Archive for May 27, 2020

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Catalina Fonts You Didn’t Know You Had Access To

Ralf Herrmann:

Apple has recently licensed fonts from type foundries such as Commercial Type, Klim Type Foundry and Mark Simonson Studio to be used as system fonts on Mac OS Catalina. But since these fonts are an optional download, many users of Mac OS X are not even aware they have access to them for free.

To see and install these optional fonts, open the FontBook application and switch to “All Fonts”.

Some highlights are Founders Grotesk, Produkt, and Proxima Nova. The full list is here.

Update (2020-05-28): David Isaksson:

You may also have a set of Druk by @commercialtype installed by the latest version of Pages/Keynote. Use a new template featuring Druk and it will install in Font Book automatically. Using this method will also unlock many of the other Catalina fonts for Mojave users.

Update (2020-06-02): Philipp Defner:

Not so great: You can’t download all of them at once.

“Why not just select multiple families while holding the Command key?” you might ask. This question is easily answered by giving it a try and observing how the CPU load is going up to 100% while the system grinds to a halt and the interface starts lagging after selecting more than 6 fonts.

The LG UltraFine 5K, kernel_task, and Me

Peter Steinberger:

Since we first purchased the displays, we’ve been having issues with them, starting with delayed shipping, ghosting, and Wi-Fi interference, and moving on to compatibility — there’s no HDMI, DisplayPort, or similar. The only way to use these monitors is with a modern Mac. As for the compatibility issue, that was a known tradeoff, and for me, it was acceptable. After all, the benefit of only having a single cable as a modern docking station and a beautiful panel outweighed the drawbacks. I still remember my innocent excitement.

Since receiving these displays, we’ve had to return most of them to get fixes for various issues, and we’ve patiently updated the firmware multiple times with LG’s crappy Screen Manager software. There are also issues with expanding batteries, and Apple has blamed the LG 5K, saying just don’t use it a lot and you’ll be fine.


The 16-inch MacBook Pro doesn’t seem to suffer from this temperature sensor misplacement and can drive the LG UltraFine without slowdown on both ends. […] The bad news: The LG can provide 87 watts of power, but the notebook comes with a 96-watt adaptor. This means that the battery is constantly compensating. […] I mostly use the separate power plug to fix the “missing 9-watt problem.”

Despite all this, he recommends it. There just aren’t many Retina options.


macOS 10.15.5

Apple (TidBITS, MacRumors, Hacker News, Mr. Macintosh, Howard Oakley):

macOS Catalina 10.15.5 introduces battery health management in the Energy Saver settings for notebooks, an option to control automatic prominence of video tiles on Group FaceTime calls, and controls to fine-tune the built-in calibration of your Pro Display XDR. The update also improves the stability, reliability, and security of your Mac.

The update went smoothly for me on the MacBook Pro. I’m still using Mojave on my iMac. Alas, the update does not fix the remaining data loss issue with Apple Mail. Mail’s version number is unchanged since macOS 10.15.4.

Mr. Macintosh:

NOTE!!! on the softwareupdate --ignore flag change.

Major new releases of macOS are no longer hidden when using the softwareupdate command with the --ignore flag

****This change also affects macOS Mojave and macOS High Sierra after installing Security Update 2020-003.****

Adding a Catalina nag in a security update is not very nice.

Jeff Johnson:

Apple’s support article seems to be not entirely accurate. It’s true that the Software Update preference pane now refuses to ignore the Catalina update on Mojave. Nonetheless, softwareupdate itself does continue to ignore it! Fortunately, then, there’s still a way to make the red badges go away. We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

The key is to avoid opening the Software Update preference pane. It’s fine to open System Preferences though. If you happened to open the preference pane after installing the Security Update 2020-003, you can just repeat the above steps, and the badge will still go away.


It may be a bummer to have to check and install everything from the command line, but it’s preferable to a permanent red stain on your Dock, isn’t it?

Mr. Macintosh:

I have received 3 different reports that the 10.15.5 Update is still changing the ComputerName & HostName back to default

The last update that I’ve received from Apple said that this issue will NOT be fixed until macOS 10.16

Mike Bombich:

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.


The chflags() system call can no longer set the SF_FIRMLINK flag on a folder on an APFS volume. Rather than fail with an error code that we would have detected, it fails silently – it exits with a success exit status, but silently fails to set the special flag. That’s a bug in the APFS filesystem implementation of chflags – if a system call doesn’t do what you ask it to do, it’s supposed to return an error code, not success. That’s a fairly nasty bug too. Apple preaches that you should always check your error codes, and we do – religiously. This bug slipped past us for who knows how long because the system call exits with a success error code.

Tim Schmitz:

Please fix the recurrent kernel panics during sleep on my 16” MBP 🤞🤞🤞


Update (2020-05-28): Eric Slivka (tweet):

Apple is making it more difficult for users to ignore available software updates and remain on their current operating system versions.

Thomas Tempelmann:

Also, it’s pointless that Apple now reminds me even on an old Mac that can’t run Catalina that I should upgrade to 10.15! That’s what the ignore option was meant to solve. When I use Terminal to say “I don’t need this reminder” it should be clear I understand the risk.

Jeff Johnson:

It turns out there’s a simple way to disable the Dock badge for System Preferences.

This doesn’t solve any other problems, however, such as Catalina showing up in the Software Update preference pane.

Tim Hardwick:

An Apple File System bug has been discovered in macOS 10.15.5 Catalina that can prevent users from making a bootable clone of their system drive[…]

Stephen Hackett:

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.

Dave Nanian:

The new [asr] feature basically didn’t work until Catalina’s final beta. And even when it started working, while fast, it dealt with failures...poorly.


In this case, Apple has broken the ability to make new firmlinks. It’s utterly unclear why they broke this capability, but they did. And that makes new and erased SuperDuper! backups unbootable.

It sounds like the developers of the major Mac cloning utilities both reported the bug during macOS 10.15.5’s beta period, but Apple decided to ship anyway. Just like the Mail data loss bugs that were reported during the macOS 10.15.0 beta.

Update (2020-06-01): See also: Hacker News.

Colin Cornaby:

After 10.15.5, my Ultrafine 5k is not always waking up with my computer. I haven’t had this setup long, but my understanding was this was fixed in 10.15.4, and I didn’t see it in 10.15.4.

Not a great really expensive workstation experience.


Update (2020-06-03): Howard Oakley:

I continue to get frantic messages and comments from many who can’t get Time Machine to make any backups at all, and the latest update doesn’t appear to have brought any relief. For many, upgrading to 10.15 is still too much of a gamble. When they realise how immature the replacement apps for iTunes are, even more users get cold feet.

Update (2020-06-05): Mr. Macintosh:

Initially, users reported the 10.15.5 Beta 3 update fixed the Wake from Sleep KP issue. Now, I’m being flooded by users saying the 10.15.5 update did NOT fix the issue

Bot Twitter Accounts Discussing COVID-19

Karen Hao (via John Gruber):

Kathleen M. Carley and her team at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Informed Democracy & Social Cybersecurity have been tracking bots and influence campaigns for a long time. Across US and foreign elections, natural disasters, and other politicized events, the level of bot involvement is normally between 10 and 20%, she says.

But in a new study, the researchers have found that bots may account for between 45 and 60% of Twitter accounts discussing covid-19. Many of those accounts were created in February and have since been spreading and amplifying misinformation, including false medical advice, conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, and pushes to end stay-at-home orders and reopen America.

Virginia Alvino Young:

To analyze bot activity around the pandemic, CMU researchers since January have collected more than 200 million tweets discussing coronavirus or COVID-19. Of the top 50 influential retweeters, 82% are bots, they found. Of the top 1,000 retweeters, 62% are bots.


Many factors of the online discussions about “reopening America” suggest that bot activity is orchestrated. One indicator is the large number of bots, many of which are accounts that were recently created. Accounts that are possibly humans with bot assistants generate 66% of the tweets. Accounts that are definitely bots generate 34% of the tweets

These are extraordinary claims, both because of the high numbers and because lots of real people are also talking about COVID-19. Some of them are spreading misinformation, and some are in favor of reopening sooner. In my own Twitter feed I have seen very few if any COVID-19 tweets that look like they are bot-related. How did the researches arrive at these counts, with such apparent certainty?

Neither of these articles shows actual examples of bots. I could not find a published paper, data, methodology, or code. Professor Carley did give a seminar on March 31, which has more details than the news release (via Tess Owen). One of the precise claims is:

Overall in the discussion around corona virus about 45% of the users are more than 50% likely to be bots

This is a bit less sensational, and it clarifies that these are not numbers based on humans looking at the tweets and accounts and categorizing them as bot or not-bot. Rather, they are counting accounts that were assigned bot percentages by a machine learning model.

Darius Kazemi:

The short of it is: knowing what we know about the study, which is very little, it seems like these researchers have in the past used a very loose and nearly useless definition of “bot”


Also worth looking at is this informal audit of a few “bots” that were identified by these researchers back in April, some of which are humans with faces and lives who post videos of themselves like, talking and living and stuff


Also if you’re interested in this you can check out my blog post on “The Bot Scare” which is not peer-reviewed but I try to cite lots of sources and make a decent argument that most of this kind of research is pretty flimsy.

Yoel Roth (Twitter Head of Site Integrity):

There’s no right or wrong way to use Twitter — and many “bot” studies wind up dismissing a lot of real activity as inauthentic.

Even if you take “bot” to mean “automated spam,” there’s little evidence that the dramatic conclusions of the #COVID19 study are accurate.

That’s not to say that spam isn’t an issue. We know that discussions about #COVID19 are a prime target for all sorts of platform manipulation. Since March, our proactive systems have challenged millions of spammy accounts Tweeting about COVID.


Why not just suspend accounts immediately, or share information about our other actions in our APIs? Doing so would make it easier for adversaries to know we’ve caught them, and adapt to evade our detections.

Possibly the bot threat is exaggerated, but that’s not exactly comforting, either.

Joey D’Urso:

Bots do exist, and there have been several concerning stories in recent years about foreign bots attempting to influence elections in the UK, US, and elsewhere.

But a lot of the time, what looks like foreign bot activity is nothing of the sort.

The truth is often something even harder to get your head around — people voluntarily choosing to copy and paste identikit slogans on social media to spread a partisan message or simply wind up their opponents.