Monday, July 23, 2007

Tech Pulse 20070718: New "Mac Worm," Connect to Your PC or Mac for Free, Batch Image Resizers, TextWrangler, and more!

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Josh and Big-O discuss the alleged new "Mac worm" and Mac security in general, how to remotely connect to your PC or Mac for free using VNC, batch photo resizing freeware apps for Windows and Mac, TextWrangler, and more!

Notes and links related to this episode:

Opening Thoughts
We have a regular recording schedule for the time being! You can listen LIVE on Wednesdays* at 8 PM Pacific / 11 PM Eastern (except July 25th). Just look for us on during the hours when we're recording. *UPDATE, 1 August 2007: We've decided to change our regular podcast schedule to Thursday nights instead.

Tech News

  • Alleged Mac worm by Information Security Sell Out
    • allegedly there's an unreleased exploit that has been tested in private—this is the so-called worm
    • so far, this is no more a real threat than "Inqtana," another proof-of-concept "worm" for Mac OS X that was never in the wild
    • there's no real evidence that it even exists; the original source is just a Blogger page that claims there's a new Mac worm
    • even if it exists, it's allegedly based on a previous hole in Bonjour that Apple already patched, so Apple would simply have to release another security patch to fix it
    • even though this thing isn't even in the wild, people are already suggesting ways in which you could prevent this from spreading to your computer
      • If you're really paranoid, turn off AirPort when in public
      • If you're really paranoid but you need to use a shared or public network, go to Apple menu, System Preferences, Sharing (then if desired, take note of your settings under the Services and Firewall tabs so you can restore them later). Uncheck everything under the Services and Firewall tabs, and under the Firewall tab make sure it says "Firewall On"
      • See the comments on Slashdot and Ars Technica for more technical ideas (but try them at your own risk—especially if they involve changing system file ownership or permissions)
  • Sony releases YouTube wannabe called Crackle
Tech Tips
  • Connect to your home computer from anywhere in the world for free using VNC
    • Why pay for commercial software when you can do it for free?
    • Software:
      • UltraVNC (server and client apps for Windows)
      • Vine Server (server app for Mac OS X, and a minimal version for Mac OS 9)
    • Choose a custom port (for security through obscurity)
      • Prevents casual would-be hackers from identifying that you have VNC running on your computer
    • Choose a strong password
    • Configure your software, set up port forwarding in your router, open the port in your software firewall
    • Test and troubleshoot while you're at home to make sure it's working properly
  • Getting magnets out of hard drives
Software/Hardware/Site etc. Picks
  • Freeware batch image resizer apps - handy if you e-mail a lot of photos
    • Resize! for Mac OS X and Mac OS Classic, by K Studio - very simple interface, works great for basic batch resizing needs
      • works on Windows, too, but...
    • BIMP Lite for Windows, by Cerebral Synergy - totally awesome, TONS of features
      • batch convert between image formats (BMP, PNG, JPG, GIF, TIFF, etc.)
      • batch resize, rotate, rename, output to FTP, and lots more
  • Big-O's related pick: Paint .NET for Windows
    • great replacement for Microsoft's Paint app
    • free as in money and source code
  • TextWrangler from Bare Bones Software
    • freeware text editor for Mac OS X with lots of nice features
    • advanced search and replace features
    • great for HTML, XML, Perl, etc. coders because it automatically color-codes for many programming languages
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