There are a couple of new Trojan Horses going around that are quite nasty. The one that is receiving the most press is called Flashback.
Article: Mac Flashback Trojan: Find Out If You’re One of the 600,000 Infected <http://gizmodo.com/5899352/mac-flashback-trojan-find-out-if-youre-one-of-the-600000-infected> Find out if you are already infected by the Flashback Trojan, and it tells where to go to find instructions on how to eliminate this malware if you are. (Don't be too upset by the title of that article. I've yet to hear a single firsthand account of someone being infected by Flashback.)
A simpler method (i.e. non-command line) than the F-Secure steps to check to see if you are infected by Flashback is this little app that runs the test for you. It just posts a dialog that says whether or not you're infected. It does not make any attempt to remove the trojan. You can download it here: <http://rsdeveloper.com/downloads/test4flashback.zip>
Apple has already pushed out an update to Java that includes a patch to make your Mac immune to Flashback. Once you either find out that you aren't infected with Flashback, or you find out that you are infected with Flashback and you eliminate it, it would be a very good idea to go ahead and update Java to acquire immunity to Flashback.<http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5228?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US>
There is another Trojan Horse going around that is carried via a Microsoft Office document. Don't confuse this with the Flashback Trojan. Apple has already pushed out a patch to protect you against this Trojan also. Apple updated XProtect with a definition to catch the Office vulnerability. They refer to it as "OSX/Mdropper.i." This should have happened automatically in the background on your Mac if your are running OS X 10.6 or higher (i.e. Snow Leopard or Lion).<http://support.apple.com/kb/HT465> (There is no version of XProtect included in versions of OS X prior to OS X 10.6/Snow Leopard.)
In addition, if you have Microsoft Office installed, it's a good idea to install the Microsoft updaters for Office. These include a patch against this Trojan also:<http://www.microsoft.com/mac/downloads>
Now, the question that always comes up is: Do I need to install anti-virus (AV) software at this point? Most ordinary Mac users do completely without any AV software, and yet you just about never hear about a Mac user being infected with Malware. There are still no actual viruses (defined as self-propogating software) for the Macintosh. I’ve told you, above, how to deal with the latest malware threats without the need for AV software. So not much has changed that would require that we all run out and purchase AV software.
I’ve run what is usually the most highly rated (in magazine comparison tests) AV software program for the Mac for over a decade: Intego’s VirusBarrier ($50) <http://www.intego.com/virusbarrier> just to be able to tell clients that I am running AV software. (Clients don’t understand that a Macintosh isn’t the same thing as a Windows computer. And I don’t want to bother to try explaining the difference to them.) In all that time VirusBarrier has never actually protected me from anything of any consequence. While VirusBarrier is excellent, some users have (rarely) reported that it can cause nasty software conflicts (as can any AV software that runs constantly in the background). And since VirusBarrier always running in the background on your Mac, even though it is mostly unnoticable, there is some (minor) level of performance degridation (and once again, this is true of any AV software that is always running in the background).
So, instead, you may want to download and regularly use this free product: ClamXav (free) http://www.clamxav.com/. ClamXav doesn’t run constantly in the background like most other AV programs. (So it shouldn’t cause any software conflicts or slowdowns.) It can, however, be set to run on a schedule. It is easy to use, and it is comprehensive. So it is a good choice to install on your Mac, even if AV software really isn’t necessary for your Mac.
Randy B. Singer (via Apple User Group Digest)
Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)
Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance
Oh, for the dog days of summer. They seem so wonderful until the thermostat stays above 100 for 5 days in a row! Yuck!! We can only be thankful for air conditioning, and lots of new Apple and Mac stuff to talk about.
The big story this month is MacOS X Lion. Lion is the 8th version of Mac OS X and looks like it will be the shape of things to come from Apple. Lion integrates much of the interface built in iOS for the iPhone and iPad into the Macintosh user experience. Everything from Launchpad to the use of swiping gestures is now incorporated into the computer operating system we know and love. There is lots new to talk about here so appleJAC will be hosting a Mac OS X Lion demo at our regularly scheduled meeting in September. Plan to kick off the fall with a look into Lion.
Lion not only brings us new interface, it also leads us to the new method for software delivery that Apple has in it’s plans. A few years back, Apple introduced the MacBook Air without a DVD drive, and we all thought that was crazy. Everyone needs a DVD drive to install software and play movies. Fast forward to today, and we see ourselves downloading a new version of the operating system and getting movies over the Internet from NetFlix. No DVDs need apply for this gig; it is an online-only world.
Now we see the latest MacBook Air with a fast processor. This time just as fast as a MacBook Pro for all practical sense. And now the Mac Mini looses it’s DVD drive. Get ready folks, my next prediction: DVDs are going the way of the floppy. Some will cry and some will refuse to go, but expect a Mac in your future to be DVD-less.
The other real story in line is the elimination of Rosetta from Lion. Rosetta was an emulation layer that allowed older software written for a PowerPC processor to run on Intel-based Macs. Apple contracted this software from IBM (who sold it the PowerPC processors), but the PowerPC has run it’s course, and even IBM is moving on. SO must Apple. For about 5 years it maintained this emulation to allow software developers time to bring their products forward into natively running on Intel. Unfortunately, some developers did not listen.
But, the vast majority of software you have issues with in Lion falls into two categories:
It is funny to watch the complaints on the Internet about these two types of software. Some people believe that, if they purchase a product it should work forever. Others chastise Apple for not maintaining this emulation for 5 more years. Either way, these PowerPC applications join the Mac OS 9 applications that have been orphaned by new technology.
The key thing for a user here is to be sure the applications you need will run before updating to Lion. If you do the update, and the files need to be exported, you may have just lost all those files to the old ‘bit bucket’ in the sky. Don’t let this happen to you. Remember, while Lion adds a lot to the user experience on the Mac, it is NOT a required upgrade. If what you have works for you, then you can still keep using it. Just don’t expect the world to stay behind with you.
The other big story this month is the August appleJAC meeting. This year we are going back to the Yanis Coffee Zone on August 2 at 7:00 pm for a evening of iOS applications. Bring your iOS device (iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad) and learn about great applications for these devices. Just like the last time, the proprietor of the Coffee Zone will be there keeping the coffee on for you to order your favorite coffee drinks and great sweets.
I hope you can make it this month. Be sure to bring your iOS-using friends too. You don’t need to be a member to come see all the fun.
On July 20, 2011, Mac OS 10.7 Lion became available for $29 as a huge (3.79 GB) install from the App Store. Many have rejoiced at over 250 major and minor improvements over its 10.6 Snow Leopard predecessor, but others have cried over the loss of legacy programs.
A number of previous features not only won’t be updated, they’re being dropped entirely. One of the OS X features getting dropped in Lion is Rosetta, Apple’s PowerPC software compatibility layer which originally shipped with OS X 10.5 Leopard. The simple angle here is that Lion will be native 64-bit and Rosetta supported 32-bit Universal and PPC code.
What programs will be affected? AppleWorks stands out first, and other notables like Quicken 7, Contribute, AOL, FilmLoop, Internet Explorer, MacLink Plus, MacTheRipper, OmniWeb, ReadySetGo, Thunderbird and others. For a complete list of the programs on your computer that would not work in Lion, follow these steps:
Once you have upgraded to Lion, it will show you which files no longer work by placing a white “circle slash” over the icon. If you double-click on one of these applications, it will report “You can’t open the application _________ because PowerPC applications are no longer supported.” I’ve grouped all of my old Classic and PowerPC applications into a single “Incompatible” folder for easy identification (and to avoid unnecessary errors).
What to do if you still need these old programs? Some would suggest dividing your hard drive into two partitions, one of which would boot from Snow Leopard, and the other from Lion. Another quick solution is to duplicate your old hard drive using a free program like Carbon Copy Cloner to a new external hard drive from which you could boot whenever needed, then upgrade the internal hard drive to Lion. It is even possible to install Snow Leopard to a bootable USB flash drive as a convenient alternative.
As for AppleWork 6, the word processing files will easily import into Pages, and spreadsheet files into Numbers. The draw files will easily import into EasyDraw 4. AppleWorks database files cannot be imported into anything else which retains their format; the only solution is to export the contents as an ASCII text file, then import into Bento, FileMakerPro, Numbers or something else.
Progress oftentimes comes at a price, so it is best to be prepared before you take the next step. We will discuss this much more at our September 6 meeting when we focus on Lion. We will even do a poll to see if a special class will be needed.
The core of your computer’s long-term memory is its hard drive . . . how well do you take care of it? Whether your internal boot drive, or one of your external backups (you do have backups, right?), regular and dependable attention is important to their ongoing health (and effective recovery, should their health fail). This is an expansion on the presentation I recently made at our user group meeting.
MICROMAT has a long tradition of outstanding products, with its flagship TechTool Pro 6 setting the standard of excellence in hard drive support. Their motto “Designed for the Novice, Yet Powered for the Professional” epitomizes an effective approach with a very powerful utility.
As their website (www.micromat.com) says, “Using TechTool Pro, you don't need to be an expert. With an easy-to-use interface, single-click diagnostics scan critical CPU, memory, video hardware and more to identify impending problems to help you prevent costly repairs. New in version 6, TechTool Pro ships standard in a 3 user Family Pack, yet provides a comprehensive suite of tests that also delivers for the Mac professional.” The three principal functions include:
In recently working on a damaged hard drive for a client, I created an emergency startup partition on the active system volume using TechTool Pro's eDrive, without ever having to boot from the DVD. I performed a SMART test on an internal SATA drive to detect changes in reliability, and was able to repair corrupt (damaged) HFS+ volume -- this also works on newer solid-state devices (SSD's). I could have used TechTool Pro's Volume Cloning to create exact duplicates of my volumes for trouble-free archiving (a good idea for all of your drives). Plus, TechTool Pro helps me recover deleted files and lost data when needed. If bad blocks are found when scanning my hard drive, I can identify and restore the corrupted files within them from previous backups I have archived.
To help keep my Mac running at peak performance, I use TechTool Pro to optimize my volumes after defragmenting files, and even use it to repair disk permissions which may prevent problems accessing applications or files on my Mac. In addition, TechTool Pro also helps with device management within my local area network (LAN). To monitor the configuration or security of my LAN, it displays Bonjour-supported devices and active services, and helps track devices no longer available to the monitored network. As if that’s not enough, TechTool Pro provides continuous protection by monitoring my system, alerting me when aberrant behavior is detected, and helps me maintain top performance for my Mac every day. This is one solid utility that is very dependable.
A new boxed version of TechTool Pro 6 is available for $99.99 (also downloadable as a 57MB application, or a 1.8GB Boot DVD), or an upgrade from previous TechTool Pro, TechTool Deluxe and AppleCare users is $39.99. A Business Pack (10 users) can be purchased for $299.99. The Lion Update is also coming soon, as well as an updated TechTool Protogo. Minimum system requirements are:
￼I can’t imagine my utility toolbox without TechTool Pro as one of my primary tools. You should consider this as a valuable investment in the maintenance of your hard drives and solid state drives.
Ever wonder what goes on at the big music product conventions? The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) held its 2011 Summer Show at the Nashville Convention Center with the introduction of some cool new products from one of our favorite innovative vendors. IK Multimedia showed their newest pro-audio iOS products and peripherals for keyboardists including a new iOS interface for keyboardists, and the iKLIP MINI for iPhone and iPod units.
The iKlip MINI is a universal microphone stand adapter for the iPhone and iPod touch to support iOS devices on stage, in the studio, at school or in the office. iKlip MINI securely attaches to any standard mic stand, pole or tripod with diameters ranging from 11-20 mm placed on the floor or tabletop.
The iRig MIDI is a Core MIDI interface that connects MIDI-equipped instruments and devices to an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad using the 30-pin connector. It includes IN, OUT and THRU ports, has 2 LED lights, and 5’ MIDI cables. For keyboardists and producers, iRig MIDI has IK's new SampleTank free app for iOS, the mobile version of IK’s leading virtual sound workstation for Mac and PC. It is a 4-part multi-timbral instrument with a sound set of over 1 GB of samples for over 500 acoustic, electric and electronic instruments plus a selection of over 1,000 melodic and rhythmic patterns that span every musical genre.
Pricing will be $39.99 for the iKlipx MINI and $69.99 for the iRig MIDI. For more information, visit www.irigmidi.com, www.sampletank.com/ios, and www.ikmultimedia.com/iklipmini. IK Multimedia continues its fine tradition of creative musical interfaces for iOS devices.
Do you get frustrated by the limited ability (title bar or lower right corner) to modify the windows on your desktop? Want to stretch, and relocate at will? There’s an app for that . . .
Flexiglass 1.3 from Nulana (http://nulana.com/flexiglass) offers a convenient way to move, resize, maximize, and close windows on a Mac with a mouse, trackpad and keyboard.
This nifty little utility can be installed from the App Store for only $9.99 (15-day free trial allows you to try before you buy). You will find yourself smiling (maybe even a giggle) when resizing and relocation of a window becomes so easy . . . it has been fully upgraded for Lion.
Your computer won’t boot -- all you see is a flashing question mark -- you did not back up your hard drive -- what, oh what, do you do? There are products to help you recover from this awful situation.
Data Rescue 3 is the best digital data recovery software on the market for recovering files from a problem hard drive or that have been previously deleted. It is specifically designed for computer data recovery and works where other tools often fail.
As described on their website (http://www.prosofteng.com/products/data_rescue.php), Data Rescue 3 is completely safe to use since it does not attempt any risky repairs to the drive it's scanning. It is the same software used by many data recovery services, law enforcement, all major branches of the U.S. Military and major intelligence agencies.
As I experienced when I recently worked on a 160 GB damaged hard drive, you will need to save your recovered files to either an internal or external hard drive (USB or FireWire), removable media device, or a networked drive. It comes with a bootable Emergency DVD, so there is no need to disassemble your computer, and you can even get free technical support via phone or email.
Data Rescue 3 focuses on data recovery, instead of hard drive repair, so it will work in more cases, recover more effectively, and deliver your files in better condition than other utilities you may have tried in the past. Data Rescue 3 analyzes your entire hard drive looking for your data, then it meticulously re-assembles your files and stores them to a different location. This is very time-consuming (over 8 hours in my cases), but very effective.
If a drive is reformatted, usually the original file catalog is permanently lost and thus recovering files by their original name and directory location is not possible and thus files are recovered by content. If the file types you are looking for are among the supported types, there is a good chance that Data Rescue 3 will be able to find it. In addition to all of this is FileIQ which allows you to add your own file type to Data Rescue 3 to further increase it's capacity to recover your important files.
Data Rescue 3 will recover pictures from a digital camera media card, that have been deleted, reformatted or a corrupt media card, as well as hard drives. It also allows you to preview a single file before recovering it, and you can select the individual files without recovering the whole drive. In the worst case of a physically-damaged hard drive, Prosoft has a new Data Rescue Center that can provide you with a free diagnosis (including free shipping to our facility). This is their full-service drive recovery service where they can do hard drive failure recovery (find out more at www.TheDataRescueCenter.com).
Prosoft Data Rescue 3 is a $99 investment that is well worth it if you need to recover lost data, and most technical professionals keep it in their tool chest. A special Data Rescue 3 LE version is also available for $59.99 at http://www.prosofteng.com/products/data-rescue-le.php. It is important to backup your precious hard drives, but even backups will occasionally fail, so it is good to be prepared. This is an excellent tool in the hands of an experienced computer user.
Back to School . . . a Different School this time
With summer comes our appleJAC Meetings hitting the road from our normal home base of Lewis and Clark Middle School. This month we will be heading to Calvary Lutheran High School in Jefferson City. Calvary Lutheran is located at 2525 Route B just south of Jefferson City (see map at right). The easiest way to get there is to continue through Jefferson City toward the Lake of the Ozarks on Highway 54, then take the exit onto Rte 179 toward Wardsville. Continue south onto Rte B (at the Tanner Bridge Road stop light), and on to the school a half mile beyond. The school is marked on the map with the letter "A".
This month's theme will be computer and hardware maintenance. We will cover some good tips for maintaining your Mac including routine service and backup. We will also address the options when it comes to backup, and why you may need more than a single backup method to ensure you are safe. We are also planning to touch on printer maintenance and maintaining your iPhone and iPad devices. It definitely promises to be a great set of presentations.
Traditionally at this meeting, we also offer to assist people with minor Mac upgrades. So, if you have an interest in adding memory, replacing a harddisk, or just adding software to your machine, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will talk with you about parts you may need to bring with you to ensure you have what is necessary to accomplish your goal.
iPad Class a Great Success
This last month, appleJAC held it's first ever iPad class with a full house of over 30 participants. This class covered the basics of iPad use and delved into the settings of the device to help users customize their iPad's to meet their needs.
The class continues a long line of appleJAC classes. As your Board of Directors plans for the fall, we would like some input on what additional classes might be worthwhile to offer. Feel free to send us your interests and ideas at email@example.com, and we will see what topics have a critical mass.
In August we continue with our coverage of iOS devices when we address iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch applications. This regular meeting will be held August 2 at 7:00 pm at Yanis Coffee Zone in Jefferson City. Since many of our Mac-Challenged (ie... windows users) friends use iOS devices, so feel free to bring them along to this meeting. We promise to be "operating system agnostic" and only talk about our handheld devices that evening.
Then in September . . . hold on to your hats . . . MacOS 10.7 Lion will be featured. Learn about the new possibilities in Lion, and if Lion is your next step in Macintosh nirvana.
And, one last thought . . . those of you running AppleWorks may want to reconsider Lion seriously before an update. Lion is reported to finally kill Appleworks (it won't work anymore without Rosetta), so a move forward may be a setback to you. But, your appleJAC leadership warned you of Appleworks demise over 2 years ago . . .
Be sure to join us for a skyrocketing time on July 5 at 7:00pm.
Mac maintenance is more and more important as we see more and more powerful operating systems in support of a wide array of useful software. But, what needs to be maintained, how often should it be done, and which utility programs are best to accomplish it?
MacKeeper from ZeoBIT is an integrated bundle of the most important system utilities for performing different tasks on your Mac. It is like 911 for your Mac since it’s an easy way to manage routine tasks and keep your Mac secured, clean, reliable, fast and attended. It’s functions are easily separated into the following categories:
Security (2 apps): Antivirus protects the Mac from security threats including viruses, identity theft, phishing attacks, passing on viruses to friends, fraud websites, unsafe downloads, threats from external devices, e-mail threats, Mac spyware, and Mac malware. Anti-Theft, if your Mac is ever stolen, will track down its location and make an iSight snapshot of the thief during generation of the report.
Data Control (5 apps): Data Encryptor makes your personal data invisible on the hard drive by using a password so that the data cannot be retrieved through Finder or Terminal . . . just create a password, add files or folders, and click the Hide button. Undelete scans your hard drive for deleted files that can still be recovered, and you can preview all found files using the Quick Look button, then recover those you need with just one click. Backup creates reserve copies of your files and folders using your desired schedule and choice of destination including USB Flash drive, external hard drive, FTP upload, and ZeoDisk. Shredder deletes files or folders without any chance to recover them where you drop the files you want to permanently remove and click the Shred button. ZeoDisk is an online storage to backup and store data, share files with your friends, and sync data between multiple devices on varied platforms including Mac OS, Windows, iOS, Android and Web in any browser.
Cleaning (5 apps): Fast Cleanup is a customizable set of drive clean-up utilities that remove unneeded parts and unused languages from applications, plus system and user log and cache files. Wise Uninstaller completely removes applications, widgets, preference panes, plugins, preferences, caches and logs from your Mac's hard drive. Disk Usage visualizes the size of your folders by scanning and marking them with different colors depending on size Red (1Gb-1TB), Orange (1Mb-1Gb), Yellow (1kB-1Mb), Green (>1kB), White (not scanned), and Gray (scanning) — this is the easiest way to detect large files on your hard drive. Duplicates Finder looks for file copies that take up space on your Mac's hard drive and enables you to remove these duplicates if you don't need them. Files Finder scans your Mac's hard drive for all files of the selected file type and shows only those files for which you've specified the settings (like video, audio, photos, applications, others).
Optimization (3 apps): Update Tracker checks each application installed on your Mac for a new version available so any out-of-date application can be updated by clicking the Update button. Login Items allows you to control automatic startup of selected applications, and thus manage the list of applications that you want to launch upon login. Default Apps allows you to define which application will open each file type by showing the associations between all file extensions and applications that open them; all you do is click the application name next to the file type you want to change and select an appropriate app for it.
Geek on Demand: This service will give professional answers via telephone to all your technical questions. If you describe your problem in detail and schedule a phone call for any suitable time, then during the call, the MacKeeper expert will give answers to all your questions.
You can also call them toll-free with MacKeeper questions, use their online manual for a step-by-step tutorial of how to use it effectively, and access their internet blog for more information and live online chat. They also have a major presence on both Facebook and Twitter.
MacKeeper is a robust utility program with most of the essential maintenance features integrated into one location (see the main window at right). It took a while to get used to having everything within easy reach, not to mention having features that I ordinarily would not even be concerned about. The ability to get help at any time of the day or night by phone online is an unexpected bonus (my call was on hold for quite awhile with nice music, so be prepared for a wait for free advice, or you can leave a number for them to call you back).
With its 16 Mac utilities, MacKeeper is now available for only $38 as downloadable software from http://mackeeper.zeobit.com/ where you can also learn much more about the capabilities. ZeoBit offers a 15-day fully-functional trial with all features available including 24/7 personal support with a money-back guarantee when you buy it. This software could be an important tool in helping to effectively maintain your Mac.
This is the default behavior under Mac OS X for digital imaging devices. Mac OS X provides a way to disable this notification.
Mac OS X 10.6
To disable this notification:
Mac OS X 10.5
To disable this notification:
Make sure both computers are turned on and awake.Connect a male-to-male Mini DisplayPort cable to the Mini DisplayPort on each computer. The 27-inch iMac will enter Target Display Mode and display content from the source computer.
In my article from last month, I described what to look for when you purchase a harddrive to backup your Macintosh. This month, I am going to discuss software for doing the backup. There are a number of backup applications available for the Mac and many of these have been around for years.
I will describe the types of backups that could be done and the relative merits of the different backup types. I will also list a few applications I have had luck with. By no means is this software list complete. It is only a sample of applications I would trust to do my backup. So lets get started.
First off, I consider there to be 3 different types of backups.
Comprehensive Backup Included in the Operating System
In MacOS 10.5, Apple introduced what I consider to be a revolution for data safety. Time Machine is a utility that is part of the operating system intended for comprehensive backups. Apple has made Time Machine so simple and has given it so few settings, that novices can easily backup their data and be completely protected. Prior to this ease of use, other third-party backups, while able to run automatically, provided nowhere near this ease of setup.
MacOS 10.5 is designed to recognize a new hard drive when it plugged in and asks if you want to use this for your backup. If you hit OK, you now have just setup Time Machine. If the drive you plugged in is a PC-formatted drive, it may ask to reformat the drive, but even that happens automatically.
Time Machine allows for a full system restore if you lose everything, or an incremental file restore if you just accidentally delete a file. With this, it provides the best of both worlds.
Incremental backup Utilities (usually third party)
This backup type is usually a utility you download, or purchase, that backs up files from your main hard drive to another drive. Sometimes these utilities will claim they allow a full restore but my experience is that these utilizes are best suited for file level backup. This is the act of copying critical files or folders to another drive.
Many utilities in this class (like Retrospect) backup all your files to a single compressed encrypted file. While there is a place for this, most home and small business users don’t need it. In fact, it can turn an already bad experience worse if you cannot get the software installed for the restore or the backup file you created is somehow unreadable. My recommendation is that if you use an incremental backup utility, stick with one that backs up your files to a drive that you can look at to confirm and see that your files are actually there.
Prior to MacOS X 10.5, my backup recommendation in this class was Silverkeeper from Lacie. Silverkeeper is a small application that can run on a set schedule that basically copies files you have preselected from one drive to another. It can be setup to run at a time when you are not busy and it then will update only files that have changed since the last time it has run.
SilverKeeper consists of an application program which will copy, compare, synchronize or restore files, folders, and volumes from a Source to a Destination. It will ease backups from your Startup drive to an external drive. While optimized for hard drives, SilverKeeper is also compatible with network drives, and removable drives, and DVD-RAM discs. Compatible drives may be connected to the SATA/eSATA, IDE/ATA, SCSI, USB, or FireWire busses of Macintosh computers. The only requirement is that the drives must have at a writable volume. SilverKeeper is not directly compatible with tape drives, or CD-R/RW and DVD-R/RW drives.
Unlike other backup and archiving programs, SilverKeeper uses the Macintosh file I/O to perform copy operations, so the backups are always readable files that can be used as-is on another computer without resorting to a special restore application. No special application software is necessary to read the backup files, and it can create and maintain a bootable volume from which it can startup if the internal drive fails.
Apple, through .ME (or .Mac), membership provided a utility called…. Backup that did a similar function. While it was, and still is, a good choice to backup your personal information (addresses, calendars, and settings) to MobileMe, it is not at all a good choice for disk-to-disk to disk backup. It puts the files in a single encrypted file and creates a new file for any new changes making it such that a restore, starts at the beginning and then applies all the changes. Restores using this method could take days if you have been backing up for a quite while.
There are also many other options in this category. Most more premium drives come with a backup utility. But, in general most of them stink. They are thrown in for free and are worth every penny of that. There are also more enterprise utilities (like Retrospect) which are good programs but much too complicated to setup, and even more difficult to execute a restore.
Disk image utilities
This is the third type of backup you might consider. A disk image utility will make an exact block-for-block copy of one hard drive to another drive. It usually is a slow process but you end up with an exact block-for-copy of the drive on another drive. I actually use this for my quarterly off-site backup.
There are three free applications that can perform this backup quite well. Disk Utility (included in the Utility Folder of the Applications Folder) can do this for you in the restore tab of the drive. Basically you just restore one drive to another drive, and end up with an exact copy. Not really very intuitive, but it works and you already have it.
CCC features an interface designed to make the cloning and backup procedure very intuitive. In addition to general backup, CCC can also clone one hard drive to another, copying every single block or file to create an exact bootable replica of your source hard drive. CCC's block-level copy offers the absolute best fidelity in the industry. It can also do incremental backups, if needed.
SuperDuper is the wildly-acclaimed program that makes recovery painless, because it makes creating a fully bootable backup painless. Its incredibly clear, friendly interface is understandable, easy to use, and SuperDuper's built-in scheduler makes it trivial to back up automatically. It's the perfect complement to Time Machine under Leopard, allowing you to store a bootable backup alongside your Time Machine volume—and it runs beautifully on both Intel and Power PC.
When to Backup?
So, this begs the question, “How often do I backup?” My response is, either run your backup, or check your backup at whatever interval you feel you could accept a data loss. In other words, if your data is highly critical, a backup method or schema that backs up every day, or every hour, makes good sense. If you don’t want to deal with that much effort, or if you can afford to loose data for a small while, maybe weekly is often enough for you. It all depends on the value of your data to you.
If you are using a backup utility that requires you to schedule the backup, here is what I would do. Consider your backup a religious experience . . . here is what I mean. Schedule your backup to run while you are at church. On Sunday, before you leave for church, turn your computer on, and the backup can run while you are gone. Making it a routine allows it to get done as part of your regular schedule.
Basically here is my recommendation for this article. If you have Mac OS X 10.5, use Time Machine. If you do not have Mac OS X 10.5, upgrade to this level, and use Time Machine. While other third-party solutions work, and definitely have a place in a belt-and-suspenders approach to bootable backup, Time Machine is reliable, easy and inexpensive. What else can you ask for?
So that’s what I have seen work. Give one of these a try. Keep in mind, the most important thing about backing up is to be sure you schedule a time to do it, and verify it is happening at least once a week. Needing the files from a backup is too late to find out your backups have not run. And, as I mentioned in my earlier article, always pick a backup hard drive that is at least 50% bigger than your internal hard drive.
It is my hope that other people will add to this discussion in the comments and tell us what has worked for them.
Good luck, and keep your data backed up!
"I'd switch to a MAC, but I couldn't imagine giving up the right-click." This lament of a PC user is a broad and correctible misconception. Right-click functionality has been built into OS X since 2001, so third-party mice would work. Even though you don’t clearly see it, the Macintosh mouse has had built-in right-click since August 2005.
This article is only about right-click, so we will ignore the clickable customizable scroll-ball and side-button features of the Mighty Mouse. The magic of touch-sensitive technology transforms this seamless top shell into a two-button wonder, in wired or wireless versions. The primary use of the right-click feature is to access contextual menus, a feature that has been in the Mac operating system since OS 8.0 (control-click of the mouse was the alternative). Be sure it is set to “Secondary” (see screenshot).
“Contextual menus” are menus that can be brought up virtually anywhere by clicking the right mouse button. Many programs implement this very well, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Apple Mail being among those that do. The Finder also has this feature, which consists of commands such as "Eject" and "New Folder". You can choose how to view a folder, where to arrange the icons, and more. Both operating systems can "show info", or "get info" an an icon if you right-click on it, and both can also give you help if you need it, simply by right-clicking and selecting "Help" from the menu that pops up. You can actually change your desktop pattern by right-clicking on the desktop (see examples below).
Most people have never even heard of these menus. One favorite use of the contextual menu comes in the dock while iTunes is open. Right-click on the iTunes icon and you will get a menu that displays the currently playing song, as well as options to pause, go to the next song, go to the previous song, show iTunes in the Finder, or quit iTunes. If you've never tried the contextual menu before, you can try it now. Point to a picture on the site, and right-click. A menu should pop up, asking what you want to do with the picture. Or, point to an open app in the dock and right-click, and you will get a menu of open documents in that app and the option to quit the app. Drag a folder into the dock, right-click it, and you can browse the folder quickly and easily. Want to empty the trash? Right-clicking it will give you that option.
Contextual menus are a great way to do things faster and more efficiently on your Mac. They also give you some added functionality to programs, while just giving you easier access to frequently-used commands in others. Overall, contextual menus are very useful. If you haven't considered using them, try them out. You just may start asking yourself how you could have lived without them.
If contextual menus don’t do all that you want, you can enhance them. Abracode’s free Shortcuts lets you perform contextual-menu magic. After launching Shortcuts, its Assign Hot Keys screen presents you with a list of current contextual menu items, divided into the type of action each performs: actions on text (Spotlight searches, third-part text-munging tools), on files (Automator actions, third-party file manipulation tasks), or on folders (similar to files). To assign a keyboard shortcut to a contextual menu action, you simply choose it from the pop-up menu; a dialog will appear asking you to press the desired shortcut. (An item displayed in red in one of the pop-up menus means you’ve already assigned a shortcut to that item.)
But, there is more. If you are using any version of Windows through Boot Camp, Parallels or VMware, then the right-click will continue to work in the same way that PC users have been accustomed to all along. In fact, in addition to the Mac Mighty Mouse, the right-click feature will work with virtually any USB mouse that has this feature in Mac, Windows or Linux mode.
As you can see, right-clicking is a real treasure on the Mac. Hopefully, you will never look at it the same, and be able to enhance your control and enjoyment during daily computer use.
Have you ever sent a document to print only to be in line behind someone printing a book?
Do you have more than one printer in your office you sometimes print to? Would it be nice to always print to the one that is not busy printing other documents? You need to create a printer pool.
A printer pool lets you select multiple printers and let the Mac OS determine which one is not busy making you wait for the print less frustrating.
Go to System Preferences and Print and Fax preferences.
Now select more than one printer by Command-clicking on the printer names.
Now press Create Printer Pool and give your Pool a name.
Now when you print, select the named pool and the Mac will print to whichever printer is not busy.
I finally found the answer . . . to clean up or empty the auto-complete the list of previous email recipients' email addresses in Mac OS X Mail:
• Select Window | Previous Recipients from the menu
• Highlight the address you want to remove
(You can highlight multiple addresses by holding down the Command key).
- or -
• Click on the Last Used header so the arrow points downward, hold down the Shift key, and click on an address last used a year ago (or whenever you want) to highlight an old group.
• Click Remove From List.
this works VERY well . . . and, you will be amazed at how many email addresses you've collected.
With the advances in Leopard, a number of USB devices became inoperable . . . my portable flatbed bus-powered CanoScan N656U scanner was on of them, and it is a nice simple ease-to-use quality scanner.
I found a great TWAIN SANE Interface for MacOS X (http://www.ellert.se/twain-sane/) that really works well with the new Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 . . . previously, it couldn't even see an attached USB scanner, now it knows it by name. On the other hand, although Image Capture sees the scanner, and activates it, it seems unable to capture the image.
if you didn't already know about this free set of utility drivers, it is very successful in assuring continued use of some older equipment . . .