Quick Tip: Bring Back Buttons in iOS 7

Starting with iOS 7 Apple changed many of the default buttons to remove the outline; now you just tap the word to press the button. There’s a setting hidden in the Accessibility settings that brings back the actual outline of the buttons.

To activate this great feature go to Settings, General, Accessibility, then scroll down to Button Shapes, and turn it on. Now you should see a gray outline where all the buttons are.

iOS 7 Button Outlines

In the image above, the left is what Calendar looks like BEFORE turning on Button Shapes, the right side is AFTER. Note the gray boxes.

How to Have the Best Umbrella – Using on-site and cloud-based backups to prepare the for the worst rainy day

Office worker slumped on his desk

As computers become a bigger part of our lives, our pictures, documents, movies, and other data are increasingly stored on our computers or devices. Those hard drives and gadgets are susceptible to being dropped, stolen, damaged, or lost, not to mention the fact that they fail on their own once in a while. The need to be confident in our backup has never been greater.

On Site Backup

Having a local hard drive that backs up everything on your computer is a necessity. With a Mac, Time Machine makes backing up your entire computer a no-brainer. All you need for Time Machine is a hard drive that can connect to your Mac. You can find good deals on the kinds of hard drives needed at amazon.com. Configuring Time Machine is as simple as:

Open System Preferences, select Time Machine, turn Time Machine on and select your new hard drive. The Mac operating system will take care of the rest.

You should set this up immediately if you’re not already backing your computer up somehow.

Off-Site Backup

A local Time Machine backup is fast, inexpensive, and comprehensive. But it does no good in the case of theft, fire, or hurricanes, any one of which could damage all the electronics in your home. Because of this danger, I strongly suggest to have an off-site backup in addition to a local Time Machine backup. My personal favorite is CrashPlan from Code 42. CrashPlan is a free program that runs on your computer. It can back up to another computer, a server in your network, or, as we’re discussing in this case, the CrashPlan cloud. For a reasonable price (there are cheaper alternatives out there. If you know what you’re doing, by all means, save a bit of money here– I think CrashPlan is the easiest and best offsite backup for the price), CrashPlan will backup all the most important files from your computer to their data center.

Once you install CrashPlan, you need to create an account. Here’s where you would sign up for the paid account, which is what you’ll need for off-site backup to CrashPlan. Configure CrashPlan for backing up to CrashPlan Central, which is their data center. Once its configure, CrashPlan will take care of the rest in the background. CrashPlan even throttles its own speed so your internet browsing is not negatively affected.

 

Having a complete local backup, and a secondary, cloud-based backup should help you rest easier.  As Jimmy Fallon’s character says in Almost Famous, “I didn’t invent the rainy day, man. I just own the best umbrella.”

 

What Should You Do About the Heartbleed Bug?

heartbleed

Last week news broke about the Heartbleed bug, a vulnerability that affects the way secure websites communicate with your computer. Tech blog Mashable writes: “The bug has affected many popular websites and services — ones you might use every day, like Gmail and Facebook — and could have quietly exposed your sensitive account information (such as passwords and credit card numbers) over the past two years.”

Scary stuff, no doubt. You should check the freshly updated full list at their site, but here’s the glimmer of good news: all the banks and financial institutions Mashable reached out to (and that’s quite a few) were completely unaffected.

So what should you do? Change your passwords. And don’t just add one to the end of your current password. Make secure passwords, and use a database to keep them straight. My recommendation is for long, non-dictionary passwords. It’s a hassle, but it’s a price we ought to be willing to pay for the benefits of doing business on the internet. I use a secure program, 1Password*, to keep my existing passwords straight, and to generate new passwords when I make new online accounts. I’ve personally gotten to the point where I don’t know what most of my passwords are, but I know the one password I need to access them.

If you’d like help implementing a system like that, let me know. For now, check the Mashable database of affected sites, and change your passwords accordingly.

*1Password is just one of many apps like this. Lastpass is another good one, and Apple even has iCloud Keychain now, which is great, and is free!

UPDATE: Apple releases 10.9.2, closes SSL Security hole

OSXmavericks

Today Apple released Mac OS X 10.9.2, which fixes the SSL vulnerability in OS X (discussed in detail previously). In addition to patching the security hole, OS 10.9.2 also fixes a number of bugs in OS X Mavericks. arstechnica.com writes,

Apple has included a large number of other fixes and features too. The most prominent is probably support for the FaceTime Audio feature originally introduced in iOS 7—as the name implies, it lets you use the FaceTime application to make voice calls as well as video calls. Call waiting support for FaceTime video and audio calls has also been added.

Run Software Update on your Mac now to update to 10.9.2 and solve the security vulnerability when connecting to SSL. You can also download the update directly here (for 10.9.1 users) and here (combo update for 10.9 or 10.9.1 users)