Thursday, April 26, 2012

Outline of April 26, 2012 NCC-Mac Meeting


Announcements
If you're a new attendee, please give us your email address so you'll be able to get meeting announcements. If you're a former Verizon email user, please give us your new address.
Some of Apple's software updated since our last meeting
Run Software Update or visit Apple - Support - Downloads
This update adds RAW image compatibility to Aperture 3 and iPhoto '11.
April 05, 2012 - 8 MB
This update adds RAW image compatibility for the following camera to Aperture 3 and iPhoto '11
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
For more information on supported RAW formats, see support.apple.com—HT4757.
April 12, 2012 - 79.9 MB
This Java security update removes the most common variants of the Flashback malware.
If you do not use Java applets, it is recommended that you disable the Java web plug-in in your web browser. For more information about how to disable Java in Safari, please see this website: support.apple.com—HT5241.
Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 8 delivers Java SE 6 version 1.6.0_31 and supersedes all previous versions of Java for Mac OS X v10.6.
This update is recommended for all Mac OS X v10.6 users.
Please quit any web browsers and Java applications before installing this update.
See support.apple.com—HT5243 for more details about this update.
See support.apple.com—HT1222 for information about the security content of this update.
April 12, 2012 - 67.3 MB
This Java security update removes the most common variants of the Flashback malware.
This update also configures the Java web plug-in to disable the automatic execution of Java applets. Users may re-enable automatic execution of Java applets using the Java Preferences application. If the Java web plug-in detects that no applets have been run for an extended period of time it will again disable Java applets.
Java for OS X Lion 2012-003 delivers Java SE 6 version 1.6.0_31 and supersedes all previous versions of Java for OS X Lion.
This update is recommended for all Mac users with Java installed.
Please quit any web browsers and Java applications before installing this update.
See support.apple.com—HT5242 for more details about this update.
See support.apple.com—HT1222 for information about the security content of this update.
April 13, 2012 - 557 KB
This update removes the most common variants of the Flashback malware. This update contains the same malware removal tool as Java for OS X 2012-003.
If the Flashback malware is found, a dialog will be presented notifying the user that malware was removed.
In some cases, the Flashback malware removal tool may need to restart your computer in order to completely remove the Flashback malware.
This update is recommended for all OS X Lion users without Java installed.
See support.apple.com—HT5246 for more details about this update.
See support.apple.com—HT1222 for information about the security content of this update.
This download includes the latest Samsung printing and scanning software for OS X Lion and Mac 
OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard.
April 26, 2012 - 28.9 MB
This download includes the latest HP printing and scanning software for OS X Lion and Mac OS X 
v10.6 Snow Leopard.
April 26, 2012 - 524.8 MB
The next meeting will be held Thursday, May 31, 2012, 4:30 PM at the Langlois Library.
(subject to confirmation)
What you need to know about the Flashback malware
What is Flashback?
Trojan BackDoor.Flashback, commonly referred to as the Flashback trojan, is a trojan horse affecting personal computer systems running Mac OS X. The first variant of Flashback was discovered by antivirus company Intego in September 2011.
According to the Russian antivirus company Dr. Web, a modified version of the "BackDoor.Flashback.39" variant of the Flashback trojan has infected over 600,000 Mac computers.
The trojan targets a Java vulnerability on Mac OS X. The system is infected after the user is redirected to a compromised bogus site, where JavaScript code causes an applet containing an exploit to load. An executable file is saved on the local machine, which is used to download and run malicious code from a remote location.
What is Java?
Java refers to several computer software products and specifications from Sun Microsystems (which has since merged with Oracle Corporation), that together provide a system for developing application software and deploying it in a cross-platform environment.
A Java virtual machine (JVM) is a virtual machine capable of executing Java bytecode. It is the code execution component of the Java software platform.
How do you catch it?
Visit a malicious or compromised website. Older variants required user interaction to install.
How do I detect it and get rid of it?
Lion & Snow Leopard
You can't rely on XProtect this time.
Run Software Update; get the latest Java update.
Leopard & Tiger
Suggestion: ClamXav (Free)
Suggestion: Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition (Free)
What about the future?
Disable Java in web browser preferences.
You may not miss it at all.
Suggestion: AVG LinkScanner for Mac (Free)
Q&A, General Discussion

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Micromat of Old

Today we know of Micromat as the company that sells the TechTool Pro disk diagnostic and repair utility. What a few of us old-timers remember is that when Micromat started up in 1989, they were primarily a Mac repair shop that also sold kits of parts to hobbyists who were not afraid to delve into the guts of their machines on their own. When the analog board of our first hand-me-down Mac went bad, it was Micromat's little baggie of parts (and the instructions where they went) to the rescue!

Micromat's early parts catalogs were HyperCard stacks distributed on 3.5-inch floppy disks.
I found this old installation guide while I was out in the shed gathering tools and materials for a garden project.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

NCC-Mac April 2012 Meeting Reminder

The next meeting of the North Curry County Macintosh users is Thursday, April 26, 4:30 PM at the Langlois Library.

I've been trying to piece together what we Mac users need to know regarding the recent Flashback malware that's been going around. Nobody seems to have the whole story. I'll be sharing what I've learned.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review: Xilisoft DVD Creator 7.0.2 ($39.99 at the Mac App Store)

Some History: If my record keeping is correct, iDVD 7 was released in 2007 as a component of the iLife '08 suite of applications. Since then it has been updated numerous times, most recently in July 2011, to make it more compatible with iLife '11 and Snow Leopard. Apple no longer sells iDVD, but Amazon.com still has copies for sale.

Despite the numerous updates, iDVD has gotten creakier and creakier over the years, especially when running under Lion. Sometimes menus don't display properly. Sometimes menus don't respond to "move highlight" commands in a logical way. DVDs are still limited to two hours in length. The application is just plain slow.

Will iDVD keep working under Mountain Lion? Who knows?

Time To Replace iDVD: I started shopping around for an iDVD replacement, starting at MacUpdate.com and ending up at the Mac App Store. The App Store has a number of "DVD Creator" applications that all look about the same and whose developers are all named in Macworld's list of companies to avoid <http://www.macworld.com/article/1153685/speaking_spammers.html>. Ignoring this sound advice, I purchased Xilisoft DVD Creator 7, the highest rated of the lot (3.5 out of 5 stars), and at the time, discounted to a quarter of its regular price.

Upon downloading, I was presented with a new icon in my Applications folder, Xilisoft DVD Creator 6. SIX?! Launching the app and checking "About Xilisoft DVD Creator 6" revealed that I was in fact running Xilisoft DVD Creator 7.0.2 build-1221. Clue-By-Four #1.

Time to create a DVD: I had several 16:9 aspect ratio video clips in various formats, and I dragged them into that app's main window. It accepted all of them, something iDVD can be fussy about. Next I needed to choose a menu template. The app contains forty-two non-animated templates in three general categories. It's possible to enter a main title and give titles to each clip, though the filenames of the clips are not carried over into the template. Fonts and text color are also editable. (I discovered this feature quite by accident. There isn't much documentation.) The Font menu displays in WYSIWYG format, a nice feature.

I selected the 16:9 radio button and Full Screen from the Zoom popup, Save as Image from the Destination popup, and clicked the Burn button. There is no comparison how fast this app is compared to iDVD. Let's just say it's a lot faster.

I could have burned directly to a DVD or saved to a DVD folder, but for starters I used Disk Utility to burn my image file to disc. I took my new DVD out to the living room to play it through the DVD player connected to the TV.

The menus did not display correctly! The TV image was at the proper 16:9 aspect ratio, but the highlights, the areas telling where you are in the menu, seemed to be at 4:3, creating a very ugly look. What's more, the highlight for the paging arrows was completely off the bottom of the screen!

I gave up after five iterations trying to find a magic setting that would produce a 16:9 aspect ratio DVD whose menus would display properly when played on a regular DVD player. Strangely, these DVDs display their menus correctly on my Mac's screen. Too bad that's not where I watch DVDs. iDVD understands aspect ratios, and always produces discs that display correctly on any player. Clue-By-Four #2.

If you already have a recent version of iDVD, you're going to be very disappointed with this app. It's one and only advantage is that it's a lot faster than iDVD, but it falls short nearly everywhere else.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Excede problem remedied

Hi Chris,

The problem with the Excede modem connection finally resolved itself.

At first the connection kept dropping unless I was using the ethernet cable to connect.

I'm not exactly sure how it fixed itself. After a week of dropped connections, and days trying to talk to Applecare and then the Wildblue/Excede satellite people, it became apparent that the Airport wasn't getting the correct ISP addresses. For example, it was assigning the same address to the printer and the laptop.

The Excede staff people were wildly phobic about any router issues, and frankly were all-over-the-place about ideas and suggestions. Maybe that's a symptom of a new satellite and system, but that's been my experience of Wildblue in general. Stuck with them, though.

Anyway, one tech finally suggested that I use the ethernet to connect to my laptop for 48 hours. I actually left it on for about 30 hours and then tried using the Airport again. The Airport and modem have been connecting properly since then.

I can no longer use my printer without the USB cable, which is an inconvenience. I haven't had time to try to fix that again.

All of this being said, the connection is now almost as fast as DSL and I can watch videos and download large files and updates, where I could not before.

Share this with the Mac folks who might be interested.

Good wishes to you and Martha,

flo

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Time to run Software Update again.

Apple has released yet another Java update, the third this month, that purports to not only protect against the Flashback malware, but to remove it if it already exists on your system.

There are separate versions of the updater for both Snow leopard and Lion. Run Software Update Now!

Apple also suggests that users disable Java in their web browsers, and they've posted notes on how to do that for Safari, Chrome and Firefox:

This Java security update removes the most common variants of the Flashback malware. If you do not use Java applets, it is recommended that you disable the Java web plug-in in your web browser.

This update is recommended for all Mac users with Java installed.

For more information on how to disable Java in your web browser see: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5241

Monday, April 9, 2012

More on Flashback

If the thought of running Terminal commands sends shivers up your spine, a kind soul has rolled them into an AppleScript that can be downloaded here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mac Malware Out There!

A Trojan Horse malware called Flashback has infected an estimated hundreds of thousands of Macs. If you've stayed away from bad neighborhoods on the InterWebs, you're probably OK, but just to be safe, Check out this link. It has easy-to-follow steps to detect and remove the malware.

If you are running Snow Leopard or Lion, run Software Update to get the latest version of Java, which patches the vulnerability that Flashback exploits.