Tired of trying to remember passwords?

Tired of trying to remember website passwords? Does the thought of long, complex passwords intimidate you? Are you using “IL0VeYou” as your main password? Does the thought of a different password for every site bring up images of the Spanish Inquisition?

How would you like to be able to choose (say) your banking website from a menu, and never have to enter your name and password? How would you like to have impossible-to-crack unique passwords for every single site, and -never- have to remember any of them?

Sound like magic? Too good to be true?

Nope. It’s available now, both in free and paid configurations. It’s software called a “password manager.” Once you start using this kind of software, the -only- password you’ll need is the one that unlocks your account with it. From there on, it’s all automatic.

For example, when I want to log into The Center for Photographic Art website, I just choose it from a bookmark, as usual, but the software remembers my name and password and fills it all in for me. Even better, the software will come up with passwords the bad-guys will never break, like “bjTArzcU4{73Ud28xDUgM”. Of course I can’t remember that, but the point is I don’t have to remember it: the password manager software remembers it for me, and fills it in when it’s needed.

Stolen and hacked passwords are a reality. I’ve lost money because some of mine ended up in the hands of evil dudes.

Here are links to both free and paid password managers for both Mac and PCs.
If you are not using one of them… why?

Top two recommended first in most lists:

LastPass. Free and paid.
https://www.lastpass.com/
and
1Password. Paid (with free trial)
https://1password.com

Dashlane. free and paid
https://www.dashlane.com

RoboForm. paid
https://www.roboform.com/

Sticky Password. free and paid.
https://www.stickypassword.com/

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Finally…

Want to see if your password has been stolen? Visit here:

https://haveibeenpwned.com/Passwords

Want to see if your email address is well known?

https://haveibeenpwned.com/

Safari won’t play some videos

 

If you are using a recent version of Safari web browser, you’ll notice that some videos will not play. This is true not just on one site, but on all sites that embed videos. Here’s the fix:

The problem with videos is a “feature” of Safari. The recent versions have autoplay turned off.

To fix it, visit the site where the video will not play.
Under the Safari menu in the upper left of your screen, select “Settings for this website…”
Click the dropdown next to “Auto-play” and choose: Allow All Auto-Play.

 

Moving away from webmail and/or archiving your emails

On using email:

Today I was backing up my server, and noticed that some clients have over 1 Terabyte of email.

Honestly, I’m surprised their email has not slowed to a snail’s pace, and been kicking up all kinds of errors.

What happens is this: every email you get is stored on the host’s email server. If you don’t do something about it, you can end up with 15, 20, or 30 THOUSAND emails, and each time you log in, they ALL have to be accessed; each time you search, they ALL have to be searched.

Things just plain bog down. At some point, you’ll end up getting a warning notice from the host to “clean out the stables.” Automatic mechanisms take over from the ISP and move older email out.

Here’s how you to get around that; how to archive and backup emails; how to move them from the server to your computer: Use an Email Client.

Unfortunately, if you are accessing your email ONLY by webmail (using your bowser) then you’re in trouble: your only option is to -delete- old emails, losing them forever. In some states, that is, in fact, illegal for businesses.

If you use an email client…

With an email client, the process is -extremely- simple: drag the emails from your INBOX to a mailbox -on your computer.- Yep: that’s it.

In fact, with an email client, you can automate this using “rules” (aka “filters”) so that emails that meet any given criteria you choose, can be routed directly to your chosen mailbox on your computer. That way you never have to worry about the server filling up with old, outdated emails.

If you use webmail exclusively…

If you use webmail because it keeps others out of your email, you’re still doing it the hard way, not to mention permanently stuck deleting, instead of backing up and keeping archives of your correspondence.

I >strongly< recommend you set up an email client on your computer instead of using your browser.

You can still create password protected email boxes using the client.
This will allow everyone to use the same computer for everything, >except< email.

If you want to protect more than just email; if you want only some things on a single computer available to only some few people, the process is to set up separate users. All modern operating systems, Windows and MacOS, offer the ability for separate users to have completely independant environments on a single computer.

But, if ALL you care about is email, then create a separate profile for each user in Outlook. Functionally, this exactly the same as you are doing now with webmail: signing IN, and then signing out.

Once you are using Outlook or Thunderbird or whatever client you choose, you’ll find organizing, tracking, replying and so on are MUCH more elegant and useful… and you can automate your archives.

For example, I have every single non-spam email I’ve ever gotten going back to 1993, and it’s all automated!

Here is how to do it on a Windows system, using Outlook:

___________________________________________

If the user needs to share a common desktop, then the best way is to create multiple Outlook profiles and then configure them with different email accounts. The user has to setup a password for the PST files within their profiles, so that other users would not access them.

Refer to the following article ‘How to create and configure an email profile in Outlook’ and check if it helps:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/829918

To setup a password for the Outlook data file, refer to the following link:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/set-a-password-to-help-protect-your-outlook-information-HA102749452.aspx

The other work around is to setup/create multiple Windows user accounts for the users on the computer and then configure their respective email accounts in Outlook. In that way each user would only have access to their own User profile.

To create additional Windows user accounts, you may refer to the steps mentioned in the following article:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2782153

fixing the color on Roku TV : the TCL49S403

The TCL49S403 Roku TV is a heck of a deal for less than $340: 4K and almost 50″.

But it comes with flaws. First is the limited viewing angle: you need to be sitting nearly  directly in front of it to get any pop to the image at all. 30 degrees off center, and the picture quality goes to hell.

There is nothing that can be done about that – it’s in the hardware.

And second,  the color is, shall we say, less than spectacular out of the box. And the build-in controls don’t do much to help it. 

The color was “adequate” (the most commonly used word in reviews) but that was about it. And my 4K Apple TV was pretty much terrible (a big idappointment because that is why I bought the TV in the first place!)

But I’m not here to bitch – I’m here to serve. I got my Roku  TV serving up splendid colors, and I’m a happy camper.

To do that, I had to choose some unusual settings from the TV menu, and then (the real secret) use the advance settings which are only available from your Roku App on your phone!

One of the nice  features of the TV is that these setting can apply independently to each of the HDMI ports, so you can have unique settings for each of your devices.

I’m not saying that -my- settings will match -your- hardware, but I’m pretty sure they will set you off in the right direction

HDMI 1 (My Tivo box)

Brightness-brighter
PICT mode – sports
Gamma – 2.2. (2.4 is a bit too dark)
Noise reduction – off
Color temp – cool
Dynamic contrast – off
Backbite – 100
Brightness – 50
Contrast – 95
Sharpness – 60
Color – 65

HDMI-2. Apple TV

Brightness-brighter
PICT mode – bright hdr
Gamma – 2.4*
Noise reduction – off
Color temp – normal*
Dynamic contrast – off
Backbite – 100
Brightness – 50
Contrast – 95
Sharpness – 82*
Color – 69*

 

NOW… on your iPhone, first select the HDMI input  your’re going to adjust, and then try these settings in the 11-point color secction:

20 x 15 x 20. (Normal)
25-25-25. Cmyk

In short, you’re bumping up the color intensity by those percentages.

 

I bumped up the “Custom” setting in CMYK, and chose that for my Apple TV, and bumped up the “Default” setting by 20-15-20. (It was a little too green for my taste, hence the 15.)

I hope this helps someone else as much as it has helped me.

Using your NAS to develop websites

Most people think that network attached storage (NAS) is just a box with drives in it attached to your local network. In fact, NAS is a computer, minus the monitor and keyboard. As such, it can be incredibly powerful, containing its own CPU and memory.

I recently found another good use for my NAS in setting it up as a Web server to use when I develop websites. I added Apache, PHP, mySQL etc, and several virtual hosts for the various sites. (Yes, there are software solutions such as MAMP and XAMP, but these have conflicts with your mySQL database, if it is already in use.)

So, by having everything on the NAS, it is completely independent of my machine and serves as a more realistic test bed.

The most interesting thing, however, is that I set up my NAS as a DNS server too, allowing me to use my mac’s web browser and type in my development name for each site, such as site1.dev or worksite.dev, while still allowing me access to the internet as a whole. The Synology NAS will forward through to a web based DNS if it is unable to find the requested site locally.

Then, all I had to do was go to network settings on my Macintosh and change the DNS to point at my NAS instead.

I thought that was pretty slick. I can work on development sites as well as continue to surf the web without any changes to my workflow. Very convenient.

FWIW.

How to move emails from one ISP to an other

The other day, I moved a client’s domain from one ISP to another; from A to B. That involved moving their email addresses as well, while keeping them identical between the previous ISP “A” and the new ISP “B”.

Convenient as that is for the client, there’s one issue: all their email prior to the move are still on IPS “A”.  After the move, if they look for their mailboxes, they will all be empty.

Not a good thing.

Here’s how to move their old emails to the new service provider:

(You can do this on your own computer, BTW.)

Create two email accounts, one for the old ISP “A”, and one for the new ISP “B”. Obviously, the will be identical – same name; same password; and same address.

With one exception.

for ISP “A” -the previous ISP- the server address must not be the URL, the domain (which now points to the ‘new ISP) but instead needs to be the IP address of the previous email server.

So, if you were moving “mycompany.com” to a new server, and the email account accessed “mail.mycompany.com” to do the transfer, you’d have the new one still use “mail.mycompany.com” but the account you make for the old one would be “123.222.476.930” or whatever the direct access address is. (That may not be an IP address per se; it might look more like “mailserve.oldip.net”.)

Then, using your mail client, log into both. Wait a bit until the old email populate the inbox for the old account, and then just drag and drop them to the inbox of the new account.

That’s all there is to it.

notes:

1) I suggest that you verify success by accessing the new account via webmail. 

2) some email clients are better than others at mass moves. (MailMate for Mac has no troubles at all.) Outlook, OTOH, may required that you drag-n-drop in small batches.

As usual, YMMV. This worked for me without any trouble at all, but the risk of using any of my suggestions is entirely your own. Etc.

Are better cables better?

OK: take this FWIW:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004V74APY/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It’s been my experience that better data cables are worth the extra cost, up to the point where some sleaze tries to sell you solid silver USB cables “for audio” for $125.

I do know that “real” CAT 6 ethernet cables are more reliable than the generic (and some not so generic) brands merely marked as CAT 6. (No: there is no regulator body. Yes, there is a spec for CAT 6, but that doesn’t mean a cable stamped as such meets it.)

http://www.bluejeanscable.com/articles/is-your-cat6-a-dog.htm

And AFAIK, it’s ditto for USB cables as well.

You can pretty much be sure that the USB 3 cable that came with your Acme RocketSpeed Doohickey Drive was sourced from the Chinese factory with the lowest bid.

However, and strictly anecdotally, when I replaced some critical USB 3 cables with the Lindy ones, things just seemed to be more reliable. Since doing that, I’ve not had any hubs suddenly drop offline, or drives magically dismount in the middle of a backup.

Does that mean that the Lindy is a better cable, or that my old cable was faulty, and any new one would have worked?

¿Quien sabe?

Lindy makes “enterprise” products, here in the USA. A typical cable costs $12, not $2.

Is it worth it? Maybe not to you, but I’m now a repeat customer, so it obviously is to me.

http://www.lindy-usa.com/

hth

Tracy
www.valleau.gallery

 

 

On moving to an SSD

(This is my answer to someone who was concerned about durability, size and speed, when thinking about switching to an SSD.)


Durability: pretty much forever, based on write cycles.

I have a 2 year old Samsung Evo 840, which has been on 15 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Samsung uses a wear-leveling indicator (SMART #177) which runs from 100 down to 1, at which point the drive should be running out of go juice (although tests by others indicate that there may still be a lot of life left.) After 2 years of intense photo editing, video editing, programming and internet use, my wear leveling indicator has dropped from 100 all the way down to 98. At that rate, the drive would theoretically last another 98 years, and will be running long after I’m dead.

Being an old guy, I can rather accurately predict that reality doesn’t work that way, but my point is that I’m a heavier-than-usual user; my drive has 11,509 hours on it, and it’s still rated as having 98% of it’s life left. Other tests indicate that drive life on SSD simply is not an issue.

As to capacity, my Evo is 1TB. It is my boot drive. (Actually, I have a number of SSDs, one of which is my boot drive.) I have over 4 million files on that drive. I moved my iTunes folder (500 GB) to a different drive, as I did my Apple Audio files (35 GB) and my Virtual Machines (ie Parallels) 116 GB. When needed, a symlink replaced them on the boot drive.

It’s pretty easy to find the files/folders eating up your drive space (DaisyDisk is much faster than GrandPerspective). Moving them to a different drive is generally very simple.

While some folks have succeeded in living with a moved /Users home folder, I tried it and do not recommend it at all. It works fine for a while, but if/when it goes bad, you’re in a world of hurt.

Speed: SATA busses are rated at 1.5, 3.0 and 6.0 Gb/s. If your machine has a 1.5 or 3.0, you won’t see spectacular speed improvements (because the bus speed is the limiting factor), but if yours has a SATA III/6 Gbs bus, I’d wager you will be mightily impressed (because the spinning drive is the limiting factor.)

So, if you’re not opposed to an external drive (I won’t mention how many I have, so as to not scare you), switching to an SSD ought to be pretty much all plus.

How to repair and replace Safari’s iCloud-sync’d bookmarks

PRINT THIS PAGE, since you’ll be quitting Safari to do this, and the page will go away, eh?  🙂  I suggest reading thru all this before getting started…

___________________________________________

 

Here’s the problem: your Safari bookmarks are all messed up.

In my case, repeated syncings (and probably stupidity on my part) ended up with 10,700 bookmarks, 75-80% of which were duplicates. Not an ideal situation.

So, I used third-party software to remove the duplicates. I chose BookmarksDuplicatesCleaner from the app store, but what you use is up to you.

What needed to happen, after the bookmarks were fixed was to

1) make sure they didn’t automatically sync with iCloud right away, and thus end up with same mess all over again.

2) the iCloud bookmarks needed to be removed, and replaced with the new, clean list of bookmarks;

3) my other computers and iOS devices needed to get that new “master” list from iCloud.

There is nothing preventing Apple from making this simple to do… but they didn’t, so here’s the bunch of steps that I had to take to get it all done correctly.

The big picture is three stages: One – fix the bookmarks on my main Mac (easy – depending on the software you use), two – then replace the iCloud copy with that fixed list (too complex) and three – get all of that back on to all my other devices (simple).

stage one takes:

however many steps you want to devote to cleaning up your bookmarks. For me, it was two steps:1) buy and run BookmarksDuplicatesCleaner2) export the repaired list to an HTML file on my desktop 

Stage two takes 4 steps:

A)  —– (delete your old bookmarks)

B)  —– (delete the automatic bookmarks created by Apple) 

C)  —– (import your new, good bookmarks from stage one)

D)  —– (upload those new bookmarks to iCloud)

stage three takes one stepE)  —– (update your other devices)

stage one (get your Safari bookmarks fixed):

(I’m assuming that your main Mac is where all the corrective work is being done, and when it’s finished, your other devices will sync to the fixed bookmarks uploaded to iCloud by your main mac.)

First, run Safari on your main Mac and export (File/Export Bookmarks…) your current bookmarks to an HTML, just as a safety backup. (If something goes horribly wrong, you can just import this file and start over.)

Next, quit Safari.

Run BookmarksDuplicatesCleaner or whatever software you are going to use to clean up your bookmarks to delete the dups & do whatever other organizing you want.

Run Safari and see how the repairs look to you, and if it’s all OK, then export the (new) Safari bookmarks to another (different) HTML file. We will import that file later on in Stage two, so you MUST do this export!

(Now you have two files: your old messy bookmarks and your new cleaned bookmarks.)

stage two:

[Notes:  “Turn -OFF- sync” or “turn ON sync” as seen below, means you should visit your system preferences/icloud, (on iOS, this is in Settings/iCloud) and turn -OFF- or ON the sync button next to the Safari item.]

Stage two involves turning sync ON and -OFF- several times, and running and quitting Safari several times as well. Do not skip any step!

First, we are going to get rid of all your old bookmarks on all your devices and Mac.

(WARNING!!! You DID export those bookmarks in stage one, right? If you didn’t, you’re going to be very sorry if you do not STOP and export your good bookmarks now!)

OK: here we go…

On your main mac and on all other macs or iOS devices you have sync’d thru iCloud:

A)  —– (delete your old bookmarks)
1- Quit Safari.
2- Turn -OFF- sync.  
3- On your main Mac only, go to your ~/Library/Safari folder and drag the Bookmarks.plist file to the trash.  (If you see it being re-created automatically, it means that you haven’t turned -OFF- bookmarks syncing or that Safari is running.)
4- Run Safari, and if you see any bookmarks, delete them. 
5- Quit Safari.
[  Do this A) step for all your devices and computers before proceeding to B)  ]

B)  —– (delete the automatic bookmarks created by Apple) 
Now, JUST on your main Mac (NOT ON your other Mac or iOS devices!) :
Turn ON sync. 
Open Safari, and you’ll see that Apple has furnished you with a set of generic bookmarks. Delete them all.   Wait a few minutes to give iCloud time to delete the cloud version of those generic bookmarks. While waiting, your deleted Safari bookmarks should not reappear. You should have no bookmarks at all showing in Safari at this point
Quit Safari.
Turn -OFF- sync.

C)  —– (import your new, good bookmarks)
Run Safari again. You should see no bookmarks at all. (If you do see bookmarks, stop and check that you followed the steps exactly, until you can reach this point and see no bookmarks in Safari. Then proceed.)
Go the the Safari File menu and import the GOOD bookmarks file you exported (as the last step of stage one.)
(It may be necessary to quit and restart Safari to see your imported bookmarks.)
Using “Edit Bookmarks” in the Safari Bookmarks menu, make whatever adjustments and arrangements you want.
Once you have them as you like, quit Safari.

D)  —– (upload those new bookmarks to iCloud)
Turn ON sync. 
Run Safari, give it some time to sync, then quit and restart Safari, and make sure everything looks correct.
(If not, start at stage two all over again.)
At last!   Now at this point, iCloud should have a copy of your good new bookmarks.

stage three:

E)  —– (update your other devices)
NOW you can now turn ON sync on your other Macs and iOS devices. Everything should update correctly in short order.

Done  🙂  

 

(Remember: if anything goes wrong you can always restore your old, messed-up bookmarks, or your shiny new fixed ones, from the two exports you did in stage one. I assume NO responsibility for how these steps work out for you. I can only say that they worked for me.)