Tag Archives: mac

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New Flashback variant silently infects Macs


New Flashback variant silently infects Macs

A new Flashback Trojan has been discovered that infects Macs without prompting the user for a password. If you haven’t updated Java on your Mac, or disabled it entirely, you could be a victim.

Flashback Trojan in the Wild – Protect older Macs


Most modern Macs have Java installed, so they could be vulnerable to the Flashback. While Apple posted a security fix for Mac OS X Lion and Mac OS X Snow Leopard, there are many millions of Macs running older software. Still there’s an easy way to prevent a Java drive-by attack, besides pulling the plug.

10 Essential iPad Tips & Tricks


With the release of the Apple iPad I found this link, which I thought would be quite useful to everyone!

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Any idiot can use an iPad at a basic level. It’s designed that way. But even still, there are things that you’re just supposed to magically know—things no one ever necessarily tells you. So we’re here to help.

http://gizmodo.com/5508399/10-essential-ipad-tips–tricks

Linux’s Market Share: Is There Any Way To Know?


One thing many of us would like to know, I am sure, is how many people out there use Linux? The usual numbers, those from Net Applications, would indicate that less than 1% of people use Linux. More recently, though, there have been some more optimistic numbers. Canonical is claiming that 11% of businesses use Ubuntu. (If that is the case, just imagine how many use Red Hat or Suse.) Gartner says that Linux’s market share is 4%, putting it about even with the Mac. And Context says that almost 3% of PCs sold in the UK have Linux pre-installed.

While none of those numbers are huge, they mean the difference between Linux and Mac OS X being about equal and Linux being a speck of dust in the sea. The fundamental problem is that it is really, really hard to know how what the marketshare of Linux, or any open-source software, is. After all, one download might never be used, or only be used for a short time, and another might be used to install Linux onto 100 computers.

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OSX Tiger vs. Vista vs. Ubuntu Security: a 15 Point Report Card


When shopping for a new computer, your mind is probably spinning with considerations: price, reliability, speed, software capabilities, security, and other specs. Perhaps the hardest part is choosing an operating system on which everything will run. To get a good idea of what capabilities Apple’s OSX Tiger/Leopard, Windows Vista, and Ubuntu Linux have to offer, check out our 15 point report card that compares the levels of protection you’ll get with each of them.

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Is it time for Microsoft to abandon Vista and move on to something else, as soon as possible?


Is it time for Microsoft to abandon Vista and move on to something else? Maybe Microsoft should consider doing what Apple did and create an OS based on an existing UNIX based system (BSD, Linux, Amiga, etc…). Or maybe Microsoft should “move up the time table” of Windows 7, Min-Win or Microsoft Singularity and make a radical change? Or maybe they incorporate some of the forgotten features of Longhorn into a “new and glorious” Operating System? How about taking some of their experimental technologies, like “Singularity” and fusing it with a UNIX based OS? Or Microsoft just buyout Novell now and make a new Linux based OS (Microsoft SUSE)? Hey, I’m not saying that Vista is totally bad; however it is starting to look more and more like the “Windows ME” situation. My apologies to the Windows ME lovers still out there on planet “Wishful thinking”, but I digress! In some of the business sectors I work in, I.T/MIS departments and various individuals alike will not touch Microsoft Vista or even allow one connected to their network. There are still issues with legacy software and recently purchased hardware. You need to justify making the upgrade and unfortunately for many businesses, but not all, it just is not there. Now, maybe you home users can tolerate the incompatibilities and problems. One of my extended family members recently purchased an HP system with Vista Premium (they forgot to ask for my advice). Let’s just say “she is not a happy camper”! Too many problems and issues with hardware and software left her with no option but to return the “lemon”. She just did not have the time to deal with it and neither did I.

I use Microsoft Vista 64-bit business edition, at my place of work. It runs great, but I have 4 GB of RAM, a nice SATA drive and a supercharged video card (512MB); along with a whole host of goodies, however I imagine I am not the “average” person or small business. They say that “time is money” and many I’ve spoken with, who do not want to spend that amount of cash and time with Vista. In addition they are often saying, with an assumption, that they will wait until SP2 (Service Pack 2) before they make the dive into the Vista world; if that even happens. Recently Microsoft came out with their revenue and profit numbers, on Vista. I am sure it was meant to show a positive spin on Microsoft’s financial outlook. It also was probably more to do with the release of Apple’s new Operating System called Leopard. However, how are the OEM and retail figures broken down? How many OEMs are allowing downgrades to XP, just to ensure the sale? Acer, Dell and others have made recent changes and moves; allowing users to downgrade to XP or even get Linux distros like Canonical’s Ubuntu. Microsoft cannot simply bury their electronic heads in the sand and hope the issues go away. Sure Microsoft is large and they can “weather the storm”, however I just wonder how much time Microsoft has before it starts to impact on them as a company? Maybe they are planning something in secret and will take a page from Steve Jobs and say nothing. Maybe Bill Gates will come back and lead them to victory. Or better yet, maybe they should outsource it? Sorry, it was just an idea!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

PC World – Vista Is Still Plagued by Incompatibilities


Vista Is Still Plagued by Incompatibilities. This is not good for the general “Microsoft PR” campaign. With Leopard being released and Linux looking better, Microsoft needs help fast. Albeit, some of the issues are directly Microsoft issues. Hardware and software manufacturers are just not up to speed. However regardless of the fact people are labeling this as a Vista issue. Slowly people are starting to see Vista as “Windows Millennium 2” or “ME2” reborn. Microsoft maybe saying that “it is not their fault, so don’t blame us”. This maybe true, but the fact remains that Vista’s perception of a rock-solid OS has been stained. They will have to either fix this perception or call it a loss and move on. For a company that depends on OS sales and software, they do not have time to fiddle with who’s to blame.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

Read more from the PC World article below.

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Nine months since its release, lots of hardware and software products still don’t work with Microsoft’s operating system, including some that are certified as Vista compatible. If you’re running Vista and you need a multifunction printer, Brother’s MFC-5860CN might seem like a great choice. After all, it’s proudly sold as “Certified for Windows Vista.”

But don’t plan on scanning any documents to turn them into digital files. The 5860CN is capable of doing that, but the optical character recognition software that comes bundled with the printer, PaperPort 9 from Nuance, isn’t Vista compatible. (Brother recommends that Vista owners use Microsoft Office’s Document Imaging feature.) And the printer’s Internet fax option? Forget about that, too. It works with XP, but not Vista.

This kind of Vista support, says Jim McGregor, research director at market research firm In-Stat, is more like torture by small incompatibilities. And nine months after Vista’s commercial release, it’s not at all unusual. Major software publishers and hardware manufacturers are dragging their feet when it comes to supporting Vista, analysts say. While vendors have developed new products for Vista, many are leaving customers who purchased hardware and software before they upgraded to Vista with crippled or inoperative gear, says Chris Swenson, analyst with the NPD Group.
Photoshop Users Upset

Consider the plight of Adobe Photoshop CS2 users who have upgraded to Vista. That software still isn’t fully compatible with the new operating system. Adobe Photoshop CS2 customers have been asking Adobe for a software compatibility upgrade without much luck, Swenson says. “If you want Vista and you use Adobe CS, you are going to have to buy the new CS3 version,” Swenson says. Adobe CS3 ($649) is the only version fully compatible with Vista. Upgrading from CS2 to CS3 costs $200.

Adobe is developing free patches for some Adobe products (PDF) so they run smoothly. Still, the company lists over a dozen Adobe programs that it says either do not support Windows Vista or do not “officially” support Vista. Programs in either category may install on Vista, but don’t work completely. Some products Adobe recommends not trying on Vista at all.

At the release of the Windows XP operating system six years ago, incompatibility issues affected consumers to a much smaller extent, Swenson says. This time around, “vendors wish they could just forget about [XP-era products],” he says.

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OK, I admit it, Leopard has more “Wow!” than Vista … in theory anyway


OK, I admit it, Leopard has more “Wow!” than Vista … in theory anyway…

Now that I’ve given in and decided that the PC Doc HQ is to get at least one Mac (what exactly I’m going to do with it remains a mystery, but that’s not the point) I’ve been spending some time checking out what new features I can expect from Leopard. Apple has conveniently listed 300+ new Mac OS X Leopard features on a single page, and I have to say, Leopard sounds compelling … in theory anyway.

OK, I admit it, Leopard has more “Wow!” than Vista … in theory anyway. Browsing through the 300+ new feature (well, OK, let’s first admit that “new features” is marketing hyperbole, some of the features have just been re-tweaked and modified a little) I have to admit that I went “Wow!” more than once. In fact, I might as well come clean and admit that Leopard looks like it beats Vista in the “Wow!” department.

In case you missed that, let me repeat it again:

“Leopard looks like it beats Vista in the “Wow!” department.”

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It’s official: Apple to Ship Mac OS X Leopard on October 26


Apple confirmed that Mac OS X Leopard will go on sale Friday, October 26 at 6:00 p.m. at Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers, and that Apple’s online store is now accepting pre-orders for the software. Apple posted a splashy update on their Web site this morning to announce that the next major upgrade to the operating system–Mac OS 10.5 (a.k.a. “Leopard“)–will be released on Friday 26 October 2007.Apple is taking pre-orders for the US$129 upgrade (US$199 family pack) with free shipping for delivery on 26 October.

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Why Windows users don’t switch to Mac


Over on Apple Matters I came across an interesting post by Steven Leigh which considers 8 reasons why Windows users don’t switch to Mac.  Leigh is a recent Mac switcher and he has an interesting insight into the issues surrounding making a switch, but I think that there are several areas where he misses the mark.

The first reason he give is ignorance.

Ignorance is merely a lack of knowledge, and when it comes to Macs, most Windows users, myself included, are extremely uninformed.

There are move Windows PCs out there than Macs.  Period.  That’s the main reason why Windows users are ignorance of the Mac platform.  Sure, you can drop by an Apple store and take any Mac you want for a spin, but that’s not the same as seeing it in action.

Leigh goes on to say:

Macs are so much easier to use; many beginners find it easier to do most tasks intuitively, without having to be taught or open a manual. As someone who has spent long hours teaching family and friends how to do simple tasks like email attachments, I can you tell that the same cannot be said about Windows.

I have to disagree with him on this point.  Having had the opportunity to use a Mac for an extended period I can honestly say that while some aspects of the Mac OS are easier than Windows, overall claiming that the platform is somehow intuitive and there’s no learning curve is disingenuous.  It all depends what you do and how you use the system.

Another reason that Leigh gives for Windows users not switching is price. 

The perception by Windows users is that Macs are more expensive than Windows PCs. This may have been true in the past, but the new Macs are very comparably priced to similarly equipped PCs.

True in part, but show me the $500 Apple system.  I can show you plenty of decent $500 PCs.  For the budget conscious buyer, it’s not what you get that matters, it’s the price that they end up paying.

What about the lies …

Let’s face it: Apple tends to bend the truth once in a while, especially about Microsoft and Windows.

Oh yeah …

One of the “Get a Mac” ads states that Windows is for spreadsheets and pie-charts, while Macs are for “fun stuff” like photos, movies, etc. To Mac users, this seems both funny and true. Windows users, however, are thinking of the aisles and aisles of games that are available for Windows, while there is a half-shelf devoted to games for the Mac. I don’t know about you, but I can only have so much fun playing with photos. Things like this just sound like lies, and they sometimes present Apple as a company that has to lie about its competitors to get business.

This is probably one of the most blatant lies that Apple marketing has come out with in recent years.  A lot of the time I feel that Apple is selling to existing customers who buy into the bias and FUD rather than trying to encourage more Windows users to switch.  Lies create mistrust.

The Windows bashing doesn’t help either …

I remember watching the 20 or 30 minute Vista-bashing session at the WWDC conference and wondering why Steve Jobs is so insecure that he has to berate the opposition. Can you imagine shopping for a car and having the salesman only talk about what’s wrong with the competition’s cars?

Again, Jobs is preaching to the converted and fanning the flames of zealotry.  The best people in industry are capable of turning a critical eye inwards towards their own goods and services and are constantly looking at ways to improve the customer’s experience (notice how I said customer, not consumer, there’s an important difference and a lot of companies have forgotten that).  This constant “best iPod we’ve ever made” and “best phone we’ve ever made” is all hyperbole and given the recent number of backlashes we’ve seen against Apple, I’m guessing that the customer base has grown too big for the reality distortion field.

Leigh has some interesting views on Vista too:

I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret, but you need to sit down first. Windows Vista is actually a good operating system! There. I said it. The ugly truth is that Vista is the best operating system Microsoft has ever released, and for many users, it is good enough.

It might get to that point, but I don’t think that it’s there yet.

The final and perhaps most controversial reason why more people don’t switch from Windows that Leigh gives are Mac users themselves:

Okay, I’m not talking about you or me here, but there are some Mac users out there who have just a little too much love for Apple. When they are shouting (or typing in all caps) about how much better Macs are, they’re not convincing anyone to switch, they are scaring them away.

I’ve been saying that for years, and every time I say it I get more than my fair share of ALL CAPS responses.  I’ve just come to the conclusion that either Apple’s keyboards are sub-standard and break so are only capable of issuing capital letters, or that some Mac users have simply pressed the caps lock key by accident once and don’t know how to turn it off again.

Even well-intentioned Mac users can sometimes get a little carried away. I’ve had many friends lecture me for hours on end that I was stupid not to switch, and all it did was push me further away.

Most people looking to buy a new computer want a tool, not a religion.

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The Ubuntu coming out party! But where is the marketing and advertising effort from Dell and others?


The final release of Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) will be released shortly and Dell has indicated that it will be pre-installed on some of their Notebooks and Desktop PCs. It will include GNOME 2.20 and the default installation of NTFS-3G, which provides read/write access to Windows (NTFS) partitions. Also included is Compiz Fusion, the 3-D window manager and desktop effects package. Improved plug and play printer support and a host of other features. However the story of success does not rest in the fact that Dell is offering its support to Ubuntu. The big question is the marketing and advertising of Ubuntu Linux. As far as I am concerned Ubuntu is still the best Linux distro available, for the commoners. However, why is there so little advertising of Linux? Is there a reason why Dell is not fully backing Linux? Ubuntu has a chance on becoming a big player for Linux enthusiasts and possibly people who want a PC, but for online and basic home PC usage. But, the progress will continue to be a slow one, as long as no particular hardware vendors helps in marketing the product, in the same way Microsoft Windows is pushed. I sense that Dell does not want to fully upset the Microsoft behemoth. Dell is now offering XP as a downgrade (of upgrade – depending on how you see it), for users that do not want Vista. Vista has experienced extremely bad press, along with a host of problems. The question is since Microsoft is not coming out with a new OS anytime soon; why not help push the Ubuntu Linux cause? Is there more at play than we know? Dell may simply be riding the Linux wave for free, while not helping (spending too much) to promote Ubuntu, at the expense of XP. Also, Linux is still not mainstream in the public eye. At a recent event the subject of Microsoft Vista was brought up. These are not “technically inclined” individuals; however they ALL had nothing good to say about Vista. Many said that they would buy a Mac. Some said “a Mac is hard to use” (did not get that one). However at the price, they could probably purchase 2-4 basic low-end PCs, with Microsoft XP. Only a few knew about Linux, however they said that “it was for nerds and programmers”. Well at least they knew something about it! A little education brought them up to speed, however more work needs to be done. While HP, Acer and others are contemplating Linux ventures, Dell has an opportunity, with its marketing knowhow, to boost the general profile of Linux. I hope Dell jumps on the opportunity, which should help to change the technical landscape for years to come.

 

Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

 

KDE’s Windows weapon KOffice 2.0 – Cross platform KOffice to challenge OpenOffice.org


While the industry is distracted by the ongoing tussle between Microsoft and OpenOffice.org over document formats, the KDE project is quietly preparing the next generation of its own office suite, KOffice, for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.

KOffice 2.0, to be released sometime in the first half of 2008, will be cross platform like many other applications in the KDE suite built with the Qt4 GUI toolkit.

Spokesperson for the KDE project Sebastian Kugler told Computerworld there is a community building around KDE on Windows and KDE e.V., the non-profit organization that represents KDE financially and legally, sponsored a meeting to help people get the port to Windows going.

“The by-product [of Qt4] really is that it became possible, now people are taking advantage of it,” Kugler said.

That said, Kugler admits KDE on Windows is “not really a steered effort” but is being done because there is interest in having KDE software run on Windows, and because KDE was developed to be platform-independent in the first place, it is possible.

People involved in the Linux and open source communities have often expressed conflicting views on whether free software on Windows benefits, or detracts from, the adoption of free operating systems, particularly on the desktop.

Kugler believes it is “hard to say” one way or another if KOffice 2.0 on Windows and Mac OS X will benefit KDE on Linux.

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