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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Beginner's Corner and how to customize your Mac in small ways

I should like to begin to paying tribute to those who have really souped up their Mac’s desktops. Go to a periodic feature on the Lifehacker Web site, which shows you fancy desktops from the Mac, Windows and Linux communities. You will think “Wow!"

Today, though, I will show you some simpler customizations that don’t require typing in arcane lines of code. You just have to know where to go on your Mac to do these. 


I’ll start with a plain vanilla macOS 10.12.6 desktop. I achieved this by just setting up a new user Bugs Bunny

1 Brand new desktop


Note that it comes with a Menu Bar at the top, a Dock at the bottom, one of the stock Sierra wallpapers, and two icons for external hard drives. They are my Time Machine drive indicated by the green drive and an external drive I call Backup for stashing old files. If you create a new user or install a new instance of Sierra, this is what you get.

My goal in this is to pare it down to a minimal desktop with no Menubar, no Dock, no desktop icons, and a one-color wallpaper. More of a paint job.


Remove the Hard Drives

You start by removing the hard drive icons on the desktop. To do this, you go to the Finder’s preferences, not the System preferences!


2 The Finder s General Preferences


Under the Finder’s preferences, you will see four buttons for General, Tags, Sidebar, and Advanced. You want the General preferences.

You see four check boxes for show these items on the desktop. 

Uncheck the boxes for External disks and CDs, DVDs, and iPods. They immediately go away from your desktop. 


4 no more external hard drives displayed

That completes Step #1. 

I will return to General Preferences later to show how to customize your Finder in a later article.


Remove the Menubar

To remove the Menubar from the top, you will go to the System Preferences. 

You access the System Preferences from either the gear icon in the Dock or from the drop-down menu under the silouhette of an apple (Apple’s corporate trademark) in the upper left-hand corner of the desktop.

14 Where to find the System PReferences on the desktop



You want the General Preferences in the top row on the left-hand side. 

4 General Preferences highlighted

Click on the General preferences to open them.

5 Contents of General Preferences

As you see, the General preferences covers several areas, including Appearance at the top. That’s where I want your attention. That second checkbox down? Check that to make the Menubar automatically hide when not in use. When you move your pointer into the top, it will reappear.

Menubar is missing 7 30 2017

The Menubar is gone! Well, it reappear if you move your pointer into the top area.


Making the Dock disappear, if only temporarily

To make the Dock disappear, too, you return to the General Preferences and click on the Dock preference

6 Dock preference highlighted

Click on the Dock preference to open it up

7 the Dock Preferences shown in detail


I have highlighted two areas to show you. The Position on Screen gives you a choice between putting the Dock at the bottom or on the left side or right side. You might want to put the dock on the side and have it pop out as needed to squeeze the maximum space on your screen.

The Dock Preference also shows options that I won’t go into right now. 

With both Menubar and Dock gone from your screen, you are close to a minimalist screen!

18 MInimalist desktop


How to change your desktop wallpaper to a minimalist design

To achieve full minimalism, you want to switch to a solid color desktop. To do that, you go to your System Preferences again. In a moment, though, I’ll show you a shortcut.

Go back to the System Preference through the Apple Menu or the System Preferences gear icon in your Dock. 

If you don’t see your Menubar or your Dock, move your pointer up to the top left-hand corner or the bottom of the screen. They will pop back for you.

In the System Preferences, you want the Desktop & Screensaver Preferences. It’s between the General preference and the Dock preference.

8 Desktop and Screensaver Preference


When you open the Desktop & Screen Saver preference, you will see the beautiful pictures that Apple prepared for you.

9 Desktop  Screensaver preference


I went into much more detail in an earlier article, but I’ll explain briefly. The Julia fractal referred to came from my own collection, which I put into a folder called Fracture fractals.

The Desktop Pictures you see displayed come from Apple’s own collection. Just below the Desktop Pictures folder appear the Solid Colors folder. 

10 The Solid Color selection




Pick a color and you have achieved minimalism!


20 Completely blank desktop with solid color desktop


Just move your desktop’s pointer icon to the top to temporarily bring back the Menubar and to whichever side you moved the Dock to bring it back.

Now for the Desktop & Screensaver shortcut I promised you earlier. It’s the same as the one for Windows, right-click on an open spot on the desktop. You can read all about customizing your wallpaper, and where to find almost anything you want for it, at my article here


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog
















Monday, July 24, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday 7-22-2017

You Should Update Your Apple Devices Immediately to Fix a Major Security Flaw
Apple has released a new software update for iOS and MacOS. For users of iPhones, iPads and Mac computers, downloading the patch is critical to avoiding a potential hacking.
The update fixes a key vulnerability referred to as Broadpwn.
Buried deep in Apple’s official iOS 10.3.3 security notes is something startling: iPhones have been vulnerable to hackers taking complete control of them simply via WiFi. The hack, dubbed ‘Broadpwn’
Some older iPhones aren’t protected from Broadpwn (at least not yet) because iOS 10.3.3 doesn’t work with them.
The billion-dollar palaces of Apple, Facebook and Google
There is the Foster project, Apple Park in Cupertino, 2.8m sq ft in size and reportedly costing $5bn, at its centre a mile in circumference, visible from space, a metal and glass circle that is now nearly complete. There are the planned Google headquarters in Mountain View and London by the high-ego, high-reputation pairing of Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick. Facebook has hired the New York office of OMA, the practice founded by Rem Koolhaas, to add to the Frank Gehry-designed complex in Menlo Park that was completed in 2015.
Apple Park looks like the sort of splendid monument that empires build for themselves.
If Apple Park seems aloof and extraterrestrial – despite the fact that quite a lot of its landscape is open to the public – then Facebook and Google want you to know how much, like street jugglers or mime artists, they want to engage you. But there are also similarities between all these projects, such as the all-embracing nature of their ambitions. Each campus is a self-contained universe where everything – the species of vegetation, the graphics, the food in the cafe, the programming of events, the architecture, is determined by the management.
How the iPhone Was Born: Inside Stories of Missteps and Triumphs
‘Baby Driver’ Stirs Nostalgia for iPods
macOS 10.12.6 update rolling out on the Mac App Store
Apple has released the final version of the latest macOS 10.12.6 software update. Mac users running macOS Sierra can find the update through the Mac App Store.

macOS 10.12.6 will likely be the last version of macOS Sierra before Apple ships macOS High Sierra later this fall. macOS 10.13 is currently available in both developer and public beta versions for testing.
Apple releases iOS 10.3.3 update for iPhone and iPad
Apple has released the iOS 10.3.3 software update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The update focuses on bug fixes and performance improvements for all devices running iOS 10.
Bug fixes abound in macOS Sierra 10.12.6, iOS 10.3.3, and watchOS 3.2.3 updates
Apple released a slew of software updates for nearly all of its systems; you can now download macOS Sierra 10.12.6, iOS 10.3.3, watchOS 3.2.3, and tvOS 10.2.2 to any of your compatible devices.
Apple's App Store Turns 9 With Big Changes on the Horizon
Apple's big cash cow — OK, one of them — is celebrating its ninth birthday. 

The world got its first look at Apple's App Store on July 10, 2008. Since then, it's generated an estimated $100 billion in revenues, of which about $70 billion has been paid out to developers and $30 billion has gone to Apple.
Apple bans VPN-based adblockers from App Store
It's the end of the line for VPN-based adblockers that target ads in third-party apps (although, according to Apple, these apps were always on shaky ground).
The developer behind the popular adblock apps Adblock and Weblock is now finding that Apple is rejecting app updates because they violate the App Store Developer Guidelines.
Apple has been quick to point out though that contrary to earlier reports, is not a change in policy, but instead just a case of Apple enforcing existing policies.
Sarahah Is the Summer’s Smash-Hit App, But it May Not Last
Sarahah pitches itself as a social network that lets users receive anonymous messages. “Sarahah” is the Arabic word for candor or openness.
Despite its optimistic premise, users already report that the app has become a breeding ground for cyberbullying and hate speech.

If history is any lesson, that suggests Sarahah’s meteoric rise may prove unsustainable. Anonymous messaging platforms like Yik Yak, Whisper, and Secret have consistently struggled to control malicious behavior, leading to declining use and, for Yik Yak and Secret, ignominious closure.
Wacom's New Bamboo Sketch is the Perfect Stylus for iPhones and Non-Pro iPads
It isn't a better option than the Apple Pencil for iPad Pro users, but for the iPhone and other iPad models, it's worth checking out.
For iPad Pro owners, the Apple Pencil is the best stylus on the market and it's not really worth considering any alternatives, including the Bamboo Sketch. There's no comparison, especially with iOS 11 improvements that allow the Apple Pencil to be used system-wide. 

If you have the money to spend on a high-end stylus and have an iPad Pro, buy the Apple Pencil. If you don't have an iPad Pro and need a stylus that offers enough precision for note taking and fine sketching, the Bamboo Sketch is a great option.
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-Inch Review: The Ecosystem That you Always Needed
With the smart keyboard and an Apple Pencil, the iPad Pro delivers on an ecosystem like no other. For starters, the Pencil delivers on precision touches and helps in making quick notes and even keynote presentations. For professional graphic designers, the Pencil will deliver on even the minutest of detailing jobs.
7 signs your design style is out of date
1. You think serifs are a thing of the past
2. Your flat design is falling flat
3. Your templates are looking like… templates
Just to name a few.
How to: turn your iPhone into a document scanner, and when you shouldn’t
Closing unused apps on your iPhone won't improve its battery life.
iPhones are very expensive but 'a safe bet,' says Woz
I always thought Apple products were supposed to be exciting, revolutionary even. The mere thought that the iPhone represents merely a safe bet borders on the depressing.

People used to buy iPhones so that they could show them off, not think of them as Linus does a blanket. 
This best-selling productivity app could change the way you take notes
Notability was voted the best note-taking app for Apple's iPad.
It’s like Google Docs, but on steroids. You can create your own sketches, use your own handwriting, and also import PDFs, photos, and website screengrabs. Once you've imported them, you can write and draw directly on them.
Notability for iPad and iPhone costs $9.99
How to Import Videos from an iPhone to a Mac
A simple five-step procedure.
iPad Pro 10.5 Review
When you take that stunning display, good battery life, the accurate Pencil and the huge number of apps available on the App Store, the iPad Pro 10.5-inch is an exciting proposition. But it’s one that won’t feel completely ready until iOS 11 hits.
The 5 Best Apps for Sketching on an iPad Pro
Even with its stunning display and intuitive Pencil stylus, you won't be able to get much out of it without finding the right drawing apps.
These five apps are the best to get you started
Photoshop Sketch
Inspire Pro
The Easiest Ways To Get Around On Your iPad
AW comment:
This article should have been called “5 Useful Hints for Your iPad”.
They’re good hints.
Using an iPad Pro as Part of a Photography Workflow
This review from Tony and Chelsea Northrup should give you a good idea of the viability of such a workflow and help you decide if now is the right time to add a dedicated tablet.
Google's Brilliant iPhone App Sucks On Android
Google’s simple yet impressive iOS app, Motion Stills, is finally available for Android users, but it’s a very different beast from the original version.
Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro (2017) review
The 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro is still expensive, but it's undoubtedly better value for money than last year's model.
Some Apple Watch Models Requiring Repair Can Be Replaced With Apple Watch Series 1 Models
So if you’re eligible and your Apple Watch needs a repair, go to your nearest store and check out if you’re up for a replacement.
Jay Blahnik on what separates Apple Watch from other fitness trackers
It's been a rough year for wrist-worn wearable activity trackers. What was once a vibrant and competitive field is now a graveyard of failed devices like the Pebble, the Basis Band, the Nike FuelBand, and many more.
Getting people to change their behavior is hard. A third of wearables users stopped using their device after six months.
Jay Blahnik, Apple's director of fitness and health, spoke about the company's design philosophy. He said the Apple Watch takes a distinct approach from other wearables.
iBooks Author vs Fake News: the fight we deserve
What news is NOT considered “fake” by anyone? News that has clear, corroborating photo, audio, or video evidence.
When the mainstream media says you did something these days, maybe you did it, or maybe you didn’t.

But when multi-media says you did something, guess what? There’s no dispute.

So when Apple CEO Tim Cook says we need to fight back against fake news, he appears to forget that Apple itself has created what ought to be one of the finest weapons against it.
The author has written many times before about the power and uniqueness that Apple’s free digital publishing software brings to anyone with a story to tell.
iBooks Author represents the evolution of storytelling for which society is longing.  And yet, Apple doesn’t promote it.
More people using software like iBooks Author means one step closer to unity, between political sides, on things that are actually true.  One step closer to retiring the term “fake news” and re-defining what it means to report information to a ever-skeptical public.  One step closer to a new definition of “book” to be carefully and thoughtfully-written text, surrounded and defined by corroborating multi-media of all types.
How to: turn your iPhone or iPad into the ultimate book reading tool
Straight out of the box, Apple's iPad is a decent reading tool — but it could be far better.
But there are some non-Apple apps that can make it a much better reading tool.
3 tricks Steve Jobs used that will help you give better presentations
How did the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs manage to get people to treat his keynote speeches like rock concerts?
Three key factors: powerful storytelling, an emotional connection and obsessive preparation.
Ditch the PowerPoint, and tell a story.
     Although presentation slides are
     is still critical, don’t treat them
     like tele-prompters that you
     read directly from.
Connect with your audience emotionally.
Rehearse twice as much as you think you need to.
How Steve Jobs Misled a Room Full of Tech Media and Changed the World
During his very first iPhone presentation at MacWorld in 2007,
Apple didn’t have a fully functional iPhone, and couldn’t get
one in time for MacWorld.
This article tells the story of how his team of experts
improvised a few partially working iPhones just barely
well enough for him to do the presentation.
Media Praise for Initial Coin Offerings Is Dangerous
It's bad enough that some investors view initial coin offerings (ICOs) as a digital get-rich-quick strategy.

But it's irresponsible for the Wall Street Journal to encourage this idea.
On July 7, WSJ ran a story on its website with the headline, "Forget an IPO, Coin Offerings Are New Road to Startup Riches.”
Bitcoin was developed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis as an alternative to fiat currencies and a rigged financial system.

So Bitcoin's value derives from how well it ultimately fulfills that role.
But ICOs are very much tied to the companies that create them. If the startup fails, so will the cryptocurrency.
ICOs Are the Wild West of Startup Investing
Ethereum co-founder warns ICOs are ‘a ticking time-bomb’
Initial coin offerings (ICO) are the hot new way to raise money fast — so hot, in fact, that the co-founder of the ethereum network thinks the system needs to cool off before it implodes.
Opinion: Stay away from bitcoin and ethereum — they are complete garbage

Bitcoin is pure speculation.
I have a pretty good idea how many potatoes I can buy with my dollars next week. Bitcoins? Good luck with that.
Bitcoin and three other investments that look like classic bubbles but actually aren’t
Bottom line, Jeff Kleintop says that there doesn’t seem to be any classic bubbles forming among the ones most commonly referred to as potential candidates. “But remember that bubbles are sometimes only seen in hindsight,” he said, “which is why we always counsel diversification.”
Why bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could plunge 75% -- and still be in a bull market
According to buy-side analyst Chris Burniske, bitcoin BTCUSD, +1.14%  and the rest of crypto market could plunge 75% from these levels and still be in a bull market.
AW Comment:  A very odd way to interpret the graph of Bitcoin price vs. time.
When Bitcoin Exchanges Get Hacked, Don't Blame Bitcoin
When a Bitcoin exchange is hacked, many in the mainstream financial media assume the hack resulted from a flaw in the cryptocurrency itself. So that's the story that gets out. And the Bitcoin price falls.

Yet the Bitcoin protocol has never been hacked.

The hackers aren't attacking Bitcoin itself, but exploiting weaknesses in the security of the Bitcoin exchanges. Unfortunately, this happens with alarming frequency…

According to a report commissioned last year by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, one-third of all Bitcoin exchanges were hacked between 2010 and 2015.
The frequency of Bitcoin exchange attacks is concerning, but should not be misinterpreted as a reason to dismiss Bitcoin.

That would be like giving up on the U.S. dollar because a bank was robbed. If criminals successfully rob a bank, the problem is with the bank's security, not with the money stored in the building.
"Bitcoin itself, and most of the other cryptocurrencies, have never been hacked or even really had any downtime”  said Chris Wilmer, founder of the blockchain-focused academic journal Ledger.
Credit and debit cards are not much better. In recent years, these older forms of "digital money" have become relatively easy prey for hackers.

Credit card breaches at retailers are almost routine now. There was Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) in 2013 and Home Depot (NYSE: HD) in 2014. There was Neiman Marcus and Wendy's Co. (Nasdaq: WEN) in 2016. And this year Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG), Arby's Restaurant Group, and Kmart Corp. were hit.
How to Protect Your Bitcoin from Hackers:
Bitcoin owners have several ways to store their digital currency that don't involve Bitcoin exchanges.
AW Comment:
   BitCoin has become so popular that
   it’s beginning to have trouble serving
   the needs of all its users.
   The “BitCoin Community” is arguing on
   how to change BitCoin to be able
   to serve billions more users.
   That community uses the phrase
   “Scale Up”, which comes from the
   dot-com world of companies rapidly
   growing from small to large.
END Comment.
Bitcoin's internal debate over how best to scale the cryptocurrency is coming up on a deadline in two weeks that will either resolve the issue or tear the community in half…
Nearly everyone in the Bitcoin community agrees some sort of scaling solution is needed. But they vehemently disagree on which path is the right one. And the growing uncertainty over how that debate gets resolved has put increasing pressure on the Bitcoin price.
It's possible the two warring sides will each try to implement their favored solution. That would create two incompatible versions of Bitcoin, something called a "hard fork."

Two competing versions of Bitcoin would cause havoc on the Bitcoin markets and almost surely cause a steep drop in the price of both versions.
The good news is that, if a compromise called “SegWit2x" resolves the Bitcoin civil war, the Bitcoin price will soar.
Move over Bitcoin, the blockchain is only just getting started
Bitcoin isn’t just reinventing money, it's the underlying platform being used to build a huge and versatile trust network
The blockchain is a decentralised electronic ledger with duplicate copies on thousands of computers around the world. It cannot be altered retrospectively, allowing asset ownership and transfer to be recorded without external verification.

Investors have now realised the blockchain is bigger than Bitcoin.
Tech can help us do many things — losing weight is NOT one of them
Quantifying everything [with a fitness tracker] proved one undeniable fact: Once your body adjusts your metabolic rate to your daily routine, you are in for an impossibly difficult struggle with your own DNA. We are hard-wired to store energy under a wide variety of conditions. One doctor told me, “It’s like fighting gravity.” I’m there now. And I can tell you from firsthand experience, fitness trackers have no place in this battle.
10,000 steps per day is good for you. It offers some health benefits to all but the most physically fit. But the devil is in the details. There is a huge difference between casually walking 10,000 steps and purposefully walking 10,000 steps. If you want to get measurable health, lifestyle, and fitness benefits out of walking, you need to purposefully walk, not saunter.

Purposeful walking means walking about as fast as you can.
Author’s Note: This article is about consumer-grade fitness trackers. Purpose-built sports trackers and specialized training tools are clearly useful and yield extraordinary results.
A programmer figured out how to automate his job and work 2 hours a week -- but he's not sure it's ethical
An anonymous programmer said he was starting to feel guilty about how he quietly turned his whole job into less than two hours of work a week by writing a bunch of scripts.
One programmer best summarized the Hacker News's point of view:
"The only thing he is doing wrong is under-utilizing his own talents and potential productivity, for which the optimal solution is for him to find a better job."
A famous techie created an $88 device that will let you 'hack' your car so that it can do new things
Called Panda, the device sells for $88 and can plug into a vehicle's OBDII port to access data typically only available to vehicle manufacturers. George Hotz also released a software tool called Cabana that will allow car enthusiasts to reverse engineer their cars using the data compiled by Panda.

Why would you want to do that?

The idea is to let people "hack" their cars the same way they can tinker with and customize a computer.
A male engineer explains why so many men in Silicon Valley behave so badly toward women
The big money Silicon Valley often throws at young engineers who are right out of college stimulates this "frat house" mentality.

"It's like, here you go, you're 21 years old, here's a $100,000 signing bonus," said the engineer. "Then they think they are hot sh-t. They think, 'Now people are going to respect me. Now women, who may have ignored me, they are going to respect me."

And with that, a sense of entitlement can be born.
A Gamer Channel’s Mission: Send the Trolls Packing
Every week without fail, some viewers of Misscliks, a channel on the video game streaming platform Twitch, pipe up with sexist or misogynistic comments.
What sets Misscliks apart is its response to such behavior. Whenever a sexist remark pops up, the Misscliks community quickly jumps in to explain that the channel’s mission is to be a diverse space where underrepresented gamers can feel safe from harassment and bullying. Commenters who persist are given timeouts, or sometimes banned outright.

“Misscliks is an example of a space grown from the ground up to model a different and less toxic environment,” said Naomi Clark..
Misscliks was founded in 2013 by four women in the video game and e-sports industries.
There's a reason you should be terrified of iris scanners and iPhone facial recognition – but it's not the reason you think

Experts have said that iris scanning is a far more secure form of biometric authentication than, say, voice recognition, fingerprints.
But a German hacking collective called the Chaos Computer Club fooled Samsung’s iris scanner.
The simplest way to grasp the risks associated with biometrics is by understanding that passwords are secrets and body parts are not.
Technology and hackers are engaged in a global game of cat and mouse.
iCloud security flaw put iPhone, Mac passwords at risk
The security researcher said the bug could've gained access to an entire account's iCloud Keychain.
Alex Radocea said the flaw could have let an attacker punch a hole in the end-to-end encryption that Apple uses to ensure nobody can read data as it is sent across the internet.
It's all because of a flaw in how iCloud Keychain verified device keys, which Radocea was able to bypass.
No one still thinks iOS is invulnerable to malware, right? Well, knock it off
As platform's popularity rose, so did its allure to miscreants
Malicious mobile apps in Apple's App Store are mercifully rare compared to the comparative "Wild West" of the Google Play store. However, hackers have found other ways to get malware installed.
The number of iOS vulnerabilities patched in the first quarter of 2017 is already greater than the total number of iOS vulnerabilities discovered in all of 2016. Fortunately, Apple is still very fast at patching the OS and distributing updates.
Interesting discussion on PETYA virus damage
Residents of these states are most vulnerable to identity theft
The top five states all had more than 550 complaints about identity fraud per 100,000 residents, and Florida topped the list with 1,510.
Twitter continues court battle against U.S. government over surveillance
Twitter has been publishing transparency reports since 2012 on both the governmental and nongovernmental requests its receives to remove content or disclose information about an account, among other requests. In the reports, Twitter can only use broad number ranges related to national security requests, which is an administrative subpoena from the government, and FISA warrant, which are surveillance warrants granted under the United State Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
The government has argued that technology companies need to use broad number ranges because releasing data on the number of requests “would impair national security interests and is properly classified.” 

However, the judge found that the government has not yet proved that the disclosure would be a “grave and serious threat of damage to national security,” and allowed the case to move forward.
Changes to iCloud Put Apple on Collision Course With Governments Seeking Access to Encrypted Messages
Apple has sent its top privacy executives to Australia twice in the past month to lobby government officials over proposed new laws that would require companies to provide access to encrypted messages.
China’s censors have a new power — erasing images in chat before they arrive
Displays of this new image-filtering capability kicked into high gear as Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo lay dying from liver cancer and politically minded Chinese tried to pay tribute to him, according to activists and a new research report.
When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Share Your Location Using a Smartphone
All the popular location-sharing tools are limited or flawed, and in some cases broadcasting your location may not be worth the effort or worth draining your phone’s battery life. Even worse, location tracking raises numerous privacy concerns about who can snoop into your whereabouts.

Yet security experts agree that on smartphones, it is now practically impossible to stop location tracking.
The new Snapchat map has raised privacy concerns among some parents and law enforcement officials, who said it was too easy for Snapchat users to add random people as friends, which could potentially let predators track a child’s location. A Snapchat spokeswoman said it was not possible to share your location with people who are not your friends on Snapchat.
After testing location-sharing tools for two weeks, here are my suggestions for the best times to use them.
Protecting Your Computer with Free Software
Several companies offer free basic versions of their more complete security suites to home users.
Security software can help block malicious code from invading your computer, but be on guard for more socially engineered attacks from email and other online sources. has a guide to spam and phishing lures, and other threats to avoid.
People who use the “Dark Net” to do illegal drug deals on the internet are no longer safe from Police.
Police have figured out a new way to combat this crime.
One of the greatest science fiction magazines is now available for free online is now home to a collection of Galaxy science fiction magazines.
A sister publication, If Magazine, came later, which can also be found on

“Perverse” malware infecting hundreds of Macs remained undetected for years | Ars Technica

“Perverse” malware infecting hundreds of Macs remained undetected for years | Ars Technica: ""



Saturday, July 15, 2017

Gartner: PC Industry Suffering '5-Year Slump' | News & Opinion |

Gartner: PC Industry Suffering '5-Year Slump' | News & Opinion | ""



Well, PC sales are down for Desktops and Laptops, but UP for Chromebooks. 

I’m curious to see what happens when Microsoft’s Windows 10 S seriously hits the market. Will it affect Chromebooks?


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Forked-daapd rides again! Installing Forked-Daapd (at last!) and some ancillary software to make life easier

Hello again! At this point you should have read my previous articles.

I hope you installed Linux Mint or another Ubuntu-derived Linux distro, on your external USB hard drive connected to your Windows 10 computer. You have it up and running.

Now for installing the forked-daapd iTunes music server and other software. Installing forked-daapd itself is easy, but you have to take some time editing the configuration file. I’ll walk you through that process.


Installing Forked-Daapd: Two different ways

You can install forked-daapd in two different ways. The first way is through a graphical Software Manager, the equivalent of the Windows 10 Store or the Mac/iOS App Store. 

54 the GUI software manager

If you don’t see it when you click on the Start Menu, click on the System Menu (the one with the Mac System Preferences icon!) and look for it there. 

In any case, double click on the Software Manager icon. First, though, you have to enter your Linux password. It’s the equivalent of your Mac’s administrative password. So remember it!


55 the GUI Software Manager screen


You will see twelve categories of apps to choose from. 

Enter forked-daapd into the search box with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner. Press the ENTER key.


58 forked daapd found


You will see it appear. Now double-click on it.


59 the forked daapd page ready to install


You will see a description of the forked-daapd app. Now click on the Install button to start.


60 installing forked daapd


Now forked-daapd is installed. This was the easiest part. 


66 editing the name to use with forked daapd


You need to open the Terminal in a moment to edit the forked-daapd configuration file to give it a name to display on iTunes and to point to the directory (folder) in which you keep the music files.

Linux Mint has a keyboard shortcut for opening the Terminal. It’s Control+Alt+T

When you get to the prompt, enter this command sudo nano /etc/forked-daapd.conf

Let me explain the parts of this command!

“Sudo” is a UNIX command found also in macOS that gives you 15 minutes of super powers over Linux. You are a temporary root user.

“Nano” is the name of a terminal based text editor. It’s very simple, a lot simpler to use than the big text editors VIM and Emacs.

“/etc/forked-daapd.conf” is the path to the configuration file, which is forked-daapd, as you probably guessed.

So here are the two parts you need to edit. Read this first before editing!!!

Under “#Library configuration, you can edit the name you give to your server when it shows up on iTunes. I called mine “My Hot Music on %h” 

Just pick a short name you can remember.


Now the tougher part, indicating the path to the music directory (folder).


69 name for proper direcotry edited


This is the section you will need to edit. Don’t start editing until I give you a tip on how to do it right the first time.

You don’t need to edit the # Directories to index line, as it’s just a comment.

You do need to edit the directories = { “home/thomas/Music” } line. Here’s how to do it.


Before!-before you start editing this line at all, go to the Terminal prompt:


72 list of commands use this


This screenshot shows you what you need to do. As you probably think it’s Sanskrit at this point, I’ll explain it to you.

The first line shows the command ls This is short for “list directories” Press the Enter key to execute it.

The second line shows the subdirectories ls found within the Home Directory of this Linux Mint installation. The Home Directory, like the macOS User folder, is indicated with a ~

One of those subdirectories is called Music. Note that it is spelled with a capital M at the start. Remember, Linux, unlike macOS, is case-sensitive.

To change directories and get into the Music directory, you enter the command cd Music Press the Enter key to execute the command.

Now that you have entered the Music directory, the Terminal prompt changes from just ~ to ~/Music

Now for the million dollar command that will solve your problems! Enter pwd (print working directory path) and press the Enter key

The line in white shows the path that you need to enter into the # Directories to index. Copy and paste it if necessary. I spent several months bungling around trying to enter the right path before I found the pwd command. Use it.

Now, and only now, can you open the forked-daapd.conf file to edit it with nano. 

To exit nano and save the file, press Control + O (the letter O, not a zero) and then press the Enter key. To exit nano, press Control + X and the Enter key.


Terminal commands for forked-daapd

Let me emphasize that forked-daapd runs from the Terminal and not from a nice GUI. 

Here are three commands to operate it from the Terminal

Sudo /etc/init.d/forked-daapd stop

You need this command to halt forked-daapd. 

Sudo /etc/init.d/forked-daapd start

You need this command to start forked-daapd

Sudo /etc/init.d/forked-daapd restart

This command restarts forked-daapd. You need to run this command if you add more music to it while it is running. It does not automatically update its music database.

How to control your Linux machine from your Mac via SSH

You can use your Mac’s Terminal to run Linux Terminal commands via the SSH (Secure Shell) protocol. Here’s how to set it up between the two machine.

First you need to install SSH on your Linux machine. It will act as a client, but lacks a server by default. 

So go to the Terminal with Control+Alt+T. Now enter this command sudo apt-get install ssh Now press the Enter key to execute the command.

74 install ssh all of it

When you return to the Terminal prompt, run this command ifconfig

75 finding the IP4 address with ifconfig


You want to find this line in all that ifconfig spat out: init addr 


After that, you will see your IPv4 address looking something like You’re looking for four groups of numbers separated by periods. 

Now go over to your Mac, which you should have connected to the Linux machine via a router at some point. 


89 Terminal SSH login to Linux


Now open your Mac’s Terminal app. 

Enter this command ssh (your linux user name)@(your Linux iPv4 address) and press the ENTER key. Follow the steps outlined above. 


Type “yes” to tell your Linux machine you trust it. 

Now type in your Linux administrative password. 

When you succeed, you’ll get a message Welcoming you to the Linux machine. You can put the Linux machine off your main desk for now. 


Now for some graphic interface elements between you and your Linux machine!

You need to add music from your Mac or CD collection to your /home/(your user name)/Music folder on your Linux machine. How to do that?

First, you need netatalk. Netatalk sets up an Apple File Protocol server on your Linux machine that your Mac can easily log into. 


On your Linux machine, you can install Netatalk through the software manager as I showed you for forked-daapd.

Now you need to edit its configuration file, atalkd.conf

Go to the Terminal and enter sudo nano /etc/netatalk/atalkd.conf 

Now press the ENTER key to execute.


65 Terminal for editing netatalk correctly


Press the down arrow key to move your cursor all the way to the very bottom. You only have to enter one phrase.



That’s letter e, letter t, letter h, and the number zero and not the letter o

Press Control + O (the letter O in this case) to save your file and then press the ENTER key to execute

Press Control + X to exit nano. Press the Enter key if necessary to execute.


That is it on the Linux side.


On the Mac side, do this:


80 On Mac connect to Server


 Go to your Finder and its Go menu. 

Scroll all the way to the bottom for the Connect to Server… command or just hit Command + K


81 the Server connect window

This is the window you see on your Mac. Click on the Browse button for the AFP server Netatalk.



82 found the right AFP server


There you see the AFP server with the Linux machine’s name. Double-click on it to start connecting.


83 logging into AFP server for the first time


You’re not connected yet. Look for the Connect As… button in the upper right-hand corner. It’s below the Search box. Now click on Connect As...

84 oops can t use Mac login credentials


Now when you get the verification box, it will have your Mac’s user name (this is a fake).

You need to delete that name and replace it with your Linux user name and your Linux administrative password. Then click on Connect.


86 properly logged in using Linux credentials

When you see the Home Directory displayed, you’re in like Flynn. Treat the Home Directory as you would an external hard drive plugged into your Mac.


87 Directories within the home directory

Double-click on the Home Directory to display the various subdirectories within it. One of them is Music!


88 how it should look when it all works


This is how your Finder’s Sidebar should look with the AFP Netatalk server connected to it. 


91 Music I placed in Music directory


Now I copied some music from my iTunes directory into the Music directory on the Linux machine. Will it play back to me over forked-daapd?


93 the albums show up in iTunes


Yes, it does! Notice that the source of the music is My Hot Music not the iTunes directory itself and iTunes displays the albums. I can tell you they sound fine.


How to install the Asunder CD ripper

To install the Asunder CD ripper, go back to the Software Manager and follow the instructions I showed you for forked-daapd. You just have to substitute asunder in the search box.

I laid out instructions in an earlier blog post here. 


I’ll give you some more tips here, then I’ve got to go to bed.


83 Asunder preferences


These are the Asunder general preferences. Note that the destination folder is the /home/thomas folder. You want to drop down the menu on the right-hand side to show the Music folder. Click on that to route ripper music into that folder. Otherwise, forked-daapd can’t find it!

And you probably want to eject the CD when you’re done ripping it. Just click on the box for Eject disk when finished

Asunder doesn’t need any Terminal work for its preferences. 


So have fun, send me e-mail if you need questions answered, and now you can put all your music on an iTunes server instead of trying to shoehorn it into just 256 GB on a MacBook!


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog






Forked-Daapd rides again! How to install Linux Mint on a prepared USB external hard drive

I hope you’ve read all the previous articles in this series before reading this one. Your success here depends on knowing and using all that came before.

At this point, you should have these four items in your possession:


1. A Windows 10 Recovery Drive that you will faithfully update every month.

2. The knowledge and ability to restore your Windows 10 machine to only Windows 10 if you so desire in the future.

3. A Linux Mint installer on a USB flash drive.

4. A prepared USB External hard drive, ready for installation. 


With those items within reach, you can proceed to installing Linux Mint and later installing the iTunes music server and ancillary software.


Step #1-Make Sure the Windows 10 machine is turned off.

Step #2-Plug the Linux Mint installer into a USB port. Do not plug in the external USB drive yet.

Step #3-Turn on the Windows 10 machine and wait for the brief message about which key to press to enter the Boot Menu screen.

Step #4-Press and hold that key! Don’t mash it down, it’s not “Whack a Mole!” We’re playing. Just light pressure.

Step  #5-When you get to the Boot Menu screen, select USB device. If you get a second screen asking which USB device to choose, pick your USB Linux installer.

Note: At this point, you may have selected the USB installer and pressed the ENTER key, yet still booted up in Windows 10! At this point, try a different USB port, they can be picky.

Step #6-Having successfully booted into the Linux Mint live environment, now plug in the USB External Hard Drive that you prepared. 

19 Install Linux Mint icon on the desktop


Step #7-double-click on the round icon resembling a DVD for Installation. 

20 choose a language and read the release notes for Linux Mint

Step #8-Pick a language, Then click on Continue


21 install 3rd party software or not

Step #9-Install third party software and upgrades? Click on the box for that in the upper left-hand corner if you so desire.



22 install that 3rd party software


Step #10-Go ahead and install them, then click on Continue in the lower right-hand corner


23 your Linux Mint installation choices

Step #11-What type of installation do you want? Linux Mint assumes you want to install alongside Windows 10, but you don’t want this option!


24 I m going with something else

Step #12-No, you want the Something else option in this case.


25 the something else window at first look



Step #13-First, a look at sda, which is where Windows 10 is. 

Now click on /dev/sdc which is where the Linux Mint installation goes

26 the SDC drive already partitioned


Step #14-You can see the tiny Linux Swap space in purple at the left hand side, and the main Linux Mint portion in yellow.

27 highlighting the main partition in SDC



Step #15-Now click on the main Linux Mint partition. Mine has the name of sdc2, but yours might differ. In any case, you want to click on the big Linux Mint partition!

Note that the three buttons below the partition list (“+”, “-“ and “Change…”) have lit up. They are active now and you will use them in the next few steps.


28 Edit the main partition

Step #16-Click on the Change… button and you will see this window appear. You will make some changes


29 use as EXT4 file system


Step #17-You will want to click on the “do not use the partition” box. In particular, click on the downward arrow at the right-hand side of this button. You will see a menu drop down. One of the choices is “Ext4 journaling file system” Choose that one!


30 format that main partition as EXT4



Step #18. Click on the “format the partition” box. Yes, you will format the partition again, because you want to make it the boot partition.

31 make the mount point the root of the system


Step #19-This is very important! You want to specify a mount point for this partition and you want it to be the root of the file system. 

So click on the downward arrow at the right of the mount point box and select / 

Yes, that’s it, the forward slash signifies the root of the file system in Linux and UNIX and macOS.


32 all ready to install

Step #20

You’re ready to start the installation. So click on Install Now.

33 your final warning before proceeding you ll wipe out your data




Step #21-A final warning before you proceed. If you feel satisfied, click on the Continue box.


34 set the time zone


Step #22-Pick your time zone. It may come up automatically.


35 choose your keyboard layout

Step #23-Choose your keyboard layout. 


36 setting your user name and password


Step #24-Choose your user name, what you want to name the computer as, and a suitable password. Note: If you decide to encrypt your home folder, you’ll have a password for it, too.



37 start of the actual installation and the slideshow


Step #25-The start of the installation process. Linux Mint shows you highlights of what Linux Mint can do.


38 Installation has finished



Step #26-Installation is complete. You can continue in live mode or restart to finish the installation to the hard drive. 

During the restart process to finish the installation, you will be asked to remove the USB installer and then press the ENTER key.

You should come to the GRUB (Grand Unified Bootmanager) screen, a text-mode screen for picking between Linux Mint and Windows 10. Use your arrow keys to highlight your choice, then press the ENTER key.


That’s the installation of Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya. In the next blog post, I’ll go over installing forked-daapd and the ancillary software that make it work better.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog








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