MacSurfer Headline News

Extremely handy daily roundup of Macintosh-related news.



Track latest deals and bundles for Apple computers. Includes refurbished models.


MacRumors Buying Guide

Time to buy a new mac, or is that macbook pro about to be renewed? Based on rumors, so not always so reliable.


AIM account creation

Not sure why Apple doesn’t just offer this, but here’s where you can create an AIM account to use with iChat. When AOL decides the page is up, that is.
NOTE: AOL just laid off their AIM group (early-2012). So this service may well disappear soon.


Integra Speedtest

Local Portland speedtest for Internet connections.


Firefox plugins Check

Find out if your versions of Flash/QuickTime/SilverLight/Java etc are up to date


Archiving Apple Mail

Nice instructions for making local archives of your old email in Apple Mail.


Google Apps Status

See if there’s a problem with one of the Google Apps services (like, say, gmail)


gCal iPhone calendar sync

Simple instructions for use of multiple Google-hosted calendars on your iPhone or iPad. Unlike iCal sync, the calendar app on the iOS appears to work just fine with gCal this way.


Google Mail captcha reset

You know how sometimes gmail decides that your iPhone/Mac/Windows machine email password is wrong when it’s not? This can be the solution. If your domain mail is hosted here, use this URL:

and substitute domain as necessary.


Dealing with MS Office licensing

Did you know that MS Office with multiple licenses is very annoying to manage if someone didn’t take careful notes when Office was first installed? Well it is. Some tips herein. The section entitled Resetting your Mac Office Registration number is very useful.


Troubleshooting MobileMe

Great article on simple and arcane ways to troubleshoot MobileMe (née dot.Mac) from MacLife
Viruses, Trojans, and other malware

MacDefender trojan removal instructions

MacDefender and variants are trojans that pose as antivirus software. Folks sometimes download them after getting a warning from a webpage that they are infected (never ever believe this). If you have installed this trojan there are instructions for removing them here.

And now more on MacDefender and other trojans via Topher Kessler  at CNET, including a nice brief wrap-up of current Mac OS X Anti Virus options.

Mac Anti-Virus: ClamX AV

So far there haven’t been any real viruses on Mac OS X, just trojans (apps that pretend to be something innocuous that are actually malicious). There are real Mac anti-virus apps available for purchase, but why not get a free AV scanner and try it out? ClamX AV does the trick. Install it, then download the latest virus definitions and start it scanning your system overnight. I sometimes find virus installers and trojans as email attachments in my Spam/Junk mail folder–this means the bad files are already caught, so you don’t need to do anything. Also, deleting/quarantining .emlx files from ClamXAV is not a good idea–better bet is to go into Mail, find the email with the bad attachment, and delete it from within Mail. Just don’t OPEN the bad attachment. Delete the message and attachment.

How to disable Java
Java vulnerabilities are a real and recurrent way for nasty people to easy install bad things on your computer.  You can also disable Safari’s Java use under Safari/Preferences/Security/Web Content. The Chrome and Firefox settings to disable java can be found here.

Running the Java for OS X 2012-001 for Lion or the Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 7 for Snow Leopard (available through software update as of 4/2/2012) patches the security hole. I recommend doing this ASAP.

Adobe Creative Suite

CS4: weird errors in logs

CS4 running slow? Strange error messages in the log files, like “kernel unknown SIGSEGV code 0?” Adobe has a solution, kinda.


Should I buy a new Mac/iPhone/iPad?

There’s no knowing absolutely when Apple will update a line of products, but this site will give you a good guess. Of course if you buy something and it’s updated really soon thereafter Apple may take pity on you. Maybe. (OK, typically you can return a purchase in 14 days, so return, get credit, buy the new thing).

Sometimes it’s useful to know what version of CUPS you’re running. The above link will show you CUPS settings on your own computer.

Recycling Computers
Oregon has an e-cycling program (by which they mean electronics recycling, not electronic bicycles).  Apple also has a recycling program, and might even give you store credit for the stuff you recycle.


Not Apple-related links

Rob Roy Kelly American Woodtype Collection

Beautiful 19th century woodtype collection from the University of Texas at Austin.


Spit and a Half

Zines and comics hand-picked by John Porcellino



The blog that me and my old friend Squidocto sporadically maintain.