Volitans Software

Watching Apple

Apple finally announced their Watch this month, and it was some pretty exciting news. I have been using the Pebble for two years, and it really has changed my life. Now, the Pebble is very simple- just showing notifications, with some options to interact with apps. But that is powerful in and of itself. It may sound lazy, but its really efficient to not have to pull out my phone every time I get a notification. I can see a text, email, score update, Facebook update, or any other notification without twisting or turning to pull out my phone. While driving, its so much safer because instead of doing that twisting I can at a glance see the notification and decide if I should respond (at say a red light). The new Pebble Time looks even better, with a color screen and retaining the same week long battery.

But of course Apple’s Watch is so much more insanely great. Being able to talk and hear on the watch, as well as interact in so many amazing ways- well its typical Apple. I’m going to get the steel (no not the gold one!), but I haven’t decided on a band. I’m already looking forward to developing apps for it. I really think its going to be another game changer.

Another BackBlaze Hard Drive Study

They seem to release these twice a year or so, which is actually awesome. Their current post has some fascinating numbers. I’m surprised and shocked the WD Reds did so terribly. Looks like my next NAS drives will HGST NAS 4TBs  (Amazon affiliate links). Anyway, check out the numbers for yourself.

State of the Company

Volitans Software is doing well, at least from my expectations and desires. VS has been around for over nine years, and a lot has changed in the Apple world- mostly for the better (the loss of Steve Jobs being one of the few exceptions). SMART Utility has been out for nearly eight years itself, and the code base is in decent shape. That’s especially good considering it was written for 10.4 and runs on 10.10. However, adopting new OS technologies has been held back due to keeping backward compatibility.

Version 3.2 will change that. Version 3.2 will drop support for 10.5, 10.6, and 10.7. Combined, they only make up 20% of the users of SMART Utility, and that number is dropping fast. Dropping support for 10.8 also might be added, as that is only 11% of the users of SMART Utility. There will be a lot of code refactoring, and a lot of new features due to supporting new OS technologies. This will set the stage for version 4.0, which will add a brand new UI among other features that are in development.

In addition to SMART Utility, there are three iOS apps in planning stages or in development. These are exciting times for Mac and iOS development, and Volitans Software is committed to supporting existing and new users.

SMART Utility 3.1.4 is Out!

SMART Utility 3.1.4 has been released, which fixes two small bugs.

Note that this will be the final versions that will support 10.5,  10.6, and 10.7.

Download for 10.5 (Leopard)

Download for 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion),  10.8 (Moutain Lion), 10.9 (Mavericks), and 10.10 (Yosemite)

Here’s the full release notes:

  • Fixed bug where SMTP port could not be edited
  • Fixed bug where email preferences did not stick when running in French

SMART Utility 3.1.3 is Out!

SMART Utility 3.1.3 has been released, which brings a few new features as well as many bug fixes and enhancements.

This version fixes the issue in this post about MacBook Air drives.

Note that this will be the final versions that will support 10.5,  10.6, and 10.7.

Download for 10.5 (Leopard)

Download for 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion),  10.8 (Moutain Lion), 10.9 (Mavericks), and 10.10 (Yosemite)

Here’s the full release notes:

  • – Added ability to display second temperature attribute if primary temperature attribute doesn’t exist
  • – Changed Email Preferences window to eliminate default port and always require port to be specified
  • – Fixed bug where temperature display for 190 attribute would not display in Fahrenheit if preference was selected
  • – Fixed bug causing crash when running tests if email notifications were turned on
  • – Fixed bug where DrivesList.plist was incorrectly marking passed drives as failing
  • – Fixed bug where info, attributes, errors, and tests windows still had “/dev”
  • – Fixed bug where info, attributes, errors, and tests windows didn’t show drive name when there was only one partition
  • – Fixed bug causing multiple popups occurring in rare situations
  • – Fixed bug that caused a rare crash when saving drives
  • – Updated French localization for new attributes and UI
  • – Updated smartctl engine to 6.3 which supports many more drives


Just an Update

I just wanted to say things are still happening around here! A new release (3.1.3) will be out soon, which should fix the MacBook Air SSD issue. Plans are in place for 3.2. The new website is still being worked on- as always I’ve changed it a few times. And there may be an exciting announcement in the new year!

Notice: MacBook Air SSD Issues

We’ve had a few reports of recent MacBook Air SSD issues. The drive reports as passed, but the attributes report FAILING_NOW. This is a possible firmware bug, but the drives are fine. We are doing more research and will keep the blog updated if anything changes.

New Website Coming Soon

Just a little notice, in the next few weeks, I’ll be switching over to a new server with a newly designed website. I’m hoping its going to be a pretty fancy and eye-pleasing design. I’m switching from a shared host to a VPS, partly for cost and performance, but also because I like to mess with that stuff.

Old URLs will be redirected, including the RSS feed for the blog.

I’m excited about a new update- it will be only the third website design in company history, and the first since 2008!

SMART Utility and Yosemite

Just a quick note: Yes, SMART Utility is fully compatible with Mac OS 10.10 Yosemite. All features were tested and worked without issue.

Testing will continue through the new builds Apple releases.

I will say I do like the new interface!

Supported External Drives: Two Suggestions

For those of you looking for suggestions for enclosures or other methods of reading SMART off of drives, this post is for you. I wanted to share a couple of enclosures and a cool “connector” that support reading SMART data.

First, for buying an exclosure to put a drive in or one with a drive, I highly recommend the Mercury Elite Pro enclosures from Other World Computing. I’ve been a customer of OWC for over a decade, and they always have quality products and they stand by them. The Mercuries come in both 2.5 and 3.5 inch sizes. I bought two of the 2.5 inch sizes for SuperDuper clones of my laptop, and I rotate them weekly offsite. I bought a 3.5 inch size for a HD out of a computer I was retiring, since it was 3TB. It serves as a Time Machine backup of my Mac Mini server. The 2.5 inch ones support eSATA, FW800, and USB, while the 3.5 inch size supports just FW800 and USB. Both sizes support reading SMART data over FireWire (I didn’t try USB), but not eSATA for the small size.

Second, a very interesting connection is the StarTech HD Docking Station. This handy station is great for testing HDs or using them quickly. It connects via USB, and supports reading SMART data. It supports both 2.5 and 3.5 inch drive sizes. I find it very handy for checking the myriad of HDs I’ve collected over the years, and also for testing out SMART Utility with different types of bad drives.

I hope that helps, and if anybody else has any more suggestions, I’d love to hear them! My plan is to add a page to list supported enclosures and docking stations, and maybe even add a way within SMART Utility to easily notify me.