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For the first time ever, Apple has been forced to shut down a ransomware attack targeting Mac users running OS X. The file-encrypting malware is embedded in version 2.90 of the BitTorrent client Transmission and demands a bitcoin payment of approximately $400. If you are using Transmission 2.90, you are advised to delete it immediately. Here are the steps you need to take.
All platforms: Firefox 3, the next version of everyone’s favourite cross-platform browser, has released a public beta for early adopters, web developers and other curious souls. New features include a Places Organizer for bookmarks and saved searches, a plug-in manager for the likes of Flash, Java and other helpers, and many more improvements and changes. Like any beta, there are still a few bugs to be smoothed out, and none of my extensions from Firefox 2 worked in this version. Still, it’s an interesting look ahead at what browsing will look like in a few months. Firefox 3 Beta 1 is a free download for Windows, Mac and Linux.Firefox 3 Beta 1 [via Mozilla Feedhouse]
Mac OS X only: The default behaviour for the Home and End keys on the Mac can be very annoying—particularly for Windows-to-Mac switchers. Freeware application KeyFixer remaps your Home and End keys so they move the keyboard cursor to the beginning or end of a line, duplicating the behaviour of the Home and End keys in Windows. (Cmd-Left/Right arrow perform the same function by default.) We covered a nitty gritty method for accomplishing this once before, but it requires manually editing system files and doesn’t actually work for Firefox. Together, the two flavors of KeyFixer will fix the Home/End behaviour both across your system and in Firefox, which means that’s one major OS X annoyance you can cross off your list. KeyFixer is freeware, Mac OS X only.KeyFixer [Starry Hope] KeyFixer Patch for Firefox
Windows and Mac only: Monitor your computer activity easily and efficiently with freeware application RescueTime. Just install the application and let it run in the background so that it can capture data for your online activity and application usage, then check the dashboard and view graphs and charts about your habits. Beyond the rich set of analytics provided, RescueTime also knows when you’re away and will not collect any data during that time. If you really want to know how you’re spending your time while you’re “working,” RescueTime is a solid choice. RescueTime is a freeware application for Windows and Mac, requires a free registration to download.RescueTime
Your Mac’s lack of a second mouse button means you have to Ctrl+click to get context menus and other “secondary click” options. Mac laptop users can stop reaching for the Ctrl key and secondary click by touching the trackpad with two fingers instead (then hitting the single mouse button.) In OS X’s Keyboard & Mouse System Preferences pane, under Trackpad, check off “For secondary clicks, place two fingers on the trackpad then click the button.” For more Mac tips, see weblog Hack the Day’s roundup. 7 geek tricks for a fresh OSX Tiger install [Hack the Day]
On Tuesday I detailed how how I built a Hackintosh Mac from start to finish on the cheap, but one obvious question remained unanswered: How does my Hackintosh stack up to the Apple-built competition? To find out, I put my Hackintosh, a Mac Pro, and a MacBook Pro through the paces. Here’s what I learned.