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And this is why I’ve been saying to uninstall Java, rather than disable it

Apple just uncovered and fixed a vulnerability that allowed an exploit to re-enable Java in a browser when it’s been disabled, which then of course allows a litany of exploits.

There are two lessons here. Macintoshes are hackable just like any other device, and latent software can be re-enabled. If you don’t think someone’s trying to do the same thing in Windows and Linux, you’re not paying attention.

Read More »And this is why I’ve been saying to uninstall Java, rather than disable it

The men (boys) who spy on women through webcams

Ars Technica made a bit of a splash this week with this provocative headline. This is real.

The article gives the usual advice, like not opening e-mail from strangers, not clicking attachments from strangers, and not visiting dodgy websites. That’s all good advice, as is staying off torrent and other file sharing sites, but even all that is not enough.
Read More »The men (boys) who spy on women through webcams

If you needed another reason not to buy Windows 8….

I’m still waiting for someone I know to tell me he or she likes Windows 8. I’ve seen some strangers online say they like it, but not a lot of them, and many of them appear to be astroturfers because they just like it too much. I’m sure Apple loves it, because, like my boss told me, a lot of older apps (like anything older than Office 2010) won’t run on Windows 8. So, if you have to re-buy all your software anyway, what advantage is there to buying a Windows 8 machine over a Macintosh?

In fact, that’s exactly what his parents did. They gave up on Windows entirely and bought a Mac Mini.

The other approach, of course, is to buy a Chromebook. A lot of people seem to be doing that too, seeing as it’s the best-selling laptop on Amazon–so much so that they don’t have any stock, and third-party sellers are scalping them for $80 above retail like they used to do with Nintendo Wii consoles.Read More »If you needed another reason not to buy Windows 8….

If you’re wondering where those anti-Google ads came from

If you’re wondering why political-style anti-Google ads are suddenly running everywhere, it’s no coincidence. Microsoft has hired one of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s advertising masterminds to try his hand at campaigning against Google.

While it seems to be having some effect on public opinion, its effect on market share and Microsoft’s bottom line will take more time to gauge. But I think in the long term, talking to customers and figuring out why they are walking out of Microsoft stores empty-handed will prove more effective.Read More »If you’re wondering where those anti-Google ads came from

What happened to GEM?

GEM was an early GUI for the IBM PC and compatibles and, later, the Atari ST, developed by Digital Research, the developers of CP/M and, later, DR-DOS. (Digital Equipment Corporation was a different company.) So what was it, and what happened to GEM?

It was very similar to the Apple Lisa, and Apple saw it as a Lisa/Macintosh ripoff and sued. While elements of GEM did indeed resemble the Lisa, Digital Research actually hired several developers from Xerox PARC.

DRI demonstrated the 8086 version of GEM at COMDEX in 1984, and shipped it on 28 February 1985, beating Windows 1.0 to market by nearly 9 months.
Read More »What happened to GEM?

How to quickly find the differences between two Word documents

From time to time, I have to deal with new revisions of familiar implementation guides or other system documentation, and the authors rarely include a changelog in the document. And of course the first question anyone asks about the new guide is what’s changed. That means I have to find the differences between two Word documents.

This week I found myself collaborating on a long-ish document and needing to synchronize some changes. Word’s tracked changes and comments can help somewhat, but generally I find them clumsy and annoying.

If you have five minutes and a willingness to use a command prompt, you can find the differences easily, then work from there.
Read More »How to quickly find the differences between two Word documents

What’s going on with Macintosh security?

The latest figures I’ve read say there are perhaps a half-million infected Macintoshes still floating around out there, an improvement from the high of 600,000 that I was seeing a few weeks ago, but probably not what Apple had hoped after releasing its most recent fix.

I argued three weeks ago that the end of the innocence was either here or very near. I’ll argue now that it’s gone: There are now 250 known Macintosh OS X viruses in existence. In 2003 there were none.Read More »What’s going on with Macintosh security?