Password Managers

Do you have the same password for everything? That is dangerous as once it is broken in one place, it opens you up to being broken everywhere.

Password Managers are ideal for having different passwords for all websites and you don’t have to remember any of them. You only have to remember a single password for Password Manager.

Three of these Password Managers are LastPass, 1Password and Dashlane.

I used to use 1Password which was very good but now I use LastPass. LastPass is available for free.

What I like about LastPass is that your passwords are all stored in the Cloud and are available on all your devices. On a Mac it includes a LastPass icon on the Menu Bar which allows you to set a complex password.

Since all passwords are complex there is no way you would be able to remember them. When you visit a website, Last Pass knows where you are and can fill in the user ID and password for you. You can do this on your desktop, smartphone or tablet.

You should never use words that appear in a dictionary for a password as software can quickly break these passwords LastPass and the others generate passwords with numbers, upper and lower case letters and symbols like @ or ^ or & or * or #.

I encourage you to get a Password Manager and I recommend LastPass.

Beta software

Beta software is software not ready for public release but is ready for testing. You can join the Apple Beta programme free by going to beta.apple.com.

Testing Beta software is not for everyone as it can lead to problems if something doesn’t work so the advice is to use a secondary machine for the testing.

Having said that, I use my only Mac and iPhone and iPad to run Beta software. So far it has been a good experience.

When you go to beta.apple.com to join the Beta programme it downloads software onto your device whether it be a Mac or iOS device. Once this has happened Software Update downloads the latest Beta version – which is Catalina 10.15.6 at this time of writing and soon to be macOS 11 Big Sur. On iOS and iPadOS it will soon download version 14. It also downloads Feedback Assistant which allows you to report problems back to Apple.

So on my Mac it downloaded 10.15.1 Beta and I wondered why it would not download later releases as it is expected to. After some research, I discovered that if you go to the Mac App Store, and get Catalina from there it will download version 10.15.5 which is NOT Beta. Once I did that it was able to upgrade to Beta 10.15.6 which is the latest Beta version. Clearly I could not get 10.15.6 until I had 10.15.5 installed.

I’m really looking forward to the public beta of macOS 11 Big Sur which will come this month. Stay tuned for reports on these betas once they are released.

Running Windows 10 on Macs

At present, it is possible to run Windows on an Intel Mac either through Boot Camp in Utilities or through virtualisation software like Parallels, VMWare or Virtual Box.

At the keynote on Monday mention was made of this being present when Apple Silicon computers are released. No mention was made of Windows, however, but Linux was mentioned as being able to run.

This suggests that if you want to continue to run Windows on a Mac, you may need to stay with Intel based Macs unless the virtualisation software companies catch up and release Apple Silicon versions of their software. Microsoft would have to agree too.

Update: You will NOT be able to run Windows on a new Apple Silicon Mac when they are released.

Announcements from Apple

The keynote for WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference) was held on Monday and it was software focused. There was no introduction of new hardware immediately but there will be soon.

The biggest news is that version 11 of macOS will be called macOS Big Sur. It will be available in July as a Public Beta and will be released in the Autumn.

Apple confirmed that they will be switching their processors from Intel to Apple Silicon and that the first hardware using Apple Silicon will be released later this year. The whole transition will last two years and more Intel based Macs are still in the pipeline.

When Apple moved from PowerPC chips to Intel, there was an app called Rosetta that allowed Intel Macs to run PowerPC built apps. Likewise, Rosetta 2 will allow Intel written apps on Apple Silicon. Like the move from PowerPC to Intel, the move to Apple Silicon is mainly due to the speed that new processors are developed. Intel was held back in processor development which held back new hardware from Apple and this switch to Apple Silicon means that Apple now controls the whole manufacturing process.

In fact macOS Big Sur can already run on Apple Silicon.

Apple Silicon has been used on iPhones and iPads for a long time so this transition will permit faster Macs and the ability to run iOS and iPadOS apps on the Mac.

Microsoft and Adobe already have Office and Creative Cloud apps ready for Apple Silicon.

There are many cosmetic changes in Big Sur to give the OS a cleaner look. It will be released later this year.

iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 will also be released later this year as will new versions of WatchOS and TVOS.

Exciting times ahead.

Microsoft woes

I have to feel sorry for those people who rely on Windows 10 for their operating system. Last Tuesday was Patch Tuesday when Microsoft released updates to its operating system. There were 129 fixes in this last patch. Yes 129.

As part of these “fixes” many people cannot use their printers. This effects versions 1903, 1909 and 2004. If these updates we installed while certain makes of printers are turned off, they will not work until the next Patch Tuesday according to Microsoft.

It makes you wonder how a 21st Century O.S. can be so bad. Also, it shows how Microsoft does not care for its users in making them wait or a month to fix the printer problem.

Major announcements

Apple will be holding its World Wide Development Conference (WWDC) the week of June 22 but this year it will be a virtual conference (i.e. streamed) due to the pandemic.

It always starts with a keynote address where things are announced. This is at 10.00 PDT, 13.00 EDT, 18.00 BST, 19.00 CEDT and will be streamed.

This year the big news is that Apple plans on moving away from Intel chips in the MACs to ARM chips. ARM is the architecture used in iPhones and iPads which use Apple’s own chips. See here:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-09/apple-plans-to-announce-move-to-its-own-mac-chips-at-wwdc

In the past, Apple used Motorola chips and then moved to PowerPC chips and then onto Intel. Intel has had a few problems releasing their latest chips quickly enough so Apple would control the whole process of building MACs and not be beholden to Intel. When this transition occurs may be announced.

New products are likely to be announced as well at WWDC.