Which Mac to get?

 Computer, Research  Comments Off on Which Mac to get?
Feb 012018
 

Considering purchasing a Mac for the first time or replacing an older one? Apple computers are premium products; so, congrats on your decision. If you’re a typical user, your experience on a Mac will be smoother, more consistent over time, particularly due to less housekeeping distractions than on a PC. And while Macs are not immune to malware and hacking, generally there’s less risk (remember, regardless of type of computer, more often criminals hack your head, not your device).

For power users — those with a passion for high-end video games or professional video production — choosing a Mac can be more complicated — considering a purchase over $5000 gets into a range where PCs have advantages regarding bang-for-the-buck (despite other factors).

Other than spending time exploring product descriptions and specifications on Apple’s site, this January 30, 2018, PC World article “Which Mac should you buy?” is an excellent guide.

When it comes to purchasing a Mac, we’ve got the lowdown on each model to help you make a buying decision.

Before we proceed, we should specifically address Apple’s desktop Macs. It’s been a while since the company has updated the Mac mini and Mac Pro. While our advice for each Mac model provides guidance as to which model you should buy, you might actually consider waiting to see if Apple releases a new Mac mini or Mac Pro, or consider buying an iMac.

This buying guide provides an overview of all the Mac models available, and what each model is best suited for. To get more details, you can read the full review by clicking the product name in the product boxes that have mouse ratings.

Apple has standard and “Pro” models for some of their computers — notebooks (MacBook) and all-in-ones (iMac), and then at the high-end just the Mac Pro. Most of my clients with Apple computers have iMac’s. And indeed those models are the most popular.

I always recommend visiting an Apple Store and getting some hands on experience to help decide which model fits your needs and budget best. Just remember that you’ll likely be getting another new computer in several years, and if you can do everything on your iPhone or iPad, then there’s no need for a desktop. And if printing from your phone or tablet is the only issue, then a less expensive notebook may be fine. But one thing I can say from experience is that my 2012 Mac has gotten somewhat slower and slower with each macOS upgrade; so, performance is important, even for routine daily tasks.

 

macOS Sierra — Apple’s latest Mac upgrade

 Computer, Desktop, Notebook  Comments Off on macOS Sierra — Apple’s latest Mac upgrade
Sep 262016
 

No more “big cat” names. Since October 2013, there’s been Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, … and last week Sierra, the latest (free) upgrade to the operating system (system software) for Apple’s Mac desktop and notebook computers. Now called macOS vs Mac OS X. As noted on Wikipedia:

macOS 10.12 Sierra was released on September 20, 2016. During the keynote at WWDC in 2016, Apple announced that OS X would be renamed macOS to stylistically match Apple’s other operating systems, such as iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. New features announced during the keynote include the addition of Siri, Optimized Storage, and updates to Photos, Messages, and iTunes.

If you’re wondering whether your old Mac can run macOS Sierra, here’re Apple’s Mac Hardware Requirements.

On your Mac, if you click Apple Menu > App Store > Featured, and then click on the macOS Sierra promo image, you’ll see the following description and highlights.

– – –
Apple Web Site
macOS Sierra Support
Privacy Policy

Information
Category: Utilities
Updated: Sep 20, 2016
Version: 10.12
Price: Free
Size: 4.77 GB
Family Sharing: Yes
Languages: English, Arabic, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese
Seller: Apple Inc.
© 2016 Apple, Inc.
Rated 4+
Compatibility: OS X 10.7 or later

Siri makes its debut on Mac, with new features designed just for the desktop. Your Mac works with iCloud and your Apple devices in smart new ways, and intelligent capabilities make your photos, music, and messaging even more enjoyable.

Get things done by asking Siri, the intelligent assistant now on your Mac.

• Enjoy your favorite features from iOS as well as new ones optimized for Mac.
• Send messages, create reminders, search the web, and more while you work.
• Drag and drop or copy and paste Siri results into your documents.
• Pin Siri results in Notification Center and reference them later.
• Find files, adjust settings, and get system information just by asking Siri.

Copy and paste between your devices with Universal Clipboard.

• Copy a quote, image, or video from an app on one device and paste it into an app on another device.

Automatically log in with Auto Unlock.

• Log in to your Mac automatically when you wear your Apple Watch — no need to type your password.

Enjoy the convenience and security of Apple Pay when you shop on the web.

• Use Apple Pay to make easy, secure payments when shopping in Safari on your Mac.
• Complete your purchase with Touch ID on your iPhone or with your Apple Watch.

Access files on your Mac desktop from your iPhone with iCloud Desktop and Documents.

• Automatically store all the files on your desktop and in your Documents folder in iCloud, and access them from all your devices.
• Keep the same desktop and Documents folder on your other Mac.Easily free up space on your Mac with Optimized Storage.
• Automatically store seldom-used files in iCloud, where they’ll be available on demand.
• Additional tools help you remove files you don’t need, to save even more space.

Get control of your desktop with tabs in apps.

• Use tabs to manage multiple windows in Maps, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, and more.
• Work with tabs in your favorite third-party apps — no developer adoption required.

Keep an eye on the big game or your favorite video with Picture in Picture.

• Float a video window from Safari or iTunes over your desktop as you work.
• Place the Picture in Picture window in any corner, and it stays put when you switch spaces or work in full screen.

Rediscover the most meaningful moments in your Photos library.

• Enjoy favorite and forgotten occasions from your photo library with Memories.
• View your images by who’s in them. Photos uses advanced face recognition technology to automatically group photos of the same person together.
• Search your photos by what’s in them, such as beaches, dogs, or concerts, thanks to intelligent search that can recognize objects and scenes.
• Track your photo expeditions across an interactive world map.

Enjoy an all-new Apple Music experience in iTunes.

• Easily navigate your library with the redesigned Apple Music.
• Discover great new music thanks to expert curation and advanced machine learning that give you the best recommendations.

Liven up your Messages conversations.

• See web content previews and watch web videos right in a conversation.
• Respond to messages with quick, handy Tapbacks.
• Express yourself with 3x larger emoji.
• View the stickers, Digital Touch, invisible ink, and handwritten messages that friends send from their iOS devices.

Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages. Some features have hardware requirements. Some features require an iCloud storage plan.
– – –

As noted in the description, the download is almost 5GB in size. The Upgrade itself can take 1 to 2 hours. There are some suspenseful periods during the process where only an Apple logo and a horizontal white bar (with no note on progress) are on screen for 10 minutes or more. Just be patient. Prepare also to spend some time getting familiar with the new look and features for some apps. Generally, however, you’ll be in the same familiar landscape as always.

Phishing Attacks August 2013

 Computer, News  Comments Off on Phishing Attacks August 2013
Sep 242013
 

PC World summarized a Kaspersky Lab’s study that noted:

Spam volumes took a usual seasonal drop in August, but phishing spiked, including a noticeable interest in hijacking Apple accounts.

This article may be viewed at: www.pcworld.com/article/2049287/apple-is-a-tempting-phishing-target-for-scammers.html#tk.rss_all

Of particular note was the resurgence of some old malware which infects your email contact list. Phishing attacks continued as well — email scams purportedly from a company which you have an account with, claiming that your account requires action by clicking on a link.

Best Mac Anti-Virus?

 Computer  Comments Off on Best Mac Anti-Virus?
Feb 012013
 

Although malware threats to the Mac have been minimal compared to the PC, for those desiring additional protection there are choices. Topher Kessler (CNET MacFixIt) recently commented on an analysis of the most common anti-virus products.

The antivirus tools used in the tests included a number of free and paid scanner packages from Avast, VirusBarrier, Sophos, Dr. Web, ESET, Kaspersky, F-Secure, ClamXav, Norton, MacKeeper, and its included Avira engine, among others.

See this link for more information: Popular security utilities for OS X put to the test

Apr 102012
 

This MacWorld article “What you need to know about the Flashback trojan” provides an overview of this malware and the associated risk.

Flashback is the name for a malicious software program discovered in September 2011 that tried to trick users into installing it by masquerading as an installer for Adobe Flash.

Cnet’s MacFixIt followed up with several articles on this malware, discussing how to check your computer and what to do next:

Web tool checks if your Mac is Flashback-free

How to reinstall OS X after malware infection

How to remove the Flashback malware from OS X

Mac Flashback malware: What it is and how to get rid of it (FAQ)

Apple Security Update and File Quarantine

 Computer  Comments Off on Apple Security Update and File Quarantine
Jun 022011
 

ars technica writes, “The Security Update 2011-003 that Apple released on Tuesday directly addressed the Mac Defender malware threat in two ways: it changed the way malware files are detected by enabling automatic daily updates, and included code to remove at least two of its variants.”

The article further discusses Apple’s response to a growing malware threat.

May 252011
 

Apple posted this article regarding:

A recent phishing scam has targeted Mac users by redirecting them from legitimate websites to fake websites which tell them that their computer is infected with a virus. The user is then offered Mac Defender “anti-virus” software to solve the issue.

And MacWorld writes:

Online crime falls mostly into four categories: [1] self-spreading malware (like viruses); [2] malware that attacks vulnerable Web browsers when you visit a site (drive-by attacks); [3] malware that tricks you into installing it (like Mac Defender); and [4] online scams and Web attacks that don’t hack your computer (eBay scams, phishing, search-result poisoning, and so on). Macs are still unlikely to see the first or fully-automated versions of the second. Mac users have always faced the fourth. But as our numbers grow, it’s only natural we will see more of the third.

Also, MacWorld notes, “Intego on Wednesday warned Mac users that a new variant of the Mac Defender Trojan horse doesn’t require that you provide an administrator password during the installation process.”