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Lost in Sierra: Five Missing Features

Although Apple mostly adds features to new releases of the Mac operating system, it’s not uncommon for the company to remove small features or support for older technologies. Needless to say, Apple doesn’t trumpet these removals from the rooftops, as it does with new features, leaving it to users who relied on a previous behavior to discover the change.

Here then are five features that have gone missing from macOS 10.12 Sierra:

  • The option to set the system language separately from the format language

  • Support for modem-based faxing

  • Less historical logged information revealed in Console

  • PPTP connections for VPNs

  • Support for DSA keys in SSH

Not all of these are bad — the removal of support for PPTP VPN connections and DSA SSH keys may be annoying but increases Sierra’s security. Nevertheless, I’ve tried to suggest workarounds where possible.

System Language vs. Format Language -- Here’s a subtle change that reader Hans van Maanen alerted me to. In previous versions of OS X, you could set a primary system language in System Preferences > Language & Region, and then click the Advanced button to set a separate format language. Hans appreciated this split in OS X 10.11 El Capitan because it enabled him to leave his system language set to English to avoid lousy Dutch localizations in the apps he used while still retaining Dutch as the format language for dates, times, and numbers.

International readers will likely understand what I’m talking about here, but for those in the United States who may not realize, people in other countries often use different formats for things like dates. For instance, the short date format that I get when using English in the United States would look like 1/5/16 (for January 5th, 2016, which is the sample date for reasons I don’t know). However, if I change the Format Language pop-up menu (in El Capitan) to Dutch, the short date format changes to 05/01/16. And, of course, the names of days and months are different in other languages.

For unknown reasons, Apple removed the Format Language pop-up menu in System Preferences > Language & Region > Advanced > General.


You can still choose your country separately from the Region pop-up menu in the main view of Language & Region, but that controls only settings like the first day of the week, the calendar type, the time format, and the formatting for dates and times. Notably, it does not change the names of days and months to the language associated with the selected region.

Thanks to reader RT for discovering the workaround! In Terminal, enter this command and press Return to use Dutch:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleLocale nl_NL

The key part of that command is the pair of two-letter codes at the end. From what I can tell, the first is an ISO 639-1 language code that corresponds to the format language used for the names of days and months, and the second is an ISO 3166-1 alpha 2 country code that matches the country selected in the Region pop-up menu.

You can set them separately, so the first command below would set the format language to German, and the region to Switzerland, whereas the second uses French for the format language.

defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleLocale de_CH defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleLocale fr_CH

Should you wish to reset the formatting language to match your primary system language, just click Restore Defaults in the Advanced dialog.

Modem-based Faxing -- Thanks to reader Jim Weil for alerting us to this missing feature, and my apologies in advance if I don’t describe this quite right since I don’t have the necessary hardware. Starting in 10.7 Lion, Apple removed support for the Apple USB Modem, which some people used for faxing with the Print & Fax pane of System Preferences in 10.6 Snow Leopard and earlier.

However, third-party USB modems that came with their own drivers, notably some models from USRobotics, continued to work with Lion, and you could still add and use a fax modem from the renamed Print & Scan preference pane. That status quo continued through 10.11 El Capitan, even as the preference pane was renamed once again to Printers & Scanners.

In Sierra, however, USRobotics support has confirmed that Apple removed even the capability to add a fax modem with external drivers to the Printers & Scanners preference pane.


We’re aware of four possible workarounds:

  • The easiest approach is to use an Internet fax service; Randy Singer recommended a number of possibilities appropriate for different situations in “SRFax and Other Internet Faxing Alternatives to MaxEmail” (7 October 2016). The main problem with this approach is that your faxes must travel via the Internet. For some situations, the security of point-to-point faxing could be important.

  • If you’re already virtualizing Microsoft Windows within something like Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion, or VirtualBox and have it configured correctly to see an external USB fax modem, Windows should automatically recognize the fax modem and enable you to use it from within Windows. It’s probably not worth investing in a virtualization environment and Windows just for fax modem support, but it’s worth remembering if you’re already set up. Jim Weil also noted that, for an entirely free option, you could use VirtualBox and virtualize Linux, which supports apps that enable faxing. Consider that an exercise for the reader.

  • Numerous multifunction printers include fax support, and Apple even provides an extensive list of printers supported by Sierra. In theory, the driver software for some of these printers might include the capability to send a print job via the printer’s fax modem, which would work around Sierra’s removal of general fax support. I have no personal experience with printers that make such a capability possible, but if you do, please let us know in the comments what model you’re using.

  • Reader Firitia commented on an early version of this article that it’s possible to move the underlying Unix fax software forward from El Capitan to Sierra and use it from the command line. To do this, you’ll need to copy the following files from a Mac running El Capitan to equivalent locations on the Mac running Sierra:

    • /usr/bin/fax
    • /usr/bin/efax
    • /usr/bin/efix
    • /usr/share/man/man1/fax.1
    • /usr/share/man/man1/efax.1
    • /usr/share/man/man1/efix.1
    • /System/Library/Coreservices/Menu\ extras/Fax.menu

    (The last one may not be necessary, but Firitia suggested it for completeness.) Once you’ve copied all the files, use man fax and man efax to find instructions for using these command-line tools.

Console Loses Its Memory -- The Console app has long been an essential troubleshooting tool on the Mac because it provides a way of browsing through all the log messages generated by the operating system. Although most users don’t realize this, there’s a lot of chatter that goes on at the operating system level.

As reader Tom Robinson noted in TidBITS Talk, Apple appears to have completely rewritten Console in Sierra, so much so that its version number changed from 10.11 in El Capitan to 1.0 in Sierra. Notably, Console 1.0 can display log message information in a set of user-configurable columns, filter messages to just errors and faults, and more — Kirk McElhearn has an overview at Macworld.


However, Console 1.0 doesn’t provide all the capabilities that Console in El Capitan had, as Howard Oakley outlines in his criticism of the new version. The most important thing that’s missing in Sierra’s Console 1.0 is historical log information. The app starts displaying logged messages when you launch it, but unlike Console in previous versions of OS X, you can’t go back in time to see what was happening on your Mac last night, or the day before. That capability is a huge help when tracking down a problem that you can’t reproduce at will.

The log messages are still available; you just can’t get to them easily from within Console 1.0. Instead, you can use the new log command in Terminal or a little utility Howard Oakley created called LogLogger2. Unfortunately, Oakley has also documented some bugs in the log command’s output. If you’re interested in the topic, check out his other posts on Console and logs.

It’s hard to make solid recommendations here. I turned up a few alternative log viewing apps for the Mac, including Log File Navigator, Logr, and LogTail, but it’s not clear if they can provide access to the historical log information in Sierra.

We can hope Apple puts more effort into the new version of Console in updates to Sierra, or perhaps an independent developer will fill the void.

PPTP VPN Connections -- PPTP, which stands for Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol, is, as Wikipedia bluntly states, “an obsolete method for implementing virtual private networks, with many known security issues.” Of all of Sierra’s changes, this one should be the least surprising, since Apple has been warning against the use of PPTP since at least the release of 10.11 El Capitan and iOS 9. Apple also removed PPTP support from iOS 10.


In general, this move is positive — flawed security protocols should be avoided. Unfortunately, despite PPTP’s weaknesses, some VPNs still require it. Two solutions present themselves: switch to another VPN protocol or install a third-party VPN client that still supports PPTP, such as Shimo or VPN Tracker. Obviously, since the entire point of a VPN is to protect your data connections, continuing to use the insecure PPTP isn’t sensible, but it may be the only option for certain organizations.

DSA SSH Keys Deprecated -- This change, which reader Ron Risley mentioned on TidBITS Talk, falls into roughly the same category as the previous one. Many who rely on SSH to log in to remote servers at the command line also use SSH keys to increase security (in contrast to using a regular password). My understanding is that most people use RSA keys with SSH, but it has been possible in the past to use what are called DSA (Digital Signature Algorithm) keys. Unfortunately, DSA keys can usually be only 1024 bits, and Apple decided in Sierra to require 2048-bit RSA keys, which are far more secure.

The practical upshot of this is that if you can’t get into your remote server via SSH in some way other than using the DSA keys, you’ll be locked out when trying to connect from Sierra. The solution is to replace the DSA keys with 2048-bit RSA keys, and Quincy Larson provides instructions for that on Medium.

More Missing Features? -- I’ve tried to avoid truly minor changes here, such as Time Machine trading its On/Off switch for a Back Up Automatically checkbox. But it’s entirely possible there are other features from El Capitan that are missing in Sierra — if you know of any, or have additional workarounds for the ones I’ve outlined here, please leave a comment!

 

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Comments about Lost in Sierra: Five Missing Features
(Comments are closed.)

Jose M Alcaide  2016-10-14 12:08
More on SSH: macOS Sierra has removed the ability to (optionally) store SSH private key passphrases into the Keychain. Now, the first time a passphrase is entered, it gets stored... somewhere. It's not optional, and there is no obvious way to remove the passphrase after that. And as added "bonus", Sierra's SSH does not use the key agent, so agent forwarding does not work. These changes to SSH have been made specifically for macOS Sierra. OTOH, dropping support for DSA keys is a consequence of upgrading SSH to 7.x.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-14 14:39
I'm very much not an SSH expert, but perhaps someone else can weigh in with information about where those keys end up being stored.
Jeff Fischer  2016-10-20 22:42
That's my problem right there. I'm just a user when it comes to SSH, so when my weekly backup script (using SCP) stopped working after upgrading to Sierra, I started looking online. Apparently this change was done to "bring MacOS in line with common SSH usage". Unfortunately, none of the recipes offered as fixes (ssh-add -K keyname; ssh-add -A) worked for me. My existing RSA certificate has just stopped working, and until I can fix it, I have to run my backup manually and answer the password prompt. Any suggestions for fixes eagerly sought!
Tripp Frohlichstein  2016-10-14 12:12
One annoying missing feature first appeared in photos and El Capitan and continues in Sierra. The SIMPLE ability to add a title under a photo. It used to be pressing tab moved to the next photo to add a title. Easy. But now, tab does nothing so the workflow is much slower since you now have to move to the mouse and find the right place to click. They need to fix this like it used to be-and is standard convention in almost all the apps I use.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-14 14:46
Yeah, that is annoying, and even more so that it has been true of Photos since the beginning in Yosemite.
Alex Poulsen  2016-10-14 13:03
The Gatekeeper (I think that's what it's called, it blocks apps that may be unsafe to run) used to have 3 options: App Store only, App Store and devs who have dev certificates, and anything (many developers who aren't making much don't have certificates). Now the anything option is gone.
Those apps when downloaded the first time may or may not be able to run, I haven't had this happen yet, so it is perfectly possible for it to work exactly as before. Or maybe I just haven't gone to run an app without a certificate. Or maybe because the settings app abstracts away the terminal commands that change preferences (and hides secret options), and I haven't changed it, the pref is set exactly as before, but that option doesn't show in system preferences.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-14 14:52
I think this is a case of the interface changing a little, but no features actually disappearing. You can still open unsigned apps by Control-clicking them and choosing Open, then clicking Open in the confirmation dialog that appears.

It's a bit different than in El Capitan in terms of not being able to have a universal setting that allows all unsigned apps from launching, but it can still be done using the same workaround as before.
John Baxter  An apple icon for a Friend of TidBITS 2016-10-14 15:56
It seems to me that removal of the "anything" option is good: it means that every time you first run an app from a certificateless developer you get reminded.

From my point of view, I'm not interested in the work of a developer who can't be bothered to get a certificate. My point of view included the fact that I don't have a certificate and don't offer any apps.
Tom Robinson  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2016-10-14 17:47
The ability to run unsigned apps hasn't changed, Apple's just hidden the Anywhere option. I recommend against it, but you can restore that option from the command line https://www.tekrevue.com/tip/gatekeeper-macos-sierra/
Simon  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2016-10-15 03:14
Apple has already before been playing it fast and lose with non-US date formats.

In Europe many users will have set their date format to use . instead of / as a date separator (i.e. Jan 5 becomes 5.1.2016 instead of 1/5/16) OS X appears to respect that for the most part. But Calendar doesn't. Select Go to Date... and you'll be forced to enter the date using / as a separator.

To me as an American working in Europe that is entirely confusing. When I see / I expect month before day (as in the US), but since Calendar is following the selected European format (while ignoring the selected separator) it's expecting day before month.

As long as the user can select both the order and the separator, Calendar should adhere to both choices.
Tom Robinson  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2016-10-16 20:45
So should Reminders :] It's been there for a while, and I've submitted a bug report in the past.
Bart B  2016-10-15 07:29
I'm not sure I agree with classing reduced insecurity as two of your five missing features!

PPTP is known by some in the trade as "Point to Point Toilet Paper" because it really is not secure anymore.

And it really is about time the old DSA SSH keys went away and were replaced by modern keys.

I would count both of these as security improvements, and things to be happy about - not lost features!
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-17 10:56
They were capabilities of the operating system that people relied on, for better or worse, and they were removed, causing some people consternation. I fully agree — and the article is very clear about — that removing them was a positive move on Apple's part and an increase in security, but that doesn't conflict with the fact that they were features of El Capitan that are missing in Sierra.
Peter N Lewis  2016-10-15 22:59
Another weird date format change (at least in Australia) is the abbreviated dates now have "." added, eg "Sun. 16 Oct.". There appears to be no way to turn off these wasteful dots (which add space to the menu bar for example).
Simon Rivett  2016-11-27 20:12
I totally agree that this "change" is completely ridiculous, and as far as I am aware goes contrary to accepted global date nomenclature standards. At the very least it looks completely weird when displaying the full date: "Mon. 28-Nov.-2016". Seriously? Using slashes, dashes or spaces, it still looks pretty odd.

I'm Oz too, but I don't think it's exclusively an Australian regional thing. I tried setting the US language preference and it still gave me dots/full-stops/periods. It's all pervasive too, across applications; especially annoying in Numbers with columns of dates. It would've been nice though if there was some kind of command-line preference setting you could use at least to toggle off this behaviour.

I'm frankly surprised that I haven't heard more people complaining about this.
Regarding the System and Format languages.

In Language & Region, my Preferred language is English, my Region(!) is Netherlands. All the GUI text is in English all the formatting is Dutch styled. If I change the Region to US, formatting changes instantly to US style. So for formatting set Region.

For having Dutch named days, months, today and yesterday (dates created, modified etc) as well, there is as usual the 'defaults' command to the rescue. In Terminal.app type or copy:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleLocale nl_NL

and hit return or enter key.

Log out and back in to make it work. Check if it sticks after a restart, it should.

You can revert to previous setting with:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleLocale en_NL

Not all applications will honour these settings, Terminal.app greets you with an English date...
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-17 10:57
Excellent sleuthing! Thanks for the detail and I'll work this into the article.
Firitia  2016-10-17 00:31
Yes faxing has disappeared from the printing preferences, and so have all the associated functions, but things are not hopeless. Before you upgrade from El capitan, make a copy of /usr/bin/fax /usr/bin/efax /usr/bin/efix and their associated manuals in /usr/share/man/man1 and put them back after installing Sierra. Also keep a copy of System/Library/Coreservices/Menu\ extras/Fax.menu at hand.
Following the instructions in the man efax, I was able to receive a fax with my USRobotics modem. Sending I still have to check, but is likely to be all right too. Yes, for now it will be command line work until I have written some more user friendly scripts around these cores. But it is working!
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-17 10:58
That's a great hack, and be sure to let us know when you have some interface around these command line tools.
Firitia  2016-10-18 00:02
Easiest is to have all these files copied from a working faxsetting in El Capitan into Sierra (where they will have disappeared after the upgrade):

chmod 644 /Library/Printers/Fax.ppd #(see note below)

chmod 644 /private/etc/efax.rc

chmod 755 /usr/bin/fax /usr/bin/efax /usr/bin/efix

chmod 644 /usr/share/man/man1/efax.1 /usr/share/man/man1/efix.1 /usr/share/man/man1/fax.1

chmod 644 /Library/Preferences/com.apple.print.FaxPrefs.plist

chmod 755 /usr/libexec/fax/coverpage.py /usr/libexec/fax/faxnotify /usr/libexec/fax/imagestopdf

chmod 644 /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.cce.efax.plist

In addition to setting the permissions as indicated above, you also must apply on all these files: chown root, chmod -N, xattr -c

All the files in /usr/libexec are scripts, make sure to run them once so that the gatekeeper will not stop them

Edit the com.apple.print.FaxPrefs.plist for your wanted settings

The only new file is the com.cce.efax.plist, these are the contents:
Firitia  2016-10-18 00:12
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
<key>Label</key>
<string>com.cce.efax</string>
<key>OnDemand</key>
<false/>
<key>ProgramArguments</key>
<array>
<string>/usr/bin/fax</string>
<string>answer</string>
</array>
</dict>
</plist>

Restart the computer and check that efax is running. If so, you are ready for receiving faxes. The only change will be that the fax menu monitor is no longer available, making it difficult to see when faxes are coming in

To send faxes we have to make a fax printer using cups, as the system preferences cannot do it anymore. Make sure you have access to

http://localhost:631
if refused, do first
cupsctl --remote-admin
cupsctl WebInterface=yes
Firitia  2016-10-18 14:48
Once in Cups, go to Administration > Add Printer > Local printer: fax printer

Connection: fax://dev/cu.usbmodem0000001 (get from /Library/Printers/Fax.ppd, this is the setting for a US Robotics modem, other modems may be different)

Name, description, location, sharing: as you wish

Model: browse for PPD file: /Library/Printers/Fax.ppd

default options and all other options at wish

You now have a fax printer appearing in your list of printers, working exactly as it did before.

By the way the original El Capitan file for /Library/Printers/Fax.ppd, you get from here:

/System/Library/Frameworks/ApplicationServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/PrintCore.framework/Versions/A/Resources/Fax.ppd

although you could put it here in Sierra too, cups is not able to find it there automatically.

Another inconvenience is that the /private/var/spool/fax scratch folder is not cleaned out automatically anymore.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-18 08:14
Great stuff — thanks so much!
mikejjj  2016-10-22 10:08
I copied all files listed from my El Cap OS to Sierra. I do not see fax printer when I go into Add Printer in the Administrator tab in CUPS. I added Fax.ppd to /Library/Printers/. Also, I do not have the com.apple.print.FaxPrefs.plist file in El Cap OS. Please advise as I would really like to send fax documents from my desktop. Thanks,
Firitia  2016-10-23 01:58
Did you have faxing actually working in El Capitan? The faxprefs.plist file for example is not made until you explicitely activate fax receiving. And I have the feeling that for some CUPS files the same thing holds true.

I described my experiences after upgrading. Setting up faxing on a clean install van Sierra is another story to be investigated one day.

Try to make a faxprinter from any other local printer? I guess at the end only the right connection string is what really counts. On the last screen, at the 'Or Provide a PPD File:' prompt, there you browse for the fax.ppd

Another trick you can try: copy the printers preferences pane (version 8) from El Capitan into Sierra (version 9, take it away first, you can not have 2 the same panes; it is not protected by systems integrity). Even if it cannot make any longer a full fledged faxprinter, it may at least put needed files in cups to take it up from there.
mikejjj  2016-10-23 09:51
I am only trying to send faxes. I copied the preferences pane version 8 from El Cap into Sierra after deleting version 9. However my connection setting fax://dev/cu.usbmodem24680241 is rejected by CUPS using any of the local printer options; I still do not see fax printer as a local option in CUPS. Any thoughts? Thanks for your help.
mikejjj  2016-10-23 21:13
figured out how to add Local printer: fax printer in CUPS. I needed to add the fax unix file from usr/libexec/cups/backend in El Cap to the backend folder in Sierra. Now I can send fax documents !
mikejjj  2016-10-31 09:11
Although I am primarily interested in sending faxes when I click the "Receive Options" button in Printers and Scanners nothing happens. Please advise. thanks
Dennis B. Swaney  2016-10-17 14:16
Regarding the date and time format changes, they also affect an important "region" of these United States: the military.

I'm retired USAF and thus still use the DTG conventions I used in my career:

Date: one or two digit day three letter month 2 digit year

Examples are 1 JAN 16 and 25 DEC 16

Time: 24 hour format of four digits without colon between hours and minutes digits.

Examples are 0930 Hrs (9:30 AM) and 1725 Hrs (5:25 PM)

Of course I use civil notations for outgoing correspondence.

Oh, with the  Watch you can also use "Mickey's Hands" notation when talking to ground-pounders! ;-)

Hmmm, I wonder if Apple could come up with a Naval format using watches and bells?

http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/shipbee.htm
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-17 14:25
Happily, you should be able to set all those manually (or at least get close) in the Advanced dialog's views.
The choice of January 5th as a sample date is a poor one, because when you see the sample it's easy to misunderstand it as May 1st. The day ought to be 13th or greater.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-18 08:04
You're absolutely right!
Frank Greenough  2016-10-17 20:03
I used to use the excellent PageSender app and an Apple USB Modem for faxing then Apple dropped the ball. I now have an HP Photosmart 7520 all-in-one printer/scanner/FAX which has a built in modem and performs the faxing functions very well.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-18 08:04
So in Sierra, what's the interface for sending a fax? Can you choose the fax modem as part of the print process?
Kimball Kramer  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2016-10-17 23:22
In a Finder window set to icon view, clicking on an icon and then shift-clicking will no longer select all of the icons in between the two. It will act just as command-click does and select only two icons. In addition, clicking on an icon and then using the keyboard with, for example, shift-up-arrow will no longer select all of the icons between the initial icon and the row above it. Again shift-up-arrow acts just like comand-up-arrow.
Tom Robinson  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2016-10-18 05:13
Shift-click in icon view in the Finder has always only selected the 2 icons, nothing between, just confirmed with El Cap :]
Simon  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2016-10-18 06:03
Wow, so they broke that already before El Cap! Wonder if Snow Leopard was the last to support it. ;)

At least El Cap still supports the proper shift-click behavior in column view.
Kimball Kramer  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2016-10-24 08:45
What do you find with shift-upArrow in Sierra and in El Capitan? [or shirt-downArrow, etc.]
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-24 09:49
I looked at this in Yosemite, and the behavior hasn't changed since then either. I can't remember Shift-clicking ever selecting a range of files in icon view in the Finder, since the order of the files isn't likely to be sensible.

Icon view isn't terribly useful in most cases apart from the Desktop (because it shows relatively few files in comparison to list or column views), so I can't say I'd worry much about this.
Phil Seymour  2016-10-18 02:08
Also in Photos is the removal of easy managing of SD cards. No auto open, the erase uploaded images button no longer functions. You can manually import images from SD cards and manually erase them. Or if you get fed up with poor design decisions you can use your older MacBook with Mountain Lion and legacy Apps. It is good to be reminded that Apple was once delightful to use.
Tom Robinson  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2016-10-18 05:15
Be sure to tell Apple, whining here won't change anything. http://apple.com/feedback. You can also get involved in the public beta programs.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-18 08:06
Is the lack of SD card management in Photos new in Sierra, or has that been true since the initial release of Photos?
B. Jefferson Le Blanc  2016-10-18 08:31
It's nearly impossible to buy a printer these days that doesn't do printing, copying, scanning and faxing. Which would seem to be the easiest way around the loss of fax support in OS X. Though it's anyone's guess how long faxing will remain a part of mainstream printers. My new HP Officejet printer does everything but hunt gophers. Though the scanner is no match for my Epson Perfection Photo scanner, which does a fine job on film transparencies as well as photos and other documents and includes superior scanner software.

In any case, a computer has always seemed an awkward place for faxing, though it's been available on the Mac since well before OS X was a gleam in Steve Jobs' eye. In my admittedly limited experience, it was always tricky to use. A multi-function printer seems a natural place for faxing since it already has the ability to copy documents. But I haven't tried it yet with my new printer 'cause, well, I haven't done a fax in twenty years. ;-)

I almost bought a fax modem a few months ago when I saw one on sale. I'm glad now I didn't bite. With the news that Sierra doesn't support it, it would have been a case of instant obsolescence. And one came more or less for free on my new printer, if it should ever happen that I need it.
John Baxter  An apple icon for a Friend of TidBITS 2016-10-18 13:07
Yesterday I learned of another problem with macOS Sierra. This one looks like a bug, not a deliberate change.

The Mail program in Sierra cannot decrypt S/MIME-encrypted attachments, although it can decrypt S/MIME-encrypted message bodies. A thread at Apple points out several workarounds, which seem to work for some people but not for all.

Sierra's Mail creates S/MIME-encrypted attachments which Mail in El Capitan can decrypt (and presumably other mail programs can also...not tested here). But it can't decrypt attachments it encrypted or that El Capitan Mail encrypted.

Reference: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7675839?start=0&tstart=0
Alan Ackerman  2016-12-03 00:31
Thanks in your System Language vs. Format Language discussion for including the pictures (which can be blown up to readable size). I didn't understand what the text was saying, until I saw the pictures, and then it was very clear.