news: DetectX 2 is available now

DetectX 2


We’ve spent pretty much the whole of the summer working on this upgrade, so we’re both delighted (and not a little relieved!) to finally be able to announce the release of DetectX 2.

If you were a user of earlier versions of DetectX the most obvious change you’ll notice is the new Selector bar, and the additional functions it offers. Now, DetectX is far more than just a dedicated search tool and offers comprehensive logging, browsing and analytical tools to make troubleshooting new problems on your mac a whole lot easier.

If you’ve used the Analyser in our app FastTasks 2, you’ll recognize the new functions added to DetectX. But we’ve not just taken the Analyser straight out of FT2 and plumped it into DetectX, we’ve also made it more powerful and more convenient to use.

There’s a whole bunch of changes you can find out about from the DetectX page and from the included user guide (improved documentation is another one of the changes!). One thing that hasn’t changed: DetectX remains free for home users, so there’s nothing to stop you from trying it out. Commercial and institutional users should note that a Commercial Use licence is required. Details are in the app.

Well, now that the app is out you’d think we’d be taking a break, but we’re already working on a special release of DetectX for Snow Leopard users. We know you 10.6’ers have been left out in the cold since release 1.29, but hold tight. Some Leopardy love is coming your way real soon!

On top of that, we’re already working on new definitions to be added to the next update to make sure DetectX keeps finding all those new annoyances that keep popping up and keeping your Mac happy and responsive.

If you haven’t already, go check out the DetectX page for more info.

news: FastTasks Update

sudoers
With recent adware attacks exploiting a vulnerability in OS X and giving themselves sudo permissions without the user providing a password, we thought it’d be a good idea to have FT2 show you info on the Sudo permissions file. This feature has been added in today’ update, FT2 v1.68.

The file in question, sudoers, lives in the (usually) hidden /private/etc folder at the root of your hard drive. Most ordinary users won’t have cause to go digging around in there and probably don’t even know it exists. However, sudoers is the file that determines who can get admin access in the shell (aka ‘the Terminal’), and adding a user to the sudoers file gives them pretty much a carte blanche over the system.

It appears that Apple have already taken steps to block the recent attack, and the next version of OS X (likely due out next month) will restrict what even sudoers can do to the system (although not to the user). Nevertheless, we think it’s good idea to have an easy visual check as to whether the sudoers file has been modified or not. You can find the sudoers information in the Analyser just before the System section (marked by the green dashed line).

Be aware that it is entirely possible that if an attacker gains access to your system, they could not only modify the sudoers file, but completely replace it with a new one. That’d give a new creation date but no modification date. With that in mind, it’s worth checking just when the file was created. Running the public release of OS X Yosemite, build 14E46 (you can find the build number in FastTasks menu), my default sudoers file has a creation date of 2014-09-10. If you are running a different build of Yosemite or OS X you may see a different date. Obviously, if you have modified (or given an app or process permission to modify) the file, that will cause you to see different dates also.

news: sqwarq app updates

detecX 2 image


DetectX 1.30 is now available. Aside from the fancy new icon you can see above :p, we also added the Sparkle updater to make updates more convenient for users and made a few tweaks to improve the search definitions.

FastTasks 1.67 is now available. The latest version updates the Analyser and adds AppleScript support. The functions available to AppleScript are fairly limited at the moment, but we’d love to add more. Tell us how you’d like to script FT2 (or any other Sqwarq apps!) in the comments below and we’ll look into adding your suggestions to future updates.

Thanks!

how to block Flash in Safari

Safari Preferences Security

If you’re worried about news like yet another Flash vulnerability, the first thing to note is that Apple has moved to block all but the latest version.

However, given that exploits of Flash seem to occur sometimes within days of even new releases, it might be wise to think about blocking Flash altogether in your day-to-day browser.

Fortunately, that’s pretty easy to do in Safari. Just go to Safari’s Preferences > Security tab, and uncheck the ‘Allow Plug-ins’ box at the bottom. You can manage which websites are allowed access to Flash from the adjacent button, but an alternative strategy is to use a different browser (Firefox or Opera for example) for only viewing sites where you need Flash access.

Either way, its seems wise to make sure that Flash isn’t allowed unrestricted access on your main browser.

news: sqwarq app update

FastTasks 2 v1.66 is now available. This incremental update includes an update to the Analyser and a minor bug fix.

how to enable TRIM

trimforce
Starting with 10.10.4, you can now enable Trim for 3rd party disks without resorting to 3rd party tools. Apple have included a new command line utility called trimforce.

Beware, the name was not picked acccidentally. Trimforce forces TRIM activation on all 3rd party SSDs regardless of whether they support it or not, so use at your own discretion. Generally, it should be safe to use if your disk manufacturer recommends having TRIM turned on, but only your own testing will confirm that. As always, be sure you have full and regular backups of your disks in case of data corruption.

Note that trimforce requires sudo — meaning you’ll need an admin password to do this:

sudo trimforce enable

The new command line utility doesn’t have a --status option, so if you want to check the current TRIM status from the command line, you’ll need this command:

system_profiler SPSerialATADataType | grep 'TRIM'

:)

news: sqwarq app updates

Just a quick post to let y’all know of a couple of updates to my apps.

1. OSXClock v1.8 has got a few new features including a handy ghost mode and variable transparency. Even better, I’ve removed the time-limit on the demo version, so you can now use OSXClock for free indefinitely (well, if that’s not an excuse to download it I don’t know what is… :) ).

2. DetectX v1.21¬†now has the ability to trash files found in the search. I didn’t really want to add this, but so many users were having problems finding the invisible files belonging to MacKeeper I didn’t really have much choice. Note that the “Trash” function may require entering an admin password for each and every file that is outside of the user domain. DetectX is, of course, free to download and use, though donations are appreciated if you find it useful.

3. App Fixer is now out of beta and into first public release, version 1.0. Along the way it’s added a couple of extra fixes for Safari browser hijacks.

Enjoy! :)

how to learn more about error codes

OSStatus.com


Scripters and coders are forever battling errors, and access to information on Apple’s error codes is always a bit of a hunt and dig around header files or documentation. Now thanks to Seth Willits from Araelium group, there’s a handy free search tool to spare us the effort.

I’ve already got osstatus.com bookmarked. Thanks Seth! :)


monitor Bluetooth battery levels

BatteryAlert v1

I’ve just released a little utility app for those of you with an Apple Magic Mouse, Trackpad or Keyboard over on my software site, sqwarq.com.

BatteryAlert monitors and notifies you of Bluetooth battery levels via Email, Messages, Notifications or Alerts, with live Dock tile offering easy visual indication of current battery status at all times.

The first 1000 downloads of BatteryAlert are free. :)
Requires OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later.

BatteryAlert window

how to get Eclipse and Java to play on Yosemite

eclipse_by_a4size_ska-d2dvgyj

If you’re trying to launch¬†the Eclipse IDE with Apple’s old 1.6 JDK installed and find that you’re having trouble updating your Java installation, try the following procedure.

1. Remove Apple’s JRE
First up, let’s get rid of the end user plug in. In Terminal, do

sudo rm -rf /Library/Internet\ Plug-Ins/JavaAppletPlugin.plugin

2. Remove Apple’s JDK
Next, we need to uninstall the Java Development Kit. Do not mess about in the System’s Frameworks/JavaVM.framework folders. You’ll need those. Rather, in Terminal do

sudo rm -rf /System/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/1.6.0.jdk

If you’ve got later versions of the JDK (like 1.7), change the file name in the above command appropriately.

3. Install Oracle’s JDK for Mac
Next go to the Oracle Java page and look for the latest JDK. It’s important that you get the JDK for developers and NOT the JRE for end-users if you want to use Eclipse.

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/index.html

Download and run the installer. You should now be able to launch Eclipse without problems. :-)





Picture: Eclipse by A4size-ska

%d bloggers like this: