technology

How to Free Up Space Used By Time Machine’s Local Backups on Your Mac

Time Machine doesn’t just back up to external drives. Enable Time Machine on your MacBook and it will create “local snapshots,” too — potentially taking up over 100 GB of disk space on its internal storage.
 
These local snapshots appear as “Backups” when you look at the visual overview of storage in the About Your Mac window.CHRIS HOFFMAN has written a good article about  how you can free up that space and get more room on your Mac.
 

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Digital Privacy at the U.S Border: A New How-To Guide from EFF

An update from the EFF on Digital Privacy at the U.S Border: A New How-To Guide from EFF - download the PDF.

PROTECTING THE DATA ON YOUR DEVICES  AND IN THE CLOUD
 
We have fewer rights at the U.S. border than in the interior. Still, we can all take action before, during, and after our border crossings to protect our digital privacy.  See more at the EFF site.

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FBI Enlists Geek Squad

By Tom Jackman January 9 
 
At a giant Best Buy repair shop in Brooks, Ky., Geek Squad technicians work on computers owned by people across the country, delving into them to retrieve lost data. Over several years, a handful of those workers have notified the FBI when they see signs of child pornography, earning payments from the agency.  Read full article at Washington Post
 
NOTE - In this case, the alleged files weree in "unallocated space" - they had been deleted.  The tech had to intentionlly scan for dleted files and would not have been able to see or recover them without special tools.

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FLIR ONE Thermal Imaging Camera & Nexus 5X Phone- Camera Not Recognized

Infrared image using FLIR camera

The FLIR ONE is a thermal imaging camera attachment for iOS and Android devices.  The FLIR model for Android uses a micro USB connector while several newer devices including the Nexus 5X employ the newer USB Type-C connector.  Many micro USB to USB Type-C adaptors do not support the 5X being the host and the FLIR being the device (using a USB C to C cable to a Mac, for example, the Mac is the host and the 5X is the device).   Using a non-compliant connector the FLIR ONE Android app does not see the camera.

The VicTsing USB 3.1 Type-C to Micro USB Convert Connector  does work with the Nexus 5X and FLIR ONE.  The FLIR app connects to the camera and appears to work well.

Web searches return warnings about using un-tested micro USB to USB C adaptors or USB Type-C to female micro USB cables for charging.  A good discussion by Geoff Hoff can be found here.  Using the app Current Monitor by Eric Johnson, the VicTsing USB 3.1 Type-C to Micro USB Convert Connector appears to be safe to use for charging.  The charge current started in FAST mode, then when the phone reached 95% charge it switched to TAPER mode and reduced current through 100%.  Nonetheless, I plan on using the adaptor only for the FLIR and sticking with the USB C charger that came with the Nexus 5X.

 

Thermal image of Max 

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Daniel's Mac Security Guide

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Last update March 11, 2016

Mac / OS/X Security Recomendations

  • Keep your software up to date.
    • Always update your Apple software from the Updates section of the Apple App Store.  Click the Apple icon on the top left of the display, select "About this Mac" and click on Software Update.  Never update by way of a link on a webpage or an email.
    • Update non-Apple software from within the application or from the company's web site.  Beware of ectra or bonus software downloads during updates.  Oracle's Java updates are notorious for installing unnecessary toolbars.  Less scrupulous companies are often the source of unwanted add-ons that can steal data or show unwanted ads.
  • Make Time Machine backups
    • Select the option to encrypt backups.
    • Keep at least two backups each at a different location and at least one disconnected.  See my article on The Dangers of Cloud Sync.
  • Install anti-virus software.
    • I use Sophos Home, a free AV program for Macs.  Sophos.com
    • Install anti-malware software
      • I use Malwarebytes from Malwarebytes.org.  
  • Set a login password for your Mac
  • Keep your Mac behind a good firewall.

Protecting Macs from Viruses and Malware

March 11, 2016

For many years, computer viruses and malware were mostly the concern of Windows users.  Mac users faced very few threats. This has been atributed to the Mac's sibgle digit market share and, some have argued, a more secure product.  One common misconception was that Macs were somehow imune from viruses and malware.  While the number of threats may pale in comparrisln to Windows, Macs are indeed suseptible to attack and more and more are appearing.  The time has come for Mac users to make secutity a priority.   

In the last few weeks, researchers have found the first Mac Ransomware malware in circulation.  Ransomware is software that encrypts the files on a computer making them unuseable to the owner.  The person controllling the malware then demnads a ransom to unencrypt the files.  In most cases, the victim has only 72 hours to pay or the ransom or the malware author threatens to eraswe the key that is needed to restore the files.  Regardless of the size of your business, the loss of data can be davastatiung.  

Add these new threats to hardware failures and theft and the need for a well thought out and executed computer protection plan is more important then ever.

You can find my Mac security recomendations here.

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Rarely Patched Software Bugs in Home Routers Cripple Security

 
 
By JENNIFER VALENTINO-DEVRIES WSJ
Jan. 18, 2016 11:58 a.m. ET
 
In late 2014, a small Massachusetts software company got an ominous email: A computer-security researcher said a flaw in one of its programs put millions world-wide at risk of being hacked.
 
Engineers at the company, Allegro Software Development Corp., analyzed the flaw in the program, which can help users access the controls of home Internet routers. They quickly realized something strange: They had fixed this bug nearly 10 years earlier. But it lived on, even in new devices.  Read the article at WSJ

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The Sun Sets on Radio Shack

Founded in 1921, Radio Shack and their catalogs were part of my formative years.    Allied Electronics / Radio Shack was one of the great catalogs of the 60s.  Page through the 1967 catalogue.  The company filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday and stores are liquidating inventory this weekend.  If you need some toggle switches, panel lamps in various colors or some 2N107 transistors they are 80% off today - but most people don't need those things.  At 50% off normal prices, most other items can still be found online for about the same price and from companies that will take returns.  In many ways Radio Shack was ahead of it's time and never managed to change with the times.    Photo - Radio Shack Store Duarte CA

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