Secure Your Passwords

How do you choose your passwords? Is it based on something people could guess about you? Is it a common word in the dictionary? Do you have a password you use over and over?

Consider the number of security breaches that have already occurred this year. Sony’s Playstation Network was breached and down for weeks before coming back up. Credit card information was stolen from Sony’s databases. Epsilon, a wholesale email provider, was compromised. They handle mass emails for many large companies. You may have seen notices from many different companies regarding this breach. RSA was attacked and SecureID tokens were stolen. As things stand now, 2011 is looking to be the worst year for security breaches yet.

So what can you do to minimize your risk in the Internet age? Taking yourself off of the Internet is becoming less of an option everyday. It’s time to take a look at a password manager.

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Backup Your Mac

Backing up your computer is one of those things that everyone knows they should do but far too often do not do very well. Don’t let your backup strategy improve only when you lose data or come oh so close to losing those memories. In this post, I provide you with my backup recommendations so you can get your data back when disaster strikes. Don’t think it won’t strike because the odds will likely prove you wrong.

Get an External Hard Drive

My first two backup steps use an external hard drive. My recommendation is to get an external drive that is twice the size of your Mac’s internal drive. This will allow you to do both of these backups on the same drive. Today’s standard Mac configurations come with up to 1 TB drives. 2 TB external drives are easy to come by for this recommendation. If you custom order a larger capacity drive with your Mac then you may need two external drives.

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Connect your Mac to a HDTV

Connecting your Mac to a HDTV should be a relatively easy thing to do but it may require more planning ahead than you might expect. My recent experience will help explain why this post seemed important to help others out in this area. I recently did a slideshow in Aperture for a close friend for her mother’s funeral. I only had time to generate the export to a file on an external hard drive prior to them leaving town for the funeral. Ideally, I would have created a DVD for the movie. A DVD becomes readily playable in many more situations than just a digital file. The DVD could have easily been played at the church on a regular DVD player or BluRay player. Unfortunately, time constraints prevented that option until after the funeral. continue reading…

Is It Here Yet?

Have you ever ordered something and wanted to know when you will get it. You can check the tracking number on the web sites of UPS, FedEx or the US Postal Service but, I’ve got a better way. June Cloud software let’s you use your web browser, your Mac or your iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad) to combine all of your tracking numbers into one place with Delivery Status.

Track Almost Any Package

Irregardless of which way you use Delivery Status, you will find most common delivery services available. This includes UPS, FedEx, DHL and the US Postal Service. Currently, there are over 30 services you can use to track your package.

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Mac Keyboard Shortcuts to Know

Anybody who watches me use computers will notice that I use a lot of keyboard shortcuts rather than reaching for a mouse. Whether I am on Mac or Windows, it doesn’t matter. In this post I bring you some of my favorite Mac keyboard shortcuts. Hopefully you will find them as useful as I do.

Coming from Windows?

If you came to the Mac from Windows, you will find many things are similar. How you work with applications and their windows is slightly different and I recommend that you don’t do the exact same thing.

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Get Notified by Boxcar

Apple added push notifications to iOS in June 2009 when iOS 3.0 was introduced. It does an excellent job of allowing applications to send you notifications while preserving battery life. It does however have a few shortcomings which will likely be improved upon in future Apple releases. Today, you can improve on notifications with Boxcar.

Blackberry users give a few reasons why their devices are superior to an iPhone. One of those is the email notification on the device. Apple’s push email is helpful and it will show a number of messages on the mail icon. It doesn’t however work for all email services or provide as good a visual or audible cue.

An example of a service that doesn’t provide good notification for me is email from our company Exchange Server 2003. While newer versions of Exchange provide good support with the iPhone, 2003 has its limits. I am able to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to gain access to the email. This however requires you to login and check even if there is nothing there that you care about. Boxcar can help.

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Lyrics in iTunes

I have always enjoyed having lyrics for my music. Unfortunately, lyrics don’t automatically come with song downloads or from ripped CD’s. Having lyrics on an iPod has worked from my original iPod Video all the way up to today’s iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. Lyrics on these current iOS devices is very useful since you can just tap on the screen when in portrait view and then scroll down while the song is playing. But how do you get the lyrics on to the device?

iTunes Info

iTunes stores all kinds of additional information about the songs and other media in your library. You can easily edit the information yourself by right-clicking on the track and choosing Get Info. You can get to the same information by going to the File menu and choosing Get Info or use the keyboard shortcut Cmd-I on a Mac or Ctrl-I on Windows.

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