≡ Menu

Mac location changes, Google SEO truthiness, security summary, lesser known hardware specs

You can automate Mac settings based on your location by using the free app Control Plane. When you have a Mac laptop, there are times you actually go to different locations, with different printers, sound muting needs, file sharing changes, maybe even turning on password prompting. With Control Plan you can set up different contexts for Control Plane to recognize your location and thus change what happens when you “enter” or “leave” that location. No surprise, it is at http://www.controlplaneapp.com/

SEO (search engine optimization) can be the life and death of some websites. There is a large, not always honest, industry around how to push certain sites to the top of Google results, using a variety of methods to make a site look well linked and “popular.” Google is working to measure and grade sites on their actual truthfulness so that those with more accurate and relevant information to your search, will rise to the top. This should help push down many of those sites that game the Google system but only exist to deliver ads or even malware.

When using public computers, like those at the Library, or even a friend’s, it is good to follow certain rules when using them. When you use your webmail account, make sure to uncheck the little box that keeps you logged in. And, actually log out of any site you use, don’t just close the browser window. You don’t want someone else to have fun on your Facebook account. To avoid having to clear the browsing history, use a private or incognito browsing session. And, take a second to think about what you are doing on this “unknown” computer, can it wait until you get back to your own?

Here is a roundup of good security mantras from the pros. Strong, unique passwords and two-factor authentication do make it much harder to be compromised. New devices are not automatically more secure; always check for updates after unwrapping anything that uses any kind of network. All software will have vulnerabilities, and even though SSL connections may have flaws, using SSL or HTTPS connections on the web will make you just that much safer. Intricate cyber attacks are very unlikely; many of those massive data compromises actually start with one human “gaining” the trust of another to achieve data breaches. So, use strong, unique passwords, keep software updated and uninstall software you don’t use, use HTTPS or SSL connections, and learn something new to keep from going crazy.

Here are some lesser-known computer specs that affect performance. Processor cache is a fast memory place used by the processor for recently, frequently used data, so the more the better for each of the different levels. Hard drive speed, often 5400 or 7200 RPM can affect how fast programs load and this is why solid state drives (SSD) can be so wonderful. SSDs are around four to five times more expensive per GB of storage but that can make it a wonderful upgrade as most decent processors from three or four years ago are still good if you can feed them data fast enough. And, there is always the issue of RAM, whether it is enough and whether you have enough. As many of the less expensive computers use RAM for video tasks, reducing screen resolution make improve the perceived speed of things showing up on the screen. Maybe you don’t want to buy that 4K or HD monitor without making sure your computer, new or old, can handle all those pixels.