Here, there and everywhere

I’ve been accumulating a bunch of Mac-specific topics about which to blog, none of which seemed to merit an entire posting. So I’ll devote a paragraph or two to each here, and even toss in the latest on my post-transplant cGVHD status, since I’ve always believed that a blog post without mention of hemoglobin levels or corticosteroid tapers hardly merits your valuable time or attention.

Remote excess

FYI for those of you with whom I engage in periodic remote support sessions: I’ve transitioned completely now from the Schnitz Remote Lite app, my former remote assistance tool of choice, to the TeamViewer Quick Support app. So… if you still have Schnitz in your Applications folder or in your Dock, you can trash it, and if you don’t yet have the TeamViewer Quick Support app, you can download it from my “cloud” here:

http://media.altimac.com/TeamViewerQS9.dmg

In fact, even if you do have it, those of you who haven’t used it within the last few months should download this one and replace your current one, since this is a more recent version.

Maver-icky?

By now most of you have been prompted via Apple’s Software Update to download and install “Mavericks” (aka Mac OS X 10.9). If you haven’t already done so, my advice is to continue to hold off for a bit. My experience to date has been that the issues resulting from the update, particularly with the Apple Mail program and with user directory and file permissions make it not worth doing at this point. The new feature set overall is arguably useful yet pretty underwhelming (a dedicated Maps app like on the iPhone, a tabbed Finder, tags for documents) so I’d have to say the pain is not worth the gain–yet. Figure on maybe dipping your toe in the water when Apple releases the 10.9.4 version; they are currently about to release 10.9.2, so we’re talking somewhere in the late spring or so in terms of a timeframe for when it would be reasonably safe to upgrade.

Pro no, you don’t

While we’re on the subject of Apple stuff to avoid, I’ve got to put the new Mac Pro into that category. Not that there’s anything really wrong with it, it’s just that it’s so danged expensive even in its base configuration, which offers a mere 256GB of storage (even iMacs start you off with a full terabyte [1000GB]). That means you’re already into another grand or two to step up to a roomier option. Granted, the 256GB solid-state drive that comes in the Pro is wicked fast, but that speed doesn’t help you too much if you’ve already got 400GB of stuff on your current Mac. The Pro is a speed demon, it’s quiet, it’s portable (unlike the previous Pro models which one can barely lift), it’s got stunningly good looks, six Thunderbolt ports and Turbo Boost, but still… given the ~$5,500 price tag for a model with adequate storage, I’d rather get me, oh, two iMacs and a Mac mini and still have some cash to spare.

Taking my shots

Dropped in on RWJ/CINJ last Tuesday for the usual (blood work, a parking nightmare and still more immunizations) and my numbers were pretty much OK; my hemoglobin has remained in the 14.x range, ensuring that I have the requisite get up and go to create further blog postings and show up at your door when circumstances require a personal visit. I got three more of the seven vaccines I got last month, and need to undergo the remaining four again next week. And again in four months, yeesh. As far as the steroid regimen goes, my docs do want me to continue the taper but at the rate of only 10mg each month. So I’m not exactly thrilled about the pace, as it means it will be sometime this summer before I am tapered off completely ;-( Better late than never, of course…

Going (anti)viral

As irresponsible as it may seem–especially given that I’ve been voluntarily undergoing the battery of inoculations noted above–I still can’t comfortably recommend installing anti-virus software on a Mac. If you’re using Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” or newer, the operating system automatically updates itself to deal with the most recent and severe threats, and more often than not, third-party antivirus utilities seem to cause more problems than they prevent.

CNET just reported on an evaluation of the most popular AV programs on the Mac side conducted by security researcher and analyst Thomas Reed, which found that neither the McAfee nor the Symantec products made it into the “top tier” of antivirus options for the Mac. ClamXav, which is open source and has a minimal footprint in terms of intrusiveness and performance issues, was not one of the best options either. ClamXav has heretofore been my “go-to” recommendation to anyone who feels compelled to install some form of protection on their Mac, so I may have to rethink my position on that one ;-(

The CNET article pretty much mirrors my own position, for what it’s worth, on AV software:

“Whether or not antivirus tools are recommended for OS X is a question that is still in a bit of flux. Hard-core Mac users often claim malware scanners offer more potential harm than good, especially given the relative lack of malware for OS X. However, this mentality butts heads with those who may not trust, or have, the abilities to avoid all potential avenues of attack on their systems.”

Tweet, tweet

It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally arrived at the conclusion that it might not be a complete and utter waste of time on my part to create a Twitter username, and perhaps even toss out an occasional tweet here and there. In spite of being an incredible time-suck, and disregarding the volume of mean-spirited and even hurtful tweets that are posted on an hourly basis, Twitter does indeed have some redeeming qualities–if you are discriminating in terms of which Twitterers you elect to follow.

I am neither suggesting nor recommending that you run out and create a Twitter account just to receive an occasional Mac-related tidbit from yours truly, but I’d like to get your feedback on whether you would find tweets from me interesting and/or useful enough to contemplate joining the Twitterverse. If you happen to be in the “I’ve always been curious about Twitter but don’t really understand it and have no clue as to how to get started” camp, I’ll be more than happy to dedicate my next blog post to that very subject.

Never fear–no matter how my position on social media sites may evolve, I’m still not joining Facebook.

Note: In the event this is not painfully obvious, you can follow anyone on Twitter without creating an account just by visiting their profile page. Example: Chicago Sun-Times technology columnist and Internationally Beloved Industry Figure™ Andy Ihnatko, or my favorite 320-lb, ex-N.Y. Giant and current North Kentucky River Monsters starting QB Jared Lorenzen, aka The Pillsbury Throwboy/The Round Mound of Touchdown/J. Load/<insert appropriate weight-related nickname here>.

10 Comments

  1. We, Anita and me, are not yet up on hashtags and their use. Any help would be appreciated.

  2. No worries, whether I begin tweeting on a regular basis or send out one every three months, I’ll be blogging at the same breakneck pace I’ve established over the past few months 😉

  3. Hi. I seem to be the only one as uninterested in Twitter as I am interested in your advice. I probably will miss your tweets, sadly. Hope you’ll still blog, maybe between shots?

  4. Very glad to get this update–on you and mac things. I’d settle for more postings likes this, stedda twitters, but hey, they’re free, …

    thanks.

  5. Yes, I’m definitely interested Twitter and what you have to say about it, so count me in. Also switching Schnitz.

  6. Gil I don’t care what you write about….I just love reading it!
    So glad to hear you’re doing well and still have that fantastically intelligent sense of humor……have to remember to tell Helen how great that she introduced you to me.
    hugs,
    Marion

  7. Good to hear from you thanks for all the tips as always

  8. Gil, sounds like you are making good progress, thumbs up… thinking about you. heal away!

  9. Me, too. I’d like to get started on Twitter.

  10. Tweet, tweet, tweet Gil! Wish you would. A few timely @altimac notes for us Mac users (and cGVHD aficionados) would be very welcome. If I can follow @pogue, I would certainly follow @altimac (or whatever). #keepmarchingtowardhealthier

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