Planning on taking the plunge when Leopard arrives on October 26? There are things you can do right now to make the upgrade process run smoother. In this excerpt from his Take Control of Upgrading to Leopard ebook, Joe Kissell runs through the things you can do to clean up your Mac in advance of OS X 10.5's arrival, such as updating third-party software, decluttering your hard disk, and running Disk Utility.
When it comes to security, you may be your own worst enemy. What puts you at risk is not so much the firewall, antivirus, or other security software you do (or don’t) use as much as the bad habits you may have picked up. Careless computing puts your data, and even your identity, at risk.
Safer e-mailing requires not just spam filtering but greater care in sending, reading, and responding to messages.
I can’t always know when I can trust a Web site to guard my private data. So I will take steps to keep personal information personal.
Wireless networks are easily hacked, and public networks are the least secure. I won’t take any chances; I’ll always encrypt my wireless connection.
I will make life difficult for anyone trying to break into my Mac or my online accounts by choosing excellent passwords and protecting them properly.
Computers were supposed to make paperless offices possible, but most of us are surrounded by more pages than ever. It’s possible to break free from paper’s grip, however.
I know that anyone can access my computer whenever I’m not looking, so I’ll try to prevent others from getting at my private data.
1Psswd offers a variety of capabilities, including letting you store more than one set of information per site, save passwords in one browser and use them in another, and create new passwords whenever you need to.
Google Calendar is very much like an online version of iCal. You can store events such as appointments and birthdays; set up meetings that you invite other people to attend; make events repeat on a schedule; view your events by day, week, month, or other time periods; set alarms; publish your calendars so that others can see your events (even in iCal!); and subscribe to public calendars such as lists of holidays and sporting events. And as in iCal, you can move an event simply by dragging it to a new time or day on the calendar.
Imagine being able to access all your important documents from any computer with an Internet connection—or never having to buy, install, or upgrade office software again. You may already use a Web-based e-mail service instead of an e-mail client, but the next programs to go online could very well be your word processor and your spreadsheet program. You can now get a lot done with only a humble browser.
Google wasn’t the first company to offer free e-mail accounts that you could access in a Web browser. But Gmail provides an unusually hefty amount of storage (at least 2.8GB per user), excellent spam filtering, and the convenience of fast, reliable Google searching through all those gigabytes of stored e-mail.
Is password overload getting to you? With banks, e-commerce sites, and discussion forums—not to mention Mac OS X—all requiring logins and passwords, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep a handle on everything.
If you carry a laptop around just so you can show clients your latest marketing forecasts or call up sales figures at company meetings, you can save yourself some bother by using Google Spreadsheets instead. The program provides editable spreadsheets that are compatible with Microsoft Excel—and, best of all, you and your colleagues can modify them simultaneously.
Until recently, no one would have thought seriously about doing word processing in a Web browser. As Google Docs capably demonstrates, those days are over. Docs both handles the basics and offers powerful collaboration features that make it easy to work on documents with other people.