Aug 28

Remove Genieo from your Mac

popupFrom time to time, when downloading legitimate applications, they come bundled with utilities that are both self promoting and buggy. MacKeeper comes to mind and I have written about that digital excrement before here but this time I need to warn you about Genieo.

I first noticed Genieo a few years ago on a clients computer.  Back then thought it was something she had downloaded for her own purposes and so I didn’t mention it. But in recent weeks I have found 4 macs infected with Mac Trojans and this is a stark contrast to the zero I have discovered in the last 25 years…. so I thought something was up. The trojans were continually putting up ads in Safari or offers to enter competitions when the client was trying to browse.

I was shocked by this sudden leap in infections and when I started looking into it I discovered that nearly all of these clients had Genieo installed.

Now I am not saying that Genieo is a trojan or a virus or even that it is evil. But its definitely self promoting and does little to enhance your Mac. Needless to say I removed it quick smart and I advise you do as well.

So, how do you know if you have it installed?

If Genieo is installed you will see an icon – looks something like a house – in the menubar. If you click on it you’ll see a menu something like this.


Steps to remove

1. Click on the Genieo menu and choose Quit

2. go to this address

3. Click on Uninstall Genieo and follow the prompts.

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Aug 28

Rules to deal with scams

This article is probably the kind of thing you should print out and put next to your computer. Its probably worth forwarding onto your friends as well.


Scams are getting more and more personal, with maggots masquerading as human beings calling you up to fleece you up close and personal. Sometimes it is a very convincing looking email that traps you. If you are on the net or you answer your telephone (rather than always letting it go through to voicemail – scammers don’t leave messages) then you need to remain ever watchful.

Here are some simple rules I use to protect myself –  hope they help.




If someone from Microsoft, Telstra, Apple….anyone, calls you out of the blue with bad news about your computer – HANG UP.



Example…if Telstra call you, hang up, find the number for Telstra and call them yourself. DON’T USE ANY NUMBERS SUPPLIED BY THE CALLER.



No bank. No financial institution, no business worth its salt, will ever email you and ask for personal details, bank details or ask you to <<CLICK HERE>>  in order to access your account. Delete the email and then log onto the bank or financial institution using the link you have always used and check it out yourself. Or call the bank and ask them if your account is OK.


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Aug 28

What is Preview and how do I get the full version?


I will admit, Apple’s built in PDF and picture viewing application is badly named and most people think its a demo version of something. The word Preview, seems to suggest that you use this to look at something but if you actually want to DO anything with that document you need to find another application.

Preview is a handy and powerful little tool that goes about its business without shouting loudly about what it does, nor is it weighed down by a heavy interface and buggy programming (I am looking at you Acrobat Reader)

It is your built in PDF reader

PDF is a format that allows documents to be sent across the internet without  losing any of their original formatting -  Government departments and businesses post all their forms and leaflets in PDF format. So does m@c services.

PDF is built right into the core of the MacOS so the Mac tends to handle PDF files quickly and without fuss and you can do neat things like create PDF files right from the print menu.

It is your default picture viewer

If you double click on a FPEG or a TIFF or a PNG, Preview will fire up and show you said picture. No flashy lights, no overdone sidebars or palettes…. just the picture. What a concept. From there you can convert the picture to another format, make it smaller (easier for emailing) or easily post it to Facebook or Twitter or sms.

It is your enhancement tool

Once you have opened the PDF or JPEG file you might want to add notes to it, highlight a section or draw arrows or boxes. These features come in very handy if you want to single something out and a lot of people use these augmentation tools when putting together documentation.

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So, before you go ahead and download utilities to reduce JPEG file sizes or Adobe Reader to view PDF files, have a look at the application built into your Mac – Preview.




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Jul 27

Friends don’t let friends use XP

winxpproReading the title of this article you’ll be expecting me to start banging on about Windows and how bad it is, how the Mac is so much better and how you ought to be encouraging your friends to make the switch now.

Not this time. Well….. not much anyway.

Really this is about Windows XP had how it is no longer supported by Microsoft. How 3rd party developers will (if they haven’t already) stop developing and updating their software for XP. Put simply, it is out in the cold and getting more and more insecure and irrelevant every hour.

If your friend is running XP they have really two choices, Windows 8 or a  Mac.

Windows 8 is a HUGE departure from how most people use a computer and since its release it has been slammed by users and interface specialist around the world. Microsoft themselves have released a number of updates in an attempt to squash these complaints and their last one basically stripped out everything that made Windows 8 new.

What remained was something that looks like an unfinished copy of Windows 7. But it works and most of the software on their XP machine will work.

The alternative is moving to a Mac and since I have done a fair number of these I think I can anticipate some of the questions your friend will have.

None of my documents will open.

Yes they will. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, pictures, music* are all in formats that are cross platform.

What software will I need?

In almost 100% of cases  your XP friend will be running Office, so buying the Mac version of Office would be a good idea. Although it must be said that Pages (free), Open Office (free) will open Word files.

How do I get my documents, settings across?

With Lion Apple introduced a Windows version of the Migration Assistant that Mac users have been enjoying for years. In a nutshell you connect both computers to the same network (wired or wireless). Download the Windows Migration Assistant from Apple and the Mac will transfer all the documents, pictures, music, email, bookmarks and so on and put them all in the correct locations. Of course if that sounds scary we can do that for them.

What about my printer and scanner?

If they are less than 5 years old there is a very good chance that they will work with your Mac.


* Music purchased online from any service other than iTunes will likely have security. These files cannot be played. Music ripped from a CD or purchased from iTunes are in the clear.


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Jun 09

New operating system coming in Spring – Yosemite.


Come Spring Apple will be unleashing their latest operating system, Yosemite–and with it will come the usual questions and hand wringing.

What’s going change? How will it affect my Mac and will I have to learn how to use it all over again? Is my Mac ready?

The good news is, at least at this stage, there is very little to fear and a lot to look forward too.

I installed the beta 1 copy on my Mac and while not everything works as it should, and lets face it how could we expect it would, you can already see that the new operating system is going to be a joy to use. Mostly.

This latest refresh has definitely been influenced by the flatter cleaner lines of iOS7 (and iOS8) in an attempt to blur the lines between using your iPhone, your iPad and your Mac. This frankly unexpected move started last year with Mavericks and the introduction of companion applications that mirrored the functionality of their iOS7 brethren. You could create reminders and notes and they would appear on your iPhone or iPad via iCloud. You could look up map locations and send the directions to your phone and sharing your thoughts via Twitter or Facebook was just a click away. Yosemite maintains all of these functions and enhances them further.

In another attempt at “cleaning up” the MacOS the system font has been changed to something thinner and lighter.


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The frames of the windows are also flat and simple but not in anyway austere.


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Notification, that funny icon in the far right of the screen – you know, the one you never use – has been given widgets that allow you to add the calculator, world times plus more. This makes it somewhere you might actually want to go.


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Spotlight has been dragged from appearing as a tiny little dialog box in the top right hand corner to a whopping great panel in the centre of the screen. More info, more purposeful and smarter as well giving you information from your Mac, the web all at once.

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Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 6.16.02 pmWith the exception of some fixes under the bonnet, Mail looks pretty much as it always has but now the with the new Markup feature you can draw and annotate files inside your emails before you send them which takes a number of steps and some guess work out of adding contents to photos.

Possibly one of the best new features is a function called Handoff and this one really does blur the lines between Mac and iOs device without, I am glad to say, turning the MacOS into a giant iPhone, ala Windows 8. Handoff allows you to finish a message or an email, web browsing or document that you have already started on your iPhone or iPad and continue it on your Mac – or visa vera.. Imagine this… You are at work, getting a coffee and you start an email to a colleague. You are halfway though the email when you sit down at your Mac. With Yosemite running, by now you would have noticed a little icon of a mail message appear to the left of your dock. Now all you do is put down the phone, click on the icon and you are instantly plonked into Mail to finish your email where you left off. If Steve where around he would have said that this was magical, and he’d be right.


And not only that, but if your phone rings in the other room, the call will appear on your Mac screen and you can take the call right there.


So with Yosemite running on your Mac it will look familiar, work the same but will have a heap of new features that will make life simpler and a tad more productive. Even fun again. I am happy to report that nearly 100% of my applications, utilities and interface enhancements worked just fine under this new order. Even my printer which has got to be close to 150 years old was happy to work.

Generally if you are running 10.8 or 10.9 now you should have nothing to worry about and the latest info seems to suggest that it will run on a iMac built in 2007.

But I am afraid there is one elephant in the room and I am sad to say it is a particularly ugly elephant. I am, of course, referring to the new icons.

In a word, they are appalling.


As you can see the dock is now 2D and all the icons have that flat, textureless look. But none of that bothers me. What bothers me are the dimensions of the icons, specifically Mail, Contacts and Calendar. They look deformed and unbalanced but worst of all they look like I designed them. In the meantime I have added my own icons and in my humble opinion they look a lot better and right at home. I hope Apple read this :-)

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Failing this I am holding out hope that these are simply place holders. The designers are saying to us “don’t worry, they are serving a purpose now but we’ll fix them before the curtain goes up.”

But I thought that about some of the icons that came out for iOS7 and look how that turned out!




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