How To

How to Protect Against Meltdown & Spectre Security Flaws

How to Protect Against Meltdown & Spectre Security Flaws

Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities have their own logos

Two major security flaws have been found in modern computer processors, potentially impacting nearly all modern computers in the world.

All Macs and iOS devices along with most Windows PC and Android devices are potentially susceptible to the critical security flaws, named Meltdown and Spectre.

Theoretically, the vulnerabilities could be used to gain unauthorized access to data, passwords, files, and other personal information on any impacted computer or device.

What are Meltdown and Spectre?

The vulnerabilities are described by security researchers as follows:

“Meltdown and Spectre exploit critical vulnerabilities in modern processors. These hardware bugs allow programs to steal data which is currently processed on the computer. While programs are typically not permitted to read data from other programs, a malicious program can exploit Meltdown and Spectre to get hold of secrets stored in the memory of other running programs. This might include your passwords stored in a password manager or browser, your personal photos, emails, instant messages and even business-critical documents.

Meltdown and Spectre work on personal computers, mobile devices, and in the cloud. Depending on the cloud provider’s infrastructure, it might be possible to steal data from other customers.”

Having security flaws that potentially impact nearly every computer and smart phone on the planet is obviously fairly major news, and you can read more about it here, here, or here if you’re interested.

Apple has acknowledged the problem with an Apple Support article here, which cautions the following:

“All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time. Since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded on your Mac or iOS device, we recommend downloading software only from trusted sources such as the App Store.”

So what should you do? And how should you defend or protect against these security vulnerabilities?

How to Defend Against Meltdown and Spectre

The easiest way to avoid potential security trouble with Meltdown or Spectre vulnerabilities is to take a multi-prong approach to computer and device security:

  • Avoid untrusted software, and never download anything from untrusted sources
  • Use an updated web browser that contains relevant patches for these security flaws
  • Install relevant security updates and/or system software updates when they become available for your device or computer

By the way, those are good general computer security tips to practice… even after the threat of Meltdown and Spectre passes thanks to software updates. Let’s detail a bit further:

1: Avoid Sketchy Websites and Dubious Downloads

Do not download untrusted software or anything from an untrusted source, ever. Not downloading sketchy software from sketchy sources is good computing advice in general, not only to protect against Meltdown and Spectre, but also to prevent other potential malware and junkware from ending up on your computer.

Never accept an unsolicited download. Never install software that you did not specifically seek out to install. Always download and get software from trusted websites and sources, whether it’s the software developer, the vendor, or a place like the App Store.

2: Update Your Web Browsers

Another potential attack vector comes from web browsers. Fortunately, major web browsers have been (or will be) updated to ward off potential problems:

  • Firefox version 57 and later are apparently patched
  • Google Chrome will apparently be patched on January 24 with version 64 or later
  • Safari will apparently be patched in the near future for Mac, iPhone, and iPad

For Windows users, Microsoft Windows 10 and the Edge browser have been patched, and updates for other versions of Windows are due out as well. Tthe latest versions of Android have apparently been patched by Google as well.

If you’re concerned about using an un-patched web browser in the meantime, you could shift to a patched browser for the interim period until the primary browser gets repaired. For example, you could download and use Firefox 57 (or later) for a few days until Safari or Chrome gets updated.

3: Install Security Updates and/or Software Updates When Available

You will want to be sure to install relevant security updates when they become available for your devices and computers.

Another option is to update operating system software to major new release versions. Apple says they have already released mitigations for Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV running the following system software or newer:

  • iOS 11.2 or later for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
  • macOS 10.13.2 High Sierra or later for Macs
  • tvOS 11.2 or later for Apple TV

It remains to be seen if Apple will issue independent security update patches for prior versions of Mac OS system software, but in the past Apple has often done this with the prior two system software releases. Hopefully macOS Sierra 10.12.6 and Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 will receive separate future security software updates to protect against Meltdown and Spectre, since not all Mac users can or want to update to macOS High Sierra.

Apple Watch and watchOS are apparently not impacted.

TLDR: Significant security vulnerabilities have been discovered on basically all modern computers. Keep an eye on the Software Update mechanism of your Mac, iPhone, iPad, other computers and smartphones, update your apps and web browsers, and install security updates when they become available.

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 13:54:26 +0000

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Could an Attack on Undersea Cables Take Down the Internet?

Could an Attack on Undersea Cables Take Down the Internet?

Most of us probably don’t realize it, but much of the infrastructure that makes the internet possible lies on the bottom of the world’s oceans, in the form of vast networks of fiber-optic cables that transmit data between countries. (Here’s a map of those connections.)

Despite the vital role that these cables play in global communications, they’re largely unguarded because of their location underwater. That vulnerability is in the headlines lately, thanks to recent warnings from across the Atlantic that Russia could sabotage the cables and disrupt connections between the U.S. and Europe.

Recent Warnings

The head of the British defense establishment and chairman of NATO’s military committee, Air Marshall Sir Stuart Peach, recently warned that cutting the cables “would immediately — and catastrophically — fracture both international trade and the internet,” according to the Guardian.

Peach’s warning echoed the conclusions of a 2017 report written by U.K. Member of Parliament Rishi Sunak, which described the potential for disruption of internet traffic as an “existential threat.” Sunak noted that the cables, which are largely owned and operated by private companies, transmit $10 trillion in financial transfers each day.

It’s not the first time that an alarm has been sounded about the undersea cable networks. This 2010 report written for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, describes the effects of a 2008 incident in which three cables in the Mediterranean that connected Italy to Egypt were severed, apparently accidentally by commercial ships dragging their anchors. Eighty percent of the internet connectivity between Europe and the Middle East temporarily was lost. As a result, most of the U.S. Air Force’s drone aircraft in Iraq were grounded, due to the lack of a reliable connection to technicians back in the U.S. “Cable breaks halfway across the world threaten U.S. vital national security interests,” the report warned.

In 2015, The New York Times reported that a Russian spy ship, the Yantar, was kept under surveillance by U.S. planes, satellites and ships as it cruised slowly down the U.S. east coast, close to internet cables. The Russian ship reportedly was equipped with two miniature submarines capable of going into deep water to cut cables. Another Russian surveillance ship, the Viktor Leonov, was spotted off the coast of Delaware in February, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

But before you get too caught up in a nightmare scenario of the internet suddenly going dark due to sabotage, experts say the system — despite its lack of defenses — is resilient and would be difficult for an enemy nation or terrorist group to disable. The fiber cables that transmit the world’s data are surprisingly slim, measuring less than 0.7 inches (17 millimeters) in thickness, according to Keith Schofield, general manager of the International Cable Protection Committee, a British-based industry group. But the fiber is encased in a hermetically sealed tube, which is in turn surrounded by layers of high-tensile steel wires, copper and polyethylene. For sections in shallower water, where cables are more likely to encounter ship anchors and other manmade hazards, additional layers of armor are sometimes added, or else cables are buried under the seabed, Schofield says in an email.

As a result, cables are damaged worldwide only about 200 times a year — “a tiny failure rate across a network of well over a million kilometers (621,000 miles) of cable linking people between continents,” Schofield says.

It would be difficult to cut cables in the deep ocean, though a robotic submersible equipped with the right tools could pull it off, says Jim Hayes, president of the Fiber Optic Association, a California-based professional society that certifies cable network builders and operators, in a telephone interview. The cable networks are more vulnerable closer to land, where their connections are in shallower water and easier to reach. It wouldn’t take a lot of sophisticated weapons or know-how to inflict the desired damage.

“If you want to interrupt communications, you hire a crappy old fishing trawler, give them a big anchor and tell them to drag it here,” Hayes explains.

Location is Key

Attacking a cable landing probably wouldn’t cause much disruption in the U.S. and other technologically advanced countries in Europe and East Asia, where there are a multitude of other connections that would keep the data flowing, Hayes said. “They might slow down the internet in New York City, but they’re not going to disrupt it,” he says. “There are other routes to get to the same place. They can just as easily go west around the world as go east. The internet works that way.”

But sabotage could cause outages in a region such as the Middle East, where relatively few cables are bunched in places such as the Suez Canal and the Strait of Hormuz, Hayes says. Africa, where long stretches of the continent’s coast are dependent upon one or two cables, also has higher vulnerability.

“Yes, you could disrupt the internet for a lengthy period, but only with certain attacks in certain places,” Nicole Starosielski, an assistant professor of media, culture and communication at New York University and author of the 2015 book “The Undersea Network,” explains in an email. “In others, traffic could be easily rerouted.”

Hayes says that instead of cutting cables, the Russians might try breaking into them to intercept communications. A tapping device could be inserted into the cable and then linked to a transmitter on a buoy, which would upload the data to a satellite or to another cable close to shore, he says.

Published at Thu, 04 Jan 2018 14:00:02 +0000

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How to Add iCloud Drive to Dock on Mac

How to Add iCloud Drive to Dock on Mac

iCloud Drive in the Dock on Mac

iCloud Drive allows for easy cloud access and storage of data from Mac and iOS devices, and so having the ability to quickly get to iCloud Drive at any time via the Dock can be very convenient for many Mac users.

While there are various ways to access iCloud Drive from a Mac, one of the fastest ways to access iCloud Drive is by placing it into the Dock of Mac OS, much like many iPad and iPhone users do in iOS. In Mac OS this may not look possible on first glance, but by digging around a little in the Mac file system you can place the iCloud Drive icon into the Dock for expedient access from anywhere.

How to Add iCloud Drive to Dock of Mac OS

In order to place iCloud Drive into the Dock of Mac OS, you will need to access a system folder and use that as the shortcut for adding to the Dock. That probably sounds more complex than it is, because here’s all you need to do:

  1. Go to the Finder of Mac OS, then pull down the “Go” menu and choose “Go To Folder”
  2. Enter the following path exactly, then hit Return:
  3. /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/Applications/
    Go To Folder to access iCloud Drive folder

  4. Locate the “iCloud Drive.app” application in this directory, then drag and drop it into the Dock on the Mac where you’d like iCloud Drive to be located
  5. Drag drop iCloud Drive to the Dock on Mac

Now you can click on the iCloud Drive icon directly in the Mac Dock to open it immediately.

iCloud Drive in the Dock on Mac

With quick Dock access, it’s faster than ever to both access your iCloud Drive files and also copy files to iCloud Drive on the Mac, or move them to there.

Of course you can always access iCloud Drive from the Finder window sidebar, or from the Go menu itself too, but placing it in the Dock has the added benefit of being immediately accessible from anywhere and any other application, without having to return to the Finder first.

For some quick background: iCloud Drive continues to be named iCloud Drive on the Mac, but it has now been renamed as “Files” in iOS with iCloud Drive being a location within the Files app in the iOS world. Now Files app in always visible in iOS, whereas before iCloud Drive had to be made visible on iOS Home Screen, similar to how it used to be hidden by default on the Mac too. Nonetheless, if you access iCloud Drive on the Mac or iCloud Drive via Files app on an iPhone or iPad, the file contents will be the same.

If you enjoyed this you’d likely appreciate some other iCloud Drive tips, so check them out.

Published at Fri, 29 Dec 2017 16:57:32 +0000

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How to Add iCloud Drive to Dock on Mac

How to Add iCloud Drive to Dock on Mac

iCloud Drive in the Dock on Mac

iCloud Drive allows for easy cloud access and storage of data from Mac and iOS devices, and so having the ability to quickly get to iCloud Drive at any time via the Dock can be very convenient for many Mac users.

While there are various ways to access iCloud Drive from a Mac, one of the fastest ways to access iCloud Drive is by placing it into the Dock of Mac OS, much like many iPad and iPhone users do in iOS. In Mac OS this may not look possible on first glance, but by digging around a little in the Mac file system you can place the iCloud Drive icon into the Dock for expedient access from anywhere.

How to Add iCloud Drive to Dock of Mac OS

In order to place iCloud Drive into the Dock of Mac OS, you will need to access a system folder and use that as the shortcut for adding to the Dock. That probably sounds more complex than it is, because here’s all you need to do:

  1. Go to the Finder of Mac OS, then pull down the “Go” menu and choose “Go To Folder”
  2. Enter the following path exactly, then hit Return:
  3. /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/Applications/
    Go To Folder to access iCloud Drive folder

  4. Locate the “iCloud Drive.app” application in this directory, then drag and drop it into the Dock on the Mac where you’d like iCloud Drive to be located
  5. Drag drop iCloud Drive to the Dock on Mac

Now you can click on the iCloud Drive icon directly in the Mac Dock to open it immediately.

iCloud Drive in the Dock on Mac

With quick Dock access, it’s faster than ever to both access your iCloud Drive files and also copy files to iCloud Drive on the Mac, or move them to there.

Of course you can always access iCloud Drive from the Finder window sidebar, or from the Go menu itself too, but placing it in the Dock has the added benefit of being immediately accessible from anywhere and any other application, without having to return to the Finder first.

For some quick background: iCloud Drive continues to be named iCloud Drive on the Mac, but it has now been renamed as “Files” in iOS with iCloud Drive being a location within the Files app in the iOS world. Now Files app in always visible in iOS, whereas before iCloud Drive had to be made visible on iOS Home Screen, similar to how it used to be hidden by default on the Mac too. Nonetheless, if you access iCloud Drive on the Mac or iCloud Drive via Files app on an iPhone or iPad, the file contents will be the same.

If you enjoyed this you’d likely appreciate some other iCloud Drive tips, so check them out.

Published at Fri, 29 Dec 2017 16:57:32 +0000

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How to Setup AirPods with iPhone or iPad

How to Setup AirPods with iPhone or iPad

How to setup AirPods and connect them to iPhone or iPad

AirPods are the new wireless earphones from Apple, they allow for completely wireless listening to music, interacting with Siri, answering phone calls, and interacting with music or audio. AirPods are particularly popular with iPhone users, but they work with most other iOS devices and Macs as well.

If you got a new pair of AirPods you might be wondering how to set them up to work with your iPhone or iPad. It turns out to be quite simple to configure AirPods and connect them to an iPhone or iPad, as this tutorial will demonstrate. Most of the AirPod setup process is automated and works a bit like magic. And not to worry, if something doesn’t go exactly as planned when connecting to AirPods we’ll show you how to reset the process and start over again too.


Before beginning, make sure the AirPods are charged (they usually come out of the package with a battery charge), and that the device you are attempting to sync them with is compatible. You can see supported AirPod hardware below if you aren’t sure, but almost any modern Apple hardware running modern system software will work with AirPods.

How to Setup AirPods & Connect to iPhone or iPad

With new model iPhone devices, setting up AirPods is remarkably easy. You’ll need your iOS device handy, and the AirPods case with AirPods still enclosed in them. The rest is a piece of cake:

  1. Unlock the iPhone you want to pair AirPods to and go to the Home Screen (where all your app icons are visible)
  2. Open the AirPods case, keeping the AirPods inside, and hold it near the iPhone to pair with
  3. Wait a moment for iPhone to find and detect AirPods, then tap on “Connect” when AirPods are found
  4. Connect to AirPods on iPhone to setup with device

  5. Tap on “Done” after the AirPods show up on screen

That’s it, you’re AirPods will now be setup and ready to use.

Also noteworthy is that if you use the same Apple ID and iCloud account on multiple devices, the AirPods should be automatically configured to work with those devices too, assuming compatibility anyway.

AirPods Compatibility & Supported Devices

AirPods will work with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV, assuming they are fairly modern and running compatible system software. You must have Bluetooth as well, since that is how they connect to the device they are paired with. AirPods are compatible with the following devices and software versions:

  • iPhone, iPad, iPod touch running iOS 10.0 or later
  • Mac running macOS Sierra 10.12.3 or later
  • Apple Watch running watchOS 3 or later
  • Apple TV running tvOS 11 or later

Essentially, AirPods are compatible with all modern versions of Apple system software. If the device is brand new, it will work with AirPods, but even many older devices will work with AirPods assuming they are running a compatible modern system software release shown above.

You can also connect AirPods to an Android phone, tablet, or Windows computer, but the setup process is more like a typical Bluetooth device configuration and does not have the super easy iOS based AirPods setup like offered from Apple.

AirPods didn’t connect to iOS or setup properly? Try this

If for some reason AirPods don’t pair and sync with the iPhone after the above setup process, you may need to hold the setup button on AirPods and then try again. This is also what you’d need to do if you’re setting AirPods up with a different iPhone than what was originally configured with:

  1. Put the AirPods back into the charging case if you have not done so already
  2. Click and hold the Setup button on the back of the AirPods charging case for 18 seconds, or until you see the charging status light flicker orange and then white
  3. Repeat the initial setup process again detailed above

It’s also worth mentioning that though AirPods should ship with the latest on device firmware, it is possible they still need to be updated. You can learn how to update AirPods firmware here if need be.

That’s it, your AirPods should now be setup and ready to use with your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or other Apple device.

AirPods

Using AirPods once they’re connected to a device is easy and fun too, you just double-tap the side of either AirPod to trigger Siri, answer a phone call, adjust music, or more.

You can also adjust how each AirPod will respond to a double-tap by adjusting the settings of AirPods through the iPhone or iPad, by opening Settings app > Bluetooth > AirPods, and adjusting the “Left” and “Right” options under ‘Double-Tap on AirPod’ settings section.

AirPods

Stay tuned, we’ll cover more AirPods usage tips separately.

Published at Tue, 26 Dec 2017 18:06:48 +0000

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How to Open a Link in New Private Browsing Window in Safari for Mac

How to Open a Link in New Private Browsing Window in Safari for Mac

Open Links into New Private Browser windows on Safari for Mac

You can easily open any link found on the web into a new private browsing window on Safari for Mac, thanks to a helpful albeit little-known trick available in the web browser.

For the unfamiliar, Private Browsing mode aims to protect private information and some degree of privacy by preventing websites from tracking search behavior, setting permanent cookies, and insuring that pages and websites you visit are not stored in typical Safari History. This is helpful for many situations, let’s say you see a link on a webpage that you want to open but you don’t want it to appear in your browsing history for whatever reason (or avoid the cookie situation because of a paywall), then you could open a link into the private browsing window.

How to Open Links in Private Browsing Windows in Safari for Mac

Here’s how to open new links directly into private browsing windows on a Mac with Safari:

  1. Open Safari on the Mac if you have not done so already
  2. Open any webpage that has links (for example, osxdaily.com)
  3. Hold down the OPTION key, and then Right-Click (or Control Click) on a link
  4. Choose “Open in New Private Window” to open that link into a new private browsing mode window of Safari
  5. Choose open link in new private window in Safari for Mac

You can try it out yourself quickly with this very article, just hold down the OPTION / ALT key on the Mac keyboard, then right-click on a link to a website like this for osxdaily.com and choose “Open in New Private Window”.

Open new link in private browsing window

You must have a modern version of Safari to have this capability available to you. If your Safari version is outdated, you could use Safari Tech Preview instead, or just open a new private browsing window the regular way and then navigate to the link in question. And yes, that means this trick works with open new private browsing windows in Safari on Mac OS anytime you’d like with a keystroke (command+shift+N) or by going to the File menu (New Private Window), but being able to open a new link directly into private browsing mode is a nice feature to come to Safari on the Mac.

Chrome for Mac also supports this feature, but you don’t need to hold down any particular keystroke to access it, just a simple right-click or control+click will offer the same option in the pop-up menu of Chrome.

As for iPhone and iPad, this feature does not (yet) exist in iOS Safari when opening new tabs , but you can easily access Private Browsing mode in Safari for iPhone and iPad via the Tabs section.

One thing that’s important to remember is that Private Browsing mode is not an anonymous browsing tool or security feature, it just prevents local storage of browsing data under that session. Private Browsing does not offer any anonymity, IP obfuscation, or other capabilities that are typically associated with truly private sessions, like what’s potentially offered through TOR Onion Browser for Mac (or iOS), or a high quality anonymizing VPN service.

Published at Fri, 22 Dec 2017 20:07:27 +0000

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iOS 11.2.5 Beta 2 Released for Testing

iOS 11.2.5 Beta 2 Released for Testing

iOS 11.2.5 Beta 2

Apple has released iOS 11.2.5 for iPhone and iPad users engaged in the beta testing programs.


The new beta build likely focuses on bug fixes and enhancements to the mobile operating system, perhaps addressing some lingering issues with iOS 11, and is unlikely to include any new features.

Anyone enrolled in the iOS beta testing program can download iOS 11.2.5 beta 2 from the Settings app “Software Update” section. The update is about 100mb if coming from a prior iOS 11.2.5 beta version.

Beta builds typically roll out to developers first, and a public beta version is soon followed.

Anyone can enroll to participate in the public beta testing programs, but because of the buggy nature of beta system software, it is generally advised to not do so except on secondary hardware.

The somewhat curious versioning for iOS 11.2.5 beta suggests there will be interim releases of other software in between, or that Apple is reserving room for potential interim releases like iOS 11.2.2, iOS 11.2.3, and iOS 11.2.4.

The newest available final build of iOS is currently iOS 11.2.1.

Separately, Apple has also released macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 beta 2, tvOS 11.2.2 beta 2, and watchOS 4.2.2 beta 2.

Published at Tue, 19 Dec 2017 18:37:28 +0000

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How to Reset DNS Cache in macOS High Sierra

How to Reset DNS Cache in macOS High Sierra

Terminal in macOS

Need to reset and clear DNS cache in macOS High Sierra? Some Mac users may need to occasionally reset their local DNS cache, typically because the Mac DNS settings have changed, or a particular name server or domain is cached and they need to flush existing DNS cache.

While it’s most often web developers, systems administrators, and network admins that fiddle with DNS and have to reset and clear their DNS caches, sometimes other Mac users need to clear the DNS caches as well.


In macOS High Sierra, you can reset DNS cache by targeting the mDNSResponder process via the command line available in Terminal app. This is similar to clearing DNS cache in macOS Sierra and El Capitan, though the process to reset DNS cache has changed many times throughout the history of the Mac OS and Mac OS X operating system.

How to Reset DNS Cache in MacOS High Sierra

Note that resetting and flushing DNS cache will likely interrupt any active internet activity or usage.

  1. Launch the Terminal application, it is found within the /Applications/Utilities/ folder on a Mac
  2. Flushing DNS cache is done via Terminal in macOS

  3. At the command line, enter the following syntax:
  4. sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder; sleep 2; echo macOS DNS Cache Reset | say

  5. Hit the Return key and then enter the administrator password, then hit return again
  6. Reset DNS cache in macOS High Sierra

  7. Wait a moment, when you see the text “macOS DNS Cache Reset” appear in Terminal the DNS cache reset has been successful
  8. Exit Terminal

You may need to quit and relaunch certain internet connected applications for the changes to take effect, though most web browsers can suffice with a simple refresh.

If the above approach doesn’t work for whatever reason, you can break the command syntax down into smaller components:

sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder && echo macOS DNS Cache Reset

This applies for macOS High Sierra, which is versioned as Mac OS 10.13.x. Users interested in learning how to reset DNS cache in prior versions of MacOS can learn how to do so for Sierra, El Capitan, Yosemite, and earlier versions of Mac OS X if desired.

Published at Mon, 18 Dec 2017 22:06:28 +0000

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How to Change or Disable Annotation Name in Preview for Mac

How to Change or Disable Annotation Name in Preview for Mac

Annotation names in Preview for Mac

The Preview application for Mac defaults to attaching a name with any annotations made on images and PDF files within Preview, the annotation name is then embedded with the image file or PDF as metadata. This name, which is usually the currently logged in user accounts full name, is included with all annotations done within Preview, like arrows, shapes, text placed on pictures, filled out PDF forms, signed documents, and more.

If you want to change the name assigned to annotations in Preview, or disable the annotation naming feature completely, you can do so. You can also remove annotation names from existing files if need be.

How to Disable Annotation Name in Preview for Mac

Don’t want names appearing on annotations in Preview for Mac? Here’s how you can turn those off:

  1. Open Preview on the Mac and pull down the “Preview” menu, then choose “Preferences”
  2. Go to the “PDF” tab
  3. To disable annotations completely, uncheck the box next to “Annotations: Add name to annotations”
  4. Disable name annotation in Preview for Mac

Now going forward there will no longer be a name attached to annotations made within Preview app on the Mac.

Replacing the Annotation Name Set in Preview for Mac

You can also change the name set by annotations by simply deleting the default name (which is usually set as the name of the currently logged in Mac user account), and replacing it with a new name. You can set any name you want in the annotations section and that name will embed as metadata with each annotation made in Preview app.

Changing the annotation name in Preview for Mac

And in case you were wondering, yes, the annotation setting for all images and non-PDF documents is under the PDF tab, even if you never use annotations for PDF files.

How do you remove annotation names from existing images and PDF files?

You can remove annotation names by opening an image or PDF back into Preview and then disabling the feature and re-saving the file in question.

Another way to remove annotation names, which is perhaps an easier option for multiple images, is to download an app like ImageOptim that strips EXIF data from images, and then drag and drop pictures with annotations into the the ImageOptim app. Since the annotation data is EXIF metadata, the annotation names will be removed, though the annotations themselves will remain.

How do you view annotation names in images within Preview on Mac?

Open any picture that has been annotated in Preview on the Mac, then pull down the “Tools” menu and choose “Show Inspector”, then click the tab that looks like a pencil icon to find the annotations and, if relevant, any annotation name attached to the annotations made to the image or PDF file.

Annotation names in Preview for Mac

If you enjoyed this tip you’ll undoubtedly appreciate many other Preview tricks we have covered before too, it’s really one of the great unsung Mac apps that come bundled with Mac OS.

Published at Fri, 15 Dec 2017 20:58:53 +0000

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Net Neutrality Is Gone. How Could That Affect You?

Net Neutrality Is Gone. How Could That Affect You?

On Dec. 14, 2017, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to overturn the net neutrality rules established under President Barack Obama’s administration. But what exactly does that mean?

What Is Net Neutrality?

The basic concept of net neutrality is that everyone should be able to access the same content on the internet regardless of the device or internet service provider (ISP) they use. Also, the experience of accessing that content should be the same for everyone.

Let’s say you subscribe to ISP A, and I subscribe to ISP B. We each have a different internet service provider. Under the concept of net neutrality, we should each be able to access the same websites and services equally. This should be the case even if you’re getting on the web using a computer and I’m using a tablet (or any other web-enabled device).

Why Are People Passionate About Protecting Net Neutrality?

If ISPs don’t adhere to net neutrality, they could drastically affect how we access information on the web. Here are a few scenarios.

You pop on the web to check your favorite news source. But ISP A has its own news source it would much prefer you to visit because it can make money off advertising on its own news page. So ISP A blocks your access to the news source you would prefer to use. That’s an extreme case, but there are other possible scenarios. For example, ISP A might put up a paywall — you can access the news source but only if you pay a monthly fee. Or ISP A could throttle traffic to and from the news source so that accessing the page is frustratingly slow, discouraging you from using a competing news service.

Without net neutrality, ISPs also could start charging companies for what amounts to fast lanes on the internet. Arguably, these “fast lanes” already exist for biggies like Google, Facebook and Netflix, as a Wired article points out. However, companies without such fast lanes could find themselves forced to pay ISPs, so that customers aren’t frustrated by long buffering sequences before, say, a video will begin to play. While larger companies might be able to weather that kind of environment, smaller startups could find themselves priced out of the market entirely.

What’s the Argument Against Net Neutrality?

Frequently, the argument boils down to “regulation is bad.” It’s not that net neutrality itself is at fault but rather the rules themselves are the problem. Several critics, including the three Republican members of the FCC, say that ISPs should still have a vested interest in maintaining the rules of net neutrality because it’s a free market. If one ISP acts in a way contrary to the concept of net neutrality, one of its competitors could sweep in and offer a fairer service. Customers would flee from the first ISP and flock to the second. Net neutrality would still be in place without the need for regulations and government oversight.

What’s the Counterargument?

Essentially, the counterargument says that the free market approach is unrealistic. A major problem in the United States is that in many regions there is little to no competition among ISPs, particularly as you start to look at the higher broadband services.

In 2015, the FCC redefined broadband speed as requiring a minimum of 25 megabits per second (formerly it was 4 megabits per second). According to that definition, the FCC’s most recent Internet Access Services report states that 66 percent of all residences with access to broadband download speeds have two or fewer choices in internet service providers. Twenty-one percent have no access at all. If you go up to 100 megabits per second, it’s even worse. Forty-seven percent of homes with such access have two or fewer choices, and a full 51 percent don’t have any providers at that rate.

If there is no competition among ISPs, argue net neutrality advocates, then there is no incentive to keep ISPs from discarding the concept of net neutrality. Customers have nowhere else to turn to and will be forced to subscribe to an ISP with predatory policies. The ISP industry then effectively becomes a series of regional monopolies.

What Did the FCC Overturn?

In 2015, the previous FCC board voted to classify internet service providers as a public utility. This put ISPs under a category of services that the FCC has authority to govern. The FCC overturned that decision, potentially giving ISPs much more freedom to operate without regulations.

What Happens Next?

It will take a few weeks for the new rules to take effect. Several organizations are in the process of filing lawsuits challenging the decision. Congress might get involved. And there is an ongoing investigation into an apparent campaign to flood the FCC’s public comment page with fraudulent anti-net neutrality statements attributed to people who claim they never posted such a comment in the first place. In short, it’s a big mess that we won’t resolve for several more months.

Published at Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:08:11 +0000

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