I got a new Mac, now what?

So you just got a new Mac computer, what are the first things you should do after unboxing and relishing in that new computer smell? Here are some of the basics you should do before you even connect to your social life …

Create a Non-Admin Account

Yes you have your main account that you want to use, why should you create another one? Well, to keep your computer secure of course. Think about this, the default user you created or have been using has full admin access on your computer; by creating a Standard Account you will be running with more restrictions should you get hacked or infected there will only be so much that can be done to your computer.

If you do need to do admin work, you will get a prompt in which you can enter your admin account credentials. While this will involve extra steps, it will not only limit the damage that can be done to your machine but will hopefully make you think about what you are doing to your computer.

  • Launch System Preferences
  • Select Users and Groups
  • Click the padlock and enter your password
  • Click the + icon
  • Choose the type of account you want to use
    • Standard for most cases
    • Managed with Parental Controls for Children
  • Fill in the rest of the information
  • Click Create User

FileVault

FileVault encrypts data on your drive. Loosing your password and recovery key will result in loss of all your data.

  • Launch System Preferences
  • Select Security & Privacy
  • Click on the FileVault tab
  • Click Turn On FileVault

Enable your Firewall

I find it sad that Apple took the time to design a built-in Firewall then decided not to turn it on by default. To turn it on, all you have to do is:

  • Open System Preferences
  • Select Security & Privacy
  • Click on the Firewall tab
  • Click Turn On Firewall

Update your OS

  • Launch App Store
  • Select the Updates tab (you will see all available updates for your operating system and any pre-installed apps)
  • Click Update All

AntiVirus (AV)

I know you’ve heard that Macs don’t get virus. It’s a truck load of crap, they do but because Macs had a small share of the market they were not as widespread; Now that Macs are gaining traction in the market, attacks are becoming more mainstream. No OS is safe and secure, not even Linux … OS X and Linux are safer than Windows but they are not bullet proof.

I use Avast, it’s free and one of the better ones out there. Now it’s not the only one and people have their own personal choice so feel free to choose another one. The “It’s free so it must not be good” is not true with Avast but if you feel safer by paying then feel free to hit up Norton or your favorite paid AV.

Choose Secure Passwords

This is a huge one for us, read our article on creating secure passwords.

Turn on Night Shift

This in an eye saver in the real life way. Blue light affects your sleep patterns and intern your health. I’m happy that Apple finally got smart on this. Night Shift basically turns your display warmer shades depending on your choosing.

I would suggest doing this at night in the location that you normally use your computer to ensure that you adjust the warmth to what’s comfortable for you.

  • Open System Preferences
  • Click Displays
  • Click Night Shift tab
  • Select Sunset to Sunrise from the Schedule dropdown
  • Move the slider to a warmth level that suits you, I have mine all the way up.

Learn to use your keyboard like a power user

Keyboard Symbols

Modifier key
Symbol

Command

Command symbol

Shift

Shift symbol

Option

Option symbol

Control

Control symbol

Return

Return symbol

Delete

Delete symbol

Forward Delete

Forward delete symbol

Up Arrow

Up Arrow symbol

Down Arrow

Down Arrow symbol

Left Arrow

Left Arrow symbol

Right Arrow

Right Arrow symbol

Page Up

Page Up symbol

Page Down

Page Down symbol

Top (Home)

Top symbol

End

End symbol

Tab Right

Tab Right symbol

Tab Left

Tab Left symbol

Escape (Esc)

Escape symbol

Common Shortcuts

Shortcut Description
Command-X Cut the selected item and copy it to the Clipboard.
Command-C Copy the selected item to the Clipboard. This also works for files in the Finder.
Command-V Paste the contents of the Clipboard into the current document or app. This also works for files in the Finder.
Command-Z Undo the previous command. You can then press Command-Shift-Z to Redo, reversing the undo command. In some apps, you can undo and redo multiple commands.
Command-A Select All items.
Command-F Find items in a document or open a Find window.
Command-G Find Again: Find the next occurrence of the item previously found. To find the previous occurrence, press Command-Shift-G.
Command-H Hide the windows of the front app. To view the front app but hide all other apps, press Command-Option-H.
Command-M Minimize the front window to the Dock. To minimize all windows of the front app, press Command-Option-M.
Command-N New: Open an new document or window.
Command-O Open the selected item, or open a dialog to select a file to open.
Command-P Print the current document.
Command-S Save the current document.
Command-W Close the front window. To close all windows of the app, press Command-Option-W.
Command-Q Quit the app.
Option-Command-Esc Force Quit: Choose an app to force quit. Or press Command-Shift-Option-Esc and hold for 3 seconds to force just the front app to quit.
Command–Space bar Spotlight: Show or hide the Spotlight search field. To perform a Spotlight search from a Finder window, press Command–Option–Space bar. If you use multiple input sources to type in different languages, these shortcuts change input sources instead of showing Spotlight.
Space bar Quick Look: Use Quick Look to preview the selected item.
Command-Tab Switch apps: Switch to the next most recently used app among your open apps.
Shift-Command-Tilde (~) Switch windows: Switch to the next most recently used window of the front app.
Shift-Command-3 Screenshot: Take a screenshot of the entire screen.
Command-Comma (,) Preferences: Open preferences for the front app.

Power Shortcuts

Shortcut Description
Power button Press to turn on your Mac or wake your Mac from sleep.

Press and hold for 1.5 seconds while your Mac is awake to display a dialog asking if you want to sleep, restart, or shut down. If you don’t want to wait 1.5 seconds, press Control–Power button or Control–Media Eject  .*

Press and hold for 5 seconds to force your Mac to turn off.

Control–Command–Power button Force your Mac to restart.*
Control–Shift–Power button or
Control–Shift–Media Eject 
Put your displays to sleep.*
Control–Command–Media Eject  Quit all apps, then restart your Mac. If any open documents have unsaved changes, you’ll be asked whether you want to save them.*
Control–Option–Command–Power button or
Control–Option–Command–Media Eject 
Quit all apps, then shut down your Mac. If any open documents have unsaved changes, you’ll be asked whether you want to save them.*
Shift-Command-Q Log out of your macOS user account. You’ll be asked to confirm.
Option-Shift-Command-Q Log out of your macOS user account immediately, without being asked to confirm.

*Doesn’t apply to keyboards that have a Touch Bar.

Typing emoji and other symbols

  • Click the place in your document or message where you want the character to appear.
  • Press Control–Command–Space bar. The Character Viewer pop-up window appears
  • Use the search box or click view button to expand the character window.
  • When you find the character you want, click it to insert it into your text.

Type accented characters

Simply hold a key down until its alternate characters are displayed.

To choose one of the characters displayed, type the number that appears under the character, or click the character you want to use. If you decide you don’t want to type an accented character after holding a key, type another character, or press the escape (esc) key.

If no additional characters are available for the key you’re holding, the pop-over menu doesn’t appear. The menu also doesn’t appear when the Key Repeat slider is set to Off in the Keyboard pane of System Preferences.


Now that we have those down, go on and enjoy your new Mac all secure and like a power user. Have something to add to this list? Drop us a line in the comments, share with us what you do after you unbox your Mac.

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Completely Uninstall Office 2016 for Mac

Important:

To completely uninstall Office 2016 for Mac you must remove the applications, supporting files, and keychain entries, plus any icons you’ve added to the Dock. Once you’ve removed everything, empty the Trash and restart your Mac to complete the process.

You must be signed in as an administrator or provide an administrator name and password to complete these steps.

There are several things to remove. This article steps you through each one.

Continue reading Completely Uninstall Office 2016 for Mac

macOS 10.13 High Sierra Public Beta

macOS Public Beta is now active, however; there are many articles out there telling users how to signup then leaving them short of getting the actual update.

I have been checking for days now and the update would not show up.. So I dug around and found the installer.
Continue reading macOS 10.13 High Sierra Public Beta

Google Chrome – Your Preferences cannot be read

Logged into my Linux computer today and got this error as I tried to start Chrome. Tried the basics and it did not work, searched Google and saw many others having this same issue so I decided to document the process of fixing this issue here. I’ll start with the basic stuff first then will get into the more detailed steps.
Continue reading Google Chrome – Your Preferences cannot be read

Using Google Public DNS

Most people connect to the internet via their ISP’s DNS servers which more than likely are not the best and more than likely is slowing down your browsing. Using a 3rd party service not only speeds up your experience online. A while ago we wrote about OpenDNS, today we’re going over Google’s DNS service.

Important:
Make sure to write down your ISP’s DNS servers.

Google Public DNS IP addresses

IPv4 addresses are as follows:

  • 8.8.8.8
  • 8.8.4.4

IPv6 addresses are as follows:

  • 2001:4860:4860::8888
  • 2001:4860:4860::8844

Making the changes

Windows

  • Start the Network and Sharing Center (this process varies by windows version)
  • Click Change adadpter settings
  • Right-click Local Area Connection or Wireless Network Connection slelect Properties
  • Type in your administrator password if you are promted for it.
  • Click the Networking tab
  • Under the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) or Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and click Properties
  • Click Advanced and select the DNS tab, write down any IP’s that are listed here for future reference in case you want to revert later on.
  • Select Use the following DNS server addresses
  • Enter the IP’s from above
  • Restart your computer

Mac OS

  • Click the Apple menu ()
  • Click System Preferences and click the Network logo.
  • Select the connection you want to configure (Thunderbolt Ethernet or Wi-Fi or Display Ethernet) then click Advanced
  • Select the DNS tab
  • Click the + icon to enter the IP Addresses (repeat for each address)
  • Click Apply then click OK

Linux

I will go over doing this in Ubuntu since that is one of the more common flavors.

  • Start System Preferences and click Network Connections
  • Select the connection you want to configure Wired or Wireless tab, then select the appropriate network.
  • Click Edit, and in the window that appears, select the IPv4 Settings or IPv6 Settings tab.
  • If the selected method is Automatic (DHCP), open the dropdown and select Automatic (STATIC) addresses only instead.
  • If the method is set to something else, do not change it.
  • In the DNS servers field, enter the IP addresses, separated by a space:
  • Click Apply
  • If you are prompted for a password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

If your distribution doesn’t use Network Manager, your DNS settings are specified in /etc/resolv.conf.

Edit resolv.conf:

sudo vi /etc/resolv.conf

If any nameserver lines appear, write down the IP addresses for future reference. Replace or add, the following lines:

nameserver 8.8.8.8
nameserver 8.8.4.4
nameserver 2001:4860:4860::8888
nameserver 2001:4860:4860::8844

Save and exit

:wq

Restart any Internet clients you are using.

sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

Routers

Every router uses a different user interface for configuring DNS server settings; we provide only a generic procedure below. For more information, please consult your router documentation.

Note:
Some ISPs hard-code their DNS servers into the equipment they provide; if you are using such a device, you will not be able to configure it. Instead, you can configure each of the computers connected to the router, as described above.
  • In your browser, enter the IP address to access the router’s administration console.
  • When prompted, enter the password to access network settings.
  • Find the screen in which DNS server settings are specified.
  • If there are IP addresses specified in the fields for the primary and seconday DNS servers, write them down for future reference.
  • Replace those addresses with the IP addresses from above
  • Save and exit.
  • Restart your browser.

SSH Private-Public Key Auth for Linux and Mac

First Things First

First off, let’s talk about SSH keys and Security real briefly so that you can understand a bit more about what’s going on here and why it’s important. With all the issues happening in today’s digital age, everyone needs to start thinking about and taking one thing very seriously. You know, all the hacking and spying going on around us all.

One of the ways you can accomplish that is by using stronger encryption methods, in this case … SSH Keys or Public Key Cryptography. One of the major things is the key size. 1024 was common but that has long been hacked and not used anymore for websites and other public; so logically many are moving on to 2048 and even 4096, which is what I use.

SSH Keys provide a much more secure way to log into your servers than using passwords. While passwords can be easily broken by brute force attacks, SSH Keys way more difficult and if using a higher key can be almost impossible to decipher.

How does it work?

Generating a key pair provides you with a Private and a Public Key. You place the public key on a server you will connect to leaving the private key on your machine. When you SSH to your server you will not need to enter your password as your public key will be unlocked by your private key and you will be verified and allowed to get in. Continue reading SSH Private-Public Key Auth for Linux and Mac

How to restore your Mac to factory defaults

We’ve all ran into issues with our Macs, Yosemite has issues with upgrading and networking from feedback we’ve gotten from customers and have seen personally; and if you want to roll back to Mavericks, I suggest doing a clean install. Some might even find this handy before selling your existing Mac after getting a new one.

WARNING: Performing the following steps will permanently destroy data on your drive. Make sure you have backed up ALL important data before proceeding.

Here’s how to do it:

If you are getting rid of your machine.

Deauthorize iTunes

  • Open iTunes → click StoreDeauthorize This Computer.
  • Enter your AppleID and password and click Deauthorize.
    • You should also deauthorize any third-party apps, such as Photoshop, that are locked to your Mac.

Turn off File Vault

  • Open System preferences → click on Security & Privacy → open the FileVault tab.
  • Check that it says FileVault is turned off the for the disc [main hard drive].
    • If not click on the padlock icon in the bottom left, enter your password and click on Unlock.
  • Click Turn Off FileVault.

Sign out of iCloud

  • Open System Preferences and click on iCloud and tap on Sign Out Now.
    • To remove all your personal data click on Delete From Mac

Wiping and Rebuilding

Wiping the Drive

  • Boot into recovery mode by holding command + R keys before pressing the power button and holding it until the Utilities window appears.
  • Select Disk Utility → click Continue.
  • Choose your main Volume → click Unmount.
  • Click the Erase tab → click Erase.
  • Click Disk UtilityQuit Disk Utility.

 Re-Install OS X

NOTE: You will need and internet connection to proceed, we suggest using an Ethernet connection for this.
  • Click Reinstall OS X → click Continue.
  • This will start a blank download of the OS X install files.
    • If you are keeping the Mac, proceed with the install by using your AppleID.
    • If you are not keeping it, do not use your Apple ID so that the next owner can finish the install with their AppleID.