Tips and Tricks

A way to connect to IRC for people….

Hey Shawn,

I know it's close to show time, and may be a little too late... But this thought just occurred to me. Since the web IRC chat as been turned off, that may leave some people without the ability to chat. I thought I'd provide at least one solution.. the one I use, in case you want to share the info somehow.

I use a program called Adium:

Download Adium and install it on your Mac. It's completely free, open source software. It doesn't have any Java in it. Once it's installed, launch it. Go to 'Adium' 'Preferences' 'Accounts'. Click the Plus sign in the lower left corner, to add an account. Pick account type IRC.

1) In the 'Nickname' field, put the name you normally use for chatting with the YML group...
2) In the 'Hostname' field, put ""
3) In the 'Password' field, put the password to your Nickname, if you've previously set one. If you haven't set one, leave this field blank.

The rest of the tabs (Personal, Options, Privacy, Proxy); you can leave blank. Click the OK button. Click the check box next to this account in the accounts list. The circle to the far right side should turn green and the account should say "Online" if you have successfully connected to the IRC server.

You will get a pop-up window with two tabs. One from 'global' and one from 'nickserv'. The one from 'global' is just the IRC server's information messages. You can just close that tab. Mouse over the little orange circle, and it will turn into an 'x' to close. In the 'nickserv' tab, type "/join #yourmaclife" (without the quotes).

A new tab will appear, that will be our chat room. Click on that tab, and you're ready to chat. You can either close the 'nickserv' tab, or leave it open. Doesn't matter. I know there are other ways to connect. Bill uses a different program. But this is how I do it, and it doesn't cost the user any money. It's relatively simple....

Use this info as you wish....


How to Opt out of PayPal's "Agreement to Arbitrate"

Every now and then, companies send out information to their customers updating them on various aspects of things like End User Licensing Agreements and Terms of Service. Most of the time, we just glos over these dry legal documents. But PayPal sent out a notice this morning that not only had me reading it, it had the added effect of really pissing me off.

Under the title of "Notice of Policy Updates" (you may need to be logged into PayPal to access that link), PayPal list what these updates include.

What got my blood boiling was the lines, "You will, with limited exception, be required to submit claims you have against PayPal to binding and final arbitration" and "unless you opt out of the Agreement to Arbitrate you will only be permitted to pursue claims against PayPal on an individual basis, not as a plaintiff or class member in any class or representative action or proceeding..."

In other words, PayPal is trying to abrogate your rights to sue the company in a court of law.

Now, I know a lot of people really dislike PayPal and there have been plenty of horror stories about the company but I've been using them for years and have never had an issue. I don't anticipate ever having an issue. But, if I did, I would certainly want to have at my disposal every legal tool in the book to fight for my right for relief. PayPal is trying to prevent that.

And worse - they are doing it in the typical sleazy way corporations do things.


It’s unfortunate that many people don’t think about backing up their data until it’s too late. I can’t imagine how devastating it would be to lose weeks, months, or years worth of family photos, important documents, project folders, and more.

With very little effort and cost you can set up an automated and trustworthy backup system. I can only assume most people don’t back up their data because they are either lazy, unsure where to start, don’t see a need, or all of the above.

Assuming Mat Honan’s horror story gives you the motivation for backing up, here are some tips on how to set up a rock-solid backup system.

How to configure Google's two-step authentication

First, let’s clarify what two-step authentication actually means. In Google’s case, it works this way: If you enable two-factor authentication, when you next log in to your Gmail account, you’ll first proceed as you always do—by providing your username and password. But before you get to your inbox, Google will next demand a separate code.

Of course, you won’t know what the code is offhand. Thus, for the second factor of authenticating that you really are who you’re claiming to be, Google will send a text message to your phone containing the six-digit code to use.

Get your Mac ready for Mountain Lion

The word on the street is that Apple has released to developers the golden master of Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8)—the final non-public version. And that means the official public release of Mountain Lion isn’t far off. Speculating on the specific date of release makes for interesting discussion—all Apple has said publicly is that the new version will arrive in July—but those aiming to upgrade as soon as the new OS drops have more pressing matters: Getting their Macs ready for Mountain Lion.

As with Lion (OS X 10.7) last year, Apple is advertising Mountain Lion as dead-simple to install. But as with every major upgrade to OS X, there are a few things you can do before Mountain Lion is released to ensure that your Mac is ready for the new release.

Three Things to Back Up before MobileMe goes Dark on June 30

It's officially June, and hopefully you know what that means. Yes, Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference will take place in just a week and a half, but June also marks the month when Apple's MobileMe service (previously called .Mac, and before that, iTools) will finally go dark. That's right: Apple is finalizing its transition over to yet another version of its online services, iCloud, and whatever's left of MobileMe will be left behind.

Even if you're already using iCloud after transitioning your account over from MobileMe, certain parts of MobileMe simply aren't available as part of iCloud. This is why it's important to make sure you grab all your remaining data, back it up, and potentially port it over to a new service.

MobileMe will go dark on June 30, 2012. That's less than a month away at this point, so what are you waiting for? Here are four things you should check up on and back up before that day rolls around.

Inside the Mysteries of Mission Control

OS X's Mission Control lets you manage the screen clutter that accompanies today’s advanced computing environment by providing a bird’s-eye view of all your open applications and windows. You’re the one really in control when you learn how to manage Mission Control’s features.

A User’s Guide to finding Storage Space in the Cloud

A number of companies store your data free and make it accessible to whatever device you are using, wherever you are, as long as you have Internet connection. For those using thumb drives and external hard drives, think of cloud storage as just another way to back up data, but on a remote server. Add in the ability to synchronize and the service becomes even more appealing.

What is different now is the ability to synchronize seamlessly across multiple devices: computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets. And of course, as Google, Microsoft, Dropbox and others compete for your business, the sheer amount of data to be shared and stored continues to expand.

Here is how to start using it right now.

How to Surf safely with a VPN-for-Hire

“When your data passes through a public network—such as the Wi-Fi at the coffee shop or airport—it is at risk.” I’ve been writing variations on that sentence for 10 years now, and I expect I’ll be writing it for many more. That’s because it’s easy to snoop on such networks, and the data on them isn’t safeguarded against those prying eyes. You have to take action to keep your data safe. Fortunately, doing so doesn’t have to be hard.

You could encrypt networked data one service at a time, by securing your email sessions or configuring your Twitter and Facebook accounts to use HTTPS. (Actually, I recommend both steps regardless of whatever other security measures you take.) But that means adjusting settings in lots of different apps, one at a time. There’s a more comprehensive solution: a virtual private network (VPN).

Ink-onomics: Can You save Money by spending more on Your Printer?

Buying the inkjet printer or inkjet MFP (multifunction printer) that is best suited to your budget should be simple. It's not--and the complication is the ink. Replenishing this vital fluid costs much more over time than the printer itself costs initially, yet unwary buyers often overlook that expense. To find the most economical printer over the long haul, you need to pay attention to ink-onomics--how much your printer's inks cost and how much ink you'll use.

The first law of ink-onomics: The cheaper the printer, the more expensive its inks. We've tracked the prices of 56 inkjet MFPs over the past two years, and the average cost per page for inks destined for a cheap printer (which we define as one costing less than $200) has consistently been higher than that for an expensive printer (one costing $200 or more).

But does that mean you should avoid cheap printers like the plague?

Switch your iWeb Site to a Mac Friendly Web Host

With the demise of MobileMe, many Mac users are looking for new homes for their websites, particularly those created in iWeb. Deciding among the thousands of hosting companies can be bewildering. Don’t panic. Here are a few tips to help you choose a new provider and move your sites to their new home.

Seven Instagram alternatives for iOS

Instagram users unsure about a Facebook future have plenty of options, especially on the iOS platform. Several iOS apps promised mobility, social features, and filters and effects of their own. Consider these apps as possible ways to fill the Instagram void.

How to determine if a Flash Update Notification is Legitimate

Adobe Flash Player and Reader are some of the most popular Web plug-ins, and as a result malware developers commonly use them as a disguise for their programs. The recent Flashback malware is one example of this, where it originally was released as a fake update to Adobe Flash, and thereby confused a number of Mac users who installed it thinking it was a legitimate update they needed.

In order to notify Flash and Reader users of available updates, Adobe's software will display a notice regarding the availability of the new software; however, if you see such a notice then how will you know the update is legitimate or an attempt to install malware?

Want to Ditch Instagram? Here are the 5 Best Alternative Apps

Now that Mark Zuckerberg controls your hipster, vintage-inspired photos that you took with Instagram, you might be feeling weighed down with the fear that your favorite photography app will see some major changes. I cried for a few minutes, then I realized that I never used Instagram to edit photos because its filters were actually very limited and pretty crappy.

There’s tons of better apps out there. If for whatever reason you’re scared to stick with the new Instagram controlled by Facebook, there are plenty of alternatives to Instagram… and in many ways most of them are better. Take a look at these five awesome Instagram alternatives.

How to check for and disable Java in OS X

There's some concern over the use of Java in OS X following a recent finding that Flashback malware variants are now taking advantage of currently unpatched vulnerabilities in the Java runtime.

Even though this malware development should not affect the majority of Mac users running OS X 10.7 or later since Apple no longer includes Java with the OS, some people may nonetheless be wondering what the Java runtime is, and how they can go about checking for and removing it from their systems to ensure they are safe.

How to set up Time Machine on Your Mac

There are many ways to back up your files, including using external hard disks, Internet-based storage, or CDs and DVDs, so the approaches you choose for backing up are up to you; however, whichever route you choose, one important thing about backing up is that you do so regularly.
If you have not already have a backup plan for your Mac, then perhaps in light of World Backup Day you might take a look at doing so.

Configuring an Old iPad for Your Child

With three-generations of iPads under Apple’s belt, it’s becoming more usual to find multiple iPads in a home. And some of them are being passed along to kids. What can you do to make such an iPad useful (and safe) for your child? Read on to find out.

Free Up Space on Your iOS Device

The latest tablet out of Cupertino boasts a 2048-by1536 pixel display. To take full advantage of the graphics allowed by this Retina display, apps need new versions of their graphical assets—and that means bigger file sizes as apps get updated to add Retina display support for the latest iPad.

But those updates affect owners of older iOS devices as well. After all, you’re downloading the same app that runs on a new iPad, even if you’re using an iPad 2 or (in the case of universal apps) an iPhone. As a result, your 16GB iPhone or iPad may soon start complaining that it’s out of storage space.

When that happens—or when your iPhone refuses to update your apps because it says there’s not enough room to do so—resist the urge to start deleting apps willy-nilly. There are better ways to free up room on your app- and data-packed iPhone.

Printer Ink: Tired of Feeding the Cash Cow?

Human blood costs about $17.27 an ounce, silver about $34 an ounce. But both are bargains compared to the ink sold to the owners of inkjet printers, which can exceed $80 an ounce. Meanwhile, the ink used to print newspapers costs about 16 cents an ounce.

Today, color inkjet technology offers essentially photo-realistic output from consumer or home-office printers that cost less than $100. But even those who print out as few as 20 pages a week will probably have to buy several ink refills a year, at minimum, costing way more than the original price of the printer. Those who understand the issues can avoid the worst shocks.

Eight tips for iOS's Maps app

When it comes to getting from Point A to Point B, the Maps app that comes with your iOS device can keep you heading in the right direction. From telling you where you are to showing you where to go, Maps is an incredibly full-featured offering, especially for a built-in app.

Easy as Maps may be to use, sometimes you can lose sight of the details. Here are some tips for mastering Maps—some basic, some you might not know about—that can help you spend less time fumbling with the app and more time getting to where you want to go.

The 1Password Emergency Kit

Imagine if something was to happen to you. Something that would keep you from accessing stuff on your computer that has passwords associated with it. It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but we’d be foolhardy not to. I mean, we all keep an updated will2, and most other pertinent documents are kept in a fire safe or safe deposit box so that your next of kin can move through anything tragic that may befall you with as little resistance as possible.

But now that we spend so much time online – whether with online banking, email or earning a living – that having a failsafe in place isn’t just a good idea anymore. It’s mandatory.

That’s why I came up with the 1Password Emergency Kit.

How to convert a POP Email Account to IMAP

Most email providers let you choose between two ways to get your messages. You can have a POP (Post Office Protocol) account that downloads all your messages to your Mac, iPhone or iPad. Or, you can have an IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) account that leaves some or all of your messages up on the mail server so you can access them from any device. For example, with a POP account, if you check email on your iPhone, the messages downloaded there will only be there; when you get back to your Mac, you won’t see them in your inbox. With IMAP, they’ll be on all your devices.

If you’ve been using a POP account, but have grown frustrated with inaccessible messages, you can usually convert your account to IMAP. Most hosting companies and providers offer both options. However, making this conversion requires that you take precautions so you don’t lose any messages. Here’s how to make the switch safely

How to deal with Twitter Overload

We've all been there. First you start following a couple people on Twitter. What's the harm in following a couple more? Next thing you know, tweets are flying by faster than you can say "hashtag," and now you're backed into a #corner. It's natural to go on an unfollowing spree in cases like this. Why not? Those friends who use Twitter like a chat room probably won't notice, and if they do, you could just blame a Twitter fail whale. But the truth is, you don't have to. Instead, turn to plentiful apps, options, and tools to gracefully manage Twitter and keep tabs on as many accounts as you want.

The best way to run Windows on your Mac

Despite the Mac's recent gains in market share, Windows is still the dominant operating system, especially in businesses. That means there may be times when you need to run the Microsoft OS: perhaps there’s an application your company uses that’s only available for Windows, or you’re a web developer and you need to test your sites in a true native Windows web browser. Or maybe you want to play computer games that aren’t available for OS X. Whatever your reason for running Windows, there are a number of ways your Mac can do it for you.

How OS X Lion helps keep Your Files Safe

On the left is the current document and the ones on the right are previous versions saved on your hard drive
Thanks to Lion, lost work could become a thing of the past. Barring the failure of your Mac's hard drive, you need no longer worry about losing work if the app in question crashes.

This is because OS X Lion has two clever systems built into it: Auto Save and Versions. Provided you're using an app that has support for these two features built in, your Mac automatically saves what you do as you go along.

We're going to take a look at how these two systems work so that you can make the most of them.

What is iCloud?

Click image to enlarge Via: Infographic World

How to uninstall Adobe Flash

Join the movement. The fastest growing segment of the internet is mobile and Adobe has said mobile Flash development has been terminated. Thereupon, if Flash isn’t mobile, it’s not long for the desktop either — make it happen faster, starting with your Mac.

It’s a pretty straight forward proposition: If you uninstall Flash, your Mac will use less memory, be more stable and more secure. You will also lose a small portion of the internet (mostly advertising), but the math and weight of history are against Flash.

5 Ways to create and send Holiday Photo Cards

The holidays are fast approaching and so is the pressure to send out your annual greeting cards to update family and friends about your fabulous life and beautiful children. We looked at five of the best, most user-friendly options that make it easy to design and send photo cards. Starting with the Apple programs you already have on your Mac or iOS device, and ending with sites you may not be familiar with, here's a walk through a veritable winter wonderland of photo card-making options.

Keep Your Mac Safe from Web Security Flaws

This year there have been numerous reports suggesting that the fundamental security infrastructure of the Web is on shaky ground. In March we heard about a collection of stolen security certificates, and in August the release of more than 500 improperly issued certificates came to light.

Whenever you connect to a secure Internet site, your computer and the remote server need to exchange a strong encryption key in order to prevent eavesdropping by third parties. It’s a clever jig performed hundreds of billions of times a day among hundreds of millions of programs and servers—but the web of trust that makes it work is in peril like never before.

The good news is that changes are afoot to make connections safer than they’ve ever been. But until browser and operating system makers fix the teetering system, you can take some matters in your own hands to improve your own security.

Facebook's New Timeline Layout: A Getting Started Guide

Facebook’s new profile layout, Timeline, promises to turn your Facebook account into an online scrapbook where you can highlight important moments in your life and resurface past Facebook activity.