5 Things You Need to Know About the BashBug

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1. Don’t Panic.

As our favorite galactic traveler’s companion reminds us (ref. Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy), It’s important to keep problems in perspective. The Heartbleed Bug incited widespread panic for what turned out to be limited reasons. This new security bug is reported to be even bigger than Heartbleed, but it, too, has a relatively limited reach. It only affects Unix-based systems that use Bash. The best way to address it is to keep updated on the patches which are sent out. Some routers are also affected, and so updates will be pushed out to handle those as well.

2. What is the BashBug?

Bash is one of the central programs to the modern Unix operating system. It’s used to issue commands to the kernel of the OS. It is a little like the Windows command line. Mac’s desktop operating systems are built on Unix, and that’s why people are concerned. The BashBug is an exploitable nuance of the Bash shell that someone could use to observe and possibly modify an unknowing computer’s information. Basically, it’s like leaving your car window down.

3. I have an iPhone, should I be worried?

No. The iOS is a different operating system from the Desktop OS of MAC, known as OS X.

4. What if someone w/ a Mac emails me? Will my company be at risk? Can I “catch” the Bug this way?

No. The vulnerability is specific to Unix-based OSes. It can’t be transferred between operating systems. Windows has a fundamentally different underlying program, and it does not include Bash, which is the host for this bug.

5. What’s this thing about routers? 

Some routers run on a variation of Linux. Manufacturers will also be pushing out updates to resolve this. Please contact your system administrator (which might be us) to resolve it if you have concerns. We can be reached at 888-244-1748.

BashBug

Mac Tips for Techs: Onyx for Mac — your #1 cleaning tool

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OnyXOnyx for the Mac. If you are not a Mac Genius, but you know a bit about IT, you may have wondered how to clean a Mac like you can a PC. This is the tool that can take you where you need to be!

Onyx has been likened to Piriform’s C-Cleaner tool, however, this tool has many more functions than the Piriform tool you are used to using on a PC. First off, you can get the Onyx download from here. (Take note of your OS, as you must download and install the Onyx version that works with your OS. You can also use that link to get some older versions of Onyx for the older Mac OSes as well.)

When you launch Onyx for the first time, you are immediately requested to check the SMART status of the hard disk installed in your Mac. This is highly recommended and only takes around 30 seconds, so let that scan. It will let you know if there is anything it finds that needs to be resolved. From there you can use the Disk Utility application to resolve SMART errors on the disk. Regardless of whether you have SMART errors, you can still proceed to work within Onyx for other items.

The latest version of Onyx has many tabs: Verifying, Maintenance, Cleaning, Utilities, Automation, Parameters, Info, and Log. Onyx is well known for its Cleaning tab, in which you can choose to clean your System cache, User cache, Internet cache and cookies, Fonts cache, Logs, Mics items, and Trash. (In the trash tab, you also have a chance for securely deleting the trash, which means the files deleted are securely overwritten with jumbled data.)

In addition to the Cleaning tab, you can also do so much with the other tabs:

The Maintenance tab allows you to repair permissions, build and run scripts and rebuild aspects of the OS.

The Verifying tab runs the same SMART and structure checks of the hard disks and partitions that run on start-up of Onyx, so if you need to re-run those commands, you can run them from there.

The Utilities tab has many sub-tabs with a wealth of functions. I would suggest you go through this and see for yourself what you can do, as there are too many to name here. You will need to understand IT quite a bit more than normal, however, as some of the commands in the Utilities tab can be a bit daunting.

The Automation tab allow you to do several of the Onyx options all in one. It is very helpful if you want to set up a bunch of tasks to run off of one push of the button.

The Parameters tab is one of my favorites. This tab is really good for customizing your Mac, as you can set up animated desktop backgrounds, customize Finder and Dock options, and even edit options for some of Apple’s most-used applications (Safari, iTunes, Quicktime). You also have the ability to edit and display messages on login, and customize the spotlight, mission control, and others.

The last two tabs are self-explanatory: Info and Log. Both display exactly what you expect them to. The Info tab shows model information, processor, RAM, disk info, OS, profile, antivirus protection information, and whole host of other info. Basically, anything and everything you might be looking for to learn about the Mac will be stored in here. The Log tab shows the logs that are written based on the functions of Onyx, in case you need to review why a function did or did not work.

This is an extremely powerful tool that should be a part of any Mac IT engineer’s repertoire. It is even a great tool for anyone with basic information on Macs, as it can help keep your mac clean and healthy for years to come.

If you would like to review Onyx on a Mac, feel free to call in to our Mac engineers at Everon IT: 888-244-1748.

 

Replacing Your iPhone Battery

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Recently my iPhone battery has been losing its charge rather quickly, and this has become very inconvenient. It has come to a point where I need to make sure it’s at least 90% charged before I take it on a 30 minute run to listen to music. If not, I start to lose motivation half way through due to the lack of Beastie Boys rocking in my ear. So I decided I need to replace the battery, but can iPhone batteries be replaced?

I guess I always had thought, due to its sleek design and not too visible access points to the interior, that if something starts to fail on the iPhone you have to get a new phone. I started looking around and asking the technicians at Everon about different parts of my phone and if they can be fixed and was surprised to find out that a lot of these replacements can be done very quickly and are cost effective. You can send your phone into Apple for about $80 and they will replace your battery for you. sam's blog postOr you can go the DIY route. If you do want to do it yourself there are kits available, ranging from $5-$30. The kits include the tools to open your phone safely without harming your screen and a replacement battery. I found these tool kits on Amazon.com along with another possible solution, mobile battery chargers! Along with replacing my battery, I think it’s an awfully good idea to have one of these compact chargers on hand just in case. Now I am so excited to go on an extra-long run and not worry about my tunes cutting out half way through!  

Android vs iOS vs Windows vs Blackberry! Who will reign supreme?

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Let’s compare size: you know that size sometimes does matter.

According to a Gartner, a leading information technology research company, Android OS phoned finished 2013 with a 78.4% market share, Apple’s iOS accounted for 15.6 %, Microsoft Windows phones were at 3.2%, Blackberry at 1.9 %, and other operating systems came in at just .9 %. So if size matters, then Android is the way to go. Check out the pretty chart:

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So here is my take on the whole situation:

Android

  • I have an Android phone, currently Samsung Galaxy s3.  Aside from the fact I like the virility of the operating system, I really like the phone hardware. I will be upgrading to a Galaxy s5 when it comes out later this year.
  • Majority of the apps are free, and Android has the second largest app market, behind Apple (but you have to pretty much pay for everything on Apple).
  • Good advantages for remote management and has very good integration with Google Cloud and other cloud products.
  • Overall I find the Android OS to be the most well-rounded for both personal and business uses.
  • Android is a really cool name.

 Apple IOS: 

  • My wife has an iPhone 4 or 5 ( not really sure).
  •  If you own various Apple products you’ll have easy integration with them.
  • It has the largest app market, but you pretty much have to pay to play anything good (in my opinion).
  • If you are looking for some bells and whistles but still want grandma to be cool, this is it.
  • I am biased on Apple products. While I think they are great, they can be challenging for integration as well as management in a business environment.
  • It seems all the kids on the playground (and their grandparents) have iPhones nowadays.

Windows Phone: 

  • I am going to buy my parents a Windows phone, due to some very low cost of entry on certain models. Also the fact the tile screen icons are huge and easy on the eyes.
  • I do not think this is ready for business, it really gears towards multimedia and connecting to the web. If you are in the social media space I would really recommend to check it out.
  • Great integration with Office 365, Skype, Facebook and other mainstream cloud products.
  • Small app market, but there are huge pushes already in progress to close the gap.
  • I am a fan of the hardware on some of the phones but I get really annoyed by the Tiling feature of the OS.  Think Windows 8, but on a mini-screen.

Blackberry:

  • I have some old relics and I plan to keep them. When I did have the old Blackberries I loved them: they were fast, light, had a great battery, and the keyboard was just great. I could respond to an email on the phone at the same speed it would take me on my laptop keyboard.
  • It has the best security and integration if you have a Blackberry Enterprise Server.
  • Fastest handle time from when an email gets sent to its delivery on any phone I have seen.
  • Some of the phones that have recently been introduced are not really that great.
  • Blackberry’s app market is not really good. I was on it one time, and I just gave up.
  • Right now there is just no reason to go with them unless you are in banking, government, or really need specific security requirements.

Keep in mind that these are just my personal thoughts. The best way to decide for yourself is to play with the operating system to see what your personal preference is and go from there.

How to Shop for A New Cell Phone: Advice I got from the techsperts

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“We’re sorry. Your mobile device does not appear to be supported by our website.”

I like my three year-old (ancient!) Windows-based Samsung Focus. But the increasing frequency with which I get surf-blocked by those words, now that I’m trying to do more with my cell phone – like banking – makes me think it’s time for a new one. And since I know less about technology than my 12 year-old (who I made sure was there when the Comcast guy came), I decided to get advice from some real pros: the techs here at work.

Which platform is the best: iOS, Android, or Windows?

Most of the guys preferred the Android platform for its sheer volume of free apps and its flexibility of customization. But, many of them cautioned, they’re techs. They know their way around Gadgetland. As Alex Straffin, Everon’s Technical Services Manager put it, “Android for nerds, iOS for noobs.” However, while most of them agreed that Windows and iOS are easier to use, both of those platforms are somewhat restricted to their own Windows or Apple universes. Principal Project Manager Wah Lee noted, “If you want well-rounded everything, Android is the best.”

cell phone blogWhy kind of phone do you have now? Do you like it? If you bought a new phone tomorrow, what would you get, and why?

Jeremy Bienemann, our L2 Supervisor has an iPhone that he said worked well. “My wife is not very tech savvy, so I have to use one that is easy for her to use. I also want to keep my phone compatible with hers.” Daryl Patino, an L2 Tech, has an HTC One that he likes (“for reasons most consumers would never care for”), and Simon Tolstopyatenko, an Everon Field Engineer, loves his Sony Xperia Z Ultra, which, he claims, is “the biggest, thinnest, most powerful phone you can buy.”

But the repeated answer that came up from the rest of my respondents was the Samsung Galaxy, either the s3 or s4, and they all liked it. In fact, the only thing that would stop them from purchasing the same phone again, if the need arose, would be whether or not the s5 had come out yet.  (Hmm… I already have a Samsung that’s served me well….)

Josh Hansen, our Client Technology Advisor added that in addition to your preferred platform there are four key things to look for in a new phone: “Battery life, reception quality, RAM, and how many processor cores it has .” Processor cores? “More is better,” he explained. “A 1Ghz duo core is better than a 2Ghz mono core.”

Thanks, guys. I’m a bit more comfortable about all of this. Think I feel a shopping spree coming on….