Slowly but surely, Mail has transformed from a bare-bones app into a versatile message manager, and things only get better in Yosemite. If you want to highlight something on a photo, for example, you no longer need to do your work in an image editor first; after attaching it, click on the small arrow in the top-right corner of the photo and you’ll get a menu of editing options, including type, lines, shapes, and drawing tools.
What Is Shellshock?
The bug stems from coding mistakes in bash, a low-level computer program that’s been part of many, but not all, Unix-related systems for decades. That makes the bug mostly a problem for servers that run Unix, Linux or other similar operating-system variants, although Mac users might also have something to worry about.
The name “Shellshock” is a bit of wordplay based on the fact that bash is a “shell,” a type of program used to execute other programs. Bash, like many other shells, uses a text-based, command-line interface. (If you’re on a Mac, you can see this by opening your Terminal program.) Programmers can use bash to access another computer or computer system remotely and feed it commands.
Bash is short for “Bourne Again SHell,” a pun on Stephen Bourne, the computer-scientist author of an earlier Unix shell known simply as sh. It is compatible with every version of Unix, which made it an obvious choice for the default shell for Linux and Mac operating systems.
Bash is several decades old, and security researchers believe the Shellshock bug has lain undetected in bash for at least 22 years.
So Who’s Vulnerable?
Technically, any computer or system with bash installed is vulnerable. Since bash is installed by default on Unix systems, that includes a lot of computers.
Windows computers are safe; they don’t use bash. But if you’re using a Mac or running Linux, Ubuntu, or some other Unix flavor where bash is the default interpreter, then you could be at risk.
Just because your computer is vulnerable to Shellshock, however, doesn’t mean hackers can target it. For them to do so, they’d have to be able to access your computer’s bash program via the Internet.
If your computer is connected to the Internet through a password-protected wireless network—or physically via an Ethernet cable—you’re still basically safe. If you’re using an open, untrusted Wi-Fi connect, though, you could theoretically be vulnerable to a Shellshock exploit.
Even that’s extremely unlikely, though. The most likely targets, according to cyber security firm FireEye, are Internet servers and related large computer systems.
Take Control helps you beta test OS X Yosemite with confidence
Apple today released the public beta of OS X 10.10 Yosemite!
Simultaneously, we’ve published “Take Control of Beta Testing Yosemite,” by Joe Kissell. You can buy it for a suggested price of $5 from Leanpub. Read on for all the details, or just click the link to get your ebook:
The Yosemite beta is exciting stuff, at least for those of us who love poking around in new software to see what has changed. But the rewards of beta testing come with risks and responsibilities, so in “Take Control of Beta Testing Yosemite,” Joe Kissell draws on years of experience with testing every version of OS X since 10.3 Panther to make sure you know what you’re getting into. Follow Joe’s advice and you can be confident that you won’t mess up anything as you switch to and from the beta.
In the 51-page book, Joe teaches you what’s involved with beta testing in general, and he discusses the pros and cons of installing the beta on a startup volume, virtual machine, separate volume, SuperDuper sandbox, or (best of all) a separate Mac. Next up, you’ll run the installer (without letting it delete itself). With installation completed, Joe suggests key post-installation tasks and categories of software you may need to reinstall, plus gives tips on how to look for new features and report any bugs you may find. Perhaps most important, Joe explains how to switch between the beta and your main installation of OS X, how to downgrade from Yosemite if necessary, and how to upgrade to release version when that ships.
You may be thinking, “Really? A book about how to beta test Yosemite?” We won’t pretend that it’s essential, even though there are helpful details you won’t find elsewhere (such as which virtualization program can run Yosemite as a guest OS) and advice that could save you significant headaches (such as the best destination for your installation). And, of course, the lifespan of the book is limited — it’s useful only until Yosemite ships.
So we’re doing something unusual with pricing: we’ve set a suggested price of $5, but you can pay whatever you think it’s worth — whether that’s more or less than the suggested price, or even nothing at all. (That’s why there’s no MUG discount this time. And if you get it for free and later decide it was valuable to you, you can come back and buy a copy.) Paying helps Joe and his wife keep their baby in diapers and gives us concrete feedback that books of this sort are worth doing.
In keeping with the fast and fluid nature of beta testing, we’ve decided to publish this ebook exclusively via Leanpub, which was designed for quick releases. Had we used our traditional method, we wouldn’t have been able to publish the book at the same time as the public beta, and we would need more time to react to new versions (nor would we have been able to do the choose-your-own-price approach). Any updates to the book will be free.
Thanks for your support of the Take Control series and our authors!
cheers… -Adam & Tonya Engst, Take Control publishers
“Take Control of Automating Your Mac” makes tasks quick, accurate, and repeatable
What’s the key technological advance of the past 50 years? CPUs are faster and drives hold vastly more data, but arguably the most important conceptual leap is copy and paste. Why? Because it lets you leverage work you’ve already done, in a manner that’s quick, accurate, and repeatable. But you know that, and not only do you already understand the utility of copy and paste, you probably also press Command-C on the keyboard instead of choosing Copy from a menu because the keyboard shortcut is faster.
Congratulations, then, since you’re already automating your Mac in one essential way that makes your work quick, accurate, and repeatable with consistent results. In his newest book, “Take Control of Automating Your Mac,” Joe Kissell embarks on a mission to help you find shortcuts to the things you’re already doing regularly so you can focus on those creative or subjective tasks that only you can do. The book normally costs $15, but the 30% MUG discount drops that to $10.50, and better yet, it comes with coupons worth over $60. Learn more about the book and buy it via the coupon-loaded link below.
It’s important to realize that you don’t need to be a programmer — or even particularly geeky — to automate your Mac. Everyone uses copy and paste, and most of what Joe explains in “Take Control of Automating Your Mac” can be used by anyone, from novice to expert. Nor is specialized software necessary. OS X has oodles of built-in automation features like keyboard shortcuts, configurable gestures, and automatic launching of key apps. But clever Macintosh developers have created brilliant utilities that go far beyond OS X’s features, and Joe explains how to use such stalwarts as Keyboard Maestro and Hazel, plus delves into the included automation capabilities in apps like Microsoft Office and Nisus Writer Pro.
In short, Joe wants to do three things with “Take Control of Automating Your Mac”
* Show you lots of tools and techniques for automating your Mac.
* Offer concrete examples you can use as is or adapt to your needs.
* Inspire you with extensive lists of further possibilities.
To that end, he devotes chapters to the following topics, to show you how to:
* Develop an automator’s mindset
* Use OS X’s built-in automation features
* Take full advantage of input devices to save clicks
* Automate text expansion for faster, more consistent typing
* Control the Finder, with a launcher and by organizing files with Hazel
* Supercharge your clipboard to remember and reformat previous copies
* Write macros in Microsoft Office and Nisus Writer Pro
* Create rules to file email automatically in Apple Mail and Outlook
* Log in to Web sites faster with a password manager
* Automate cloud services with IFTTT and Zapier
* Set up automatic backup and syncing
* Get started with Automator and AppleScript
* Control nearly anything on your Mac with Keyboard Maestro
Put bluntly, we want to help you use your Mac more productively. It pains us when we see someone repeating the same mind-numbing steps over and over, when we know a Keyboard Maestro macro could easily do it all with a single keystroke. To aid in that, we’ve included discounts on eight of the most important apps Joe covers in the book: 20% or 30% off on Keyboard Maestro, LaunchBar, Hazel, Nisus Writer Pro, TextExpander, TextSoap, TypeIt4Me, and Typinator — look for coupons at the back of the ebook.
So, read “Take Control of Automating Your Mac” and get Joe’s expert advice on how to make your repetitive tasks quick, accurate, and repeatable, whether by setting up your Mac to type “quick, accurate, and repeatable” whenever you type “qar” or by creating whatever filing, launching, typing, clicking, sorting, filtering, or other shortcut that will save you from boredom and let you get to the fun stuff faster.
cheers… -Adam & Tonya Engst, Take Control publishers
P.S. Check out some of our other recently released ebooks, all at 30% off:
* Take Control of Your Apple Wi-Fi Network
* Take Control of Podcasting on the Mac
* Take Control of Your Paperless Office
* Take Control of Dropbox
Two items of note this past week: the Microsoft web site dedicated to the Office Suite of software for the Mac closed down, and a long-overdue update for the package appears imminent.
The web site blog.officeformac.com posted an announcement this week that new content going forward would be posted on the office.com website; while not necessarily significant, it does suggest reinforcement of the Office suite of software being handled together, and not on a separate timetable, as it had in the past.
Then, this week at the Cebit tradeconvention in Germany, representatives from Microsoft acknowledged development of a new version of Office for the Mac, according to a report from Macworld, summarizing a story from Computerwoche. Reports suggest we should expect to hear more details and a timeline in the next few months from Microsoft.
I recently came across a useful online resource, RoaringApps.com. The premise is simple: a catalog of Mac and iOS applications, and their respective compatibility with different versions of OS X and iOS. While it is not a complete, or exhaustive list, it does cover a decent number of the most popular applications.
Two useful tips when using the site – the list is automatically filtered by letter, so you only see apps starting with ‘A’ at first (over 400!). Next, you can elect to filter those apps per platform, and per condition – that is, works with some problems, doesn’t work at all, or works fine – to help narrow your search down.
Apple announced on October 22 that the latest release of OS X would be available for free from the Mac App Store. This is a major shift from previous releases, where each OS X iteration was sold for a token $29. The announcement coincided with new hardware releases and new versions of iWork and iLife Apps, which are also being released for free (for qualified computers).
At our next meeting on October 29, we will review the latest iteration of OS X, Mavericks, and discuss upgrade and installation issues.
Tuesday September 25th, 2012 Meeting at 7:00PM
Introducing OS X Mountain Lion
The world’s most advanced desktop operating system gets even better. Packed with over 200 innovative new features, OS X Mountain Lion includes iCloud integration, for keeping everything up to date across all your devices and for easy set up of your Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Messages, Reminders and Notes; the all new Messages app, which brings iMessage to the Mac; Notification Center, which streamlines the presentation of notifications and provides easy access to alerts; system-wide Sharing, to easily share links, photos, videos and other files quickly; Dictation, to dictate text anywhere you can type; AirPlay Mirroring, an easy way to wirelessly send what’s on your Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV; and much, much more! Discover OS X Mountain Lion today!
Presented by Dave Marra, Apple Senior Systems Engineer
touch and nano and the over 200 new features of IOS 6
About Dave Marra
As a Senior Systems Engineer for Apple, Dave Marra has conducted thousands of technology presentations, keynote addresses and workshops for schools, Mac and PC user groups, businesses and other professional organizations across the United States and Canada. Certified as both an Apple Certified Technical Coordinator and an Apple Certified Systems Administrator, his specialty areas include digital multimedia, internet technologies, accessibility and Mac/PC integration. For more information about Dave, please visit his web site at www.marrathon.com.
Tuesday June 26th, 2012 Meeting at 7:00PM
Apple began sending out MobileMe eviction notices last week. The notices remind anyone still using MobileMe that they have until the end of June to transition to iCloud and/or copy all data stored in their MobileMe accounts to their Mac or PC. Any files stored in MobileMe’s range of services that can’t be converted to iCloud will be deleted. If you opt not to use iCloud, all data in your MobileMe account will be deleted.
This is the cloud the way it should be: automatic and effortless. iCloud is seamlessly integrated into your apps, so you can access your content on all your devices. And it’s free with iOS 5.
Not a Mobile Me Subscriber? Been to Busy or Intimidated to Use iCloud — See How to Get Up and Running
• MobileMe Galleries
• iWeb sites
• File and information sync