Just how snoop-proof is your Mac?

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Reader Evan Katz wonders just how safe the data on his Mac is. He writes:

If my computer is lost or stolen—or a person in my office or home just wants to do some digging—can someone log in using their user name (or pull the hard drive and mount it on another Mac) and somehow read my contacts, calendar and email messages by scanning my hard drive?

I’m not sharing any deep dark secrets by telling you that this can be easily done. If someone has physical access to your computer and its hard drive (and time to carry out their nefarious snooping) it’s all over. They can simply mount your computer’s hard drive as an external storage device, log into their computer with a root account, and then rummage freely through your stuff. Any normal protections that were in place will be defeated by their root powers.

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Syncing calendars between Mountain Lion and Snow Leopard

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Reader Ron Sharp has a question that continues to puzzle some Mac users. He writes:

I have an older Mac on a local network that is still using Snow Leopard—so it’s incompatible with iCloud. How can I share calendars between it and my other Mac running Mountain Lion?

This was a popular subject when Mac OS X Lion (10.7) first shipped, as Apple drew a firm line between the new and old ways in regard to data sharing. MobileMe was out and iCloud was in. At that time there were a couple of sneaky ways to make Snow Leopard’s iCal work with iCloud. Allow me to report that I’ve wasted plenty of my time so that you needn’t waste yours. These schemes are broken and it’s very unlikely Apple is going to do anything to make iCloud compatible with Snow Leopard.

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Clearing up Mac App Store confusion

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Reader Jack Sanford is being lied to by the Mac App Store and would like to do something about it. He writes:

When I checked for Mac App Store updates on my MacBook Air, it said there were no updates available. But when I clicked the Purchases tab, the button next to iMovie showed Update. I clicked that and got a dialog telling me “You have updates available for other accounts.” But I have only one Apple ID that I use for purchases. How do I fix it?

Developer and all-around-smart-guy Brett Terpstra has the answer you seek. In his Quick Tip: Fixing the “Other Account” Mac App Store Issue he explains that you can clear up this fib by first repairing disk permissions and then rebuilding OS X’s Spotlight index.

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Seeking a simple movie editor? Try QuickTime Pro 7

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Reader Cameron Chang seeks a simple movie editor. He writes:

I have some video clips that I’d like to lightly edit. For instance, I want to cut the sound track from one and replace it with a different sound file. On another, I want to copy 12 seconds and turn that bit into a separate movie. iMovie seems like overkill for these jobs. Can you recommend something simpler?

I can and will: QuickTime Player 7 Pro.

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Blurring objects you want to hide in iMovie '11

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Reader Fred Hendricks wishes to be respectful of others’ privacy but isn’t quite sure how to go about it. He writes:

I’m working on a just-for-fun movie in iMovie ’11 that I’m going to put on YouTube. In one scene you can see a car’s license plate in the background. Is there some way I can cover it up?

As long as the camera or car don’t move, yes. Like so.

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Bugs & Fixes: When TextEdit won’t save

Ted Landau Senior Contributor, Macworld

Occasionally, maybe once every few weeks, TextEdit refuses to save any documents I currently have open. Any changes I have made to these documents seem in danger of being lost. When this symptom appears, any new documents that I open in TextEdit will similarly refuse to save. It’s as if TextEdit decided to go on strike. I’ve seen this happen with a couple of other applications, but most often it’s TextEdit.

Selecting Duplicate doesn’t work around the problem, as you can’t save the duplicate copy. Similarly, trying to use Save As is also fruitless. It just doesn’t work.

Others have reported a similar symptom that appears due to a permissions glitch, but a permissions issue is not the root cause here. Happily, the short-term fix is a simple one. Select “Quit TextEdit” from the File menu. TextEdit should quit immediately, without any prompts to save open documents first.

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How to automate FTP uploads

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Forum member DeathRobot (who is probably nicer than his or her name implies) is interested in FTP and Automator. It writes:

I’ve created a folder action in Automator, where any files I drop onto it upload to a favorites folder on my FTP server via Panic’s Transmit. I would like to change the workflow so that when I drop a file on the folder a dialog box comes up that asks me to input a folder name. It would then create a new folder on the server with that name, and drop the files in it. Is this possible?

Sure. Transmit installs a few Automator actions. Among them is Mount, which you can use to mount a directory on your FTP server. But you can save yourself some trouble by instead using Transmit’s Transmit Disk feature that lets you mount an FTP directory as if it were a local disk. Then configure Automator this way:

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