Windows for PC

Are You at Risk From This?

        A very serious warning comes from John Carter.  "GIGAOAM, CNN Money, BBC News, and others have released a notice that there is a bug called 'Freak' that was found in software used to encrypt data passing between web servers and web users. 
        "Browsers so far noted to be affected are Safari, Google Chrome, and Windows Internet Explorer. Initially, the flaw was thought only to affect some users of Android and Blackberry phones and Apple’s web browser. For sure, every version of Internet Explorer is at risk.

        "What is at risk is personal and financial data open to attackers. This bug only allows attackers to capture data, but that includes passwords which then opens up the possibility of the attacker stealing all your money and your identity.
        "The horror part of the story is that this bug is the result of the government insisting on 'weak' encryption so that it could break in wherever it wanted."
        Of course you will want to read the full story yourself.  See  herehere and here.
        John closes with these final remarks, "It might be wise to limit Internet browsing using only Firefox until things settle down.  The news broke as early as March 4, 2015."

Windows 8.1 vs OS X Mavericks

        "Here's an interesting comparison between the two subject OSes," Jim Hamm begins.  "Although this comparison won't, I suspect, induce anyone to change from one OS to the other, it's interesting to read what one knowledgeable writer has to say. I use both OSes, and both work well for me, especially after installing Classic Shell on Windows 8, which continues to work after the update to 8.1."

         Jim winds up his commentary with, "I think Microsoft continues to shoot itself in the foot by trying to force two dissimilar OSes into Windows 8: a 'Metro' style for tablets and a desktop style for Windows. It was confusing to use Windows 8 before the update to 8.1, as so many writers have pointed out."   

Windows Registry vs OS X Property Files

        "Although this article may be a little 'nerdy' for some," begins Jim Hamm,  "I found it quite interesting in explaining the difference between the Registry in Windows and .plist files in OS X.  

        "The author uses an analogy of thinking of the Registry as a skyscraper, with each program built on top of another. If one program, or 'floor', if you will, should fail it may bring the entire skyscraper down. Plist files (lists of programs) in OS X, on the other hand, are built kinda side by side. If one fails, it's not likely to affect the other programs.
        "Interesting analogy the author used, I thought, and helped me understand the differences between the two methods," Jim comments. 
        Here John Carter adds his thoughts to the situation, "Apple maintains .plist files in two places. One is in ~/Library/Preferences and the other is in /Library/Preferences. Notice that the '~' represents your home folder (/Users/). 
        Now, John goes into details.  "Apple's .plist structure does two things. It determines how an application will run on your computer and one of them will contain registration information, if needed. You can delete ALL the .plist files on your computer and the core system will still work. What you have mostly done is to remove the system and user preferences for how things work - and also the registration information for apps that you purchased, which means you would have to re-register those apps. 
        "Using AppCleaner will successfully remove all .plist files for a given app from the computer and thereby allowing you to re-install the app from scratch if that's what you need to do to make a failing app work again."
        And here John concludes his explanation, "One trick that IT professionals use to isolate the cause of a failing app is to rename ~/Library/Preferences or move it to another location. That folder and its content will get recreated when any of the apps storing a .plist file are run again. If the problem goes away, it's just a matter of singling out which .plist file in the original folder caused the problem.
        "The other trick is to create a new user, login as that new user, and run the app. If the problem persists, then it might be a system related problem which might be found in /Library/Preferences, but it's best to reinstall the app from scratch before messing around with system files." 

Running Windows Apps in Mountain Lion

        "It's cheaper than purchasing Parallels and Windows 7 just to run a few Windows applications," explains John Carter as he sends info on Crossover.  He says, "Crossover has a new upgrade for Mountain Lion. Those Mac users who have upgraded to Mountain Lion or are waiting for the Crossover update, I can attest to the fact that the new Crossover upgrade works in Mountain Lion and you can now use Quicken 2010 (Windows app) and other Windows applications under Crossover in Mountain Lion.

        "The issue with the older version of Crossover on Mountain Lion is that the older version required X11. Mountain Lion will not run X11. Instead, Mountain Lion installs XQuartz, which is an upgraded version of X11. Without X11, Crossover will not work in Mountain Lion — or any other Mac OS X version for that matter. So, if you have something other than Mountain Lion and haven't yet used Crossover to run a Windows applications, and you want to do that, you will have to download and install XQuartz to work with the latest version of Crossover. That is, if the latest version of Crossover will run on the earlier versions of Mac OS X.
        "If you do not have a current annual subscription to Crossover to be able to download and install the latest version, it will cost you $59.95. This is far cheaper than purchasing Parallels and Windows 7 just to run a few Windows applications."

VirtualBox vs Parallels

At the last regular meeting John Carter said that running Windows in VirtualBox does not access thumbdrives. Here he goes into more detail: "It is true in only one aspect. Plugging in a thumbdrive won't show up in My Computer as an available device. Two things have to be done to access any device plugged into a USB port.

"First step. Go into the VirtualBox Settings for the Windows OS and click on the Shared Folders tab. Click on the plus sign on the far left to add a new shared folder. In the Add Share pop-up, click on the down arrow for the Folder Path: field, then click on Other... . In the browser window that pops up, select the drive associated with the USB port you want to access. Give it any name you want in the Folder Name: field. Optionally, make the shared folder permanent (this is useful if you are using an external hard drive that is always plugged in). Click OK.

"Second step. Start Windows. Open My Computer. In the menu bar, click on Tools. Click on Map Network Drive... . Select a drive letter. Click on the Browse... button. In the pop-up window, click on the plus sign for 'VirtualBox Shared Folders.' Click on the folder that corresponds to the drive you want to access. If the OK button doesn't highlight right away, double click on the folder name to open the folder and wait for the folder to show the contents. At this point, you may have to double click on any subfolder to get the machine to respond (make a connection). Click back on the name of the drive you want to access. The OK button should now be active. Click on OK.

"You are now connected to the device plugged in to that USB port.

"You do not have to go through all this if you are using Parallels. With Parallels, when you plug in a device in a USB port you get a prompt that asks whether you want to access that device with the Mac or with Windows. Always choose to use with the Mac. Parallels will make it available to the Windows OS."