Take Control books

Take Control Books is a collection of short electronic books about Apple products and other technical topics, originally created by Adam and Tonya Engst (TidBITS) but now published by Alt Concepts Inc. (Joe Kissell) and written by a variety of authors. See the Take Control catalog, updates, device advice, and FAQ for more details.

Take Control of Home Security Cameras is a recent release by Glenn Fleishman,  priced at $14.99 for PDF, Epub and Kindle Mobipocket formats with a free sample available.

Take Control of Working from Home Temporarily, also from Glenn Fleishman, is available free of charge.

Take Control of Working from Home Temporarily is a free 55-page book tailored for the sudden onset of telecommuting. It’s our way of trying to help.

HomeBridge

HomeBridge is software from Nick Farina that “allows you to integrate with smart home devices that do not support the HomeKit protocol.”

It supports Plugins, which are community-contributed modules that provide a basic bridge from HomeKit to various 3rd-party APIs provided by manufacturers of “smart home” devices. Since Siri supports devices added through HomeKit, this means that with Homebridge you can ask Siri to control devices that don’t have any support for HomeKit at all.

HomeBridge is free, open-source server software for Node.js (which runs on many different systems from a Raspberry Pi on up through Mac, Windows, and Linux to System Z and more), published via NPM.

Discussions

macOS Catalina notes talk about Apple Books bugs, Dymo label software compatibility, QuickTime 7 elimination and virtualization workarounds, plus Thunderbolt sleep crashes and tips for installing Mojave (or High Sierra) on new Macs that can still run it while shipping with Catalina installed.

MacInTouch Community updates also touch on the following topics (among others):

Discussions

MacInTouch Community discussions include the following current topics, among others:

Discussions

2019 Mac Pro notes talk about storage upgrade issues, historical price comparisons, Thunderbolt video compatibility and bandwidth, 2013 Mac Pro obsolescence/support, Windows PC comparisons, tech support for $50K+ customers, Apple wheels, iFixit fun, component costs and other pricing/design factors, cheap RAM, an impressive Ryzenshine AMD-based hackintosh, road-robust design, the halo effect, and more.

Virtualization discussion looks at 32-bit support within macOS Catalina; issues with cloning/importing/booting disk volumes; standard VM formats; compatibility and update concerns; Parallels vs. VMware; archive formats; performance experiences; VirtualBox extension licenses; and more.

MacInTouch Community discussions also include the following topics, among others:

  • Adobe/alternatives – Affinity excitement; IDMarkz InDesign conversions
  • Antivirus software – suggestions for mom; Avast and F-Secure
  • Apple quality – iPhone/iPad scratches, cases
  • Apple security – hidden processes; silent updates/changes; parental control bypass bug
  • Audio – 64-bit apps for pop and click cleanup
  • Displays – BenQ EW3270U, Pro Display XDR compatibility, dual-panel (LMCL) technology, ProArt PA32UCX
  • File systems – APFS version confusion, detective work
  • iMacs – $1399 iMac 5K; RAM upgrades
  • iOS 13 – “bugs galore”, UI problems, update issues, file servers optimized charging
  • Mac Mini – OWC SSD upgrade confusion
  • MacBook Pro – 16-inch audio bug partial patch?
  • macOS Catalina – VueScan, QuickTime, 16-inch MacBook Pro and Mojave, dictation deprecation
  • Malware – malicious ads inject malware into iPhones from mainstream websites…
  • Migration – macOS choices for older Macs
  • Networking – AFP vs NFS vs SMB Performance
  • Old systems – publishers and preservation; Fortran; old Mac speed; Copland
  • Scams – snail mail and phone scams, and related advice
  • Security – Ring device invasions, etc.
  • Tax software – privacy/security issues and options
  • Thunderbolt – cellphone-triggered disconnects; OWC dock

Discussions

Adobe and alternatives discussion talks about Affinity Publisher and InDesign/IDML conversion with IDMarkz (including notes from the developer), along with various publishing/business issues and experiences.

Email discussion digs deeply into issues with G Suite and Gmail setups, along with alternative email providers, anti-malware and anti-phishing services, the Mail-in-a-Box server, etc.

MacInTouch Community discussions include the following current topics, among others:

  • Antivirus apps – F-Secure Safe
  • Apple Mail – junk mail processing problems
  • Apple security – stealth location tracking; Find My, U1 chip and iBeacons; GPS
  • Apple TV – Dolby Vision HDR failure; Hulu bug
  • Backups – Time Machine restore options/procedures
  • Displays – dual-layer (LMCL) vs. OLED mastering monitors
  • File systems – APFS boot issues/tests
  • Firewalls – Ubiquity EdgeRouter, Pi-Hole, Raspberry Pi notes, etc.
  • Input devices – Corsair RGB keyboard profiles
  • iOS 13 – voice control; iOS 13 bugs and update issues
  • Linux – iPad vs. Mac; distro review; laptops; dual-boot; terminal apps
  • Mac Pro (classic) – video card compatibility
  • MacBook Pro – sudden shutdown bugs; speaking popping; display ghosts; hackintoshes
  • macOS Catalina – bugs, enterprise concerns, Unix shells, etc.
  • Malware – cryptocurrency fileless Mac infection
  • Old systems – old drives, DEC systems, Televideo, Macs, motorcycles, appliances, cars…
  • Security – solar systems; X10; FBI warnings: Smart TVs and iOT
  • Storage – Thunderbolt and USB SSDs – performance, compatibility, prices, etc.
  • Thunderbolt – CalDigit TS3 Plus, OWC dock
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA) – PayPal/Authy setup
  • Utilities – LiteSwitchX replacement, TechTool Pro 12
  • Vulnerabilities – VPN-busting bug

Smart TV security issues

Here’s a warning and advice from the FBI:

FBI Recommends Securing Your Smart TVs and IoT Devices

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recommends making sure that Internet of Things (IoT) devices and smart TVs in your home are properly configured to protect them and your other devices from potential attackers.

FBI’s recommendations come after a long stream of malicious campaigns targeting such devices [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] that usually are unsecured, to either add them to large botnets or use them as a stepping stone in multi-stage attacks aiming for other devices like smartphones and personal computers.

This advice aims to help you build a digital defense around your smart TV and IoT devices to protect your sensitive personal and financial information, seeing that they are easily reachable as they usually come with an Internet connection enabled by default.

“Unsecured devices can allow hackers a path into your router, giving the bad guy access to everything else on your home network that you thought was secure,” the FBI Portland Office says.

… The following guidelines should have you covered if you own an Internet-connected smart TV according to the FBI:

• Know exactly what features your TV has and how to control those features. Do a basic Internet search with your model number and the words “microphone,” “camera,” and “privacy.”​
• Don’t depend on the default security settings. Change passwords if you can – and know how to turn off the microphones, cameras, and collection of personal information if possible. If you can’t turn them off, consider whether you are willing to take the risk of buying that model or using that service.​
• If you can’t turn off a camera but want to, a simple piece of black tape over the camera eye is a back-to-basics option.​
• Check the manufacturer’s ability to update your device with security patches. Can they do this? Have they done it in the past?​
• Check the privacy policy for the TV manufacturer and the streaming services you use. Confirm what data they collect, how they store that data, and what they do with it.​