Blog: CrashPlan drops consumers

Hey there everyone! I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But unless you haven't already heard, Code42 the parent company of the CrashPlan cloud backup product has announced their decision to leave the consumer market to focus on the business market. Don't panic! CrashPlan is not cutting off your current backups just yet. Fortunately if you have a current subscription they will continue to backup your files like they always have and you will be able to restore them as usual. In addition they are also extending active subscriptions by two months to give everyone time to shop around for another provider. Unfortunately that means our cloud based backups will need to be switched to another solution and frankly I am not a fan of CrashPlans suggest provider for various reasons, so I cannot recommend Carbonite . I am already evaluating possible replacements and once I find a suitable replacement for CrashPlan I will let everyone know and will update the website so you can also continue to keep your data safe and secure!

https://www.code42.com/news-releases/code42-focus-business/

Dan

Blog: Do Macs need "Anti-Virus" Software?

I wanted to provide some context to "Macs don't need Antivirus" that I see constantly repeated. Now in full discloser I'm an Information Systems Engineer and have spent many years drilling the black and white portions of my brain out, so I don't see things so cut and dry. But in an attempt to provide some prospective I want to help anyone who is asking the question "Does my Mac need antivirus".

So first up lets talk about the software...its a bit disingenuous to call modern security suite software providers just "Anti-Virus". Most of these products provide levels of support for malware detection, adaptive fire-walling, parental controls, and spam filtering beyond just basic anti-virus. So I would suggest that a security suite as a whole works to mitigate multiple levels of potential vulnerabilities in a OS. Are all of these necessary? That very much depends on you as the user and how you use your Mac.

To make a fair determination lets talk use cases. Many different users, use their macs for completely different purposes and at various level of risk:

The easy use case to start with is a Work Mac. I myself have one mac that falls into this category and in this case it is a requirement that I maintain an "Anti-Virus" software. So in this case its not a matter of if, but which. In my case I am allowed to pick, just so long as I can prove that I am using AV of some kind.

Next is the low risk home user...this is where you need to be completely honest with yourself. If you literally check email, browse only legitament non-XXX (or any other kind of potentially seedy) websites and do not use torrents or other P2P sharing services...as in you fly the strait and narrow all the time. Then you probably just fine running without any additional protection. My advice is to do the normal things to secure your mac (Enable firewall, setup a non-admin user account for your day-to-day use, use file vault if you travel a lot) and for a little added comfort download Malwarebytes for mac (https://www.malwarebytes.org/antimalware/mac/) and run it on the odd occasion now and again (Great tool, Only on demand so no resource consumption on your day-to-day use).

High risk home users....you probably know who you are, and are likely (although not always) are more technically savvy. So its up to you, but a little added protection never hurt anyone if your diving deep into the dark corners of the internet. As I mentioned before the security "suite" approach may be more beneficial to you in it additional capacities, not just the AV component (or maybe so if your a mixed OS home). Running Malwarebytes for mac on occasion doesn’t hurt either.

Home users that just want to be as safe as possible....no matter what someone tells you, if removing security software makes your nervous then do what works for you. Trust me, if it gets to be a pain to run any software you will eventually learn to either give it up or move on to another solution. Much of what has been said around "Viruses" and the Mac is very much true, but viruses are only one kind of exploitable avenue to you computer. The OS X operating system is fantastic at security, but no piece of software is ever 100% secure (as the recent publishing of the Gatekeeper bypass shows, http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/01/how-malware-developers-could-bypass-macs -gatekeeper-without-really-trying/, http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2497990,00.asp). The point is do what makes your internet experience good for you and if that costs you a good experience with OS X then consider trying other solutions or trimming back to the recommendations I suggested for the low risk users.

As a side note: Blaming AV for high resource consumption is not a 100% relevant argument today (Unless the software is just crap, then its 100% valid). Yes it consumes CPU and memory, but those resources are so large in modern computing that for average users there is no resource contention to conflict with running processes. Yes the real-time scanners do run a 1-for-1 against active process, but the users likely to notice the overall effect will be someone running several active applications or someone like myself who runs several virtual machines at a time.

As to whether or not to use “Anti-Virus”, I think its important to consider the reasons why you want to use it in the first place. Was it for parental controls? Then consider the built-in parental controls in OS X. Firewall....consider the built in? But verify that if you do pick the next solution that it meets your needs as not all security software provide the same capabilities. Also take a look at http://www.av-comparatives.org/mac-security-reviews/ to compare the performance of the possibilities. I have been using ESET for many of years on both the PC and the Mac and still recommend their products, however there are other products (free or paid for) that are also great if you need additional security for your Mac.

Dan

Blog: How to properly break in a new engine

So you have a new car and now it’s break in time, but what should you do? How do you properly break in a engine? The internet is full of all different kinds of advice, so whats the right advice to follow? Don’t worry I have an answer for you and its not hard at all. But you do need two key ingredients to do the job right, patience and discipline (And for the love of all that is holy do not Google! Its worse than looking up sickness which always results with cancer.).

 

What are the goals of a good engine break in?

1: Seat the piston rings with cylinder walls

2: Seat the Valves

3: Allow for final engine tolerance adjustments

In other words give the 1000 individual pieces of your engine time to settle in.

 

Dan’s rules for new car break in:

1: READ THE OWNERS MANUAL! Seriously, its easy to forget it’s there but your manufacturer may have put a specific process in there for break in. Because this applies to your warranty be sure to follow that first, then after that any other recommendations second.

2: Follow the recommended oil change interval, there is no need to change your oil early unless the manufacturer states to do so. If your worried about wear metals from the break in process, then stop. Keep in mind that engineers plan on any additional wear metals as a part of the break in process and the overall engine tolerances (See goal #3). You also have an oil filter there to help trap harmful contaminants and most manufacturers tend to use an heavy duty oil filter from the factory. 

3: Do not use synthetic oils earlier than 3,000-4,000 miles unless the manufacturers maintenance schedule calls for it. Because of the specific properties of synthetic it actually does not make a good break-in oil. Now there are different honing processes that are used on cylinders and different metals for cylinders that can change a manufacturers recommendations for oil types, but if you change to synthetic oils too early you can prevent your rings from properly seating. This also goes for any top off oil that is needed, if you need to top off use a conventional oil that meets the manufacturers recommended specifications.

4: Do not let the engine idle for sustained periods of time! Its fine if your in the middle of stop and go traffic, but if your trying to let the car warm up because its a cold day don’t do it! Suffer with the cold, your engine with thank you for it.

5: Make sure to vary the engine RPMs during the first 1000 miles. If you have a common route to work thats mostly highway miles find a different route for a little while that mixes city and highway driving. Part of the purpose of this is to help with the mechanical variances (resonance as an example) that occurs with different loads and RPMs. This also helps with loading on the compression rings themselves which also aids in a good break in.

6: By the miles:

up to 500 miles - Light to moderate acceleration (remember to vary engine RPMs) and little to no engine braking if you drive a manual transmission. 

500 to 750 mile - Moderate acceleration and light to moderate engine breaking

750 to 1000 miles: Short spurts of heavy acceleration (merging on the highway is a good place to do this) and moderate engine braking

1000 to 3000 miles: Drive like you normally do, be sure to follow the owners manual for your maintenance schedule and PLEASE, PLEASE do not beat on your car unless your willing to pay to fix it!

Fixed!: Calibration request & Ask a Question

Well now this is embarrassing, but as it turns out as I had made some changes to my own email provider last week I forgot to update my website with the new email system. So if you've tried to send any requests for a calibration or ask a question in the last week, those haven't made it to me. I have fixed the problem and all of the pages work again, so if I missed something from this mistake please feel free to try again!

-Dan

NEW: Web Protection for your whole home!

Every wondered if there was a better way to secure the internet for everything in your entire house? What about protecting your children from pornography no matter what device they are using? Well man do I have a solution for you! Norton ConnectSafe aims to protect your home by identifying and blocking web sites that known to contain malware, spyware, pornography or other malicious content. check out the writeup in the recommendations section!

Dan