Mac Setup: The Desk of an Information Security Professional

Apr 12, 2014 - 18 Comments

Mac desk setup of an Information Security professional

This weeks featured Mac workstation is that of InfoSec professional Eric W., who uses a great Mac and iOS setup to secure networks and conquer system vulnerabilities for clients. Eric’s got a great Apple setup, uses a ton of interesting apps, and also offers some excellent tips and general advice too (don’t miss the complex password tip, it’s excellent)… read on to learn more!
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By OSXDaily - Mac Setups - 18 Comments

Messed Up Hosts? How to Restore the Original Default /etc/hosts File in Mac OS X

Apr 12, 2014 - 5 Comments

The Original, unmodified hosts file in Mac OS X is easy to restore if need be

The hosts file is included on every computer and used by Mac OS to map IP addresses to host names. Because users may choose to adjust, change, or otherwise edit the hosts file for a variety of reasons, it can be easily subjected to user error, leading to a variety of undesirable network problems ranging from inaccessible network locations, network failures, web sites blocked or otherwise unable to load, even to failed iOS updates and various iTunes errors like the frequently encountered 17 and 3194 errors because the Apple servers have been blocked.

Fortunately, restoring the original default /etc/hosts file back to normal is pretty easy, and the best way to get back the original untouched default file is to simply overwrite the existing damaged hosts file with a new clean version that is a copy of what comes default in Mac OS X. An example of that has been included below for convenience, but you can retrieve it from another Mac if need be as well. No additional entries or modifications are included in the version below, which is a direct replica from that found in OS X Mavericks, making it safe to return to if you accidentally messed up the important hosts document during a change or adjustment.
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Fixing a Scratched iPhone or iPad? Find Device Model Numbers in Settings

Apr 11, 2014 - 1 Comment

Scratched back of an iPhone

If you ever need to identify what model number an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is, typically the easiest thing to do is just flip the device over and look on the lower back panel. Alongside the trampstamp of regulatory details, FCC ID, IC, and the various symbols, you’ll find the devices model number. But what if the back of the iOS device is so scratched and damaged, that the model and other identifying details is completely obscured?

If you’re unable to read the model number off the back of a scratched iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, there’s another option available through iOS. It’s buried fairly deep in some obscure settings panel along with some sleep inducing incredibly interesting other documents and regulatory details, but nonetheless the important number remains easily accessible if you need it from a damaged device:
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Change the Double Quote & Single Quote Style in Mac OS X

Apr 10, 2014 - 9 Comments

Quotes button on a Mac keyboard The Mac has long used the straight quote style for double and single quotes, looking like ” and ‘ respectively. It’s been that way for as long as I remember, but if you’d like to change the quote style to something else, perhaps a bit more fanciful, you can do so through a settings adjustment.

Swapping out the quote style offers a a total of eight different varieties for each single quotes and double quotes, and you don’t need to have them match though it’s probably recommended to do so. Whether you like curlies, fancies, or straights you should be a happy camper with the choices available.
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By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 9 Comments

Show US Holidays in Calendar on iPhone & iPad the Easy Way

Apr 10, 2014 - 6 Comments

Calendar in iOS Want to show US Holidays in your iOS Calendar? There are a few ways to accomplish this, and we’ll cover the two simplest methods. First is a direct subscription to the official US holidays calendar offered from Apple, and the other syncs the same calendar from a Mac that has the feature enabled. For the time being this is necessary, because there currently is not a direct toggle to show or hide holidays in the Calendar app on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

We’re focusing on holidays in the USA for this example, but below there are links that include other nation calendars as well. If you have a direct link from Apple’s calendars for your nation, be sure to share it in the comments as well.
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By Paul Horowitz - iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 6 Comments

Stop the Power Button From Turning Off the Mac Display in OS X Mavericks

Apr 9, 2014 - 8 Comments

MacBook Pro and MacBook AIr power button on the keyboard

The Power button on newer MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models has been turned into a button on the actual keyboard, located directly above the Delete key. For the most part, this isn’t an issue, but with the introduction of OS X Mavericks, tapping on that Power button no longer prompts the Sleep / Restart / Shut Down dialog, and instead it now instantly turns the screen off, which can lock the screen if you have a wake password set.

For some MacBook Air/Pro users, that behavior change means that accidentally hitting the Power button is much more intrusive than it was before. If you’re one of the users who accidentally strikes the Power button instead of the Delete key from time to time (since they’re quite close to each other depending on your keyboard), you’ll be relieved to discover that you can change the behavior of the Power key in OS X with the help of a defaults write command. Like any other defaults command string, the change is easily reversible if you decide you don’t like how the behavior adjusts, so we’ll show you how to do both.
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By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 8 Comments

Make Siri Search the Web with Google or Yahoo Rather Than Bing in iOS

Apr 9, 2014 - 2 Comments

Siri Did you know that Siri defaults to searching the web with Bing, rather than Google? Yes, the results that Siri returns when the assistant says “Here’s what I found on the web” are brought to you by Bing, but they used to be brought to you by Google. That change arrived quietly in iOS 7, obscured by some much more obvious changes, and though some users won’t notice the difference, others may prefer to use a different web search.

Unlike Safari search controls that offer a few choices, you won’t find a default search engine toggle within Siri’s general Settings, and instead if you want to use Google or Yahoo you will have to specifically ask Siri to search using those alternatives. Of course, if you don’t care or are otherwise search agnostic, you can continue to rely on the default choice of Bing, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

That said, some users may want to know that they can use other search engines than the default, simply by asking the right question and specifying the web search to use. Here are the three options, including the default (which obviously requires nothing special to use):

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By Paul Horowitz - iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 2 Comments

Access the Calendar List View for Specific Dates on iPhone with iOS 7.1

Apr 8, 2014 - 5 Comments

Calendar icon in iOS The Calendar app list view is probably the single best way to quickly see an overview of events and meetings scheduled for a specific day. Widely appreciated for it’s convenience, the date specific list view was removed and obscured within iOS 7 in favor of a more difficult to access wider list view that encompassed events across multiple dates instead. Fortunately, that has changed since iOS 7.1, and now users will again find quick and easy access to the much loved date list view in the Calendar app on your iPhone and iPod touch.
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By Paul Horowitz - iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 5 Comments

Hide Tags from the Mac Finder Sidebar in OS X Mavericks

Apr 8, 2014 - 1 Comment

Tags in the Sidebar of Mac OS X

The Tags feature added to Mac OS X in Mavericks provides for a simple way to group files, folders, and documents together with drag and drop quickness or keystroke simplicity, but not every Mac user takes the time to use tags, or at the very least, use all the tags that are offered by default in the sidebar. For those who don’t use the feature, the “Tags” remaining visible in the OS X Finder window sidebar just wind up being extra clutter, and even for those who do use some Tags, leaving the unused tags around can just make things overly busy.

We’ll cover a few ways to hide tags from the OS X Finder window sidebars. You can choose to hide all Tags, or selectively hide tags you don’t use or just don’t want visible. Note this is not the same as removing tags from files and items in the file system, this is simply hiding the tags from being visible in the sidebar windows throughout Mac OS X.
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By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 1 Comment

Why iPhone & iPad App Names Say “Cleaning…” and What to Do About It

Apr 7, 2014 - 6 Comments

iOS App name says "Cleaning" You may have noticed that some iOS apps will turn dark as if they’re being launched and simultaneously rename themselves as “Cleaning…”, seemingly out of the blue and at random. This is demonstrated happening with the attached iPhone screenshot, showing the Instagram app going through the process. So the big question for many users is, what’s going on here and why does that iPhone or iPad app say it’s cleaning?

We’ll explain what the “Cleaning” message means, what it’s doing, and also what it means you, the iOS device user, should do when you see it.
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How to Enable AirPlay Mirroring in iOS 7 to Stream an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch Display Wirelessly

Apr 6, 2014 - 4 Comments

AirPlay Mirroring an iPad to an Apple TV

AirPlay Mirroring sends exactly what is on the iPhone or iPad screen wirelessly over to an Apple TV or a compatible AirPlay receiver app on a Mac or PC like Reflector or XBMC, including the audio stream if one is available. This mirroring feature is great for demonstrations, presentations, picture slideshows, watching video on a larger screen, gaming on a bigger display, recording an iOS device screen, and so much more.

While iOS AirPlay Mirroring is simple to use, how it works can cause some confusion and lead some users to believe it’s not working at all. Furthermore, AirPlay and Mirroring is hidden by default in iOS, and you’ll need to meet a few basic requirements before finding the feature available for usage on any iOS 7 device. This makes it a bit different than how it works from a Mac where it’s always visible but not necessarily usable, but once you learn how to use it on your iDevice, you’ll find it’s not complicated.
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By Paul Horowitz - Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 4 Comments

Learn the 2 “Cancel” Button Keyboard Shortcuts in Mac OS X to Close Dialog & Alert Windows

Apr 5, 2014 - 4 Comments

Cancel Button keyboard shortcut in Mac OS X

Most Mac users know that hitting Command+W will close an open window, and we’ve covered a handful of other window management keystrokes before, but what about closing the seemingly inactionable dialog windows found with Open, Save, Save As, Export, iCloud, and Print actions? For closing those type of dialog windows, you’ll want to use the “Close” button keyboard shortcuts instead, and there are actually two of them for Mac OS X.
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By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 4 Comments

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