Technology

Best anti-virus software for the Mac?

AskDaveTaylor - Fri, 07/22/2016 - 09:51

The best anti-malware / anti-virus software for a Mac OS X system is a hotly contested discussion, and not for the reason you might think if you’re used to working in a Microsoft Windows environment. Before I go there, however, I concur that VIPRE is a good solution, but there really are a lot of good options on the Windows side. All of them have a subscription fee except for Windows Defender, however. But there are a lot more viruses and malware targeting Windows users than Mac users in the wild, so the need for a good anti-virus program is much higher on the PC side.

And that’s the debate on the Mac side: A lot of Mac experts say that because there are so few legitimate malware programs targeting the Mac platform, it’s perfectly safe to run an iMac, MacBook, or any other Mac system without any antivirus program running at all.

I used to think that was true but after I installed Webroot Secure Anywhere on my MacBook Pro [see Review: Webroot SecureAnywhere for Mac OS X] I have been surprised to have it flag an occasional download as having malware, including a recent download of FlashPlayer.dmg that was downloaded without me being aware of it. Here’s what the main window looks like with this particular program:

You can see that it’s still flagging the threat, but here’s the point: it caught it. Immediately. Without this program running, I would have had malware sitting on my Mac system, waiting to trigger. ¡No bueno!

And yet depending on how you use your Mac and what sites you visit, perhaps you can get away with never having to worry about an antivirus program (a marked difference to Windows, where I recommend every single computer have good, strong antivirus installed and running at all times regardless of usage patterns). Or perhaps those computers have been compromised and their owners simply don’t realize.

The other wrinkle is performance, and there are definitely some antivirus programs on the market that are so aggressive with their scanning and monitoring that they measurably slow down your computer, a super frustrating experience. I haven’t had Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac running on my system to test, but I can report that Webroot SecureAnywhere is completely invisible and I see no impact at all on my system performance.

And then there’s price. I don’t know what Geek Squad was selling you at $130/year but the Kaspersky site lists the annual subscription price for Internet Security for Mac as $34.99. Or, plan b, if you use my affiliate link you can buy Webroot SecureAnywhere for a $19.99 annual subscription price, so it’s even less expensive. Here’s the link: Get Webroot SecureAnywhere for your Mac (or Windows PC) at a discount.

Either way, on the Mac side I am beginning to recommend that people get and install an anti-virus program. Yes, Apple does a good job of writing a toughened operating system with Mac OS X, but do you want to trust their programmers with all your valuable data, files, photos, documents, movies, and email archives? I prefer an additional layer of security, even if it never flags anything as being at risk. It’s just insurance against something bad happening.

Hope that long explanation and discussion is helpful. I encourage you to either install one of these apps on your Mac yourself (it’s easy enough) or go back to Geek Squad and ask them what the extra $100/year gets you in terms of their services and assistance.

The post Best anti-virus software for the Mac? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

How do I send someone money via PayPal?

AskDaveTaylor - Thu, 07/21/2016 - 14:32

Paypal is pretty easy to work with once you have an account set up, though I will point out that summer 2016 they unveiled a significant redesign that moves everything to new places and makes features that were easy to get to right from the home page tucked away a click or two further. Which can be confusing, to say the least!

To set up a PayPal account, I suggest you just go here: Sign Up For PayPal.

Done? Good. Your Dad will be psyched.

Categories: Technology

The art of collaboration: from Sheets to the streets

GoogleBlog - Wed, 07/20/2016 - 15:40
Warhol & Basquiat. Buñuel & Dalí. Rauschenberg & Johns. There are countless examples of artists collaborating to bring a shared creative vision to life. So we wondered: Could technology help bring together two artists who might not otherwise meet? What would they create…if their canvas were a spreadsheet? And how could we celebrate and share their work of art with the world?

In partnership with Refinery29, a lifestyle digital media company, we linked up with renowned illustrators Marina Esmeraldo in Barcelona, and Mallory Heyer in NYC. We gave them a simple creative assignment—to “break the grid”—which literally can mean pushing the “grid” of Google Sheets to its limits, but also taps into the idea of supporting and celebrating women globally who break free of confined roles and ways of thinking, which is core to Refinery29's mission.


Marina and Mallory connected a handful of times on Google Hangouts to plan and sketch out ideas, and creatively “hack” Sheets in order to make art: resizing cells into thousands of pixel-like squares, merging cells to create color blocks, creating vibrant color gradients with conditional formatting and cell values, and other cool things we had no idea you could do with Sheets.

The result was a bright, beautiful design that celebrates the diversity and strength of women, and we wanted to share their finished project in a BIG way.

The final step was to convert Marina and Mallory’s final piece from the cells of a spreadsheet to the bricks of a giant wall—to go from Sheets to the streets. So, we turned to Colossal Media, a Brooklyn-based company that hand-paints murals all over the world.


After hand-mixing each of the colors and prepping the artwork for large-scale painting, Colossal spent five days painting each cell, letter, and gradient by hand, to create a 13’ x 34’ mural of the spreadsheet.

And that’s how art was #madewithGoogleSheets.

To see it for yourself, check out Marina & Mallory’s spreadsheet or head to Bogart & Thames in Brooklyn to visit the wall in person (until August 14). We're delighted by the creativity and imagination brought about by artistic collaboration, and proud to be associated with the work’s inspirational message supporting strong women everywhere.

Posted by Michael Bolognino, Product Marketing Manager https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vRe-ft-r0iY/V46Ozzy8odI/AAAAAAAAStQ/DPYSe13mMeEQ5mT0YbTqiGHl9st864NowCLcB/s200/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-07-19%2Bat%2B1.33.29%2BPM.png Michael Bolognino Product Marketing Manager Google
Categories: Technology

Change background color in Mac Preview app?

AskDaveTaylor - Wed, 07/20/2016 - 10:33

There are a lot of different programs for reading and reviewing PDF documents on a Mac OS X system nowadays, but I’m with you: the Apple Preview program is a winner, simple, elegant and easy to work with. It’s also completely compatible with Adobe Acrobat Reader and similar programs too, even on Windows, so it’s multiplatform friendly, which isn’t always true of Apple software (ever tried sending emoji in Messages to an Android user?)

Like many other programs, Preview also has the concept of a window that’s often larger than what it’s displaying. This happens in graphics editors too, along with document editors like Pages and Word, and most of these programs let you tweak the background color to make it more pleasing to your eye or match your existing color palette, as desired.

In Preview, it’s actually front and center on the Preferences… window! But let’s start with a PDF Preview that has a rather glaring yellow as its background color:

That’s a lotta yellow, for sure! Some folk, however, really like that sort of high contrast, cheery color, which is great. Me? Not so much.

To change it, simply choose “Preferences…” from the “Preview” menu on the top left of your screen. The window that pops up makes the process obvious:

To change the color, click on the sample box (yours will likely not be this sort of uber-bright yellow).

The Mac Color Picker pops up, and it’s hopefully something you’ve seen before:

Along the top are different ways you can choose your favorite color, but they’re mostly for graphic designers and artists, so if you’re like me, you’ll just use the color wheel. To do so, simply click the cursor in the color region you’re interested in, or dead center if you want a white/black range.

Once you have the color you want, you can tweak its tone by clicking along the gradiation bar along the bottom. Notice even in the above I could choose anything from the bright yellow to a very dark yellow, to black. With white selected as the color, the range is from white to black through greys.

Get exactly the color you like, then click the red button on the very top left of the Color Picker to close that window, and your Preview doc should have a different background!

Much easier on the eyes, and a lot more professional looking than the bright yellow background, for sure!

The post Change background color in Mac Preview app? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Review: SpeakStick Pro waterproof bluetooth speaker

AskDaveTaylor - Tue, 07/19/2016 - 12:46

Conference call in the shower? Music in the bath? An outdoor speaker for when it’s raining and you still want to be outside, perhaps soaking up the H20? Sure! That’s what SpeakStick offers, and in this video review I review and compare both the SpeakStick Pro and the SpeakStick Classic. Without being in the shower, however, so don’t worry too much about clicking “play”:

Turns out that there are a number of places where a waterproof speaker is helpful, including in a pool, as I demonstrate by having the speaker float in a bowl of water while on. My hope, of course, is that it sounds good if you’re actually underwater but I opted not to stick my head in the bowl to find out.

Categories: Technology

The new Google Arts & Culture, on exhibit now

GoogleBlog - Tue, 07/19/2016 - 10:00
Just as the world’s precious artworks and monuments need a touch-up to look their best, the home we’ve built to host the world’s cultural treasures online needs a lick of paint every now and then. We’re ready to pull off the dust sheets and introduce the new Google Arts & Culture website and app, by the Google Cultural Institute. The app lets you explore anything from cats in art since 200 BCE to the color red in Abstract Expressionism, and everything in between.

Our new tools will help you discover works and artifacts, allowing you to immerse yourself in cultural experiences across art, history and wonders of the world—from more than a thousand museums across 70 countries:
• Search for anything, from shoes to all things gold
• Scroll through art by time—see how Van Gogh’s works went from gloomy to vivid
• Browse by color and learn about Monet’s 50 shades of gray
• Find a new fascinating story to discover every day—today, it’s nine powerful men in heels



With a virtual reality viewer like Google Cardboard, you can use the Google Arts & Culture app on iOS and Android to take a virtual tour of the street art scene in Rome; step inside a creation by famous street artist, Insa; or even travel 2,500 years back in time and look around the ancient Greek temple of Zeus.

You can also subscribe to the new Google Arts & Culture YouTube channel. Find out what Kandinsky and Kanye West have in common and meet the New York-based “cyborg artist” Neil Harbisson.



We’re sure you’ll want to see some of the artworks in real life too—and the Google Arts & Culture app is there to help. Click “Visit” on a museum’s page to get opening times, find out what’s on that day and navigate there in one click. We’ve also been experimenting with a new feature. The Art Recognizer is now available in London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery, Sydney’s Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Just pull up the app, point your phone’s camera to a painting on display and find all the information you want to know about the artwork. We’re planning to roll this out to museums around the world—so stay tuned.


There’s much to learn about our shared cultural heritage. Download the app for iOS and Android to unlock a world of experiences, every day.


Posted by Duncan Osborn, Product Manager, Google Cultural Institute https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-i-NlpIDu4cU/V41iDtvxXwI/AAAAAAAASss/nUeudu0ftYAvYiQCqCfseyUUyLG9sEH5ACLcB/s200/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-07-18%2Bat%2B4.10.35%2BPM.png Duncan Osborn Product Manager Google Cultural Institute
Categories: Technology

How to use Facebook Secret Conversations?

AskDaveTaylor - Mon, 07/18/2016 - 10:04

Well, I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you. And that’d be awkward.

Just kidding! No bodily harm is required – nor even a threat of bodily harm – for you to be able to use the new Facebook Secret Conversations feature in the service. You will, however, need to pick a single device for all your encrypted chats and they won’t be available on other devices. This means if you use your PC and tablet and smartphone, only one can be “secret conversations enabled”. But that’s a good thing, right?

It’s also a bit buried in the interface, which is a bit annoying, but once you set up an encrypted secret chat, you can always go back to it, so it’s kind of a “set and forget” feature.

Let’s have a look. I’ll be tapping my buddy Brian Hayashi as the recipient of my secret chat demo, and I’m using the latest version of Facebook for iPhone (it’s definitely different on the regular Web Facebook interface).

To start, I’ll jump into an older chat between Brian and myself, not secret, not encrypted:

Pretty typical stuff. So how do you turn this into a secret conversation? You can’t.

But what you can do is open up a new chat and the new one will be secret. To do that, tap on the person’s name on the very top of the screen. You’ll get to their profile info:

You can see the option you want at the bottom of the window! Tap on Secret conversation and if you’ve never designated a device before, Facebook will confirm that it’s the current device you’re on that should be designated the secret conversation device. Kind of “Mission: Impossible”, really!

Once you’re sure, tap on “Make Default” and your new conversation window opens up:

Notice at the top there’s a tiny padlock icon over Brian’s icon, and that Facebook also reminds you that it’s secure both by calling it “Secret conversation” and saying “Encrypted from one device to the other”.

Neat and easy.

But look more closely at the bottom, as there’s a new icon that shows up on the right of the entry window, a little clock face icon. We’ll get back to that, but for now, let’s just say “Hi”:

Even the messages are in different colors! Very, um, secure.

Categories: Technology

How to work with Mac OS X Colored File Tags?

AskDaveTaylor - Sat, 07/16/2016 - 10:26

What you’ve bumped into are “tags” and they’re supposed to help you organize and keep track of files, folders and other data tied to a specific project, person, or other organizational element. As long as it’s a color. Some apps support you using arbitrary keywords like “ashley” for all photos that include Ashley, but by default Apple seems to think that colors are plenty.

Then again, I do occasionally use the feature to indicate which of a large set of files I want to work on, or, in some cases, I’ll mark them all red and change the tag to green when I’ve finished editing it. Turns out that it is helpful, after all!

Here’s what you’re likely seeing now when you look at the folders with tagged files:

You can see that two of the images in this particular folder have green circles. They’re “Tagged”.

Not only that, but if you switch to list view, you’ll see that the tags show up there too:

To gain access to the tags, simply right click (or Ctrl-Click) on one of the files. The pop up menu includes tag info:

In this instance, you can see that the green tag is already selected by its white outer circle.

You can untag a color by simply clicking on it, as this pop-up suggests:

Of course you can also go a bit crazy and add a bunch of color tags, which gives the file an attractive rainbow appearance:

More seriously, I hope that this helps you understand what those color circles are for and why you might want to try and learn to use them to help organize your own files and folders. Or just untag them all.

Categories: Technology

Wed, 12/31/1969 - 19:00

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