Utilities and drivers

Perian plug-in for QuickTime to be discontinued

The development team of the Perian plug-in for QuickTime has announced today that it will no longer be making future versions of the plug-in.

The Perian project began over six years ago, and the plug-in has been a simple and straightforward way to add extensive media support to OS X without juggling multiple media players.

Commonly referred to as the Swiss Army Knife for QuickTime, the Perian plug-in included a number of the codecs required to view most video formats available via the Web and was the answer for many who were trying to find a way to view obscure, … Read more

Apple releases Safari 5.1.7, Snow Leopard updates, and more.

Accompanying today's updates for OS X Lion client and server, Apple has released a number of other updates for its supported operating systems and OS X software.

The first is a security update for Snow Leopard, which applies similar security updates for its components that were applied to Lion in the OS X 10.7.4 update. Apple has a knowledgebase page on the security details of this update, but as of this writing the page is not loading from the Apple support site.

In addition to the Operating System updates, Apple has made available updates to its popular … Read more

Cloud-based storage options for Mac OS X

With more and more computing devices becoming mobile or located in different areas besides the desktop, the need for online storage and syncing options to manage files created or edited on these devices is increasingly important. To tackle this need, Apple has explored various approaches to online document management and sharing with its MobileMe and .Mac services, but these options have been phased out in favor of newer and more integrated approaches to online storage and syncing options.

Apple has its online storage offerings that so far have culminated into its iCloud service, but there are others as well, which … Read more

Amazon Cloud Drive apps for Windows and Mac (hands-on)

Amazon announced today that its Cloud Drive storage apps (Windows | Mac) are available for download, so I went ahead and downloaded the apps on both my desktop machines to check them out. The service was already available at the Amazon Cloud Drive Web site, but with a dedicated app you get easy access for storing just about any type of file on the fly.

After a fairly easy setup (requiring my Amazon account log-in info), a cloud-shaped icon was placed in my system tray (in the menu bar on the Mac) for easy access. Upon first launch, Amazon gives you … Read more

Luxembourg CIRC develops LaunchAgent monitoring tool for OS X

LaunchAgent scripts in OS X can be used to automatically run programs and scripts and are a common route that malware developers use to run their malware in OS X once either the system is exploited or the user has been fooled into installing malware.

Because of this, I recently wrote a procedure for how OS X users can set up notifications that warn whenever changes are made to the various LaunchAgent folders and thereby help detect such attacks, which have been used in some recent and notable malware scams in OS X including DNSChanger, MacDefender, and the most recent … Read more

How to bring the Start menu back to Windows 8

For Windows 8 beta users still yearning for the good, old-fashioned Start menu in Windows 8, StartMenu7 is one utility that can bring it back.

Initially designed to replace and enhance the Start menu in Windows 7 and prior versions, StartMenu7 (aka StartMenuX) can pull a similar trick in Windows 8. Designed for a PC or touch-screen device, this utility is available as both a free version and a paid $19.99 pro version, so you can try out the freebie first.

After installation, the software displays an icon in the lower left corner of the desktop. Click on the … Read more

F-secure releases free Flashback removal script for OS X

The Flashback malware for OS X has been one of the largest attacks to date on OS X, which at its peak on April 6 affected an estimated 600,000 systems running OS X. While developments regarding this malware's mode of infection and the scope of the problem have been concerning, efforts by those in the Mac community are underway to tackle and remove the problem. So far, these efforts have cut the number of infected systems in half in just under five days.

This effort has stemmed from the availability of instructions on how to manually detect and remove the malware, … Read more

Acrobat and Reader updates close security vulnerabilities

The default options for viewing PDF documents in OS X are Apple's built-in rendering technologies available in Safari and Preview; however, there are times when some documents will not display properly in these programs. In these instances, you can use Adobe Reader and its accompanying Web plug-in to usually view these documents with success.

For those who use Adobe's Reader and Acrobat programs, Adobe has issued an update that fixes a couple of security holes in the program that could cause the program to crash and allow arbitrary execution of code. While this reasoning has been regularly issued … Read more

Miss the start button in Windows 8? This app will bring it back

People who just can't work in Windows 8 without the classic start button may want to check out a free app called Start8.

Designed by the folks at Stardock, Start8 tries to merge the convenience of the start button with the functionality of the new Metro environment. As such, it moves beyond the standard start menu with some unique features of its own.

You can download Start8 from its dedicated Web page and install it in the current beta, aka Consumer Preview, edition of Windows 8. Installation is quick and simple. After the app is installed, you'll see … Read more

Apple issues software installer update

Apple has released a small update for its Software Update service, which addresses a problem with Snow Leopard systems where the installers for some software updates may not run. This issue does not happen for all software updates, so only a select few people will experience updates not installing; however, without being patched, the issue might surface with future updates that Apple releases.

On systems where this problem happens, the Software Update utility will detect updates as being available, but when you click to install them, nothing will happen. If you are having such problems on your system, then you … Read more