Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tuxera NTFS for MacOS Sierra Workaround (Toshiba license)

With the release of MacOS Sierra by Apple, you might have opted to update your Mac machine with that new OS especially if your gadget ecosystem revolves on the Apple-sphere of things. Upon completing the long wait of downloading the OS update and its installation, you may think at first that everything seems to work fine. Once you attached your NTFS hard drive thinking it will be a routine access to your files, you notice that it goes back to a "read-only" file explorer view even if you have Tuxera installed.

I got my copy of Tuxera from purchasing Toshiba's external USB3.0 hard drives that included the said software, specifically the Canvio Connect II. The drive is a sweet deal for the price + Tuxera, especially the fact that it doesn't care whether you use your Toshiba external drive or any other brand (boooo to WD and Seagate).

What I initially did and the error I got

The usual course of action to fix Tuxera after a major MacOS software update is to just reinstall it. So I have a copy of the ".dmg" installer of Tuxera somewhere within my directories and proceeded to run it. Once the installer was mounted and clicked on the installer icon, I suddenly got this error prompt about an "Error 1 while launching Tuxera NTFS...".

At first I thought that my installer was perhaps corrupted so I accessed the installer inside my Toshiba HDD, but that was an older variant (2014 I think). When I used that version and after the installer ran smoothly, as expected it didn't work on Sierra.

I initially sought help from Tuxera (via email support) but they told me to ask Toshiba for a solution/fix. Not seeing an email support from Toshiba US, I tried their Twitter account to no avail as well. This left me no choice but to MacGyver my way out of this predicament.

The Fix

This guide of mine is to fix your Tuxera installation on your MacOS Sierra if your license came from your Toshiba HDD.

Step 1a: Go to the support page of Toshiba and download the updated Tuxera for Mac installer

The installer published in this support website will only work if you own any of the following Toshiba external hard drives:
  • Canvio Connect and Connect II (HDTC7 and HDTC8 series)
  • Canvio Slim and Slim II (HDTD1 and HDTD2 series)
  • Canvio AeroMobile (HDTQ112XCWF1)
  • Canvio AeroCast (HDTU110XKWC1)
This installer of Tuxera (2015.2 version) will work on both El Capitan and Sierra.

Step 1b: Specify a different download destination for the Tuxera for Mac installer
When downloading the ".dmg" installer, don't just save it in your "Downloads" folder. I suggest you save it to your "Desktop". This is an important step as this is somewhat related to the error.

Step 2: Disable Gatekeeper
To disable Gatekeeper and "Allow apps from anywhere", follow the instructions from this website...

Step 3: Run the installer
Once you have finished downloading the Tuxera installer and saved it elsewhere (your Desktop), mount and run the installer as normally as you would in previous versions.

Step 4: Keep your Toshiba external HDD at-hand
When you're already inside the installer and doing the usual clicking of the "Next" button, connect your Toshiba external HDD. This will enable the Tuxera installer to detect the hardware and activate the Toshiba-Tuxera license.

Step 5: Restart your Mac and enjoy
Yes you need to restart it so that it will properly load and use the NTFS driver

The reason behind the error

After much digging on why the said installer kept giving me that error was because of a particular feature that Apple included in the Sierra OS, which is something called the "Gatekeeper".

The purpose of the Gatekeeper was to provide another means of security to prevent users from using installers that may contain malicious workarounds/exploits. It also generates a random file path for the application to be installed wherein I'm not really sure why but it is also part of the security and application digital signing.

The Tuxera 2015.2 version was published for the El Capitan didn't have that Gatekeeper functionality. When you run the same installer in MacOS Sierra and the ".dmg" installer was saved inside the Downloads folder, this will screw-up the packaging of the Tuxera installer as it doesn't play ball with that Gatekeeper.

Friday, May 27, 2016

A "semi-legit" speed test of PLDT Fibr 2899

I've recently applied for the PLDT Fibr plan 2899 around April 2016. After almost 4 weeks of follow-ups and service request with the "accommodating" PLDT hotline and dispatcher number, I finally got my subscription installed at our house in Mandaluyong (Barangay Namayan to be exact).

A lot of my friends started asking if it was any good... and I typically start my response of it being expensive. As for the aspect of is the connection any good compared to sticking with existing broadband DSL subscription, that is a bit tricky. Fortunately, somebody gave me an idea to do a "speedtest" of the fiber-based connection going to nodes/servers located outside the Philippines.

Background of the PH internet

Based from the marketing material and advertisements of PLDT, they're saying that you can get speeds up to 50 Mbps (100 Mbps for the first 6 months, but that's just a teaser and will only be "fun while it lasted"). But those speeds can only be achieved if you measure your speed going to servers located on the same PLDT network. What's really important is how fast your internet connection going to outside of the Philippines or even to the other local network competitor (e.g. Globe).

All the content that we usually access are not hosted within the Philippine territory and are typically in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and even the US. The latency, which is the "ms" thing you get when you do a ping test, going to servers located elsewhere is the one that matters the most. The lower the latency value the better; anything < 100 ms is sort of "acceptable" for most cases, higher than 200 ms and you're pretty much screwed especially in online gaming.

My Set-up
  • PLDT Fibr plan 2899, with provided modem configured as a bridged-WAN
  • Asus AC87u AC2400 Wireless Router with stock firmware
  • Intel Core2-based Desktop
    • Windows 10 Pro
    • 4GB RAM
    • RT2870 150 USB Wireless N LAN network card (Belkin) connected as 11n

The "Tests"

Without further delay (unlike what PLDT usually does), see below the screenshot of some "speedtests" I conducted.



West Coast - US

East Coast - US


If comparing it with other internet subscriptions and DSL connections, I believe they're not too different if the latency is the one you'd consider. Bandwidth-wise, definitely it will be faster simply because it now uses a fiber optic line versus a copper line for DSL.

If you want my opinion if you should switch... I leave you with this message...

"With great (bandwidth) power comes great (adult) responsibility"

As long as you think you can afford the monthly subscription fee and if it is available within your area, why not. But as early as now, I'm bracing myself and thinking of ways to re-align the utility costs we have for the household because it is simply expensive for "just" internet (PHP 2,899.00 per month isn't really a joke).