Mattia Campagnano

Mattia Campagnano

Saturday, December 20, 2014

2014 Breaches - Sony Hack and leadership


The last Sony incident showed once again that this country needs to change things around as to cyber security.
 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

11 quick keyboard hacks for Windows

Ever wondered how you could do the same things you do every day faster with Windows? Well, here's a quick list of 11 keyboard hacks, ready for you like a soccer team line up.

5 Handy applications for your portable antimalware kit

  1. McAfee Stinger: This well-known portable application by McAfee, updated several times a week, may help quickly solve tricky situations. It should always be present in your kit.

5 Quick Mac tricks that will turn you into a speed demon


  1. Quick look a file content: Press SPACEBAR while clicking a file and you'll automatically see its content. It's the same as right-clicking the file and selecting Quick Look but much faster (one stage instead of two).
  2. Drop a file on an application icon to open it: It comes in handy when you need to open a file with an application different from the default (e.g. you need to open an image with Photoshop to edit it).

Essential apps and tips for a more secure Internet browsing

Internet is a very insecure place these days.

The list of cyber threats lying out there in wait for you is constantly growing and doesn't include only malware and hackers trying to steal your identity.

In fact, legitimate companies, Internet marketers and spammers try to track your surfing activities and your likings, to target you with specific emails and pop-up ads.

This forms a serious threat to your security and your privacy, but there are tools allowing you to counter and block tracking cookies and scripts.You can also make your browsing experience safer by following some more general tip.

How to think like a hacker


Last Update: 4/27/2017

I'm a hacker sitting in a dark cyberpunk room looking for suckers like you.

You hear about a security breach and you blame it on hackers.

Whose fault is if your password is 123456? Whose fault is if you are so lazy when it comes down to protect your money and your information?

The truth is you deserve to get screwed. I worked hard to learn all I needed to know, sacrificed hours, days and years of my life to learn how to use my full power.

Friday, December 12, 2014

NSA Virus scam and new Safari vulnerabilities in OS X Yosemite (OS X 10.10)


Last update: July 5 2015.

I just installed Safari version 8.0.2 and I noticed a dangerous vulnerability.

While I was browsing, a pop-up window suddenly appeared on my screen, warning that my computer had been locked based on the prism surveillance program and I should pay a $300 fine to unlock it.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tips for a safer Internet browsing - free eBook giveaway (CLOSED)

As we're getting close to Christmas, I decided to give away to my readers a free eBook: Safe Internet Browsing? Yes, you can!


Click DOWNLOAD now to grab your free copy. This giveaway will end tomorrow at 12 am.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Firefox 34.0.5 - Do you Yahoo? No thanks!


 

I just updated Firefox to its latest version (34.0.5) and, like it had already been publicized in advance,  Yahoo! is now the default search engine, due to a long-term agreement with Mozilla.


Firefox 34.0.5 with the new default settings


As I don't like having to use Yahoo! as a default search engine and I'm not big on switching to Chrome for this, I found a quick solution to this problem that will surely please all the Firefox users as dissatisfied by this change as I am.

Friday, December 5, 2014

One year of blogging - Top 14 posts on One Tip A Day Tech Blog

I've just realized that I've started this blog one year ago, on November 1 2013.

Numerous things have changed in the meantime and One Tip A Day Tech Blog has steadily grown, even though not as much as I wish.

To celebrate this event I created a list of the top 14 viewed posts I have published over one year.

Hope you'll enjoy it!!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A quick checklist to solve PC freezes and crashes



Does you PC freeze from time to time and you don't know what to do?

The following is a quick checklist to narrow down the possible reasons and solve the problem.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How to automatically shutdown your computer when you want



NOTE: The procedure I'm about to explain requires you to have administrative privileges on your PC.

Years ago, when I commuted for 150 km back and forth every day and I needed to leave at a certain time for me to get the train home, this trick saved me a lot of time and hassles.

Have you ever stared at a computer screen, cussing because Windows takes forever to shut down? How about those times when some applications won't close, causing the shutdown to abort or delay?

In my opinion, technology must be at your service and not vice versa, so I found an easier way to get this done.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac giveaway - A reliable and fast protection for your Mac (CLOSED)



I've been requested by Bitdefender Antivirus to write a review for their product Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac on my blog and to organize a giveaway for my readers.

Though I'm honored for collaborating with a well-established security company, I made it clear that my review will be totally objective and honest.

The readers of my blog know that I don't spare criticisms to anyone. In the previous post, though being a satisfied Mac user, I harshly criticized Apple for a series of bugs present in Yosemite that are frankly inexcusable for a company often considered in the past as a yardstick of excellence.

Testing method

The only plausible way of testing an antivirus program is to see how it does in detecting viruses and, for this reason, I'm going to create an OSX 10.10 Yosemite virtual machine and infect it with as most malware as I can find around. Afterwards, I'm going to run Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac and document the results for you. That's my way of working and I'm sure that Bitdefender as well, being a reputable company, wouldn't settle for less.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

WireLurker? No thanks! 3 quick tips to harden your Mac

  

Malware for Mac has started kicking in recently.
Some days ago a new variant called Wirelurker has infected some Macs and, through them, numerous iPhones. Following a few simple suggestions you can reduce the risk of an infection and of losing important data on your iMac, iPad or iPhone.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

OS X 10.10 Yosemite official release review - Big cats have gone but does Apple still roar?




OS X 10.10 Yosemite has been officially released on October 16. 

If you have followed my previous posts, you might know I have already tested the Beta release in the previous month.

I'm eager to test the official release and to check whether some evaluations I had expressed in my previous posts are still valid or I need reviewing them.

 

Monday, October 6, 2014

How to install Windows 10 in a Parallels Desktop virtual machine


On October 1, 2014 Microsoft has released the Technical Preview of Windows 10, available for download from Windows Insider program. After downloading the ISO of the new operating system, I created a new virtual machine with Parallels Desktop.



Windows 10 Review: A hybrid solution and a half step forward

 
On September 30, 2014 Microsoft has officially released the Windows 10 Technical Preview along with a 39 minutes official video presentation.

Starting from October 1, you can sign up for the Windows Insider program and download the Preview.

After closely watching the official video presentation, I've downloaded and installed the new Windows version in a virtual machine by using Parallels Desktop (I was unsuccessful with Virtual Box).

I will test the new Windows for you and will try to understand what changes have been implemented, beyond the official marketing press release.



Monday, September 29, 2014

CSI EFFECT- How to spot a phishing website with a click


The crime scene

You clicked (deliberately or by accident) a link embedded in an email you received, or you Google a well-known site but the link you've clicked brings you to a suspicious webpage.
Something doesn't add up, but you can't say exactly what.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Yes, you'll get hacked! When and how?

Your army is deployed on the perimeter walls, armed and ready. Your walls are high and solid and a deep trench defends them. All access points are fiercely defended and strictly monitored. The monsters are out there, getting ready to attack and destroy and you know there will be no prisoners..
You’re confident that your walls will hold long enough for backup troops to join the party and sweep the attackers away. Sadly a wicked insider told to your enemies about a vulnerability in your walls, a tunnel running below the main wall, the existence of which had been long forgotten.

 
Video: YouTube

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Yosemite Beta 2 Review: A step forward, but it's not enough yet

In my previous post How to Install Yosemite Beta 1 with VirtualBox (plus a sneak peek of Yosemite Beta 2) I showed you a sneak peek of Yosemite Beta 2.

I've created a VirtualBox virtual machine for this purpose, but neither audio nor Adobe Flash were supported.

For these reasons I've decided to install Yosemite Beta on a physical partition of my hard drive, called "Yosemite test".



 

Monday, August 25, 2014

How to Install Yosemite Beta 1 with VirtualBox (plus a sneak peek of Yosemite Beta 2)

This post is an update to my previous post How to install Yosemite Beta 1 (MacOSX 10.10) on a Virtual Machine using VMware Fusion (with step-by-step video tutorial).

I've decided to test VirtualBox on the new Beta but it's been challenging,

VirtualBox is a free product and, though I think it's a very valuable virtualization software, there's a reason for it.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This guide aims to explain how to create a virtual machine on a regularly purchased Mac computer, running a genuine OS X operating systems, for testing purposes only. This blog doesn't support or encourage software piracy (the author owns an iMac).
Whoever uses this guide to create a Hackintosh does it at its own risk and the author can't be held responsible for any distorted use of the below directions.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How to make your Firefox super-fast with one click

Firefox can be sluggish sometimes, but not everybody knows that there's a way to make it super-fast.

You won't need any add-ons, but only to change a couple of settings.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

OSX networking and security tips - a crash course

Your Mac doesn't usually need a lot of maintenance, but it can come in handy to know some basic networking functionalities and some useful tips to ensure a better security to your system.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Problems with your Internet connection? Do it yourself!

I've been experiencing problems with my Internet connection for days, so I decided to call my ISP (one of the biggest companies in the U.S.).

One hour on the phone and it turns out my line had no problems and I had to get a new modem or sign up for a new service bundle.

Afterwards, I try to connect to the Internet and I get redirected to a webpage asking me to test my Internet connection.

I've told you my Internet connection drops every now and then and you want me to solve this problem online, are you f… kidding me or what?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How to reinstall OS X Mavericks without losing your data

If you're a little too geeky like me and you mess up too much with your OS X (installs, uninstalls, kernel extensions, etc.) you may need to refresh it, but what if you don't have the time or the disk space needed for a backup?
Not everybody knows that you can re-install OS X without losing your data.

NOTE: This is an extreme situation and you may want to backup your disk or, if you already have previous backups, at least copy elsewhere the files changed or created since the last backup, for you to make sure you don't lose them.

The above warning is a little paranoid, but I've learned you'd better be like that in I.T., because you never can tell (every time you say: "No, this is not gonna happen!", rest assured it will).

Monday, August 11, 2014

Handy tools to improve your browsing experience

Sometimes your browsing experience can be frustrating because it gets ruined by unreachable sites, choppy YouTube or other Flash videos, annoying pop-up ads and other issues, but you can solve them for good by using specific tools.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Passwords are dead - how to move on and how to effectively protect your user accounts from hackers


I've already written about this topic in a previous post (6 Quick tips to protect your passwords) a while ago, before the recent news about a massive security breach caused by Russian hackers, who stole 1.2 billion data and 500 million email accounts.

This latest incident has made it clear, beyond any possible doubt, that we're in a new age of IT Security: passwords, which were already an old technology, have died for good.

That's been clearly stated by major computer security experts, such as Mark Rasch (see Russian Hackers Behind World's Biggest Internet Security Breach for more details), and I fully agree with this point.

I know now you'll surely be thinking  "Well, I have to enter a password to log in, until they find another way to secure my accounts".

No doubt, but you can nonetheless do something in the meantime for you to add another layer of security to your accounts and take action before it's too late.

Have you ever considered how many accounts each one of us owns and handles? A lot, (consider the above figures as a very limited example) and their number increases constantly, because we handle more and more everyday tasks by using the Internet (eCommerce, online banking and so on, including things we wouldn't have thought possible of doing online before - Ever ordered a pizza online? Well, somebody does it).

If you're used to daisy chain them, authorizing third-party applications to access your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+ account, the risk factor increases exponentially because hackers have to compromise one only social media account for them to access all the linked ones.

What you can do today

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Safe Internet browsing? Here's how you can!

Every time you browse the Internet these days, it's a little bit like going through a minefield.

There are many more dangers waiting for you out there than you could think of: malicious scripts, web bugs, tracking cookies, malware, defaced websites, server vulnerabilities (think of the OpenSSL exploit utilized by Heartbleed, for example)….

Does it sound a little too paranoid? I know, but I'm big on the old saying "better safe than sorry".

Every time you open your web browser you take chances in dark alleys, so I'd like to give you some tips for a safer browsing:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

OS X Yosemite Beta 1 (MacOSX 10.10) review - going mobile, revolution or step back?

Some days ago, Apple has released Yosemite Beta 1, the beta version of the coming MacOSX 10.10 supposed to be released in the Fall 2014.
This new version introduces some important changes and seems to fill a gap between the mobile and the desktop version of Apple OS, which I had envisioned some days earlier commenting on a LinkedIn post.


Monday, July 28, 2014

How to install Yosemite Beta 1 (OSX 10.10) on a Virtual Machine using VMware Fusion (with step-by-step video tutorial)

As you probably know, Apple has recently released the Beta 1 of Yosemite, the coming OS X version (10.10) .
I was waiting for it and I'm excited and eager to test it for you.
In this post I'm going to show how to install Yosemite Beta 1 on a virtual machine but, before getting started, you want to make sure you have all you need.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

8 Mac keyboard hacks and hidden tools

There are several nifty keyboard hacks and hidden tools you can use to increase your productivity on OS X.
You can view all keyboard shortcuts currently implemented on your Mac by going to System Preferences/Keyboard/Shortcuts.
In the same window, you can also customize your shortcuts and enable/disable them (by selecting/deselecting them with your mouse).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Unresponsive Finder? Here's how to speed it up.

After the latest MacOSX update (10.9 aka Mavericks) several users have noticed that the Finder becomes unresponsive for a short while when booting up or waking up from sleep.

This seems to be due to App Nap, that aims to increase battery life by putting idle applications in "sleep" state. 

According to Apple official page "OS X can tell when an app is completely hidden behind other windows. And if that app isn't currently doing something for you — playing music, downloading a file, or checking email, for example — App Nap conserves valuable battery life by slowing the app down. But as soon as you start to use it again, the app instantly shifts back to full speed"

Though this idea can have its upsides, it can slow down your Mac performance causing a lag when you click an application icon.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

7 Horrible mistakes you're making with Windows

  1. You have too many files on your hard drive: Windows needs at least 15% of free disk space available for system maintenance. So, if your PC starts acting up, you may want to check your hard drive usage, before it's too late.
  2. You don't use any firewall: It's well known that Windows systems have several vulnerabilities and surfing the Internet without a firewall is like leaving your car keys in the ignition. Don't complaint if somebody messes up with it later. If you don't like Windows Firewall, you can use third-party tools but PLEASE get one. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Puppy Linux - new life for old computers

Your PC is so old that it takes you 30 minutes to open your web browser? Is it so outdated that you don't know what to do with an old piece of crap like that?

Don't give up hope! There's a way to revive your old PC and to use it for many years to come.

Puppy Linux is a Linux distribution specifically conceived for old PC's and it's so stripped-back that can be successfully run even on computers having 256 MB RAM.

There are several versions of Puppy Linux and, for this post, I've used Racy 5.5.

As stated by its official site, Racy "derives from Wary Puppy, a long term support release optimized for older hardware. Puppy also offers Slacko and Lucid versions, for full compatibility with Slackware and Ubuntu, respectively".
 
In the next paragraph I'm going to describe how I revived an old Acer Aspire 2001 WLCi, purchased in 2003, by using Puppy Linux.

The laptop characteristics

My laptop features 40 GB HD, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, 496.0 MB RAM, Intel® Pentium(R) M processor 1400MHz.

Just an old clunker, that I sometimes use at the college to check on something real quick.

Its original OS was XP Home Edition, installed in two partitions with a FAT32 filesystem (one of the first things I did was to convert it to NFTS).

I had installed Ubuntu 12.04 LTS some years ago, but it was definitely too slow.

My old clunker and an overview of Racy 5.5 Desktop

Monday, July 7, 2014

4 Easy ways to speed up a slow Mac

Your Mac can become slower and less reliable over time, especially if you're like me and mess with applications, kernel extensions and other things.

Before considering to upgrade your hardware, there are some quick hacks that can save you time, money and frustrations.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Keep keyloggers away- tips and tools to get rid of undesired digital guests

Some definitions
Hardware keyloggers: Hardware devices that can look like a keyboard or a WiFi adapter, which monitor all the victim's activity and report it. They require a physical access to the computer and, for this reason, they're usually installed by employers to lawfully monitor their employees' computers (see here for some examples).

Software keyloggers: software that hides inside the operating systems and captures all your keystrokes, to later report all your activity via email or web. Software keyloggers can be used for legitimate purposes, such as employee monitoring, or for illegal activities like identity theft or hacking personal and bank accounts.
In the latter case, we have to consider them as malware.
Keyloggers (defined as above) are among the peskiest categories of malware around.
They lie undetected inside your operating systems and capture all your keystrokes, to report all your activity to the attacker. They usually keep a low profile and do a good job in hiding themselves in the deepest layers of your OS, but there's something you can do to prevent or, at least, limit the likelihoods of being infected.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

5 Top free utilities for MacOsX - give your Mac a free boost!

I've been using MacOsX since 2010 and have tested a bunch of different applications, but there are some I can't really help and that in my opinion are an absolute must.

I focused on free applications because they often offer features perfectly comparable, and sometimes even higher, than commercial software.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

6 Hacks for Mac you should know

  1.  Tailor-made Finder: not everybody knows that the Finder can be customized. You can add buttons such as Delete, Connect to, Share, Quick Look and others by simply right-clicking the top of the Finder window and selecting Customize Toolbar. Afterwards, you can drag the additionals buttons you want to the toolbar (in the example below I've added Delete, Share and Quick Look).

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

3 things that IT professionals won’t tell you (but I will…)

For a lifetime I've been up with commonplaces and publicity stunts.

Sadly there are people who just can't help them and create new definitions for things that have already been around for ever, because they have to sell you a new product and create a new need from nothing. Here's a short list, but there are many more examples I could quote.

Monday, June 2, 2014

5 Google search hacks - get the most from Google

We all Google every day, for some people Google is the Internet, but most of us perform only a basic web search and we can't always get to find what we want.

Not everybody knows that you can get the most from Google with the help of some simple hacks.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Sandboxie - free the explorer in you

We IT guys are a little bit like little children who need to take their toys apart to understand how they work.

We need to test software, mess with it, play it around and then move to another program and do the same, again and again.

Learning by doing is the only way to us.

But the same concept applies to everybody.

How many times have you installed a program and afterwards you found out it doesn't do what it promised or, yet worse, it's nothing but malware?

Sadly installing and uninstalling numerous programs is bad for any computer, regardless of the operating system, but it's particularly inadvisable for a Windows PC, because of the messy way Windows handles files (for more details about this topic, view my previous post How to maintain and speed up your computer - an out of the box guide (computer surge blues), part 2).

What if I told you that there's a way to test programs and applications in a secure area without actually installing them to your physical system?

Today I want to talk you about a handy program called Sandboxie that allows you to play with programs the same way you did with your toys.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

5 quick hacks to get the most from your Gmail

  1. Find all emails prior to a certain date: You need to find an email you've received some time ago but you don't remember the sender's name, nor the object (and sadly you don't use labels), but only that you've gotten it within a certain time of the year. Or you want to delete all emails received before a certain time frame because you don't need them anymore. What to do? Gmail offers a quick hack to solve this problem. You only have to enter this command in the search box: before yyyy/mm/dd to find all emails received before the date you have specified. In the figure below I've looked for all emails prior to 4/1/2014 (expressed in the format 2014/04/01).
    Click to enlarge
  2. Undo send: How many times have you clicked the Send button inadvertently or too hastily without being allowed to stop that darn email? Well, now you can. Gmail supplies some additional beta features called Labs, accessible by clicking the gear button and selecting Settings. Among these features there's Undo Send, which allows to stop messages from being sent for a few seconds after hitting the Send button. After sending a message, if this lab is activated, you'll be shown for some seconds an Undo button that you can use to abort the operation if you're not sure or realize you've made a mistake (see figures below).

     
  3. Faster loading time: If you're pressed by time and need to have a quick look at your Gmail, you can switch to the Basic Mode (HTML only), which allows a quicker loading time but won't support some more advanced features, because it doesn't load javascripts. You can do it by selecting Basic HTML while your email page is loading (see picture) or by adding "/?ui=html" to the URL of the page. 
    Click to enlarge
  4. Display unread message count in your Gmail browser tab: If you keep several browser tabs open at the same time (Yes, I'm guilty!), it can come in handy to see right away from your Gmail tab if you have a new message. You can do it by activating the Unread message icon feature from Labs (see figures below). This functionality doesn't work with Internet Explorer, but is supported by all the other major browsers.

  5. Use a custom theme: If you want to feel your Gmail a little more yours, you can customize your theme by using one of your pictures as background. This is possible by clicking the gear button and selecting Themes and then Custom Themes. Depending on the color scheme you want to adopt for your email and fonts, you can choose between Custom Dark or Custom Light (in the figures below, I've chosen Custom Dark). Afterwards, you can upload an image from your computer as background by choosing Select a background image (you can choose a featured image, an image from your PC, your Google+ profile, your Picasa albums, a URL, etc.) and you'll have a tailor-made Gmail reflecting your personality (see figures).

Friday, May 23, 2014

Solve 3 annoying Mac problems in minutes

  1. Microsoft Silverlight for Mac isn't recognized after an update: you want to view a video and the website prompts you to install the latest Silverlight version, but afterwards nothing happens. Your browser shows only an error message asking you to install the update, which you have already done. To solve this problem, you'll have to uninstall the older version of the plugin and remove all files related to Silverlight from your Mac (look for any entry related to Silverlight with Spotlight or third-party tools like FindAnyFile and delete them); the problem occurs because your browser keeps pointing to the older version of the Silverlight preference file and so it results, wrongly, that your plugin version is outdated. After removing the old files and installing the newer version, a new preference file will be created and you'll be allowed to watch the video smoothly.
    Raisport (Italian national TV sports website) uses exclusively Silverlight for its video contents

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Blue Screen of Death errors - how to avert your PC's death toll


What it is 
A blue screen error, also known as Blue Screen Of Death or BSOD or stop error, is shown when a problem occurs with processes running in kernel mode and Windows has to stop the system to prevent damages. A BSOD can be caused by problems with devices, drivers or a corrupted Windows installation. For this reason it's important to write down the type of stop error displayed on top and the specific number of the error displayed at the bottom of the screen (see pictures below).
 

Troubleshooting BSOD errors
 To troubleshoot these errors you need to:

Monday, May 12, 2014

How to master Mac in 6 simple steps

  1. Forget about Windows: If you've always used Windows, you've gotten used to do things a certain way. Well, here's a good and bad news for you: most of what you've learned for Windows is no use with a Mac. It's a totally different operating system and has a different logic. But if you approach it with an open mind, that can be an opportunity to learn a new and sometimes better way of using a computer.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

6 Quick tips to protect your passwords

I know, there are a bunch of posts and articles about this subject, why should you read this?
What if I give you 1,131,000,866 reasons? According to Kaspersky Labs, this is the whopping number of malicious attacks to computer and mobile devices registered in the first quarter of 2014. It's just about as big as the number of inhabitants of China.
The number of cyber attacks in 2013 involving financial malware increased to 28.4 million – an increase of 27.6% more than 2012.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

All Windows troubleshooting tools (part 3)

1.System Configuration (msconfig.exe): used to troubleshoot startup process by disabling or enabling startup programs and services.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

All Windows troubleshooting tools (part 2)


1. Last Known Good Configuration: it can be accessed by pressing F8 key at boot up and selecting it from Advanced Boot Options. It's useful when Windows won't start normally because it reverts the system to the state it was before a problem with Windows settings, drivers or applications occurred.

2. Memory Diagnostics (mdsched. exe): performs a memory test.


Monday, April 14, 2014

All Windows troubleshooting tools (part 1)

Starting from this post I'll perform an overview of all Windows troubleshooting tools.

Hope you'll enjoy it!

Mattia Campagnano


1. Action Center: accessible from System or Action Center flag in the taskbar, is used to solve installation problems for devices and applications,and solve hardware and software problems; it displays a history of past and current issues (fig.1).
Fig. 1 (click to enlarge)
2. Advanced Boot Options Menu: accessible by pressing F8 key at Windows boot up, has several options to troubleshoot boot problems (in XP is called Boot Option Menu).

Friday, April 11, 2014

Top 10 most viewed posts on One Tip A Day Tech Blog

  1. 5 Quick hacks for Mac to boost your productivity with a click
  2. MalwareByte's AntiMalware review - a free powerful defensive line for your PC
  3. Windows 8.1: improvement or step back? (part 1)
  4. Windows 8.1: improvement or step back? (part 2)
  5. Windows 8.1: improvement or step back? (part 3)
  6. Opera for Mac review - an underdog with a twist
  7. My top 6 Mac freeware tools for 2013 (Evernote, Google Music Manager, VLC, Dropbox, Google Drive, Onyx)
  8. How to create a bootable clone of a MacOsX system using Disk Utility
  9. LastPass, strong passwords for the web
  10. Unlock 6 top-notch hacks for Windows 7

 Thank you very much for your continuing support and see you soon with coming posts!

Friday, March 28, 2014

How to create an emergency MacOsX Mavericks recovery disk on a bootable USB drive

Starting from Lion (Mac OS X 10.7), Apple operating systems no longer come with a bundled install DVD, which has been replaced by a hidden recovery partition that can be used for the same purpose. While this has surely meant a remarkable cost slashing for Apple, on the other hand it has created some inconveniences to users. It's actually pretty easy to reinstall Mac OS X from Recovery Partition, but it requires an active Internet connection in order to download the needed files from Apple servers. This is a consequence of the so-called cloud computing revolution. But, what if we need to reinstall Mac OS X without an active internet connection or we cannot access Wi-Fi from outside the operating system?
Luckily there's an easy fix for this problem: create an emergency boot disk on a bootable USB drive that will work the same way as an install DVD. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

XP Death - How to happily move on and what options you have

Windows XP will be discontinued starting from April 2014 and this opens tricky scenarios for individual users and companies because XP still  represents a relevant percentage of Windows-based computer around the world.
Though Microsoft will update anti-malware definitions through mid-July 2015, it will release no further updates for the operating system. This means bugs, vulnerabilities and exploits will not be fixed any longer and implies potential high liability risks for companies in case of security breaches or data loss.
Luckily there are several upgrade alternatives available.

Monday, March 24, 2014

MacOsX Mavericks- Wi-Fi keeps dropping? Here's why


Does your Wi-Fi connection often drop without any apparent reason?
Do you experience a poor wireless connection?
Does your Mac lose connectivity after being in Sleep Mode?
Luckily OS X supplies a built-in functionality that can help solve these problems in the twinkling of an eye.

Wireless Diagnostics "allows to troubleshoot and optimize a wireless network, by detecting common problems and monitoring your connection for intermittent connectivity failures" (Source: Apple). After completing its tests, it creates a report on your desktop that you can send to Apple for support.

Friday, March 14, 2014

9 Windows Command Prompt Hacks: the power of black and white.


  1. Copy/paste a file or folder to the Command Prompt: when you have to enter a command which involves a specific file/folder whose path or name is particularly lenghty or you simply don't want to enter it manually, you can drag and drop the file or folder to the Command Prompt to complete the command (Fig. 1) and then click Enter (Fig. 2).        

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How to get rid of Wi-Fi squatters with two easy steps.



Sometimes you notice that your Internet connection slows down suddenly without any apparent reason. You may think this is normal or it can be due to the number of tasks you're performing simultaneously. Sadly this is not always the actual reason for it. It may also happen when somebody squats your Wi-Fi and uses it to connect to the Internet. Luckily there are ways to address these problem and keep out these pesters for good.
  • Step 1 - The first step is to check your current IP configuration from Command Prompt by using the command Ipconfig /all (Fig. 1) (the command is ifconfig /all for Linux and Mac). From there you can recover your whole TCP/IP configuration; you'll need your IP address, your hostname, the router's IP Address and the MAC Address of your computer and of your other connected devices.
In the screenshot resulting from running the command, your MAC Address is listed as Physical Address, which makes perfect sense. MAC (Media Access Control) Address identifies physically a device (think of the equivalent of an SSN or of an ID for a human being) and, unlike the IP Address, it can't be changed (at least theoretically, as tools able to do it are currently available).

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

URL shorteners and URL unshorteners- cut it out and see it through

URL Shorteners

URL shortening is a technique allowing to transform the URL of a page, making it shorter but still directing to the original page. This is done by redirecting the connection (HTTP Redirect) to a page having a shorter domain name, which links to the original webpage.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Discover 6 top-notch hidden Windows 7 functionalities

  • Reliability Monitor:  This tool helps understand the reasons for a poor system performance. It creates a graph showing the reliability score of your system over a certain number of weeks (rated on a scale of 1 to 10). The graph highlights also what programs, Windows components or other items have crashed and when. To activate it, open Start/Search, look for reliability and run Reliability History (fig.1).

Monday, March 10, 2014

Windows God Mode: access 720 Windows settings with one click

Windows 7 has been designed to be more user-friendly than other Windows versions but, when you need to customize system settings, you still have to go through a series of stages, which can be time-consuming and frustrating. What if could we have all the functionalities we need listed in a single place and do it with one only click? This can be done by enabling a hidden Windows feature, called God Mode.

How to enable God Mode

Saturday, March 1, 2014

HTTPS Made Easy- what it means and why it's important for the average users.

You may have noticed, while surfing the web, that sometimes webpages look different than usual.
When you log to your email account or your bank account or you operate financial transactions (e.g. buying from eCommerce websites such as Amazon.com), you'll see that the URL of the page starts with https:// instead of http:// and that a padlock icon is displayed.

That happens because these pages utilize a more secure protocol, i.e. HTTPS.

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, a protocol which utilizes encryption to protect data being transferred during an important transaction. It's active on port 443 (HTTP works on port 80) and it's based on public key cryptography. This means that on both computers involved in a data transfer a security certificate has been installed and the traffic can only be decrypted when the certificates on the two PC's match.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Here's a quick way to solve a slow Windows boot-up



The problem 

Does it take forever for your desktop to show up? Is your PC's boot time so ridiculously slow that you could grab a coffee cup and read the Lord of the Rings in the meantime?
Frustrated and resigned? Here's a quick fix for this problem.           

Solution  

Friday, February 21, 2014

Dragon Dictate 3.0.4 for Mac - the power of the word

Dragon Dictate 3 for Mac is the Mac version of the well-known Dragon Naturally Speaking software. It's probably the best software on the market in terms of voice recognition and it's a complete solution to increase your productivity.
The latest version (3.0.4) works pretty good on Mac 10.9 (a.k.a Mavericks). The installation is quick and straightforward and the initial training lasts less than 10 minutes and and requires you to read some text, including punctuation. If something you say isn't recognized, the software displays a series of possible choices and learns from what you choose.
Once you've gone through that, Dictate does a great job in recognizing your voice. The software offers other features, too. You can import audio files from a digital recorder to Dictate and you can customize the dictionary of the application so that every time it finds a word you've added, it'll be automatically displayed in the proper format (e.g. Windows 7).

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

5 Quick hacks for Mac to boost your productivity with a click


 1 – Recover the dictionary definition of a word in a text by hovering your mouse on it and clicking Command (CMD)+Control (Ctrl)+ D:  this keyboard shortcut causes a pop-up window to display the meaning of the selected word in the dictionary (Fig. 1).


Fig. 1 (Click to enlarge)














2 – Move a file directly to the Trash: the key combination Command (CMD)+ Backspace allows you to move a file directly to the Trash without having to right-click it and select Move to the Trash or to drag it there.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Unlock 6 top-notch hacks for Windows 7

Windows 7 has lots of options, overlooked by the average user, which can be unlocked to increase productivity and have a better overall experience.

  •   Add a folder to Windows Explorer Favorites Section: this can be done by navigating to that folder in Explorer, right-clicking Favorites in the left navigation pane, and selecting Add current location to Favorites (Fig.1). This way, any time you need to save a file through File/Save As, you'll be allowed to choose your favorite folders as a destination.

4 ways to totally mess your Windows system (the dark side of the computer force)


I'm a reformed troubleshooter.

I've helped people solve their computer problems for years.

I'm sick of seeing they ignore what I say and constantly repeat their mistakes, so I turned to the dark side and I'm going to let you have your way and totally mess your system (but I won't bail you out this time :)).

There are several ways for you to totally compromise a Windows system, but it's up to you to choose how.
  • I've seen a commercial on TV/Internet/whatever on this program and it promises to boost your computer speed by 200%. Really, buddy? Hmm. Oh, I scanned my system and it found 20,000 infected files and problems, so I think that money's really well spent. Congrats, bro, you're on the right track to mess it all up. I feel so good because my friend, who's an expert, never heard about this program but now my PC is fine. Tell me something, have you ever heard of that software before? Did you Google to see what it is and what alternative you can get for free? Doesn't this sound weird to you? Oh, sure, YOU'RE the expert: well, congrats buddy, you've just won the Nobel prize for science and in this very moment some guy in Russia, China or whatever is popping a sparkling wine bottle cause he spotted another sucker.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Speed up video playback on Firefox with a click - no more choppy videos!

Problem

You wanted to catch a Flash video (on YouTube, Vimeo or other similar services), but suddenly the video starts getting stuck, its playback gets choppy and you're forced to reload the page or to give up because of your browser's poor performance. Sound familiar?
This may happen both because of Adobe Flash issues (i.e. an outdated or corrupt version) and because of some browser settings. Mozilla Firefox saves a snapshot of the video file each 15 seconds. This is helpful in case of a crash (as you can resume the video from where you left off) but it causes your browser to utilize more RAM memory than it should and that's the root of the problem. 

Solution

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fix your slow WiFi in minutes (MacOsX Mavericks)

The problem 

After upgrading to Mac OS X Mavericks, several users (including myself) have noticed that wi-Fi Internet connection had started slowing down without any reason. This problem is a hot topic and many users are affected by its consequences.

The solution

Saturday, February 1, 2014

3 Quick tips to speed up your browser in minutes

Your browser is really slow, it takes forever to load a page and gets stuck when you play a video, which makes you really feel frustrated.
Probably you have even resigned and thought of changing your computer but first there are some things you can do to speed up your browser. Sometimes the reason why your Internet connection is slow can rely on factors such as ISP supplied bandwidth, hardware equipped or RAM memory, but some of your habits and preferences can play an important role to this regard.

3 Quick tips to speed up your browser in minutes

  • Close all the browser tabs you don't need. You may think is convenient to have everything you need at hand, but any open tab uses a certain amount of RAM memory and the more open tabs (Fig. 1)  the least RAM memory is available to the operating system (Fig. 2).       
Fig. 1 (Click to enlarge)
Fig. 2 (Click to enlarge)









Regardless of the browser you use, this scenario may lead to computer freezes, especially when open tabs are Flash-based, as Adobe Flash is a very well-known resource drainer. If you need to remind the URL of a tab you want to read later, you can use tools such as Delicious, allowing you both to save a link to a page to delicious website (using tags to find it more easily) and to share it on social media.  
  • Slash the number of add-ons or extensions installed. 
Fig. 3 (Click to enlarge)
You need to figure out which plug-in is really necessary to you and which isn't. The more plug-ins are installed, the higher the overall size of RAM memory used by your browser,  so you need to find the right trade-off between customization and performance. You can disable or remove any unneeded add-on selecting Add-ons from Firefox Tools menu.
In the next window choose Extensions and you'll see a list of all plug-ins currently installed. 
After clicking the plug-in you want disabled, select Disable and then restart the browser to complete the operation (Fig. 3).
  • Periodically clear your browser cache and history
Fig. 4 (Click to enlarge)
Another thing impacting your surfing experience is your browser cache size. In fact browsers save some pages and images off-line to your local computer because if you visit the same website again, they can load them much faster. if your cache gets too big, though, it'll take longer to find the right picture or page to load and you will notice slowdowns.
For Firefox you can clear your browser cache clicking Options and then Privacy. From there you can delete browsing history, download history, cache, cookies, saved passwords, auto fill form data, etc. (Fig. 4).
With Google Chrome you need to click the wrench button, go to Settings and then to the Advanced Settings tab, where you'll find Clear Browsing Data (Fig. 5,  Fig. 6)
Fig. 5 (Click to enlarge)

Fig. 6 (Click to enlarge)
   


Wrap up
Your browser can perform poorly due to several reasons but, apart any consideration about hardware or Internet connection speed, you can take action to have a faster surfing experience.
This can certainly speed up your browser but don't expect a dramatic boost.
There are some plug-ins supposedly capable to ensure a faster surfing such as Tweak Network Settings or Firefox Booster but you always have to ask yourself whether another add-on could really make a big difference or clog up your browser even more.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Windows Experience Index - Does Windows play bingo?

 

You need to buy a new Windows computer but you feel lost reading and comparing all the technical specifications (RAM, video, HDD, CPU, etc.) and you're afraid to make a wrong move, because you're not a techie.

Your computer is performing poorly but you don't understand why and don't know what you should do to make it run better.

Sound familiar? Not everybody knows that Windows operating system provides a number that can bail you out and save your day.
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