In September 2011, security companies first noticed a new malware scam for OS X, which posed as a fake Adobe Flash installer, and hence became known as Flashback. Unlike prior scams, this malware took on some new approaches to tricking users by infecting common browsers, disabling Apple's XProtect system, and eventually morphing into a Java-based exploit that resulted in approximately 600,000 Macs being infected worldwide.
SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS, Calif. -- In the common retelling of Apple's history, it was Steve Jobs' and Steve Wozniak's second computer, the Apple II, that launched their fledgling company toward stratospheric growth and financial success. The machine's triumph as a single platform for business software, games, artistic tools -- and more -- set the stage for the later debut of the first Mac, and later OS X and iDevices.
What many forget -- or may not even know -- is that when the Apple II was introduced at the inaugural West Coast Computer Faire in April, 1977, it suffered from what, in retrospect, was a glaring shortcoming: It had no disk drive. … Read more
Sonnet Technologies has debuted its Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock, which includes a number of ports and options that is intended to be an all-in-one solution to I/O needs for systems with Thunderbolt connectors.
As portable systems get smaller and adopt high-speed universal I/O technologies such as Thunderbolt, more peripheral and docking solutions that use this technology are being introduced. Since a single-port solution is a popular choice for notebook users, a number of companies have promised Thunderbolt-based docking options that can link all peripherals to a portable system directly via its Thunderbolt connection.
One of the first of … Read more
While the need to locate a specific line in a text file may not be a very useful feature in regular prose text, for managing structured code such as scripts and XML files that are common in OS X, being able to identify a specific line or two may be quite useful.
If you have attempted shell scripting in OS X, you may find that when your scripts run into errors you will be given a brief description of the problem that includes the line where the problem occurred. While the use of BBEdit, TextWrangler, and other powerful text editors … Read more
When you receive a notification in Apple's Notification Center for Mountain Lion, the system will use the built-in "Basso" sound. If you do not want this sound to play whenever you receive a notification, then you have a couple of options.
The first is to disable the sound completely, which can be done on a per-application basis in the Notifications system preferences. Simply select an application and then uncheck the "Play sound when receiving notifications" option, which should silence it.
Unfortunately this is a relatively limited option and one that requires you to change it … Read more
A number of owners of Apple's mid-2010 MacBook Pro who have upgraded to OS X 10.8.3 are noticing that systems with dual graphics cards will automatically switch to using the more powerful discrete graphics chip regularly, even when using non-graphics intensive applications like Google Chrome, Dropbox, and Growl. This does not result in crashes or other interruptions in workflow, but it does increase the drain on the systems' battery and result in a shorter working time when not connected to AC power.
Apple's QuickLook technology in OS X is a quick way to preview a document's contents before opening the document's handling program. QuickLook works by using a small plug-in that reads the document's format and generates a small PDF, HTML, or thumbnail preview of the document that is presented to you as a representation of its layout.
The ability for OS X to generate a preview of a document is convenient for QuickLook, but also may be handy for other uses as well. For example, MacFixIt reader Paul recently wrote in wondering how one might use this … Read more
MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer Mac-related questions e-mailed by our readers.
This week, readers wrote in with questions on fixing a stuck locking mechanism for a MacBook lid, the inability to boot to or otherwise use the Recovery HD partition in OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, and tackling nonspecific slowdowns in OS X. I welcome contributions from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!
Question: Stuck locking mechanism for a MacBook lid MacFixIt reader Dominic asks:The locking mechanism on the lid of … Read more
This Sunday, March 31, is World Backup Day, an independent initiative geared to raise awareness for data security and the importance of backing up computers and other devices that may contain important information. In light of this, you might want to consider taking the time to ensure that all of your systems are set up with a proper backup routine.
Backing up a system used to take a number of steps, and while there are many options and approaches for doing so, these days most devices include some sort of regular backup option that, if used, should be enough to … Read more
Transparency in images files can be quite convenient, especially if you need to place the same image over different backgrounds and want it to properly blend in. While having a white or other solid color background may help you view the image on the screen, with this setup if you embed it in a document with a different-color background then the white will stand out as an obtrusive rectangle.
To help reduce this, you can both manually remove backgrounds from images using Apple's Preview application or use a transparent canvas to compile images that already contain transparency.
To create … Read more