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Shellshock and What Mac Users Need to Know

You may have heard recently about an IT security issue called "Shellshock" where a key part of many operating systems – including all versions of Mac OS X - has been shown to be vulnerable to hackers.

If you've been reading the press, I'm sure you've seen phrases like "will take years to eradicate," "affects millions," and "worse than Heartbleed."

Before you take the family to your off-the-grid shack in Montana, here's what you really need to know about Shellshock.

First off, if you're running Mac OS 10.7 (Lion), 10.8 (Mountain Lion) or 10.9 (Mavericks), then you should run the Bash Security Update available from Apple via the links below or through Software Update under the Apple Menu.

http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1769 (10.9)
http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1768 (10.8)
http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1767 (10.7)

WBUR Winner Donation

For eleven years, Tech Superpowers has been underwriting WBUR - Boston's NPR News Station - to support National Public Radio. This year, our contribution also included a $5000 gift card giveaway to anyone that pledged on December 11th 2012 during WBUR's pledge drive.

The lucky winner was J. Grove, but instead of keeping the prize to herself, she contacted us to donate the majority of her prize, including two Apple laptops, to the Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School.

Quick Guide to Apple’s New 2-Step Authentication

On Thursday, Apple unveiled two-step authentication for Apple and iCloud IDs. You can now add the extra level of security to your accounts, by following these steps:

1. Head to the Apple website and click ‘Manage your Apple ID’
2. Log in with your Apple ID and click on ‘Password and Security’
3. At this point, you may need to answer your previously set security questions. Once you’ve done that, hit ‘Continue’
4. Click the ‘Get Started...’ link in the Two-Step Verification section, then read and click through a number of information screens
5. PLEASE NOTE: Apple stresses that it won’t be able to reset your password for you if you enable two-step authentication, and that you’ll always need at least two of the following three things: your password, your recovery key, and a compatible device

Macs on Mars: TSP Gets to the Bottom of the Story

If you're a Mac fan that has been following coverage of the Mars Curiosity landing, you may have noticed a few articles talking about how many Macs are present in the photos of the Mars Curiosity JPL team.

We noted these articles too, such as this one from TUAW. The problem was most of what they talk about is pure conjecture, sprinkled with some interviews of retired NASA personnel not related to the project. That simply wasn't enough for us - we wanted to know the real scoop.

Luckily, we had an "insider" at JPL - a TSP fan named David Oh, brother of TSP Founder Michael Oh, who holds the title of "Lead Flight Director" of the Mars Science Laboratory (otherwise known as Curiosity). He's in the top right corner of the photo.

The Inside Story of the Green Street Jungle Pop-Up Store on Newbury Street

A few weeks ago, we were faced with a tough decision: We had found a great, new spot for our Boston HQ at 29 Stanhope Street, but moving immediately meant paying for our old space at 252 Newbury Street at the same time as our new office.

However, not moving meant putting our new business strategy of solely focusing on Apple business and VIP customers on hold for a couple months. We determined that a pivot of our business now was best - there's no point in putting the future on hold.

So that left the question: What should we do with our old space? In the "normal" business world, our choice was one of two things: (a) find someone to sublet the space for a couple months at full rate or (b) pay a real estate agent to get someone into the space (which would cost us at least a month of rent). In true Tech Superpowers fashion, we chose to do neither.

The Lowdown on the BackDoor.Flashback Trojan

Flashback targets a Java vulnerability on Mac OS X. The first variant of Flashback was discovered by antivirus company Intego in September 2011.

According to the Russian antivirus company Dr. Web, a modified version of the "BackDoor.Flashback.39" variant of the Flashback trojan had gone on to infect over 600,000 Mac computers. These findings were quickly confirmed by another security firm.

MacKeeper: A Cautionary Tale

Over the past couple of months, we received a number of inquiries from clients about MacKeeper 2012, so we did some digging.

When it first launched, ZeoBIT's MacKeeper gained some very positive reviews of its all-in-one suite of file maintenance tools. It seemed like incredible value for money ($40) when you considered its anti-theft and space-reduction features and the service-based Geek On Demand which claimed to offer comprehensive technical support for their software and any Mac-related questions you may have.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well that may be the case.

Case Study: M. Steinert & Sons

M. Steinert & Sons is New England’s preeminent piano dealer, serving the region’s music community with a blend of high quality instruments and exceptional personal service since 1860. They are the region’s exclusive representative for Steinway & Sons, universally acknowledged as the world’s finest pianos.

Recently we got an email from Jerome Murphy, Treasurer at M. Steinert & Sons, who had hit a wall whilst working with a prominent Boston hospital to install a baby grand piano, along with a unique automated player system called PianoDisc iQ.

It promised to be a high-profile installation in the lobby of the hospital which utilizes iTunes and the PianoDisc iQ system to play live music on a real Boston piano (designed by Steinway) - without a player - instead of piping in canned pre-recorded music.

Guest Post: My MacWorld/iWorld 2012 by Sami Kafal

Sami Kafal is the son of Abdul Kafal, winner of the Our Grand Opening 1st prize of a free trip to MacWorld 2012, courtesy of MacWorld organizers IDGWorldExpo and Tech Superpowers. Sami, Abdul, and the entire Kafal family made the trek this January to San Francisco and got to experience the excitement of MacWorld/iWorld for the first time. In Sami's own words, here's what his journey to MacWorld - and San Francisco - meant to him:

So you’ve upgraded to OS X Lion?

At TSP we understand that you probably won’t have time to read all of the various Lion ‘tips and tricks’ on the internet when you first get set up. It takes time to familiarize yourself with a new operating system, so we’ve compiled the very essence of what you need to get going. Call it a ‘cheat sheet’ to get you through the basics.

An Introduction to Lion

OS X is built on a rock-solid UNIX foundation and is specifically engineered to take full advantage of the technologies in every new Mac with a seamless and integrated experience for the user.

But why is Lion better than previous incarnations? Using advanced technologies, incredible performance is delivered to you in a way that is simple and intuitive. Lion introduces a whole new way of interacting with your computer with Multi-Touch gestures, just like your iOS device.

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