ATTENTION ISAAC/MAC USERS!!!

Velocomp
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Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by Velocomp » Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:30 pm

In 2005 Velocomp was the first company to develop power meter software for the Mac. We are proud of that, and we have supported Macs ever since then--with free software, and regular software updates and improvements.

Unfortunately the MacOS platform is becoming increasingly onerous to work with, due to Apple's continuously increasing and changing demands. Security is one such change: those of you who have installed Isaac on Macs with Mojave know that the Isaac install process is no longer just simple double-click. There are now new Apple security windows that, if not properly managed by the user, will result in Isaac crashing. We have provided precise instructions about how to deal with Apple's security changes, but we know that if users don't follow our instructions exactly, then bad things will happen...

On top of the security changes, the new MacOS Catalina is coming next month. Some of you may have seen warnings on your Mac that Isaac Mac is not optimized for 64 bit. Apple says that 64 bit software runs faster and we're sure that it is true. However, what this warning means that Isaac Mac 4.1.1, our most current release, will not run at all on Catalina. That is infinitely slower than right now... :cry:

We are struggling with how to proceed. Updating Isaac Mac for Catalina requires fundamental changes our software, including finding and replacing 32 bit libraries that currently are not available in 64 bit. It also requires updating and recompiling our entire code.

And even if we can manage to find the 64 bit libraries, we believe we will still be hamstrung by Apple security restrictions--restrictions that we believe will become even more onerous in Catalina.

So, upgrading Isaac Mac for Catalina, if possible, will be expensive, and we are not certain we can get around the security issues in a friendly, simple, Apple-like manner.

We are sorely tempted to abandon the Mac platform. If we did so, Mac users running Catalina could still access Isaac, but in Isaac Windows form, through Parallels or VM Fusion. In fact, we've already updated Isaac Windows to 5.0.1, and it works just fine.

We would appreciate your comments.
John Hamann

meste
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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by meste » Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:17 pm

Hmmm, although I can see your point, for some of us who solely rely on mac platform with impossibility to run Windoes under macos such a move would mean actually moving away from PowerPod and Aeropod... Quite unpleasant!

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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by Velocomp » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:52 pm

meste wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:17 pm
Hmmm, although I can see your point, for some of us who solely rely on mac platform with impossibility to run Windoes under macos such a move would mean actually moving away from PowerPod and Aeropod... Quite unpleasant!
You can run Isaac/Windows in MacOS, using a virtual machine such as Parallels or VM Fusion. We've been running Isaac/Windows on our Macs since 2005...
John Hamann

meste
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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by meste » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:10 am

Not unless you have a mac system from the office with restrictions / policy to install only approved applications

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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by Velocomp » Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:54 am

meste wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:10 am
Not unless you have a mac system from the office with restrictions / policy to install only approved applications
It strikes me as very odd that your office would allow installation of Isaac, but not of a virtual machine.
John Hamann

meste
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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by meste » Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:47 am

Yes, it took a long time to get the approval.

meste
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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by meste » Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:48 am

Why don't you do an IOS app to be able to set up and change bike profiles. That all I need to do.

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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by Velocomp » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:54 pm

meste wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:48 am
Why don't you do an IOS app to be able to set up and change bike profiles. That all I need to do.
Stay tuned...
John Hamann

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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by BruceK » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:18 pm

John, I would imagine that many loyal customers will be greatly disappointed if Velocomp dropped support for macOS.

You mentioned in an earlier post (https://velocompforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=4774) that Velocomp was working on an updated version for macOS, What is the status of that update?

It is apparent that your software developer(s) have run into some challenging technical obstacles, i.e., Apple’s security requirements and a lack of third party 64-bit libraries. Exactly which libraries are you referring to?

As you probably know, Apple first released a 64-bit OS (with 32-bit backwards compatibility) a decade ago. Back in 2017, Apple alerted developers at the WWDC that macOS 10.13 High Sierra would be the final version that would run 32-bit apps without compromise. Again, in April of 2018 Apple published a support document (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208436) outlining the finality of their transition to 64-bit applications as a requirement of macOS Catalina.

IMHO Apple software developers have had ample time to update or rewrite their applications.

Dropping future support for the Mac and expecting current customers to go out and purchase a copy of Windows to run Isaac in a virtual machine or Bootcamp is simply a non-starter. The price of DFPM’s today make that proposition unreasonable. For example, I purchased a new (not refurbished) Dura-Ace 9000 single-sided PM for $199 US directly from Stages.

To Velocomp’s credit, I see very little difference between the average power output from the Stages unit and an old Gen III iPro that I retired quite some time ago.

There is also good reason to speculate that Microsoft will drop 32-bit support in the next major Windows release. Many Windows developers have already transitioned to 64-bit applications and are pushing Microsoft to drop 32-bit support in the next Windows release (https://www.backblaze.com/blog/64-bit-os-vs-32-bit-os/).

In the final analysis, I would suggest that updating or rewriting the underlying code of Isaac as 64-bit for the Mac, and the time, expense and complexity of meeting Apple’s macOS security requirements, is simply the cost of doing business in a modern world. Leaving macOS users without an acceptable long-term Isaac upgrade path will turn them away in droves to another power meter manufacturer.

Would I buy a new Powerpod v3 or Aeropod? Not without macOS software support in Issac for Catalina and beyond.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Microsoft or Apple Inc.

mir
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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by mir » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:00 pm

Maybe if an IOS/Android app was released which offered the ability to configure profiles, configure the device, and display ride metrics would satisfy 90% of the user base - count be in for the 90%, then the tech savvy users could use the Isaac software with the knowledge that it was a Windows only offer.

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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by Velocomp » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:35 pm

BruceK wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:18 pm
John, I would imagine that many loyal customers will be greatly disappointed if Velocomp dropped support for macOS.

I very much appreciate your post.

Four comments:

1) Most (if not all) DFPM competitors don't offer any software at all. In fact, what happens is that DFPM data gets shoveled into the bike computer. Said differently: if we did not offer Isaac/Mac, for Mac users our products would have the same functionality as every other competitor!

2) In addition to our own proprietary software, we rely on software from National Instruments and Silicon Labs. We are constrained by what these big companies do; in particular, NI uses ".kext" libraries in its software. ".kext" libraries, which we have used in Macs for 12 years, without problems, now cause security fits in recent releases of Mac OS (Sierra and Mojave).

Whatever Apple may have said about 32/64 bit in the past, they did NOT announce in 2017 that they would be radically changing their security restrictions (and we have heard that Catalina will have even more security restrictions). We do understand why Apple changed them, but HOW they changed them is very user-unfriendly. If users click the wrong button in the "System Extension Blocked" window (the wrong button is the default button; it is also the button our instructions say NOT to click), Isaac software will crash unendingly, and afterwards it is a nightmare to correct the user error.

Unless NI updates its software, we (and Mac users) are stuck with the consequences. We have no control over if, and when, NI will make the needed updates.

3) It's interesting to me that this post was made 11 days ago, and since then there has been nearly zero response. I expected many people to object but that hasn't been the case so far. I personally hate the idea of dropping Isaac/Mac, but we have to put our limited resources where the market is headed...for example, to iOS/Android apps that interact with our products and which facilitate easy profile setup and profile switching.

4) Isaac/Windows is already 64 bit compatible. It isn't nearly as hard to do in Windows.

We are working on a next release of Mac/Windows right now; we will be adding some important features for AeroPod. Once the Isaac/Windows update is released we will decide about what happens with Isaac/Mac. I do not expect we will have Isaac/Mac ready prior to the release of Catalina.
John Hamann

mir
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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by mir » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:48 pm

Hi John,

Just a quick question: Since you say that you only have limited resources to maintain and develop Isaac have you considered open source the software so that others with the required knowledge could step in? Personally I could be interested in making a version for Linux.

Regards,
Michael.

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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by Velocomp » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:19 pm

There are an enormous number of proprietary algorithms in Isaac. This is not IP that we want to share.
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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by raider » Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:28 pm

Velocomp wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:19 pm
There are an enormous number of proprietary algorithms in Isaac. This is not IP that we want to share.
Hi John,
I understand your concern about IP, but you can keep it inside a dll and let the open source comumity to draw plots, export files and most important, keep it up to date with the constant OS updates and requirements. If you can afford NI labview, I'm pretty sure that you can get better math libraries for less money and even improve your propietary algorithms while other focus on the user. If you decided to go that way, count me in

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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by roedie » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:00 am

3) It's interesting to me that this post was made 11 days ago, and since then there has been nearly zero response. I expected many people to object but that hasn't been the case so far. I personally hate the idea of dropping Isaac/Mac, but we have to put our limited resources where the market is headed...for example, to iOS/Android apps that interact with our products and which facilitate easy profile setup and profile switching.
I think not everyone is following the forums very closely. For instance, I just popped by to see if there was a new version of the Isaac software when I stumbled on this post. So, I just registered an account to give my €0,02.

I would be a bit disapointed when Mac support is dropped. It was one of the reasons why I bought the Aeropod. But then again, Isaac for Mac is a bit in a bad state at the moment and I if I had known the software was in this state I might have thought twice.

The thing is (and I can only talk for myself) that I don't mind running it on somethings else since I have VMWare fusion (else I would have used VirtualBox) but it forces me to get a Windows license. Yes I can run Windows without a license, but that would be just as bad as stealing the Aeropod from you. Had there been a Linux version you would have had no complaints from me.

I will give Isaac on Windows a spin with a trial to see what it's like since I haven't seen it at all and report back here.

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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by Velocomp » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:27 am

Here is an update

1) We are working on Isaac/Windows 5.1 with AeroPod improvements. We want to get Isaac/Windows out as soon as possible, hopefully before the end of August.

2) On the Mac side we are seeing movement from drivers software suppliers. SiLabs recently upgraded their USB driver to get around the ".kext" problem. We've tested it and it works. We recently received the 2019 version of NI VISA, another driver with the .kext problem. We haven't checked it but we hope they have also fixed the problem.

3) A surprising, yet very troublesome issue, is that some of the data used by Isaac are compressed/decompressed in 32 bit form. For Isaac 64 bit, we have not yet found a 64 bit compression/decompression routine that can "read" old files that are in 32 bit form. Right now, this means that any "old" ride file would not be readable in Isaac Mac 64 bit.

We are not giving up on Isaac Mac; however, we will not have Isaac Mac/64 ready by September 10, the presumed launch date of of Catalina.
John Hamann

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lorduintah
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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by lorduintah » Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:05 am

About the 32 bit to 64 bit conversion.

Have you considered a small program to read the files from the 32 bit version and then write out 64 bit version that are stored separately? This would be a use once conversion and then no further need.

There are a number of applications that have to occasionally convert data files because of adding new features, run and "upgrade" the data file - where new information is now embedded into the binary format. Some of these have the routines in the application code, but it only is used on the first instance of encountering the "old" format.

An alternative for Mac users is to use Boot Camp (or a 3rd party virtualization application) to run Mojave even after Catalina - by so doing the 32 bit Isaac has a bit more life.

And, of course, finally, letting previous data files just go and starting essentially from scratch - how often do riders review a lot of old files?

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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by Velocomp » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:59 am

So far we've been unable to find a conversion program.

Your idea about Boot Camp is great; can you provide some links so we can learn more?
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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by lorduintah » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:58 am

Not sure about a conversion program, either. If you mean to convert the ride files, I suspect you have some data structure to that information that Isaac reads - and that is most likely some binary format specific to the Isaac/Velocomp environment, so I would not expect to find an off-the-shelf transfer.

https://support.apple.com › boot-camp

Boot Camp is provided by Apple.

A lot of the links will discuss running Windows 10 via this option. This assumes you have a valid way to install Windows and authenticate that installation.

Mojave won't run in Boot Camp at least on some Mac models - but you can run an older Mac OS which will still allow you to run Isaac in 32 bit mode.

As another suggestion, for those who do not want to pay for VM Ware or Parallels - there is Virtualbox from Oracle (free). This can also let you build a Mac OS system from older versions of the operating system - so Windows is not necessary.

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ATTENTION ISAAC/MAC USERS!!!

Post by agud » Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:24 pm

Isaac Mac 5.1 for Catalina (and earlier macOS) is now available

https://velocompforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5318

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Re: Isaac Mac and Catalina MacOS

Post by Orci77 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:24 am

Dear John,

I just got reminded by the MacOS warnings and came here to see if there is a new version meanwhile. Then I saw your post and got an account to answer.

I got the first PowerPod after reading DC Rainmakers review and I am very pleased because it works for me. I only got Mac computers at my disposal.

Using virtual machines to run windows or running bootcamp is not really an option for me.
I understand the problem with the files but I personally used only the following features of the Isaac software:
1. Editing/deleting profiles
2. Ensure the PowerPod does a calibration ride
3. Evaluate the calibration ride to improve the profile
4. update firmware

Normally the calibration ride works fine. Last time it didn’t I was on a bike holiday and had to run upstairs to the room (and MacBook) again because it won’t work on the bike. That was kind of a hassle.

So I saw there is also a new PowerPod version with Bluetooth.
As someone mentioned before: why don’t you have an iPhone app that can do all the stuff I mentioned before?
This is much better because I got my phone always at reach and it’s smaller than any MacBook.

Would be a convenient solution doing all configuration and calibration stuff with the iPhone. Firmware updates would be nice too but as long as this works with MacBooks on current macOS I don’t care.
Also would give me a reason to get a new PowerPod ;)

I hope my feedback helps a little bit. I really would like the PowerPod keep running.

Greetings from Germany!

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Re: ATTENTION ISAAC/MAC USERS!!!

Post by bollar » Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:10 pm

Thanks for working on the Catalina update. I have access to Parallels, but it's extremely sluggish on my fairly new MacBook Pro.

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Re: ATTENTION ISAAC/MAC USERS!!!

Post by Velocomp » Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:43 am

bollar wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:10 pm
Thanks for working on the Catalina update. I have access to Parallels, but it's extremely sluggish on my fairly new MacBook Pro.
You might want to think about an external SSD drive, with Mojave installed on it. I did this and it works really well--and it is fast.
John Hamann

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Re: ATTENTION ISAAC/MAC USERS!!!

Post by gbussey » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:49 pm

Assuming I get my other problem with my PowerPod fixed (not charging - non-functional USB port), and I want to keep using Isaac - if I use option #3 - the external drive - is it possible to take my already installed Isaac and simply "drop" it onto the external drive and open it from that location, rather than reinstalling from scratch? I haven't installed Catalina yet so Isaac is still running on my Mac right now.

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Re: ATTENTION ISAAC/MAC USERS!!!

Post by Velocomp » Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:20 am

gbussey wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:49 pm
Assuming I get my other problem with my PowerPod fixed (not charging - non-functional USB port), and I want to keep using Isaac - if I use option #3 - the external drive - is it possible to take my already installed Isaac and simply "drop" it onto the external drive and open it from that location, rather than reinstalling from scratch? I haven't installed Catalina yet so Isaac is still running on my Mac right now.
You will need to reinstall Isaac. Installation is a straightforward process, just make sure to follow the instructions!

https://velocompforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=4774
John Hamann

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Re: ATTENTION ISAAC/MAC USERS!!!

Post by lorduintah » Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:53 am

Alternate process could be creating a complete and bootable backup of your current system - which already has the drivers and Isaac.

Just use Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper! (or some alternatives) to create a complete backup of your current installation operating system - Mojave or earlier - then you can boot from that external thumb drive, or external SSD, or whatever else you have setup. The mentioned applications will create a setup that is bootable (blessed.)

Booting from the external can be done in several ways - System Preferences allows you to select a startup disk (assuming you have the external mounted.)
This lets you select in a dialog which system will be the boot drive.

Alternative way to select startup - while booting )powering up), hold down the OPTION key (with the external powered and attached via your choice in cables to your Mac.) The window will open with a selection of all the bootable sources that can be found.

Tom

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Re: ATTENTION ISAAC/MAC USERS!!!

Post by Velocomp » Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:00 am

lorduintah wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:53 am
Alternate process could be creating a complete and bootable backup of your current system - which already has the drivers and Isaac.

Just use Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper! (or some alternatives) to create a complete backup of your current installation operating system - Mojave or earlier - then you can boot from that external thumb drive, or external SSD, or whatever else you have setup. The mentioned applications will create a setup that is bootable (blessed.)

Booting from the external can be done in several ways - System Preferences allows you to select a startup disk (assuming you have the external mounted.)
This lets you select in a dialog which system will be the boot drive.

Alternative way to select startup - while booting )powering up), hold down the OPTION key (with the external powered and attached via your choice in cables to your Mac.) The window will open with a selection of all the bootable sources that can be found.

Tom
This definitely is another way to do it, though this approach will require a larger external drive (this method replicates your entire hard drive).
John Hamann

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Re: ATTENTION ISAAC/MAC USERS!!!

Post by lorduintah » Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:25 am

Well - John - before upgrading to Catalina, everyone should have a full backup of the boot drive - in case things go wrong.

You do keep backups, right?

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Re: ATTENTION ISAAC/MAC USERS!!!

Post by Velocomp » Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:48 pm

Of course...using the time machine feature of the Mac. My understanding, though, is that this does not back up the OS.

Also, after backup those backups will be "seen" by Catalina OS.
John Hamann

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Re: ATTENTION ISAAC/MAC USERS!!!

Post by Speedyg » Sun Sep 22, 2019 10:08 pm

Just want to add my voice in thanking you for working on the Catalina compatible Mac Isaac software. Isaac is really useful and many of us dedicated Ppod users have been using it for years especially to fine-tune and choose profiles on different bikes - a big plus of the Ppod system. So Big Thanks!!

Jim :)

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