If you are a user of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, or Aperture you owe it to yourself to download these plug-in tools from Google. These are true high end enhancements for all these products and now, Google has made them free.
the Nik collection It includes Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro, and Dfine. Each of these are fine additions to the adobe products but together and for free they add a major enhancement to the ability of these products, particularly for Lightroom users.
- Analog Efex Pro – Explore the look and feel of classic cameras, films, and lenses.
- Color Efex Pro – A comprehensive set of filters for color correction, retouching, and creative effects.
- Silver Efex Pro – Master the art of black-and-white photography with darkroom-inspired controls.
- Viveca – Selectively adjust the color and tonality of your images without complicated masks or selections.
- HDR Efex Pro – From natural to artistic, explore the full potential of HDR photography.
- Sharpener Pro – Bring out hidden details consistently with the professional’s choice for image sharpening.
- Dfine – Improve your images with noise reduction tailored to your camera.
Start by looking at Define and Sharpener Pro. These are the best noise reduction and sharpening tools I have ever used.
In the last update of MacOS and iOS, Apple quietly added a huge new feature to iBooks. iBooks has been a great way to store PDF documents on your Mac and on iOS devices to be able to reference them when you have the need. One feature lacking has been the ability to store these PDF’s and have them sync with all your iOS and MacOS devices. In the latest version updates there was the following update statement:
“Adds the ability for iBooks to store PDFs in iCloud, making them available across all your devices”
Finally, your PDF files transfer to iCloud and can be installed on other devices you own. Unfortunately, Apple really did not talk about how this works. In both the MacOS and iOS, a dialog box asked if I wanted my iBooks PDF’s stored in iCloud. Upon agreeing, the PDF documents began to sync….slowly….
Apples help on iBooks added this section to describe these new features:
Sync and save PDFs
The first time that you open iBooks after you update to iOS 9.3 or OS X 10.11.4, you’ll be prompted to use iCloud. Learn more about syncing your books and PDFs using iCloud.
You can also add PDFs to your iTunes library on your computer by dragging and dropping the PDF into your iTunes Book library. The files will appear when you are preparing your device to sync. If you’re using OS X Mavericks or later, drag and drop your PDFs into your iBooks library using iBooks for Mac. All PDF or iBook files in your iBooks library are available to sync to your iOS device via iTunes.
To sync a PDF from your computer to iBooks on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:
- Select your iOS device. (Learn how to sync your data with iTunes.)
- Under Settings, click Books.
- Select Sync Books.
If iTunes is set to sync only selected books, make sure that there’s a check in the checkbox next to the PDF you want to sync.
- Click Sync.
You can also use iTunes to back up your PDF files. To transfer PDFs to your computer and back them up, transfer purchases from your iOS device to your computer. These files are not in an iTunes Backup. Learn more about what’s contained in iTunes and iCloud backups.
But there are still a few questions:
- Where in iCloud are they stored?
- How much space is allocated to iBooks
- Can I remove a book from any single device without deleting it?
I have searched the web extensively and no one is answering these questions so stay tuned to see if someone steps up and addresses the particulars of this new application feature.
Update: With the help of security researchers, Apple over the weekend quickly blocked a cyberattack aimed at infecting Mac users with file-encrypting malware known as ransomware.
Facebook, Twitter, and the headlines on all the computer new sites this morning are counting the first occurrence of Mac ransomware found in an application distributed to users computers. In fact, I’ve already had emails from people I provide support for worried that they may be infected. Here are a couple of things that are important to understand about Malware such as this.
Here is the description of the malware that was found from Appleinsider’s website:
“Users who downloaded the Transmission BitTorrent client on Friday or Saturday are being warned to update to the latest 2.92 version to avoid being targeted by a ransomware that infiltrated an earlier version of the open source software…… The malware then “demands that victims pay one bitcoin (about $400) to a specific address to retrieve their files.” Researchers say the malicious code is “under active development” and seems to be trying to also encrypt users’ Time Machine backups to also prevent them from being able to recover their backed up data.”
So basically, unless you downloaded the transmission bit torrent client recently, you have nothing to worry about this particular instance.
Some of you may ask what is a bit torrent client? Wikipedia says, “BitTorrent is a communications protocol for the practice of peer-to-peer file sharing that is used to distribute large amounts of data over the Internet. BitTorrent is one of the most common protocols for transferring large files, and peer-to-peer networks have been estimated to collectively account for approximately 43% to 70% of all Internet traffic”
Basically, bit torent clients are used to download large files, typically large files such as pirated movies, still in applications, and other things that you can’t make generally available on the Internet.
So again, unless you’re downloading files of this type using this particular software you don’t need to worry about this particular infection.
The big concern about this particular malware is that it’s only the beginning of others that we may see. Only time will tell, but I fully expect to see more of these in the near future. These types of infections are very prevalent on the Windows side and I have seen a number of computer users lose all their data as a result.
So what’s a person to do?
Back up your data. Not just once, but twice, and keep one copy of the back up not connected to your computer. I typically back up with time machine is my every day back up and then use carbon copy cloner as a secondary back up on a drive it is not mounted to my computer. This way if I were to get infected with something like this, and it were to infect my back up that’s connected, I still have an additional copy of my data to recover from.
People think that’s a little paranoid, but believe me if you ever need to recover files having a second copy certainly makes you feel better. With external hard drive’s running about $60, there’s really no excuse, get a second Drive, purchase Carbon Copy Cloner, and set up a back up routine for yourself. If there are any problems in the future, you’ll be happy you did.
Have you ever really messed up your chrome bookmarks on your mac and wanted to restore them from your Time Machine Backup? Here are the steps to accomplish it.
1) Your Time Machine backup drive needs to be plugged in.
2) Start off by closing all the windows better open on your computer so that you’re only looking at the desktop.
3) From a finder, select the go menu and choose go to folder: Enter this in the box that has opened:
4) Single click on the file in the window named Bookmarks
5) Now you should have one single finder window open. Next you’re going to want to go to the Time Machine icon. It may be in your dock or it is in the applications folder. Double-click on it to run it
6) On the right, Select a date that is before the date you deleted the bookmarks.
7) Once you have selected the date on the right, click the restore button.
8) When it asks if it can replace the one you have now, tell it that is OK.
That should restore the bookmarks to that date. Run Chrome and check if the folder is back.
The above steps should also be similar to restore any file you need from the Time Machine backup.
In the early days of iCloud, it was very common for something to go drastically wrong and iCloud and delete or scramble your data. After seeing this happen many times, I had gotten into a routine where I would back up my critical information by hand from iCloud. For the last few years I haven’t seen this problem and have become quite complacent about it. Unfortunately, complacency generally feeds disaster, and in my case that almost happened.
The great thing about iCloud is that you can change something one time and it synchronizes around to all of your devices keeping them all up-to-date. Unfortunately that’s also the Achilles’ heel. If something goes wrong on anyone device or if you accidentally delete something from one device it synchronizes to all your devices and the information that you had before may be permanently lost. Such was my recent case with iCloud.
Somewhere along the line in updating to iOS 9.0 or 9.1, and updating my Mac to El Capitan, I came to notice that my Safari bookmarks or not the same as they used to be. Looking at them closely I saw that many of my bookmark categories had been duplicated, others had been rearranged, and if you were missing entirely. It seems that one of those upgrades did something nasty to my bookmarks. And since I had gotten out of the habit of backing up my critical information by hand, my only choice was to go back and fix them all by hand and let them sync again. So that’s exactly what I had to do. I set down at my Mac and made all my changes to get my bookmarks back as nearly as they had looked before the problem.
While investing a couple hours and cleaning up my bookmarks was probably not devastating, it did point out to me that continuing the routine of backing up your critical iCloud information makes good sense.
So what information do you consider critical? For me, that would be my contacts, calendars, Safari bookmarks, and my notes. Apple provides a method to back up by hand the first three but unfortunately the new notes application lacks that ability. So here’s how to handle a back up of the first three pieces of critical information that iCloud stores:
Open the contacts application on a mac and go to the file menu and select export. Next select export archive from the menu. Pick a location to store your back up, and name it something that has the date included. This way you’ll be able to tell the newest one if you need to recover.
Again on a Mac, open your calendars application go to the file menu, select export, and export a calendar archive. If you’ve been keeping track of calendars for a long time this may take a few minutes. It will again ask a location and I typically use the same naming convention I did with my contacts.
Open Safari on your Mac, and select File and then Export Bookmarks. Pick the same location to store your back up, and name it something that has the date included.
When it comes to notes that’s another story. You can export individual notes as a PDF file but backing up hundreds of notes that way would be difficult. If you want to dig down into the bowels of your computer, your notes file is actually stored in…
Once you selected that folder, you can simply go to the edit menu and say copy. Then paste that file into your backup location. If you can’t find it from the path you probably don’t need to be down in these folders in the first place.
Next I set a calendar alarm to remind me to do this once a month. By doing this monthly I am sure myself but for some reason iCloud has a hiccup, my information will be easily recoverable and reloadable.
Spaces has changed a bit in El Capitan. Apple has a great help article that covers how it works in the new operating system version. Here is what Apple has to say:
If your desktop becomes cluttered with open app windows, you can create additional desktops, called spaces, to organize the windows. When you work in a space, you see only the windows that are in that space.
You use Mission Control to show the Spaces bar, where thumbnails represent your spaces and apps you’re using in full screen or Split View.
Create a space
Enter Mission Control, then click the Add button in the Spaces bar.
You can create up to 16 spaces.
When you’re done, click a space in the Spaces bar or a window in Mission Control.
Move between spaces
Do any of the following:
Swipe left or right with three fingers.
Press the Control key and the Right or Left arrow key.
Enter Mission Control, move the pointer to the top edge of the screen to show the Spaces bar, then click a space.
Move an app window from one space to another
Do any of the following:
Drag the window to the edge of the screen. After a moment, the window moves to the next space.
Place the pointer over the window’s title bar. Hold down the trackpad or mouse button, then press the Control key and the Right or Left arrow key.
From the space that has the window you want to move, enter Mission Control. Then drag the window up to the space you want to use.
If you drag the window onto an app in full screen, you can use the apps in Split View.
Assign apps to spaces
If you assign an app (or System Preferences) to a specific space, the app will always open in that space.
Press and hold an app’s icon in the Dock.
You may have to first open the app from Launchpad to see its icon in the Dock.
From the shortcut menu that appears, choose Options, then one of the following:
All Desktops: The app opens in every space.
This Desktop: The app opens only in the current space. If you use the app full screen, it appears in its own space.
Desktop on Display [number]: The app opens in the current space on a specific display (if more than one display is available).
None: The app opens in whichever space you’re using at the time.
By default, when you switch to an app, the desktop automatically switches to a space that has open windows for the app. For example, if you create a new TextEdit document in Desktop 3, but TextEdit windows are already open in Desktop 2, your new document opens in Desktop 2. To change this setting, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Mission Control.
Delete a space
Enter Mission Control, then move the pointer to the top edge of the screen to show the Spaces bar.
Place the pointer over the space you want to delete, then click the delete button that appears.
If the space contains open windows, they are moved to another space.
You can quickly stop using an app in full screen or Split View by moving the pointer over the thumbnail in the Space bar, then clicking the exit button that appears.
You can add a short message to the login window that is displayed when your Mac is locked. The message can be anything appropriate to users attempting to log in, for example, to provide information for guest users. The message can also act as a virtual engraving, to provide contact information for a misplaced computer.
Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Security & Privacy, then click General.
Click the lock icon to unlock it, then enter an administrator name and password.
Select “Show a message when the screen is locked,” then click Set Lock Message.
Enter the message you want to display in the login window.
Have you ever wondered if your iCloud information is truly syncing? Sometimes you add a new contact, or a new bookmark, and can’t seem to get it to move to your other devices. ICloud is supposed to sync automatically and normally it does. But once in a while, particularly after an update, I find that parts of iCloud seem to stop syncing. So what’s a person to do.
The easiest way to get iCloud to sync again is to simply toggle off the offending item, such as contacts or bookmarks in the iCloud settings on either your phone or computer. By simply turning it off, and then turning it back on, often times the sync resumes normally. Generally, when you turn the sync back on for the particular item such as bookmarks, iCloud will ask if it’s okay to merge the information from your device with the information in the cloud. Since most of the information is the same, merging will accomplish the sync that you’re looking for and put all of the information on your device. So when asked, Tell it that it’s okay to merge.
While we all realize, we shouldn’t have to go through this process, this is certainly a simple method to get all of your information in iCloud back in sync on all your devices.
I have talked a number of times before about how Malwarebytes was the primary tool I used to remove malware on a PC. It is always been a great tool and always had a free version that allows me to use it on clients computers. I’ve also mentioned that malware, or more accurately, Adware, is now becoming a problem on the Mac and that I use a tool called Adwaremedic to remove malware on it.
Today, I updated Adwaremedic and found that Adwaremedic is now called Malwarebytes Mac. I think this is a terrific change! Malwarebytes on the PC has been dependable for years and is really the go to product for PC malware. To have this company now cleaning malware on the Mac will be a good think. They definitely have the expertise to do malware removal and Mac users should be able to depend on them too.
The next time you have Adware or popups on the mac, go to Malwarebytes to get your malware cleaner on yourMac. You can’t go wrong with them.