Sunday, February 10, 2013
Once again a bug in Adobe's Flash plug-in presents a serious security risk to Mac users, and once again Apple has disabled all but the very latest version of it. Which means that if you're using Safari on your Mac and you try to load a webpage that requires Flash you'll get a message about a blocked plug-in. You'll also see, if you click on the "Blocked plug-in" message, a little "sheet" sliding down from your Safari window, telling you pretty much what I've told you here.
Here's Apple's web page explaining the whole thing.
Basically, if you want to view Flash content with Safari you'll have to upgrade your Flash plug-in.
My advice to you is a little different than Apple's. Apple would have you click a button to download Flash.
I would rather you got in the habit of navigating to Adobe's site on your own as a lot of rotten things masquerade as Flash updaters and I don't want you to start clicking everything that says "Click here to update Flash!" You can read my write-up on that by clicking "What to do about the Flashback trojan."
So… get Safari going, and go to www.adobe.com (no link provided here-- type it in yourself to ensure you know where it's going). Then, roll over the "Downloads" button at the top, and slide down and click on Adobe Flash Player. THEN you download it, and then (very important) you have to actually install it. Adobe has instructions for that on its site and the instructions pop right up as soon as you start the Flash download.
The only thing they don't tell you is how to find the download. I'll handle that. Look for the Downloads button in Safari's toolbar (by default, it's at the far right) and click it once. You'll see a list of things you've downloaded lately, with the Adobe Flash Plug-in at the top. Double-click on its icon and you're on your way. Follow Adobe's instructions after that.
Here's what the Downloads button looks like:
You may be wondering "Why don't I see this 'blocked plug-in' thing in Firefox?" The answer is "Apple doesn't control Firefox the way they control Safari (because Firefox is not Apple's program to mess with)." So Safari users have Apple looking out for them, while Firefox users don't. But just because you don't get any warnings about Flash in Firefox doesn't mean Firefox users are safe. It just means that they're not getting warned by Apple. But, having been warned by ME, go get the Flash plug-in update, same as the rest of us.
You may also be wondering "Isn't it a little weird that Apple can turn something off on my machine? Are they watching what I do?" Yes, it's a little weird. But no, they're not watching what you do. They're just noticing that you're trying to load Flash content using Safari with an out-of-date Flash plug-in. Still, it is a little weird. I don't remember signing up for that and I don't think you can opt out.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Best of Macworld/iWorld 2013I'm back from Macworld/iWorld 2013, my 25th Macworld show in a row. Unless it's my 26th in a row. Anyway, regardless, here's a brief rundown of the best stuff at the show.
- Rage Software previewed "EasyWeb," their website creation program for the Mac. It has a lot in common with Apple's Pages and they are positioning it as the successor to Apple's iWeb. It comes with templates to help you get started and it's very easy to whip up a really nice looking website. The best part: they handle the web hosting too. For $99 you get the software and a year of web hosting (and email hosting too). This means that after you make your website you can click a button to put it onto the internet. No need to obtain web hosting from a third party. This makes publishing a website as easy as printing. Read more about EasyWeb here.
- Lantronix showed their xPrintServer, a small white box that makes your printer(s) available to your iPhone and iPad. All you do is connect xPrintServer to your network-- it does the rest. Very simple, very easy. It's practically magic.
- Speaking of magic: Greg Rostami showed four magic iPhone apps. All were completely mystifying. I shuffled a deck of cards and chose a card and held it so that Rostami couldn't see it. He gave me a phone number for a psychic and when I called her I got her answering machine… and in her message she said "I've been expecting your call. I see the four of diamonds" and of course that was my card. Here's the link for that app (called iPredict+). Only $2.99.
- Not quite magic, but still amazing: iPhone and iPad stands that used a miraculous new material called "micro foam." It looks and feels like a thin sheet of rubber, but what it really is is zillions of tiny suction cups. Put your iPhone against it and it sticks, eliminating the need for brackets and clamps. I saw it with my own eyes. Unfortunately, though there were two companies showing prototypes of their micro foam iPhone and iPad stands, neither were ready to sell anything. Keep your eyes open for this stuff when it becomes available. Visit https://www.facebook.com/gekostand and http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/297012779/slope-an-elegant-stand-for-ipad-nexus-7and10-kindl for more info.
- iPhone cases don't usually make my "Best Of" list but Seido's "OBEX" iPhone case is an exception because it is completely waterproof while still giving access to the screen. They had an iPhone in an OBEX case, inside an aquarium (with fish) and the iPhone was on and playing a movie under the water. If you're someone who accidentally drops his iPhone into the sink or the swimming pool or pots of soup this is the case for you. I also saw BodyDock's iLumina case, which comes with interchangeable backs and bands so you can mix and match depending on your mood. They'll send you a new band and a new back every month for six months at no additional charge. Sounds like fun for the right person and it would probably make a great gift (but not for me, I already have one).
- Last but not least, Flint showed a new way to take credit cards: snap a picture with the iPhone's camera and the Flint app OCR's the number so you don't need to type it in (and you don't need a hardware thingy to swipe the card through). Visit their website and see the introductory video.
This wasn't the biggest Macworld/iWorld but it was still a lot of fun. Next year's show runs Saturday February 1st through Monday February 3rd, 2014-- with Sunday February 2nd being the Super Bowl (and Mom's birthday, and Groundhog Day too)! I am hoping that somehow they change the dates for next year's Macworld/iWorld and if they do I will let you know.