enough that the EMP it produced wreaked havoc on our electronics.

The equipment death toll for our side consisted of 1 Apple Thunderbolt 1 Gig Ethernet adapter, the switch port that it was connected to, and most notably our DSL modem (or the line card it ties back to on the telco’s end).

Incidentally, I’m now on my 3rd Apple Thunderbolt 1 Gig Ethernet adapter. That is I’ve had two fried by lighting related EMPs. None of which phased any of my other network hardware previously.

Anyway, the problem is that I was stuck with a network, but no internet access. And apparently this was a situation that Apple’s engineers could quite fathom happening — or at least not with a wired network connection.

So what happens?

So notarization tries to connect to Apple’s servers, and when it can’t it takes 30-45 seconds or so before it times out.

Now Apple was apparently smart enough to adjust the timeout for WiFi networks, as it times out much sooner when you’re connected with WiFi than when you’re connected to a wired network; but there’s still a delay.

As a user, what you get is a horribly laggy system that beach balls every time you start a program (even built in ones from Mac OS), and then lags randomly when you try to do things in various programs because they trigger a notarization check.

So what does this mean for me and MacOS going forward.

Well, I’m not so overly wedded to MacOS that I can’t leave the platform. There’s certainly things I like in MacOS, and I rather like GarageBand for messing around with making music, but at the same time, even though I’m back running normally now that I have Internet access again, this has been a real eye opening experience for me; and one that has me really looking at moving back Windows for my next laptop.

Fast Internet and Cloud Backups

So the final point I wanted to talk about, well, revolves around my fixed internet access. In my area AT&T’s fix to my dead DSL stuff was to install fiber, and with that I had the ability to get gigabit internet speeds.

Now I’ve lived with slow Internet access for years and years. And in general having a 8 Mbps down 1Mbps up connection has been a major factor in my consideration for online backup solutions.

Simply put, as a photographer and videographer, I generate much more data than I could ever reasonably upload at that speed. Even a simple trip would often generate 50 GB of images, and at 1 Mbps, that would take almost 5 days to upload with 0 bandwidth to spare for actually using the internet for anything else.

With gigabit speeds, this all changes.

Now I’m not going to get off in the weeds on fast internet access and cloud/remote backups for photographers right now. I’m still doing a lot of research on the most economical ways to do that and I have some work to go. So I’m going to save the details on that for a future post and video. But suffice to say, having fast Internet access, especially for uploading, really changes the calculus on cloud backups for last ditch disaster mitigation efforts.

And with wildfires running roughshod over communities in the Western US, and increasingly powerful hurricanes hitting the the eastern US and Hawaii, having one more copy of my images in a data-center safely out of harms way starts looking like nice way to have an extra bit of piece of mind for something that can’t be so easily replaced.

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