Clean up your WiFi connections

If you travel with your Macbook and connect to the various WiFi networks, you inadvertently collect a list of settings that effect the performance and safety of your wireless connection to the internet.

A long list of WiFi networks will cause your Mac to take a long time before it connect to the network or accidentally connect to a non-preferred or possibly unsafe network.

You should always be very careful using a public (Wifi) network. Always assume the risk of a hacker listing to information you pass along. To protect yourself while traveling I recommend to use a VPN service to encrypt your data stream

The danger of  storing the connections to free WiFi hotspots.

Its easy for a criminal to setup a WiFi station with the same name of a well known free WiFi network and give you free internet access. Meantime stealing sensitive information like your email address, passwords, login to social media or even your bank!

If you choose to use the WiFi in a coffee-shop, hotel, airport, shopping mall or even a hospital I cant stress enough to be very careful. Use your 3G data network or a VPN service. At very least remove these public WiFi connections so your computer, smartphone or tablet doesn't automatically connect to a network with the same name (SSID) before you have a chance to protect your data.

Please note that if you sync the Keychain via iCloud that your changes will take place on all other connected iPhone and iPad's.

Clean up your collection of Wireless connections:

  1. Open System Preferences > Network
  2. Select WiFi > Advanced > WiFi
  3. Select the redundant “Preferred networks” *
  4. Remove by clicking the “-“ button
  5. Uncheck the “Remember networks this computer has joined

*You can select multiple networks by holding down the command or shift button

Speed up connecting to your preferred WiFi network by dragging it to the top of the list.

Note that if you sync the Keychain via iCloud that your changes will take place on all other connected Apple computers!

iPhone / iPad

Clean-up the list of WiFi connections in iOS:

  1. Settings
  2. WiFi
  3. Tap the "i" behind the unwanted network
  4. Tap "Forget this Network"

Turn off "Ask to Join Networks" to avoid annoying request to connect to an available WiFi network.

 

 

Posted on August 13, 2014 .

Protect your privacy and limit spam with a email alias

It can be very useful to have various email addressees to protect your privacy and limit spam. Next time you are asked to provide an email address at the counter or when you want make a online purchase you have a alternative on hand that can be disposed if it becomes loaded with spam.

Unlike multiple email accounts. Messages sent to an email alias will go straight to your inbox. This allows you to send and receive email from several different email addresses, but manage them from one inbox. in my previous blog. I explained how to create rules so you can automatically move and/or mark emails.


iCloud:This free email account that works perfect with all current versions of OSX and iOS allows up to 3 alias email addresses. Once you have created the alias email address on iCloud.com the emails send to the alias will automatically start showing up in the iCloud email account email inbox. You can send an email from the alias by selecting the “From:” pulldown menu when you are creating a new email.


Create an iCloud alias:

  1. Log into www.icloud.com
  2. Click on “Mail”
  3. Select the gear icon in the lower left corner
  4. Preferences
  5. Accounts
  6. Add an alias…
  7. Select a color label to distinguish this email address in the inbox.
  8. Done
  9. Restart the Mail App on your Mac to apply the changes

Other email providers offering alias accounts:

Alternative solutions to keep your real email address private:

Posted on July 21, 2014 .

Hidden powers of Preview


Every Apple computer loaded with OS X includes the “Preview” application. In this blogpost I would like to explain some of its hidden features.

This handy app is often overlooked in its capabilities to edit pdf, jpg, png and other image files. Preview is faster and more stable than Adobe Reader. You can make Preview the default app by selecting the pdf or image file and choose:

File > Get Info (cmd + i) > Open with: Preview > Change all

Editing options for pdf's:

  • Zoom in/out
  • Share (email / messages)
  • Edit
  • Inspector
  • Mark-up (choose from 5 different colors)
  • Rotate


Edit function:

  • Cropping
  • Add lines / rectangles or circles
  • Text: lets you add text and speech bubbles
  • Note: adds a virtual sticky note
  • Signature: add your signature digitally! (video)


Editing images:

Inspector shows date, time, technical data but also a map where the picture was taken (if the gps coordinates are available…)

Make your portrait or logo stand out on a website!

Use the Instant Alpha magic wand to remove the background from an image. Select the “magicwand” tool and drag it across the background. Moving the cursor will effect the selection (red). Press "Delete" to remove the selection. Repeat if necessary. Save the image as a .png file to maintain the transparent background.

 
Other image editing functions:

  • Selection tools to crop
  • Adding lines, rectangles and circles
  • Adding text
  • Adjust image (brightness, contrast, sharpness etc)

Preview offers many more interesting features. I encourage you to explore all the menu's. If you need more power than Preview can offer, I suggest to check out Pixelmator. This app has almost all the power of photoshop at a fraction of the price and is much easier to use.

Posted on June 22, 2014 .