Russ Harvey Consulting - Computer and Internet Services


Information | Hardware | Software | Security Notices | User Groups

Macintosh Information Sites

The Internet is the best source for help with your challenges other than Macintosh user groups.


  • Apple — the place to start for Mac products and information.
  • Mactopia — Microsoft products for the Mac.


Once of the reasons people love Macs is because of the relative lack of security vulnerabilities compared to Windows (but read this assessment).

New Security Threats

With the increased popularity of Macs has come a new set of security threats. See Mac Security Notices for information about specific current threats.

Install Security Software

I strongly recommended that you install security protection onto your Mac.

Mac News


Downloads and Information

Information About Older Macs

These are sites don't appear to be maintained but still contain useful information:

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Mac Hardware

Storage Options

Traditionally, the only option for a hard drive was a spinning magnetic platter. Today, SSDs have changed that but you need to be aware of the risks and benefits of each choice.

Backing Up Your Mac

If your hard drive fails, you'll lose all your data and perhaps the information necessary to recover your computer. Backing up your Mac stores that information so that you can recover. You might want to read a bit about backups to fully understand the main concepts and risks.

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Mac Software

Software Issues

Unresponsive Programs

Apple has a Force Quit option for programs that don't respond to a normal shutdown request. This should be your last resort option.

Backing Up Your Email

Mac Software Lists

This list of Mac software is not extensive but provides some basic apps. A more extensive listing can be found on the Apple downloads page and the Mac App Store.

The Mac App Store provides a more secure source for software. If given the choice, look there for apps.

Security Software

Reports are increasingly appearing about malware and viruses infecting Apple computers (as well as the ever-more-ubiquitous hand-held devices). Mac users infected with malware have been contacting me.

Do not click on links sent via email and be wary of websites or sudden warnings that “you're infected.”


OS X's built-in firewall provides only inbound protection. There is no outbound protection and provides no additional protection if you're behind a router.

  • Little Snitch provides both incoming and outgoing protection and includes a network monitor.

Antivirus Protection

You need to be running an antivirus program on your Mac:

Antivirus & Anti-Malware Protection

You can learn more about malware from these resources:

Privacy Protection

Protect your privacy when sharing on social media sites:

  • AVG PrivacyFix can help you to determine how much you're sharing and allow you to manage your Facebook, LinkedIn and Google privacy settings from a single dashboard.

LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice

Free Office Alternatives

LibreOffice Apache OpenOffice

LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice provide the core features of Microsoft Office and both are free to download, use, and distribute.

Governments, education, businesses, not-for-profits, IT businesses and more are using Apache OpenOffice products (and LibreOffice) as their standard office software.

System Requirements for Mac OS X

LibreOffice runs on Windows, MacOSX, and Linux. Java is required for certain features of the software. The Mac OS X requirements have been included below.

  • Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or higher; (since LibreOffice 4.1 — Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger for versions up to 4.0.x)
  • Intel processor; (Note: as of LibreOffice v.4.1 support for PowerPC has been dropped);
  • 512 MB RAM;
  • Up to 800 MB available hard disk space;
  • 1024x768 graphic device with 256 colors (higher resolution recommended).

Apache OpenOffice runs on many operating systems including Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Java is required for certain features of the software. The Mac OS X requirements have been included below.

  • Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or higher
  • Intel Processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 400 MB available disk space
  • 1024 x 768 or higher resolution with 16.7 Million colours

About the Java Requirements

Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice will run without Java for most users but certain features depend upon Java, particularly the database program.

Java is mainly required for the HSQLDB database engine (used by our database product Base) and to make use of accessibility and assistive technologies.

Java Get Powered

If you need the LibreOffice or OpenOffice program features requiring Java, you can download Java or test your current Java installation. Learn more about Java.

See Java for Mac OS X or Oracle's Java Downloads for All Operating Systems pages for information specific to Mac OS X.


HTML and Text Editors


  • Taco HTML Edit is a freeware full-featured HTML and PHP editor for Mac OS X.

Text Editors

  • BBEdit ($49.99 USD) is an excellent HTML text editor.
  • TextWrangler is now free, and considered the replacement for BBEdit Lite. There is a TextWrangler FAQ that should answer questions about the intended market for this product and the advantages of moving to the full-featured BBEdit.
  • BBEdit Lite is discontinued. There is still a download available here, which you'll need if you are not running OS 10.

Web Browsers

  • Safari Browser is the Mac OS X default web browser and supports the latest standards and features.
  • Firefox Browser is available for Mac OS X 10.2.x and later.
  • iCab Browser. This alternative browser for the Mac is highly customizable and includes image filtering, which eliminates banner ads.



Accounting Software

  • Manager is free cloud-based accounting software that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. It includes modules such as cashbook, invoicing, receivables, payables, taxes and comprehensive financial reports. You'll need to create an account to use this program and your data will be stored in the “cloud” rather than on your computer.


  • VLC media player is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols.



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This page is maintained as a service to Macintosh users.
Updated: February 5, 2015

Macintosh information, sites, software and  user groups.

Security Notices

Shellshock (BASH) Vulnerability

An Apple spokesperson has reassured Mac users that the “vast majority” of users are not at risk from a serious bug discovered in the UNIX shell Bash that some researchers have called “potentially bigger than the Heartbleed vulnerability.” Apple says that only those who have configured "advanced UNIX services" using the Terminal in OS X could be a risk of the flaw — which would mean that nearly all OS X users would be unaffected. Nevertheless, the company is said to be working on a fix.The Macintosh News Network

The Apple patches are now available from the Apple security updates page or directly below:

For more information on this vulnerability:

User Groups

Macintosh user groups provide a place to interact with other Mac users, to ask questions and socialize. There are often special interest groups (SIGs) that meet regularly to discuss specific topics.


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Related Resources

Related resources on this site:

or check the resources index.

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