NASA, SpaceX Successfully Launch Astronauts from U.S. Soil Since Shuttle Program Ended in 2011 »

Loren Grush at The Verge:

After nearly two decades of effort, Elon Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, successfully launched its first two people into orbit, ushering in a new age of human spaceflight in the United States. The flight marked the first time astronauts have launched into orbit from American soil in nearly a decade, and SpaceX is now the first company to send passengers to orbit on a privately made vehicle.

The two astronauts — veteran NASA fliers Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley — rode into space inside SpaceX’s new automated spacecraft called the Crew Dragon, a capsule designed to take people to and from the International Space Station. Strapped inside the sleek, gumdrop-shaped capsule, the duo lifted off on top of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:22PM ET on Saturday. The rocket dropped the Crew Dragon off in orbit about 12 minutes later. Now, the pair will spend roughly the next day in orbit before attempting to dock with the International Space Station on Sunday morning.

A new era of spaceflight is here.

On Trump’s Internet Censorship Order »

Adi Robertson at The Verge, writing about Trump’s executive order concerning how Twitter, Facebook and others should moderate user content:

The order follows a feud with Twitter after it fact-checked one of Trump’s tweets, but it’s been brewing since at least 2019 when a social media “bias” rule was rumored but never revealed. An unfinished draft of the order leaked on Wednesday, full of nonsensical demands and pointless blustering, with many dismissing the rule as simply illegal.

But the final order released yesterday is significantly different from that draft — and a good deal more troubling. It’s still a tangle of vaguely coherent bad rules, legally baffling demands, and pure posturing. But it’s easier to see the shape of Trump’s goal: a censorship bill that potentially covers almost any part of the web.

Spend some time this weekend looking at this.

SpaceX’s Starship Test Vehicle Explodes in Texas »

Darrell Etherington:

SpaceX had just conducted yet another static fire test of the Raptor engine in its Starship SN4 prototype launch vehicle on Friday when the test vehicle exploded on the test stand in Boca Chica, Texas. This was the fourth static fire test of this engine on this prototype, so it’s unclear what went wrong vs. other static fire attempts.

This was a test in the development of Starship, a new spacecraft that SpaceX has been developing in Boca Chica. Eventually, the company hopes to use it to replace its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rocket, but Starship is still very early in its development phase, whereas those vehicles are flight-proven, multiple times over.

This rocket has nothing to do with the Falcon 9 poised to take American astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken to the International Space Station. That flight will mark the first time astronauts have left Earth from American soil since the space shuttle program ended nine years ago. Still, not great timing for the company.

image via

macOS 10.15.5 Breaks Creation of Bootable Backups »

Mike at Bombich Software, the makers of the excellent Carbon Copy Cloner, writing about a change in the newest version of Catalina:

Early last week we discovered an APFS filesystem bug in a beta of macOS 10.15.5. The technical details of the bug are laid out below, but the short version is that we’re no longer able to use our own file copier to establish an initial bootable backup of a macOS Catalina System volume. To be very clear – existing backups are unaffected, and this has no effect on CCC’s ability to preserve your data, nor any effect on the integrity of the filesystems on your startup disk or your backup disk. The impact of this bug is limited to the initial creation of a bootable backup.

Check out the full post for the technical details, but in short, it’s hard to tell if this is a bug or a change in Apple’s security policy concerning the Mac. If it’s a bug, I have questions about what sort of change could impact this toward the end of an OS’ active development, and if it’s a change, it should have been documented when it first shipped in the beta.

Connected #296: Gandalf Shot First »

This week on Connected:

Stephen keeps trying to make #GreenGate a thing, Federico has a new friend and Myke has large lungs. Then, an in-depth conversation about what should come next for Shortcuts.

There’s a real tension in Shortcuts between being an app for everybody, and an app for power users.

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macOS Catalina 10.15.5 Out with Finder, Battery Fixes »

The newest version of macOS includes the battery health feature announced in April as well as other fixes:

  • Fixes an issue that may prevent Reminders from sending notifications for recurring reminders
  • Addresses an issue that may prevent password entry on the login screen
  • Fixes an issue where System Preferences would continue to show a notification badge even after installing an update
  • Resolves an issue where the built-in camera may not be detected when trying to use it after using a video conferencing app
  • Addresses an issue for Mac computers with the Apple T2 Security Chip where internal speakers may not appear as a sound output device in Sound preferences
  • Fixes a stability issue with uploading and downloading media files from iCloud Photo Library while your Mac is asleep
  • Resolves a stability issue when transferring large amounts of data to RAID volumes
  • Fixes an issue where the Reduce Motion Accessibility preference did not reduce the speed of animations in a FaceTime group call

The update also includes fine-tuning calibration options for the Pro Display XDR, so look forward to ATP this week, I suppose.

Kbase Article of the Week: Quadra 900 & 950: 256MB RAM & RAM Disk »

Apple Support:

The MMU (memory management unit) page table is limited to 256K. When you install 256MB of RAM in a Quadra 900 or 950, the MMU page table grows a little too big and overwrites the RAM disk portion of memory. Replacing one bank of the 16MB SIMMs with 4MB SIMMS (reducing the total RAM below 256MB) will allow the system to work correctly with the RAM disk enabled.

Note that Apple does not officially support 16MB SIMMs in the Quadra, although in most situations they will work fine.

Seems about right.

Mac Power Users #537: The Photos Field Guide and Apple Photos »

This week on Mac Power Users:

From the early days of iPhoto to now, with and iCloud, Apple has offered increasingly-robust photo management tools for its users. This episode, David and Stephen walk through the features and tools you should know about.

This goes hand-in-hand with David’s new Photos Field Guide, which is excellent. If you have someone in your life befuddled by Photos, get them this.

My thanks to our sponsors:

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Adobe Premiere Pro Gaining Afterburner Support »

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

Beta builds of Premiere Pro include support for Apple’s Afterburner accelerator card, Adobe told Premiere Pro users earlier this week. Premiere Pro and After Effects were recently updated with native ProRES RAW support.

The Apple Afterburner is a ProRes and ProRes RAW accelerator card that is an optional add-on accessory available in the 2019 Mac Pro. It supports playback of up to 3 streams of 8K Pro-Res RAW or 12 streams of 4K ProRes RAW.

Adobe says that Premiere Pro supports decode acceleration of ProRes 4444 and 422 codecs using the Afterburner card, but ProRES RAW acceleration through the Afterburner card is not supported at this time.

Good news for those in the Adobe camp.