We’ve seen a recent rise in “ransomware” that infects and encrypts computers, then demands money for you to get your data back.
I reported back in March 2011 having seen ransomware demanding $200. Today, it is asking for $300 within 10 hours.
The name of the virus is CryptoLocker. The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team has a good write up on CryptoLocker.
To avoid this ransomware, we recommend using a Mac which can not be infected. Or just keep your PC antivirus up to date and avoid clicking on links on email or websites that you are unsure about.
One of our most popular posts is Paperless Office in a Snap explaining how to set up automatic OCR of scanned documents.
With the release of Mac OS X Mavericks, the controls for Accessibility features have changed. Therefore Step 5 in the Paperless Office in a Snap post has changed. Instead of clicking Enable access for assistive devices under System Preferences – Universal Access, you now need to do the following:
Go to System Preferences – Security & Privacy – Privacy – Accessibility.
Click the checkbox to allow Folder Actions Dispatcher to control your computer as shown below.
ADDITIONAL UPDATE: This option might not show up for you until you go through the other steps in the original script and it fails. Then come back here and the checkbox option below should be available.
I used to recommend using Google to host your personal domain email (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org). But since Google started “monetizing” their products, they now charge $50/year/account for the service, quite steep.
Now I recommend Outlook.com, which is still free and a very good service. You can signup here:
You need an existing outlook.com email account to set up the mail domain account. Just like any change in mail server, you need to update at your registrar your MX records and your TXT record to prove that you own the domain.
Then you can reach your mail by going to:
The Magic Plan app for iPad and iPhone deserves to have “Magic” in it’s name.
I recently helped an Arlington, VA, customer who had a new iPad and had just moved. They wanted to build a floorplan of their place. Using Magic Plan allowed us to create a floorplan quickly by clicking on the corners of the rooms. You align the rooms, add in windows, make a few adjustments to the estimated dimensions if needed, and you’re done. Once you get used to it, you can have a house done in under an hour.
Then you can even add in furniture to your floor plans or see what it looks like if you do a construction project and knock down a wall.
The app is free to use and requires a subscription if you want to export PDF files for use by an architect.
Many people have an iPhone or iPad as well as a Windows computer. While there are ways to sync an iOS device with Outlook or Windows Mail for contacts and calendar, the syncing never displays things the same way as it does on the iPhone or iPad.
iCloud Web Access
The easiest way to give people access to their information is to use iCloud. Use the icloud.com website to give them access to things in the same way it look on their iOS devices.
Create Web Links on the Desktop
Then drag the the weblinks for the specific App to the desktop. (This is usually the icon to the left of the URL and can be dragged to the desktop.) They’re formatted in the following way:
I like to rename the links from “iCloud Contacts” to just just “Contacts”.
Find New Icons
I also like to make the icons look like the Apple icons. You can use any icons you want, but these are my favorite. I download the Multi-Res ICO versions if available. Download them to somewhere that you won’t later delete. I put them in c:\Windows\icons\
Mail (for @icloud.com email) http://www.iconarchive.com/show/iphone-icons-by-judge/mail-icon.html
This set of icons is overall good if you want to make an iPhone user feel at home on Windows:
Change the Web Links to the New Icons
To change the icon:
- Right click on the link icon on your desktop
- Choose the Web Document tab at the top
- Choose Properties
- Click Change Icon…
- Click Browse… and find the .ico file that you downloaded
Then you can have a Windows desktop that looks like this. If you check off “Keep me signed in” when you login to iCloud, then you have a quick and simple setup that will be comfortable for iPhone or iPad users.