Archive for December 1, 2022

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Long App Hangs Due to Spotlight

Whenever I mount a hard drive with lots of files, typically a clone drive, various other apps that deal with files often hang. An individual hang can last for minutes to over half an hour. If the app is doing a long series of file operations, which would normally take fractions of a second, it can be unusable until some time after the drive has been unmounted. This happens even though the apps in question are not accessing files on the hard drive. The problem has been occurring since Monterey but has gotten a lot worse in Ventura. It got to the point where I didn’t want to do any backups during the day since my Mac could essentially become unusable for hours, even after pausing or aborting the backup.

Sampling the hung apps shows that they are waiting (for an XPC process) to read or write Spotlight metadata. I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but it’s as if the newly mounted drive generates lots of potential work for Spotlight to update its index. You would think that each volume would have its own work queue, but it seems like there’s a single queue so that operations for the slow hard drive, which are not time-sensitive, block high-priority operations for the internal SSD. Maybe this is exacerbated by the fact that my clone drives get ejected after the backup completes so that the Spotlight index is always way out of date.

Once I traced the problem to Spotlight, the obvious workaround was to exclude those volumes from indexing. This is, in fact, effective, though it has some problems:

Some drives were stubborn, and I had better luck excluding them from Spotlight using a Mac running macOS 10.14. I hope to eventually get all of my backup drives excluded, at which point I expect the hangs to stop completely.


Update (2022-12-02): Nicolai Henriksen:

Aha! Thats why! I have a TimeMachine backup disk that makes my entire machine halt completely whenever it is attached. It does not return to normal even when connected overnight. The TM disk was only connected once a week - until I gave up.

Blank File Icons in Ventura

After updating to Ventura, throughout Finder, other apps, and the Dock, all my documents were shown with blank icons. This eventually resolved itself in Finder and in open/save panels, but I still see incorrect icons in apps such as BBEdit, EagleFiler, TextEdit, and the Dock. PDF files show a blank document icon. Text files show the generic Mac text file icon, rather than the document icon from the app that they are set to open in.

This is only occurring on one of my Macs, but I’m not alone. Doing a safe boot, resetting the icon services cache, and rebuilding Launch Services didn’t help. Nor did clearing $TMPDIR and the Caches folders. Unless there’s some other cache I need to reset, this seems like a bug in Ventura. It’s easily reproducible outside of these apps, just by calling NSWorkspace.icon(forFileType:) or NSWorkspace.icon(forFile:).

Update (2022-12-23): vitor:

It’s a Ventura bug. Some of my file types are also affected but it’s not just Alfred, they don’t show up in Spotlight either. Found several reports of this on the web, outside of Alfred results[…]

Update (2023-05-23): Vítor:

Seems like “Blank File Icons in Ventura” has finally been fixed in 13.4.

It’s fixed on my Mac.


Vector Icon Speedruns

Marc Edwards:

It’s common to have to draw the same kinds of icons over and over — many different apps and websites use similar glyphs, but each instance typically needs to be tweaked for size and style, so they need to be redrawn.

Due to this repetition, I’ve always been interested in trying to work out optimal ways to create them. This is to save time, but also as a fun challenge.

Marc Edwards:

When viewing my vector icon speedruns, it can be difficult to see precisely what’s going on. Everything happens quickly, with many actions triggered via keyboard shortcuts, and Illustrator’s interface is cropped out of view. That’s just the nature of what they are, which means they provide more entertainment than education.

This article aims to be a director’s commentary for my fountain pen icon speedrun, noting the techniques used, and why they were chosen. I use Adobe Illustrator for all the icon speedruns, but many of the tips are relevant for other design tools.

There are corresponding articles for the pushpin, flag, and fingerprint videos, and also a YouTube channel (via John Gruber).

Eufy Cameras Uploading to Cloud Without Consent

Juli Clover:

Anker’s popular Eufy-branded security cameras appear to be sending some data to the cloud, even when cloud storage is disabled and local only storage settings are turned on.


According to Moore, he purchased a Eufy Doorbell Dual, which was meant to be a device that stored video recording on device. He found that Eufy is uploading thumbnail images of faces and user information to its cloud service when cloud functionality is not enabled.


There is also another issue that Moore has highlighted, suggesting Eufy camera streams can be watched live using an app like VLC, but little information on the exploit is available at this time. Moore said that unencrypted Eufy camera content can be accessed without authentication, which is alarming for Eufy users.


Several claims have been made against eufy Security over the last couple of weeks. We know the need for more straightforward and timely communications on these issues has frustrated many customers. However, we have been using the last few weeks to research these possible threats and gather all the facts before publicly addressing these claims.


Below we will attempt to better separate fact from fiction and provide more details on any changes we’ve made to our policies, processes, and security solutions.

Update (2023-02-01): Sean Hollister (via Aaron Pearce, MacRumors):

First, Anker told us it was impossible. Then, it covered its tracks. It repeatedly deflected while utterly ignoring our emails. So shortly before Christmas, we gave the company an ultimatum: if Anker wouldn’t answer why its supposedly always-encrypted Eufy cameras were producing unencrypted streams — among other questions — we would publish a story about the company’s lack of answers.

It worked.

In a series of emails to The Verge, Anker has finally admitted its Eufy security camerasare not natively end-to-end encrypted — they can and did produce unencrypted video streams for Eufy’s web portal, like the ones we accessed from across the United States using an ordinary media player.