Bitdefender Antivirus Mac

Bitdefender Antivirus Mac icon

Q: Why am I using Bitdefender Antivirus Mac?

I’ve been using Macs since 1984 and until very recently, malware just wasn’t something I thought about; there simply wasn’t a compelling reason for concern. That changed when over 600,000 OS X users were afflicted with the Flashback/Flashfake Trojan in February, March and April of 2012.

“Security by obscurity, if it ever existed, is no more.”
– Ryan Faas, Computerworld

When I first heard about the Flashback botnet, I checked my Macs with the Bitdefender Virus Scanner. It:

  • was available for free at the Mac App Store
  • sported the award-winning Bitdefender engines, I’d read about previously
  • had malware definitions that were updated hourly.

Although, I subsequently discovered, my machines weren’t infected with the Flashback Trojan, I was astonished that Bitdefender uncovered a couple of malicious PHP scripts in my WordPress backups from 2009; frankly, I never would have guessed.

Q: Will we see more Mac malware?
A: Of course we will, albeit on a much smaller scale than what our Windows friends are likely to experience.

Although Apple security updates are always in the pipeline (examples for Mountain Lion: Gatekeeper and Apple Developer ID), I’ll admit I’m concerned that the Flashback Trojan was just the beginning of malware making regular appearances on the Mac. For that reason, I decided check out Bitdefender’s always-on, anti-malware solution called Antivirus for Mac.

Bitdefender Mac box

It proactively protects your Mac and it eliminates Windows viruses, as a bonus.

Bitdefender Mac screenshot

Q: Why choose Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac rather than Intego’s VirusBarrier? Because it:

  • is less expensive
  • automatically updates definitions hourly
  • has an excellent reputation in the anti-malware community.

I’ve been running Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac without any obvious slowdown or other problems, it just quietly does its thing. Unsurprisingly, it hasn’t detected any malware and, frankly, I hope it never does; but, from my vantage, better safe than sorry.

>> Learn more about Bitdefender Antivirus Mac

Comment: I stopped running Boot Camp, Parallels and VMware largely because every time I launched Windows there were malware updates galore that wasted my time. I spent more time updating than I did doing. Fortunately, it looks like Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is going to be a “set it and forget it” kind of thing.

Update 20120419: I’m now testing VirusBarrier.

Premise for WordPress

Premise for WordPress

Q: Can Premise for WordPress really turn traffic into money?
A: Clearly, you’ll have to check out that claim for yourself, but if you host your own WordPress website or blog, you’re already half way there.

Premise:
The Complete Digital Sales and Lead Generation Engine
for WordPress

The Premise for WordPress, landing page* plugin helps you:

  • build landing pages inside of WordPress
    • Sales
    • Content (SEO)
    • Pricing Table
    • Email Opt-In
    • Video and
    • Tab Scroller
    • Thank You
  • sell anything, even digital products like software and books
  • set up password-protected content libraries
  • create membership sites and private forum areas
  • send content at intervals you determine
  • create PayPal check-out pages
  • accept recurring payments with automated access management

and, yes, Premise 2 will work with your current WordPress theme. What about SEO optimization? Yes, you’re covered. You’re also going to love the professional web graphics (over 1,000 images).

>> Premise WordPress details

How about in-page copywriting lessons and ongoing seminars? Current online Premise related seminars include:

  • The Chemistry of a Landing Page That Works: Brian Massey and Robert Bruce
  • Get More Traffic, Links, & Social Sharing With Landing Pages: Brian Clark and Derek Halpern
  • Premise Landing Pages and Google Adwords: Brian Clark and Geordie Carswell
  • The Premise Content Marketing Strategy Seminar: Brian Clark and Robert Bruce
  • Your “Magic Formula” For Success: The Conversion Trinity: Bryan Eisenberg with Brian Clark
  • Anatomy of a Landing Page: Bryan Eisenberg and Brian Clark
  • The Premise Guide to Effective Copywriting: Brian Clark and Robert Bruce
  • Magnetic Headlines Intensive: Jeff Sexton and Brian Clark

All the training information, including the audio seminars, is available in the Premise Member account area.

The Premise for WordPress plugin was developed by Brian Clark and the fine folks at Copyblogger.

Premise for WordPress

>> Get Premise for WordPress

30 Day, Risk Free Trial get unlimited everything (including updates and support) for $165

* "In online marketing a landing page, sometimes known as a lead capture page, is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on an advertisement. The landing page will usually display directed sales copy that is a logical extension of the advertisement or link."
— From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Markdown Theme

You know the drill, you’re using Chocolat app, Sublime Text or TextMate 2 and you’ve decided to try composing your WordPress posts in Markdown. That’s when you discover that the ‘.tmTheme’ that you’re currently using doesn’t include markdown syntax highlighting. Although you’re considering rolling your own theme, you’ve decided to search for a markdown theme that’s ready to go.

I’ve tested a few markdown themes, but my favourite is Made of Code.

Made of Code markdown theme colors

Options:

  1. IR_Black.tmTheme
  2. if you don’t write a lot of code and you haven’t already fallen in love with a text editor, I’m convinced you should have a look at the Mou app. Why Mou?

    • composing/previewing markdown with Mou is good fun
    • Mou’s available live preview will quickly teach you markdown syntax
    • Mou’s actions (keyboard shortcuts) automate most markdown formating for you
    • Mou’s themes are gorgeous
    • Mou is a superb example of OS X 10.7 Lion technologies nicely implemented by a very clever programmer.

Mou icon

>> learn about the Mou app

Related articles:

  1. Mou App Evolving
  2. Markdown Apps
  3. Adventures With Mac Markdown

Markdown Apps for iOS

Writing Kit screenshot

Have you been searching for Markdown apps for iOS? Writing Kit might be exactly what you’ve been looking for.

If you have an iPhone and/or an iPad and enjoy Markdown, I’ll bet, like me, you already own the excellent app, Elements.

Q: What does Writing Kit offer that Elements, currently, does not?
A: Watch Don McAllister’s video

Markdown shortcut keys, Dropbox sync and integration with CloudApp, OmniFocus, TextExpander touch, Terminology and the Quick Research tools are my favourite Writing Kit features.

It’s worth mentioning that although I’m really enjoying using Wrtiting Kit, right now, Metaclassy the developer of Byword app, my favourite Markdown app for Mac OS, has been hinting that something iOS and iCloud related is in the pipeline. I’m betting on Byword for iPad.

Bootable Clone Super Hero

SmartBackup bootable clone

When my hard drive died, having a bootable clone, immediately available, saved me days of work, restoring Mac OS and all of my apps. Time Machine and Crash Plan backups were useful, but my clone took centre stage; it had me up and running again, within minutes. All I had to do was to select my bootable clone as my new Startup Disk in System Preferences and restart.

Almost everyone will eventually experience a hard drive crash. If you haven’t had a crash already, unfortunately, the clock is ticking. Data loss can be avoided by taking a few simple precautions. I’m convinced that one of the precautions should be to create and maintain a bootable clone of your startup disk. Most people who create bootable Mac clones use either Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper. Both apps are time-tested and very trustworthy; I don’t have a single complaint about either one of them; they served me well for years. This post will highlight a lesser known, but equally impressive backup app.

When I upgraded to Lion, Mac OS X 10.7, one of my goals was to select 64-bit apps, whenever possible. I chose SmartBackup.

SmartBackup icon

Q: Why SmartBackup?
A: SmartBackup:

  • is 64-bit (CCC and SuperDuper are 32 bit)
  • is fast
  • has a very attractive UI
  • SmartBackup UI

  • will archive changed and deleted files, if that’s something you want (archived files are browse-able and can be easily restored)
  • has a commandline mode
  • can be automated
  • is very well supported by Thomas Bauer, the developer

The best way to be certain that you have a current bootable clone, available at all times, is to automate the entire process.

Create an automated bootable SmartBackup clone:

  1. install SmartBackup in your applications folder
  2. launch SmartBackup in SuperUser mode (set in preferences, or for the App Store version using SuperUser launcher)
  3. SmartBackup preferences

  4. select the destination volume for your new backup
  5. add your startup volume as the source
  6. now create a LaunchDaemon plist file (downloadable example)
  7. SmartBackup LaunchDaemon plist

  8. place the LaunchDaemon plist file in the /Library/LaunchDaemons folder (not /Users/username/Library/ and not /System/Library)
  9. if you’re using Lion (Mac OS X 10.7.x) you’ll have to change the ownership of your LaunchDaemon plist file to root (in Terminal app, type "sudo chown root /Library/LaunchDaemons/smartbackup.plist" without the quotes and then press return)
  10. restart and you’re backup will run, silently in the background, at the time you selected (you can always check when the last backup executed by launching SmartBackup).

>> download my LaunchDaemon plist as a template

Note: You’ll have to edit the backup location (I use /Volumes/FWE Backup) and start time (mine runs at 0100 hrs. (1 am) daily).

Comment: If you think this looks like a lot of work, remember, once these eight, straightforward, steps are completed, your backup will execute every day, automatically. Then, at a future date, when disaster strikes you’ll be back in action, in just minutes; after booting from your bootable clone super hero.

StudioPress Genesis

StudioPress Genesis

The StudioPress Genesis framework has quickly become the industry standard for WordPress authors and designers. Whether you’re a novice or an advanced website developer you can build incredible sites with the combination of WordPress and StudioPress Genesis. Over 60,000 online publishers have over 250,000 websites running on the Genesis Framework.

Top 2 reasons marketing professionals love StudioPress:

  1. unlimited everything
  2. outstanding forum support from 20+ helpful, and at least a couple of brilliant moderators

StudioPress Genesis Gives You Unlimited Everything

It was the “unlimited everything” that first grabbed my attention. Here’s what the StudioPress folks have written,

“Unlimited support. Unlimited updates. Unlimited websites. There’s no “Developer Option” here. One low price entitles you to unlimited support, updates, and domains.

You get unlimited support. Unlimited updates. Unlimited websites. There’s no “Developer Option” here. One low price entitles you to unlimited support, updates, and domains you can build on. If you’ve got multiple websites (or client projects), Genesis offers unparalleled value. And when you want answers to questions about your site, you want them now. That’s why we give you lifetime access to our world-class support team and forum. We’re here today and tomorrow, whenever you have a question.”

A few of the other, good, reasons to choose StudioPress Genesis:

  • state-of-the-art security (security expert and core WordPress developer Mark Jaquith made certain that StudioPress Genesis had the best security possible)
  • impressive SEO (by Greg Boser, partner and SVP of of search marketing powerhouse BlueGlass Interactive)
  • updating to the latest version is a snap, just click the button and you’re done
  • customizing your website is incredibly easy

“Child themes are the only way you should build your WordPress site on top of a framework, and Genesis has great support for child themes and other WordPress functionality.”
— Matt Mullenweg – Founder, WordPress

  • turn-key designs
  • multiple default layout options (examples – content/sidebar, sidebar/content, content/sidebar/sidebar, sidebar/content/sidebar, sidebar/sidebar/content, full width content)
  • powerful custom widgets
  • threaded comments and Gravatar integration
  • ad ready
  • fully internationalized

“Genesis lets me sleep easy. Knowing my blog is well optimized, secure and easy to update lets me get on with developing content, community and building a business from my blogging.”
— Darren Rowse – Founder, ProBlogger.net

“The Genesis Framework lets me focus on my business, not on design tweaks and SEO. It’s really easy to edit and adapt, and in the hands of a good designer, it really sings.”
— Chris Brogan – President, HB Works

The StudioPress Genesis team authored a terrific getting started guide they call ‘An Introductory Guide to the Genesis Design Framework’, click here to download the 44 page PDF.

Studiopress Genesis Introductory Design Guide

>> check out StudioPress

>> Genesis Framework

StudioPress is part of Copyblogger media.

StudioPress has an affiliate marketing program that pays commissions for the sale of the Genesis Framework and themes. It’s a terrific way to pay for your chosen themes and perhaps even earn a significant profit.

Mac To Do List Managers

Mac To Do List Managers

Choosing a Mac To Do List Manager is tricky, simply because there are so darned many Mac OS and iOS apps to choose from.

Background: When I began the ‘university-phase’ of my life, I was ill prepared for the academic world. I was one of those fortunate/unfortunate kids who found high-school easy; the result was that I focused on sports and I never learned to study. In Pre-Med my concept of getting ready for exams was to redo my multi-coloured study plans, over and over again, as there were fewer and fewer hours remaining to study. Surprisingly, quite a few months passed before I discovered that a little less time spent planning and more time invested doing, was the key to success. I consider myself fortunate to have uncovered the essence of studying, before I reached the relatively unforgiving Med-School environment.

Does my university experience relate to choosing and using a Mac To DO List Manager? Yes, it does, I’ve used OmniFocus, Things and TaskPaper, but my task management style, or lack thereof, is best suited to TaskPaper, let me explain…

TaskPaper icon

I’ve always been a fan of OmniGraffle Pro and OmniOutliner Pro, so, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that my Mac To Do List Manager quest began with OmniFocus. OmniFocus can be as simple as you want it to be, but it also has considerable depth for folks who need it. I was lured away from OmniFocus by Things which is prettier than OmniFocus and quite elegant. Although Things is very impressive, when I first tested TaskPaper, I was hooked. Here’s why:

Less Time Spent Planning And More Time Invested Doing
Is The Key To Success

  • it’s really easy to plan
  • the focus is on doing/accomplishing, not on planning and GTD systems
  • documents resemble plain text

TaskPaper screenshot

  • blissfully straightforward shortcuts:
    • end a word/sentence with a colon to create a project
    • start a sentence with a dash and a space and it’s a task
    • everything not recognized as a task or a project is a note
    • place @ before a word to create a tag/keyword

Are you old enough to remember Dave Winer’s brilliant outliner ThinkTank™? TaskPaper reminds me a little of ThinkTank, but of course, in today’s world, there’s an iOS version of TaskPaper that syncs with Dropbox.

TaskPaper is a Mac To Do List Manager done right. One minute and you’re a TaskPaper expert, the next, you’re getting stuff done.

My recommendation is that you begin your search for a Mac To Do List Manager by checking out @jessegrosjean’s TaskPaper.

MailMate Markdown

MailMate Markdown

If you’re a Mac OS user, a fan of plain text and Markdown this post may be of interest to you. Compose your email messages with Markdown without leaving your email client.

MailMate icon

MailMate a popular, alternative, email client for Mac OS is testing Markdown in a new beta release.

If you’ve enabled Markdown in MailMate’s ‘Composer’ preferences, MailMate email messages will have two alternative body parts:

  1. a plain text body part and
  2. an HTML body part which is automatically generated from your Markdown within MailMate.

>> Download MailMate here

The beta can then be downloaded by holding down ⌥ (option) while selecting the “MailMate ▸ Software Update ▸ Check Now…” menu item.

HTML5 Markdown

HTML5 Markdown

Fans of HTML5 and Markdown might enjoy Dillinger. It’s a free, online option for markdown composition and preview.

>> check out Dillinger

Note: Not Mac OS specific, if you have an HTML5 capable browser, you’re good to go.

Adventures With Mac Markdown

Adventures with Mac Markdown: So many applications, round and round in circles I go…

Warning: Comparing Markdown app features has been known to boggle the brain.

My Mac OS Markdown adventure began gently with the MultiMarkdown bundle for TextMate and the Made of Code theme. Life was good.

My dizziness (round and round in circles reference) began when I discovered an excellent HTML preview app called Marked"Markdown preview for any text editor". I blame Brett Terpstra, the developer of the Marked app, for making it really easy for me to test a variety of Markdown/MultiMarkdown composers. 🙂

Mac Markdown apps I’ve played with:

  • BBEdit without Marked
  • Byword with and without Marked
  • iA Writer + Marked
  • MarkdownNote
  • MarkMyWords
  • Mou
  • MultiMarkdown Composer + Marked
  • Sublime Text + Marked

Lesson Learned

Q: What did you learn?
A: John Gruber nailed it with Markdown:

"… write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML)."

"The idea is that a Markdown-formatted document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like it’s been marked up with tags or formatting instructions."

MultiMarkdown, created by Dr. Fletcher Penney, is a ‘superset’ of Markdown’s syntax. My gut feeling is that MultiMarkdown messes with the "easy," not-marked-up paradigm that defines Markdown.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler."
— Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)

These days, I write almost exclusively for the web and I very rarely have a need for tables, footnotes and citations. Likewise, I don’t require LaTeX, OPML or OpenDocument. Wouldn’t folks who use these features all the time be best served by an app like Ulysses?

My conclusion is that Markdown is a good fit for what I do; I rarely, if ever, need MultiMarkdown.

Preferred Mac Markdown App

Q: So, after testing quite a few Mac apps, do you have a favourite?
A: I have two and another app I’m watching closely.

Byword app icon

Mac Markdown Favourite #1: Byword + the Marked preview app with ‘Markdown Compatibility Mode’ checked in preferences. I wish the Byword app had a Markdown only mode. Otherwise, it does exactly what I need it to do.

Mou app icon

Mac Markdown Favourite #2: I’d love to use Mou all the time. Mou is an elegant, single window, Markdown-only app with a split screen; one pane for composition and the other for live HTML preview. It’s very easy to use. Chen Luo, the developer, is crafting a terrific Mac app. His beta:

  • is a modern, 64 bit, Cocoa app that’s fun to use
  • has very impressive syntax highlighting in the editor/composer pane
  • features keyboard actions that make Markdown really easy
  • is donation-ware (people who donate while the app is in beta will receive the final release for free).

I enjoy writing with the preview pane hidden most of the time. I use Shift + Command + I to toggle the preview window and I use Moom to reposition and resize Mou’s window quickly.

So, what is the Mou app missing, why isn’t it my #1? The big things are:

  • auto formatting of list entries after pressing ‘enter’ while inside a list (added Mou 0.7.1)
  • something similar to Byword’s list-shortcuts (added Mou 0.7)
  • custom CSS for the HTML preview pane (added Mou 0.7).

Update: Mou has very quickly become a full-featured markdown composition/preview app that’s great fun to use. Check out what I had to say when I wrote ‘Markdown Theme.’

Mac Markdown app worth watching: MultiMarkdown Composer with ‘Enable MultiMarkdown syntax and features’ unchecked in preferences + the Marked preview app

>> Byword app

>> Marked app

>> Mou app

>> MultiMarkdown Composer app