Two vulnerabilities have been found that attack the Central Processing Units of almost all computers – Windows AND Mac.
If this vulnerability is exploited, your computer may be subject to ALL of your information being visible to whoever is attacking the machine.
While most individual users are less likely to be targeted, we’re all still open to this problem – and it may never be completely fixable. However, this article from PC World will educate your further, and teach you what you may do to try to partially protect yourself.
On Macs, I’ve been advocating removal of most antiviral software – however now, I’m going to suggest that users on both platforms take advantage of the protection that may be enabled by a good Antivirus/ID Protection package.
In the meantime, please read this article for more information.
In a change to which I’m not looking forward, it appears that Apple has made some decisions about how the new iTunes works, that’s going to affect all user – but ESPECIALLY affect users with multiple devices.
We will no longer be able to download IOS apps from iTunes, and synchronize them to multiple devices. Each app will have to be downloaded directly to your device FROM that device’s App Store app, separately. Anybody who wants to set up their iPad and their iPhone with the same apps will have to download them separate times. I assume this also means that we’ll also be unable to organize our apps into folders or among screens as easily as we could in the iTunes app through 12.6.
In addition, there will be significant differences in how ringtones are managed, TV Shows, audio books, music, movies and podcasts (especially iTunes U).
Macworld has published an excellent article on these changes, with a few workarounds, and a very pragmatic attitude about the whole thing. I must admit – I’m feeling a bit more frustrated than I am, pragmatic.
As all of my clients and students know, I’m a stickler for telling everyone to BACKUP their data – regularly – automatically, and in multiple places. Personally, I use 2 local backups (one is a clone of my data and a separate for my hard drive – AND I use MacOS’s Time Machine). But I also keep an offsite secure backup in the cloud. I live in earthquake country – and nothing would stink worse than if my hardware was all broken and my data irretrievable (of course, there’s always DriveSavers, but despite my discount, it’s quite expensive). Also, if you guys ever DO need a discount from DriveSavers, please use Discount code DS16297.
For my offsite backup, I’ve been using Backblaze for YEARS. Their uploads are unobtrusive, their security is raged as VERY GOOD, and their prices are extremely reasonable. They’ve also recently increased the speed of their ability to download files, and added the ability to choose specific files (instead of folders) to restore when necessary.
Many of my clients have been using Crashplan’s Home backup option. Well… they’ve stopped taking new subscriptions, and they’re shutting down the Home version of their options as of October, 2018.
Backblaze is VERY interested in picking up this business – and since I do appreciate their service – AND their support when I needed it, I’m writing this post to recommend them. Take a look at their options. AND, if you do like their offerings, and use my referral link, we both get a free month of service!
As I said, your data is irreplaceable. Have you noticed that when you create something, and work on it until it’s right, that you can never really duplicate it again, if you need to? It’s never quite the same? Backup is the only option, and as for Cloud Backup, I recommend BackBlaze!
Lately, many of is with Macs and iDevices are finding unsolicited invitations to random events (usually SPAM sales) in our calendars. Needless to say, people have been feeling less than happy about this garbage, and it seems there’s been no way to remove these without hitting “decline” (which lets spammers know they’ve hit a valid spam location).
Although there currently appears to be no way to stop this spam, CNET has come up with some ways to remove them from your calendar without alerting spammers that you exist – and a method of ensuring these don’t get into your calendar in the future.
Techconnect.com has an article that lists all the various adapters necessary to use your peripherals (wired printers, external hard drives, monitors, iDevice connectors, etc.) with the new Thunderbolt 3 technology. Granted, Thunderbolt 3‘s power is amazing – can push up to 100W of power, the data transfer speed is 40Gbps, it can run two 4K monitors, and power tons of devices at once. But this power comes at a cost. Firstly – the only connective technology with which it’s directly compatible is USB-C. If you have ANY older devices, you’ll need to shell out more money for new adapters to suit your varying peripherals.
So, be ready – if you’re preparing to dish out between $2,400-$3400 on a new MacBook Pro – remember to build a few hundred more into your budget if you want to work with all your previous devices.
UPDATE! You should be informed – I heard back from Parallels today – SAME day I requested their flexibility – and they DID do the right thing! As I’ve been a loyal customer for many years, they honored my purchase, and offered me a new license key for the new version of the software! They ARE trustworthy!
As you all know, I believe in offering both praise an condemnation when appropriate. I praise Parallels today, for doing what’s right!
Many of you have seen me teach using Parallels to emulate the Windows environment on my Mac. Overall, I’ve found it to be the most reliable, user friendly emulation software among all the alternatives.
I’d delayed my purchase of their version 11, because I had no need of it until I upgraded my Virtual Machine to Windows 10. That was July 28th. Yesterday, Parallels announced the release of their Version 12. Oddly, their “free upgrade” for recent purchases section only allows free upgrades for software registered between August 1st (25 days prior to the release) and October 30th (when people won’t be able to buy the old version, anyway).
I’ve contacted them about the 2 day discrepancy – almost NO software company declines to offer free upgrades for purchases less than 30 days.
I’ve touted Parallels’ virtues to many of my students and clients over the years. I have my request to extend the free upgrade date on escalation. I’ll keep you updated on the outcome, as I’d never again suggest this software to anybody, if they choose to enforce their unreasonable and draconian rules in this situation.
Many of you in both my live and online classes have heard me, very strongly, tell you to BACKUP your data! As I’ve mentioned before, the only time you miss having a backup is when you need it and don’t have it.
I always recommend more than one method of backup, just to be safe. Hard drive space has become very reasonably inexpensive, and cloud space can often be had for FREE (my 2nd favorite price, as I often say) ?
Some strategies you might mix and match:
A CLONED backup of your system, or just your startup drive. Cloning is creating an exact replica of your hard drive (please note, for this discussion, I’m not referring to “Disk Imaging”, which creates what is essentially a zipped file of your cloned hard drive, but doesn’t use the suffix .zip). You need a hard drive with space that matches the size of the drive you’re backing up for this. As for software, Windows users have the options of Macrium Reflect Free, Paragon Backup and Recovery (Advanced) Free , Acronis True Image 2016 (not free), and several others. I do a weekly clone of my startup drive, so that in the case of disaster, my system is only one week behind. However, please note that I do the next strategy daily.
For Mac users, there’s DejaVu, Carbon Copy Cloner, Super Duper!, Data Backup, along with many others . Note that there no longer seems to be much FREE cloning software for Mac, but that’s because the MacOS has Time Machine built in – we’ll discuss that momentarily. With any application you choose, I recommend getting one with the following features:
Exact duplicate clone capabilities
Creation of a bootable backup (contains the files necessary to start from and use the backup drive, should your original drive go “bad”)
Duplication of the startup drives “Recovery Drive” feature (I know Carbon Copy Cloner does this on the Mac, but am unsure what does in the Windows world)
The ability to SCHEDULE your backups on a regular basis – so that you don’t have to remember to do them – your system does it automatically.
A duplicate backup of all my “Work” drives, which includes my USER FOLDER from my startup drive. I do this nightly, scheduled with the same backup software I use for my weekly backup of the startup drive. Every night, the drives (or folders) that contain my daily changes are duplicated to a secondary drive. Note that my user folder is in there, so if I ever need to reinstall from my cloned drive back to a new hard drive, I can also move my user folder into place, and my emails and documents, etc. are up to date. On this drive, I don’t duplicate my startup drive. Since I have several drives in my computer, I need quite a large capacity drive for this backup. However, since it only changes the file that have been changed that day, the backup process is quite quick.
Mac users may also take advantage of the MacOS built in “Time Machine”. This requires quite a lot of storage space, but it does an hourly (give or take) backup of all changes made to your system. The advantage of this is that you can store and restore files from many months back, in case a file gets corrupted, accidentally deleted, or just plain messed up. The DISadvantage to this is that the drive is not bootable (you can’t start your computer from it), so there’s downtime if you must replace your original hard drive, while Time Machine copies your files back to the drive.
ONLINE backup into the “cloud” is also a great option. Some systems automatically upload your files to their cloud, but you may need to pay for the service. Please note that these will NOT backup your system files, so an Operating System reinstallation would be required). But, your work files will be saved offsite, which is always safe. Nowadays, there are what seem to be a Zillion choices out there for this service. One popular service is Carbonite, and another is Backblaze, there’s also iDrive, CrashPlan, Pogoplug (I love this option, because it also offers a hardware “personal cloud”)….. I could go on for days on this. Some of these plans offer a free option for a small amount of space. In addition, there are FREE:
Dropbox – 2GB – file size limit 10GB
Box.com – 50GB – file size limit 250MB
OneDrive Windows – 5GB – file size limit 10GB – or 1TB with an Office 365 plan
Google Drive – 15GB – file size limit – varies – but up to 5TB for non-converted files
Verizon Cloud – 5GB – 1200KB from phone
Amazon Cloud (w/ Prime) – 5GB for video and files, unlimited for photos – file size limit 2GB
Copy.com – 15GB no max file size limit
hubiC – 25GB Free – got 30GB with code
Oh, and DON’T FORGET TO BACKUP YOUR CELL PHONE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS. Use a cloud to do automatic uploads, use iTunes, or whatever software you have to get those photos on your harddrive and back THOSE up. I’ve seen such sadness when someone loses their phone, corrupts the data, accidentally resets the phone… PLEASE remember that those photos will not be easy to recover, if they’re recoverable at all.
In my line of work, there’s been a lot of money to be made by people having NOT backed up their data – please save yourself the money of data recovery, the heartache of lost files and work. Find a strategy that suits you and remember to BACK UP!!!
Oh, and if you ever do need to have data recovered, I do recommend DriveSavers, in Novato, CA. Their “cleanroom” work is the best in the business. If you ever need a discount, please feel free to use my code DS16297.
****Broken hard drive image, courtesy of DriveSaversDataRecovery.com
As almost all of my students know, I’m a bit of a type geek. So, imagine how fulfilled my inner geek feels, when I find blog post about Typefaces, Type Structure, Type families, Type anatomy, and Type Classification, the use of Type in Paragraphs, Typographic Terms like kerning and spacing, Page Layout and Type, and so much more!
Although this article is written with a focus on software development, the article is about DESIGN. Knowing what you’re using, and why. As I always say “in design, you can always break the rules, but first you have to know what the rules are!”
I seriously recommend this article to all my design students, my motion graphics students, my still image students, and anyone else who feels that Type is more than just a way to make a word show up.
It happened. My backup hard drive used for my daily backup died. It was one of those 4TB MyBooks, that is made up of a RAID of 2, 2TB disks. On that SAME day, I had to teach an online class, which often somehow screws up my Time Machine (which takes ages to fix, but is doable, and got done). BUT, I still felt my data was safe in the event of a serious problem because I’d just renewed my subscription (I’d gotten an initial free 3 month trial) for BackBlaze. I figured that having ALL my other work data on the cloud for only $50/year wasn’t a bad idea – and indeed it wasn’t!
BackBlaze doesn’t back up my operating system, applications or parts of my user folder, but I have several other terabytes of data that sits on my startup and other connected drives. I live in earthquake country and my office electrical is… let’s say… overloaded. I was given a gift of a new 4TB multi-interface replacement backup drive so I can have my local backup again (nice gift, right?)- AND I ALWAYS HAVE A SEPARATE LOCAL CLONED BACKUP OF MY STARTUP DRIVE – but for $50 I had peace of mind – and that’s a great thing!