Joe KissellSenior Contributor, Macworld

Joe Kissell is a senior editor of TidBits and the author of numerous ebooks in the Take Control series.

Fix Mac slowdowns

Does your Mac seem to be getting slower over time? This probably isn’t your imagination. As you use your computer, a number of factors can gradually lead to poorer performance. Luckily, it’s easy to solve most slowdowns and restore much of your Mac’s original pep.

ScanSnap S510M document scanner

If you want to turn your paper archives into searchable PDFs, it doesn’t get any easier than the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510M. At $495 it’s not cheap—but its bundled software alone is worth far more than the scanner itself.

LifeAgent 2.1

The concept of instant and automatic backups is a good one. But LifeAgent 2.1 needs significant work, especially in the area of file restoration, to contend with the likes of Time Machine.

Easy online backups

You know you should back up your data. But whether it’s the cost, the setup, or the hassle of swapping discs or shuttling around hard drives, most of us find a million excuses not to get the job done. So wouldn’t it be great if you could click on a few buttons and ensure that your data was backed up regularly?

First Look: Google Presentations

Google wants to turn your Web browser into an all-purpose application. The company already offers Web-based e-mail, word processing, spreadsheet, and scheduling applications; now Presentations, an online counterpoint to PowerPoint and Keynote, joins the mix of Google apps. Joe Kissell tells you what to expect from this Web-based presentation program.

Excerpt: Getting your Mac ready for OS X 10.5

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.

I will be smarter about how I handle e-mail

Safer e-mailing requires not just spam filtering but greater care in sending, reading, and responding to messages.

Lock it up

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.

I will behave cautiously online

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.

I will be careful when using a wireless network

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.

The real paperless office

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 will use good passwords

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.

I will keep my Mac safe from other users

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 2.4

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.

The Google Office

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.