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Tech Stuff and random observations on life as I see it….

Category Archives: Apps

No Java on Mac OS X Lion – Do we care?

Chances are, if you work in a commercial business some of the apps you use or systems accessed via a Java Application or applet if however you are a home user, chances are you may not need it. Up until Lion was released, you got the Java runtime if you needed it or not. With the latest release this is no longer true.

Last year, in October, Apple caused a fair amount of unrest among Java developers when, in the release notes of a Java update, it said that Java on Mac had been “deprecated” and that it “may be removed from future versions of Mac OS.” The future of Java on OS X is unclear, but for now it appears when Apple drops development of Java that Oracle will assume the reins and maintain future releases of the runtime for OS X in partnership with Apple who would contribute the likes of a Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack, and base code for a new graphical client in a future release.

So, what if you do need it then? Well currently apple is providing Java 1.6.0_26 (the same version that is available for Snow Leopard) for Lion users but is not developing it any further than this. So, if an application requires it on your Mac a window will pop up and give you the option to download it. Giving permission will open up Software Update to download and install the required Java runtime. A stand-alone installed is also available from the Lion web site or from this Apple Support Article .

Rosetta was also previously deprecated by Apple, and the company barred applications using both Rosetta and Java from the new Mac App Store. With Snow Leopard, the previous version of Mac OS X, Rosetta was not installed by default, but users could install it if they chose to. Now it has been completely removed.

Microsoft announces Visual Studio Lightswitch 2011 released on 26 July

Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch 2011 is a rapid prototyping business application tool which, through a variety of built-in templates for creating forms-from-data applications.

Built on Visual Studio 2010 and using either C# or VisualBasic, LightSwitch creates Silverlight applications that can run in the browser, out-of-the-browser, or in the cloud. Forms are built from templates and then populated with data from data sources including Excel, SQL Server, SQL Azure and SharePoint all without the need to write code unless you want to customise it or extend it further.

You can find more information on Lightswitch here including a beta download, training information and How-To videos

Blogsy – Blogging for the iPad done right

I heard about Blogsy after listening to a podcast episode of MacBreak weekly. I’ve been using the WordPress app on the iPad for a while and although it is a solid enough tool for writing posts, it is a bit Spartan when it comes to features for creating rich text posts. It is however free and does contain one feature that Blogsy doesn’t and that is the stats viewing page. Currently I am working with both till one comes out on top.

Blogsy is a simple, easy to use, and powerful blogging app that allows WordPress and Blogger users to create posts on their site. The app developers promise to add other blog engines to the list at some point. If you have multiple blogs you can select from multiple accounts with this app. The app work in two modes, rich text and an HTML view, swapping between the with a swipe of the finger.

You can upload pictures from your photos app but can also integrate with Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, and Google images sites from the toolbar on the right of the page by dragging them onto your blog page. Text entry is very simple too with the Formatting bar align the top allowing typical options such as Bold, Italics, bulleted and numbered lists and left, center and right alignments. Various heading settings, block quotes and a more button are also available.

Using the built in web browser you can insert hyperlinks with the push and drag of a button. Images too can be dragged off of other pages and embedded in your own by holding the image and then dragging onto your page.

Pushing the cog up on the top left of the post brings up a box allowing tags to be entered and categories selected and you can publish your post or upload it as a draft if you wish. This box can also be used to recall previously uploaded posts.

Blogsy currently costs £1.59 on the App Store

The following videos are from the App Developers on how to use Blogsy

ITerm2, an alternative terminal app for Mac OSX

Image courtesy of iTerm2 website

I stumbled across this very nice Mac OSX terminal replacement while browsing through the Lifehacker site.
At first glance it might look unimpressive but under the hood, this app has a lot of really nice features that finally gives me that Putty like terminal app that I have been looking for since I switched over from Windows. If you spend a lot of time at the command line and you don’t want to spend out for one, this terminal app is worth looking at.

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Apple releases update to prevent MacDefender infection by enhancing OSX’s quarantine function, Security circumvented in less than a day.

I feel like I have been talking about MacDefender and MacGuard for a very long time now… Actually it’s only been through May but it feels longer. Today, the 31st of May 2011, Apple finally released the security patch it promised last week.

The Security Update 2011-003 adds protection to Snow Leopard 10.6.7 users only, earlier versions of OSX are not supported. The update makes a change in the Security section of Preferences to include changes to the File Quarantine feature, which is Apple’s version of antivirus software. This update includes definitions for Mac Defender and its known variants, as well as an automated removal tool.

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MacDefender leaps onto Facebook

In a desperate attempt to capture more victims before the latest Apple update kills MacDefender and MacGuard dead once and for all (for now anyway) the Mac malware has made the leap to Facebook and is now spreading virally, claiming to be a video of IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The malware is using a technique called clickjacking to spread. A message appears in your timeline apparently posted by one of your friends, in this case referring to the news story of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn who is facing charges in New York over charges of rape. You are then invited to click a link to view a story or in this case a video. Instead of opening anything however the malware download is triggered. Finally the message you received is now posted on your timeline to catch the next unwary viewer.
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Alfred for Mac OSX -The shortcut/launcher application

I have recently been reacquainted with a productivity app on my Mac called Alfred. Alfred likes to serve you with what you need, much like a butler – hence the name. It is much like other shortcut apps like Quicksilver but I always found the interface more complex than I wanted… This one pretty much works in one display bar and allows you to work more with the keyboard and have less switching between keyboard and mouse; great for those with RSI.
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New MACDefender Variant: lock up your browsers

Just mere hours after Apple announces that they will be providing an update to prevent further infections by the MACDefender trojan, a new variant named MacGuard is discovered by the Anti-virus provider Intego.

The main difference between the two variants is that this new version installs as the current user and so gets rid of one step towards infection by removing the needs to the administrator password to be entered.
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MACDefender: The fix – Apple shows the way!

First we heard of MACDefender, the fake Anti-Virus program and suggested it would only trap the Unwary, then we hear that more people are falling for the scam than was originally expected… Now, Apple comes to the rescue with an official support article on how to remove it and a notification that a fix from an update will arrive “in the coming days” – There’s nothing like a timescale… and that’s nothing like a timescale.
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It Bites: MACdefender Trojan on Macs

Back on the 9th of May I wrote an article warning about the MACdefender Trojan. Back then I said that it was one that would catch the unwary… How wrong was I? It would appear that people are falling for this one left, right and center. In fact it would seem that Mac users, smug for so long that viruses weren’t their problem and are asked to input their admin password so often, don’t recognise the danger signs when they come along. Converse to this, research is indicating that Windows users, who have been bashed and battered so regularly with attacks, are becoming much more security conscious these days.
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