Volitans Software

Today We Fight Back

Two years ago Volitans Software joined the internet wide protest against SOPA and PIPA. Today, we are joining another internet wide protest  against the NSA. The NSA threatens the security and openness of the internet, as well as the liberties of all Americans. They must be reigned in. Call or write your legislators today.

To find out more, go to the Today We Fight Back site.

Backblaze Study on HD Lifetimes

A fascinating study done by Backblaze on the lifetimes of hard drives. After four years of running 25,000 drives, they analyzed all of their data. Based on that, they found that 95% last just 1 year, 94% last 2 years, 90% last 3 years, 80% last 4 years, and just 50% last 5 years.

My conclusion from this is make sure you check the drive at least once a day with SMART Utility, but even more importantly- always have backups.

Check out some more discussion, or check out the original study.

SMART Utility and Mavericks

SMART Utility has been tested on the Mavericks public release , and there is one bug discovered- email notifications are failing. And update will be out shortly to address this issue (as well as fix a longstanding gmail bug).

Other than that, SMART Utility is fully compatible with Mavericks.

SMART Utility Update

Here is a brief update on SMART Utility. 3.1.2 will be out soon, which will fix some bugs as well as add better SSD support. Its possible this version will also modify the algorithm for SSDs to better indicate failures.

After that, 3.2 will be out with some additional features that will help performance and prepare for version 4.0. That version will introduce a brand new UI. Its been a while since the UI was update, and it needs to be modernized. It was written back in 10.4 days, and has largely remained the same. While it still is okay looking and is functional, there have been a lot of advances in UI design, and its time to take advantage of that. There are already some sketches for the new UI, and I’m excited to begin design on it.

SMART Utility already works with 10.9 Mavericks, and the future of SMART Utility is bright.

Thoughts on WWDC 2013

WWDC 2013 was yesterday, and it was action packed. Apple has been unusually quiet the past couple months- usually they have an event for either OSX or iOS. But they have had nothing at all. It seemed to me that they were saving it all for yesterday. They announced iOS 7, Mac OS X Mavericks, the new Mac Pro, the new MacBook Air, and iWork for iCloud. (Here’s a good summary.) That is a heck of a lot for one event. A quick hit though on each one:

iOS 7

This is a complete UI overall by Jonathan Ive. I’m not sure if I like it yet- the icons look a little to playful for me. But I like the overall concept. The Control Center looks awesome. Multitasking looks vastly improved.  I’d really like to get my hands on it- but I’ll probably wait for Beta 2 to install in on my iPhone.

Mac OS X Mavericks

Yes, I keep the Mac in there. Not a huge fan of the new name- most people will drop the trailing ‘s’ because its so hard to pronounce. I don’t mind the convention, but they shouldn’t limit it to California. They didn’t release too much information about it but the power user features are nice. I love tabs, so having them in the Finder to reduce windows is great. I’m hoping to be able to test out SMART Utility on 10.9 shortly.

The New Mac Pro

Tim Cook said we’d be surprised at the Mac Pro, and he wasn’t wrong. Its a totally different beast than the previous one. Its now a black cylinder instead of a silver box- a form factor that actually went back to the PowerMac G3. It look really cool, and very powerful. The thermal core is a very interesting way of cooling it. I’m not all that happy about how the drives are set up- no drive bays.


Craig Federighi was brilliant presenting iOS and OS X. He had a great on stage presence, and he was very funny at times. Phil Schiller had the line of the presentation “Can’t innovate my ass”.

Overall a great event- and reminds me of the Apple of old, but still different. They certainly aren’t going away any time soon.

SMART Utility 3.1.1 is Out!

SMART Utility 3.1.1 has been released, which brings a few new features as well as bug enhancements.

Note that 3.1.x will be the final versions that will support 10.5 and 10.6.

Download for 10.5 (Leopard), 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion). and 10.8 (Moutain Lion)

Here’s the full release notes:

  • Added support for demo serial numbers
  • Added support for file used by script to import drive data into Casper
  • Added SATA version and rotation rate to info window and removed ATA standard
  • Added menu item to install SAT SATA Driver for external drive support
  • Fixed bug where having menu extra would always cause app to launch
  • Fixed bug where unsupported drives would send Grow and email notifications
  • Update eSellerate engine to 5.0, which now is encapsulated all in the app, and fixed a crash
  • Updated smartctl engine to 6.0, which supports many more drives


Support for (Some) External Drives

I have some great news. The OSX SAT SATA driver adds support for some external drives, connecting over Firewire, USB, or eSATA. I have tested it on a drive I owned, and it worked just like an internal drive

Supported external drives have been the number 1 feature request since SMART Utility’s release 6 years ago. I’m estatic that I can say its (mostly) supported. Not all drives will work, but the best way to know is to try. Just download the zip from that link, open up the .dmg, and install the .pkg. Many thank yous go out to kasbert who wrote the code.

Because its based on Apple’s code, it uses Apple’s public license. This means that in the next version of SMART Utility, I will include a way to install the driver. That will help so many people.

Look for that new version soon!


Its been awhile since this has been updated- too long in fact. So I wanted to fill everybody in on the company.

SMART Utility 3.1.1 is well under development, and should be released next Tuesday Determinations about 3.2 are still a bit up in the air, but its mostly settled. It will probably be out in a month or two. (There may be a 3.1.2 in between). There are some great ideas for 3.3/4.0 which I’m very excited about- including an iPhone app!

There are some other products under considerations, but nothing solid as of yet. I’d love to have a second and third app to not only expand the company, but provide protection in case the market for SMART Utility shrinks.

That’s it for now!

SMART Utility 3.1 is (Finally!) Out

SMART Utility 3.1 has been released, which brings full support for Mountain Lion. There are also a few new features as well as bug enhancements.

Note that this will be the final version that will support 10.5 and 10.6.

Download for 10.5 (Leopard), 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion). and 10.8 (Moutain Lion)

Here’s the full release notes:

  • Added email notifications for app and extra
  • Added SMART Utiilty.log file to crash reports to provide more information
  • Added Developer ID signing for Gatekeeper on 10.8
  • Fixed a bug preventing the overall status from displaying properly on 10.8
  • Fixed some other minor bugs
  • Reorganized preferences window
  • Reorganized Growl notifications (removed scan and update complete, added drive name and partitions)
  • Updated smartctl engine to 5.42, which supports many more drives
  • Updated Growl framework to 1.2.3, which fixes some bugs
  • Switched to using GCC 4.2
  • Dropped support for 10.4