The MacValley blog


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Tom Briant

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Make a Clone, not just a Time Machine Backup, before upgrading to Mavericks

Before you upgrade to Mac, I have this piece of advice for you.

First, make sure you’ve run all the software updates from Apple on your 10.8.5 machine.

Second, AND MOST IMPORTANT, make a bootable clone of your current 10.8.5 system before you upgrade to 10.9. I just had a nasty surprise with 10.9 that I remedied by booting into 10.8.5 from my external hard drive.

If you’ve never made a bootable clone before and have doubts, call the Tech Daddy immediately.



If you can’t reach the Tech Daddy or prefer a woman’s touch , try Elena-Beth Kaye at Her Web site is here!

They’ll come over to your place and walk you through cloning your hard drive using Super-Duper from Shirt-Pocket Software This is a great piece of software that I use myself. I’ve paid the $27.95 for it and it’s worth every penny.

But I have to repeat. Make a clone of your functioning system before sailing off into the sunset on the good ship Mavericks.

Oh, and the nasty surprise? I couldn’t upload blog posts to MacValley! I’m using my 10.8.5 external hard drive for this purpose.

Read Topher Kessler’s CNET review of Mavericks here. That’s what Ken linked to above.

Tom Briant

Editor, Macvalley Blog

Senior Corespondent Arnold Woodworth has a review of the Obamacare enrollment process for us

MacValley's Own Ken Gruberman Writes About His Experience of Signing Up for Obama Care

I have a lot of respect for Ken's technical abilities.   God help less capable people.

He wrote:

I'm reviewing a process. Namely, the process involved with signing up for health care under the ACA, the Affordable Care Act.

The web site's user interface has both good and bad things.

The real culprit? Bad design from a totally out-of-touch website team that apparently never bought anything on the web.

In all it took about 90 minutes and two phone calls, but I prevailed. If the insurance company accepts my application as submitted, my reward for almost two hours of [problematic web site] torture will be a better policy than what I have now, at one-tenth the cost. I'd say that was worth whatever I had to go through.




Apple is either terrible at designing charts or thinks you won't notice the difference




The new iPad Mini affirms that Apple doesn't care about market share, just profit margins




Why a $2,999 Mac Pro is a great deal




How Apple’s Address Book app could allow the NSA to harvest your contacts

When syncing your Address Book to Gmail, HTTPS encryption isn't an option

addresses that automatically travel between Macs and Google servers are sent as plain text.

It's possible Apple developers haven't updated their code since Google introduced the change.




Robots will always be a step behind humans



Tech Comics: The History of Free

A good cartoon.  True in several ways.




Oh, That Stolen Identity? Not An Accident

Experian apparently sold data on millions of Americans, including social security, bank account and driver license numbers to a "service" that operated for the explicit purpose of stealing people's identity.




Police Executive Research Forum document (PDF) about using social media to analyze/control events




Police: NSA leaks threaten our ability to use invasive surveillance technologies

Law enforcement is confronted with a citizenry that is waking up to the reality of the surveillance state.




NSA Hacked Mexican Presidents' Email For Years

The National Security Agency hacked the email of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon.




Security Check Now Starts Long Before You Fly


CryptoSeal VPN shuts down rather than risk NSA demands for crypto keys

A consumer VPN service called CryptoSeal Privacy has shut down rather than risk government intrusions that could cost the company money in legal fees and threaten user privacy.

CryptoSeal will continue offering its business-focused VPN, but the consumer service is done, the company announced

The company referred to the case of Lavabit, an e-mail service that shut down rather than comply with government orders to monitor user communications.

"In good conscience there's no reason to continue running a US privacy VPN service without technical controls to prevent being compelled to screw over a user," RDL wrote.

Friday, October 25, 2013

It's Saturday, and Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth has articles for you.

Why Apple's Mac software isn't really free

Users will end up paying for the new operating system in other ways

The most surprising announcement at Apple's event Tuesday was the company's decision to give away the software that runs its computers. The Mac OS X operating system, for which in the past Apple has charged as much as $169, is now free.

But not exactly, tech analysts say.

probably ........ will be baked into the cost of hardware and other services going forward.

"Apple has basically established that there is more value than just an operating system," e-commerce consultant Eisenberg says. "It makes boatloads of money from the whole ecosystem.  Give people a great experience and they will pay for extras."





Why Apple Wants Its Software to Be Free

This runs counter to Microsoft's DNA as-at least until very recently-a software company. And let's give Redmond some credit: That strategy worked really, really well for a while.




Dear Apple, Thank You For Fixing The Worst Part Of iOS 7

In a new minor update to iOS 7 that launched this week, Apple gave users the option to switch off nearly all of the vomit-inducing animations. Before, you could only turn off the parallax effect. Now you can turn off the animations when opening up apps or folders.




Most online daters couldn't pass a polygraph

Lying is rampant on dating sites, new study suggests




As Europe erupts over US spying, NSA chief says government must stop media

both Germany and France exploded with anger over new revelations about pervasive NSAsurveillance on their population and democratically elected leaders.

note how leaders such as Chancellor Angela Merkel reacted with basic indifference when it was revealed months ago that the NSA was bulk-spying on all German citizens, but suddenly found her indignation only when it turned out that she personally was also targeted. That reaction gives potent insight into the true mindset of many western leaders.

are France and Germany allowing the person who enabled all these disclosures –Edward Snowden – to be targeted for persecution by the US government for the "crime" of blowing the whistle on all of this?



Feinstein defends NSA data collection and insists program is 'not surveillance'



The Electronic Frontier Foundation, security expert Bruce Schneier, and 23 others have called on antivirus providers around the world to protect their users against malware spawned by the National Security Agency and other groups that carry out government surveillance.



Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters

Promotional materials for private spy companies show that mass surveillance technology is being sold to police departments as a way to monitor dissent

Monday, October 21, 2013

Avatron Air Display 2 on sale today! Go get it

Avatron’s Air Display suite of programs, that turn your iPad (among others) into a second screen for your Mac, is Available today for 50% off. It’s a great way to combine your iPad/iPad mini with your Mac! Only $4.99 in the iTunes App Store!

Tom Briant

Editor, Macvalley Blog

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Quattro Pro Spreadsheet formats and the Mac-An Introduction

If you come to the Mac after working with Windows and MS-DOS for years, you may have worked with a spreadsheet that didn’t use the standard Microsoft Excel format. You may have used Quattro, Quattro Pro, or Quattro Pro for Windows.

You really do need a Windows machine to translate old Quattro Pro for DOS or Windows into a usable Mac format. You will have to break down and use the Microsoft Excel format, even if you swore you’d never touch another Microsoft product.

If you find yourself burdened with a bunch of old Quattro Pro for DOS (*.WQ1 or *.WQ2) file or Quattro Pro for Windows (*.wb1, *.wb2, *.qpw) documents and you need to translate them for use on a Mac, this is my advice.

(1) If you have access to a Windows XP/7/8 machine that you can add software to, go to the site and download a 30-day trial of WordPerfect Office x6. This software will work for 30 days without you buying it and should give you enough time to translate your Quattro files into Excel format.

(2) If your Mac has a virtual machine on it in the form of Parallels Desktop or VM Fusion or VirtualBox with at least Windows XP installed on it, download and install the trial version of WordPerfect Office x6 on it. You can translate your Quattro & WordPerfect files into Excel and Word format.

(3) If you saved your documents in .wb2/Quattro Pro 6.0 format; then you can open them in the free office suite from That, however, is the only Quattro Pro format that LibreOffice opens. And you’ll need to save them in Excel .xls or .xlsx format.

Quattro Pro is a niche product for Windows. Excel and its .xls format rules the roost as far as Mac spreadsheets are concerned. and to use Quattro Pro files with a Mac, you’ll need to convert them into Excel format.

Tom Briant

Editor MacValley Blog

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth has a potpourri of articles for you to read. Fix another cup of tea and dig i

Apple’s ‘spaceship’ HQ gets closer to reality:  New headquarters will be costly and seen only by select few
Other business titans have built fantastic skyscrapers in boom-and-bust periods — such as the late 1920s when Walter Chrysler built the Chrysler Building — only to see their fortunes reverse. This was dubbed the “skyscraper curse,” and it may be taking the form of a “campus curse” in Silicon Valley. Some readers have scoffed at this notion in the past, but there are others who agree that it exists.

Cupertino council clears huge Apple 'spaceship' campus for liftoff

Researchers challenge Apple's claim of unbreakable iMessage encryption
Report Says Apple Can Read Your iMessages, Apple Denies It
The claim that iMessage is protected by unbreakable encryption is "just basically lies," said Cyril Cattiaux, who has developed iOS jailbreak software and works for Quarkslab, a penetration testing and reverse engineering company in Paris.
The researchers emphasized they have no indication that Apple or the government is reading iMessages, only that it would be possible to do so.,2817,2425939,00.asp

Article on Apples new senior vice president of retail

glass screens on iPhones and Samsung phones highly susceptible to breaks, cracks, and scratches. If you don't have a cracked smartphone screen, you probably know someone who does.
But a product called the "ShatterProof" screen protector by Amzer claims it can keep your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy device "unbreakable."
Watch the video of people trying to break them.

As Twitter goes public, more tweets go private
Site makes it easier for firms to deal with complaints privately
Allowing more direct messages from consumers also gives companies an incentive to deal with a problem promptly - before a disgruntled customer goes public.

The Crazy, Awesome Life Of A Google Street View Trekker

Google’s new terms of service are harder to read than “Beowulf”
The difficulty users might have in understanding terms and conditions raises questions about what it means to give informed consent and the way agreements with service providers are constructed, says Mortier.

This Is The Only Mobile Payment System I Could Actually See Myself Using
The company is the iPhone of banking – using its app to manage your money, you see nothing but a beautiful and intuitive user interface. All that ugly financial wizardry that we know has to happen stays where it belongs: out of sight. In short, Simple is a virtual alternative to your regular banking account.
The problem they most recently solved?
Mobile payments.
Any two people who are physically near each other and have a Simple account can send each other money.

You Can Get The Wisdom Of Nobel Prize Winner Robert Shiller For Free Online
Shiller recorded 26 free podcasts on topics ranging from options markets to portfolio diversification — they're up on iTunes for you to enjoy.

C.I.A. Disputes Early Suspicions on Snowden
The C.I.A. said that it did not suspect Edward J. Snowden of gaining access to computer files without authorization when he was working as a technician for the agency in Geneva in 2009, and did not send him home as a result.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The head of Burberry joins Apple's top management

Angela Ahrendts, CEO of the British fashion house Burberry, joined Apple’s top executives as the newest Senior Vice-President and head of the on-line and brick & mortar Apple stores. I wish better success than the last two men. Ron Johnson and his sponsor, the billionaire hedge funder owner of J.C. Penny, thought he could apply his magic at the Apple Store to the lagging J.C. Penny stores. Er, it didn’t work out that way. The other guy, John Whatshisname from England, wasn’t a good fit. So I have hopes for Angela.

Hiring the head of a fashion house means Apple admits the obvious. If you display an Apple product in public, you make a fashion statement as well as one about your technical abilities.

Now will all the men who make the presentations tuck in their shirts and wear dress pants instead of jeans? What about the attire of the sales associates at the Apple Store? We will see next Tuesday how great a fashion impact she’s had on Apple so far.

Less facetiously, Mavericks will soon come out. Perhaps next Wednesday the 23rd as rumored and perhaps we’ll have to wait if a last-minute bug is found. Please, no last-minute bugs!

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Morning Rant and tips from Joe Kissell

First, the morning rant. Apparently, you can get paid in real money-not the bit coin malarkey-for writing “Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs. Therefore, Apple is doomed! Doomed, I tell you!”

Obviously it’s a matter of who you know rather than what you write. I could use some of the cash passed out for writing doom-and-gloom pieces about Apple.

I have terrible vision and I can tell that Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs. Steve didn’t hire Tim as his replicant. He hired Tim to manage Apple’s production line from end to end.

Steve, in turn, hired Jonny Ivey to handle industrial design. Bob Mansfield took care of the inner hardware. Craig and Scott took care of the software. Until Scott got booted and Craig took over both sides of software.

In my humble opinion, the writers who say that Apple is doomed base their opinion on the fact that Apple didn’t share knowledge of the next 3 to 5 years with them and 20 of their best friends.

Apple doesn’t sell as many desktop computers as it did in past quarters. The trend for desktop computers is a plateau. The trend for tablets is up, up, and away.

Right now, Apple continues to hold the lead in tablets. Android tablets will narrow the gap in years to come. I say “narrow,” because until someone comes up with an Android on-line app store comparable in quality, quantity, and safety to the iTunes App Store, users with the cash to spend for any tablet will go for Apple.

End of morning rant.

Time for the tips

Joe Kissell wrote and produced a brief video up on today about brushing up on your Spotlight search skills. I found it helpful and you can find it here.

Tom Briant

Editor, Macvalley Blog

Saturday, October 12, 2013

It's Saturday; therefore, it's time for Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth!

Enterprises Will Love Apple's New 'Mavericks' Operating System, Expert Says

Like the rest of the PC industry, sales of Apple Macs have been declining, consumed by the tablet, namely the iPad.

But what these numbers don't show is that Apple has been winning in the one area it never really owned before: enterprise.




Mac sales dropped 11% from last year's third quarter to 1.9 million

PC sales have been sliding largely due to the rapid growth of mobile devices, led by tablets and smartphones.




Check Out What's Happened To The Windows PC Market Since Apple Launched The iPad




Hundreds of American companies are lying about data privacy and trade could suffer as a result

The US-EU Safe Harbor agreement is even more ineffective than previously thought.

Either the US will have to take European concerns about data protection more seriously or American firms will have to substantially change the way they do business so they can keep customer data within Europe's borders. Neither seems likely at the moment. But the EU may just force America's hand.




China has more internet monitors than soldiers

China has two million people working as online monitors.

There is now an entire industry and profession dedicated to controlling-or attempting to control-China's fast-moving social media world.

Social media monitoring, a measure whose ostensible goal is social stability, has been turned into a "money-making machine for local governments [and] firms.




FBI's Arrest Of Alleged Silk Road Founder Perfectly Timed To Reveal A 'Treasure Trove' Of Information

the FBI had Ulbricht dead to rights, but they didn't just storm after him, they watched and waited until just the right moment.

FBI agents had tailed him, waiting for the 29-year-old to open his computer and enter his passwords before swooping in. They marched him out of the library without incident.

By waiting until Ulbricht had input his password into his laptop, FBI agents were able to get full access to his archive and accounts — a treasure trove of intelligence on the criminal network that made up the Silk Road.




The Mathematician's Defense of Bitcoin: It's Just Another Option




Harvard Business School Launching Online Learning Initiative

Harvard’s initiative follows a major push into online business education by Wharton.




What's the Big Deal About Big Data?




What the NSA is doing with all our data

in many cases, information carrying no apparent investigative value is treated no differently from information that does give rise to reasonable suspicion of criminal or terrorist activity. Basically, the chaff is treated the same as the wheat.

When the NSA is collecting so much data and not sifting the wheat from the chaff, can all these mountains of data really hold the key to protecting the nation?

If you’re looking for a needle in a haystack, a bigger haystack doesn’t help.




How The NSA Deploys Malware: An In-Depth Look at the New Revelations




How the NSA identifies Tor users in 6 easy steps

Despite these efforts, the NSA has apparently had little success identiying specific Tor users at will, and has been unable to peel back the veil of anonymity that protects the network as a whole.




Don't Snoop Me Bro Tunnel

VPN services -- even ones targeted at consumers -- can be challenging to configure, putting privacy out of reach for non-technical users.

But the DSMB Tunnel is a device to establish an on-demand Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnel with no user setup.




The whistleblowers who visited Snowden




Google just granted itself the right to use your name and photo in its online ads

Google just got a tad creepier.

Thanks to tweaks made to its terms of service today, Google will be able to use its users’ names and photos in select advertising beginning next month.

Google could use your picture to claim that you endorsed things that you really don't approve of.  Advertisers will pay Google, but not you.




Facebook gets rid of setting that lets users control who can search for them




From Now On, No One On Facebook Can Hide From You (Unless They Block You)




How to Protect Your Privacy from Facebook's Graph Search



So much data, so little security -- what happens if your city gets hacked?

To date, users have agreed to give away certain discrete pieces of information -- such as a name or email addresses -- in exchange for something -- a product or a service, for instance.

That situation is no longer viable

For instance, a mobile phone app may ask for permission to use your location data, but it isn't always apparent or disclosed how that data will be used later.

"We're talking about the legal acquisition of data," Mundie said. "We need a usage-based way of controlling it, with a cryptographic wrapper and then policies and laws that govern usage."

He called for a new class of felony for people or organizations that subvert these policies. Without such a change, "the penalty is too low" and people will continue to subvert the laws.

The wrappers would be akin to the digital rights management systems that now protect movie or music ownership, where people or companies hold keys that allow appropriate use of the information.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Morning and it's time for Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Roundup

Why Investors Hate Apple -- and Are Dead Wrong





Apple is sitting on 10% of all US corporate cash





the first interesting search engine since Google

One of Blippex's key selling points is that Kossatz and Baeck are fanatical about privacy.

Google's algorithm -- called PageRank -- evaluates the relevance of a site according to how many other pages on the web link to it.  Blippex's algorithm, called DwellRank, decides relevance based on how long users spend on a site and how many times Blippex users have visited it.

The world's most user-ignorant search engine

Kossatz and Baeck are continually thinking about how to make Blippex know even less about its users. If Blippex doesn't have a piece of data, it can't ever be stolen by hackers or subpoenaed by a government. To that end, they've made Blippex's browser plugin open-source, so that anyone can examine its code and verify that it's not grabbing information the team says it isn't.





Your body is the next frontier in cybercrime

In-body medical devices are the next cyber-hacking frontier.





How a Purse Snatching Led to the Legal Justification for NSA Domestic Spying





EFF Gives Expert Testimony on NSA Spying in Challenge to British Surveillance Program

The pervasiveness of US surveillance on people who are not “US persons” makes standing up for these rights more important than ever. EFF is delighted to assist our colleagues and our European members in this fight.





Security Expert: “We Have To Assume That The NSA Has EVERYONE Who Uses Electronic Communications Under CONSTANT Surveillance”





Everything you need to know about the NSA and Tor in one FAQ





NSA attempted to de-anonymize Tor, with little success

With manual analysis they can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users.





How The NSA Pulls Off Man-In-The-Middle Attacks: With Help From The Telcos

To trick targets into visiting a FoxAcid server, the NSA relies on its secret partnerships with US telecoms companies. As part of the Turmoil system, the NSA places secret servers, codenamed Quantum, at key places on the internet backbone. This placement ensures that they can react faster than other websites can. By exploiting that speed difference, these servers can impersonate a visited website to the target before the legitimate website can respond, thereby tricking the target's browser to visit a Foxacid server.

In the academic literature, these are called "man-on-the-middle" attacks.





California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law on Thursday to give journalists in the state five days' notice before government agencies serve subpoenas on their records held by third parties, such as phone companies and internet service providers.

The California law comes after two cases earlier this year that sparked debate about whether the U.S. Justice Department had infringed on the free-speech rights of journalists in aggressive probes of government leaks.





NSA chief’s admission of misleading numbers adds to Obama administration blunders

the chief of the National Security Agency admitted that officials put out numbers that vastly overstated the counterterrorism successes of the government’s warrantless bulk collection of all Americans’ phone records.



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