Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 115: 8 Steps to Ensure the Security and Privacy of Your New Mac

If you got a new Mac for the holidays, there are a number of settings you can adjust to enhance its security and privacy. We discuss eight tips to make your Mac stronger. We also look at some news, with Ring’s reaction to the claims that they were compromised, Apple pulling an app from the App Store for spying on users, and Apple’s new bug bounty program.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

8 Mac security and privacy features to set up right away

Congratulations on getting a new Mac. You’ll be able to use your new computer for work and for play, to listen to music, to shop, and to view the world. But it’s important to protect yourself, and the best time is right at the beginning, as soon as you can. There are myriad threats to your data, your identity, and your privacy, and there are a number of features that you can use on your Mac to protect you. Here are eight features you should set up on your new Mac.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Use Apple HomeKit to automate and secure your home

I recently bought a set of security cameras to cover the area around my home. I live in a semi-rural area, and I’m not really that worried about burglars, but I felt that it couldn’t hurt to have some protection. One of the things that nudged me in this direction was the fact that the cameras I bought, NetGear’s Arlo Pro, support Apple’s HomeKit.

HomeKit is a framework that runs under the hood on macOS and iOS, and most people ignore it, unless they’ve explored smart home devices. HomeKit is quite easy to set up and use, and it gives you a powerful and secure way of controlling “smart home” devices like cameras, lights, doorbells, heating, and more.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

macOS Catalina, Apple Mail, and Time Machine Don’t Work Together

One of the most useful features in macOS is Time Machine, the built-in backup software. If you have an external or network drive, Time Machine backs up your Mac every hour, and retains hourly backups for 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups beyond that. It’s simple to set up, and requires no user intervention. And it’s great, when it works.

Since the release of macOS Catalina, Time Machine doesn’t work with Apple Mail. If you enter Time Machine from Apple Mail, you are supposed to be able to see your email in all your backups. But if you try to do this is Catalina, Mail crashes.

Looking at a crash log, I see this:

Error Domain=NSCocoaErrorDomain Code=256 "The file “Accounts.73319.db.timemachine” couldn’t be opened." UserInfo={NSFilePath=/var/folders/9r/009mv58n4x172dtpkp5nrctc0000gn/T/com.apple.mail/Accounts.73319.db.timemachine, NSSQLiteErrorDomain=14}

This looks like it might be a permissions error, or something to do with the way users access system files in Catalina.

This has been a problem for months, and users have reported it and filed bugs about it. It only hit me the other day, when I needed to find an email I had accidentally deleted (or that Mail had deleted without my intervention; that’s another story…)

Stereo-paired HomePods need to be a Mac sound option – 9to5Mac

I can’t believe I actually have to ask Apple to add stereo-paired HomePods as a Mac sound output device! It’s the most ridiculous Feature Request yet, because it’s absolutely nuts that this isn’t already built into macOS — especially that it isn’t baked into Catalina.

Apple’s own audio apps will happily allow you to select stereo-paired HomePods as a single output device. You can see in the photo above that the Music app sees both my Office and Winter Garden HomePods as a single device.

Not so the Mac itself, however…

I can output Mac sound to Office Left or Office Right, but not to the stereo pair.

So I have the utterly ridiculous situation of having a pair of HomePods on my desk but not being able to use them with my Mac unless it’s through an app that recognizes stereo pairs.

A agree, sort of. On an absolute level, it is very odd, but, do people really want to do that, to have all their audio come out from a pair of HomePods? To be honest, the HomePod isn’t designed to be on a desk so close to the listener; its tweeters are at the bottom, so ideally they should be on stands. (The tweeters should ideally be close to ear level.) Given the way the HomePods work, I’m not sure that putting them on tilted stands, so they are leaning back, would work very well in all situations. I mentioned this in this article, where I also pointed out the inability to use them as general Mac speakers, but here’s how it would look; the HomePods are already bassy, you wouldn’t hear much treble in this position.

You can stream from the Music and TV apps, for example, so if you want to listen to music or watch a movie and hear its audio on a pair of HomePods, that’s easy to do.

Source: Stereo-paired HomePods need to be a Mac sound option – 9to5Mac

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 114: Apple HomeKit and the Smart Home

We take a close look at smart home technology and Apple’s HomeKit, and also discuss why Vladimir Putin is still using Windows XP, another Ring camera issue, some password problems, and a new Intel vulnerability called Plundervolt.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

The PhotoActive Podcast, Episode 58: Rule of Turds

At several points when recording the PhotoActive podcast, Kirk has said that the “Rule of Thirds” does not exist. Most books and articles about photography insist it does, that positioning objects at approximately one third distance from the edge of the frame leads to better composition. So in this episode, we get into it: Does the Rule of Thirds exist, and why?

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The PhotoActive on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.

Pixelmator Pro’s ML Super Resolution Feature Offers Quality Upscaling

Pixelmator Pro is one of the many Mac apps for editing photos. It stands out for many features, notably its ability to work with Apple’s Photos app as an extension and retain editing history, so you can go back and make changes to your edits later; something not many other Mac apps offer currently. (I know that Raw Power offers this; I haven’t encountered any other apps that work this way.)

It’s most recent update includes a feature called MS Super Resolution, which allows you to upscale images and not get the jaggies. That’s what you often see when low-resolution images are upscaled, because apps generally just interpolate the pixels, creating, for example, four pixels where there is one in the original.

I tried this out on a few photos, and it’s quite impressive. Let me show an example of how this works. Here is a photo of Titus the Cat; the original is 5608 x 3739 px. A cat photo is a difficult one for a feature like this, because of the hair and whiskers.

(Note that all photos below have been downsized for display; click them to see them in full size. If not, you won’t really be able to see the differences.)

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Facebook owns the four most downloaded apps of the decade – BBC News

The four most downloaded apps of the decade are all owned by Facebook, according to app tracker App Annie.

Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram top App Annie’s list, which was published on Monday.

The most downloaded app between 2010 and 2019 was Facebook’s main app, followed by the company’s Facebook Messenger app.

WhatsApp came third, and Instagram fourth.

This is a very compelling argument for antitrust actions.

Source: Facebook owns the four most downloaded apps of the decade – BBC News