How to protect your privacy when using an Apple computer. The distance between Steve Jobs’s talk about privacy and Apple’s walk. Baked-in privacy invasion.
For years we had our sites all on Cartika Hosting and we loved it. For about five years I think. We recommended Cartika Hosting to all our clients and put up a lot of sites on Cartika.
The disk space limits and even bandwidth were always pretty tight in comparison to what you could get with Dreamhost, Bluehost or Hostgator. But we didn't mind.
What we wanted was quality and security and for that we were prepared to pay a significant premium over discount hosting. We called it "business quality hosting", after a rough ride with our own site Foliovision on Dreamhost for a few months with our client sites on Hostroute.
For some reason Flickr - they should know better as good coders - have decided to be cute and try to prevent downloading of some images. Photographers probably requested the feature so much that Flickr went against their better judgement and coded this hack. We get this kind of silly request from clients all the time: "I want a website where no one can copy any of my content ever."
If you don't want people to be able to copy your content, don't put it on the internet, people.
The Flickr trick is CSS based and consists of a div which carries the style classes "facade-of-protection" and a div called "spaceball". Basically Flickr is putting the image behind an empty div so you can't get at it with your mouse to save it.
The new MacBook Airs are adorable, particularly the 11". Should you get one...reluctantly I must say probably not. Here's why.
No standard memory socket.
We own lots of Macs in this category at Foliovision (old MacMini 2 GHz with 9400 GPU: a great basic machine). The bare minimum memory for a really great work experience on an OS X computer is 3 GB. Apple should be putting 4GB soldered on and leaving us at least a single installable memory slot. I'd put in another 4 GB, other might even put in an 8 GB sodimm (Samsung has started mass production).
We just had a small hosting accident yesterday.
One of our clients had his weblog cut off with the dreaded Bandwidth Limit Exceeded notice:
Bandwidth Limit Exceeded
The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.
Richard’s visitors had pumped 80 GB out already this month on his FreeTheAnimal weblog primal living weblog. Not bad for a single writer not in a formal network. Every month his traffic is growing. Congratulations Richard!
These 80 GB of bandwidth are the real thing, with just a few slightly overweight images, not a single big file accidentally uploaded.
Richard was surprised and upset to see his weblog cut off as were we. While most hosts cut clients off as a routine matter of business, we do not. We treat our clients as we would like to be treated ourselves.
You do want to be using SSL. Unencrypted connections are far too easily eavesdropped. On the other hand, it’s worth remembering that SSL only gets your login and email encrypted between your computer and your smtp server. Once your email hits the big pipes, it’s unencrypted again, vulnerable to whomever can get access to the transit points. A rogue operative in any ISP or fiber optic supplier could still siphon off huge amounts of data. Even if such a person existed, s/he would be unlikely to be able to regularly get all of your email though. However, random emails, especially if they traverse exotic territories with loose security could be grabbed.
Email is not private. Don’t forget that ever. Email is not private.
The most important thing which you must know before starting the move is whether the mail account to be moved is POP or IMAP.
If the account is POP, your task is fairly straightforward.
You want to make sure that you move any unread move (mail from between the time your client last collected email and the time of the move is picked up and put on the new mail server). The best way to do that is to log into the old mail server and the new mail server via IMAP simultaneously. You will see what has been read and what hasn't. Just move the unread messages.
If you move the read messages, when your client logs in again via POP, he or she will have to sort through a 1000 or even 3000 archived messages in the inbox. Not fun.
We recommend using Apple Mail as the IMAP client as it's very easy and quick to set up. Windows Live Mail hides the IMAP accounts and folders and is ugly as sin. Thunderbird is very fiddly and exposes too many options but could do in a pinch or if you don't have a Mac handy.
As I've mentioned, I handle hundreds of messages per day for myself and my clients. I have separated my email from bulk email effectively now, but still found my computer sluggish.
The problem seemed to be around Apple Mail. I'm new to IMAP so I decided to dig deeper. I initially thought the issue was with Rules, as I have SpamSieve and many dozens of rules to deal with bulk email (things I might want to read but don't want in my InBox).
The problems turns out to be something else altogether:
Smart Mailboxes. Every time you get new mail your Smart Mailboxes folders update their unread counts: "Updating Smart Mailbox Unread Counts" is the message you will see in Mail's Activity Monitor.
If like me, you are an old Eudora hand, you probably used POP reliably for decades before moving to Apple Mail and the possibility of troublefree IMAP use.
You’ve probably also heard horror stories of unsynced and lost email from those who took the jump to IMAP in the 90’s. You prefer the security of local mail on POP for the following reasons:
- your mail doesn’t spend much time on the cloud so there’s less possibility of it being read unless someone is actively tracking you
- what’s on your computer is getting backed up by you so you have physical control of the data
Now however you may have a Mac Mini, a Macbook, Macbook Pro 17” portable desktop, a Windows 7 netbook, a Nokia N97 mini smartphone with keyboard, an iPhone and an iPad as well as a photo studio Hackintosh. Or five of the above at any given time.
If you have tried to set up network backup on OS X and you ran into the message "the backup disk image could not be created", probably this article will help you.
OS X's TimeMachine software had native support for network backup until the OS X Leopard 10.5.2 was released. Apple had its own reasons for the decision to remove network backup, but many advanced users including us at Foliovision would still like to be able to back up over the network.
We have a bunch of Mac Minis in a mixed network of Linux and Windows computers. We'd like to use all our Minis for work and not for backup and use one of our older Linux towers to store the backup.
How do you do it?
MenuMeters is a superb tool for those who use their computers heavily.
While you are multitasking you are instantly alerted to issues in uploading, memory leaks and paging, caches being permanently to disk, core processes or user projects getting stuck.
Frankly the cost of the instant info is having a fair amount of your menu bar taken up with the four indicators.
OS X MenuMeters Raging Menace
So on my most recent two Snow Leopard installs I tried to get by without MenuMeters. Bliss in simplicity. Higher productivity.
No such luck. Without instant visual feedback, your computer will bog down on a broken Internet connection or a runaway process, slowing one down more than the milliseconds to see where the issues are.
For reasons unknown, Apple makes it really difficult to move around one's iTunes library.
Just moving the library to another hard drive will result in all the files being disconnected. Unlike Aperture or Final Cut Pro, there is no automated path fix. If you want to correct the paths you have to do it file by file.
There's also a hidden function inside iTunes which is really deadly (I believe it comes turned on by default) to reorder your library. If you do that, compilation albums will often be broken into the individual song. Each in their individual artist folder.
Basically if you let iTunes loose on your library, you will entirely lose Finder organisation. Guess what? Then you will be fully dependent on iTunes as no finder based album play system (the excellent Vox for instance) will work well anymore. So there is method to the madness.
Even the songs which don't have correct metatags will all get dumped in a large virtual graveyard instead of being left in their date or album structure.
Whatever happened to the CDDB and to FreeDB?
CDDB evolved into Gracenote. It looked like they were losing their stranglehold when Roxio moved to FreeDB in 2000. A closed settlement resulted in Roxio moving to Gracenote full time. I hope they were clever enough to get free stock in Gracenote for the pleasure.
The next death knell (although no one knew how important it was at the time) for FreeDB was that Apple went with Gracenote and then disabled any ability for users to submit to FreeDB (for a couple of years it was possible to use the FreeDB servers instead by monkeying around in one's hosts file, but it was a pretty techy solution). Without