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A small step out of line

4 May 2021 — There is a somewhat sad view of life that holds that every moment of every day, every step we take, no matter what the direction may be, always brings us one step closer to the cliff we will eventually step off, when our turn comes.

In what we believe is the way that things “should” go, there is an expectation that human life is like computerized inventory with only a FIFO option. For those Helix users who have never had to contemplate computerizing an inventory, FIFO is short for first-in-first-out. Your grandparents will perish before your parents who will perish before you, etc.

In this view, the only tragedies occur when someone cuts in line.

But happily, all things do not go as expected

As we have noted time and again, it seems we have spent almost a generation patching the Helix roof instead of doing the ever-more necessary job of recreating Helix for the modern world.

It was a difficult, but inevitable decision we made last year and while we have no regrets, we have still traded one thankless infrastructure project for another. The difference, of course, is that instead of fixing the roads, we are building new ones. It will take some time before the surfaces are ready for traffic.

While we are simultaneously creating a new Helix, a Server that will run both on the new Macs and in the latest macOS flavors, and a web client, carving out any time to do anything with our existing products is difficult to justify. Doing any such thing would be a step out of line, not moving forward, but backwards, yet still moving toward that cliff.

But sometimes, a rare opportunity arises that forces us to take a fresh look at an old problem and do something about it.

At the end-user level, the issue was an annoying series of Helix Client crashes, freezes or the Client otherwise becoming unusable in an apparently random way.

An intrepid user convinced us that although the problem did not happen every time, it could be made to occur fairly regularly by following a specific set of steps and repeating them. Once we could do that, we saw a very clear light at the end of this particular tunnel.

We cannot bury the lead much deeper than this

The main piece of information we must convey to you today is that we have indeed taken a brief detour and made a change to Helix 8.0.1, which has just completed testing and is available on our downloads page right now. It has a build number of 6350 and replaces the products we released on November 30th of last year as 8.0.1.

If you are a Client/Server user and you are already in Helix 8, you should download 6350 and put it to work. You may find it improves your work experience.

If you have already purchased Helix 8, tried it and went back to 7 because of issues you encountered in 8, we urge you to give this build a shot.

If you are still using a Helix product version 7 or older, we hope you will upgrade soon.

In the meantime, there are some walls out there that are beginning to close in. If are not aware of these things, consider this a public service.

We told you about using either Parallels or VM Ware Fusion so you could upgrade your machines to Catalina or Big Sur and run Helix in a virtual machine running Mojave. The reports we get from users who have gone this route, us included, have been largely positive. Very much like the situation we went through when moving from Classic to the modern macOS, using Helix this way is far from ideal. But it works.

That being said however, neither of these companies appear to be building a version of their product to run on the M1 machines Apple has begun selling, so bear that in mind as you or users you support make hardware plans for the future.

The journey to Andromeda continues. Stay tuned. We are hoping to start showing some baby pictures soon. As always, stay healthy, stay safe and thank you for your ongoing support of Helix.

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