etopiei's blog

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macOS Catalina - Preview Review

I woke up at 4am on the morning of the WWDC this year as I was very excited about what was new in the world of apple. I was particularly excited about the mac announcments as I don't own an iPhone any more and am not working on any iOS apps at the moment. The latest version of macOS was announced with a bunch of new features. Most prominently they announced the death of iTunes, to be replaced by a TV app, Podcasts and Music. The other announcement that I thought was really cool was 'Find My' coming to mac meaning that now macs running Catalina will send out BLE signal even while lost and iPhones that recieve this signal will relay it to Apple creating a network so that your device cannot be lost. I think this is a really awesome feature and very cool tech, but I also think only Apple could pull it off. If another company proposed this I would be pretty concerned about prvacy and security, and while it is still a concern I think Apple's track record means they should be able to handle it.

In any case I was pretty excited to get it up and running so when I got home from work that night I downloaded it straight away and started backing up all my files just to be safe. After the install was done and I was greeted by a beautiful new wallpaper the first thing I learned was that the default shell on macOS is now zsh. This is really exciting as I think it's a great shell and I've now spent an inordinate amount of time customising it to my liking.

I had to do a little work to port some of my more useful stuff from my .bashrc to zsh but pretty soon I was up and running and everything was feeling pretty smooth.
Another feature which I am really curious to continue to use over time is Screen Time, as I am really curious how I spend my time on my mac, however I think that will have it's most use in the long term to get an idea of trends.

Now to the downsides, because while I love being on early release software there are always bugs and I think this is a more prevalant problem for early Catalina compared to Mojave. There are a couple of reasons for this, number 1, 32 bit apps are no longer supported which puts some apps out of action right off the bat (RIP Marble Blast Gold and Peggle). Another rather annoying issue I've encountered is that there are more stringent requirements on the programs that can be ran on Catalina, and as such I am unable to watch Amazon Prime Video on Firefox beacuse it tries to load the DRM plugin Widevine but it's denied by macOS. You can allow it, but by the time I get to settings and allow it, the browser has given up trying to run it, so unfortunately I've had to resort to Chrome to watch the office.

I'm sure these issues will be ironed out over time, and as a whole I am quite impressed with Catalina so far. The increased files system security (apps now have to ask for access to specific folders) and overall UI improvements are a good step forward. I also am really excited to see more iPad apps ported to Catalina and to see what other developers make of the latest release.

Catch you all soon.

- etopiei (10/06/2019)

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