Think you can Multitask? Think Again.

The Tech team has noticed students with 2 windows open on their desktops in the labs – one window with the class info open, the other with a game.

I’M MULTITASKING“, said one student.

“No, you aren’t. The human brain physiologically cannot multitask”, said the Computer Curmudgeon.

Bottom Line: When you THINK you are “multi-tasking” you are actually “serial mono-tasking” – i.e. doing one thing, then switching over to do the second, and back and forth. This results in doing NEITHER well – and when one of those things involves a grade, it’s not a good idea to risk that.

Don’t believe me? Read on:

 

Still think you can multitask? Think again.

 

Mac Users: 10 Mac features you should be using

These can really save some time on your Mac OS device.

  1. Use Tab key to move between elements on a form. There is a setting in the Keyboard preference pane that even allows you to tab into pulldowns, radio buttons, etc. This can save time when filling out an online form.
  2. New Folder with Selection – highlight several documents. Right-click or Ctrl-click one of them. Select New Folder with Selection. All docs will be placed into a new folder.
  3. Proxy icon used to create alias or duplicate. The Proxy icon is located at the middle top of the title bar when you have the document open. You can drag  it somewhere [like on your desktop] to create an alias. Option+drag it to create a copy. Command or Ctrl-click to get a popdown menu that shows you where this document is stashed.
  4. Spotlight – search everything without a web browser. Type in weather:Macon, GA to see what the weather is. Enter the airline and flight number to get the latest update on that flight. Enter an equation – Spotlight will do basic math to complex calculations. Spotlight is that text-search box in the title bar of a Finder window.
  5. Text Substitution – automatically replace a shortcut you specify with longer text. This is system-wide, so it works with just about any app that uses text! For example, type Myem, and it is automatically replaced with your email address [after you’ve set this up in the Language & Text preference pane.]
  6. Finder Tags – used to help you find things. You can tag just about anything in the Finder, and then search for the tag.
  7. Printer Pools – even the Mac Guy didn’t know about this one. If you have multiple printers that your Mac can access, you can select the pool, and your Mac will print to the printer that is NOT busy.
  8. Tab through open apps – a REAL timesaver. Command+Tab to scroll through a list of open apps. {Windows users – do the same thing with Ctrl-Tab. Windows+Tab plus arrow keys also allows you to switch apps.]
  9. Show previews in any Finder view – Open a Finder window. From the Finder menu, select View –> Show Preview.
  10. Spring-loaded folders – handy when moving a file to a fodler that’s inside a folder that’s inside a folder. Drag your document to a folder – but hold it there. The folder will spring open – so you continue dragging to the next folder, then the next….until you reach your destination.

Want more details, including screenshots? Read the original article, linked below!

Original article:

10 Mac Features You Probably Don’t Use But Should

Spectre, Meltdown, Vulnerabilities in the news

You may have seen a lot of scary news stories about some vulnerabilities recently disclosed that affect just about every computing device imaginable [depending on where you get your news].

Here is a short non-technical common-sense rundown of what this is all about.

What is Spectre and Meltdown?

Basically they are newly-disclosed ways for a crafty hacker to access supposedly secret info on your device.

As CNET.com puts it:

….. the issue doesn’t result from a badly written computer code. Instead, the problem comes down to the way the chips are intentionally designed.

Processors are supposed to make the secret information easier to access as they gear up to run the next process on a computer. As the programming quip goes, this is a feature, not a bug.

Why are they called Spectre and Meltdown?

Because people like to come up with cool names for these things. It’s more interesting to call it “Spectre” than “Security Bulletin #598267”.

Am I in danger?

Immediately, no. It’s not like someone could just randomly swipe information from your device by driving by your house. A hacker would need to be fairly technically minded AND install some code on your machine.

Of course, now that “everyone” knows about it, somebody somewhere is going to try to use this information.

As Meraki.com put it:

These vulnerabilities could allow an unprivileged attacker with direct access to a computing device, in specific circumstances, to read privileged memory belonging to other processes or memory allocated to the operating system kernel.

Notice the phrases “COULD allow”,  “with direct access to a computing device” and “in specific circumstances”. That means it would take a concerted effort to compromise your machine.

Should I panic?

Absolutely not….. not about THIS, anyway. If you would LIKE to panic about something else, be our guest.

What should I do?

Two primary things you can do, BOTH of which you should already be doing:

1) UPDATE YOUR SYSTEM and SOFTWARE. If you’ve been ignoring those system update, then get it updated NOW. OK, if you MUST get some work done, start the updates as you finish for the day, and let them run all night.

Yes, it could take that long, depending on how long you’ve been putting them off!

Especially on WIndows, MDS TEch recommends checking for updates again

2) USE COMMON SENSE ONLINE. Don’t just click anything you come across – double-eyeball it to make sure it’s actually legit. If an email comes in from someone you trust, but the contents don’t match the person – triple-check it before clicking on anything.

Will the updates slow down my machine?

Technically, yes. The big question is “will you notice a difference”? Intel has stated that most users – doing average computing stuff – won’t notice a difference.

MDS Tech’s take on this is that you MIGHT notice your machine slows down a bit – if your machine is more than 3 years old.

MIGHT.

Will the updates break my computer?

There have been a few instances where the updates that were hurredly rushed out caused some machines with certain AMD processes to quit working., or SOME software quit working. We’ve seen some articles stating that it depends on the exact processor, what antivirus you are using, and presumably what phase the moon is in when you apply the update.

Stated another way, there doesn’t seem to be an EXACT set of causes of the problem.

Where else can I learn more?

  1. Meraki.com
  2. Security Week –> Apple updates
  3. cnet.com
  4. theGuardian.com
  5. arstechnica.com – if you you’d like some deeply technical info about the various companies’ responses.

Why do people try to break into machines anyway?

Sonicwall has an interesting article on the Hacker’s motivation.