Mac power user tips and hidden tricks

Consider yourself a Mac power-user? Or do you aspire to take your place amongst such privileged ranks? Here’s a selection of classic yet simple tricks taken fromMac Kung Fu: Second Edition to help you on your way.

Mac Kung Fu: Second Edition is a book previously sold for $25+ but now reduced to the bargain price of £1.49/$1.99 (buy it here). That’s 400+ tips, 120,000+ words, and over 700 eBook pages for less than a cappuccino – and it’s written by regular Macworld contributor and Apple expert Keir Thomas, to boot. What more could you want?

Just for you we have a collection of tips from the book! Read on…

You might find our Best Mac tips, tricks and timesavers interesting too.

Instantly Add Movies and Music to iTunes

Instantly Add Movies and Music to iTunesIf you use third-party software to download or rip music and movies to your computer, you’ll be familiar with the rather lengthy process needed to add them to your iTunes library – you have to start iTunes, then ensure the correct music or movie list is visible, and finally drag and drop the files onto the program window….

However, there’s a hidden folder you can use to import music and movies straight into iTunes. All you need to do is configure any app you use to download files straight into this folder, and they will be instantly imported – even if iTunes isn’t running at the time.

To find the folder, open Finder, hit Shift+Command+G, and then type ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/. One of the folders you should see will be Automatically Add to iTunes. As its name suggests, any files copied into this folder will be added to iTunes automatically. Assuming you have kept the default preferences setting of iTunes organizing your media folders, any files placed there will be moved out of the folder and automatically filed within the Music folder whenever iTunes is running, so it should appear empty most of the time.

You can create a desktop alias of the folder by clicking and dragging it to the desktop, before pressing Alt (Option)+Command and releasing the mouse button. You can then simply drag and drop files onto the alias instead.

Add Magical Links to Start iMessage conversations, and More

Add Magical Links to Start iMessage conversations, and MoreYou might be used to inserting web hyperlinks into documents or when composing emails (click Edit > Add Link and type the address). Whenever anybody clicks the link, they’ll visit the site you specified, just like in a web page.

In addition to links to websites, MacOS lets you create app-specific links. For example, you could include a link in a mail message that, when clicked, will start within the Messages app an instant messaging conversation with somebody. You could create a link in a document that, when clicked, looked up a particular word in the Dictionary app.

To create a link in a TextEdit document or new mail window, highlight the text you want to turn into the link, and click Edit > Add Link, or hit Command+K.

Then look to the following list for what to type into the Create Link dialog box.

http://—You can insert links to web pages by simply typing the address, including the http:// component. For example, typing http://keirthomas.com will create a link to that site.

imessage://—This will start a Messages conversation within the Messages app. For example, typing imessage://07912345678 will open Messages and attempt to start an iMessage conversation with that phone number – or send an SMS if you have Handoff enabled. You can also specify IM handles: if you have a Yahoo buddy whose handle is johnsmith, you could create the following link: imessage://johnsmith. This assumes you’ve configured Messages to log onto your Yahoo account, of course.

facetime://—This will start a FaceTime conversation within the FaceTime app. For example, facetime://keir@example.com will attempt to start a FaceTime conversation with the individual whose FaceTime account is registered to that address. Apple IDs and phone numbers can also be specified, although as with iMessage, the phone number should be typed without any spaces or symbols in it.

dict://—This will cause the Dictionary app to start and look up a particular word. For example, dict://epicurean will open Dictionary with the word definition for Epicurean displayed, as if it had been typed into the search field.

vnc://—This will open a screen-sharing session with whatever address is specified, although the user will still have to click the Connect button in a dialog box that appears when the Screen Sharing software starts. vnc://macbook will attempt to start a screen-sharing session with the computer whose network name is macbook.

x-man-page://—This will open the man page for the specified term within a Terminal window. For example, x-man-page://sharing will open the man page for the sharing command.

When used without any specified address (that is, if you simply type imessage:// or facetime:// in the link dialog box), the apps will be activated when the link is clicked, as if the user has clicked their app icon in the Dock.

It’s also possible to insert other, typical URLs that are used in web pages, such as mailto://ssh://, and telnet://.

Keep your Mac wide awake

Keep your Mac wide awakeIf you need to leave your Mac unattended for a while but want to temporarily stop it going into sleep mode, open a Terminal window (this app is in the Utilities folder the Applications list in Finder), and type the following:

caffeinate -di

For as long as the Terminal window is open and the command is still running, the computer won’t go to sleep through inactivity, and nor will the display. Technically you’re turning off idle sleep mode, which occurs when OS X detects the user hasn’t done anything for a while.

To end the wakefulness, switch back to the Terminal window and hit Control+C or simply close the Terminal window.

Rather than running caffeinate indefinitely, you can specify a time limit, although this must be specified in seconds. If you wanted your computer not to sleep for two hours, for example, then you’d first need to work out the number of seconds (2 hours x 60 minutes x 60 seconds = 7200 seconds) and then specify it after the -t command-line option, as follows:

caffeinate -dt 7200

Again, you can bring this to a premature end by tapping Control+C or closing the Terminal window.

Save Text Snippets for Quick Reuse

Save Text Snippets for Quick ReuseHere’s a neat trick for those who work with words on their Macs.

If you highlight text in an application and click and drag that to a folder or to the desktop, the text is turned into a file. These are called text clippings, and they will take their filename from the first few words of the excerpt. If there’s any formatting applied to the text, it will be saved too. This is an excellent way of filing away anything you’ve had to edit out of a document but want to keep for other purposes.

To view the contents of the clipping, just double-click it or select it and hit Space to bring up Quick Look. Note that you won’t be able to edit the file. However, to reinsert the text into a document, just click and drag the clippings file on top of the program window after positioning the cursor where you’d like it to be inserted.

Once reinserted in this way, the text clippings file won’t be deleted, so you can use the clipping again in other documents as many times as you wish.

How to hide files

How to hide filesThere are two ways of making files invisible on your Mac. Neither is bulletproof from a security standpoint, and anybody with know-how would be able to uncover them in seconds. But for quietly hiding a file or two for a short period, they’re worth considering.

Hiding Files via Unix: Your Mac’s operating system, MacOS, is actually a version of Unix at its heart. In Unix, you can make a file invisible by adding a full stop (.) in front of its filename, and this works on Macs too. This means the file won’t show up in Finder windows, in file open dialog boxes, or on the desktop. Those browsing at the command line won’t be able to see it unless they specifically request to view hidden files (that is, ls -a).

For example, typing a filename of .document.docx when you’re saving a file will render it invisible. You’ll probably be warned that putting a full stop in front of a filename is reserved for system files, the type of file this technique is typically used to hide, but you can still choose to save the file.

Hiding Files So Mac Apps Can’t See Them: The chflags command can be used to hide files so they don’t show up in graphical user interface (GUI) applications. However, they’ll still be visible if anybody browses files using a Terminal window.

To hide files in this way, open a Terminal window (open Finder, select the Applications list, and then in the list of applications double-click Terminal within the Utilities folder), and use the chflags hidden command, specifying the file or folder name immediately afterward. For example, to hide secret.doc, type the following: chflags hidden secret.doc

To unhide the file so it’s visible via GUI software again, use the chflags nohiddencommand:

chflags nohidden secret.doc

Viewing Hidden Files: So, if a file is hidden, how can you see it in order to open it again? In expanded file open/save dialog boxes within apps, hitting Shift+Command+. (full stop) will display hidden items in the file listing. Hitting the key combo again will hide them. However, be aware that you’ll suddenly see lots of system files that are hidden in this way. (Steer clear of these—don’t delete or open them.)

The only way to see hidden files in Finder windows is to activate a secret setting that shows them alongside other files. This will cause them to always be visible within Finder windows and on the desktop, although hidden files will have a washed-out appearance to indicate their status. Open a Terminal window, and type the following:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool TRUE;killall Finder

Even after making this change, you’ll still have to hit Shift+Command+. within file open/save dialog boxes to see hidden files.

To revert to hidden files being hidden within Finder, type the following:

defaults delete com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles;killall Finder

Print in Every Which Way

Print in Every Which WayDid you know you can print just about any file straight from Finder – without hassle? This tip is blindly obvious but little known: selecting one or more files in Finder and then click File > Print on the menu. This will automatically open the file(s) in the default editor (that is, a photo will open in Preview and so on) and automatically print it/them.

But wouldn’t it be useful to be able to print a file instantly, without even having to click File > Print?

As you might expect, your Mac lets you do just that. Open System Preferences (Apple menu > System Preferences) and then click the Printers & Scanners entry. In the list of printers that appears on the left, simply select a printer and drag and drop it to the desktop. This will create a shortcut to the printer, which will probably be an icon-sized photograph of your actual printer.

To instantly print any file, simply drag and drop it on top of this new shortcut. Double-click the new icon to view the print queue.

You can also add to the Finder toolbar a shortcut to your printer(s), which will let you drag and drop files to instantly print them or allow you to click the icon to see the print queue. Start by right-clicking the toolbar in Finder, and selecting Customise Toolbar. Then open System Preferences (Apple menu > System Preferences), click Print & Scan, and then drag and drop any of the printer(s) from the list to the toolbar of any open Finder window. Then click Done to close the customise toolbar dialog box.

See EVERYTHING Your Mac Knows About Somebody

See EVERYTHING Your Mac Knows About SomebodyBy selecting an individual’s entry within the Contacts app and then clicking Edit > Spotlight, you can instantly find every email you have from them (and to them), every instant message conversation you’ve had with them, every document they’ve created, every web page you’ve visited that mentions them, every file you’ve tagged with their name, and so on (provided relevant details are contained within their card within the Contacts app. You won’t be able to find their instant message conversations if their IM address isn’t on the contact card, for example).

Calm a bouncing dock icon

Calm a bouncing dock iconSome apps bounce their Dock icons when they want to tell you something, such as when a task has completed. Some apps bounce their icons for a short while, while others will keep bouncing the icon until you do something about it. This can be annoying if you’re busy doing something else.

While clicking the Dock icon to activate the app is one solution, another is simply to move your mouse cursor over the icon. It will instantly stop bouncing, and you can then return to the task at hand.

Force-Open a File

Force-Open a FileYou can drag and drop files onto any Dock icon to open them, but only if that application believes it can understand that particular type of file (for example, doc files are understood by Microsoft Word). Unfortunately, some applications don’t realise they can read certain types of files when they actually can.

To force an application in the Dock to at least attempt to open a file it doesn’t believe it can, hold down Alt (Option)+Command before clicking and dragging the file to the Dock. If the application genuinely can’t understand the file, either nothing will happen or you’ll see an error message.

For a higher probability of success when dragging to the Dock icon as described earlier, you might also try removing the file extension from the file before opening it as described (that is, the part after the dot in a filename, such as .jpg). To do so, select the file and hit Command+I. In the Name & Extension field of the dialog box that appears, remove the extension.

Note that removing the extension by simply renaming the file by any other method probably won’t work, depending on your system’s settings—the file will retain the extension but give the appearance of not doing so.

Don’t forget to restore the file extension after attempting to open it!

Lock Files for Safety

Lock Files for SafetyYou can manually lock any file on your Mac, which will prevent edits or deletion until the file is specifically unlocked. This can be useful if you have a master version of a file, for example, that you want to ensure remains sacrosanct. Folders can also be locked, which will prevent the folder or its contents from being edited or deleted.

If you try to edit a locked file, you’ll be warned and will have to specifically opt to unlock the file.

Locking Files via File Info: There are several ways to lock a file or folder. The easiest is simply to select the file or folder in Finder or on the desktop and hit Command+I to open the File Info dialog box. Then put a check in the Locked box under the General heading.

To unlock a file or folder later, simply repeat the steps and remove the check.

Locking Files via Applications: Certain applications, including those built into macOS such as TextEdit, support file locking from within the application. Click the filename in the window’s title bar, and select Locked from the pop-up menu that appears.

Where does this file live?

Where does this file live?Sometimes I open a file for editing, perhaps one attached to an email, and I have no idea where it’s stored on my computer. One option is to click File > Save to see this information in the Save As dialog box, but a much easier solution is to right-click the filename in the title bar of the program window.

This will show a hierarchical display of folders. The top one nearest the file’s icon will be where the file is stored. The second one from the top will be where the parent of that folder is, and so on, going right back to the name of the hard disk and then the name of your computer, which should be the last in the list.

Selecting any entry in the list will open that folder (or disk) in Finder for browsing.

Print Envelopes

Print EnvelopesIf your printer is compatible with envelopes, you can use the Contacts app to print addresses on them. Just select a contact, and then click File > Print. Selecting multiple contacts will let you print more than one envelope at a time. This tip works well if you create groups of contacts.

Quickly Upload Files within Safari

Quickly Upload Files within SafariIf you’re uploading a file to a website in Safari, you might see a button on the webpage that—when clicked—opens a file-browsing dialog box in which you can choose the file.

To save a little time, you can usually just drag and drop the file from the desktop or a Finder window onto the button, saving the need to use the file browser. Click it to begin the upload procedure.

Switch Apps while editing a file

Switch Apps while editing a fileLet’s say you’re tweaking a photo in Preview and decide you need the full power of Adobe Photoshop.

Look at Preview’s title bar. You’ll see the name of the file currently being worked upon. To the left of this will be a small icon representing the file. This is known as the proxy icon. Click and hold it for a few seconds, and then drag and drop the icon to the Photoshop icon on your Dock or to the Photoshop icon in Applications. The most recent version of the file will open in Photoshop.

It’s a good idea to close Preview following this, although it should update each time the file is saved in the other app.

Instead of dropping the proxy icon onto the Dock icon, while still in the process of dragging the icon you can tap Command+Tab to bring up the application switcher and drop the proxy icon on top of the program’s icon in the switcher display.

Note that this same technique of dragging and dropping the proxy icon also works if you want to insert an image you’re working on into a word processing document (although this example could be any file type and any kind of document). In the image editor, save the file if you haven’t already, and then drag the proxy icon on top of the word processor or layout program’s window where you’d like to insert it. It will be inserted instantly.

Select Text like a pro

Select Text like a proIn some built-in Mac apps like TextEdit, as well as in Microsoft Office and Mozilla Firefox, it’s possible to select text in a variety of useful ways above and beyond simply clicking and dragging. (It doesn’t work in Pages).

Selecting Noncontiguous Regions: Holding down Command while clicking and dragging lets you select disparate sections of text. You could highlight one sentence at the beginning of a paragraph, for example, and while holding down Command, select another sentence at the end of a paragraph. Hitting Command+C will copy both to the clipboard. If you hit Command+V to paste, the two sentence components will be pasted on two separate lines.

Selecting Square or Rectangular Blocks of Text: Holding down Alt (Option) will let you select rectangular blocks of text within a paragraph. This is hard to describe, so give it a try by holding down Alt (Option) and clicking and dragging within a paragraph of text (hold Alt (Option)+Command in older versions of Microsoft Word). This is another tip that may or may not work in your app.

Again, hitting Command+C will copy it, and hitting Command+V will paste it. It’s hard to imagine how this would ever be useful, but you might find a use for it!

Selecting Without Dragging: By clicking at the beginning of the region of text you want to select and then holding Shift and clicking at the end of the region, you’ll select everything in between. This works best when editing a document, and not on web pages.

If you’ve already made a text selection, you can hold down Shift and click either side of it to add text to the selection. Clicking within the selection while holding down Shift will let you subtract letters and words from the selection.

See Numbers in Huge Type for Easy Jotting

See Numbers in Huge Type for Easy JottingHave you ever wanted to jot down a phone number from the screen but found it difficult because you had to keep looking back and forth from screen to page, constantly losing your place on the screen?

In TextEdit and the Contacts app you can simply highlight the telephone number, right-click it, and select Large Type. This works in Mail messages too, although you might also be able to hover the mouse over the phone number until an arrow icon appears and click it, selecting Large Type from the menu that appears. Note that this works only for messages you’ve received in Mail and not for ones you’re composing.

This also works when using Calculator, letting you view the result of calculations—right-click the numbers on the LCD screen and then select Large Type.

In each case, the text will then be displayed in large floating text that fills the width of the screen. To get rid of it, just click anywhere

Cancel Dialog Boxes Instantly

Cancel Dialog Boxes InstantlyOne of the oldest Mac keyboard shortcuts is Command+. (full stop), which on very old Macs was used to cancel the current task.

In macOS it was deprecated but still lingers when it comes to dialog boxes—hitting Command+. will click the Cancel button for you, saving you the bother of reaching for your mouse.

Use Safari while booted to the recovery system

Use Safari while booted to the recovery systemHold down Command+R before the Apple logo appears during booting, and you’ll boot to the recovery system. Here you can perform disk checks, restore the system via Time Machine, and even reinstall OS X.

You can also unofficially launch apps that are installed within the main OS X installation, provided it’s still accessible (that is, your system isn’t damaged beyond repair). It isn’t intuitive to do this, but you might want to launch Safari to be able to research a problem you’re having.

While booted to the recovery system, click Utilities > Terminal, and then type the following:

/Applications/Safari.app/Contents/MacOS/Safari

Once you’ve finished, hit Command+Q twice to quit Safari as well as the Terminal window that launched it. This will return you to the main recovery options dialog box. To restart the computer, click the Apple menu, and then select the Restart option.

Invert a selection of files

Invert a selection of filesLet’s say you’ve just downloaded 100 images from your digital camera. You want to copy all but three of them to another folder. How would you select just the 97 you want to copy?

Finder features a neat little trick to let you do just that quickly and easily. However, it works best on the desktop or in Icon view within Finder.

Start by selecting the files you don’t want to include in your selection. In my previous example, that would be the three files that we don’t want to copy. This can be done by holding down Command and selecting each.

Then press and hold the Command key and use the mouse to rubber-band select all the files—including the three you’ve already selected. You should find magic happens—the selection inverts so that files that weren’t selected now are and those that were are automatically unselected. In my example, 97 files would now be selected.

[“Source-macworld”]

Trio of Starbucks Rejects Delivers Java Fix to New Haven

IMG_1186.jpg

There is something wonderfully freeing about working in a food truck. The job seems to appeal to a certain free spirit, that individual who can’t quite fit into an office or even a kitchen in a restaurant. In a food truck, you are the king of your own domain. No bosses, no suit, just a view of whatever corner of the world you choose through a small window as waves of people come by to sample your wares. You listen to whatever music you choose, and approach the job whichever way you want.

The three New Haven 20-somethings who own and operate the Jitter Bus coffee truck in the Elm City — Dan Barletta, Paul Crosby and Andrew Mesiouris — are not huge fans of bosses. Having met as teenagers in West Haven, all three have been fired from Starbucks at one time or another. “You’re not cut out for this job,” Barletta says they told him when they let him go.

Well, joke’s on them. Now Barletta makes a living with his friends, working for themselves and each other, selling coffee on their own terms. Crosby, who has SINK and SWIM tattooed on the knuckles on his respective hands and was fired from a Starbucks in West Haven, says this has been the idea for him from the start. “It’s been my plan since I was in like fifth or sixth grade. It was a tattoo shop when I was young, but as I fell out of that, I grew into this,” he says.

Aesthetically, the Jitter Bus looks like what the Addams Family would come up with if they quit television and became do-it-yourself punks and tattoo artists. The old school bus is painted black with white designs hand-painted on. The Jitter Bus’ goth color scheme stands out amid the proliferation of brightly painted food trucks that populate our cities. Its one-year anniversary party was held back in March at Keys on Kites Tattoo & Gallery in New Haven’s Westville section, where they had a music show and raffled off a free tattoo.

The do-it-yourself attitude is not a hollow one. The guys in the Jitter Bus have built most of the mobile cafe’s components. Water tanks, counter tops, shelves, bus mechanics, even the swivel tray that holds the iPad cash register: all were built and designed by the three owner-operators.

On a blisteringly hot June day at their usual spot at the corner of Hillhouse Avenue and Grove Street, the boys on the bus are serving up hundreds of coffees ($2-$2.50), cappuccinos ($3.25-$3.75), cortados ($3.25), mochas ($4.25-$5), espressos ($2), chai ($3.50-$4) and the iced versions of all of them ($3-$5). Extra espresso shots can be added for 75 cents, and flavor shots of vanilla, hazelnut, caramel and coconut for 50 cents.

They get all their coffee from Connecticut, mostly from the Canton micro-operation Giv Coffee, and its excellent espresso blend Star Breather, sourced from Peru and Brazil with notes of dark chocolate, raisin and almond. Newington’s Saccuzzo Coffee Co. also provides beans, while pastries come from New Haven’s Whole G bakery and milk and cream from Connecticut-sourced Farmer’s Cow.

Despite the heat, there is a steady stream of people coming up for their usual fix. “We’re pretty much legal drug dealers,” says Crosby. “We sell it on the corner and everything,” Barletta adds after a laugh. The hundreds or even thousands of hole-punched loyalty cards oozing from every crack in the truck testify to the popularity of the truck and the regularity with which its patrons return. (While Hillhouse and Grove is their usual corner, the Jitter Bus is available for booking for events and festivals.)

A digital stroll through the Jitter Bus’ social media (follow The Jitter Bus on Facebook and on Instagram @jitterbuscoffee) reveals engine troubles, brutal weather, and the occasional celebrated appearance of Nari, a friend’s dog. The labor needed to make repairs on the bus, both Dan and Paul say, is the worst part about working for themselves. But still, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

[“Source-connecticutmag”]

ANTIVIRUS FOR ANDROID HAS A LONG, LONG WAY TO GO

ANTIVIRUS PROGRAMS ON PCs have a mixed track record. While generally useful, they still have to play catch-up with evolving threats–and their deep system access has on occasion enabled even worse attacks. Now, as antivirus products gain in popularity for Android devices, they appear to be making many of the same old mistakes.

A key part of the current shortcomings stems from relative immaturity in Android antivirus offerings. Researchers at Georgia Tech who analyzed 58 mainstream options found that many were relatively easy to defeat, often because didn’t take a nuanced and diverse approach to malware detection. Taking on the mindset of an attacker, the researchers built a tool called AVPass that works to smuggle malware into a system without being detected by antivirus. Of the 58 programs AVPass tested, only two–from AhnLab and WhiteArmor–consistently stopped AVPass attacks.

“Antivirus for the mobile platform is really just starting for some companies—a lot of the antivirus for Android may even be their first iteration,” says Max Wolotsky, a PhD student at Georgia Tech who worked on the research. “We would definitely warn consumers that they should look into more than just AV. You want to be cautious.”

Modern antivirus uses machine-learning techniques to evolve with the malware field. So in creating AVPass, the researchers started by developing methods for defeating defensive algorithms they could access (like those created for academic research or other open-source projects) and then used these strategies as the basis for working out attacks against proprietary consumer antivirus—products where you can’t see the code powering them. The team will present on and release AVPass at the Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas on Thursday.

Free Pass

To test the 58 Android antivirus products and figure out what bypasses would work against each of them, the researchers used a service called VirusTotal, which attempts to identify links and malware samples by scanning them through a system that incorporates dozens of tools, and offering results about what each tool found. By querying VirusTotal with different malware components and seeing which tools flagged which samples, the researchers were able to form a picture of the type of detection features each antivirus has. Under an academic license, VirusTotal limited the group to fewer than 300 queries per malware sample, but the researchers say even this small number was adequate for gathering data on how the different services go about detecting malware.

Before this reconnaissance, the team developed a feature for AVPass called Imitation Mode, which shields the test samples submitted for antivirus scanning so the snippets themselves wouldn’t be identified and blacklisted. “The Imitation Mode is for our malware obfuscation,” says Chanil Jeon, another researcher who worked on the project. “We extract particular malware features and insert them into an empty app, so we can test which feature or which combination is important for malware detection.” The team worked with mainstream malware samples from malware libraries like VirusShare.com and DREBIN.

AVPass is an open source prototype, part of broader Georgia Tech research into machine-learning algorithms (like those used in antivirus) and the extent to which they can be manipulated and exploited. But it also serves as commentary on the evolving landscape of mobile defense.

Room To Grow

If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that Android antivirus tools have an easier job than their PC equivalents, at least for now. “Android malware is not much of malware at all compared to PC malware,” says Mohammad Mannan, a security researcher at Concordia University in Montreal who has studied antivirus vulnerabilities. “They are just rogue apps in most cases, so they are far easier to detect.” And Mannan notes that though Android antivirus apps have a lot of leeway in the system, they aren’t as privileged as antivirus apps on PCs, which could potentially cut down on concerns that antivirus can sometimes be exploited as a security vulnerability in itself. “Mobile AVs run like a privileged app, but are still just an app in the end, not part of the operating system or kernel,” he says.

For now, though, the potential advantages seem overshadowed by the immaturity of the market. The AVPass team says that Android antivirus developers need to build out their products so the programs are looking for multiple malicious attributes at once. It’s much easier to sneak past one security guard than 10. And they note that their research would have been much more difficult and time-consuming if tools like VirusTotal were less specific in the information they disclose about each service.

“These results aren’t the most surprising,” Wolotsky says. “We knew going into this as security researchers that the mobile domain is much less advanced. We hope AVPass will give [antivirus developers] a way to see what works and what doesn’t, because I’m not sure they’ve had that.”

[“Source-wired”]

Bitcoin averts split as miners back new software upgrade

A Bitcoin (virtual currency) coin is seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris

New York: Digital currency bitcoin on Friday averted a split into two currencies after its network supported an upgrade to its software that would enhance its ability to process an increasing number of transactions. Bitcoin’s miners have signalled their support for the so-called Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) 91, avoiding a split of bitcoin into two blockchains. The miners represent a network of computer operators who secure the blockchain or a public ledger of all bitcoin transactionsBIP 91 is the first step toward a larger effort to upgrade bitcoin through a software called SegWit2x. On Friday, the support for BIP 91 reached nearly 100 percent, exceeding the required threshold of 80 percent, according to analysts and market participants. Some investors have warmed to bitcoin, wooed by its explosive performance and potential to compete with gold and government-issued money as a means to store value. Demand for bitcoin has grown in eight years to a market capitalisation of more than $40 billion. But fears about the bitcoin split dampened demand for bitcoin in recent weeks. After hitting record high near $3,000, bitcoin dropped as low $1,830 on the Bitstamp platform. On Friday, it traded at $2,647. The software upgrade attempts to address the bitcoin network’s limitations in processing millions of daily transactions. Bitcoin’s network has not kept pace with its growth and is unable to process all the transactions fast enough. “BIP 91 unleashes the next wave of innovation because it has been a little bit stagnant of late for bitcoin,” said Rob Viglione, co-founder of ZenCash, a digital coin focused on privacy and security. Before BIP 91’s endorsement, some bitcoin investors feared it could split into two independent currencies because core developers of the network and the miners each wanted different ways to increase bitcoin’s scale. A compromise between the two groups has been reached through SegWit2x. “Bitcoin now has a clear run to add features that allow for faster transactions with lower costs,” said Charles Hayter, chief executive officer of digital currency analytics firm Cryptocompare. The upgrade to bitcoin’s network will not occur until autumn, said Viglione, because several things need to happen before the new software is activated. Market participants have complained about the delay in transactions. Analysts say a single bitcoin transaction costs on average 83 U.S. cents to execute, which means micropayments are not feasible on the network. The network is also limited to roughly seven transactions per second. In comparison, Visa on average handles 2,000 transactions per second.

[Source:-sify]

Trio of Starbucks Rejects Delivers Java Fix to New Haven

IMG_1186.jpg

There is something wonderfully freeing about working in a food truck. The job seems to appeal to a certain free spirit, that individual who can’t quite fit into an office or even a kitchen in a restaurant. In a food truck, you are the king of your own domain. No bosses, no suit, just a view of whatever corner of the world you choose through a small window as waves of people come by to sample your wares. You listen to whatever music you choose, and approach the job whichever way you want.

The three New Haven 20-somethings who own and operate the Jitter Bus coffee truck in the Elm City — Dan Barletta, Paul Crosby and Andrew Mesiouris — are not huge fans of bosses. Having met as teenagers in West Haven, all three have been fired from Starbucks at one time or another. “You’re not cut out for this job,” Barletta says they told him when they let him go.

Well, joke’s on them. Now Barletta makes a living with his friends, working for themselves and each other, selling coffee on their own terms. Crosby, who has SINK and SWIM tattooed on the knuckles on his respective hands and was fired from a Starbucks in West Haven, says this has been the idea for him from the start. “It’s been my plan since I was in like fifth or sixth grade. It was a tattoo shop when I was young, but as I fell out of that, I grew into this,” he says.

Aesthetically, the Jitter Bus looks like what the Addams Family would come up with if they quit television and became do-it-yourself punks and tattoo artists. The old school bus is painted black with white designs hand-painted on. The Jitter Bus’ goth color scheme stands out amid the proliferation of brightly painted food trucks that populate our cities. Its one-year anniversary party was held back in March at Keys on Kites Tattoo & Gallery in New Haven’s Westville section, where they had a music show and raffled off a free tattoo.

 The do-it-yourself attitude is not a hollow one. The guys in the Jitter Bus have built most of the mobile cafe’s components. Water tanks, counter tops, shelves, bus mechanics, even the swivel tray that holds the iPad cash register: all were built and designed by the three owner-operators.

On a blisteringly hot June day at their usual spot at the corner of Hillhouse Avenue and Grove Street, the boys on the bus are serving up hundreds of coffees ($2-$2.50), cappuccinos ($3.25-$3.75), cortados ($3.25), mochas ($4.25-$5), espressos ($2), chai ($3.50-$4) and the iced versions of all of them ($3-$5). Extra espresso shots can be added for 75 cents, and flavor shots of vanilla, hazelnut, caramel and coconut for 50 cents.

They get all their coffee from Connecticut, mostly from the Canton micro-operation Giv Coffee, and its excellent espresso blend Star Breather, sourced from Peru and Brazil with notes of dark chocolate, raisin and almond. Newington’s Saccuzzo Coffee Co. also provides beans, while pastries come from New Haven’s Whole G bakery and milk and cream from Connecticut-sourced Farmer’s Cow.

Despite the heat, there is a steady stream of people coming up for their usual fix. “We’re pretty much legal drug dealers,” says Crosby. “We sell it on the corner and everything,” Barletta adds after a laugh. The hundreds or even thousands of hole-punched loyalty cards oozing from every crack in the truck testify to the popularity of the truck and the regularity with which its patrons return. (While Hillhouse and Grove is their usual corner, the Jitter Bus is available for booking for events and festivals.)

A digital stroll through the Jitter Bus’ social media (follow The Jitter Bus on Facebook and on Instagram @jitterbuscoffee) reveals engine troubles, brutal weather, and the occasional celebrated appearance of Nari, a friend’s dog. The labor needed to make repairs on the bus, both Dan and Paul say, is the worst part about working for themselves. But still, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

[Source:-.connecticutmag]

ANTIVIRUS FOR ANDROID HAS A LONG, LONG WAY TO GO

ANTIVIRUS PROGRAMS ON PCs have a mixed track record. While generally useful, they still have to play catch-up with evolving threats–and their deep system access has on occasion enabled even worse attacks. Now, as antivirus products gain in popularity for Android devices, they appear to be making many of the same old mistakes.

A key part of the current shortcomings stems from relative immaturity in Android antivirus offerings. Researchers at Georgia Tech who analyzed 58 mainstream options found that many were relatively easy to defeat, often because didn’t take a nuanced and diverse approach to malware detection. Taking on the mindset of an attacker, the researchers built a tool called AVPass that works to smuggle malware into a system without being detected by antivirus. Of the 58 programs AVPass tested, only two–from AhnLab and WhiteArmor–consistently stopped AVPass attacks.

“Antivirus for the mobile platform is really just starting for some companies—a lot of the antivirus for Android may even be their first iteration,” says Max Wolotsky, a PhD student at Georgia Tech who worked on the research. “We would definitely warn consumers that they should look into more than just AV. You want to be cautious.”

Modern antivirus uses machine-learning techniques to evolve with the malware field. So in creating AVPass, the researchers started by developing methods for defeating defensive algorithms they could access (like those created for academic research or other open-source projects) and then used these strategies as the basis for working out attacks against proprietary consumer antivirus—products where you can’t see the code powering them. The team will present on and release AVPass at the Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas on Thursday.

Free Pass

To test the 58 Android antivirus products and figure out what bypasses would work against each of them, the researchers used a service called VirusTotal, which attempts to identify links and malware samples by scanning them through a system that incorporates dozens of tools, and offering results about what each tool found. By querying VirusTotal with different malware components and seeing which tools flagged which samples, the researchers were able to form a picture of the type of detection features each antivirus has. Under an academic license, VirusTotal limited the group to fewer than 300 queries per malware sample, but the researchers say even this small number was adequate for gathering data on how the different services go about detecting malware.

Before this reconnaissance, the team developed a feature for AVPass called Imitation Mode, which shields the test samples submitted for antivirus scanning so the snippets themselves wouldn’t be identified and blacklisted. “The Imitation Mode is for our malware obfuscation,” says Chanil Jeon, another researcher who worked on the project. “We extract particular malware features and insert them into an empty app, so we can test which feature or which combination is important for malware detection.” The team worked with mainstream malware samples from malware libraries like VirusShare.com and DREBIN.

AVPass is an open source prototype, part of broader Georgia Tech research into machine-learning algorithms (like those used in antivirus) and the extent to which they can be manipulated and exploited. But it also serves as commentary on the evolving landscape of mobile defense.

Room To Grow

If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that Android antivirus tools have an easier job than their PC equivalents, at least for now. “Android malware is not much of malware at all compared to PC malware,” says Mohammad Mannan, a security researcher at Concordia University in Montreal who has studied antivirus vulnerabilities. “They are just rogue apps in most cases, so they are far easier to detect.” And Mannan notes that though Android antivirus apps have a lot of leeway in the system, they aren’t as privileged as antivirus apps on PCs, which could potentially cut down on concerns that antivirus can sometimes be exploited as a security vulnerability in itself. “Mobile AVs run like a privileged app, but are still just an app in the end, not part of the operating system or kernel,” he says.

For now, though, the potential advantages seem overshadowed by the immaturity of the market. The AVPass team says that Android antivirus developers need to build out their products so the programs are looking for multiple malicious attributes at once. It’s much easier to sneak past one security guard than 10. And they note that their research would have been much more difficult and time-consuming if tools like VirusTotal were less specific in the information they disclose about each service.

“These results aren’t the most surprising,” Wolotsky says. “We knew going into this as security researchers that the mobile domain is much less advanced. We hope AVPass will give [antivirus developers] a way to see what works and what doesn’t, because I’m not sure they’ve had that.”

[Source:-Wired]

iOS 11 Beta 3 Now Available To Developers: iPad Improvements, Notification Center Upgrade, And More

Apple just rolled out beta 3 of iOS 11 for developers on Monday, July 10, for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The latest beta includes a list of refinements, performance improvements, bug fixes, and more.

That said, beta 3 still contains a number of bugs, which is to be expected, of course. You can read the list of known issues and bugs in the update’s release notes. Because beta releases are not very stable versions, developers should only install them on secondary or “testing” devices. It should not run on your daily driver, needless to say.

With that in mind, here are the things included in iOS 11 beta 3:

iOS 11 Beta 3: iPad App Switcher

The latest beta version finally restores the swipe-up-to-close gesture on the iPad app switcher. Previously, users had to hold down an app and tap the corresponding “X” button to close it entirely. Now, the interface involves simpler gestures to get things done. Users may also swipe multiple open apps to close them, as a commenter notes via 9to5Mac.

iOS 11 Beta 3: SOS

Canceled SOS signals will no longer send out notifications beginning with iOS 11 beta 3.

iOS 11 Beta 3: Notification Center

With iOS 11 beta 3, there’d be no need to swipe twice just to see “Earlier Today” in the Notification Center. In addition, the latest beta releases simplifies the interface by showing all notifications on the first swipe, which means users don’t have to swipe down to view unread notifications then swipe up once more to see earlier ones.

iOS 11 Beta 3: App Store

The App Store now lets user choose if they want video to automatically play. Users can configure it to stop autoplaying videos altogether or only when on a cellular network connection.

iOS 11 Beta 3: SafariServices

Developers can now take advantage of a new SafariServices API to improve authentication flow for onboarding. For example, when a user updates Twitter, they’ll be automatically logged in to the app once it finishes updating instead of re-entering their password.

There’s quite a list of changes not mentioned here, so feel free to check out 9to5Mac’s article to get the full release notes. Apple released iOS 11 beta 3 alongside new builds of macOS High Sierra and tvOS. It didn’t release a new beta build for watchOS, although that could arrive later in the week.

Check out our article to know the best iOS 11 features to look forward to. Also, check out our article to learn how to install these beta versions for your Apple device. Be sure you’re signed up for Apple’s Beta Software program, first and foremost.

Are you an iOS developer? Have you received the iOS 11 beta 3? Feel free to tell us how has the experience been so far!

[“source-techtimes”]

Microsoft 365 Is The Office And Windows Bundle Targeted At Business Users

Microsoft has just unveiled Microsoft 365, which bundles together Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, giving “a complete, intelligent and secure solution to empower employees.”

Microsoft Announces New Office 365 Plans For Businesses

Essentially, Microsoft 365 is a new way for enterprises to purchase Office and Windows together, bundling the company’s mainline software into a single subscription. In addition, it’ll also offer users Microsoft 365 Business, debuting via public preview come Aug. 2. It includes Office 365 Business Premium and security and management features for Office software and devices running Windows 10.

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella unveiled both types of bundles at its Inspire partner conference, attended by 17,000 people, who were there to hear about Microsoft’s partnerships and other plans.

Microsoft says the workplace is changing, especially by virtue of teams often being distributed globally. From such trends, the company observes a new culture that’s emerging. Its new plans are a reflection of those.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise And 365 Business Plans And Release Date

Microsoft 365 Enterprise will be offered in two plans: Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E5. Both will launch on Aug. 1. Microsoft hasn’t laid the details on pricing yet, but says it’ll depend on the specific plan and “other factors.”

Microsoft 365 Business, meanwhile, will launch its full stable release later this fall following the public preview on Aug. 2. It will cost each user $20 a month.

Ahead of both release dates, Microsoft will let users try three applications coming to both Office 365 Business Premium and Microsoft 365 Business. These applications include Microsoft Connections, an email marketing service; Microsoft Listings, a publishing tool for business information; and Microsoft Invoicing, which is pretty self-explanatory.

The company has also included MileIQ, its mileage tracking app, into Office 365 Business Premium. In addition, Microsoft has also launched Azure Stack, which allows businesses to host their own hybrid cloud. Several companies including HP, Lenovo, and Dell are all building systems to run Azure Stack, the first shipments of which launches September.

Microsoft’s cloud business has been one of its most profitable units in recent years, a sort of saving grace from the tumble of its Windows Phone venture and other less alluring products and services. As the company treads the way of the cloud further, we might see Microsoft approach cloud-based services more extensively going forward.

“We are incredibly enthusiastic about Microsoft 365 and how it will help customers and partners drive growth and innovation,” said Microsoft.

Thoughts about Microsoft new Office 365 bundles? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

[“source-techtimes”]

Google’s Chrome OS Launcher To Turn Chromebooks Into Touch-Friendly Devices

Google is working on a Chrome OS update that’ll make Chromebooks with touch screens easier to use.

The OS wasn’t exactly designed with touch controls in mind, but the Mountain View company seems to be changing plans with a new touch-friendly launcher.

Chrome OS Update To Bring Touch Controls To The Table

From the look of things, the new launcher is placed below the screen. When it’s pulled up, it’ll show a Google search bar and a couple of suggested apps. Now when it’s open in full by swiping up, it’ll give access to all the apps available.

Interestingly enough, it seems that when the voice search command is used, it’ll open up a new window in the Chrome browser with the user’s query keyed in.

The person behind the reveal is none other than Chromium evangelist François Beaufort, spreading the word via a Google+ post.

“The Chrome OS team is experimenting with a Touch-Friendly version of the launcher in Canary channel. Enable the chrome://flags/#enable-fullscreen-app-list flag, restart Chrome, and press the Search key to see it in action,” he says.

 

Chrome OS Touch-Friendly Controls Potential Release Date

For the uninitiated, Chrome has four release channels: Canary, Dev, Beta, and Stable. New features go through each one in that order.

With that cleared up, the new launcher is still in the Canary channel. That means Chromebook users won’t see a stable version just yet, but given Google’s track record, it’s a pretty safe bet to expect it to go live in about three to four months.

It should be mentioned that Canary is the channel with the latest features that undergo rigorous testing. In other words, bugs and crashes are common there.

Also, those interested in the code behind the new launcher can head on over to the Chromium Code Review page.

To boil things down, Chrome OS is getting a new launcher that’ll allow Chromebook users to use touch controls better.

Devices that come to mind here are from Acer, Asus, Samsung, and, of course, Google, particularly those that are set to get Android app support in the foreseeable future.

Before wrapping things up, don’t forget to check out our tips and tricks to make the most out of your Chromebook.

Are you excited to finally get better touch controls on your Chromebook? If so, feel free to drop by our comments section below and let us know.

 

 

[“source-techtimes”]

New Tool Identifies MySQL as Top Database in Software Stacks

MySQL is the most popular database, according to a new tool that ranks various development tools according to their usage in the technology stacks used by various companies.

Three-year-old start-up StackShare Inc. launched its ranking tools this month, including the “StackShare Data Stores Index,” which shows MySQL leading the back by virtue of its inclusion in some 5,480 stacks.

The company says it’s building a LinkedIn for the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) arena, with an initial focus on tools used for software development.

Ranking tools are also set up for Application Hosting, Languages & Frameworks and more. Furthermore, developers wishing to explore their own topics of interest can go to the categories page to find more areas under applications and data, utilities, DevOps and Business Tools, all with various sub-categories.

Each category ‘ provides a list of the top offerings ranked by the number of stack and a separate ranking based on the number of active job listings including a tool.

“Essentially these pages serve as a central place that lets users instantly view the top ranking tools in a particular category,” a company spokesperson told ADTMag. “The tools are ranked based on user reviews/feedback/number of stacks, integrations and jobs. This is useful to CTOs and engineers when they are gauging what tools/services will work best for their teams/projects.”

Top Data Stores
[Click on image for larger view.]Top Data Stores (source: StackShare)

Going to the company’s Web ‘ brings up a list of Trending items, showing “What’s hot across StackShare today” (which, today, is Vue.js, followed by Visual Studio and ES6).

“StackShare is the fastest growing community for SaaS tools — we show you all the software a company is using and why,” company literature says. “We’re a developer-only community of engineers, CTOs, and VPEs from some of the world’s top startups. Engineers use StackShare to compare and discover new technologies, while companies use StackShare to connect with engineers. We’re building LinkedIn for the $150B SaaS industry, starting with dev tools.”

Having begun as a side project called Leanstack, StackShare was founded in 2014. A 2013 introductory blog post from when the company was still called Leanstack explains the origin of the project:

Leanstack helps you keep up with the latest and greatest developer services. We show you: which services the most innovative companies in the world are using; let you learn about those services and how they can help you; and send you updates on new services you may be interested in. All in an effort to help make your stack “leaner” and thus, helping to make your company more successful.

Now, the company claims it has data on some 7,000 companies and has attracted more than 150,000 developers to use its services.

Here’s a snapshot of the top entries in some selected ever-changing rankings as they appeared today:

Category Top tool
Application Hosting Tools and Services nginx
Languages and Frameworks Bootstrap
Assets and Media Amazon CloudFront
Libraries jQuery
DevOps GitHub
Mobile Utilities jQuery Mobile
Analytics Utilities Google Analytics
Collaboration Business Tools Google Apps

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.

[“Source-adtmag”]