Mar 30, 2008

MacBook Air hacked in under 2 minutes

This is an important cautionary tale, and one that has always applied: One should assume that if someone can lay their hands on your computer, they can get at your data.

Mar 17, 2008

Airport Express is now Extreme!

Finally, Apple has put the faster 802.11n in the Airport Express, so
now you can mix an AXP into your Extreme network for AirTunes and not
reduce the speed of your network.

Mar 14, 2008

New iPhone plan: UNLIMITED minutes, text, & data

$140/month! I just saved $720 a year!

Blogged from my iPhone

Mar 12, 2008

Transferring files from PC to Mac

I want to do a quick Word file backup on my wife's PC.  Can I use a DVD? - Thanks, JW

You sure can, JW. I don't know what DVD burning software you have on the PC, but it should be easy enough.

For what it's worth, however, several slightly easier, and perhaps cheaper, ways to do this are:

~ Email those files to your Mac.

~ Use a flash drive (also called thumb drive, RAM stick, memory stick), which might be cheaper in the long run if you plan to do a lot of this.

~ Turn File Sharing on on the Mac and just drag the files across your home network.
Please call me for any additional explanation on that one, or here's one quick explanation on the web. 
Here's a longer one.

Then, backing those files up, to a DVD or exteral hard drive is, like everything else on the Mac, easier to explain.

Videos on tech "in Plain English"

Love this: Common Craft has created videos to explain things like RSS & Twitter to non-techophiles. I've tried my explanations, almost entirely unsuccessfully, so these will come in handy!

Mar 8, 2008

Forget FTP

Following up on the question about FTP software: I just listened to net@night, when they interviewed the creators of, a nifty new web-based file-sharing service. It's impressive. Some of the cool benefits & features:

~ free! ~ very simple ~ requires no sign-up, no login, and thus no personal information is collected ~ you can send  in files via the web, email, SMS, by phoning in an audio message, or even with a free fax number anyone can use to fax a doc into your box ~ free conference calls ???

Thought y'all who were needing FTP might want to check this out. Graphic designers can of course use this to share proofs ... you get the picture.

100MB is free, and you can upgrade to 1GB for a tiny $10 a year.

Mar 7, 2008

Pogue on "How Dangerous Is the Internet for Children?"

People ask me about parental controls from time to time, and while the new Leopard has better ones than previous Mac systems, my answer remains the same: "If you need it, then you probably have bigger problems than the internet."

David Pogue recently cast a really good look at the subject. He also references a PBS documentary. All parents should probably take a look at both.

Mar 6, 2008

Backups: How not to assume nuthin'

I am using Carbon Copy Cloner to backup my MacBook. Any suggestions on how to confirm the stuff is there?

You bet. First of all, whether you are using it manually or on a scheduled basis, you'll get an error if things don't go well. You can go to the Window menu and to CCC Log, and while the log might look a little geeky, you can see if there were any errors.

Also, open external the hard drive on your desktop, go into Users, then into your home folder (probably has your name on it). Go to the View menu and view as List, then click at the top of the Date Modified column to sort the folders in date-order. If you see files with the same date as your last backup, you should be golden.

Your backups: Don't assume nuthin'

Funny how situations seem to arise in groups: I received several calls from folks these last couple of weeks whose automatic backups were not working. One of them LOST THEIR DOCUMENTS.

Fortunately they were able to retrieve the important stuff with the help of FileSalvage, which thankfully most of us will never need.

When I put a backup solution in place, I ask that our client be sure to check regularly to see that the backups are happening. It's the one place where, regardless of how comfortable or tentative someone is with their Mac, I kind of insist that they become familiar with the setup, at least enough to know when it's broken. 

Backups can fail for any number of reasons: 

~ The external backup drive (the box sitting outside your computer) can fail.
~ Power can go out and confuse the backup software.
~ The software can get broken by an update to the Mac.

Suffice to say that it's crucial that you not assume that your backups are happening. If you're not sure how to check them, or which backup software we installed, please give me a call. We should set up at least a short appointment to go over that stuff. Erick or I can write up very quick instructions -- 5 to 10 clicks and you'll be golden.

Thanks for reading!