Napkin Diagrams

Engineering, Technology, and DIY

Category Archives: Computers

Protect Your Sensitive Bits: Mac File Encryption


There comes a time in every boy’s life where he starts to become a man. He’ll notice many changes physically and mentally, as well as in his filesystem. School reports and LOLCats take a back seat to adult life, with tax reports and business documents. With the increased importance and sensitivity comes the desire to protect the new found information. On a Mac, there are a few easy, built-in options, as well as a range of third–party apps.
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Extend Yourself


Long gone are the days of only one browser choice, and they have been for a while. Today there’s a number of viable options, including IE 8, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera. All have their perks and drawbacks, with the matchup complicated even further by an array of extensions. Some love the barebones vanilla installations, while others opt to arm their browser to the teeth. I’m somewhere in between, opting for a small list of useful utilities, without any frills or worrying about rare and unique situations.

Browser Name: Chrome for Mac 6.0.472.25 dev
OS: Mac OS X 10.6.4
Add-Ons:

  • 1Password Extension – Link and Instructions
  • Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer (by Google) – Link
  • goo.gl URL Shortener – Link
  • Google Calendar Checker (by Google) – Link
  • Google Mail Checker Plus – Link
  • Google Reader Notifier (by Google) – Link
  • Google Voice (by Google) – Link
  • Google Wave Notifier Plus – Link
  • Stop Autoplay for YouTube – Link

What setup are you using?

Lucky Number 7: Winning the New Windows

While browsing Twitter, I came across this tweet from Zaxy:

Why should you upgrade to Win7 on your PC? Tweet us 1 reason w/ #ParallelsLovesWin7 for a chance to win a copy of Win7 via @parallelsmac

Now, for context, when not using my Macbook, I was a diehard XP Pro user. Years of tweaking, customizing, and optimizing had left me with a powerful, efficient XP desktop that handled both gaming and productivity like a champ. It would take something special to make me upgrade, and even more so to consider it for my Macbook.

Vista was not that something. There’s not need to rehash that debate, so I’ll leave it at that. Windows 7, however, is a different story. From what I’ve read, and the times I’ve gotten to use it, it is exactly what I wanted in the next iteration. Clean, snappy, and just an overall better experience. The reason I decided to tweet about for the contest, and one of my biggest issues with Vista, is how much better Windows 7 is at memory management. With that huge obstacle out of the way, among others, I was ready for an upgrade.

A little while ago, I get a tweet from Parallels, informing me that I’m one of the winners. And there was much rejoicing! I even got a nice little writeup on their blog.

Today is a very good day.

Thanks and Links:
Paralles@ParallelsMac
Zaxy.com@Zaxydotcom

2 Computers, 1… Speaker Set

Venn Diagram of Mac intersecting Windows with speakers
Computers and laptops have become cheaper and cheaper over the years. It has reached a point where it is not uncommon for a person to have more than one. Whatever the specific situation may be, the audio hardware setup will get a bit tricky. Computer speaker sets have only one input; unless one wants to shell out for multiple sets or a nice receiver system, the only solution is to continuously move the plug. For some, the access to all ports is easy enough that such a simple solution is sufficient. Most of the time, it would become irritating very quickly, especially if one has to alternate back and forth frequently. What is a man to do?
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Tunnel Your Way to Secure Freedom with SSH & SOCKS5

Data Tunnel
Sometimes the normal method of connecting to the internet simply isn’t enough. Firewalls, bandwidth limits, and insecurity really rain on one’s parade. There is hope, however, for addressing all of these issues with one simple technique:

A SSH & SOCKS5 Tunnel

The nitty gritty details of these two protocols is beyond the scope of this blog post, and so only the general concept of each will be given. SSH, or Secure Shell, is a way of connecting two devices with an encrypted connection. It’s quite a useful little protocol, allowing one to run programs remotely, transfer files securely, and more. SOCKS5 is the protocol that will allow network traffic to be sent through the SSH tunnel. Unlike a standard HTTP proxy that one may find on the net, SOCKS5 can handle more than just browser traffic.
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Streaming to Xbox360 With Mac: Connect360, Rivet, or PS3 Media Server?

Mashup of Apple and 360 logos

Monitors are nice and all, but there’s something about watching a movie on a big tv and a nice sound system. The easiest way to get it from your mac to the tube would be a direct HDMI cable, but not everyone has laptops or adapters. What’s that? You have an Xbox 360? Well then, you’re in luck! There’s a few options out there now to stream media from a Mac to an Xbox 360 for playing on your living room set and achieve media seamlessness.
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