Sep 10

See if you have been hacked or not


Mac or Windows, ACT or interstate, you might want pass this post onto your friends.

Most people take their security very seriously. They lock windows, they don’t leave keys in the front door, they slap a password on their Mac and a pin code on their iPhone.

We have all heard the mantra “don’t open unfamiliar emails” or “don’t click on suspicious links” and it swims around inside our heads every time we interact with technology which is, these days, constantly. For these reasons very few of us are victims of foul play and so the maggots that want to steal from us resort to telephone scams instead.

We continue to watch ourselves and our friends but no matter how careful we are, if we put our details into a website – whether it be to buy groceries on line or dabble in the stock market – we are relying on that website taking our security as seriously as we do. Sadly, this is not always the case or possible.

Over the years there have been a number of high profile hacks that have seen our user names (usually our email addresses) and passwords for that site exposed. In short, despite your best efforts your security has been comprised.

So, what to do?

Well, for starters this has to be the best argument for not using the same password over and over again. If Mr Slime-bag has your email address and a password, it might very well try these details in other popular websites or services to see if the same combination has been used elsewhere.

Before you know it, that one hack has lead to several hacks.

The second thing would be to use any form of two-step authentication on offer. Google and Apple have, for years now, offered a system where by everytime you log into your account a code is sent to your phone that you must enter before proceeding. If you haven’t done so already you can set up two-step authentication on your Apple account here and google here.

Unfortunately we have now come to the icky part… namely, have you actually been hacked. Or more specifically, has a business you’ve sign up too been hacked. One of the best ways to find out is to go to which in itself sounds dodgy but I promise you is legit.

Go here and type in your email address and/or user name that you have used in the past.

If you have been hacked you’ll get a list of the websites or services affected. From here you can do a couple of things:

  1. Login to that website and change your password. (chances are you’ll be forced to anyway)
  2. If you believe the password you used at this site is the same as other, as yet unhacked sites, log into those and change those details.

But before you get carried away, make sure these are sites you’ve actually logged into in the past. As a test I typed in “renny” and found I had been hacked on and a Vista website neither of which I have ever been on.

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Aug 21

Key Commands


Legend has it that the mouse was always meant as a ‘learning’ tool and eventually we were meant to graduate to key commands. Well that didn’t work out so well did it!

The mouse is vital, I think we all agree, but there are a number of very useful key commands that can be used in combination with the mouse to help speed things up.

Here then, are some useful key commands that can be used to speed up your day.

Lets start with the Finder, that smiling Face icon in your Dock that controls how the Mac actually administers files, menus and windows. (that’s windows with a small ‘w’ not Windows – that OTHER operating system) then I will move to other applications.


Shift-Command -Q will log you out but you’ll be asked to confirm this is what you want to do.

This is instead of: Clicking on the Apple menu and choosing Logout

Option-Shift-Command -Q will log you out without asking.

Command-Tab will let you cycle through all your applications. Keep pressing the Tab key until the application you want is highlighted then release and the application will come to the foreground.

This is instead of: Moving down to the dock and clicking on the application you want.

Command-spacebar will bring up Spotlight search.

This is instead of: Clicking on the Spotlight menu icon in the upper menu.

Pressing the Esc key or command-spacebar again will make it disappear.

Command-N will bring up a new Finder window.

This is instead of: Clicking on the File menu and choosing New Finder Window

Command-Shift-N will create a new folder on the desktop or open window.

This is instead of: Clicking on the Finder menu and choosing New Folder.

Shift-Command-O will open the Documents folder.

This is instead of: locating the Documents folder in the sidebar or drilling down though your disk to find it.

Shift-Command-A will open the Applications folder.

This is instead of: locating the Applications folder in the sidebar or drilling down though your disk to find it.


Command-N will open a new mail.

This is instead of: Click on the File menu and choosing New Message.

Fun Fact… you can press the TAB key to move to Subject and then TAB again to the message field and start typing. Then…

Command-Shift-D will send the email.

This is instead of: Clicking on the Send Mail icon.

Command-Q will exit the application. (This is true for all applications )

This is instead of: Clicking on the File menu and choosing Quit.

Any Application

Command-Q will exit the application.

This is instead of: This is instead of: Clicking on the File menu and choosing Quit.

Command-P will print the open document.

This is instead of: This is instead of: Clicking on the File menu and choosing print.

Command-S will save the document.

This is instead of: This is instead of: Clicking on the File menu and choosing Save.

These are just a couple of my favourite and most often used key commands. There a heap more and a good list can be found here on the Apple website.

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Jun 15

There is a CD drive lurking in your house

Remember CDs? Those things that used to have music on them. Those things that used to dominate every office draw and cram the shelves in every electronics store?

I last saw one in a movie starring Madonna before her nose job.

Anyway point is they are not used much anymore and your recently purchased laptop or iMac doesn’t have a CD drive at all.

Now while it is true that Apple (and others) will sell you a fancy external CD drive (if you really feel the need to have something to pull out of a draw once every few years), the fact is you’ve probably already got a CD drive in your house that can be used by all your laptops and skinny iMacs?

If you have a 2010 or earlier iMac or MacBook in the house you can actually use the Remote Disc option to access CD or DVD data on your new, cd driveless, Mac.

This is how…

1. Locate your old iMac/MacBook. It will be the fat one with the slot running down one edge.

2. Click on the Apple menu and choose System Preferences.

3. Click on Sharing.

4. Put a tick next to DVD or CD sharing and, if you want a hassle free experience, be sure to uncheck the Ask me before allowing others… option.

5. Go to your new Mac and open any window and click on the Remote Disc icon in the sidebar.

Magically your old iMac will appear and then, in the fullness of time, so shall your CD. From here you can open the CD and install software or access the data just like it was 2001.

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Jun 15

How do you play music in your lounge room?

I am wondering… do you have hundreds, maybe thousands, of songs on your iPhone or iPod. Do you have just as many CDs in the cupboard? Perhaps these CDs helped create the empire of music on your idevice?

But is this music only played in certain places or particular times? Is your workout rocked out to playlists you’ve skilfully mashed together while your dinner parties are forever linked to a few Elvis Presley CDs on loop? (I am talking to you Cyn)

Well your sleepless nights are over because there is a way that all the music that the Internet has to offer, as well as the music collection you have been forging, can be everywhere and enjoyed by everybody.

Apple TV

I have written about Apple’s little hobby before but in recent months it has started to emerge as a very important part of Apple’s overall strategy. It is rumoured to be the centre piece in their Homekit products but for now it is just a little black box that beams iTunes, Netflix, movies and TV Shows into your living room. And it can do music as well.

It is a fair bet that most people have a TV and that this TV is less than 5 years old. In this case it is likely to have HDMI and that, as well as the assumed internet connection, is all you need to have the Apple TV pump music into your living room.

Apple Music

Because the Apple TV is primarily used to play movies and TV, it is usually plugged into a sound system of some kind allowing it to belt out the movies soundtrack to levels worthy of a knock at the front door. This also means that it will play your music at, hopefully, more subdued levels.

If you have an Apple Music subscription then this will be an option on the screen and all you do is choose your favourite artist or station and enjoy your night.

Your Music

Of course the other option is to enjoy the music that is sitting – these days increasingly unloved – on your Mac. The Computers option will allow you to connect to your Mac and play all your music and playlists – assuming you have launched iTunes on your Mac first.

Your iPhone or iPad 



By far the sexiest – and most likely to be abused by your guests – is the Airplay option. Assuming your iPad or iPhone is connected to the same network as your Apple TV, you can always use the AirPlay option to stream all the music from your iPhone or iPad to your speakers via the Apple TV. Only drawback here is dinner guests often want to use their iPhone or iPad to pump out their Elvis music – on loop.

Open Music on your iPhone or iPad and tap on the Source icon.

Then choose your Apple TV and play music in the usual way. Instead of playing from your iPhone it will come out via the speakers attached to your Apple TV.


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