Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The MacHeist 4 Bundle Is Here
Until October 26th:
$29 for $529 of Kewl Mac Apps


Dear Mac Fanatics,

The MacHeist 4 Mac app bundle is ACTIVE! 

$29 for 12 (to 15) apps, worth $529+

25% of all sales goes to any of a selection of charities!

The bundle offer runs for 10 days, through October 26th at midnight.

This year's apps  include: 

• 1 1/4 year of Evernote Premium
DiskTools Pro
PDF Signer
4 Steam games
... and MAYBE (probably):
Bioshock 2 (!)
Painter Lite

This is THE ultimate, most famous, most money raised for charity bundle on the Mac platform. The more bundles sold, the more apps you get! Deal!

(I get a nice perk app for free if you purchase using the link above!)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The heist games in MacHeist 4 were quite enjoyable, all of them having a steampunk theme. They were held over the course of two weeks, ending yesterday. My nick over at MacHeist is 'zunipus'. My avatar this year was an animated GIF I created of Dr. Mabuse disguised as 'The Aristocrat'. (Last MacHeist I created an animated GIF of Dr. Mabuse as 'Weltman' the hypnotist).

The MacHeist 4 games consisted of a total of 4 nano-missions and 4 full missions. Each game that was solved provided a shiny coin worth 1% off the price of the bundle. I was able to snag 10 of 11 coins. I would have had the 11th but for my lack of talent at solving sliding block wire diagram puzzles! I hate them! Ironic IYAM. All of us playing also snagged a slew of prize apps along the way.

Happily, I forgot to log into the MacHeist website before purchasing my copy of the bundle, paying full price. I'm happy as I am so appreciative of the incredible effort and fun put into MacHeist 4. It was well worth the wait.

I believe all the iOS versions of the nano-missions and full missions are still available at the iTunes store. Simply search for 'MacHeist' for the full list. They are all free and fun. Don't forget the 'Agent' app as well for initial orientation.

For fun, here is the message of appreciation I posted to the MacHeist 4 creators:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I heartily enjoyed every mission! (Except those damnable wiring diagrams. Electricity will be the death of us!) Well done kind sirs and ladies. Well done indeed. 
Please excuse me for reiterating a comment I made in the 'Coins' thread, but I want to make certain that this message reaches those so deserving of great praise: 
I want to state my personal satisfaction at forgetting to log in before purchasing my fine collection of Macintosh apps for $29. My shiny collection of 10 coins would have lowered my purchase price to a mere $26.10, a difference of $2.90! But instead of being a Scrooge, I am gratified to know that I paid full price if only because I highly appreciate MacHeist and all the people who make it possible. I desire to over pay out of gratitude for such fine gaming, web programming, mystery, intrigue and steampunkiness hilarity. It is unusual for me to express passion or affection toward any object or person, due to my strictly proper upbringing; However, I must step outside the bounds of reason to simply and categorically state that: 
I LOVE MacHeist. 
But please don't tell anyone in the banking district I said so. 
With all due respect and appreciation, 
:-Derek Currie, Esq., aka zunipus

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mountain Lion Desktop Pictures


While I was at the Apple discussion groups today, a bunch of new OS X 10.8 users asked 
"Where's the mountain lion picture file for wallpaper?"
Sure enough, Apple oddly didn't provide a new desktop picture of a mountain lion. The lion is still there. So are an elephant, birds, zebras, a frog, but no mountain lion. Oops.

So here are some worthy desktop sized images of mountain lions from the net. They are all available free. Please respect the owner's copyright.

☺☻☺☻☺☻☺ ENJOY! ☻☺☻☺☻☺☻

Friday, June 8, 2012

SSDs: Solid State Device Data Storage

I enjoy hanging out at ars technica every day to learn new technology and reading tech opinion. This week Lee Hutchinson posted a long but terrific article about how computer memory works with a special focus on SSDs or Solid State Devices. They are the new, fast and expensive way to replace our relatively lame and limping, inexpensive old hard drive technology. The article is six pages long, but well worth reading if you're an inspired and aspiring techno geek.

SSDs use a huge grab bag of techniques to make a computer feel "snappy."
by Lee Hutchinson - June 4 2012, 11:30am EDT

SSD Write Wear

Please note that SSDs do have one major drawback: They wear out due to repeated data writing (called 'write wear') and other factors. Check with the SSD manufacturer regarding the MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) or 'write endurance'. You want to buy an SSD with a write endurance of 100,000+ write cycles, as found in SLC (Single-Level Cell) NAND-based flash memory.

IOW, it's time for my favorite nag rant, 
The #1 Rule of Computing:

Make A Backup!

SSDs, unlike hard drives, rarely give any warning before they drop dead. Also unlike hard drives, it is usually impossible to retrieve data from SSDs once they have died. Therefore, if you have no backup, you're toast. You have been warned! You'll thank me later for nagging at you. 

Considering the now dozens of free cloud backup sites on the Internet, including Apple's iCloud, there is zero excuse for not having off-site backups of your critical data.

Encrypt all your data before you back it up to the cloud. I'll discuss why and easy methods of how in future articles over at my Mac-Security blog. For now, I'll simply point out easy to make and use encrypted 'sparse disk' and 'sparse bundle' images. They are available via Apple's free Disk Utility, found in your Mac's Utilities folder. Both 128 and 256 AES encryption are considered impossible to crack as long as you provide them with a long, nasty, randomized password. Just don't lose the password! I have my Macs all set to open a shared sparse disk image at login. I use it to store all my personal data. The sparse disk image resides inside a DropBox folder that is constantly backed up to the Internet. It's a terrific and easy user-side encryption solution for all Mac users. Please check it out HERE and HERE!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Airport Utility 6.0 vs 5.6 and Firmware 7.6.1

*REVISED 2012-02-02*

Over at Apple's discussion boards, I have been helping out many people on the bleeding edge who installed Airport Utility version 6.0 and Airport device Firmware Update 7.6.1. I had put together a catch-all list of problems and oddities with Airport Utility 6.0 and the new firmware. At one point I had posted it here for other users to share and enjoy. But instead I have removed it and have decided to post this simple Problem and Solution list I originally posted at CNET:

The Problem: Airport Utility v6.0.

The Solution: Airport Utility v5.6. 

Skip v6.0 entirely. No one needs it. It is merely a hobbled iOS GUI beta test update to Apple Utility AFAIAC. (Possible exception: Its iCloud setting).
The Problem: Apple has confused A LOT of people. The documentation for Airport Utility v5.6 only states its functionality with g Wi-Fi Airport devices. This is WRONG. v5.6 works with all g AND n Airport devices and has FULL functionality, everything missing from v6.0.

The Solution: Apple must update their documentation for Airport Utility v5.6 in order to make it clear that this is the version EVERYONE should be using, NOT v6.0.
The Problem: Airport Utility v6.0 is a hobbled, obtuse and user hostile rendition of Airport Utility, despite the simplified iOS GUI. It doesn't even have a Setup Assistant!

The Solution: Fully functional Airport Utility v6.0.1. Please make it happen quickly Apple.

If you'd like to read lists of features missing from Airport Utility v6.0, I suggest these articles: