Slow SMB transfers in Mac OS 10.12.2

I’m using a 802.11ac WLAN to connect to my Synology NAS. With the last Mac OS 10.12.2 update the network performance was catastrophic when I tried to access the NAS via SMB. At first I thought this might have been caused by the WLAN connection but even with a Gigabit LAN connection my transfer rates were around 3-5MB/s.

After a short search online, I’ve a few hits describing the actual problem:

Apple uses their own version of SMB and enabled client signing to mitigate against Man in the middel attacks. Therefore all connections underly this signing process and are way slower.

Therefore I’ve disabled client-signing on my mac using this command:

This will write this content

 

to the file /etc/nsmb.conf. After you’ve set this value you need to unmount all samba shares. If you’ll reconnect now, you’ll witness a much better performance, starting with faster loading of network shares.

You can revert this change with

 

Installing Mac OS Sierra (10.12) on a MacbookPro 5,5 (Mid 2009)

Mac OS Sierra was released yesterday. However, our good old MacbookPro 5,5 (Mid 2009) isn’t officially supported anymore. Luckily, there are people who figure out what is necessary to patch the official installation so that it can be installed again 😉

I’ve backuped the Macbook and gave the given instructions a try. Instead of reinstalling everything I only updated from El Capitan to Sierra. After the first restart, the Macbook shut down, as it didn’t found a valid boot partition.

So I rebooted again to the patched installation media and ran the proposed „macOS Post Install…“. I’ve selected my type of Macbook and let it patch. Additionally I’ve ran the „Force Cache Rebuild“ command and rebooted.

The Macbook booted to Sierra 🙂 However, the FaceTime camera wasn’t detected and I wasn’t able to get it working again. Since there was a „Legacy USB Support injector“ I think this might cause the problem. The FaceTime camera is connected internally over USB so it seems to have some problems.

I don’t think this is a big problem. You’ll probably get this somehow fixed with a little time and patience. However, since I’m running a real Mac hardware (and no Hackintosh), I don’t want to fiddle around with such basic hardware problems.

Therefore I can only recommend you to leave your Macbook on El Capitan (10.11) as the largest supported OS. Seems that Apple wants to get rid of devices older than 7 years, even if they are still doing great (with a SSD and 8GB RAM).

How to remove Spotify’s notification badge from the Mac OS X dock

Are you also annoyed and tired by Spotify’s notification badge in the dock of Mac OS X? I totally was and found a simple list of instructions on apple.stackexchange.com and want to show you how to remove this „feature“.

If correctly used, notification badges are a cool thing. They notify you when an app wants your attention. Spotify abuses this feature and shows the number of pending notifications inside its app. That means: If you ever subscribed to somebodies playlist and this playlist is updated, you will be notified. Same goes for stuff like new tracks of your favorited artists. You have no control over these notifications and will always be notified. Other users are also annoyed by this misbehavior but nothing changes 🙁 Thats why my Spotify is mostly minimized to the background and when opened it shows this ugly notification badge in its UI:

Spotify in app notification badge

Its annoying and always tries to steal my attention. Same goes for the Mac OS X dock icon:

Spotify Dock Icon with 99 notifications

Normally, you can open the system preferences and can disable the notifications. However, Spotify isn’t listed (although it uses the notification APIs of Mac OS X).

The instructions from stackoverflow write this missing entry into the notification database, so that it shows up in the list. Only after that you are allowed to disable Dock notifications:

Disable Spotify Badge App Icon Here’s the code of Ryan Patterson’s stackoverflow entry, in case it ever gets deleted:

 

How to create a Fusion Drive on Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks from scratch

A few years ago I bought a SSD kit for my MacbookPro 5.5. At that time I had decided to use the Intel SSD 320 separately from my HDD as independent drives. This resulted in increased performance, but I had to decide by myself what I want to place on the faster or larger drive.

With Mac OS X 10.8 Apple introduced the Fusion Drive with the new iMacs. It is based upon the Core Storage Layer of Mac OS and combines a fast SSD with the larger but slower HDD into a logical unit. Mac OS X decides what files it wants to place on the SSD and what on the HDD.

The performance is a little slower compared to my solution with single drives. However, it is proven fast enough, so I’ve decided to use it under Mavericks. For Mavericks, I’ve created a bootable USB stick so that I can start with a fresh installation.

If you want to try it out, this is the way to proceed: First of all, create a bootable backup of your system using SuperDuper! or CarbonCopyCloner. Now you should follow the steps from this blog. I’ll add my notes and tweaks.

We’ll follow option C. But instead of booting from the Recovery Partition, we want to boot from the USB stick which you should’ve created following my other blog article linked above. This way, we are completely independent of the existing content of either SSD or HDD.

Now delete all content from the SSD and the HDD. Repartition the HDD to use 1 partition. This partition will be used to install a fresh copy of Mavericks. As you’ve destroyed all partitions on both drives, you don’t have a recovery partition on either disk. But the Mavericks installer will create a new recovery partition on the drive on which you’ve decided to install Mavericks (in this case it’s the HDD). This is an important step, as this partition needs to be outside of the logical volume created for the fusion disk. This way you are still able to boot into recovery, in case something goes wrong (you could nevertheless boot from the USB stick, which will allow access to the same recovery tools).

You will now continue with the instructions from the blog and merge the drives to one unit. This unit is now empty and can be used in a new installation run of Mavericks. This way, you’ve created a bootable Fusion Drive with a fresh installation of Mavericks. It is now your choice, if you want to clone your old installation with one of the cloning tools mentioned before. But you could also start with a fresh copy or you can use the migration assistent.

I’ve chosen a fresh copy and started from scratch. This is a good start to clean up your Mac from any unwanted old stuff. You’ve now successfully created a fusion drive on Mavericks. Your Mac will now handle all the logic for you on where to place the files. You may now also activate FileVault 2 to encrypt your Fusion Drive. Beware that the usage of BootCamp requires a separate partition on either SSD or HDD, because Windows will otherwise not boot. If you want this configuration, you may look up the details in this blog.