How to get your Mac hijacked

Yes, it is possible that your Mac could get hijacked. On August 17, 2015, PC World posted an article about how your Mac could get hijacked. PC World reports, "An Italian teenager has found two zero-day vulnerabilities in Apple’s OS X operating system that could be used to gain remote access to a computer."

The good news for Apple is that it doesn't appear to be in OS X El Capitan.

Is there a patch? Sort of, but it doesn't come from Apple. And because it takes two bugs together to cause the kind of memory corruption that would allow a hacker to gain root access, it's kind of unlikely that any Mac user would be affected. In other words, if you're not a high profile target, this should be the least of your worries.

Read the full PC World article here. And Cult of Mac has a similar article here.

No Need to Wait

        "OS X 10.10.2 is OUT, and so is iOS 8.1.3!"  John Carter alerts us, and he follows up with this, "So, for anyone waiting to update to Yosemite, stop waiting!

        And here's his own experience:  "My computer, iPhone, and iPad have been updated. The computer was updated automatically overnight and forced a restart, but that’s because I don’t turn off or sleep my computer and I am accepting automatic updates. 
        "The iPhone and iPad had to be updated manually. I have not had any problems during the first day after the update. But that doesn’t mean that all of the bugs were found and fixed. It does mean that the new OS an iOS are now mature enough to trust - in my opinion."
       And John advises, "If you haven’t updated to Yosemite, simply click on the Yosemite update icon in the App Store and take all the defaults. It will require you to authorize the update with your Apple ID and password. The download can take quite a while, especially with a slow Internet, so make sure that your computer will not go to sleep during the download."
        He concludes with this:   "After the download, just take all the defaults and fill in whatever information it may ask for. After the update to Yosemite, you will need to check for new updates once more and take all that are available. Those updates will be for applications like Pages, Numbers, etc. Take the updates whether or not you will ever be using the application."

iCloud, iCloud Drive, and . . .

        "If you've upgraded to iOS 8 or Yosemite, perhaps, like me, you're trying to understand about -- and the differences between -- iCloud, iCloud Drive, Dropbox, and other 'cloud' storage options," Jim Hamm begins.  And he's got some good stuff to share.  Read on . . . 
        "Here are some articles that may help you understand the differences.To start off, take a read on this article. Then, take a read here on iCloud Drive. And finally, here's yet another article that asks whether now is a good time to use iCloud Drive? A question like this always makes me a bit nervous."  
        And you do picture Jim's grin at this point. So there's more . . . 
        "For me, it's easier to think of iCloud as another external hard drive (a storage repository), except the drive is in the 'cloud.' Then, I think of iCloud Drive as a way to access iCloud from any (almost) app, and to sync them. I do back up to iCloud, but haven't used it except to transfer my files, documents and apps to a new iPhone 6 from an older iPhone. It worked well for that. 
        "But on a daily basis I use Dropbox,  which is cross-platform, and always handy when I need it. So far, I've never actually logged into my iCloud account to see what's in there, or what it looks like. I don't seem to have a need to do so. As to iCloud Drive? Well, in theory I'm using it -- I've initiated it -- but haven't noticed any real results yet from using it. Perhaps with time."  
        So, thinking of his readers, Jim concludes, "Hopefully the above articles will be of some benefit in understanding these storage options."

More on iCloud Drive

        First, we hear from Jim Hamm.  "If you've upgraded to iOS 8 or Yosemite you're probably aware you've now got iCloud Drive available. If you, like me, may be wondering what this is all about, here and here are two articles from the TidBITS Newsletter you may want to read."
        Jim winds up, for now, saying, "In theory, I use iCloud -- since I've uploaded 'stuff' to it --  but in practice I don't really use it as I find Dropbox (which I use frequently) more convenient. In fact, I've never even checked to see what might actually be in my iCloud account.  Now I've got iCloud Drive to wonder about and figure out how it fits -- if it does -- with iCloud."

Yosemite Tutorial Available

        "If you've upgraded to Yosemite, no doubt you are aware of the many reviews and articles that are available about the new features contained therein. Here is a 50-minute video tutorial that I found helpful," writes Jim Hamm.   "Two comments from the reviewer that I take exception to: he mentions that he feels a minimum of 8 GB of RAM is required to run Yosemite. I concur that 8GB would be nice, but by no means necessary. I have 4 GB of RAM and am running Yosemite quite satisfactorily. 

        "He also believes that Yosemite was released prematurely, and that people should wait about 6 weeks before upgrading. That may or may not be true, but the release is close enough for me. The few bugs I can deal with, and I like experimenting anyway.
        "There is one feature that most reviewers think is 'half-baked' or 'buggy' — Handoffs or Continuity. This is where one can be on, say, a website in Safari on your Mac, then go to your iPad or iPhone, and pick up right where you left off."
        Jim comments,  "I can't tell if this 'tis or tain't' true because I've not been able to enable this on either my Mac or iPad. More research needed here on my part.
        "Other than that, the reviewer does a nice job of explaining the nuances of Yosemite. If you've got 50 minutes to spare or invest, sit back, get a cup of coffee,  and take a look. Also, you'll note, the website contains many other reviews available."

Installing Yosemite, Continued

         Jim Hamm's done it, too.  He tells us,  "I just upgraded to Yosemite and it took a loooong time to download -- something like 12-14 hours! First time it ever took this long to do an upgrade. I guess Apple's servers were overloaded and slow. I just let it crank all night and finished the install this morning. 

        Here John Carter steps in with his comment, "It didn't take that long for me.  I upgraded four computers.  Each one took less than an hour.  But then, I have SSD on all my computers."
        Well, Jim has more to say,  "My first impressions: it's as though someone took a paintbrush and went over all the icons and colors and made a slight adjustment in tone, color and looks. I didn't look and say "wow! this looks great." Nor did I say Yuck! It's OK as far as I'm concerned. There are some significant improvements over Mavericks, which I'm sure I'll experience and appreciate as I further use this new version of OS X.
        And John interrupts with this, "My first impression was, “Retro!” Meaning that the design looks like they went back to the 40’s and 50’s for the simplest appearance. Must be a lot of old people doing the design work. "
       Summarizing his impression Jim Hamm concludes with, "Should you upgrade to Yosemite? Here is an article that explains nicely whether the upgrade is right for you, and details some of the improvements. Definitely worth a read."
       Thanks to these two "early birds" for getting Yosemite and doing a quick report for the rest of us! 

Yosemite is HERE!

        You've heard about it, but John Carter has done it!  Here's his report on updating his operating system to Yosemite 10.10. (Remember to click on each illustration to enlarge it, then click to go back to this report. And if this whole thing is hard to read do Command and the + to enlarge the page.) John says, "Everything changes appearances.  Here's what my HOME page in Safari looks like: 

"I have set it that way because I don't want to see ANYTHING on my homepage.  You might have your home page to see something like this:  

"The address bar at the top doubles as a search bar.  You do NOT need that Google search bar in the middle of your page to do a search.  But if you insist, either type in google.com in the address bar or click on the home icon (if you have your one page set to google.com.) 
     With the update to 10.10, Safari (and all other Apple apps) also gets updated, and the default search engine for Safari is now DuckDuckGo.  It's a much safer way to browse the Internet because it doesn't track what you do.
       And notice that the Favorites Bar is gone.  When you click in the address bar, it comes back looking like this: 

There's all my favorites.  The icons with smaller icons in them are folders.  Look at the Entertainment icon.  It is a folder with multiple icons in it.  When I click on that icon, I then see this:  
And there's all the websites that I have saved in that folder.

        I used to be able to right click on an item in the Favorites Bar and an option list would pop up. That doesn't happen anymore. If I want to change what's in my favorites, I have to edit bookmarks. Another way to access Favorites is to Show Bookmarks. That opens a sidebar with everything in it - which takes up more space.
       I don't like this way of doing things, but for people with sight problems, this is great.
       If you don't want to deal with the changes in Safari, use Firefox or Chrome. But I guarantee that one day those browsers will also change dramatically.
        Things change. We either get used to the change, learn what's new, or lay down and let the world go by. Changes like this are actually beneficial to keeping our brains in shape. So it's best to let change be our daily lesson or find another way to communicate with the world - like go back to books, pen and paper.
        The irony of it all is that this kind of change makes me feel like I am back in school. Every year is another grade to pass. I actually like it. It's a challenge. The only way out of this is to move in to an Amish village.
        Noteboom Productions has a full video tutorial for Yosemite along with 20+ other very useful tutorials just for the Mac and iOS available in a subscription package (various rates apply). The tutorials are all online - nothing to download. There are lots of short videos on specific topics on the web. Study the tutorials, come to the PMUG meetings and SIGS, get comfortable with the changes, then do the update. Or just stay with what you have for the next five years. Frankly, if need to use your computer, eventually you may be forced to update because websites and applications will change to adopt to the new operating system and leave the old one in the dust.
        Be brave. It's the only high we have left that's legal. Be curious. It burns more calories than sleeping. Be unafraid. Fear is the ego's only tool that keeps you in the dark. - Psychology 101.
        For what it’s worth, here is a free online text tutorial that will help you get ready to do the update to Yosemite: tuts+
It doesn’t tell you how to download and install Yosemite. To do that, just open the App Store, click on the appropriate link, and just take all the defaults when it asks for information. Tuts+ has a lot of other free tutorials that you might find helpful.
        Oh, yes. You WILL need to know your Apple ID and password as well as your computer login password. If you don’t know these things, call Apple Support. If you are out of warranty, it will cost you only $20 to get all the help you need. If you want my help, it will cost you $45/hr for a minimum of two hours."  And here John Carter smiles as he leaves us with all of this to ponder.  

Prepare for Yosemite

        John Carter alerts us to a new Take Control offer.  There's an early-bird version of Joe Kissell's Take Control of Upgrading to Yosemite, available now at a steep discount.  Take a look at http://tid.bl.it/tco-yosemite-upgrading-mug-prerelease-discount  describing their 73-page offer.  Mary Ann Clark has posted many of John's articles in detail on the PMUG website: www.pmug.us under the heading of Reviews.