Volitans Software

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.

SMART Utility 3.1.2 Is (Finally) Out!

The long awaited SMART Utility 3.1.2 has been released, which brings a few new features as well as many bug fixes and enhancements.

Note that 3.1.x will be the final versions that will support 10.5,  10.6, and 10.7.

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

Here’s the full release notes:

  • Implemented new sending email system to provide better support, fixing bugs with Gmail and 10.9 (Mavericks)
  • Analyzed all code, cleaned up code, and fixed many potential bugs
  • Added check time to Casper plist
  • Changed email to include all drives in one email
  • Changed email to include “SMART Utility” and host name in subject line
  • Changed “Last Updated” display to include date as well as time
  • Fixed bug on 10.5, 10.6, and 10.7 systems where “Install SAT SMART Driver” menu item would not work
  • Fixed bug where Casper plist would not be created when all drives passed
  • Fixed bug where Casper plist would not be created by menu extra
  • Fixed bug in Casper script
  • Fixed bug with toggling tests
  • Fixed rare bug where menu extra would run scheduled tests when preferences were changed
  • Fixed some bugs with French localization in Menu Extra
  • Removed “/dev/” from drive descriptions for better clarity
  • Updated help
  • Updated French Localization
  • Updated model list for new Macs
  • Updated attribute human readable names
  • Updated SAT SMART Driver to version 0.8
  • Updated smartctl engine to 6.2, which supports many more drives, especially SSDs

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