Trending February 2024 # The Mac, The Myth, The Legend: How Snow Leopard Became Synonymous With Reliability # Suggested March 2024 # Top 9 Popular

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Following the news that Apple had refocused their plans for iOS 12 around stability and performance over new features, many were quick to liken the move to a “Snow Leopard release” of iOS. In recent years, the phrase has reached mythological status in the Apple community, a catch-all referring to stable software and “the good ol’ days” of the Mac.

But how did this perception develop? Was Mac OS X Snow Leopard really the gold standard of software releases, an undefeated champion in the halls of computing history? Believe it or not, the meme is almost as old as the software itself.

Shortly after the July 2011 release of Mac OS X Lion, Snow Leopard’s successor, some Mac users were already looking back nostalgically. Tweets from as early as August 2011 refer to Lion as a “step back.” The popularity of Snow Leopard wasn’t the result of one decision, but a combination of factors.

Apple started the ball rolling at the announcement of Snow Leopard during WWDC 2009 by marketing it as having “no new features.” Mac OS X Leopard had been a blockbuster release with over 300 new features, and Snow Leopard was a refinement.

For the first time ever in Mac OSX Lion, an Apple OS upgrade was a step BACK

— Markos Moulitsas (@markos) August 15, 2011

2009 was a significant time for the Mac platform as a whole. The iPad was still months away from stealing some of the Mac’s spotlight.  Meanwhile, an entire new crop of Apple customers were experiencing the Mac for the first time, enticed to switch after trying out the iPhone. Coming from Windows machines of the era, Mac OS X was unparalleled in its level of polish and ease of use. These new customers hadn’t used Macs long enough to be familiar with all of its “quirks.”

Snow Leopard also set a new precedent for software pricing. While Leopard retailed for $129, Snow Leopard was just $30. This made the update accessible to customers who would’ve previously stuck with older versions of the operating system.

A few years later, Apple would offer OS X Mavericks for free. Snow Leopard was also the last version of Mac OS X to be sold on a disk – which you can still buy today! The Mac App Store wouldn’t debut until the latter half of Snow Leopard’s life cycle.

Time heals all wounds, right? It didn’t take long for Mac users to begin to wax poetic about Snow Leopard. In February 2012, this tweet made an astute prediction:

I’m sure that five years from now we’ll look back and realise that Snow Leopard was the best version of OS X.

— Chris (@ninthspace) February 18, 2012

An August 2012 retrospective looking back on Snow Leopard three years after release floated the idea that it was “the best classic version of OS X,” and a few months later, the software was compared to Windows XP, famous for its long life and widespread adoption. Following the release of OS X Mountain Lion, the notion that Snow Leopard was a landmark release had already been cemented.

In 2014, Computerworld attempted to sum up why Snow Leopard was still so popular with Mac users. Around the same time, unrest had begun to build in the Mac community about a perceived drop in Apple’s software quality. After OS X Lion, Apple began releasing a major new version of OS X every year, straining the resources of the Mac team and setting a precedent for customers who would begin to expect significant improvements year over year.

In October 2014, Russell Ivanovic published an article titled “It Just Works,” outlining some of the prevalent software problems of the time. The piece resonated with a community of frustrated Apple customers.

In December 2014, a MacRumors forum member bluntly stated “I want another Snow Leopard.” The post went on to criticize iOS as being “even worse.” Just a few weeks earlier, Wired had called iOS 8 Apple’s “buggiest release to date.”

The narrative that Apple’s software quality was in decline hit fever pitch when developer Marco Arment infamously stated that Apple had lost the functional high ground. The piece inspired countless follow-up articles from other voices in the community, many echoing the same sentiment. Apple’s SVP of Marketing addressed the concerns in a live interview with writer John Gruber following WWDC 2024.

The best version of OS X was obviously

— nilay patel (@reckless) December 8, 2024

In February 2024, 9to5Mac reported that Apple was planning a focus on stability and performance in iOS 9 – a story that sounds very familiar to the recent reports about iOS 12. Comparisons to Snow Leopard were once again drawn. An article on 512px even called the plan a “Snow Leopard Moment.”

Over the past two years, the legend of Snow Leopard has steadily grown, its mythology spreading with every new discussion about Apple software. “Apple’s apps need work,” stated Walt Mossberg in early 2024. In June of the same year, another article claimed “OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Is Still Good Enough for Me.” Stephen Hackett’s review of macOS High Sierra asked if the release would be a “modern Snow Leopard.” In December 2023, Phil Schiller responded to some of the recent bugs plaguing iOS and Mac customers.

Snow Leopard has now reached meme status, the punchline of jokes on Twitter:

— Aled Samuel 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 (@samuelaled) September 15, 2023

In some ways, the narrative is out of Apple’s hands. The myth of Snow Leopard is bigger than life, a cultural reference rooted in nostalgia. OS X Lion succeeded 10.6.8 in July 2011 – closing in on 7 years ago. At this point, millions of Mac users have never even used Snow Leopard, and can’t attest to its reliability.

However, a kernel of truth persists underneath the mythology. Improvements to iOS and macOS, no matter how small, contribute to a better experience for everyone. Fixing bugs might not be as marketable as shiny new Animoji or a fresh design, but maintenance can only be deferred so long. If Apple can knock stability out of the park in 2023, maybe the legend of Snow Leopard can finally be put to rest.

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The Best Legend Of Zelda Game: Okami

The Best Legend of Zelda Game: Okami

One of the greatest games of all time?

Gaming classics usually consist of names like Legend of Zelda, Minecraft, Halo, Tomb Raider, Duke Nukem, Half Life and more… Each of these has cemented their name in modern gaming society. Whether you’ve played it or not, you know about it. They’re all games that have enchanted us when video games started to really become works of art. But out of all of them, one of the longest running titles turned franchise is The Legend of Zelda.

The first The Legend of Zelda came out in 1986 and since then we’ve had 18 games in the Legend of Zelda series, with the last one being Breath of the Wild which was released in 2023, with a sequel to that set to release in either 2023 or 2023. The Zelda franchise has become a well beloved name among gamers, with all of the games following a familiar enough formula but not familiar enough that it gets stale. There’s no question that the Zelda franchise is brilliant, some games are better than others. But here’s the thing… I would argue that the best Legend of Zelda game is not even a Zelda title. Let me introduce you to Okami.

The ‘Zelda’ Format

As previously mentioned, the Zelda games tend to follow a pretty straight-forward structure.

You start as Link, enjoying your mundane life until suddenly the inciting incident happens, or maybe the incident happened before your awakening. You tend to start the game as basic as you can, going through one ‘tutorial’ area, then you’re suddenly free to explore the wide open world of Hyrule. From there on, you follow a rather loose narrative thread. You know where to go, but thankfully you don’t have a great big arrow above your head pointing you where to go. The freedom and liberty given to you in all the Zelda games is what tied it all together.

Players never feel as though the game developers underestimated them, there’s minimal hand-holding and the game feels like a challenge. You go from place to place, each with their own mini-bosses, new abilities to unlock and then a big boss. But all throughout the game, you get moments of life, interacting with the world around you. Not just hacking and slashing your way from temple to temple. You get to visit normal places, normal people, play games and little side games and quests.

Then eventually – and when you’re ready – you find your way to the final location with the final Big Boss, usually Ganondorf. Across all of these games, no matter how often we repeat this format, it works. There are some games out there (cough, Pokemon, cough) where the once loved and enjoyed format starts to grow old and stale after years of the same thing. Whereas The Legend of Zelda remains popular, innovative and new with each iteration.

And yet… One of the best ‘Zelda’ games doesn’t feature the pointy-eared blond and their Triforce. No, instead it features the Japanese Goddess Amaterasu of the Sun and a paintbrush-tail.

That Zelda Game where you play as a Wolf…

In the same year that The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was released, so was the PlayStation exclusive Okami. Both of which played like any other ‘Zelda’ game, and yet… Okami was the one that was awarded as the ‘Game of the Year’ in 2006. Despite its poor sales upon release, its now dubbed as one of the greatest video games ever made, and to some its even used as an example of video games as an art form.

Instead, we take on the mantle of Amaterasu – Ammy for short – the Goddess of the Sun. We are, by all means, a God. One that’s been asleep for some time and whom the world forgot about. When people see you, Ammy, they only see a white wolf. Your divinity is invisible to them because they long since lost their faith that Amaterasu would ever return. In fact, it seems even you have lost faith in yourself. Amaterasu isn’t as strong as she used to be, having once been capable of amazing feats of power, when you wake up… All you can do is summon the sun. Granted, that’s a fantastic feat by itself, but when compared to time-stopping… you really start to see how underpowered Amaterasu is.

A Journey of Discovery

You quickly discover that the world before you isn’t the kind of one you’d expect. In fact, it’s not even the one that Ammy expects. Having been dormant for so long, you quickly realise that both you and Ammy are just as clueless about this world as each other. But to guide you along your journey, Issun – the inch-tall wandering artist – is there to help. Acting as your guide and voice to other characters, Issun has lived in this world and seen what’s become of it. And although he starts as a mildly irritating flea on your back, he later becomes both your and Ammy’s true friend, inspiration and saviour. Ammy and Issun take on the world together. Tt’s a big world for an inch-tall artist, and an even bigger world for a former God.

As you progress in the world, much like you would in a Zelda game, you go from key location to key location. You go into dungeons / temples where you fight bosses, learn a new ability. Although rather than acquire a new weapon or tool, in Okami, you learn a new magical ability. Whether it’s fire manipulation, bomb-making, time-stop or endless wall-climbing…

You grow stronger and you start to really become Amaterasu, the Goddess of the Sun. Wherever you go, you cleanse away any evil, you leave a trail of flowers in your wake and people start to feel their faith return to them. Furthermore, you start to really feel like a God. When you can run from location to location, sprouting trees, turning day to night, slowing time to a crawl or summon a gale-force wind! There’s little you can’t do.

A Story of Love, Bravery and Compassion

At the core of Okami stands a story about love, bravery and compassion. You are often referred as ‘Amaterasu, origin of all that is good and mother to us all’, which is a pretty big title to be given as soon as you start the game. It’s a big responsibility and you feel it, much like ‘Hero of Time’, ‘Hero of the Wild’, ‘Hero of the Skies’, Ammy and Link are held to such high expectations before they even get a chance to take their first step.

You are expected to be the saviour, to thwart evil and slay monsters. All the while, risking your own life… Because, you soon discover that the Gods in Okami are not immortal. Your predecessor, Shiranui, a previous incarnation of yours, died to his wounds from the very beast that later returns to instil chaos and fear to the town Shiranui sacrificed his life for. Despite the threat of death, you still go for it… Not without a bit of resistance! A welcome sight, because even though Ammy is a God, she will sometimes try to avoid a situation, she becomes braver as the game progresses but sometimes it has to be little tiny Issun who persuades her to go. A tiny thing who’s tired of being looked down on, tired of running away or underestimated. In some ways, Issun is even more powerful than Ammy herself. Because, at the end of it all, this is a game about helping those who can’t help themselves. You might start weak and afraid, but you can become strong and powerful to protect those you love.

A Work of Art

This game doesn’t just border between being a game or a work of it, it is both. There are so few games that are so delicately woven like Okami. The art and design is phenomenal, the music still makes me emotional years later, the story keeps you interested every step of the way, combat is genuinely fun, the puzzles are challenging. It’s one of those games that when you finish, you really don’t know what to do with yourself.

Okami’s worst (and yet greatest) crime? Not being a franchise. Unlike The Legend of Zelda, we didn’t get a new game every couple of years. As easy as it could have been, considering Amaterasu is a reincarnated Shiranui, there could have been a new God after Amaterasu, with their own little inch-tall artist. But each incarnation had a different threat to oppose… This could have been so easy to do, people would buy it. But keeping it unique, a stand-alone game, might have been the greatest thing to do. Because, to this day, it remains one of the best games of all time.

How To Navigate Mail Messages With The Keyboard In Mac Os X

To use keyboard email navigation in the Mac Mail app, you’ll want to start at the primary double or triple pane primary Inbox screen as if you just opened Mail. The rest is just a matter of using the keyboard rather than the mouse, and making a new habit of that.

Basic Mac Mail App Navigation with Keyboard Shortcuts

Use the Up / Down arrows to navigate to the next or previous email message and open the selected message in the mail panel

Use the Spacebar to scroll down in the selected mail message

Use the Tab key to switch the currently active panel (Search box, Mailboxes, Inbox, Message content

That will allow you to move between the next and previous mail message using just the keyboard, but if you want to start replying to, forwarding, marking as unread, and other common mail activities, you’ll want to use some other keyboard shortcuts.

By the way, if you find the email content text to be either too small or too big, you can change the font size in Mail rather easily.

Of course, navigating between the next and previous message in your inbox is one thing, you’ll likely want to interact with those messages to, which is where the next set of keyboard shortcuts comes in for a variety of tasks in Mail app for Mac OS X.

Other Helpful Mail App Keyboard Tricks for Mac

Hit Command+R to reply to the currently selected message

Hit Command+Shift+D to send an active message, reply, or forward

Hit Command+Shift+U to mark as unread the selected message

Hit Command+N to create a new eMail message

Hit Command+Shift+F to forward the selected message

Hit the Return key to open the selected message into a new window

Use Command+W to close an open message, or the primary message window

Use Command+0 (zero) to return to the message viewing window if you accidentally close it

There are many other keyboard shortcuts for Mail in MacOS X, but these are some of the essentials that are worth remembering without being overloaded with some of the more obscure options. Exploring the Mail menu items will reveal many more, and you can always create a custom keystroke for something if you discover a menu item function that doesn’t yet have an attached keyboard shortcut.

At the moment, the Mail app in Mac OS X does not include a “Next Message” or “Previous Message” keyboard shortcut that is independent of the arrow keys for selecting messages, which can lead to some confusion for users who have turned to the Mail app in Mac OS X as their default email client, particularly if they came to Mail from another email client like MS Outlook or Thunderbird. Note that none of these keyboard shortcuts for moving around Mail are specific to any version of Mac OS X, they’ve been on the Mac for quite some time and therefore will work regardless of the computer running MacOS Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, El Capitan, Mac OS X Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Snow Leopard, and likely just about any other version too.

Considering that iOS does include a “Next” and “Previous” message button in the Mail app on iPhone and iPad, it wouldn’t be too surprising if such a feature was added to the Mac sometime in the future. In the meantime, use the arrow keys and spacebar trick, it’s effective and makes browsing through a ton of emails quite fast.

Related

How To Format A Mac Drive Or Partition With The Apfs File System

For example, APFS sports incredibly fast copy/write speeds manages storage efficiently, and is less susceptible to data corruption. If you want to know more, here’s our in-depth take on APFS versus Mac OS Extended.

Table of Contents

If you want to format or convert a drive or partition with the APFS file system, the following instructions should help you.

Before You Start Converting

If you bought a Mac with macOS 10.13 High Sierra or later preinstalled, the internal storage uses the APFS file system by default. If you upgrade from macOS 10.12 Sierra to a newer version, the conversion will automatically take place.

But if you still have a drive or partition (internal or external) in HFS+ or a different format (such as exFAT), you can convert it to APFS using the Disk Utility app in macOS. 

APFS is geared toward solid-state drives, but you can convert or format both fusion and mechanical hard drives without issues. However, if you plan on using an external drive with an older Mac running macOS 10.11 Capitan or earlier, converting or formatting the drive will make it unreadable.

Disk Utility supports the following APFS formatting options:

APFS

APFS (Encrypted)

APFS (Case Sensitive)

APFS (Case Sensitive, Encrypted)

While erasing a drive or partition, selecting APFS should suffice. Don’t get too caught up in the other options unless you prefer an encrypted or case-sensitive file system. Depending on the existing file system and partition scheme, you may also be able to convert a drive or partition to APFS without losing any formatting.

Important: Time Machine supports APFS starting macOS Big Sur. But if you have an older Time Machine drive in the HFS+ format, you can’t convert it to APFS without losing data. It’s a good idea to stick with the older file system unless you set up a new Time Machine drive.

Convert Drives and Partitions to APFS (Non-Destructive)

With the GUID Partition Map, you can non-destructively convert an HFS+ drive or partition (except for older Time Machine drives). That allows you to preserve any existing data.

2. Set the Disk Utility’s sidebar to Show All Devices.

4. Select Convert.

5. Wait until Disk Utility finishes converting the partition. Then, select Done.

The partition will show up as a volume within an APFS container. You can add multiple volumes to the container (you’ll learn about that further below).

If the drive contains additional partitions you want to convert, repeat steps 3–5.

Format a Partition or Drive to APFS (Destructive)

You can also convert (or format) a partition or drive by erasing all data on it. That’s the only way to convert partitions and drives that don’t use HFS+ or feature a different partition scheme other than the GUID Partition Map.

1. Set the Disk Utility sidebar to Show All Devices and pick the partition or drive to format.

2. Select the button labeled Erase.

3. Specify a new name for the partition and select APFS. If you opted to format the entire drive, you must pick a partition scheme. Set it to GUID Partition Map. Then, select Erase.

4. Wait for Disk Utility to finish formatting the partition or drive. Then, select Done.

The partition will appear within a new APFS container. If you want to format any other partitions, repeat steps 2–5.

If you formatted the entire drive, you’ll see a single partition within an APFS container.

Create New Volumes in an APFS Container

1. Configure the Disk Utility sidebar to Show All Devices and pick an APFS container.

3. Select the Plus icon.

4. Select Add Volume.

5. Select Size Options. Skip to step 7 if you don’t want to define a size for the volume.

6. Specify the Quota Size (the size of the volume) and Reserve Size (the amount of additional space the volume can access) and select OK.

7. Add a label for the volume. Then, specify the format (APFS) and select Add.

8. Wait until the Disk Utility finishes creating the volume. Then, select Done.

If you want to add a new APFS container, select Add Partition in step 4. You can do that by splitting a drive or an existing container.

Format in APFS While Creating a New Partition

If you have a drive in a different format (such as HFS+ or exFAT), you can create a new APFS container by partitioning the disk. You’ll lose data if you don’t have enough free disk space.

1. Select the drive within the sidebar in Disk Utility.

2. Select the Partition button.

3. Select the Plus button.

4. Use the disk graph to specify the size of the APFS container. Or, enter its size into the field next to Size.

5. Add a name for the partition and select APFS as the format. Then, select Apply.

6. Select Partition.

7. Wait until the Disk Utility finishes creating the APFS partition. Then, select Done. The APFS partition will show up as a container (with a volume inside).

You can continue to add new volumes into the APFS container (see the section above). Or, you can create new containers by partitioning the drive or splitting the existing APFS container.

APFS Formatted Drives and Partitions

How To Open Any Folder From The Mac Terminal

The standard way to open any directory within macOS is to open a Finder window and use it to navigate to a specific location on your hard drive. There’s also another way to open folders: use the Terminal. It may not be something you use every day unless you’re a developer, but the power is there if you need to call on it.

As such, this post will show you how to open any folder from the macOS Terminal. We also show you how to create a custom shortcut to carry out this command.

Why You’d Want to Open a Folder From the Mac Terminal

As we noted, the preferred way of opening a folder is by using Finder. This is a Graphical User Interface (GUI), and it’s macOS’s directory navigation de jure. But it’s not the only way to access files or folders within macOS.

We admit, using the Terminal to open folders isn’t a natural way to get around macOS. Though, you’ll find it will come in handy in the following situations:

If you’re a command line user, it may be something you have in your toolbox.

Developing for Mac often means working within the Terminal. If this is the case, it may be the path of least resistance to stay inside the Terminal as much as possible.

If you’re in a rare situation where macOS is acting as server software, you may only be able to use the Terminal to navigate the Operating System (OS).

Given the above, it’s easy to see why you may want to have the knowledge. Next, we show you how to get the job done.

How to Open Any Folder from the Mac Terminal

or by typing “Terminal” in Spotlight. Once it’s open, you won’t need any dependencies to open any folder from the Mac Terminal. You’ll only need the open command. The general syntax is as follows:

open

/

path

/

to

/

Directory

/

For example, to open the Pictures folder, you’d use the following:

There are a bunch of other short commands you can use to access specific folders. For example:

To open the Root directory, use open /.

For your Home folder (i.e. the folder containing Desktop, Documents, and other folders specific to the user), type open ~.

To open the current working folder within Finder, use open ..

To touch on this last point further, you may be navigating your files using the Terminal and have a need to open the folder you’re in.

While the commands so far open specific folders, you can also launch (and update) applications from the Terminal without using Finder. For example, to open Safari, type open /Applications/Safari.app.

Of course, you’re able to replace Safari with any app on your system as long as you know its file name.

Open a Folder in Terminal from a Shortcut Menu

Next, navigate to the Shortcuts tab. Here, select the Services menu and scroll down to find “New Terminal at Folder.”

If you select any folder within Finder, open the Services menu from the Toolbar and choose “New Terminal at Folder.”

This is going to be ideal if you often switch between a GUI and the Terminal.

In Summary

The Mac Terminal isn’t something you’ll encounter often. In contrast, a developer or sysadmin might spend most of their time using a Terminal app. Given this, opening a folder is a basic task that can keep you on the command line as long as possible. All you need is the open command and the path to your folder.

Tom Rankin

Tom Rankin is a quality content writer for WordPress, tech, and small businesses. When he’s not putting fingers to keyboard, he can be found taking photographs, writing music, playing computer games, and talking in the third-person.

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Best Backup Strategy For The Mac

A sound backup strategy is crucial for any computer user. There are countless bad surprises that can make your important data suddenly inaccessible. Stay ahead of the game by implementing a solid backup strategy to save your data before you need it.

Backup Strategy: The 3-2-1 Method

A single backup is better than zero backups, but it isn’t enough to keep important data safe. That’s why we recommend using the 3-2-1 method. The numbers in this method stand for 3 backups of important data across 2 different storage mediums, with 1 backup stored off-site.

Hard Drive Backups

Copying your data to another hard drive is the easiest way to protect it. You might even be doing something like this already. It’s an excellent first step, and it should be practiced by every computer user.

Apple’s built-in backup app, Time Machine, make saving your data to another hard drive virtually painless. You only need to connect a hard drive and tell Time Machine to use it. The system will then make hourly backups of your system. After that backups will be archived until the disk begins to run out of room, and then the oldest backups will be removed to make room for the newest ones.

This automatic management makes Time Machine extremely powerful. However, there can be some downsides. First, accessing files from Time Machine requires the use of a Mac. Secondly, recovering files requires you to use the Time Machine app, which isn’t great. Finally, there’s the possibility that a Time Machine backup could become corrupted, making it completely unusable.

This might be enough to make you worry. Fortunately, Carbon Copy Cloner is an excellent secondary choice. With a little setup you can use the app to create automatic backups of your system as frequently as every hour. It’s not as simple as Time Machine, but it’s still very easy to use.

Whether you use Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner, you’ll need to store your backup data on a separate physical hard disk and update the backup on a regular schedule. It’s also best to start with an empty, freshly-formatted drive to avoid any potential problems. And don’t try to use your backup disk for your movie library as well – that can cause problems for both Time Machine and CCC.

Online Backup

Your second backup should be on a different storage medium than your first. It should also be stored in a remote location to protect against environmental damage and theft. An online backup utility like Backblaze is perfect for this. The system automatically backs up your computer’s drives to the Backblaze servers. It’s reliable, cheap, and dead simple to set up.

Online Backup does have its detractors. You’ll need a stable and fast Internet connection for it to work properly. If you lose your connection for a few hours and don’t realize it, that could spell trouble. And if your online backup company goes out of business, you’ve just lost all your backups.

That said, the ease and convenience of online backup tends to mitigate these concerns. If you’re against it, you can also use DVDs or a second hard drive that connects to your computer with a different interface than your primary backup. Just make sure to store any physical storage at a separate geographic location to protect against environmental damage or theft.

Advanced Backup: RAID and Bootable Clones

If you’re familiar with the backup game, you might have already implemented the above recommendations. Advanced users can go further.

Tech-saavy users might use a RAID 1 setup as part of their backup strategy. It’s important to recognize, however, that RAID 1 is not backup: it’s redundancy. RAID 1 mirrors all of your data to protect against disk failure, but it doesn’t protect against data corruption or user error. If you want to learn more about setting up RAID on your Mac, we’ve prepared a post just for you.

Conclusion

Different folks have different levels of tolerance for backup procedures. Those with little patience for setting up a complex system can use Time Machine and Backblaze, while those seeking more control can add on bootable clones and RAID systems. Just don’t underprotect your data!

Alexander Fox

Alexander Fox is a tech and science writer based in Philadelphia, PA with one cat, three Macs and more USB cables than he could ever use.

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