FlippedBITS: Four Password Myths

Are your passwords strong enough to resist an automated attack? If you believe any of several common password myths, they may not be. In this installment of FlippedBITS, Joe Kissell examines a few of the most dangerous myths about password security and explains smarter and safer practices.

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from TidBITS: Apple News for the Rest of Us http://tidbits.com/article/13651?rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+tidbits_main+%28TidBITS%3A+Mac+News+for+the+Rest+of+Us%29

Your iPhone Can’t Tell When You’re Too Drunk To Drive, But This iPhone Breathalyzer Can


In my experience, the iPhone already has a built-in alcohol detector. You can tell if you’re too drunk to drive by pulling out your iPhone and seeing if you immediately drop it, shattering it on the floor or dunking it in a seedy bar urinal. Pass the test? You’re ready to drive!

Alcohoot has another method of measuring the same thing. It’s a Breathalyzer that you pair with your iPhone. If you blow into it and you’re abov e the legal limit, it’ll call you a cab.

Alcohoot isn’t out quite yet, but when they launch, they are hoping to launch soon at a $70 price point. Cheaper than breaking your iPhone using the drunk test outlined above.

Via: Macgasm

from Cult of Mac http://www.cultofmac.com/218279/your-iphone-cant-tell-when-youre-too-drunk-to-drive-but-this-iphone-breathalyzer-can/

Finding Dropbox ‘conflicted copy’ files automatically

Dropbox is a great tool, but if you use it on more than one computer, you are bound to find conflicted copies eventually. A conflicted copy is created when the same file is edited on two different computers at the same time, or close enough that Dropbox cannot tell which one is the newest.

The good news is that Dropbox creates these conflicted copies instead of trying to guess which file is the one that you want. The bad news is that if you don’t notice that Dropbox has created a “conflicted copy, you might start using the wrong file. Unfortunately Dropbox does not alert you when a conflicted copy is created, you have to search for it yourself.

Here is an example of a conflicted file: Settings (TJ Luoma’s conflicted copy 2013-01-09).textexpander As you can probably guess, the original filename is Settings.textexpander and Dropbox has added the words “conflicted copy” and the date in parentheses, as well as the username. (The username can be helpful if you find a conflict in a shared folder.)

Doing it is easy, remembering to do it is hard.

I’ve known that Dropbox creates these files for years, but do I ever remember to look for them? Nope. In fact, I don’t even try to remember to look for them. Instead, I have a shell script which does that for me.

The shell script runs every five minutes via launchd, and if it finds any conflicts, it alerts me using Growl and growlnotify. It uses a “sticky” notification in Growl, which means that it will not go away until I click on it (but the notification also has a unique ID so only one notification will ever appear on-screen at any given time).


  1. Download dropbox-launchd-conflicted-copy.sh to /usr/local/bin/ and make sure it’s executable (chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/dropbox-launchd-conflicted-copy.sh).
  2. Move com.tjluoma.check-for-dropbox-conflicted-copies.plist to ~/Library/LaunchAgents/ and then either 1) run this line in Terminal:

launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.tjluoma.check-for-dropbox-conflicted-copies.plist

or 2) log out and back in.

How do you find the conflicts once you know that they exist?

There are two options that you can use once you are alerted that there are conflicts in your Dropbox. The first is Spotlight, the second is dropbox-launchd-conflicted-copy.sh.

Option A) Use Spotlight. Create a search which looks for filenames that match “‘s conflicted copy”. Actually, you don’t even have to make one; you can just download this one DropboxConflicted.savedSearch and move it to ~/Library/Saved Searches/. You might even want to add that to the Finder’s sidebar.

Note: Once the Saved Search is there, you can even use it with mdfind in Terminal:

mdfind -s 'DropboxConflicted' -onlyin "$HOME/Dropbox"

Or, if you don’t have a saved search, you can use Spotlight on the command line like this:

mdfind -name "'s conflicted copy" -onlyin ~/Dropbox

Option B) Use find. Call me an old crotchety Unix nerd (pause), but I still prefer the Unix find command instead of Spotlight. Asking Spotlight to look for something is like asking my 10 year old: if he comes back and says that he couldn’t find it, I always wonder how hard he really looked. On the other hand:

find ~/Dropbox/ -path "*(*'s conflicted copy [0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9]-[0-9][0-9]-[0-9][0-9]*" -print

This always gives me reliable results, and it only takes a few seconds.

But wait, there’s more! The dropbox-launchd-conflicted-copy.sh script is “context aware.” When it runs via launchd it gives you the Growl notification shown above, but if it on the command line, it will present you with a list of all of the conflicted files that it found. Just launch Terminal.app, type dropbox-launchd-conflicted-copy.sh and press enter. If you don’t have any conflicted files, it will say “No conflicts found” and you can rely on launchd to keep an eye on it in the future.

Finding Dropbox ‘conflicted copy’ files automatically originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 20 Feb 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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from TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog http://www.tuaw.com/2013/02/20/finding-dropbox-conflicted-copy-files-automatically/

The curious case of the persistent image

The case of the persistent image

The other day I was working on some blog posts, and when I pulled up an image in Preview to edit it, I noticed something odd. It looked like the Preview window was transparent, and that I was seeing a window through it. I thought nothing of it until a few minutes later when I closed a number of open windows on my new 27-inch iMac and noticed that a faint “echo” of those windows was visible on my desktop photo. I realized I was seeing some image persistence.

This is nothing new; back in the days of PCs with cathode-ray tube monitors, it was quite common to see the C: prompt burned into some screens, visible even when the monitor was turned off! But this was a bit of a surprise, since I hadn’t experienced image persistence for a long time. And on a brand new 27-inch iMac? Ouch.

I’m guessing that something kept my iMac display from going to sleep, resulting in the “burn in.” I usually have the display set to go completely dark after 15 minutes, and had never seen this happen before on this or my previous 27-inch iMac.

Immediately I went to the Apple support communities and searched for image persistence and image retention, and I found that this has been a fairly common issue with the new devices. Not only are iMacs prone to persistent images, but some MacBooks are also seeing the problem. (Mike Rose experienced the image persistence issue specific to the MacBook Pro Retina models with LG panels, and ended up having his screen replaced.) There are a number of people who were so concerned that they brought their devices back to the Apple Store and asked for a replacement, but Apple believes that the problem is common to IPS (in-plane switching) LCD panels and not a real issue.

Apple recommends doing exactly what I had been doing — setting display sleep after 15 minutes of non-use. Fortunately, they also have instructions on what to do if your get a burned-in image despite using display sleep. In knowledge base article HT5455, “Avoiding image persistence on Apple displays,” there’s a section on using a screen saver to eliminate a persistent image:

  1. From the Apple () menu, choose System Preferences, and then click “Desktop & Screen Saver.”
  2. Click the Screen Saver tab.
  3. Choose a screen saver.
  4. Set the “Start screen saver” time to be shorter than the “Display sleep” and “Computer sleep” settings in the Energy Saver pane of System Preferences.
  5. To clear the persistent image, allow the screen saver to run for approximately as long as the image was being displayed.

I had no idea how long the image had been “stuck” on my screen, so I just decided to change the screen saver time to five minutes and the display sleep time to three hours and let the “Flurry” screen saver run for that length of time.

Sure enough, once I returned to my iMac this morning, the annoying persistent images were nowhere to be found. One commenter in the support community suggests that this might be a problem with all IPS LCD panels made by LG, and that this didn’t happen with display panels made by Samsung — a company that Apple seems to want to avoid at this time due to the lawsuit situation going on.

Regardless of the cause, it’s refreshing to know that there is a way to correct it and that this does not cause permanent damage to the display. I’ve changed my iMac settings to go to screen saver after five minutes and to display sleep after 15 minutes, and hopefully I’ll never see those persistent images again.

Have any TUAW readers experienced this problem? Did running the screen saver work to eliminate the ghosted images? Let us know in the comments.

The curious case of the persistent image originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 18 Feb 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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from TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog http://www.tuaw.com/2013/02/18/the-curious-case-of-the-persistent-image/

Use These Keyboard Shortcuts To Reboot Or Shutdown Your Mac Instantly [OS X Tips]


I’ve been a Mac user since the Performa 638 CD I purchased in 1994, and I had no idea these shortcuts existed. While I wouldn’t recommend them to every Mac user, if you’re comfortable with the potential issues of immediately shutting down your Mac, you’ll want to learn these post-haste.

Note that when we refer to the Power button below, you may see an Eject button instead. Use either the Power or Eject button, whichever is in the upper right of your keyboard, to activate the following instant actions.

To reboot your Mac instantly, hit Control-Command-Power/Eject. To immediately shut down your Mac, hit Command-Option-Control-Power/Eject. To Log yourself (or any user) off of your Mac without using a menu or mouse, hit Command-Shift-Q.

To put your Mac right to sleep, the poor dear, hit Command-Option-Power, and hold them down for two seconds or so. To turn off your Mac’s display immediately, hit Shift-Control-Power. Go ahead, try it! To wake your screen back up, just hit the Spacebar key.

Now you have the magic keys to the kingdom, at least as far as shutting down or restarting your Mac on the fly without needing to use an onscreen button, mouse, or menu. Just remember that with great power comes great responsibility.

Source: OS X Daily
Image: Håkan Dahlström, Flickr

from Cult of Mac http://www.cultofmac.com/210965/use-these-keyboard-shortcuts-to-reboot-or-shutdown-your-mac-instantly-os-x-tips/

What If the Next iPad, iMac, Business PC and Apple TV Are All One Device?

How would you radically improve the iPad? You’d give it more powerful processing, enabling more powerful apps.

How would you improve the 27-inch iMac? You’d make it 37 inches.

How would you create an Apple desktop computer for business? You’d make it work like an iPad, but double as a boardroom device for presentations and video conferencing.

And how would you improve TV and make it Applish? You’d build in a computer, Apple TV-like functions and give it a remote.

If you think about it, these obvious improvements are not moving these four product lines away from each other, but toward each other — resulting in a single super product that does it all.

What if Apple’s next iPad, iMac, business PC and TV set are all one iDevice? 

Almost every company in technology evolves their product lines from a starting point of fewer and simpler models to more and more complex ones.

Apple, on the other hand, thinks different. They try (they don’t always succeed) to unify and simplify. For example, they don’t have separate devices for consumers and education, or consumers and business. It’s the same phone, the same tablet and the same Mac.

In fact, no Apple device since the iPod has been exclusively designed for consumers or for business. Every Apple product since the iPhone shipped in 2007 has been designed for both consumers and business.

So when people predict that Apple will ship a TV exclusively designed for consumers in the living room, they’re also predicting that Apple will violate its five-year-old policy.

I think it’s possible that Apple may pull off the Mother of All unifications — to create a giant iPad that serves business people in the board room and consumers in the living room.

Everybody, including and especially Moore and his Law, expect the iPad line to get increasingly powerful processors, more RAM, faster graphics chips. This is simply going to happen. This improved capability will enable better apps, more console-like games, more OS X-like applications for iPads of all sizes.

Apple has to improve the iMac — they’ve already made it super thin and super elegant. Yes, they’ll make it more powerful, too, but what us users really want is a bigger screen. Many of us want Apple to continue adding touch-like user interface elements, as Apple has already begun to do with the Launchpad, better gestures and all the other iOS-like improvements.

Combine these two ideas, and image that the next iMac is a 37-inch iPad. It’s powerful like the iMac, but runs a new, more capable version of iOS. Tilt it back, and it works like an iPad, with multi-touch gestures. Tilt it up, and use a bluetooth keyboard and Magic Trackpad and it works much like an iMac. Talk to it, and it works like an iPhone running Siri.

By now you’re probably thinking of the limitations: It’s not mobile or portable like a real iPad. And it’s not able to run OS X-level desktop applications like the iMac.

So where would someone use such a mutant device?

The answer: in business and in the living room.

The business-desktop iPad

The corporate world, from small businesses to major enterprises, has gone gaga for iOS devices, both iPhone and iPad. They love the hyper-simplicity, visual appeal and the usefulness and flexibility of apps.

But business people of all kinds still need a big screen. Right now, even iPhone- and iPad-happy business people usually use Windows PCs at work — but hesitate to move to iMacs. They want full-size word processing documents and spreadsheets. They want email and web surfing. And they need big screens to do presentations and to bring in remote meeting attendees with video conferencing.

A giant desktop iPad could be used like an iPad or a PC or a presentation screen. It would simply need to be oriented in one of three angles — mostly flat for iPad mode, mostly upright for PC mode or perfectly vertical for presentation and video conferencing mode.

(Come to think of it, such a device would be really great for education, too.)

In order to use the device for presentations and videoconferencing, you’d also want a very simple remote control.

And you know where else you’d want a remote control?

The consumer-TV iPad

The specs on this 37-inch desktop iPad would be the same as any reasonable Apple TV set you might imagine. All you’d need is something similar to an Apple TV box built in.

The ability to do things that Apple TV can do — connect to the Internet, iTunes and iCloud; do AirPlay and AirPlay mirroring; find any HD content anywhere and play it — these are things that both business users would want and consumers watching TV would want.

The current version of Apple TV is $99, so building in these same capabilities would be a trivial expense for Apple.

The naysayers who say Apple won’t make a TV set because it won’t sell enough units haven’t considered that the Apple TV set may also be sold as an all-purpose Business PC and an educational desktop as well, multiplying unit sales.

I think there’s a very real chance that Apple’s next iPad, business PC, iMac and TV set are all one in the same device: A giant iPad that does it all.

Would you buy one?

from Cult of Mac http://www.cultofmac.com/207810/what-if-the-next-ipad-imac-business-pc-and-apple-tv-are-all-one-device/

How to reset Lion back to the Setup Assistant

There have been previous hints on how to reset earlier versions of Mac OS X to delete users so that it boots to the Setup Assistant again. This can be useful if you are passing on or selling your computer to someone else. The most recent hint was posted in 2007 for Mac OS X 10.5 and there were significant corrections included in the comments. There is also a command that changed in 10.7 (also in the older hint’s comments) and even with the modifications suggested in the comments, the hint is still incomplete.

So instead of adding yet another modification in the comments of a hint related to 10.5, I thought I would submit a new hint brining everything together from the old hint, its comments, changes needed for 10.7, and the missing items I have found. This provides a current version of the hint for 10.7 and presumably 10.8 …

from MacOSXHints.com http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20121202080339900