Track Bandwidth Use with VirusBarrier X6
If you have monthly bandwidth limits, it's useful to know how much data you have used so far to avoid overage charges or being shut off by your ISP. But how do you determine how much data your Mac has transferred? Open VirusBarrier X6's Traffic window to see both current and cumulative traffic, and you can also create warnings when your data usage - incoming, outgoing, or both - exceeds an amount you specify.
Back issues of the mailed edition of TidBITS
While all the articles in each mailed edition of TidBITS are available as individual articles, we also archive each edition in three forms (substitute an issue number for number):
- As an online issue at http://tidbits.com/issue/number
- As an HTML emailed issue at http://tidbits.com/static/html/TidBITS-number.html
- As a setext-formatted issue at http://tidbits.com/static/etx/TidBITS-number.etx
If you’ve been waiting for an update to the MacBook Air, wait no longer. Apple has refreshed the diminutive laptops with slightly faster processors and a $100 price drop. Mozilla has also overhauled the venerable Firefox Web browser with a fresh new look and synchronization service, and AgileBits has updated 1Password to integrate the company’s new Watchtower service for identifying sites vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug. If you’ve heard about how iOS 7 doesn’t encrypt email attachments properly, it’s true, but Adam Engst and Rich Mogull explain why you probably shouldn’t worry about it. ComiXology, after being purchased by Amazon, has dropped in-app purchases from its popular iOS app; Josh Centers explains why this could be a blow to the superheroes. Finally, Michael Cohen has an, umm…interesting entry for FunBITS this week: “Venice Under Glass,” an iBooks Author art theft mystery featuring a teddy bear cast. Notable software releases this week include Mailplane 3.2, Default Folder X 4.6.5, and OpenOffice 4.1.
Don’t worry about Apple making rent — the company last week announced another quarter of record sales and revenues, in spite of flagging iPad and iPod sales. The company also released a slew of updates, including iOS 7.1.1, which includes fixes for Touch ID, Bluetooth keyboards, and a nasty SSL security bug. Also new this week is Joe Kissell’s latest book, “Take Control of the Cloud,” which answers all your questions about the Cloud, including those surrounding security and privacy. Turning away from the news, we share a number of essential tips and techniques for working with external hard drives, which have become necessary now that Macs rely on low-capacity SSDs and lack room for internal storage expansion. In this week’s FunBITS, Josh Centers takes a look at the optically puzzling iOS game Monument Valley. Notable software releases this week include Adobe Flash Player 184.108.40.206; Instacast 1.2; VMware Fusion 6.0.3 and Fusion 6.0.3 Professional; DEVONagent Lite, Express, and Pro 3.8; DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.7.5; OmniOutliner 4.0.5; 1Password 4.3; AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.7.3; Paprika 2.0.3; and Security Update 2014-002 (Mavericks, Mountain Lion, and Lion).
TidBITS marks 24 years of continuous publication this week! Adam Engst shares a few thoughts about where we came from and where we’re going, noting that TidBITS is doing better than ever, thanks to support from thousands of TidBITS members. In other articles, Josh Centers shares his impressions of the innovative App Camp for Girls, which held an open house at Macworld/iWorld 2014, and in FunBITS this week, he reviews Global Delight’s Boom, which promises to crank your Mac’s speakers up to 11. Can you justify a Mac Pro if you’re not a video editor or number-crunching scientist? Julio Ojeda-Zapata rejoins us with a look at how Apple’s professional Mac stacks up for regular users. For those with a foot in the IT world, David Koff offers a deep look at the world of remote desktop software, with suggestions about which package might be right for you. Notable software releases this week include Microsoft Office 2011 14.4.1, Adobe Flash Player 220.127.116.11, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 6.2, Keyboard Maestro 6.4.1, and Typinator 5.9.
Thousands of prominent Web sites — including Yahoo, Dropbox, Instagram, Netflix, and Minecraft — have proved vulnerable to the recently discovered Heartbleed bug, called “catastrophic” by a leading security expert. TidBITS Publisher Adam Engst teamed up with Security Editor Rich Mogull to explain the bug and what it means for normal Internet users. A more staid risk of computer use is neck strain, a problem that the ultra-portable Roost laptop stand seeks to solve — coffee shop patron Jeff Carlson offers an in-depth look. If you spend most of your time in places with Wi-Fi access, you may be able to avoid paying for a mobile phone entirely; we explain how to use an iPod touch or iPad as a phone. Josh also shares his impressions of being a Macworld Expo newbie, and in this week’s FunBITS, he reviews the new iPad adaptation of previous pick FTL: Faster Than Light. Notable software releases this week include OmniOutliner 4.0.4, PCalc 4, FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Pro Advanced 13.0.2, and BBEdit 10.5.10 and TextWrangler 4.5.8.
Why Apple can’t rest on its laurels was brought home this week, as Amazon introduced the Fire TV, an impressive-sounding competitor to the Apple TV, and Microsoft’s Office for iPad hit 12 million downloads in its first week. “Take Control of Apple TV” author Josh Centers covers the Fire TV’s announcement, and Julio Ojeda-Zapata takes a long, hard look at Office for iPad. We also have another collection of interesting products from Macworld/iWorld 2014, a glance at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference lottery, and, in this week’s FunBITS column by Nick Mediati, capsule reviews of a number of iOS gardening apps. Notable software releases this week include Paprika 2.0.2, Type2Phone 2.4.1, and Safari 7.0.3 and 6.1.3.
The NSA figures heavily in this week’s news, with documents from former contractor Edward Snowden revealing that the security agency is in hot water with the Recording Industry Association of America over illicit copies of music and is also working to address limitations in telephone metadata gathering by partnering with a mobile virtual network operator. But Snowden’s documents aren’t related to the other big NSA news story — a dustup with Comcast over bandwidth throttling. Back in the real world, we explain how to install Mavericks on an iPad Air (don’t get your hopes up, it’s not particularly usable) and explain why Apple’s much-rumored iCar may never see the light of day. Finally, Josh Centers takes a look in FunBITS at Nintendo’s iOS adaption of the venerable Super Mario Bros. 3 — can it possibly live up to its reputation? Notable software releases today include Firefox 104, Mac Pro ATS Update 1.0, Pages 5.1.1, and Jamiroquai 18.104.22.168.1.
The TidBITS crew is back home from Macworld/iWorld 2014, and while we’re all low on sleep, we’re kicking off our coverage this week. We lead off with a look at some of the coolest products on the show floor, Adam Engst writes about what it’s like to attend, and, in a special edition of FunBITS, Josh Centers shares his thoughts on some of the amusing apps and gadgets displayed at the show. In other articles, Julio Ojeda-Zapata offers initial details on Microsoft’s release of Office for the iPad, Adam reviews the Triage email app for iOS, and Joe Kissell returns with a FlippedBITS column that explains why privacy policies are important (it may not be what you expect). Notable software releases this week include DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.7.4, Skype 6.15, Fluid 1.8.2, Keyboard Maestro 6.4, Retrospect 11.0.1, Downcast 1.0.11, and PopChar X 6.5.
After three years, Apple has laid the venerable iPad 2 to rest, bringing back the fourth-generation iPad to fill its entry-level shoes. Josh Centers has the details, along with the story of how he was accidentally banned from Hulu and WATCH ABC and what to do if such a thing happens to you. Photographer Charles Maurer took Fujifilm’s X-E2 mirrorless camera on an expedition to Antarctica: does it set a new bar for compact cameras? Finally, Josh flies high with the arcade game Luftrausers for Mac in this week’s FunBITS column. Notable software releases this week include Apple Remote Desktop 3.7.2 and GarageBand 10.0.2.
Josh Centers has been busy this week, first keeping up with the snoops, in a piece that features UFOs, the NSA’s advice columnist, and a potentially significant fight between the CIA and the Senate. When not following the latest NSA shenanigans, Josh has been in the kitchen, testing the Paprika recipe management app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac in his latest FunBITS column. You’ll also hear from Julio Ojeda-Zapata, who returns with a look at the Microsoft Surface for those wondering about Microsoft’s entry into the tablet market, and Adam Engst, who reviews the Recur iPhone app for tracking repetitive tasks and shares where TidBITS staffers will be at the upcoming Macworld/iWorld conference. Notable software releases this week include Alfred 2.2, Default Folder X 4.6.4, and 1Password 4.2.1.
iOS 7.1 is out, and Adam Engst examines its important visual and functional changes. Apple also updated the Apple TV and the Remote app with welcome interface improvements — Josh Centers has the details about those and Google’s updated Gmail app for iOS, which now supports background refresh for speedier email viewing. Speaking of email, Joe Kissell returns with a FlippedBITS column that delves into misconceptions about changing email addresses. Then Adam is back with a story about how he replaced the battery in his iPhone 5, a task that turned out to be harder than anticipated, and a look at how Apple has phased out support for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard — is it finally time to upgrade? Josh closes out the issue with a FunBITS column profiling the iOS game Ridiculous Fishing, which introduces shotguns and chainsaws to the popular pastime. Notable software releases this week include BBEdit 10.5.9 and TextWrangler 4.5.7, Dragon Dictate 4.0, Delicious Library 3.1.6, OmniOutliner 4.0.3, and Retrospect 11.
OS X 10.9.2 Mavericks is out, and our coverage dominates this week’s issue of TidBITS. It’s an important update from the security perspective, since it addresses the critical SSL/TLS vulnerability fixed in iOS and Apple TV last week, and 10.9.2 also adds FaceTime Audio and iMessage blocking. Perhaps more important from an everyday usage standpoint, 10.9.2 features a number of Mail improvements, and Joe Kissell ferrets out a number of changes beyond those Apple lists. Joe is deep in Mail this week, since we also published his “Take Control of Apple Mail,” and he has another article that shares some of the tips he didn’t have room for in the book. Rich Mogull digs deep into iCloud Keychain, and tells you how to make yours so secure that even the NSA can’t access it. Finally, Nick Mediati joins us for this week’s FunBITS to explain how blurry photos can be a good thing. Notable software releases this week include Mellel 3.3.1, Downcast 1.0.10, Mac Pro SMC Firmware Update 2.0, iTunes 11.1.5, Safari 6.1.2 (Mountain Lion and Lion), and Security Update 2014-001 (Mountain Lion and Lion).
If you have an iOS device or Apple TV, be sure to update its system software to ensure that you’re protected from a particularly ugly SSL bug — Mac OS X is still vulnerable, but Apple promises a fix soon. The broadband industry has been much in the news and Geoff Duncan rejoins us to explain the issues behind both the proposed Comcast/Time Warner merger and the FCC’s third stab at establishing net neutrality without classifying ISPs as common carriers. Fresh off the podcast circuit after the release of “Take Control of Apple TV,” Josh Centers speculates about the future of the Apple TV, and also examines the addictive puzzler Threes in this week’s FunBITS column. Finally, Julio Ojeda-Zapata, reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and author of “The Mobile Writer,” returns for the second of a series of articles about non-traditional hardware choices from an Apple user’s perspective, this time covering the Google Chromebook. Notable software releases this week include SuperDuper 2.7.2, PDFpen and PDFpen Pro 6.1.5, and Vox 2.0.1.
Apple TV owners, read on for news of our just-released “Take Control of Apple TV,” by managing editor Josh Centers, but don’t stop there, since Josh also devotes this week’s FunBITS installment to Silver Screen, a simple, Mac-based solution to viewing video in almost any format on your Apple TV. Moving on to the iOS world, we’re joined by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and author of “The Mobile Writer,” for the first of a short series of articles about non-traditional hardware choices from an Apple user’s perspective. This time, he talks about how the iPad Air may be the ultimate tool for the roving writer. Rich Mogull continues the theme with a deep look at the “Bring Your Own Device” trend, and how Apple protects personal information on your iPhone or iPad from your employer (and vice-versa). But don’t feel left out if you’re mostly a Mac user, since Josh also has a neat tip for finding out how often you’ve restarted your Mac. Plus, notable Mac software releases this week include DEVONagent Lite, Express, and Pro 3.7; GraphicConverter 9.1; ReadKit 2.4; CrashPlan 3.6.3; Marked 2.2 (Build 823); PDFpen and PDFpen Pro 6.1.4; and Boot Camp 5.1.
Ever wondered why Apple’s Internet services always focus on personal data syncing instead of on community or collaboration? Michael Cohen suggests that it’s the result of something that Steve Jobs believed even before he returned to Apple. Key to that vision today is ubiquitous Wi-Fi, but as we all know, Wi-Fi isn’t always reliable. If your Mac is having trouble maintaining a Wi-Fi connection, consultant Alicia Katz Pollock suggests some solutions. And if you’re among those who are perturbed by iTunes, Kirk McElhearn puts the Vox minimalist music player to the test. Locations and dates for MacTech BootCamp III events around the U.S. and Canada have been announced (with a discount for TidBITS readers), and we have another exciting DealBITS drawing this week: a chance to win a copy of the Art Text 2 vector illustration program (a $19.99 value). Finally, the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics are now in full swing, so Josh Centers takes a look at some of the best ways to follow along online and via iOS apps in his latest FunBITS column. Notable software releases this week include Mellel 3.3, Evernote 5.5, Voila 3.7, and Downcast 1.0.6.
In this week’s issue of TidBITS, Apple once again disappoints Wall Street, despite breaking all-time sales records, and Josh Centers continues to help you keep up with the snoops by summarizing the latest NSA developments. Jeff Carlson takes a deep look at the long-awaited OmniOutliner 4, and Josh circles back with a review of Oceanhorn for iPhone and iPad, a game that tries to emulate the magic of Nintendo’s Zelda games. Can the struggling Nintendo get its mojo back before upstarts like Oceanhorn run away with it? Also this week, we’ve launched an experiment with a “pre-book” — Michael Cohen’s in-progress “Take Control of Pages” — that we’re selling via Leanpub. Read Adam’s explanation of why we’re doing this, and how it’s different from our normal streamed books. Notable software releases this week include OmniOutliner 4.0.1, ChronoSync 4.4.4, and ChronoAgent 1.4.5.
This week in TidBITS, we celebrate the Mac’s 30th anniversary! Adam Engst previews the Mac 30th event, which brought together many of the folks behind the original Macintosh, and examines Apple’s gorgeous and interactive Mac 30 Web site. More telling about where Apple is today, however, is Apple’s update to the iWork suite, which now runs not just on the Mac, but also on iOS and iCloud. Continuing the focus on productivity, Steve McCabe reviews all three versions of the recently released FileMaker 13 database software, with an examination of the new features and pricing structure. Moving on to entertainment in the Apple world, we’re pleased to bring TidBITS members the final chapter of Josh Centers’s “Take Control of Apple TV,” which looks at advanced topics like using Plex Media Server with the Apple TV, working around regional restrictions, and using an Elgato EyeTV HD to record live TV. The final ebook will be available for purchase shortly. Finally, Josh wraps up the issue with his latest FunBITS column featuring the iOS game République, a stealth-action title that raises the bar for mobile gaming. Notable software releases this week include Simon 3.6, Pixelmator 3.1, DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.7.3, Default Folder X 4.6.3, Intermission 1.0.3, PDFpen and PDFpen Pro 6.1.3, iTunes 11.1.4, BBEdit 10.5.8 and TextWrangler 4.5.6, and iMovie 10.0.2.
It’s governmental alphabet soup in this week’s issue of TidBITS! Adam Engst starts out by looking at the fuss caused by the FTC’s ruling that Apple owes up to $32.5 million in response to inadvertent in-app purchases by children. Then Josh Centers covers President Obama’s proposed reforms to the NSA’s intelligence-gathering programs and how various organizations grade his proposals. Next up, Geoff Duncan explains why a U.S. Court of Appeals has thrown out the FCC’s net neutrality rules, and the potential consequences for major Internet companies, small startups, and us. On the Take Control front, all our current books are half off this week, and the latest gaming-centric chapter of Josh’s forthcoming “Take Control of Apple TV” is now available for TidBITS members. If you’ve ever forgotten your administrator password, Alicia Katz Pollock suggests five ways to reset it, but beware what that does to your login keychain. Finally, in his latest FunBITS installment, Josh reviews UMoove Experience, which brings head-tracking to mobile gaming. Notable software releases this week include Typinator 5.8, Mailplane 3.1.2, Final Cut Pro X 10.1.1, and TextExpander 4.2.1.
Following this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, we bring you a number of field reports from Jeff Porten that celebrate the geeky weirdness of CES: robots, virtual mothers, good witches, and neglected salads. On a more practical bent, Adam Engst explains how to turn off the new feature that lets Gmail users send email to Google+ accounts without knowing the email address behind them, and Josh Centers shares a useful tip for avoiding Google Docs sharing annoyances when you have multiple email addresses, and offers a detailed look at his podcasting setup and process. Also new from Josh this week is the latest chapter of “Take Control of Apple TV” for TidBITS members; this week’s installment covers giving presentations via the Apple TV. Proving that he doesn’t just work all the time, Adam wraps up the issue with his first FunBITS column, all about shaping up for the new year with the You Are Your Own Gym app for iOS. Notable software releases this week include Default Folder X 4.6.2, Dropbox 2.6.2, and 1Password 4.1.3.
Happy New Year from TidBITS! We’re back from our holiday hiatus with details on the new Mac Pro; it’s available for order, but don’t expect it to arrive before February. Jeff Porten has filed his first report from the Consumer Electronics Show, with some neat toys to look forward to, as well as a look at the IFTTT Internet automation service. If you’re having trouble charging your iPhone 5 or 5s, Adam Engst may have an easy fix. If you tuned out the NSA saga over the holidays, Josh Centers brings you up to speed, and, more prosaically, also reports on GPU issues with 2011 MacBook Pros. The latest chapter of his streamed book, “Take Control of Apple TV,” is now available for TidBITS members, with a spotlight on photos and home videos. Josh also takes a look back on some of our favorite FunBITS articles from 2013. Notable software releases this week include TinkerTool 5.1, GraphicConverter 9.0.2, Delicious Library 3.1.4, Audio Hijack Pro 2.10.9, LaunchBar 5.6.2, Mac Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.0, Final Cut Pro X 10.1, and Logic Pro X 10.0.5.
Happy holidays from TidBITS as we enter our annual hiatus; we’ll be back with our next email issue on 6 January 2014. We’re leaving you with plenty to read, between this solid issue, the second edition of Joe Kissell’s best-selling “Take Control of iCloud,” and the latest streamed chapter of Josh Centers’s “Take Control of Apple TV” (containing everything you need to know about audio on the Apple TV). In the news, Josh rounds up the latest updates in the NSA spying saga and looks at the newest channel additions to the Apple TV, and he and Adam Engst pass on the details about improvements in the just-released OS X Mavericks 10.9.1 Update. Matt Neuburg returns with his annual look at what the changes in iOS 7 mean for developers (and thus users), Michael Cohen reviews Belkin’s QODE Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad Air, Chris Armstrong investigates Receiptmate for iPhone, and Geoff Duncan takes over FunBITS for a jam session with the ear-training app Capo 3 for Mac. Notable software releases this week include iFlicks 2.0.1, Firefox 26, VLC Media Player 2.1.2, PopChar X 6.4, and TextExpander 4.2.
This week, we’re kicking off our annual membership drive. Your generous contributions have enabled us to bring you more great content than ever before, and as an example, check out Geoff Duncan’s in-depth examination of what Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA spying could mean for the future of the Internet. We’re also thankful for our corporate sponsors, and happy to welcome a new one: game publisher Aspyr Media. In tech news, Adam Engst explains how Time Machine backups now work with the AirPort Extreme’s AirDisk feature, but only for the new 802.11ac models, and Mark Anbinder covers the release of FileMaker 13. On a lighter note, we round up seven geek gift guides for your review, and in FunBITS, Josh Centers looks at the iPad version of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Also this week, TidBITS members can read the latest chapter of Josh’s “Take Control of Apple TV,” which focuses on controlling, buying, ripping, importing, and managing video. Notable software releases since our Thanksgiving hiatus include Apple Remote Desktop 3.7.1, Sandvox 2.8.7, 1Password 4.1.1, BBEdit 10.5.6 and TextWrangler 4.5.4, ScreenFlow 4.5, Piezo 1.2.3, Airfoil 4.8.2, Fission 2.2, Marked 2.2, Nisus Writer Pro 2.0.7 and Nisus Writer Express 3.4.6, Fantastical 1.3.11, DEVONagent 3.6, DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.7.2, and KeyCue 7.1.
Apple promised to bring back missing features in its revamped iWork apps and has starting making good on that promise this week with minor updates to Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. The Apple TV also gained a couple of welcome new channels: PBS and Yahoo. Speaking of which, the latest chapter of Josh Centers’s “Take Control of Apple TV” is now out for TidBITS members, explaining the ins and outs of AirPlay. Alicia Katz-Pollock takes an extensive look at what you can do with Contacts in Mavericks, and in this week’s FunBITS article, Josh digs into Google Play Music, now available for the iPhone. Notable software releases this week include ChronoSync 4.4.3 and ChronoAgent 1.4.4, Evernote 5.4.3, AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.7.2, CloudPull 2.5.3, Mactracker 7.2.1, iMovie 10.0.1, 1Password 4.0.9, Mailplane 3.1, and Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.9.
Apple has released iOS 7.0.4 and iOS 6.1.5 to fix issues with FaceTime calls, but note that the iOS 6.1.5 update is only for the fourth-generation iPod touch. The tiny Doxie Flip flatbed scanner has hit the market, but what could you possibly use it for? To Michael Cohen’s surprise, quite a bit, actually. If you haven’t started working with Finder tags in OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Josh Centers offers a detailed guide on how to create, apply, and manage them. TidBITS members take note — we’ve just published Chapter 4 of “Take Control of Apple TV,” which describes all of the Apple TV’s built-in content options. Josh wraps up the issue with the latest installment of FunBITS, in which he looks at Bitstrips. What the heck are Bitstrips, how do you create them, and how do you get them off your Facebook news feed? Notable software releases this week include Mellel 3.2.7 and Keyboard Maestro 6.3.
Want a new iPad, but can’t choose between the new iPad Air and the upcoming iPad mini with Retina display? Josh Centers gives a hands-on impression of the iPad Air to help you decide if it’s right for you. Apple has released an update for the Mail app in Mavericks — Josh has the details and Joe Kissell issues his verdict. Michael Cohen looks into metadata messes in both iBooks and with ringtones in iTunes, and Adam Engst shares the fun from MacTech Conference 2013. Have one of the new iPads and want to show it off? Our latest installment of FunBITS looks at Infinity Blade III, which pushes Apple’s mobile devices to their limits. Also this week for TidBITS members is Chapter 3 of Josh’s in-progress ebook, “Take Control of Apple TV,” which is literally about taking control of your Apple TV with the Apple Remote, Remote app for iOS, infrared remote, or Bluetooth keyboard. Notable software releases this week include MacBook Pro Retina EFI Updates 1.2 and 1.3, Marked 2.1, iBooks 1.0.1, and iTunes 11.1.3.
Apple’s fourth-quarter financial results are in, and while the company is still making billions and billions of dollars, profits are once again down from the year-ago quarter. In other news, the FAA is finally clearing iPhones and iPads for takeoff, bundled utility software on Western Digital hard drives may cause data loss in Mavericks, and TidBITS readers can save 50 percent on Tonx coffee beans. Getting back to the practical, Adam Engst tells you how to make the most out of Finder tabs in Mavericks, and Josh Centers reviews Marked 2, a must-have tool for Markdown writers. This week’s FunBITS feature is Delicious Library 3, an attractive and useful tool for managing your physical media collections and recommending new items. Also new and recommended this week are the first two chapters of Josh’s in-progress ebook, “Take Control of Apple TV.” The introductory chapter is open for everyone to read, but Chapter 2, “Set Up Your Apple TV,” and subsequent chapters are a bonus for TidBITS members. Notable software releases this week include Napkin 1.1.1, 1Password 4.0.5, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 6.1, and Parallels Desktop 9.0.23140.