Russ Harvey Consulting - Computer and Internet Services


Troubleshooting | Basic Software | Security Notices

Mac Information

Mac Security | Mac News | Reference | History

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


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

Mac Security

You need to be running security (antivirus) software on your Mac.

The use of security software for Mac OS X should not fail due to false vanity. — AV-TEST

Once of the reasons people love Macs is because of the relative lack of security vulnerabilities compared to Windows.

However, reports are increasingly appearing about malware and viruses infecting Apple computers (as well as the ever-more-ubiquitous hand-held devices).

New Security Threats

With the increased popularity of Macs has come a new set of security threats (see sidebar).

Don't Be Part of the Problem

Do not click on links sent via email and be wary of websites or sudden warnings that “you're infected.” Know how your security software provides protection and alerts so you can identify fake warnings.

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.

Install Security Software

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

You'll find a listing of Mac security software in the software section.

Mac News

These news sources will keep you informed about what is new and upcoming regarding the Mac.

Mac Reference

MacTracker provides detailed information on every Apple Macintosh computer ever made, including items such as processor speed, memory, optical drives, graphic cards, supported Mac OS versions, and expansion options.

Tips & Tricks

Information About Older Macs

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


Feeling nostalgic or curious about early Macs?

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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.


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.

Backing Up Your Email

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Basic Mac Software

Security | Photo & Graphic Design | Internet | Office/Text | Accounting | Utilities | Games

This Mac software listing 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

You need to be running security (antivirus) software on your Mac.

The effectiveness of security programs varies. See this not all products as effective and many Mac OS X security products adversely affect system performance.




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 firewall protection and includes a network monitor.

Photo & Graphic Design

Affinity products are extremely powerful and very reasonably priced.

Internet Software

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.



  • Interarchy ($49.99 USD) is a good Mac FTP program that requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later.
  • FileZilla is a free cross-platform graphical FTP, FTPS and SFTP client with many features.

Accounting Software

Manager is free accounting software that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.

  • It includes modules such as cashbook, invoicing, receivables, payables, taxes and comprehensive financial reports.
  • The Desktop edition doesn't support multi-user capabilities. If you require multi-user access, you will need to sign up for Cloud edition 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.

Office Suites & Text Editors

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. — Apache OpenOffice

Java is known to make Windows insecure but Mac users now share that vulnerability by running Flash and Java.

Remove Java if you don't need it. If installed, be sure to frequently update it and to remove older versions.

Download Java. | 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

HTML Editors

  • BBEdit ($49.99 USD) is an excellent HTML text editor.

Text Editors

  • 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.



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This page is maintained as a service to Macintosh users.
Updated: March 1, 2016

Macintosh information, sites, software and  user groups.

Security Notices

Thunderstrike 2

A zero-day exploit can render your Mac completely unbootable. It uses an attached Thunderbolt device to infect your Mac (and any other Mac you plug the infected device into).

After receiving the code via a phishing email or a malicious web site, malware code could look for connected Thunderbolt accessories and flash their option ROMs.

If you reboot your Mac with this infected Thunderbolt accessory plugged in, the EFI will execute the option ROM before booting OS X. As this option ROM has been infected, it will execute malicious code infecting the EFI itself. — TechCrunch

Apple is working on a fix. In the meantime, be sure to remove any Thunderbolt devices before rebooting your Mac.

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:

However, reports are increasingly appearing about malware and viruses infecting Apple computers (as well as the ever-more-ubiquitous hand-held devices).

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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