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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mac at 30: Stephen Fry on Apple's genius - Telegraph

Now for a British take on Apple at 30. The self-proclaimed “second man in England to buy a Mac” on the Mac, a missed opportunity for Steve Jobs to see the World Wide Web at its inception, and Jonny Ive’s fear of being fired in the Great Purge of ’97 at Apple.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog




Mac at 30: Stephen Fry on Apple's genius - Telegraph: ""


Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekend Wrapup from the Web

The Introduction Of The Apple Macintosh In 1984 Changed an Author's Life

The Incredible 30-Year Evolution Of The Mac

Apple CEO Tim Cook Addresses NSA Concerns in Rare Interview

Apple Is Already Way Ahead In Mobile Payments

Here's How Rich You'd Be If You'd Bought Apple Stock Instead Of Its Gadgets

How To See All The Companies That Are Tracking You On Facebook — And Block Them

The 3 Big Risks Steve Jobs Took With The Original Mac

How Use Of Macs Has Changed In The Last 30 Years

1984 Macintosh vs. Today's Apple iMac: Spec Showdown,2817,2429830,00.asp

Former Apple CEO John Sculley recalls the Macintosh launch

Friday, January 24, 2014

Clean My Mac 2 review

Last week, I reviewed Washing Machine 2014 by Intego Software. Now I will review Clean My Mac 2 by MacPaw


Washing Machine sought to clean up your Mac’s files of garbage files (cruft), duplicates, and then clean up your Mac’s desktop and dock for more efficiency. Its metaphor is a washing machine

Clean My Mac 2, by comparison, seeks to clean out your Mac of files you don’t use any more. It offers no desktop & dock optimization, but more file cleaning tools. Its metaphor is a vacuum cleaner.


Automatic Cleanup

You can start with the Automatic Cleanup at the top of Clean My Mac’s sidebar. This will run the full diagnostic sequence and show  you how much the app thinks you can dispose in the way of files. Nothing gets cleansed, though, until you press the Clean button (highlighted in red)


Clean My Mac 2 Sidebar


The Save Button before Automatic Clean commences




Below the Automatic Cleanup on the sidebar are its components: System Cleanup, Large & Old Files, iPhoto Cleanup, and Trash Cleanup. 

System  Cleanup, Large & Old Files, iPhoto Cleanup, and Trash Cleanup

System Cleanup works on the files you would use as you work, such as program caches, universal binaries, the language files for your programs, system log files and user log files. You can drill down and select individual caches for deletion. 

Large and Old Files looks for those files over a certain size and past a certain date that you can either archive on an external drive or finally delete. It looks for the files that are both large and old. You can use a slider to move between a minimum size of 50 megabytes (and over) up to a maximum size of 10 Gigabytes (and over). As for age, you can select files with any date up to files 10 years old and older. 

If you click on a file, you’ll see two more icons to the right of it: an eye for QuickLook and a magnifying glass for Open in Finder. The ability to use QuickLook and open in the Finder is very helpful when cleaning out files.

Large & Old Files is an excellent feature

iPhoto Cleanup looks for files in your iPhoto Library that you can delete.

Trash Cleanup cleans up all the Trash folders. It doesn’t stop at the Desktop Trash can, it looks at the Trash folders maintained by programs such as Mail and iPhoto. If you have external USB or Firewire drives attached to your Mac, it also cleans those out if you wish. You can review a list of Trash folders before you commence deletion. 

No specific duplicate search and deletion feature comes with this program, but an app uninstaller and extension manager do come with Clean My Mac 2.

Uninstaller and Extensions Manager

Clean My Mac shows you a list of all your installed applications with a checkbox next to their icon. If you click on the app, you also see their last opened date and the size of the app and its supporting files. Note that it does NOT uninstall apps installed by OS X such as iTunes and TextEdit.

MacJournal displaying last open and  total size

Breakdown of Macjournal for deletion

You can drill down to select individual components to delete or just go up to the top of the pane for the Smart Selector options of Complete Removal or Application Reset, where you delete everything but the app to set it up as it was when you dragged it over from the Downloads folder.


This is an excellent uninstaller. It provides you with information to help decide which files to delete. 

The Extensions Manager does for files that help your apps, such as audio plugins and dictionaries. It gives you a detailed list of the various items you installed within a category.

Let me reiterate that you cannot delete extensions installed by OS X to begin with. You can only delete those that you installed.


Extensions Manager




Eraser, the last item on the sidebar, gives you the option to selecting files for deletion from a File Dialog box or by dragging the files to the open window after you have selected a file. Add as many files as you can want. Choose Deselect up in the right-hand corner if you want to start over. It’s a different way to do Trash other than drag and drop onto the Trashcan.


Should You Buy Clean My Mac 2 or Washing Machine?

The answer to the question of which to buy is “It Depends.” If your Mac has a relatively clean desktop and you’re satisfied with your Dock arrangement, but need to clear out lots of old files and apps with possibly cryptic names; then Clean My Mac would suit your needs. Its inclusion of QuickLook and Open in  Finder tips the scale in favor of Clean My Mac in this case.

On the other hand, if you’ve got a relatively clean Mac in terms of files; but can’t seem to stop dumping files on the desktop or adding apps to your dock; then you need Washing Machine. Its Desktop Snapshot feature helps you clean out your desktop in a hurry. Its Dock organizing feature can suggest a dock with only your most used apps on it. But it needs the QuickLook and Open in Finder feature, as my previous review stated. It has a great Duplicates Finder, marred only by the lack of  QuickLook and Open in Finder options. 

Neither one will attempt to solve all  your problems, like Norton Utilities for the PC; but neither one will bog down your machine while it operates between cleanings. 

Both can co-exist on your Mac. I’m running both as I write this and have experienced no problems. Since both offer a trial period, try them both and see which one meets your needs. 

Clean My Mac 2 requires OS X 10.7+ (works fine with Mavericks) and 40 Mb of disk space. A license costs $39.95. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Voice

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hewlett-Packard throws in the towel on Windows 8-Here comes Windows 7 back by popular demand

If you wanted proof that Windows 8 is a flop, look below to the picture from the ad Hewlett-Packard sent to me last Sunday.


Screen Shot 2014 01 23 at 7 32 20 PM


Of course, they want to attract customers, so they use the words "$150 savings” and “time limited savings” to make you jump on the Web site and input your plastic’s numbers. 

From what I’ve read about H-P lately, they need your business. The heck with MicroSoft and its fixation on “touch computing”. GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT! 

And that is Windows 7 with a nice Intel processor.


We’ll have to wait until April to see if Windows 9, aka “Threshold”, makes an impression. 


Meanwhile, at 1 Infinity Loop...

OS X 10.9 Mavericks continues to do well. Some pundits worry that the Mac has some fragmentation between versions of OS X. Users still hold on to OS X 10.6 because:


1. They need to run PowerPC apps like Quicken 2006 and Appleworks 6.2.9

2. Their machine won’t run anything beyond 10.6, like my 2006 Core Duo MacBook.

3. What the heck, it still runs. 


I have read no predictions of a calamitous influx of malware as 10.6 grows older, as pundits predict will happen with Windows XP. You might want to consider an anti-virus such as the free Sophos Antivirus for Mac

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Voice 




Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Back to Basics: Learn to Use Keyboard Shortcuts Like a Ninja

Become a keyboard ninja! Or, if you prefer, a warrior princess. Like this one from Canada

In any case, increase your productivity and learn some keyboard shortcuts. The Back to Basics article from includes a keyboard cheat sheet that you can use as your desktop wallpaper, or save with a right-click/control-click and print out.   



Back to Basics: Learn to Use Keyboard Shortcuts Like a Ninja: ""




Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Saturday, January 18, 2014

7 classic versions of Windows and Mac OS you can run in a browser | Ars Technica

7 classic versions of Windows and Mac OS you can run in a browser | Ars Technica: ""



What can I say? Have at it!


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Roundup of the Best of the Web

It's all to easy to be an armchair quarterback writer and cry out for more innovation from Apple.  The odd thing is, none of those articles get into any serious discussion of what customers really need and what kinds of innovation would meet those needs.

DoJ accuses Apple of 'character assassination' as Judge Cote denies Apple's request for new anti-trust monitor

Analyst shunned after knocking Apple, Amazon for ethics

It's never a good idea to go on CNBC and point out even just a few tiny flaws in our wonderful capitalist system.

Equity research analyst Ronnie Moas tried this last week, and here's happened: The show's host insinuated he was having a nervous breakdown; He received anonymous death threats; He lost tens of thousands of dollars in business as some clients became outraged and dropped his service; He got pasted with labels and trash-talked in the media.

Moas is not one of these analysts who constantly glues his eyes to a battery of screens, drooling over tiny bits of data about money. He travels the world and sees how others live. He looks at causes and effects, globally, and wishes others could see the world as he sees it.

There should always be a gap between rich and poor, he concedes. It just shouldn't be so wide it destroys people.

Many good people will continue to look the other way because that's what good people so often do.

Maybe one day they will open their eyes. Or maybe they won't. Meantime, Moas is taking a beating for saying things people should have learned in kindergarten.

How To Access The Invisible Internet You're Not Supposed To Find

Court Ends 'Net Neutrality' On A Technicality

For years, the FCC has required that broadband Web service providers treat all traffic equally, and not restrict or promote certain websites or services or discriminate in favor of sites they own over competing companies.

That appears to have come to an end today based on a technicality

For The First Time, Hackers Have Used A Refrigerator To Attack Businesses

Cisco Admits To Embarrassing Security Hole That Gave A 'Backdoor' Into Four Routers

the hole wasn't found in Cisco's big enterprise or service provider routers -- it hole was found in Cisco routers used by small businesses and homes.

If you want a deep dive into what the problem is and how it wasn't found, Sean Gallagher at Ars Technica has written a great post describing the technical details.

The backdoor requires that the attacker be on the local network, so this isn’t something that could be used to remotely attack DSL users.

confirmations that the backdoor worked with other models of Linksys and Netgear wireless DSL modems

I Was Blackmailed By Chinese Hackers, And It Was More Terrifying Than You Can Imagine

Hackers Were Inside Neiman Marcus Computers For Months Before The Retailer Had Any Idea

Gee, it wasn't just Target?  
It's not just Neiman Marcus either.  It's a bunch of other retailers as well.

Oh, they want your email -- and surface address eh?  Uh, why?  Target often asks to scan your driver license.  Why?  Why do you allow companies to have this data?  Nothing you ever give a company is discarded; it is always kept and your base assumption should be that it is never secure.

I walked out of Target the last time they asked to scan my driver license.  I don't give a damn why they think they want it, the answer is no.

That's the lesson folks.  You give this away and you will get reamed by it.  Maybe it's sold and maybe it's stolen, but the bottom line is that the more you give them the more value it has to them -- and to anyone who wants to steal it.

For that you get...... what, exactly?  Nothing.

Don't give Target your Social Security number

Target Got Hacked Hard in 2005. Here's Why They Let It Happen Again

The security measures that Target and other companies implement to protect consumer data have long been known to be inadequate.

The Malware That Duped Target Has Been Found

The malware is a memory-scraping tool that grabs card data directly from point-of-sale terminals and stores it on the victim's own system for later retrieval.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Washing Machine by Intego Software-a Reevaluation after they sent me a license

After my initial review of Intego Software’s Washing Machine 2014,  Intego asked me if I would like a free license to give their product a more extensive review.

I had only tested Washing Machine in its evaluation mode. I agreed to review Washing Machine with all its powers and they sent me the serial number. 

After giving the app a test in all three of its functions of reclaiming disk space, tracking down duplicate files for possible deletion, and reorganizing your desktop; I can say that this program will help you if you look at your desktop cluttered with files and just throw up your hands. It is not the total solution, but its excellent organization and Help will help users confused by other program’s offering too many choices at once with minimal Help. 


My messy desktop before


The program divides into three modules: Reclaim, Duplicates, and Organize. You can switch between them at any point. If you switch, though, you lose the results of your current file scan if you haven’t decided what to do with these files.

The Reclaim and Duplicates modules let you drill down to the individual files in whatever file structure you’ve constructed. This is where Washing Machine could use some help from Quick Look. 

In the Duplicates section, for example, you get a static preview of a file. This works fine if you look at at a GIF or JPEG, but what if you want to make sure you want to delete a video with a cryptic title? Or an audio file? Please incorporate Quick Look into a future version, or an option to Open in Finder.

The Organize feature helps you organize your messy desktop. It presents you with a grid of your desktop files. You can drag them to three different “bins”. Blue is for Trash. Orange is for the folder that Washing Machine makes on the Desktop.  Green is for your User Directory or Home Folders.


Desktop reorganization files selected

The program makes it easy for you. You take one file at a time (no selecting multiple files?!) and drag it to whichever bin you want it to go. As you make progress,  you see a colored badge next to the file in the grid. If you change your mind, you can drag the file from the grid to another bin. The badge changes color to show the new location. You cannot assign a file to, say, both the Home Folder and the  Desktop. No, just one bin.  You then press the TIDY button in the top center of the screen to restore order to your desktop.

Washing Machine separates the files you place in the Home Subfolders bin into four categories. If it’s a picture, it goes into Picture. If it’s an audio file, it goes into  the Music folder. If it’s a video, it goes into the Movies folder. If it’s not one of those, it goes into the Documents folder. If you put a folder into the Home Folders bin, that folder and its contents go into the Documents folder, too. 

This scheme will do basic triage on a untidy Desktop of files. If you want a finer grained assignment of files from your desktop to your system of User Folder subfolders, you might want to look into NoodleSoft’s Hazel program. That requires setting up rules for sorting files. The simplicity of Washing Machine will satisfy a lot of users who don’t want more computer complications in their lives. 

As for the Help, it’s extensive. If you want to understand a feature, just click on the white “I” in the gray circle on the upper right-hand corner. A blue overlay with white text, just like a blueprint, guides you.  If you want a user manual, click on the Help menu. Your Web browser will open to the Web site with the latest edition of the manual.

Screen Shot of the white I within the grey circle




I’m going to give this program 4 out of 5 stars. The lack of QuickLook support and the inability to choose multiple files when organizing the Desktop are irritations, but not dealbreakers.  I’d recommend this program to people who just got a Mac and can’t rid themselves of their old Windows habit of dumping files on the screen and find their Mac running out of space!


These are the requirements for running Washing Machine


Core2Duo processor or higher (64-bit processor)

OS X 10.6 or higher (works fine with Mavericks 10.9.1)

50 Mb of free hard disk space.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog





Saturday, January 11, 2014

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's new batch of articles for you

Android Phone Blatantly Rips Off Apple
Even to the point of risking trademark infringement suit.

iPhone vs. ioPhone

When iPhone met world, 7 years ago

Steve Jobs' January 9, 2007 introduction of the iPhone will remain one of the important milestones in computing history.

What It Was Like When Apple Announced The Original iPhone Seven Years Ago

Apple's domestic Mac sales surge 28.5% as overall PC market shrinks 7.5%

See How Pixar Uses Apple's $3,000 Mac To Make Beautiful Movies

The 15 Apple Events That Helped Change The World

All LinkedIn with Nowhere to Go

Just add one crucial contact ...... or update your skill set ...... and one of the site’s 187 million or so users will pluck you from a stalled career and offer professional redemption - supposedly.

One user said "I make connections only with people whom I have already met. It’s an Escher staircase masquerading as a career ladder."

Ford Exec: 'We Know Everyone Who Breaks The Law' Thanks To Our GPS In Your Car

The Cops Really Could Use Data From Your Car's GPS To Convict You Of A Crime

Twitter's Office Fire-Safety Poster Is Perfect

The poster says "In case of fire, exit building before tweeting about it".

French Bankers say Bitcoin Has a Limited Future

because most of the market is dominated by speculators rather than users, Bitcoin's value in other currencies is particularly volatile.

Bitcoin's functionality and ultimate success "is determined by programmers—and their goodwill is taken for granted."

Despite Bitcoin's "ingenious features" it cannot provide a currency of stable value and its use as a broadly accepted medium of exchange appears limited.

How bitcoin could get to $100,000

Who gets your digital fortune when you die?
Your E-mail accounts?  Your iTunes library?  Your E-books?
Your Facebook account?  Your blog or web site?  Your on-line bank account?

They are all valuable, yet few people take the time create an estate plan for their digital assets. 

Without a plan in place, you risk burying your family in red tape as they try to get access to and deal with your online accounts that may have sentimental, practical or monetary value. 

If you have an online-only bank account or a PayPal account, your executor may never know about that account if not for your digital estate plan. And what if you have a fortune in Bitcoins on your computer?

Designate a digital executor.  Pick a trusted friend or relative to handle your digital assets after you die.

Google is letting strangers send email to your gmail account - but here's how to opt out

personal data of 110 million Target customers, not 40 million as previously thought, may have been exposed to hackers

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Zoom It-more options for viewing that tiny little text

In the previous article I discussed the options that Apple includes with OS X Mavericks (and earlier versions, too!) for zooming tiny little text. Now in this article I’ll discuss a paid option for zooming text. It’s called Zoom It! and it costs $2.99 in the Mac App Store.


To begin with, Zoom It uses the loupe options, the “Picture within a Picture.” You get to choose between two kinds of loupes:


The Square loupe that you saw in the Accessibility Pane:

Square Loupe 538 pm


Or a Round Loupe

Zoom It Round loupepng

And now you have the option to take screen shots of just what lies within the loupe. The keyboard combination for that is Command+Shift+2. 

But you don’t get a cryptically named file on the Desktop. No! You get a full File Dialogue box so that you can change the name and location where you save the file. The file format, though, is stuck at the format the default screenshot takes. In my case, it was the PNG format. 


What other goodies does Zoom it offer? You can choose to temporarily pop up a loupe with the Control+Z shortcut. You can toggle the loupe on and off with the Alt/Option+Z keystroke.


You can change the shape of the loupe on the fly with the Control+0. That’s control + the zero on your keyboard, not the letter “O” by the way. 

Want to change magnification level? That’s Control+= to increase magnification, Control + - to decrease magnification.





Well, here’s the help screen. It’s one simple page:


The options for Zoom It help page


Want to change the keyboard shortcuts? Just go to the Settings panel, which you access from the menu bar icon:


Menu bar icon for zoom it


Change Zoom it settings



If you tried the Zoom options in the accessibility system preference and want something more, this is the program for you. You can control the settings from the keyboard. Best of it, it’s only $2.99 in the Mac App Store. If you can’t afford the 27” Thunderbolt Display right now, this should fit the bill.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog



How to deal with tiny little print on the Mac

Title picture



I SAID, “HOW DO I DEAL WITH TINY LITTLE PRINT ON THE MAC?! THE SCREEN IS BIGGER THAN BEFORE AT 1920 X 1080 and 23 inches, but it seems the text keeps getting smaller and smaller!"

I have the worst vision I know of. Guys I knew in college swore they were on drugs if they tried on my glasses. My vision only got worse. I’m on another iteration of bifocals and I've forgotten how long I’ve worn them.

If you have terrible visions like I do, have gotten past your vanity to wear a strong and unsightly prescription;

+and still find yourself straining to see the text on screen,here’s what I can recommend. 


1. Adjust your programs for a bigger default font size. You’ll want to go to the Preference to adjust the default size. In MarsEdit, the blogging software used to product this blog, I just raised it from Helvetica 12 to Helvetica 18 and my eyes thank me for it.

To access fonts and font sizes in apps following Apple’s coding guidelines, use Command + T in word processing and text editing programs. (In the Finder and Safari, thought, Command + T accesses the tabs on the browser.)


In Microsoft Office, you’ll want to use Command + D instead of OS X’s Command + T for adjusting font and font size. When you open a new document, just right-click or control-click on the blank space to access the Font Panel:


How to adjust font and font size in MS Word 2011


2. Temporary zooming of the screen. If you only need to zoom the screen for limited instances. go to the System Preferences and its very handy Accessiblity pane.

To get to the Accessibility pane, you need to get to System Preferences. You’ll find System Preferences in your Dock as this icon:


System Preferences icon


You’ll also find it in your main /Applications folder with that icon.


If you can’t find it, go up to the Apple menu in the upper left-hand corner of your screen and click on the Apple icon. That drops down a menu. System Preferences… is one of the choices:

The apple menu and the system preferences


So bring up System Preferences and you’ll see a grid of icons for various System Preferences. You want System Preferences:


Where the accessibility pref pane is in  System Pref

Click on Accessibility and you get this screen (At least I did):


My Zoom options on my mac

As you see, you can toggle options to zoom the screen, zoom in and out, and control the zooming with the scroll wheel on your mouse. You can also use two fingers to slide up and down on your Magic Trackpad to control the zooming. 


You have the option to set the zooming as either fullscreen or picture in a  picture. A “loupe” as it were:


Fullscreen zooming or PinP


This demonstrates the loupe or “picture within a picture” feature. 

LOUPE for accessibility


Check out other features of the Accessibility preference pane. Apple intended it for disabled people, but we lazy people can also make use of it, too.

What about other features? What if I just want it briefly or want to take a screen shot of just the area in the loupe? Well, that’s the topic for the next post. But right now, I need a walk 1.0. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog




Saturday, January 4, 2014

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth with more articles for you

Apple Denies Working With NSA on iPhone Backdoors

How The NSA Hacks Your iPhone

the NSA bugs, remotely, your iPhone.

the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device ...… retrieve contact list, voicemail, location, camera capture, cell tower location, etc. 

Do you think Apple helped them build that?

On The Apple/NSA Kerfluffle

Uh, nope, the NSAgency does NOT have the ability to snoop on nearly every communication sent from an Apple iPhone.  In fact, if you actually read what was released it was quite clear that they had to get physical access to the device.

The most interesting two words in Apple's official statement today on the news that the NSA can put spyware on 100% of Apple's products, including the iPhone, are these: "malicious hackers."

Apple's statement went out of its way to portray the U.S. government as a security threat:

We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them.

Everyone Who Believes In Bitcoin Should Try To Answer This Question

Placing a floor on the value of bitcoins is… what, exactly?

There's a good case to be made that Bitcoin is impressive technology for payments, but why a Bitcoin itself should be something of value is not easily answered.

there's nothing guaranteeing that people will stay interested in trading Bitcoins (that's not the case with real currency... by law there are people that have to hold US dollars).

Bitcoin As An Alternative Currency? - Libertarian Vs Pragmatist

mining Bitcoin is waste of resources from a social perspective. The amount of CPU and electricity needed to mine Bitcoin is high, and from a social viewpoint about as valuable as building defenses against attacks from Mars.

the proponents of Bitcoin as a store of value/speculation crucially need Bitcoin to be unique and have strong barriers to entry, despite the replicability of the technology. If it turns out that investors/miners will arbitrage between Bitcoin and other mined alternative currencies, the outcome will be that there are many perfect or near perfect substitutes for Bitcoin, and the effective supply will be much larger than would be suggested by the gradually increasing and ultimately capped supply of the original Bitcoin. This will mean that valuations will be very fragile because in the long-term there will be no ability to limit the supply of Bitcoin lookalikes ... unless some subset of Bitcoin-like currencies gain government/central bank endorsement which gives them an advantage over non-endorsed Bitcoin-like currencies.

It is far from guaranteed that that Bitcoin will emerge as a stable store of value.

The [So-Called] Death and Burial of Facebook, In Two Charts

The story was a big hit for the Guardian and others.  Too bad it's wrong.

"The phrase `dead and buried' unambiguously only refers to the way Facebook is never going to be cool again for this age group," Miller wrote

Miller's full post is worth reading for its insight into how academic research findings get "sexed up" in the press.

In the case of Facebook, the confusion arises when people conflate the site's "cool factor" with its popularity.

This Irate Cookbook Author Represents A Swelling Threat To Facebook's $6 Billion Ad Business

While Everyone Else Whines, This Guy Makes His Whole Living Off Facebook Traffic

"It's not too much of a surprise that when Facebook changes their formula that a lot of people are getting upset."

"But can you blame Facebook?"

"A lot of people have been posting sub-par content for a long time."

I Decided To Delete All My Facebook Activity, And It Was Incredibly Hard

This describes the hard time the author had deleting his Facebook history -- some things he deleted didn't stay deleted.
He also provides his own instructions  to get it done.

Why hackers want your phone number
Lessons from the data breach at Snapchat

Phone numbers are a building block for hackers.

Though most people wouldn't give their phone number to a stranger on the street, they're happy to share their digits with Google, Facebook and other sites.  But as millions of young Snapchat users just learned, phone numbers are valuable information to hackers.

Consumers should be wary about sharing their mobile numbers, security experts say.  Phone numbers are unique identifiers that tend to last for a long time.

Hackers can also fake a caller I.D. by using your number to sidestep a security step.

So why do companies want your mobile number?  It's is a necessary and useful part of e-commerce,  but you should not give it without a specific reason.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Option+Click Everything: 15 OS X Tricks Enabled with the Option Key

This is a post by Thorin Klosowski of about 15 uses for the Mac’s Option key. Read it learn it live it.


Tom Briant

Editor, Macvalley Blog



Option+Click Everything: 15 OS X Tricks Enabled with the Option Key: ""


Macintosh Keyboard Shortcut you should know about


How to move from open app to open app from the keyboard.

On a Mac you use Command + Tab to move from open app to open app. Similarly on a Windows machine, you would use Alt + Tab. 

In either case, those keys bring up a window in the center of your screen displaying all the active applications. In the case of Wiondows, it also displays the windows for each active application. The Mac, though, only shows open applications.


Window showing open applications


A translucent gray square with a white border marks the foreground application. In the picture above, the Finder is the foreground app, whose name appears at the top left-hand corner of the menu bar. 


How to access the Menu Bar and the Dock with only the keyboard

To access the Menu Bar from the keyboard, press the Control +F2. To access the Dock, press Control + F3. These shorts cuts are set in the Keyboard system preference pane.


Keyboard shortcuts pref pane


I must confess I had trouble getting the Control +F2 shortcut to work at times. I solved the problem by first pressing Control + F3 to access the Dock, then pressing Control + F2 to switch focus to the menu bar. 


Keyboard Shortcuts to Access folder set up by OS X within the User Folder

First, a bit of explanation. OS X derives from UNIX. Borrowing from its predecessor, OS X sets up a Home folder for each user on a machine. OS X, though, names the this folder the User folder instead of the Home folder. 


Anyway, to the shortcuts. Bring the Finder to the foreground so that its name displays in the top left-hand corner of the Menu Bar. Now use these keyboard shortcuts


Command+Shift+H  brings up the Home folder, which is called the User directory. 

Command+Shfit+O brings up the Documents folder

Command+Shift+A brings up the Applications folder. Use your up and down arrow keys within this directory to pick an app. To start it up, though, DON”T PRESS RETURN. That just tells the Finder you want to rename it. Instead, start the App by pressing Command+O. 

Command+Option+L brings up the Downloads folder. Use the up and down arrow keys to select a downloaded file. If you want to install it, hit Command+O.

Here’s the Finder’s own list of shortcut keys.


Finder keyboard shortcuts 1 2 2013

Keyboard Shortcuts for taking a Screenshot

Command+Shift+3 (not F3, just the number 3) for a full-screen screenshot. 

Command+Shift+4 changes your cursor into a crosshair. Place the crosshairs in the upper left-hand area of the rectangle you want to select and press the left mouse button. Now drag down and to the right. When you reach the end point, release the mouse button. You’ll hear a shutter click.

OS X has the default of saving in PNG format and the file ends up on your desktop. 


How to keep screenshots from overrunning your desktop

You can handle this problem of too many screenshot files in several ways.


First, you can avoid having to save a file every time by simply adding the Control key to the above shortcuts. Command+Shift+Control+3  saves a full-screen image to your Clipboard. Now you can paste the file into Preview or a 3rd party image editor, such as the oepn-source Paintbrush. Preview even has a command for this situation. Press Command+ N  and Preview makes a new picture from the Clipboard’s contents. 

The new from clipboard command 1 2 2013

To make the above picture, for example, I set up Preview to display the menu, then took a full-screen screenshot using Command+Shift+Control+3.

I then used Command + N in Preview to display the screenshot.

Next, I cut out just the portion of the picture that I wanted to show to you in Preview. This automatically put the image on the Clipboard. 

I then used Command + N again to display the image. Next, I used the Annotation tools within Preview to put a red rectangle around the command I wanted toy highlight.

Second, you can tell OS X to change the location. Apple wants you to use the default write command, which requires use of the Terminal. To avoid using the Terminal, use one of many utility programs offering a graphic interface to change the screenshot saving location and the file format type. 


Tinkertool does it through its General menu of options.


Tinkertool screenshot


 Just click on the double-headed arrows for Screenshot file format and Target folder to change these parameters. 


Onyx and Cocktail will also do this for you.


Finally, the trick to saving a Web clipping into a simple database of clippings.


If you just came to the Mac, you may not realize that Apple bundles a Stickies app with it. Stickies has been part of the Macintosh since the Classic OS. 


Well, the keyboard shortcut for getting highlight text from a Web browser or other text & images into a Stickie is Command+Shift+Y


Web clipping displayed in Stickies


Lots of other Mac programs offer clipping services with more features. You can start, though, with Stickies.



Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Adding items to the Finder sidebar

Huh, I didn’t realize that Apple changed how to add items to the Finder Sidebar.


Handy tip for those who have or will upgrade to Mavericks.


Adding items to the Finder sidebar: ""




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