Public WiFi

Public wifi is certainly handy, especially when one is traveling. But there are risks involved, and the following article describes more about this risk:


Now, I'm not suggesting one doesn't use public wifi -- I use it frequently. What I do recommend is that you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) whenever you're on a public wifi network.  

hich VPN should one use, you might ask? There are many reviews available of VPNs on the internet. Here's one to read, if you have an interest: 


f you're on public wifi, and not using a VPN, the first article above clearly shows how easy it is for hackers to snoop on your computer activity. So, just be careful when using public wifi.

Jim Hamm

A Lesson Learned

If you use a VPN, my experience may save you a future problem. I bought a new 10.5" iPad Pro recently, and when I got it home I couldn't connect to the internet. I could pick up the wifi signal but couldn't get on the internet. 

After 40 frustrating minutes, including a discussion with an Apple tech, I noticed something: a VPN  app was trying to connect to the internet and blocking everything else until it was connected. A VPN will do this as a protection so we don't get on the internet until the VPN is connected. I quickly turned the VPN off and got connected to the internet right away.

I had forgotten I had this VPN turned on on my iPad, and it was trying to do its job. I use a VPN on my computers and will get a dialog box informing me that the internet is blocked until the VPN is connected. Apps such as Dropbox and my antivirus program are clamoring to get on the internet when I fire up my computer, but they can't until the VPN settles in. 

Jim Hamm


An 'Apple' Phishing Scheme

Another 'phishing' scheme regarding an "Apple' notice just happened to a friend. He got an email, supposedly from Apple, that something had been purchased using his Apple ID. The email had a link to click, which took him elsewhere -- but not to Apple. Just a caution: if you receive an email from Apple, a bank, whatever, stating something has happened to your ID or account, don't click anything in the email. Of course, you already know this. If you're concerned that the notice might be valid, log into the company from your browser -- not the email -- and check from there.

Jim Hamm

Opening Pages file returns error: index.xml not found

You might have two different versions of Pages after upgrading to El Capitan. A document created with the new Pages 5 cannot be opened with the older Pages app, and you will get the error message, “missing index.xml file.” I did a little research on the problem with the missing index.xml file. Here’s what I found at this website (I have modified the text somewhat here):

You may have 2 versions of Pages on your Mac.

Pages 5 is in your Applications folder.

Pages '09/'08 is in your Applications/iWork folder.

You have the option to open different versions of Pages depending on what you want to accomplish.

Pages '09/'08 cannot open Pages 5 documents, and you will get the warning that you need a newer version.

Pages 5/5.01 cannot open Pages 5.1 documents, and you will get the warning that you need a newer version.

Pages 5.1 sometimes cannot open its own document, and you will get the warning that you need a newer version.

Pages 5 can open Pages '09 documents but may damage/alter them. It cannot open Pages ’08 documents at all. (I believe this has been fixed in the latest Pages version.)

Once opened and saved in Pages 5, the Pages '09 documents cannot be opened in Pages '09.

Anything that is saved to iCloud is also converted to Pages 5 documents.

All Pages documents, no matter what version and incompatibility, have the same extension pages making it impossible to tell which version of Pages to use with what document. Trial and error is the only way.

Pages 5 documents are now only compatible with themselves on a very restricted combination of hardware, software and Operating Systems and will not transfer correctly to any server other than iCloud.

Note: Apple has removed over 100 features from Pages 5 and added many bugs.

OPTION: To use the older Pages app with the newer Pages 5 document, you must export the Pages 5 document (using Pages 5) as Pages ’09 or Word .docx. If you don’t want to use Pages 5, then archive/trash Pages 5 and all the new Pages documents after converting them for use with the older Pages.

It may be advantageous to have both versions since the older version has more features. You will still need the newer version for those files that require it. You may want to create a separate folder for the documents of each Pages version to help reduce confusion. If you do keep both versions, try renaming the older version so it doesn't automatically get opened when you open a Pages 5 document. This means you will have to right click on an older version of a Pages document and select the proper Pages app to open it.

It should be noted that any Pages document that has the extension .cwk can be opened with Pages '09 but not with Pages 5. If you then simply "Save" the document while opened with Pages '09, it be saved as a new document with the .pages extension and that new document can now be opened with Pages 5.

John R Carter Sr

Why do you need a second login account on your computer?

So you get a computer, and the first thing you do is to create a login account for yourself on it. This account does not have to be given administrator's privileges, and it probably shouldn't have for security reasons. The second thing you should do is to create a second login account on the computer. This account should have administrator privileges. You can give it any name you like as long as it isn't "Administrator" or "Admin," for security reasons.

The third thing you should do is add an external hard drive to the computer and set it up as the Time Machine backup drive. You will never regret doing this.

So why do you really need two accounts?

Sometimes, like what happened to me today, you will log in to your account and discover that not all is right with your login. Files seem to be missing. Stuff in the Dock is gone. Nothing works.

You log into the other account and find that everything is working. That's good. This means that your personal login account is corrupt.

To fix your personal login account, you have to be logged in to the admin account. The steps to follow are simple:

1. Open System Preferences and go to Users and Groups. 2. Delete your personal login account and select the option to move everything to the trash. 3. Close System Preferences. 4. In Finder, go to the Time Machine drive and see what the date is of the most recent backup. Delete the most recent backup if, and only if, it coincides with today's date. You don't want today's backup because it probably has the problem in it. And now you should understand why it is so important to have a Time Machine backup. 5. Open Migration Assistant. 6. Choose to migrate from the Time Machine backup. It will let you know that it will be restoring from the latest backup. 7. Unselect everything except your personal user account. 8. Let Time Machine restore your account. 9. Log back into your account. It should be okay now.

I know that I overlooked a few minor details in the above instructions, but hopefully you'll be able to see what needs to be done at the time you need to do it.

John Carter

Elaborate ATM skimmer

The hackers are getting more sophisticated. Take a look at this short video of what a hacker did at this ATM machine. Amazing. I also read where hackers are opening the box at gas pumps and inserting a device that will capture your credit card number when you insert it into the pump. Impossible for you and I to even know this is happening. Fortunately, our liability is limited to $50 for fraudulent transactions on our credit card, so pay attention to the charges on your credit card.


Jim Hamm

Electronic Snoops in Email

Here is an article describing a method being used to alert the sender that their email (which they had sent to you) is now being opened by you. Huh? Yep -- read on. How to prevent this, you ask? Well, not easy to prevent, it seems. As an example, since I use Gmail via their web service, there is one setting that I -- or you -- could make that might help: tell Gmail to ask you before opening an image. Is it worth the extra click and decision by you? This doesn't completely block the electronic snoop, as there are other ways to electronically snoop emails.

Don't lose any sleep over this. Just something to be aware of.

Jim Hamm

Chrome has Serious Security Flaw

Elaine Hardt found this on Fox News.  She does not use Chrome but other PMUG members may use it. John Carter commented on this news:  I have been asking Apple users to remove Adobe Flash from their computer. If a site uses Flash to display a graphic image, then Chrome should be used. Chrome has a built-in version of Adobe Flash that is not vulnerable (or at least was not) to the types of attacks that were found in Adobe Flash.

But the game seems to be changing.

Prior to this news, Java (not Javascript) was banned by Apple because it was prone to attacks. Then Adobe Flash was banned by Apple for the same reason. Now Javascript appears to be another way to attack a computer. The more that Apple or Microsoft or Linux has to do to keep an operating system safe, the more code has to be put in, and more code always slows a computer down.

Hidden Map Inside your iPhone

Elaine Hardt saw this from the UK. Frequent locations is believed to have been featured on iPhones since 2013. It tracks where each user goes, how often they go there, and for how long. The feature is automatically turned on, and users are never told it is running. Button to turn it off is buried at the bottom of five different menu screens By CHRIS PLEASANCE FOR DAILYMAIL.COM PUBLISHED: 13:36 EST, 14 November 2015 | UPDATED: 21:38 EST, 14 November 2015

John Carter commented on this warning.

The Frequent Location feature was turned on in my iPhone. Here’s what I see when I go to Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services -> System Services -> Frequent Locations: “Allow your iPhone to learn places you frequently visit in order to provide useful location-related information.” And then there are a few locations listed that I have visited within the past week, such as in the vicinity of Cupper’s and TJ’s (it doesn’t give an exact location), and shows the time period that I was there (12:30 to 2:00). It is possible to clear the Frequent Location list, but then it populates again as you use the iPhone unless you turn off that feature. How is this useful? It doesn’t help us personally. It only helps advertisers. However, even if you turn off this feature, and even if you turn off Location Services, your iPhone will still track where you are all the time when the iPhone is turned on - and this is for 911 and similar services to be able to track you in an emergency. Well, that includes the NSA and other similar government agencies that might want to keep track of your whereabouts. The iPhone is therefore your personal ankle bracelet. If you don’t like that idea, then don’t ever use a cell phone that has GPS built in. Consider this feature like a Cookie in a browser: harmless to anyone who isn’t breaking the law or cheating on their partner. It doesn’t seem to track where you have been if you are there for only a few minutes - like at a stoplight. All this said, I can think of several instances where Frequent Location would be quite useful to have on all the time - like for the mother of a child or the child of a senile parent. But even then, only for emergencies, and only by emergency services. However, I don’t know if 911 can access an iPhone if it is not being used to call 911. I’m okay for it to be there.

Remotely Infected With Firmware Malware? What!

        Of course, we're keeping up with the latest.  So, take a look at this!          Jim Hamm writes, "While it's not encouraging to read the following article, it just shows that any electronic device can be hacked. The article points out one scenario I hadn't thought of: if one were to buy a Mac, say, from eBay or someone you don't know, it could be loaded with malware.
        "Now this isn't something I'm going to lose sleep over, just something to be aware of and use discretion when clicking a picture or link you're not sure of." And here's that link.

The Epidemic Has Begun

        After you've viewed Jim Hamm's alert (just below) go to this other article at How To Geek (Mac OS X isn’t safe anymore. The crapware/malware epidemic has begun).        See illustrated examples of screens that are “like the Old Faithful of bundled crapware.” Examples show Yahoo, CNET downloads, OpenOffice, fake Java messages, MacKeeper, etc. It discusses the plist file, and says to restrict Apps that aren’t from the App store.

How to Remove Malware & Adware From Your Mac

        From the How-To Geek website Jim Hamm finds some helpful info on viruses, worms, and Trojans, along with adware, crapware, and spyware programs.  The writer outlines the problems and the possibilities.  He also warns, “Don’t have the Java plug-in enabled, either . . . “ This article was published 7-25-15.