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#950: Linguistic Quirks; Power Down; Ransomware; Terminal Tidbits

 
     
 

Hello Fellow Technophiles,

As a father of a precocious 3.5 year old, I find myself explaining anything and everything on a daily basis. This gets me thinking more critically about the grammar and the content of the things I say. For example, I realized recently that my kids will likely never actually “dial” a phone even though I still call it dialing. They can input a number, or more likely just tap on someone’s name, but there is no physical dial. Not that those were common even in my day as touch-tone telephone service was first offered in 1963. They will also likely never “tune in” to a TV show with an actual tuner. Again, not something I did often either as cable TV was introduced in 1949 and into my house circa 1984. These linguistic quirks will probably hang on for some time after no one is left who actually used these technologies in their original forms.

That all being said, I am not nostalgic for the older technology. I can’t imagine going without a cellular telephone. Then, when you consider all of the apps, internet connectivity, built-in camera and microphone, and geo-location services on my iPhone it is truly an amazing and indispensable device (which Apple and I still refer to as a phone). I also do not miss having to watch TV shows when they were aired. I can get almost every show I want between all of the streaming services out there. And thanks to a $4 add on to my Hulu subscription and the AdBlock Plus Safari extension I don’t even have to watch commercials anymore. We have a great deal on an Apple TV below, so if you are still tuning in, you should take a look at it and leap into the future.

I hope you enjoy this “newsletter” that I “typed” and e-“mailed” to you!

Mike
michaeld@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  It Is Now Safe To Turn Off Your Computer  
   
 

No one likes being asked to reboot their computer. When I’m working with someone over the phone to figure out why their computer or mobile device isn’t working, more often than not I hear a groan when I ask them to close their open applications, power the device off completely, and then turn it on again. Yes, this will cause all of the open applications and files to quit. However, this is a crucial step in the troubleshooting process and can completely solve a huge number of software-related issues.

I can’t count the number of times someone has brought me a computer that had slowed to a crawl, and upon opening it up there are dozens of different applications and files open at once. When I ask about the last time the computer was turned off, often the user can’t remember.

More often than not, turning the computer off and on again without the “Reopen windows when logging back in” option selected will solve issues like this, along with many odd software glitches. I like to illustrate this by using an analogy: Your computer is like an orchestra, with millions of different instruments playing together at once. As time goes on, the likelihood of any one musician making a mistake increases, and as soon as one musician is playing out of time the rest are soon to follow. When several musicians are out of time with the rest of the orchestra, it will be much easier for the entire orchestra to stop and start again together than for the few musicians to individually struggle to get back in time.

I would highly recommend rebooting periodically even if your computer is not acting up, to prevent issues from occurring in the future. I typically turn my personal computer off every night. Be aware, closing the lid of your laptop simply puts it to sleep (assuming you haven’t configured your settings otherwise). To fully turn your Mac off, click the Apple logo in the top left corner of the screen, then “Shut Down”. If that fails, or your computer is non-responsive, you can force a shutdown by holding the power button down until the machine powers off.

 
   
     
  Ransomware  
   
 

Over the last few years I have noticed an increase in customers being affected by “ransomware.” Ransomware is a type of malware that locks you out of a function of your computer by encrypting it or by locking up your browser. The ransomware offers the option to pay a fee to remove the lock. On a Mac we commonly see this when a user has been locked out of a web browser as the built-in security protocols generally prevent malicious encryption of your data.

The image at the right and below are two examples of the type of pop up that you may see:

As you can see one pop up tries to convince you that there’s a threat and claims to be Apple support. It also provides a number for you to call and get support. The other one relies on including the FBI name in the web address to make it seem genuine. The FBI ransomware relies on a threat to get you to pay them to unlock it.

Most of the time you can simply avoid ransomware by avoiding sketchy websites and 3rd party software downloads. Thankfully on a Mac it is generally very easy to remove ransomware. The file usually hides in the internet files and can be purged by emptying your recent history. If you are not able to clean it out yourself you can always bring the affected machine to us and we can remove it for you. We provide adware/malware/ransomware removal for $65 and the process usually takes less than a day.

 
   
     
  Terminal Tidbits: The pwd Command  
   
 

The print working directory command is a useful tool for navigating inside of the Terminal command window. It helps locate where you are in the current state of the directory. It is very easy when you are navigating through files and directories too quickly to lose your spot…kinda like your bookmark fe;l out and you can’t find the right page.

When in Terminal if at any time you get lost, just type pwd and press enter. It will respond with the “present working directory.” So, when you are moving files pwd is a great way to double-check your copy and move locations.

 
   
 

 
   
 

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