Mattia Campagnano

Mattia Campagnano

Thursday, December 31, 2015

One Tip A Day Tech Blog third anniversary. The top 10 most viewed all-time posts

I've started this blog in 2013 and three years have already gone.

This time frame has been very important for IT in general and also for my personal and professional life.

Since I started this blog, Windows has issued two operating systems (Windows 8.1 and Windows 10) and Apple has released three new OS X versions (Mavericks, Yosemite and El Capitan).

I've delved through a lot of topics in these three years and I feel to have grown a lot both as an IT professional and as a blogger, but I always strive to improve.

I push myself hard and that's why I don't write a post if I don't believe in it.

I'm my first censor (sadly) and I hate repeating myself.

For a while I even thought of pulling the plug, because I'm too swamped with school, work and a bunch of side projects, but I decided to continue on.

To celebrate the third anniversary of One Tip A Day Tech Blog, here is a list of my most successful posts (pageviews are displayed as of today's date):
The two most important 2015 IT developments for desktops: OS X El Capitan and Windows 10.

  1. URL shorteners and URL unshorteners- cut it out and see it through: 1014 pageviews
  2. How to install Yosemite Beta 1 (OSX 10.10)  on a Virtual Machine using VMware Fusion (with step-by-step video tutorial): 1000 pageviews
  3. 5 Quick hacks for Mac to boost your productivity with a click : 976 pageviews
  4. How to Install Yosemite Beta 1 with VirtualBox (plus a sneak peek of Yosemite Beta 2): 914 pageviews
  5. How to re-create a missing recovery partition in OS X Yosemite: 788 pageviews
  6. How to reinstall OS X Mavericks without losing your data: 654 pageviews
  7. MalwareByte's AntiMalware review - a free powerful defensive line for your PC: 614 pageviews
  8. Windows 10 A free upgrade, paid for by your data -…: 529 pageviews
  9.  Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac giveaway - A reliable and fast protection for your Mac (CLOSED) : 509 pageviews
  10.  OS X 10.10 Yosemite issues - Bugs for all. Wake up, Apple!: 481 pageviews.
Happy New Year to all my readers!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Online privacy and anonymity are dead. Get over it!

Last updated: 1/9/2017

The problem 

After Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA's indiscriminate snooping activities on any U.S.-based individual, a paranoid dread has started spreading around.

Most people started feeling threatened and devoid of their rights, afraid of something they contributed to create by handing over their lives to social media and big data collectors (government agencies included).

For this reason, an increasing number of blogs and websites have come up with tutorials about online anonymity and privacy, most of which talk about something they have no clue about and move from wrong arguments.

Though this is an overly technical problem, I'll try to keep my explanation simple, like I spoke to a fifth grader.

Monday, November 30, 2015

99% what you think you know about Information Security and Hacking is bullcrap, and they know it.

Over the last months security breaches seems to have become more frequent, so much that they barely make the news.

The way media talk about this stuff is widely incorrect. Journalists and media in general seem to think working in IT Security is like being in an episode of CSI:Cyber.

Well, I've never laughed that much watching a sitcom. Do people really believe this is true?

All those GUI interfaces where you see stuff like "hacking main generator", yeah really...

Have you ever spent a day tracking server logs?

Have you ever tried making reconnaissance on a server?

Have you ever used a Linux shell in your life? Have you ever written a shell script?

Have you ever cussed at a command line interface, because your network configuration fails to load?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

OS X 10.11 El Capitàn (update 1) Review - Time for a change

Apple has officially released the new OS X version, 10.11, better known as El Capitan, on September 30 and I had the chance to play with it in these days.

Though the name chosen seems to suggest a minor update, which tweaks and improves on top of Yosemite (El Capitan is a vertical rock formation located inside Yosemite National Park), El Capitan brings long-needed improvements and makes OS X more secure.
First impressions

Saturday, September 19, 2015

OS X 10.11 El Capitàn Gold Master Candidate - Visions from the future

Apple has recently released OS X 10.11 El Capitàn Gold Master Candidate, which is supposed to be the last Beta release of El Capitàn before the final version.

El Capitàn official release is scheduled by September 30, 2015.

For this reason, though the GM Candidate version doesn't feature outstanding changes confronted with earliest Beta releases (see my previous post OS X El Capitan (10.11) Public Beta - Minor update, good stuff for more details), its analysis can help understand what El Capitàn final official version will look like.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Enable/disable Fast Start in Windows 10

What's Fast Startup?

Fast Start is a new Windows functionality implemented with Windows 8.1 that realizes a faster startup.

If you activate this feature, Windows won't be completely shut down when you click the power down button.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Windows & Piracy: a die-hard mindset. Is it worth it and does it hurt knowledge?

Windows is the most used operating system in the world and, for this very reason, is also the world's most pirated operating system.

The reasons for this are varied.

In poor countries the cost of a Windows license can be too high and people can not afford it. For many people around the world their first computer often runs a pirated Windows versions.

Others believe it's ethically OK to rob a thief.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Computer Cleaners - When the treatment is worse than the disease


While surfing the Web, you may often stumble upon a bunch of programs claiming to optimize and speed up your operating system, often brought to you by annoying and sometimes malicious pop-up windows.

The producers of these programs often use a very aggressive marketing language on their websites, promising to deliver whopping performance improvements.

The wording of these websites should raise a red flag for you right away.

This software is a real cancer. In the best-case scenario, it's but crapware/adware/bloatware; in the worst case, downright malware/spyware.

Keep off fake cleaners!!! The fewer third-party software you install, the better.

These programs can harm your system by corrupting system files, or filling up your hard drive with bloated applications, often running in background. Sometimes they might even mess up your OS so badly that you have to re-install everything from scratch.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mattia’s Dummies' Corner - How to superscript/subscript in Microsoft Office Word

Right-click the word/number you need to superscript/subscript and select Font.

From there you'll have the below menu. Under Effects tab, you can superscript, subscript and do other fun stuff.


NOTE: Screenshots are related to Office for Mac, but the Windows version works the same way, with regard to this functionality.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mattia’s Dummies' Corner - What’s a hash value?

I've decided to start a new section of this blog, where I will explain the meaning of specific IT terms, be them common or not.

I'll try explaining them like I talked to a fifth grader.

Hope it'll be helpful and you guys will enjoy it.

Friday, August 14, 2015

OS X 10.10.5 More reliable, more secure.

Apple has released last night the update to OS X 10.10.5, which improves stability and performance.

None of the issues I reported so far has been fixed (check OS X 10.10 Yosemite issues - Bugs for all. Wake up, Apple!).

The update:
  • Improves compatibility with certain email servers when using Mail
  • Fixes an issue in Photos that prevented importing videos from GoPro cameras
  • Fixes an issue in QuickTime Player that prevented playback of Windows Media files

More importantly, the 10.10.5 update patches a critical vulnerability linked to the DYLD bug.

Until now, a hacker could, by gaining root permissions through this privilege escalation bug, silently install malicious software without need for an administrator password.
For more details about this update, see Apple Official page.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Windows 10 got me deadlocked. The only winning move is not to play.

In a few weeks I'm starting my school over for the Fall semester and will have to use my laptop, upgraded to Windows 10, more often.

Microsoft's new privacy policies scared me to death and got me deadlocked in a dilemma.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Die-hard IT misconceptions

I've been listening to misconceptions throughout the course of my IT career, and I'm sick and tired of having to read this stuff all over the place in forums and (supposed) expert websites:
  1. Windows is for computer experts who know how to tweak their settings, Macs are for basic user: A bunch of bulls. Windows simply doesn't work (or doesn't work the way we want) and the "tweaking" is often due to mere troubleshooting. I've supported Windows computers for 12 years and going through all this "tweaking" didn't make me happy at all. Windows users think Mac users aren't advanced because they don't have to do any of that. Untrue. OS X can experience problems, too (though less commonly than Windows). Moreover, for you to solve very complicated situations, you need to use Terminal. If you're not an expert, UNIX shell commands can screw up your system beyond recovery because, unlike Windows, you're supposed to know what you're doing.

Windows 10 A free upgrade, paid for by your data - Tweak Windows 10 to protect your privacy

Last updated:12/28/2015.

I've recently upgraded my Windows 8.1 laptop to Windows 10 and I have initially enjoyed its refreshed look and its high performance.

My honeymoon, though, ended abruptly after realizing the extent of the total privacy violation Microsoft has implemented with this operation.

Windows 10 contains numerous settings allowing Microsoft to collect a huge amount of information on your activity and, what's worse, on your network connection.

Some settings are pretty accessible, others are deeply hidden inside the OS, or require the user to flip through a bunch of windows to be disabled.

Such an invasive operation has never been attempted before.

The most threatening and deeply insecure feature is called Wi-Fi Sense and allows your contacts to access your network automatically without a password, with obvious concerns.

In fact, you could even be a friend of mine, but that doesn't mean I have to let you access my network and view my personal files. Even though you're my neighbor and we go along, you can't use my connection for you to do your stuff.

The foregoing are maybe the least alarming scenarios possibly resulting from this ill-advised feature.

Troubleshooting steps

Thursday, August 6, 2015

OS X El Capitàn Beta 3 released

Apple has recently released El Capitàn Public Beta 3.

No consistent change can be registered, confronted with the previous two versions.

The Beta 3 appears to be more stable, but some bugs I noticed since Yosemite early Betas are still present. However, this time I've reported them both through feedback Assistant and by emailing Tim Cook (I found his email address on Quora).
One of the most annoying ones is about QuickTime Screen Recording.

If you want to test the Beta, enroll your Mac, so you can have the new builds right off App Store.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Windows 10 Review - A clear sky after a storm, possible sprinkles. Part 4 (Final thoughts, should you upgrade?)


Windows 10 is the bigger and better overhaul Microsoft has realized in years.

It can be compared to the radical rethinking that led to Windows 7, after Windows Vista resulted to be a total disaster.

Windows 10 Review - A clear sky after a storm, possible sprinkles. Part 3 (System functionalities)

System functionalities

  • No more Metro Interface: Microsoft finally removed the hated Metro Interface, or Start Screen, that forced users to flip back and forth between Universal Apps and their desktops. I had already tweaked my laptop to totally bypass it, so this is a no-brainer to me and most Windows users. Totally worthless crap, that now belongs to the past.

Windows 10 Review - A clear sky after a storm, possible sprinkles. Part 2 (Cortana & Edge browser)

Cortana & Edge browser

  • These two features make Windows 10 a major overhaul, a must-have, confronted with previous versions. Edge is much faster and more reliable than Internet Explorer has ever been. Edge's strict integration with Cortana is the best functionality Microsoft has introduced in years.
  • Cortana is a very fast search engine, When used with regards to websites like restaurants, or local businesses, it supplies helpful information (hours of operation, map, Yelp reviews, etc.) within Edge browser.

Windows 10 Review - A clear sky after a storm, possible sprinkles. Part 1 (First impressions)

Microsoft has officially released Windows 10 on July 29.

Though I'm a Windows Insider, I upgraded my Windows 8.1 laptop by installing it right away, without waiting for Microsoft's notification.

For more details about my installation diary, check Windows 10 installation guide - A smooth DIY upgrade

First impressions

Windows 10 is much faster and reliable than Windows 8.1, or Windows 7.

The new Windows version works much smoother and faster and I have registered only a couple of freezes so far, surely way less than before. In fact, though I've backed up my previous configuration, I don't think I'll go back.

All my previous programs and files work the same way as before and so far I haven't experienced backwards compatibility issues, much to my (pleased) surprise.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Windows 10 issue no. 1: One Drive won’t sync - How to solve it

I upgraded my Windows 8.1 laptop to Windows 10 and was playing around with it, working on a review that will come out in the next days, when I realized my OneDrive didn't sync any longer.

According to online sources, Microsoft is going to replace OneDrive with File Explorer.

Good job, I have a bunch of files that will have to be moved to another cloud solution.

Like I had widely forecast, Microsoft starts playing its old backwards compatibility game.

Too bad, because I was having a positive user experience.
The solution, according to Microsoft Forum is to:

Windows 10 installation guide - A smooth DIY upgrade

In these days, Microsoft is slowly rolling out the Windows 10 upgrade to its users (home users first, and then business).

Though being a Windows insider, that means I need to wait along with other 5 million people for the upgrade notification to pop up on my laptop.
I decided I don't want to wait and I'm going to upgrade my laptop by using the Windows 10 ISO.

DISCLAIMER: I performed the upgrade on my laptop, running a genuine Windows 8.1 version, and this guide is not intended to facilitate upgrading pirated system.
I'm not responsible for any unintended use of the below directions.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

3…2….1…A checklist for Windows 10

Tomorrow Microsoft will officially release Windows 10.

Are you ready? By following this short checklist, you can make sure your upgrade will be smooth and fast.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

OS X - Quit all open applications with a click

Sometimes you need to quickly shutdown your Mac, but there are several open applications.

You curse because the whole operation is slow, as each one of them will have to write to disk to save its current status, and quit.

Or you need to quickly close all your open applications for other reasons.

You could use Application Switcher (CMD/TAB), cycle through your applications and press Q to quit them.

What if there was a way to close all open applications with a click? Well, luckily there is.

You'll need to create a simple Automator application.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

OS X El Capitan (10.11) Public Beta - Minor update, good stuff

Apple has recently released the Public Beta of the upcoming new OS X version, 10.11, better known as El Capitan, scheduled to be officially released by this Fall.

The name chosen seems indicative of a minor update, which tweaks and improves on top of Yosemite release (El Capitan is a vertical rock formation located inside Yosemite National Park).

However, El Capitan brings long-needed improvements and provides solutions to some annoying problems.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Customize your Quora Feed with a click

Last Updated: 1/3/2016

In the latest months I've spent more time on Quora than on other social media.

I find it a more valuable tool than major media like LinkedIn, or Twitter, because it's much easier to find content relevant to my industry and ideas for posts.

Other social media have been recently filled too much with content marketing, elevator pitches or downright spam.

The only downside to Quora is the topics of your feed are based on your profile and your experience. If the keywords in your profile are too broad (e.g. technology), your feed gets filled with irrelevant crap. Luckily, Quora offers an easy way to filter out the topics you don't want in your feed.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Get Apple iWork on older Macs for free (no piracy)

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This blog doesn't support piracy. The workaround I'm going to describe is legitimate and doesn't imply installing any patch or crack whatsoever.

iWork suite is Apple's alternative to Microsoft Office, which includes three programs:
  • Pages (equivalent to Word),
  • Numbers (corresponding to Excel),
  • KeyNote (equivalent to PowerPoint).
If you bought a Mac after 2013, iWork comes totally free and bundled.

If you, instead, own an older Mac (such as in my case), you can only buy iWork from App Store at $19.99 and this, in my opinion, is unfair.

However, I found a legitimate workaround that allows to have iWork for free on older Macs, too.

Monday, July 6, 2015

OS X 10.10.4 - Better performance, no big deal

Apple has recently released the update to OS X 10.10.4, which improves stability and performance.

None of the issues I reported so far has been fixed (check OS X 10.10 Yosemite issues - Bugs for all. Wake up, Apple!).

The most evident change is about iTunes icon color, no longer red.

The update addressed issues related to networking reliability, outgoing emails in Mail and problems related to Photos and Safari.

For more details about this update, see Apple Official page.

OS X 10.10.4 desktop
OS X 10.10.3 desktop

Friday, June 26, 2015

When your Mac goes bad: Repair & Reinstall OS X with OS X Utilities


OS X is a real warhorse but, in uncommon circumstances, you might experience boot errors or major system issues.

You might also want to start from scratch because you're unhappy about the overall performance, or you're upgrading to a new version.

There are different schools of thought when it comes down to upgrading. Some think installing the new version on top of the previous one is the way to go, while other think it's best to perform a fresh reinstall.

In all the above cases, you need to use OS X Utilities.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Announcement: Udemy Class "OS X Basics for Windows Switchers" realized by Mattia Campagnano

Hello, readers.

I've maintained this blog for more than two years, focusing mostly on OS X.

Thanks for your constant growing support!

My blogging experience allowed me to realize an online class for Udemy, OS X Basics for Windows Switchers.

Take advantage of this learning opportunity and click here to join the class.

I'll see ya around campus!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

LinkedIn, can’t you see your updates in the homepage? Here’s why.

I have recently noticed that, whenever I posted an update on LinkedIn, it was never shown and my LinkedIn Homepage looked to be static.

After investigating and researching, I realized that LinkedIn has changed the way updates work.

In fact, the default setting (Top Updates) now shows you only the best updates selected for you by LinkedIn.

If you want to see the latest updates, you need to select "Recent Updates".

3 Quick Hot OS X Terminal hacks

OS X is a user-friendly OS. For this reason, most of its users have likely never used Terminal in their lives.

However, in some rocky situations, the appropriate Terminal command can save the day much faster than any GUI can.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

OS X -  Use Disk Utility to fix system issues

At times you may experience issues with OS X but you can't narrow down their causes.

Your OS X performs slower than usual, you have errors opening system utilities and experience anyway a poor performance.

This situation is not very common but, if so, before re-imaging the machine, it can come in handy to try verifying and repairing your disk and your disk permissions with Disk Utility.

Disk Utility, similarly to Windows Disk Management, allows to manage your disks and partitions and to fix any issues they can have.

You can create and delete partitions, erase a partition, etc.

In this case, we'll have to run Verify Disk.


Monday, June 15, 2015

OS X - Spotlight as a search engine: overlooked feature or revolution?

Spotlight is a built-in OS X feature allowing to search both your local computer and the Internet, your email, your instant messages, etc.

It's very helpful and I use it a lot, but I had overlooked its potential so far.

Spotlight can be used like a Web search engine with a click, without having to open your browser (see below figure).

Much needs to be done for it to compete with the search engines that dominate the market, such as Google, Microsoft's Bing, etc. but nonetheless it can be faster and more accurate.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Windows 8.1 - Power down, Restart, Logout and Search Files from the task bar (Use the task bar like a pro to skip the Metro interface)

One of the features of Windows 8.1 I find most annoying is the duality Start Screen/Desktop Mode.

Every time you have to shutdown or restart your computer, log out or search for files, you need to go from Desktop Mode to Start Screen and move to the Metro interface.

I find it time-consuming and counterproductive, so I came up with a way of performing these actions from the task bar without moving from Desktop Mode, by using the shortcut functionality.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Make your LinkedIn more secure


Yesterday, while I was looking for other specific settings, I opened the security settings of my account and I realized that all my connections to LinkedIn were unencrypted as a default.

It was no biggie for me because I use HTTPS EVERYWHERE, which forces your browser to always use HTTPS, but that didn't look good.

Luckily it's possible to enable a secure connection and to add a two-step verification to your account and, if you haven't done it yet, I'd recommend you to do it right away.

On the right corner of LinkedIn homepage, you'll see a small pic of yourself.

If you hover over it, you'll notice a series of options. Choose Privacy & Settings: Manage.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

How to hack into a firewalled system

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This "hack" has been performed by using virtual machines running on my own computer, don't use it against other people's systems, unless you've been given explicit written permission by their owners. I'm not responsible for any unintended use of these instructions.

Pentesters have to find a way to hack into a system.

Most beginner-level tutorials start from exploiting a system configured in a purposely vulnerable way, with a disabled firewall and a series of open ports.

I don't like playing too easy, so I looked for a way to exploit a firewalled system.

For my purposes I used a Windows XP SP3 victim virtual machine and an attacking Kali Linux virtual machine.

What they won’t tell you about Windows 10 - Myths to debunk and hot air.

This post updates my previous posts: 

Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 will be officially released on July 29, 2015.

In the meantime, I've tested the latest build (10074) for you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bye-bye Ransomware! ACYA later!

In the latest months new and peskier ransomware variants are dramatically affecting both Windows and OS X computers.

In the worst-case scenario, your files get thoroughly encrypted and the only way to get them back is to pay the ransom.

This reaffirms once more the importance of the first IT commandment: ACYA (Always Cover Your Ass).

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A quick shoulder surfing hack and how to protect yourself

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This "hack" has been performed on my own computer, for educational purposes only. Don't use it against other people's systems, unless you've been given explicit written permission by their owners. I'm not responsible for any unintended use of these instructions.

When we hear about security breaches in the news, we immediately think of Matrix-like scenarios, where the Pentagon or NSA fight a cyber war against the bad guys.

Real-life scenarios are a little different and less exciting than you could think. Not all hacks rely on technical skills solely.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Password cracking with Metasploit on Kali Linux (with video tutorial)


It's been a while since my last blog post and in the meantime I started delving into pentesting. For who doesn't know what this term means, it is attacking computer systems, based on explicit permission by their owners, to find vulnerabilities and patch them before bad guys could hack in.

In this post I want to show how easy is to hack into a vulnerable system and why it's so important to apply all the latest updates and patches as soon as possible. Companies, especially small ones, consider IT Security only as a cost and often overlook that each dollar spent in improving cyber security is a dollar saved in terms of legal and economic aftermaths of a breach. The bigger the breach, the higher the amount of damage that can be caused, which in the most extreme situations can even force a company to close for good.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This "hack" has been performed by using virtual machines running on my own computer, configured to be vulnerable to certain exploits. Don't use it against other people's systems, unless you've been given explicit written permission by their owners. I'm not responsible for any unintended use of these instructions.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The future of Cyber Security? An unsolved dilemma.

When I read leaders talking about where technology will be in the future, cyber security seems often out of the picture.

Several companies want us to believe that we'll be more connected and happier thanks to the Internet of Things (I've already written in the past about my absolute disesteem for this term).

A recent TV Dell commercial shows how a person gets saved thanks to intelligent devices tracking its personal information. Wow, whopping, right? Not so fast!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Work in progress

Hi everybody, it's been a while since my last post.

I haven't pulled the plug on my blog, not yet at least, but I've been too busy in the last month and I couldn't keep up.

This semester's been crazy for me and now I'm delving into pentesting.

I have several projects I'm working on, so expect some new posts from me in the next days (especially if I'm able to get metasploit started).

See you in a few.

Friday, April 10, 2015

App Store not working or too slow? Here’s how you fix it!

App Store may sometimes not work appropriately or be too slow.
Not everybody knows, though, that there's a quick fix for these problems.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Windows 10 build 10049 - Spartan Browser and Cortana happily together? Not so fast!

Microsoft has recently made available for download the latest Windows 10 build that includes the new Microsoft browser, called Project Spartan, destined to replace for good Internet Explorer.

The latest build also features Cortana, the new vocal assistant transposed from the Halo video game series, already present in previous builds.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Internet of Things? Not a sure thing!

Recently there's been a whole lot of talking about Internet of Things and the possible wonders it could deliver for us.

A necessary premise: I deeply hate this term, along with all the fad words created by marketing people who don't have a clue about IT.

Internet of Things doesn't mean a darn thing in IT. If we want to say something meaningful, we should talk about "Internet of Hosts".

Monday, March 23, 2015

Office for Mac 2016 Beta Preview - A Standardizing Overhaul

On March 5 Microsoft has released a preview of the coming Office 2016 for Mac, available for download here.

The Beta features new versions for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook and includes OneNote, previously released as a free standalone application downloadable from App Store.

I installed it and tested for you (a special thanks to my buddy Brandan for this lead).


Friday, March 20, 2015

Google Drive for OS X - Share (again) with a right-click

Google Drive for OS X allowed, before Yosemite, to share a file stored in the Google Drive folder with a simple right-click.

With the latest OS X release (10.10), this option had been taken out, forcing users to do it from the Web.

Yesterday, after pressing requests by dissatisfied customers, Google has taken the sharing functionalities back.

Mountain View has surely taken action to address the risk of losing to other sharing platforms, such as DropBox, but I consider this a very positive news.

One more reason to use Google Drive,  even though I don't recommend doing it for sensitive or very personal files.

Monday, March 16, 2015

How to force quit a Mac application

Mac applications may sometimes crash, even though not so often as in Windows, and, when this happens, you can force quit them in several ways:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ghost USB devices? Windows registry is your friend

Are you a system administrator and suspect one of your users has utilized a USB device, Infringing the company's policies?

Do you share your computer with other persons and fear someone could have copied your files elsewhere?

You can discover it by analyzing the following Windows registry key: HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\USBSTOR\.

Every time a USB device is plugged in, a sub-key is created under the above key.

Here is an example of what I found for a forensic lab I've done for my File System Analysis class.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

(Not) Another brick in the wall - Cyber security & Big Brother


We live in an age where privacy and individual rights are at stake and are constantly threatened. For years we've been told that it was necessary to trade our liberties for more security but the question than needs to be answered is: how far can this go? Is it sustainable to allow the government, security agencies, financial institutions, credit score companies, collection companies and other subjects collect any sort of data about private individuals without their knowledge?

Picture from the movie "1984"

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

(Un)comfortably dumb - Cyber security and awareness

Hi, I'm a computer junkie, sitting all day in front of a PC.
During my career I've gone a long way, from the mysteries of a word processor to the deep caves of Windows, then I've plunged into the darkness of a command line where nobody gets out alive. Afterward I started feeling the UNIX call and I did it, I switched to Mac. I've dated the Big Bitten Apple and I'm still deeply in love with it but I started wondering what was so cool about the Penguin and so I learned that his name was Linux. I've met all of these guys we grandly call "operating systems". They're nice guys, even though they have their bad days, but every time I cussed and yelled at them I learned something new.

Monday, March 9, 2015

4 Quick overlooked Windows hacks

  1. Open up Task Manager right away (SHIFT/ALT/ ESC): most people are used to access Task Manager with CTRL/ALT/DEL but this implies one more step, while the alternative combination opens it up directly. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 Pre-Release (with a sneak peek at Photos)

On March 2 Apple has made available for download the pre-release of the upcoming Yosemite 10.10.3

As I had previously signed up for the beta release of the new Apple operating system back in October, I received from Apple an official email invitation to test the new version.
The email contained a link to the webpage of the OS X Beta Program. In order to download the beta you need to click Enroll your Mac to receive beta updates and download a package, called YosemiteBetaAccessUtility.dmg, that allows you to download beta updates through the App Store.

After installing the above utility, you'll see the Pre-Release listed among the available updates within the App Store.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Your personal OS X Yosemite - Customizations and hacks for a better user experience

Yosemite has brought new features but has also changed the look of the new Apple OS, moving away from a consolidated look that had remained unchanged for years.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Buggy Yosemite? Fix it quick for good!

The 10.10.2 update hasn't yet solved numerous OS X Yosemite bugs.
Here are some quick solutions to the most common problems:

Monday, February 9, 2015

How to forcibly empty the Trash in OS X

It might sometimes happen that, after trashing a file, you cannot empty the Trash because the file results used/locked by a program or process.
There are two ways to solve this issue:

Saturday, February 7, 2015

How to convert a Jing video to MP4 without Camtasia Studio

Jing is a free screen recording software by Techsmith that allows to record your desktop.

It's a decent piece of software but has two downsides:
  1. you can't edit your video
  2. you can't convert it to a suitable format.

Friday, February 6, 2015

How to safely force Windows to eject a USB drive

Sometimes Windows will not eject a USB drive (Your drive is currently in use) even when you're sure you closed all the applications that could possibly access to it.

Friday, January 30, 2015

How to create an OS X Yosemite 10.10 USB installer

Last Updated: June 10, 2015

The problem:
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, it has created some inconveniences to users. It's actually pretty easy to reinstall OS X from Recovery Partition but it requires an active Internet connection in order to download the needed files from Apple servers and it's a very slow procedure. This is a consequence of the so-called cloud computing revolution. But, what if we need to reinstall 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.

What you need:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How to create a bootable Linux USB drive with Linux Live USB Creator

I'm currently studying Linux this semester and I found myself with the problem as my college uses Windows and the professor gives additional points is used Linux for your exercises.

I happened to have a 1 GB pen drive and I decided to create a bootable live Linux distribution on it.

So, after downloading the iso image of the distribution I wanted, I downloaded Linux Live USB Creator.

This program is very easy to use.

After choosing the destination pen drive, navigate to the ISO image of the Linux distribution.

Monday, January 26, 2015

How to create a portable virtual machine of Windows 7 Professional with VMware Player


  1.  A physical Windows system: you can use a virtual machine only if it's compatible with VMware Player but a physical OS is faster, regardless. For these reasons I've used my laptop, running Windows 8.1.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac giveaway UPDATE – WINNERS WANTED

Following to the sponsored post Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac giveaway - A reliable and fast protection for your Mac (CLOSED) Bitdefender has given me three licenses of this product for my readers, each worth $39.95.

Hurry up!  Time is ticking away! The first readers who will email me using the contact form at the bottom of the page will be given a serial number valid for one year. Enter your email, CLICK send and start protecting your Mac today!

There's no marketing gimmick involved nor I need to sell you anything. I only want to keep the promises I made to my readers.

Good luck!


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Monday, January 12, 2015

How to re-create a missing recovery partition in OS X

Last Updated: 4/26/2017

Note: The original version of this post was referred to OS X Yosemite, but the same procedure is generally valid, regardless of the specific OS X/macOS version installed in the system. Some changes were also needed due to the new Disk Utility features introduced by El Capitan.

If you've happened to use a clone created with software like Super Duper!  to restore OS X from a rocky situation, you may find yourself with a system working smoothly but not having a Recovery Partition.

Though you could always restore the clone image in case of problems, this is not an ideal situation.

In fact, a minor problem could be more easily solved by repairing the disk  through Disk Utility/First Aid from OS X Utilities menu, instead of overwriting the whole drive.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Why being paranoid can be a skill

In IT you need to have a disaster recovery plan, which means you need to think of the worst case scenario every time.

That's why paranoia is one of the best skills of an IT security professional.

When it comes down to computers, things are almost never what they seem.

I've been screwed up so many times in the past that now I follow three simple rules:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

OS X for dummies - guide to OS X 10.10 Yosemite (part 1)

In the meantime a new operating system has been released, i.e. OS X 10.10, commonly known as Yosemite.

Though some of the features explained in the previous post have remained unaltered, I think it's best to review the above post regardless.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mac tricks you don't probably know

  1. Shift the screenshot selection area: OS X allows to take a screenshot of a selected area of the screen with CTRL/SHIFT/4. If you need to select an area located slightly above or below your starting point, press SPACEBAR without releasing your mouse to shift the selection where you need it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

My Top 5 free OS X tools for 2015

A new year has just started and I've decided to share my personal list of freeware applications that have been most useful to me in 2014. Though some of them also feature a paid version with more functionalities, I found the free version adequate and effective for my purposes.

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