Sep 30

Shellshock- are you at risk.

bash_shellshockAbout a week ago a security flaw was discovered the Unix operating system. This immediately began sounding alarm bells around the world because the Unix operating system is imbedded in a lot of technology these days- including your Macintosh.

Despite the fact that this security issue is widespread and potentially disastrous –  in realistic terms there is little or no chance that your Mac will be exploited using this technique. Nevertheless Apple (moving a little slower than others if I’m honest) released a security update to plug the hole that has been there – by the way – for decades.

You will need to download the correct update depending on which version of the operating system you are running (Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, and so on)

If you are unsure what your operating system is go to the Apple menu and choose About this Mac.

10.7.x is Lion, 10.8.x is Mountain Lion and 10.9.x is Mavericks.

All of the updates can be located here.

The process is very quick and does not require a reboot but if you receive a regular health check from us this will be done as part of your next session.

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Sep 29

Have the Mac read your files to avoid mistakes

DSCN6870Eye don’t know about you but I suffer from word blindness. In case you don’t know what that is, it is a condition where you write something down and no matter how many times you look at it, read it (even out loud) it looks OK to you. This is because you KNOW what you MEANT to write so your mind fills in the blanks…. or is blinded to the mistake.

One method to avoid this is to have your Mac read your emails or fiels before your send them or give them to others and this is how its done.

1. Click and drag all or a portion of the text.

2. Right mouse click and choose Speech and then Start Speaking.

3. The Mac will start reading the text and if you hear something off, simply right mouse click again and choose Speech and then Stop Speaking. Correct the mistake and then start again.

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 9.50.02 pm

If its a long email or file it might be a good idea to do this in chunks because once the talking starts it will go on – relentlessly – until the end and you might very well become a little deaf to the errors…as well as blind.


Oh, and the errors were on purpose. Just me being silly. :-)


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Sep 29

Seldom used features part 6

question_makrs_cutie_mark_by_rildraw-d4byewlHere are two features of the MacOSX I bet you don’t use because, well, because they are not often spoken about and, unless you watch Apple keynotes at 3am in the morning, Apple has never advertised.

Imagine you have a dozen or so files that you want to put into a folder. In years gone by you had to create the folder, give it a name and then drag the files to the freshly minted folder.
Not any longer.
In Mavericks you simply select the files you want, right mouse click and choose New Folder with Selection and the folder is automatically created and the files inserted.

See a demonstration

The other quick and dirty feature involves sharing. Admittedly this is a little more skewed towards people with Twitter or Facebook accounts but it works just as well if you want to share something via email.

If you have a document or picture you want to email to someone, simply right mouse click on the file(s) and choose Share and then Email.

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 9.21.45 pm

Of course if you wanted to Tweet or post the file on Facebook you could choose one of those instead.

The same action can be found in most Mavericks applications but the one most likely to be used is found in Safari.

Imagine you are surfing the web and you find an article or a page that just must be shared!!!

In the menubar of the browser is an icon that looks something like a box with an arrow coming out of it. By clicking on this icon you are presented with the , now very familiar, sharing options of email, Facebook and so on.

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 9.27.03 pm

If you choose Twitter or Facebook from the list the page is neatly clipped to a little note – that you can add your own thoughts to – and then it is quickly posted. (or tweeted depending on your chosen social media obsession)


Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 9.33.45 pm

Happy organising. Oh, and happy sharing.

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Sep 26

Bend gate – meh!

bendy-iphone-6-dataIn advertising it is consider a badge of honor if 9/10 mums, or chemists or doctors agree or recommend …..such and such.
I doubt it very much if anyone would feel compelled to take any product seriously that boasted 9 out of 10,000,000 people think this brand of toothpaste (or anything for that matter) is the best. You’d be putting faith in a group of people that represented 0.00009% of the population.

Crazy! But that is precisely what people are doing when it comes to the so called “Bend-Gate”

As it turns out only 9 people have reported that their iPhone 6 Plus has bent in their pocket but the fact that they were able to video this and then post it on youtube has made it a bigger issue than the actual launch. As always this is perpetrated by slavering trolls who sniff and scratch about the internet just waiting for anything to go wrong with an Apple device just so they can post about it – no doubt to make them feel better about the fact that their phone is a half baked copy of something they were to stingy to buy in the first place.

But before it was revealed just how few people were affected by this no one ever asked where this stuff was coming from!

Was it an isolated manufacturing fault? Was it user abuse or just outright stupidity?
I for one have never felt the urge to sit on my phone and use it like a cushion- in much the same way I have never been tempted to use my flat screen TV as a coffee table.

It’s common sense that a thin metal box, when sat upon, will likely bend.

It’s called physics.

Thankfully ConsumerReports entered with controlled testing and, surprise surprise, discovered that the whole thing was overblown. Their conclusion was that while the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were not the strongest phones in the world, they were well within acceptable guidelines. As a matter of fact their testing revealed that it takes 90 pounds of pressure to bend an iPhone 6 (6 plus) – about the same as 3 pencils.

Interestingly they found the Galaxy Note 3 took 150 pounds of pressure to bend – perfectly consistent with the fact that it is 40 grams heavier and 1.4mm thicker…… so it has more meat on its bones. So obviously the answer is…treat the phone according to its size and weight.

Common sense I guess, but then common sense is not all that common so maybe these people should have tried holding the phone up to their ear instead of their brains.

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Sep 20

IOS8 and iPhone6

tim-cook-wears-black-roshe-run-to-announce-iphone-6When the iPad was released in 2010 Steve claimed that the 9 inch form factor was “the optimum size”. History has proved him wrong with the iPad Mini being favored by most of today’s iPad buyers and while I cannot claim to have insider knowledge surrounding the decision to give the original iPhone a 4 inch screen I suspect it was because Apple were determined that the iPhone could be used with one hand.

Samsung, devoid of any original ideas, copied the iPhone without any shame and didn’t even have the decency to improve on the concept. In fact- with help from Android – they only succeeded in cheapening the model and the interface and the court case and subsequent the resulting billion dollar fine seemed to confirm this.
One thing Samsung did do was popularized the larger screen phone. I am not talking about the Phablet, but the 4.8 inch screen introduced by the Galaxy S – the first Android phone to sell well. From that moment on it was clear that “some” people preferred a larger screen and yet Apple resisted coming out with the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5S with taller screens but not wider screens.
So why would the people who pioneered the iPhone not produce a larger screen phone because it wouldn’t have be hard to do? The simple answer is the one they came out with during the iPhone 5s launch – that they were committed to the idea of using the a phone with one hand hadn’t yet fingered out how to make a large phone work this way.
Being totally devoid of any innovative abilities Samsung had simply made the phone bigger without figuring out (or caring presumably) about the user experience. Smart watches that actually do very little and what little they do do isn’t done very well. Phones that have an interface that looks like it was copied from an iPhone by someone wearing boxing gloves and TVs that have 101 features – none of which work well or is anything anyone wants. But at least they can say the features are there- regardless of how useless they are.

So, by now you’ll be wondering what has happened to Apple’s concept of using the phone with one hand now that they have released the iPhone 6 (4.7 inch screen) and the iPhone 6 Plus (5.5 inch screen)?
Well with all the improved design, the new body shape, the improved battery life and the improved camera the ace in the whole turns out to be a new gesture called “reachabilty”. The simple gesture of lightly pressing twice on the home button moves the whole screen down so you can, still with one hand, reach the top most icons and arrows.
I first saw this demonstrated at the keynote address and I must confess I didn’t think it was something I’d ever use and in any case Samsung already have a similar function and it doesn’t work. But in just 24 hours it has become common place- almost second nature and it seems, again, Apple have taken the time to make it actually work for the user.
Suddenly the convenience of looking at websites and emails with a larger screen doesn’t mean I always have to use two hands to use my phone. And the genius of this gesture is that it renders even the ridiculous iPhone 6 Plus simple to use with one hand.

Suddenly the new iPhones mean there really isn’t any need to but an Android because the only lead they ever had (larger screens) has been surpassed and in a spectacular way. Now you can a phone that has a rock solid and consistent interface that is both secure and easy to use on a large screen.

See reachability in action here.

The other jewel was the release of iOS 8 and while it’s not radically different from the iOS 7 in terms of looks, it has enough under the bonnet to warrant the upgrade.
For starters iOS 8 now supports extensions. This technology (a catch up from Andriod if I Aam honest) means that for the first time iOS now shares some of its core services with third party developers.
What the hell does that mean?
Instead of separate camera apps (as an example) that do things the built in camera app doesn’t do, these features just appear when you launch the camera app. In a similar way there are now lol kinds of keyboards available and password manager apps now work right inside Safari in the same way it does on the desktop.
Anyone who has tried those 1Password on an iPhone will be dancing in the street right about now.

Then there are the nifty little things like being able to reply to a text message without leaving the app you are in. Or being able to activate Siri by simply saying “hey siri”….. You don’t need to even touch the phone. The list goes on and on and a comprehensive list of all the features The can be found here.

With the combination of iOS 8 and the new phones the future seems bright again. No need (if in fact there was ever a need) to feel ashamed that your phone only came in one size.
This new found optimism is encapsulated- I think- by Steve Wozinak (cofounder of Apple) who has for a while now been an Android user. After the launch he announced he was “throwing away all his android phones”
I guess he was waiting for a larger screen as well.

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