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Joe Kissell

Joe Kissell

Joe Kissell became a TidBITS contributing editor in 2006 and now lives in San Diego after more than five years in Paris. He has written more than four dozen Take Control books, including the best-selling Take Control of iCloud, and numerous print books about Mac OS X. He is also a Senior Contributor to Macworld and the creator of Interesting Thing of the Day. (December 2012)

Joe Kissell 117 comments

iCloud Photo Library: The Missing FAQ

OS X 10.10.3 brings the new Photos app to the Mac, and with it, the iCloud Photo Library sync feature that has been available to iOS users for months. But iCloud Photo Library has turned out to be confusing to many users. In this FAQ, Joe Kissell answers the most common questions and points out some of iCloud Photo Library’s surprising behaviors.

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Take Control of Security for Mac Users, Chapter 12: Recover from a Disaster

If you’ve lost data, or you’ve discovered malware on your Mac, or someone has stolen your personal information and applied for credit in your name, you need to take action to fix the problem as soon as possible. Regardless of the type of disaster, your first step is not to panic. Then you can methodically undo or repair the damage. Although the exact procedure will depend on your situation, this chapter contains some suggested general steps to get you started.

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Take Control of Security for Mac Users, Chapter 11: Keep Personal Data Private

As we’ve seen, security and privacy have a complex relationship, but improving your Mac’s security can often increase your privacy—and in fact, keeping your data private is one of the most important reasons to take security measures. Some of the steps that lead to greater privacy don’t involve security in the strictest sense, but they’re no less important just because they fall on one side of that conceptual line. This chapter explores several of those borderline topics.

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IRS Offers iTunes Credit for Tax Refunds

U.S. taxpayers expecting a small-to-medium refund this year can opt to receive it in the form of iTunes credit (with some qualifications).

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Take Control of Security for Mac Users, Chapter 10: Prevent Data Loss and Theft

Most of the topics in this book address ways of protecting your data in one fashion or another. But in this chapter, we change gears to address two key pieces of data security — preventing loss and theft of your data while it’s stored on your Mac.

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Take Control of Security for Mac Users, Chapter 9: Manage iCloud Security

Because so many aspects of OS X depend on Apple’s free iCloud service for key functionality, iiCloud security merits its own chapter. Of course, iCloud works on mobile devices, Windows PCs, and even Apple TVs — not just on your Mac — but the more you know about iCloud security, the better you’ll be able to protect your Mac and its data from unwanted access.

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Take Control of Security for Mac Users, Chapter 8: Surf the Web Safely

The Web is perhaps your Mac’s most obvious gateway to the outside world, and as a result, it’s one of the best places to find people and software that present threats to your security. Even though you’ve secured your Wi-Fi connection, selected good security settings, and chosen strong passwords, a brief visit to a malicious Web site can cause all sorts of harm to your Mac. In this chapter, I review several keys to safer Web browsing, including using SSL when possible, making sure your browser uses appropriate settings, and using a combination of common sense and technology to avoid phishing attempts and Web-borne malware.

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Take Control of Security for Mac Users, Chapter 7: Fortify Your Mac’s Defenses

Regardless of how secure your Mac’s connection with another computer may be, that computer could try to send your Mac dangerous software, or someone could attempt to break into your Mac remotely. Conversely, you could have software on your Mac that attempts to make connections to distant servers without your knowledge and send them information you’d rather keep private. This chapter discusses ways of keeping your Mac and its data safe from outside attacks, some of which could appear in the form of malicious software, or malware.

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Take Control of Security for Mac Users, Chapter 6: Improve Your Network Security

No Mac is an island, and it’s important to protect the network traffic flowing to and from your Mac. Luckily, a few simple precautions will prevent automated bots from sniffing your traffic for email addresses to spam, passwords to exploit, and credit card numbers to resell, among much else.

Joe Kissell 8 comments

Take Control of Security for Mac Users, Chapter 5: Improve Your Passwords

Strong passwords are key to maintaining the security of your Mac, and in this chapter, Joe Kissell explains why, looks at what’s involved with a strong password, suggests several password managers, and encourages you to up the security of a few key passwords right away.

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Take Control of Security for Mac Users, Chapter 4: Beef Up Your Security Settings

In this chapter we continue by looking at some security settings that require a bit more explanation and thought. That includes a discussion of OS X’s Gatekeeper and sandboxing security features, some basics for using user accounts more securely, and a couple of quick suggestions about sharing files, your screen, and other resources.

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Take Control of Security for Mac Users, Chapter 3: Quick Security Fixes

In this chapter, we’ll look at a few essential security steps that are so easy, and so fundamental, that everyone should run through them. They include instructions for how to stay current with important security updates and a few key security settings.

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Take Control of Security for Mac Users, Chapter 2: Learn Security Basics

This chapter doesn’t dive into step-by-step instructions for particular security features, but instead takes a broader look at what security means — in general, and to you specifically.

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Take Control of Security for Mac Users, Chapter 1: Introducing Mac Security

Joe Kissell kicks of “Take Control of Security for Mac Users” with this chapter, introducing the topic and explaining what future chapters will cover.

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Apple Mail: The Yosemite Progress Report

Apple Mail was a disaster in early versions of Mavericks. Now that Yosemite is out, is everything hunky-dory again? Joe Kissell discusses what’s new in Mail — both good and bad.