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Fixing Using Apple Watch to Unlock Mac problems

Since 2013, compatible Macs can be conveniently unlocked with an Apple Watch. However, this feature sometimes suddenly stops working. There are web pages that have solutions, but these are no more than reprinting Apple’s support pages.

When my watch stopped unlocking, I was unable to reactivate it. The Mac displayed an error “unable to communicate with watch” error. The typical answer is toggle handoff, but I found that I fixed this by simply unchecking “Require Password…”. This then allowed me to activate Allow watch to unlock again.

Australian Grand Prix 2019

Selected photos from the GP. More photos here.

USB Transfer to iPads and iPhones from Nikon Z6/Z7 and Canon EOS-R/RP cameras

This should simplify photo backup and quick editing without the need for a laptop when travelling. Just two cables and a lightning to USB3 adapter will allow you to transfer JPEG and RAW to an iPad or iPhone. The 3rd generation iPad Pro uses USB-C connector so a dual ended USB-C cable like this one or this one is all you need. For iPhones and iPads other than the 3rd Gen, The Apple Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter is needed and a Super Speed 3.1 USB-A to USB-C cable to get the fastest transfer speed from cameras. If you use a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, transfers will only occur at USB 2.0 speeds which is woefully slow. I’ve also found that a USB-C female to Lightning adapters that you can find on Ebay doesn’t work for data transfers, requiring the Apple Camera Adapter and a USB-A cable.

These cables and adapter will work for both the Nikon Z6/Z7 and the Canon EOS-R/RP Mirrorless cameras as they both have USB-C connectors.

Use a small catalog to speed up import – Adobe Lightroom

Here’s a tip for my Lightroom friends. Was frustrated that my imports were taking too long – over 20 seconds to import a small number of images.
Decided to test it with an empty catalog and not unsurprisingly the import was nearly instant. So my workflow is now use a new catalog during an event and then import that into an archive catalog afterwards.

Nikon Z7 with 180-400mm Autofocus example

As a follow up to the Nikon Z7 with 500mm post, here are a few photos from covering the MotoGP in Australia. All photos are out of camera JPEG, shot with the Z7 and the 180-400mm zoom. Some are with and some without the 1.4 teleconverter flipped on. The lighting condition ranged from cloudy to spots of sun. Very windy, about 15 degrees celsius.
It’d be fair to say that the AF isn’t as fast to acquire the first frame as the D5 or D500, but it’s certainly capable enough to get sharp photos. It’s important to fill the AF area with the subject for the AF to work well.

Nikon Z7 with 500mm f/5.6E PF Autofocus example

Took the new “tiny” Nikkor 500mm f/5.6 PF lens with the Nikon Mirrorless Z 7 out for a run last night at the A-League opening match for the season. Lots of mixed autofocus posts and youtube reviews by bloggers so I wanted to see how it went in an event. The round 1 derby at Marvel Stadium is under artificial lights. Fairly even lighting but by no means bright. Normally a fast f/2.8 lens is the standard. More recently the zoom lenses like the 200-400mm and the 180-400mm are f/4, but a super-tele at f/5.6 is pushing it. But the lightweight and small 500mm is a game changer in bright conditions. And so too the equally small and light Z7. The combination would allow handholding and breakthrough portability. The challenge was to see how it would go in an indoor stadium.
The good news is that the AF worked fine. No difference to the D850, and the viewfinder brightness is so much better than the D850. Switching between the two, the clarity in the Z7’s viewfinder was in a different league.
Here’s an example sequence of 8 continuous images of @keisukehonda fighting with Kearyn Baccus shot at 1/800th @ f/5.6, ISO5000 – Autofocus setting Wide Small, AF-C Continuous, AF Lock On = 1, VR Off, High ISO NR High, Continuous High Extended, JPEG Fine*, JPEG Size Large.

1/800th @ ISO5000 f5.6 – Autofocus setting was Wide Small, AF-C, AF Lock On = 1, VR Off, High ISO NR High, Continuous High Extended, JPEG Fine*, JPEG Size Large

Nikon Z7 and Shuttersnitch – live backup full jpegs and NEF/Raw – beyond Snapbridge

The Nikon Z7 can send photos to an iPhone or iPad using the Nikon Snapbridge app. It can do this via Bluetooth as photos are taken, but only a low-resolution version. The app can also connect to the Z7 via Wifi and download full size jpeg images but this needs to be initiated from the smartphone, and you have to manually select the images to download. This isn’t suitable if you want to send full-size jpeg or Raw/NEF images to a smartphone for backup or for sharing as you shoot without having to select images manually from the smartphone.
However, the Shuttersnitch application allows you to send jpegs and Raw images to an iOS device automatically in real time. Here’s a step by step guide:
First, start a Wifi connection for connecting to smart device on the Z7. This sets up a wifi network in what Nikon calls Direct Mode.
Then on your iOS device choose the Z7 Wifi network and connect to it.

Start Shuttersnitch on your iOS device and in the Settings menu enable PTP/IP setting and set the host to You can optionally enable Accept JPEGs only if you don’t want to RAW/NEF files sent to the iOS device.
Then select Import images from the Toolbar in Shutternsnitch

Then select “Z 7”

This will open a panel with thumbnails of photos on the Z 7. This will only happen the first time you set this up. After it’s set up all photos will be sent to Shutternsnitch automatically without having to select them.
This is the screen that shows after connecting the device after the setup. See the “Connected to Z 7” heading.

Ensuring a reliable and stable wifi connection usually requires you to change the power off delay timers from the default setting. Set the power timers so that the Z7 does not power down the wifi due to one of the timers expiring. Setting each timer to 5 minutes will ensure that the wifi connection is maintained while the camera is idle and you don’t need to keep tapping the shutter, menu or image review buttons.

Melbourne Fashion Week 2018 Highlights

A selection of images from the various runways at Melbourne Fashion Week 2018. Full gallery is here.

Keisuke Honda joins Melbourne Victory

For the 2018-19 A-League soccer season Keisuke Honda has signed up to Melbourne Victory. Probably the biggest star to play in the A-League, it will be a most interesting season.

“Disk Not Ejected Properly” – USB3 – iMac Pro – Sleep/Wake

There are hundreds of discussions about a “Disk Not Ejected Properly” Alert. And there are lots of suggestions of how to fix from changing Energy Saver settings to firmware updates on external disks.
None of the existing solutions worked for me with a 2017 iMac Pro and a Seagate Backup+ Hub 6TB disk. Every time the computer goes to sleep the error would occur when the iMac was woken up. After the error the disk volumes can’t be remounted until the iMac was restarted. Clearly not a good situation.
Since this was a new iMac, there was only a few apps installed. Testing confirmed that with a clean MacOS 10.13.5 installation the external disk sleeps and wakes OK, without error. So it was one of a dozen apps that was installed that causes the problem.
For me, the problem was caused by the installation of Epson Printer Software Update 3.3. This package installs something called “/Library/Extensions/EPSONUSBPrintClass.kext” which loads “/Library/Printers/EPSON/CIOSupport/EPSONUSBPrintClass.plugin”. Something in this package is doing something bad to the USB interface on the iMac Pro. Removing the kernel extension EPSONUSBPrintClass.kext solves my problem.
Since I use wifi to connect to the printer, I’ve not seen any adverse effects from removing this kext. But if you use USB, I’m not sure what functionality you’ll lose.
Update (23 June 2018): Removing the kext didn’t completely fix the problem. I have set my Apple Watch to unlock the Mac and this, in combination with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse/trackpad is compounding the complexity. So this is what I’ve done to problem solve the error:

  • In Bluetooth Preferences, unchecked the “Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer”. I’m using a wired keyboard and using that to wake the iMac.
  • In Energy Saver, unchecked every option.
  • Installed Sleepwatcher v2.2 and a sleep and wakeup script to unmount and mount the volumes on the external disk. I’ve adapted this script.
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