Security Advisory: Trojan Viruses on Mac Computers and Apple’s Simple Fix

Apple has recently been hit with two highly publicized trojan viruses, ratcheting up the security focus on Apple’s line of Mac computers.  The recent trojan viruses have come in two varieties – both of which involve the user being tricked into mistakenly downloading and opening these malicious documents:

  1. The first masquerades as a PDF containing offensive political statements in Chinese and creates a backdoor that installs malware on a person’s Mac.
  2. The second trojan virus poses itself as a fake Adobe Flash installer which temporarily attempts to siphon off personal information from the user’s computer sending it back to remote servers.

No Worms in this Apple, Thank You Very Much

Apple has responded with swiftness, quickly updating its central database of malware definitions, which are downloaded daily onto a person’s computer and used to notify users of potentially harmful files that they download.  (Note: Malware definitions are only available to users of Apple’s Snow Leopard and Lion operating systems.)

Users who have not yet been affected by these two trojan viruses should automatically receive a warning from the operating system before opening the affected files.  Also, it goes without saying that it’s always wise to only download software from sites that you trust but if you think that you’ve been affected, please let LaptopMD+ know and bring your computer in right away.

As a reminder: Apple’s malware alerts should not be considered fixes but simple warnings meant to keep people aware of the type of files they are downloading, providing an extra level of caution.  As always, make sure you are downloading the latest software updates from Apple and have installed an anti-virus program on your Mac.

Read more about these trojan viruses from Mac Rumors and CNET.

Commodore 64 Relaunched with New Hardware

Commodore 64 with Blu-Ray
Commodore 64 with Blu-Ray Player

As geeks, a moment of joy and jubilation has been delayed – Last April, the Commodore 64 computer that many of us grew up on (a geek or not) was relaunched with modern hardware and a flashy redesign.  The Commodore 64 was the first personal computer for thousands, if not millions of kids and computer enthusiasts who grew up in the 1980’s and it’s been rebooted with the same nostalgic blue, programming screen.  I remember growing up that I used a Commodore 64 to learn programming for the first time and over the years it has been a personal lament that the computers were no longer available.

Today, 25 years after its initial debut, it is now possible to buy a modernized Commodore 64, either in the traditional tannish beige color or in a sleek black both featuring a modern intel chipset, graphics cards, integrated audio, and Ethernet/WiFi capability?  Don’t be worried if you think this new Commodore 64 comes with limited memory and hard drive capabilities.

Updated Commodore VIC
Updated Commodore (64) VIC

You can soup up your new Commodore 64 with up to 2 GB of RAM and a 250 to 500 GB hard drive.  It’s comes with USBS ports, the options of a Blu-Ray Disc player, and is preinstalled with Linux but you’ll be able to install windows on it.  The traditional Commodore 64 models are available at pricing starting at $350 and 2 other models range up to $1500.  The modern, slim, and sleek Commodore VIC starts at $400 with 3 models ranging up to $1000.

Geeks are celebrating everywhere over this decision to bring back an American technology icon (I know I am) but so should you.  The Commodore 64 computers are sleek, compact machines that fit most budgets as a cool conversation piece in addition to being a usable and functional device.

Ultraportable Laptop Buying Guide: What You Need to Know to Make the Most of Your Money

Ultraportables are the latest big thing in laptop computers, and it’s obvious why: all the power and performance of a standard laptop, in an incredibly (one might almost say ultra-) portable and lightweight package. Ultraportables are the summit of what a laptop was envisioned as being. So now that you’ve decided to invest in the future, what exactly do you look for when buying an ultraportable laptop? The short answer is the same things you would look for in a regular desktop PC. The long answer? Read on:

The Types and Differences of Ultraportable Laptops

Types of Ultraportable Computers
From Top to Bottom: Toshiba’s Portege Z830, Apple's MacBook Air, Google's Chromebook

As we talked about in our introduction to ultraportable laptops, ultraportables come in many different sizes, shapes, and configurations.

We looked briefly at the difference between ultraportable laptops, netbooks, and tablets: netbooks are outdated compact laptops which were built with all the features of a laptop but in a smaller form and with processing power limiting functions to 1-2 tasks at a time.  Tablets, on the other hand, were built with the same hardware and components as ultraportable laptops but are designed to be a balance between a laptop and a smartphone with appearance and design as defining factors.

Today we look at the different types of ultraportable laptops and what sets each apart from one another.  Everyone is a player in this emerging market with PC makers, Apple, and even Google all laying a stake with ultraportables.  As we’ll see the characteristics of weight, battery life, and hardware configuration set ultraportables apart but function and form also play a big role.  Additionally, each type is defined by their small contributions and enhancements to the laptop, such as wireless syncing and cloud based offerings.

Read on to learn about the different types of PC, Apple, and Google ultraportable laptops and how the MacBook Air from Apple and Google’s Chromebook add unique twists that set themselves apart from the others. Continue reading

An Introduction to Ultraportable Laptops

Ultraportable LaptopsOver the next few days we’re going to take a look at a new generation of laptops – ultraportable laptops – and show you how you can leverage ultraportable laptops for your digital lifestyle, what to look for when buying one, and how to know when you’re buying the right computer.

What is an Ultraportable Laptop?

Ultraportable laptops are a newer breed of laptop that has been introduced to consumers in the last few years. These computers, aimed at providing the full experience of a normal laptop, typically apply the “less is more” approach in design so they can be more easily carried around than your 6-10 pound brick of a laptop.

Standard classifications for ultraportable laptops have yet to surface but Intel is leading the way with their Ultrabook standard to create a standard among PC makers. While less is more, the features of ultraportable laptops allow users to go farther and be more mobile than they can be with traditional laptops. Ultraportables are defined as laptops whose screens are less than 13.3 inches and weigh less than 4 pounds. Although screen sizes might vary and be as little as 7 inches, the emphasis of an ultraportable is its weight which determines, many times, what features are or are not included in the laptop. Battery life, overall thinness, and memory/hard drive space are also determining factors that make classify a laptop as an ultraportable.

Read on for more defining characteristics, netbooks are now considered defunct, and an overview of the various types of ultraportable laptops.

Continue reading

10 Years Later, Remembering 9/11/01

It has been 10 years since that day that changed the landscape, and the mindset, of New York and all Americans forever. 10 years, and the WTC site is almost rebuilt, and we have a new set of towers to look up to, and a new page in our city’s history is turning. Those who were here 10 years ago, like most of the staff here at LaptopMD+, it’s hard to believe that so much time has passed. It feels like yesterday that we heard the news and watched in horror. For those who came to the city after 09/11/2001, it seems hard to imagine the World Trade Center site as anything other than Ground Zero, a term Mayor Bloomberg (rightly) thinks we should put behind us as we heal and look to the future. And move to the future we must, and we will. Like a phoenix, we’re rising from the ashes, and coming back stronger and better in every way.

So this weekend, we will remember all those who lost their lives on that day, and honor all those who risked everything to help who they could. We’d like to send our gratitude to the brave men and women of the New York City Fire Department and the New York City Police Department, whom our very own founder Arthur Zilberman has worked with.

Just as importantly, we want to look forward to a better New York, and a brighter future, and the men and women from every walk of life and every neighborhood who are making that future happen. We will never forget, but we will never let it hold us back either.