The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don't know anything about.

Wayne Dyer (b 1940)

Installing Actions on Photoshop Elements For Mac

Photoshop Elements  For Mac: How to install Actions

I know ... once you know how to do it, it's simple. It's just that I have to find a simple 101 way on how to do it. I admit it:  Not that I am a dummy, but I just need a clear & simple explanation.   Are you like me?  Good ....
So, here we go, Step by Step....

Instructions for adding an Action to Photoshop Elements on a MAC

First you need to download an Action, you can find them free of charge. Just Google it and you'll find score of them or go at the end of this article for links ( If you ad the actions one by one, you'll have to repeat the following steps each time )
As a Ante Scriptum, not all of them will work;  Depending on your OS and on your Photoshop Version.  I have Photoshop Elements 6, the latest one is 8.  If you feel sorry for me, you can send me the latest version; I'll gladly accept it.

Download the action(s) and put on it the desktop
An Action is composed to UP to 3 files:
.atn :  The Action itself
.png : The Action "icon"
.xml : The Action "Instructions"
You may or may not have to have the 3 files, sometimes just one is provided.

With Finder click on the Hard drive icon ( Macintosh HD ) ( NOT the ~ User/ name / ....   Folder)
Go to the Library Folder Then go to Application Support >> Adobe >> Photoshop Elements >> 6.0 >> Photo Creations >> Photo Effects

Drop the .atn and the .png files in this Folder Location.
Note: Not all actions will come with a .png, it's fine... you’ll just need to know that the action will display with a blank box, or you can create your own .png as example.
If you hover on the blank icon action, you'll see the name.
IF a .xml file was provided, repeat the steps (copy etc) and place the .xml file in the folder:
HD \ Library \Application Support \ Adobe\Photoshop Elements \ 6.0 \ Locale \ en-US or your own locale \ Photo Creations Metadata \ Photo Effects

Within Finder go to Library >> Application Support >> Adobe >> Photoshop Elements >> 6.0> Locale >> en_US. or your own locale Rename the “MediaDatabase.db3” file into  “MediaDatabase_OLD.db3
KEEP IT as copy or backup.  If you are like me, you'll backup the backup.  

Close Finder.... Now you can open Adobe PSE 6.0.... After few seconds, you should see a status box saying  “Building content & effects” 

After the update is complete you should find the actions on the Right side of the screen in the tool box/bar. Go to Effects > Photo Effects and display all  
!  Don't use name longer than 30ch for Action file, it (seems that) it may interfere in some way
! If you plan on doing it more than once, just create a shortcut to the folders (Make Alias) It will make your life much easier: One Click and you can drop Actions in the right place.

If you downloaded an Action file AND a .png together, it's all good.  If not, you will not see the action "icon" on the "Effects" table
Blue Arrow: Action with a .png associated (You have an icon)
Red Arrow:  Action with NO .png associated (No Icon.. create one:-)

If you want to create your own .png , feel free. Just grab one from the folder and modify to make your own.  Name the .png with the same root name as the action. i.e  refine.atn & refine.png , and you'll be good to go.  (don't forget to place it in the same folder too...) Or you can use a picture, use the action on it, and save it as a 64x64 png file.   

Depending on where you'll drop your Action file, the Action will be located on a different Effects table in Photoshop. In this example, we tell you to drop in:
~Adobe >> Photoshop Elements >> 6.0 >> Photo Creations >> Photo Effects
But you may drop it in your folder of choice. i.e Filters , etc.


Download Actions
  Links provided "AS IS" with no warranty whatsoever implied or not  
Photoshop Elements 6 Actions  Coffee & Tea Photography (Great set of Actions)
Vintage / Retro,  Retouching  etc  

Panos Actions  
Rainy Day
Border and Bend 
Out of bounds
High Pass Sharpening
Old Goodies (Set)

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Thank you for you patience. 

Spare few bucks, save a bunch of hours ....

Comment left By  SSI,  Feb 16, 2012
 "...  I'm getting about a 40% success rate with the V701 wordlist. Mighty fine!"

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Donations Packages  
When you donate via those ****** buttons, you'll receive a very very good REFINED Dictionary attack for KisMAC, Aircrack, Pyrit or Crowbar,  and you'll also do some good by supporting the promotion of free knowledge.  Please be aware that donations packages that includes the Attack Dictionary are fix priced* or more if you feel like it, but not less**.
Thank you!

Very Large WPA / Cracking Dictionary Ver.7.99
Last update: Linkedin, eHarmony, Formspring, MilitarySingles

Last update: Sony BMG hacked passwords added.
Last update: Lulz Security Hack #1, #2 & #3 adding ~350,000  unique to the list... (June '11)
Last update: San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transport hack (Anonymous) 

~26,170,000 most used passwords (Yes! over 26 millions) 
Composed only of real passwords, duplicates removed, statistically sorted.
From the Most Used Passwords of All Times compilation
~40.5 million real passwords resulting in about ~24 million passwords Dictionary.
This list is usable by KisMAC, Aircrack-ng, John The Ripper & all programs using lists, dictionary & wordlists
Last count: 26,170,100 Unique Passwords

What's the procedure? 
- You'll receive a nice email shortly after we have received confirmation from *******.
As this is not an automated service, we kindly ask you to be a little patient.  If we are late, we will apologize and probably send you a bonus for free.
- Please ensure that the email address used with ****** is valid: The email containing the link is sent to the address provided by *******
Also, for the sake of clarity, Gold & Crackium packages are provided without support for Aircrack & Al.  Please refer to the Platinum Package for direct support.  Thank you.

Gold Plus
The Gold Plus package contains the above Gold package plus:

- Another 1.24 GB mingled dictionary. (~  passwords)
As people are getting a bit smarter nowadays, they start replacing letters by numbers or signs.  i.e.   chocolate --> ch0c0l@te --> ch0c0l@t3  (We took care of that...) 
- A lowerUPPER dictionary  (~ 228,244,100 passwords)
- A Stochastic Probabilities Statistical dictionary:  Most probable output based on patterns, words, character usage and position. (88,727,600 Passwords)
- Monster Dictionary: 155,525,600 real passwords
The Gold Plus Package is a set of 5 dictionaries, totaling almost 400 million passwords  (398,995,100 passwords)

Gigantic Set of Wordlists : Over 1,074,962,050 Passwords and counting!  (Yes, that's over a billion)
Crackium is a set of Wordlists, Dictionaries plus a how-to PDF that explains how to easily generate and modify Wordlists.   
Total Wordlists size: 9.02 GB (Gigabytes)
Crackium includes 2 versions of the Monster dictionary, plus the MasterPasswords Attack Dictionary. That makes about 400 millions passwords right there ....
The "How-To" explains how you can prefix, suffix, replace, add, concatenate, split, sort by occurrences, change case, exchange characters and truncate words or remove words less than x characters.
Crackium contains multiple Wordlists ready to be either used “As Is” or played with to fit your needs: Multiple Wordlists are more efficient than a gigantic one.
You’ll find a detailed Content List at the end of this post. 


Cracking School, One To One Session
Includes:  1-hour One To One tutorial session, via iChat Screen Sharing, including upon your choice:
KisMAC basic and advanced features, Attacks, WEP & WPA Key Recovery.
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JtR Install, configurations, teaching, Rules, Charset,  etc
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Or in short, anything you wish to review, get help with, getting started, advanced users, etc.
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Wordlist on demand
Lost your password?

If you have lost your password, and you remember some of it, or if you remember what was NOT used, we can create tailor made wordlist(s) for you to try to retrieve your lost password.

Or If you need a specific wordlist, just made for your needs, leave a comment with your email address (It will NOT be published) and we'll contact you.
The fee is based on the complexity and size.  If you need more than 10GB compressed, it will be a multiple download.

You remember using "password" plus a color, but do not remember the color or the order, or if you have used an uppercase (Proper) word, lower or UPPER
We can then generate every possible combination for you.

Crackium?  What's in there?  

- about 1 billion passwords, and the ways to turn that into 400 billions if you want to.

  • A "How-To" to create, expand , modify and tweak your Wordlists/Dictionaries
  • New Monster Dictionary, a statistical compilation of 50+ passwords heist:  208 Million passwords. Works for WPA, KisMAC, Aircrack, John The Ripper, Crowbar and oclHashCat.
  • MasterPasswords  Version 7.99  ~26 millions real passwords, plus variations of the most used. 
  • All numbers 8ch long  100,000,000 Pwsd. 
  • Ilove.txt    over 1 million most used first name with 22 permutations of  “I love you”  i.e  iluv, ILove, etc    25,523,113 Pwsd
  • A full set of signs !@#$%^&* , 8 ch long , 214,358,888 passwords
  • A full set of SSN #  000-00-0000 to 099-99-9999, modifiable:  100,000,000 Pwsd.
  • A set of most used First names, sorted by occurrence (most used first) 4,347,600 Pwsd
  • A set of most used Last names, sorted by occurrence (most used first) 5,369,400 Pwsd
  • A set of the most used Fnames and Lnames, formatted lower, Proper, UPPER. 
  • A full set of phone numbers,   pre-made to easily create your own in minutes
1 Format   (XXX) 00-0000 to (XXX) 99-9999      8,960,000 Pwsd
1 Format    XXX 00-0000 to  XXX 99-9999         8,960,000 Pwsd
1 file with all phone numbers, all areas for NY (NYPH.txt)  116,480,011 Pwsd,  modifiable to all areas.

Statistically Sorted ? What do you mean? 

In short, instead of running a list for hours on end, you may run it for few minutes only.
 Take the most used passwords, add "few" lists of real password heist, then start generating stats about your ~220 million lines. Sort the all shebang to have the most used passwords first and you'll end up with the highest statistical possibility to crack a password fast!
The most used being first, you don't have to run the all list to get to a probable hit. 

Click to enlarge

Thank You

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KisMAC School

45 min + 15min wrap up: All you need to know about KisMAC ... and more ...

If you have opted for the KisMAC School:
In order to save (your) time,
-Be prepared and on time
-Have iChat ready and running
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-Have downloads (if any) already downloaded: you'll save time ;-)

KisMAC School

As of June 9, 2016  we are no longer accepting Paypal 
We will update this page and change the payment methods. 
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Thank you for you patience. 

The KisMAC School
One To One Sessions

The KisMAC School is a  One To One Session to help you sort any issues you may have.
The Session are via iChat on Screen Sharing and Voice, hence we can see what you see. It's like having an expert next to you.  Session are 1hour, generally 45min + 15min Wrap up

You can chose the topics that you want and ask the questions that you want.
Just mention "KisMAC School" and we'll get in touch promptly and set a time/date with you.
USD 24.99    Euro ~17
The most asked topics are the following

KisMAC basic and advanced features
KisMAC Troubleshooting
KisMAC Attacks, WEP & WPA Key Recovery.
KisMAC GPS mapping.
KisMAC tricks and tips 
Aircrack-ng Tutorial, WEP and WPA  cracking:  Includes very large WPA Attack dictionary
Aircrack-ng Installed Natively on your Mac

JTR (John The Ripper)
Wireshark basics (Packets Analyzing & Decryption )


Using Gmail as a Free Online Mass Storage

7385 MB of Free Storage, and counting....

Did You know that you could use a Gmail (Google Mail) account as an online mass storage?
No, I don't mean sending yourself 6000 emails in a row...
You can use it almost like an FTP , it's much easier than your 6000 emails!  here is how to:

First of all, you'll need a free Gmail account. Don't have one?   follow me ...
Second, even if you have, just create another one: easier, faster, bigger and safer ...
Ok, all you need now is a Firefox extension called Gspace, available here:
The next time you'll open Firefox, go to "Tools" and click on the Gspace Tab
Follow the very simple instructions, and you'll be up and running in less than 1 minute.
Now you can use an extra 7400 MB of Storage ;-)  per account ;-))
You can share the account with a friend and upload / download large amount of data.
Plus, you'll read the FAQ and discover that you can create folders, view your pictures directly, create multiple accounts, upload, download, sideload and so on. 

Little side tips 

- Do NOT upload sensitive files, unless you are the king of cryptography.  It's safe but not under any warranty. Uploading your financial statement is NOT a good idea.  (You are on your own. Clear?)
- Do NOT transfer more than 1000MB per day or Google will freeze your account for 24 hrs (BTW, it's 1 GB of data and It is a lot)
- Max size per file is 19MB, (Google rules again). As you are smart you'll go around by Googling word such as "de-concatenation" or "deconcatenate"or the more colloquial "file splitter". If You are a Windows user, i would then recommend (highly) the very good WinRar from RarLab.
Last but not least: Don't forget that it is (Still) a mailbox. So If you set up Mail, Entourage, or Outlook to go fetch your mail on this account, it will.  Not only you'll upload the file, but as "mail", you'll download them to. Hence my advice to create a separate mailbox.

Little side notes 

As Gmail is a free service, they have set limits on the volume,  here are the "rules", straight from the source:
:It's likely that a normal Gmail users didn't notice that Gmail has a lot of limitations for sending messages. Here are some of them:
- 500 messages per day (i.e., you can hit 'Send' a maximum of 500 times)
- 500 unique recipients per message
- 2000 total emails per day (for example, you could send one message to a group of 500 people four times)

In addition to these limitations, "Google will temporarily disable your account if you send a message to more than 500 recipients or if you send a large number of undeliverable messages". According to the help center, you can only send a message to up to 100 people at a time if you use POP or IMAP.
Google explains that these restrictions were created to fight against spam and to prevent abuse:
If you want to hear it yourself :
I know, bummer!  But you can still create as many account as you want ....

How To Recover a Stolen Laptop or Desktop

Hire a Spy!

Works for: Mac / Windows / Linux / Ubuntu

It’s not funny to have your computer stolen, it even sucks BIG time.
Not only “they” take your belongings, but also they often go away with your memories and personal information.
A home insurance will only refund you cents on the dollar: Once the package was open, your precious laptop took a bad hit on the blue book; probably 30% the first day. A month after, your superb machine is obsolete and the value went down like a beer in the throat of a thirsty Irishman..
As for the rest …your precious pictures, emails, documents… bye-bye ..But most important, the thief may have access to bank accounts, Social Security Number, Credit Card information, and you know it’s were it is going to hurt really bad: Changing and securing all this information: Call the bank, Call the CC company, etc etc. In short: Good luck!

So, what can you do beside adding locks, alarms systems and hiring a bodyguard?
You could hire a spy!
For less than you will ever believe, you could hire a spy.
For how much? Well, between $49 and Free
Free is a very good price …So, read carefully, very carefully…
Multiple solutions exist: LoJack for computers ($$$) Mobile Me (via Back to my Mac), Undercover ($$) & Prey Project (Free)
In this post I will only look at Undercover & Prey, LoJack being a little expensive and Mobile Me having a serious stealth issue in my opinion. (a "Smile you're being filmed" would have more discreet)

First, how is it working?

As soon as your laptop or desktop is missing (stolen or lost), go to the website of the respective company and declare your computer missing, lost or stolen.
This action will activate a software (must be installed PRIOR to the activation) and this software will log the IP address used, take pictures, screenshots and sometime Keylogging and send all of that to either: an email address or create a report on a website
You’ll end up (with some chance) with at least, few pictures of the thief, screenshots and his IP address.
I have previously mentioned in this blog what was IP tracing and Keylogging, as well as webcam & microphone remote control.
The IP Address being a very easy way locate someone, even for noobs like the rest of us. For Law Enforcement Agency it's a joke: they'll get everything and even more.
Fee or Free?
Undercover being a (one time) fee service ($49), it has some features that Prey does not have: Keylogging and a nifty simulation of hardware failure, furthermore, Undercover will contact the authorities for you and provides them with all the necessary information.
Prey is Free, but you are on your own and it does not have Keylogging capabilities, or Hardware failure simulation.

Both system have limitations, and there is no guarantee that you will recover the stolen goods, but you have a much greater chance with them than without.
The Undercover Website explains all steps very well, and as I know you: let's move on to the free one: Prey

Be very careful, Prey is not easy to remove under Mac OS (and it should not be!)

Step by Step How to:
Go to the Preyproject website:

Top left, select your language

Sign Up and Create an Account (email, pswd, etc)

Wait for the verification email, and activate your account

Create a Profile, up to 3 Devices. i.e 2 laptops, 1 desktop
Note carefully the API & Device number

Download Prey

Double click to Install

Select the Install option: Control Panel or Standalone

I would strongly suggest you
to use the Control Panel Option

Enter the general settings value, Timing and Language
Enter the API key and the Device Key (paste and copy from the website)
Important: Keep that for yourself!

Now that Prey is installed, go back to the website, log in and go to "My Devices"
Select a Device

Set up your Preferences:
Missing On/Off (by default is should be Off)
-But you are going to test it! Aren't you?
Auto update, Delay between executions, reports, etc
If your computer is not equipped with a built in webcam, the Webcam option is pretty much useless.
Action Module:
I would suggest to de-activate (Off) this option. A noisy pop-up appears and, in my humble opinion it has the only purpose of alerting the thief that something is happening.
I better have the chance to take few pictures of his face than letting him know that I am monitoring his activities.
Don't forget to UPDATE!

Don't forget to UPDATE!

It may take up to 15 minutes the first time you activate Prey to receive a Report Don't panic, be a little patient.
Depending on your screen size, the Screenshot can be large, hence it may take Prey some time to transmit the Screenshot and the picture. (which is smart: using all your bandwith at once could alert the thief that something is fishy...)
I would also suggest to restart your computer after installing. It seems to me that it works better...
Pop Up Alert example. Bah!

Prey in Surveillance Mode

What if:
-You go on vacation for few days and come back to find your home burglarized?
The Thief may have visited you few hours ago, or few days ago..
If the villains just did it, it's Ok. Activate Prey and wait ....
But if they did it a week ago, your laptop may have changed hands few
times and was probably re-formatted.
A solution is to leave Prey on "Surveillance mode" : just de-activate the webcam & screenshot option, leave the Network logging & use the max interval for timing.
Prey will log every hour, but will not take pictures or screenshot.
If a thief pays you a visit, you'll have the 10 last IP.
When you realize the theft, then you can activate Prey on "Attack Mode": Pictures, Screenshot every 2 minutes ...
Here are the setting for a "Surveillance Mode"


Prey will not prevent the thief to access your data and files. if you have stored sensitive documents and files in your computer you should read the post about encrypting your sensitive data. Seriously.

Prey will not work if the thief:
Does not use internet
Format the Hard Drive (Prevent that with a Firmware Lock)
Blind the webcam (no picture)
Uninstall the program (Unix command, no App is visible under Mac OS)
No Keylogging: Too bad, with a Keylogger and some luck, a simple search on social networks and you'll have all the info you want.
IP Address:
Will only give you the location of the connecting server. If the thief connects from a relayed IP, you'll end up with the location of the main server. (try tracing the IP of an Apple store, you'll end up with AT&T in Kansas..)
You can trace back the IP using an IP Trace Route such as explained in this post . Nevertheless, even without the perfect location, you'll have enough information to contact a law enforcement agency. (Law enforcement in the US need a subpoena to request data from an Internet Provider.)
Unfortunately, the green led of the webcam will go on when it takes a picture; It is the only visible sign that Prey is on. (other than digging deep into your Mac)

IP Tracing Example (from a Spammer using a corporate bot. yup! Mac and Cheese manufacturing companies are spamming you with enlargement pills. ViaKrap??? ) Btw, I need reduction pills.

Encrypted Disk Image

How to secure your data

You probably have a folder or a file somewhere containing sensitive data: passwords and login, few documents or scans of things that you want to keep private.

Keeping them accessible to all is not a safe solution, if your computer is gone AWOL, the “new” owner may have access to sensitive data.
If your Mac is protected by a Login password, please remember that it can be easily bypassed (Password reset via Unix command or by inserting the OS X CD )
Keeping your sensitive documents encrypted may prevent Id theft and protects you against unwanted access to files and folders on your Mac.

A solution to encrypt data in a very secure way is to create an Encrypted Disk Image
Encrypting just a file or a folder is not as safe as encrypting the whole image.
The “thief” will need to mount the entire disk to have access to it.
Here is How To, Step by Step

Go to "Applications" >>> "Utilities"

Select Disk Utility

- Select “New Image”
Select your options
- Volume Name i.e MrWhite
- Select the size, i.e 100 Mb for documents should be plenty enough. Use more if you have pictures, scans or Videos.
- Select the encryption.
I would suggest the 128-bit.  256 is super duper extra strong
- Click "Create"

Enter a password, or better, a Passphrase*.

UNCHECK “Remember password in my Keychain” otherwise, if the keychain is cracked you’ll be “SOL”
Please Note: If you forget this password you will not be able to retrieve it*. If you have a tendency to forget them, use Keychain...
- Click "OK"

The Encrypted Disk image is now created. To access it, double click the Icon on your Desktop and enter your Passphrase.
The Disk will mount and you'll be able to use it as any disk or storage. Drag & drop your document, folders in it.
To close the Disk Image:
Either Log off, or go to Finder, click on  and "Eject" disk Passphrase
To generate a good Passphrase, use letters upper and lower case, add numbers and for the sake of yourself, use signs too. As a tip, you can hold the Shift key while typing a number. (1=! 2=@, etc )
For the "Geek" of it, a password of 20 ch length, using upper & lower case, numbers and shift signs has 74 possibilities per character or 20^74 pos.
20 Ch length = 24,245,681,433,252,000 billions of billions possibilities. Enough to keep a cracker busy for millenniums

Password Reset  OS X 10.5
Leopard Only, Not Snow Leopard.
Login Password Reset: 
-If you do not know what you are doing, don't do it-
At Boot, press and hold   ⌘ + S  (Command + S) 
Wait few seconds, a command line will appear 
Then type verbatim: 
fsck -fy
(wait, it will take few seconds)
mount -uw /
launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
dscl . -passwd /Users/UserName newpassword
(The password is now reset, you can login)

AES 128 or AES 256 is stupid strong. Your chances to crack an AES encryption are more than slim. If you remember 70% of the password, then contact me. If you try to crack it in blind mode, just forget it. 
If you have succeeded cracking a *Random* AES 128 password, please contact the CIA: They are looking for you with a juicy job offer.

Macs Are Absolutely Safe


Few months ago I posted a short blog about the false sens of security that most Mac users have.  I've heard thousand time "Mac don't get viruses" or "Mac are not vulnerable"
As always, the best thing ever for a hacker or somebody with not so good intention, is to find an overconfident target.
Understand that ALL security measures can be either: by-passed, tricked, broken or cracked.  It's only a matter of time.
Rule #1:  Computers:  Everything that was done can be undone.
Rule #2:  The more confident you are, the greater is your chance to be a future victim.
Rule #3:  The weakest point on your computer!

Hacking computers or Cracking security by a "direct attack" is getting harder and harder everyday, so red hat hackers and criminals are getting a good help from innocent(?) by-stander like you.
They use your trust, or this strange and absolute belief that what we see is real. You know for sure that your eyes can cheat you: a good optical illusion is an excellent proof.

So what if somebody could persuade you that what you see on the screen is "real"? could they trick you into clicking on something you would have never done before?
What if I told you that I could be watching you right now?  literally,  watching you.
Impossible? Watch this ...

In my eyes, this is one of the major security issue, the first one being Keyloggers
Keyloggers are programs that record every single keystroke or action on your computer.
From Password typed to Websites visited, they record everything silently.  It does not take long to realize that paying online, or visiting your bank website while keylogged could be more than disastrous for you.
Keyloggers are often installed via downloaded programs and as you grant access to this program with Admin Rights... you get the picture.

According to security Expert Dmitry Samosseiko FlashPlayer.dmg, HDTVPlayer3.5.dmg, MacTubePlayer.dmg, macvideo.dmg, play-video.dmg, Quicktime.dmg and  VideoCodec.dmg are often used to propagate such threats.
HDTVPlayer... hummm  sounds like an "encore"

The best you can do is to always ask yourself if you can fully trust that download or website.
Antivirus Programs for Mac exist, some are free, or have a 60 days free trial. You can always use the 60 days to scan thoroughly your system.
If like me you use Windows too (either on VM or Bootcamp), an updated Antivirus/Antimalware is mandatory.
Just keep an eye open and be safe...

Warning! Your PC is at risk of virus and malware attack

If you are here, it's probably because you have seen this "warning" 

 Warning! Your PC is at risk of virus and malware attack
 Your System requires immediate check!
 System Security will perform a quick and free scan of your PC for viruses and malicious programs

  Don't click on OK  !!!

You are probably looking for the answer of the following questions:

 "Is It a Real Antivirus?"   << NO!    Trojan FakeSmoke

"How do I stop this warning from popping up at every start of Firefox"

1)  Force Quit Firefox:   >> Force Quit >>  Firefox   or shortcut Command+Option+Escape
2)  Don't restart Firefox or it will pop up again
3)  You need to trash the file(s) session.js and session.bak in the FireFox Profile folder.
      As you Force Quit'd FireFox, those file will remember your last session and return to that page.

 The files are situated EITHER in :

Macintosh HD/Users//Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/
Macintosh HD/Users//Library/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/

"username" being the name given to the account   i.e  "JimSmith"
 The files should be named "session.js" and "session.bak"
 Trash the files, but DO NOT empty the Trash until you have verified that you have deleted the right ones.

Restart FireFox  and verify that the Pop Up does not appear anymore.
 Fixed? Ok....

- Yes, it's a malware or a scam. It will try to make you pay for a fake Antivirus, and probably Hack something on your computer. (beside Hacking your credit card)
- Does it affect your Mac if you clicked Ok?  I don't know...I did not tried. Seems to be PC.
- In order to avoid a repeat: You can Ban the website using an Add-On Called BlockSite.
The Website is Hosted in Ukraine, The Owner as per the Whois, Is Registered in Florida.
 IP   Location:  Odessa, Ukraine.
 Using multiple alias for the Website ,
 2009-10-31|malwareurl_Directs to Trojan FakeSmoke||

 As a reminder: 
 Always have on hand more than one Browser. Opera is the less likely to be targeted.
 Avast For Mac exist. And it's free. -Just in case .....

How to Rip & convert DVDs for: Mac / PC / iPod / iPhone / Quicktime / Linux

 I like watching movies, specially when I want to.
As I don't carry the DVDs with me at all time I find the Ripping solution much more convenient than carrying a Bunch 'O CDs and the boxes...
So if you have ever wanted to Rip a DVD and watch it later on your iPod, iPhone or on your PC / Mac, here is how in very few steps.

First and foremost, you'll need 2 (two) free applications if you are under Mac
The first one is Handbrake and the second one is VLC

Handbrake and VLC are Available for Mac, Windows and Linux.
In this post I will only go on the OS X part

Step one, Download Handbrake & VLC 

Handbrake Mac OS 10.5+  GUI

 VLC Download page

While in progress, take the time to read about Handbrake & VLC and what they can do for you.

HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder and has the ability to Rip multiple audio track at once.  i.e One movie with subtitle and 3 audio tracks (English, French, Spanish), etc ...
VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player supporting most audio and video formats from files, physical media (DVDs, VCD, Audio-CD), TV capture cards and many network streaming protocols.

HandBrake has pre-settings ready for use with a large number of devices: iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, Mac, etc
Technicalities, output formats, encoding speed, comparison between presets are explained at the end of the post. You should take a look at it...

Shall we start? 

Install Handbrake and VLC

Insert DVD to be ripped 

If the DVD player Starts, just press ESC and Quit the application

  Start Handbrake

Click on "Source"

Select your source (i.e DVD)


Select your Preset (iPhone, Film , Normal , etc ) 
Take a look at the Preset charts to give you an idea of what is what.  (below)
You can also create your own presets by clicking on the "+" and enter your own parameters

Select your Preferences (Audio tracks, Subtitles, output format, etc ) 
Do Not touch the presets or it will cancel the Subtitles and Audio tracks preferences 

Press "Start" .... Have a little Cocktail 

You're done when...

Advanced Tab:
Don't touch it unless you like it broken or know what you are doing

Handbrake Presets
For a full list of presets, please refer to Handbrake Wiki
HandBrake's universally compatible, full resolution settings for all current Apple devices: iPod, iPhone, AppleTV, and Macs
HandBrake's low resolution settings for the iPod. Optimized for great playback on the iPod screen, with smaller file size.
HandBrake's normal, default settings.
HandBrake's settings for cartoons, anime, and CGI.
HandBrake's preset for feature films.

Encoding Speed
Depending on your preset settings, you'll be able to rip at a faster pace, but it's a trade off between speed and quality. If you plan to watch it on an iPod or a full 24'' screen, you should not use the same settings. In Short: It's your choice.

Faster Preset: PSP
Slower Preset: Animation

File Size:
Smallest File Size: iPod
Biggest File Size: Constant Quality Rate


Graphs courtesy of Handbrake Wiki

MacBookPro  2.5GHz 4GB SDRAM
2 chapters, DVD Playtime 00:10:30
iPod Preset
No sub, one audio track:
Rip Time  00:03:34
File Size  68.1 MB (68,071,935 bytes)
Film Preset

No sub, one audio track:
.MP4 output Format 
Rip Time  00:10:30
File Size 131.3 MB (131,270,808 bytes)

Constant Quality Rate Preset 

default: Quality rate 60%
No sub, one audio track:
.MKV output Format 
Rip Time  00:14:20
File Size  163.2 MB (163,237,708 bytes)

Handbrake Output:
  • File format: MP4 and MKV
  • Video: MPEG-4, H.264, or Theora (1 or 2 passes or constant quantizer/rate encoding)
  • Audio: AAC, MP3, Vorbis or AC-3 and DTS pass-through (supports encoding of several audio tracks)
What is VLC?
VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player supporting most audio and video formats (H.264, Ogg, DivX, MKV, TS, MPEG-2, mp3, MPEG-4, aac, ...) from files, physical media (DVDs, VCD, Audio-CD), TV capture cards and many network streaming protocols. It can also convert media files, transcode and act as a streaming server over unicast or multicast and IPv4 or IPv6. It doesn't need any external codec, program or codec pack to work.

Side Notes
Ripping a DVD is time consuming, for a good quality rip (Film, Normal, Television), you may expect up to 90% more time than the duration of the movie (Constant Quality Preset)
If you Rip on iPod Preset, you'll be at 35% of the original time

Ripping a DVD is also CPU intensive: If you are using multiple CPU intensive applications at the same time, you'll experience a noticeable slow down. Also, for laptop users... don't do it while you are on battery power...;-)
The good news is, once ripped, if you watch it on your Laptop, you'll notice that you'll consume much less battery than watching it from a DVD (no need to spin the DVD for 2 hours...) hence, you'll be able to watch 2 movies in a row and up to 4 if you have the new models of MBP

A little word about Copyright:
Please, check that the law(s) of your country are allowing you to duplicate a DVD, even for personal use. You have probably already see the FBI warning on every DVD .....

As always, I do not encourage or condone illegal activities. Please, act in accordance with the law.

Don't be afraid of Special Characters

 Special Characters & Symbols on a Mac   (OS X .6.1)

I tweet,  and every single day I see someone asking how to make a hash sign (#) or an Apple sign (), even the very secret clover (CMD) sign
Then, it's the GRΣΣK Characters or the Accented Latin ones ( The é of Café).
(If you spell Café properly, you may want to ask for the "garçon" properly too, with a "ç", otherwise it's a garkon, (don't call them garkon: Not good for you!) 

Even for the general public,  looking for a ±, ‰ or ≠ can be nerve wrecking, and make you spend a ∞ of time looking for it, and I am notat anyone here.  Not even to my ♡♡♡ wife.
Ok. Enough  for the demo.
Here is how you can access all of them without going on a overload of shortcuts.

You either have, or not, on the top left of your screen something called the "Character Viewer"

For the ones without it:
Go to System Preferences (In Applications Folder)

Select "Language and Text"

Select "Input Source"
Check boxes: 
✔ Show Input menu in Menu Bar
✔ Keyboard and Character Viewer

Close Dialogue Box, and you are done!

Now everybody should have access to the Character Viewer

Just Click on It and you'll have access to all the ☀ ☠ ☢ ☤ Ω ☏ ✈☝, as well as ≤ ≥ = ≠ ≡ ≅ ≈ .... you get the picture ...

Related Characters, Manage Symbols and Add to Favorites 
Click "Character Info"  to find related characters. i.e  is related to and ♻ ♲ ♼ ♽
Click on the left box to insert the character
Use the option box to add to favorites

You can use the find box:  i.e if you type "mus" it will list all special characters in relation of "mus..."

Tip #2  Drag and drop the character into a document, it will automatically adjust to the correct Font and Size

Leopard User: 
You'll find this Special Character editor under Pages >> Edit >> Special Character

Symbols Available (example of. )
Currency Symbols           $ ¢ ₥ ₠ € ₣ ₤ £ ₧ ₱ ¥ ₨
Phonetic Symbols            a ɑ ɐ ɒ æ b ʙ ɓ β ð ƈ œ ɨ ɣɠ
Miscellaneous Symbols  ☏  ♳  ♻  ☕  ♕  ♖  ♗  ♌  ♋  ♍  ☤
Geometrical                     ◐ ◑ ◒ ◓ ▤ ▥ ▦ ▧ ┿ ╂ ╬ ╦ ╔ ╠ ╚ ╩ ╣
Arrows                             ↩ ↪ ↫ ↬ ↻ ⥁ ⇇ ⇈ ⇉ ⇊ ☜ ☝ ☞☟
Mathematical Symbols    ⨗ ⨘ ⨧ ⨦ ⨑ ⨊
Braille                              ⠪ ⠲ ⠳ ⠴ ⠬ ⠭ ⠽ ⠿
Enclosed letters                ㈖ ㈗ ㈘ ㈙   Ⓐ Ⓑ Ⓒ  ⒠ ⒡ ⒢ ⒣
LetterLike Symbols           ℻  ℡ ℅  ℆ ℉ ℞
Technical  Symbols           ⌭  ⌬  ⌛  ⍒  ⍋   ⍉  ⌁
Musical Symbols             ♭ ♮ ♬♫  ♪ ♩ ♯

And while you're at it, check the Symbol and Text Substitution.
You can add and create your own, for example "cdeg" will automatically being replaced by the Celsius Degree Symbol ℃. You can create your own shorthands.
Just select Text, and the +. Then ....go nuts ...