#538 Telegram Messenger, iSkelter Lap Desks, Browser Hijack Fix, Peak Design SlideLITE, Terry Austin Tech in College Education

Correction on last week’s HooToo TripMate TM05 review – it does NOT replace a VPN. Notable appearances this week: Clockwise at relay.fm/clockwise, MacVoices at macvoices.com, Daily Tech News Show at DTNS #2568 and The Parallel at brisbin.net/TheParallel. One messaging app to rule them all with Telegram Messenger from telegram.org. Review of the iSkelter Tab lapdesk from iskelter.com. James from Minnesota tells us about a cool browser hijack fix he found. I got to go on a Trey Ratcliff photo walk and received a Peak Design SlideLITE camera strap so I gave it a review (spoiler, I really like it!) from PeakDesign.com. In Chit Chat Across the Pond, Professor Terry Austin from intelligentelectrons.com tells us about a couple of really interesting tools he uses to keep his students engaged and learning in his college classes.


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Hi this is Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast Mac Podcast, hosted at Podfeet.com, a technology geek podcast with an EVER so slight Macintosh bias. Today is Sunday August 30, 2015 and this is show number 538.

Correction on HooToo Tripmate

Last week on the show I reviewed the awesome TripMate TM05 from HooToo which is a router, firewall, battery pack and media sharing device all bundled in one. I still think it’s a great little device but I made a big mistake when I said use of it on shared Internet meant I wouldn’t need my VPN service any more. This is completely false! While I will be creating a private firewalled-off network of my own on shared Internet, as soon as my traffic passes out of the TripMate, it will be on the shared network and therefore subject to man in the middle attacks. The only way to fully protect myself and my friends and family from this is with a VPN. Luckily Bart jumped onto the blog and corrected me in the comments and I was able to change the blog post to reflect my mistake but there wasn’t a way to undo the podcast at that point! Thanks, Bart for the correction.

Appearances

This has been a SUPER big week for me for podcast appearances. First I was on the Clockwise podcast hosted over at relay.fm/clockwise. It was hosted by Jason Snell and I joined Serenity Caldwell and Casey Liss as the other two guests. If you haven’t heard the show before I highly recommend it. It’s four people four tech topics and you’re in and out in exactly 30 minutes. It’s crisp, to the point, and intelligent. That’s an unusual angle for a podcast, right? The episode I was on is #101: Maybe We Should Call AppleCare (which was actually MY question!

Next up I was on MacVoices with my dear friend and Internet nemesis, Chuck Joiner. He’s doing a series on power tools so I was able to tell him about my chain saw and my power washer amongst other things. I tried to be nice to him for the full interview and I mostly succeeded. Look for MacVoices #15166 at macvoices.com.

Then I was on the Daily Tech News Show with host Tom Merritt and guest Jeff Cannata, co-host of the We Have Concerns podcast. Jeff is hilarious and the three of us had a blast talking about the tech news on DTNS #2568 for Thursday 27 August.

And finally I was a guest on a new podcast hosted by Shelly Brisbin called The Parallel. It’s an interesting premise. Her idea is to have two guests on to talk about a tech topic, where one person is sighted and one is visually impaired. It’s not a show about accessibility but the subject comes up organically. For this second episode, she had me and Allison Hartley, co-host of the Tech Doctor Podcast with Dr. Robert Carter. We talked about how we learn technology – books, online courses, videos, tutorials. It was a really fun conversation between geeks and the three of us melded really well. You can find The Parallel at brisbin.net/TheParallel.

I said when I retired that I wanted more time to do podcasts so I guess my dream has come true!

Blog Posts

One Messaging App To Rule Them All With Telegram Messenger

Beautiful Wood Lapdesks from iSkelter

Trey Ratcliff Photowalk Los Angeles

A Better Camera Strap for Your Micro Four Thirds Camera from Peak Design

James from Minnesota Finds a Cool Browser Hijack Fix

Recently I had clicked on a seemingly legitimate Safari link only to have a tab and an overlay window open instead of the tab I was expecting. The overlay window had no toolbar at the top and the tab that opened displayed “Windows Blue Screen Of Death” (BSOD) text on it. The overlay window contained text that said my Windows computer (I am on a Mac) was infected and that I needed to call an 800 number to get the computer cleaned. Since the overlay window had no toolbar I could not close it, plus I could no longer access any of the other open tabs.

After some “Google Foo” I found out that Javascript was being used to create this hijack. When I clicked Safari on the toolbar, the “Quit Safari” option was greyed out but the Preferences option was still available. I opened Safari’s Preferences, clicked Security and unchecked “Enable Javascript”. I then clicked the Apple icon and used the “Force Quit” option to close Safari. I reopened Safari and only the default tab was displayed. To reopen the previously opened tabs I clicked “History” on the Safari toolbar and clicked “Reopen All Windows From Last Session”. A new window opened displaying all the previously opened tabs, after which I was able to close the BSOD tab. From that point on everything worked correctly.

I encountered this hijack again today but when I tried to open Safari’s Preferences it was greyed out which prevented me from accessing the Security option that would allow me to disable Javascript. My only choice was to “Force Quit” Safari. When I reopened Safari all the the previously opened tabs and the overlay window immediately reopened. At this point I was stuck, so I did some more “Google Foo” to see if there was a way to use the terminal to disable Javascript. I found an Engadget article that not only shows how to Disable Javascript from the Terminal but also a way to create a keyboard shortcut that issues the “Disable Javascript” command for use now and later. I created the keyboard shortcut, used it and when Safari reopened the overlay window was gone and I was able to close the BSOD tab. When I checked Safari’s Preferences, Javascript was still enabled and I have had no further problems.

Having this keyboard shortcut will allow me to use it again if I need to and with the way sites are being infected with this malady, I will. Here is the terminal command to setup the keyboard shortcut.

defaults write com.apple.safari NSUserKeyEquivalents -dict-add "Disable JavaScript" '@J'

Here is the link to an Engadget article that contains the instructions for creating the keyboard shortcut. The instructions are at the bottom of the article. http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/04/quickly-enable-or-disable-javascript-in-safari/

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I love that James started with the problem to be solved and then he explained how he figured out the solution. I went over to the Engadget link that James included and learned that having a temporary disable Javascript key command can help with a plethora of other problems, like those annoying sites that put the green underlines to pop up ads in your face. They also go into exactly how and where to create this custom keyboard shortcut so you can get to it from the Develop menu inside Safari. James and I chatted a bit about the benefits of making the keyboard shortcut in the Terminal vs. in the Keyboard preferences, and when we were done, I did BOTH! Thanks so much, James, I can’t believe this is your FIRST review for the show, it was great.

Clarify

When I was on Chuck Joiner’s Mac Voices show this week, the subject was what power tools I use. You’ll be SHOCKED to hear that I brought up Clarify. I wasn’t being paid by the folks that write Clarify to talk about it on Chuck’s show. I explained that I asked them if I could advertise for clarify because I knew that every single week I’d be able to come up with a new story of how Clarify helped me. I explained to Chuck that Evernote is part of the work flow because I can keep my tutorials in Evernote as a database, and if things change I can open the Clarify tutorials right from within Evernote, edit, repost to podfeet.com and it automatically updates the tutorials in WordPress. Even Chuck had to admit that was pretty cool.

If you haven’t tried Clarify yet, and I think there are 3 NosillaCastaways who haven’t (you, you and you), I highly encourage you to go to clarify-it.com and download the free 14 day trial for Mac, Windows (or both) and see if it solves a problem for you. Many thanks to the folks at Clarify-it.com for sponsoring this week’s show.

Chit Chat Across the Pond

This week we’re joined by Professor Terry Austin at Temple College (not uni) in Anatomy & Physiology, and Microbiology, also known as the man behind my signature. In this conversation Terry just brushes the surface of some of the cool tools he uses to engage his students:

  • Keynote + Doceri from http://doceri.com to control his presentations from an iPad AND make audio/video recordings as he annotates the Keynote slides and lectures all from Doceri
  • LearningCatalytics from learningcatalytics.com
    • Every student from any Internet connected device that can interact with a web browser can respond
    • Allows students to provide feedback to the professor, “I’m lost” which tells him when to slow down and change tactics
    • Interactive “tests” allow the professor to assess understanding well before a mid-term
    • Allows students (shy or introverted) to ask questions anonymously (but he knows who needs help) so he can publicly answer without them feeling intimidated
    • Can create 3 minute group discussions when 30-70% of the students understand, and as they explain to each other the class goes into the mid-80% range in those 3 minutes
    • LearningCatalytics is $20/year, $12/six months for the students
    • Promo Video (Terry & his class are “Poster Children” for LearningCatalytics) – youtube.com/watch?v=LpqCAhI8bGQ
    • NosillaCastaways TRY IT YOURSELF
      1. 1) go to http://www.learningcatalytics.com/demo
        2) create TEMPORARY account (evaporates when you leave)
        first name, last name, email address (select top checkbox, ignore bottom one)
        3) enter session# 12216790
        4) for extra fun, try it a second time (perhaps once from your computer and again from a mobile device to see how it appears on each)

You can find Terry on Twitter at @ielectrons and you can find his website at intelligentelectrons.com

That’s going to wind this up for this week, many thanks to our sponsor for helping to pay the bills, the makers of Clarify over at clarify-it.com. Don’t forget to send in your Dumb Questions, comments and suggestions by emailing me at allison@podfeet.com, follow me on twitter @podfeet. Check out the NosillaCast Google Plus Community too – lots of fun over there! If you want to join in the fun of the live show, head on over to podfeet.com/live on Sunday nights at 5pm Pacific Time and join the friendly and enthusiastic NosillaCastaways. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.

5 thoughts on “#538 Telegram Messenger, iSkelter Lap Desks, Browser Hijack Fix, Peak Design SlideLITE, Terry Austin Tech in College Education

  1. Ron David - September 2, 2015

    Allison, I need your help. Can you let me know a good time to chat so I may learn how to interface with you. All my experience has been in recording studios with an engineer. Thanks.standing by,
    Ron

  2. Allan Peel - September 4, 2015

    Hi Allison,

    I set up the Keyboard shortcut to disable javascript in Safari develop menu via the Keyboard Shortcuts System Preferences. And it works like a charm. Question, what purpose does it serve to also set up the keyboard shortcut in safari using the terminal command that is referenced in the blog / article? You mention that you and James discussed the the pros & cons of each and you chose to do it both ways. Can you elaborate? What benefit is there to doing the same thing twice, but different ways?

    Also, is the ‘@J’ in the Terminal command the same shortcut as ‘Shift+Command+J’, or is it something different?

    For now, I have not used the Terminal command approach as I am concerned it could create some conflicts.

    Thanks for all you do for the Mac community!

    Allan Peel

  3. James Ford - September 6, 2015

    Allan, there is no reason I can think of to setup the shortcut both ways. In my case since I started out looking for a way to turn Javascript off from then terminal I did that first. Then when I read the Engadget article better I also did it using Keyboard Shortcut Preferences. I did test it and there appears to not be a conflict with it setup both ways. I believe the OS execute the first one it encounters and not look for another instance. Since setting the shortcut up both ways I have not had to use it again.

    I believe Allison did the setup both ways to learn how to use both setup methods. I am sure she will correct me if I am wrong.

    Yes “@J” in the terminal command is the same as “Shift+Command+J” when using the Keyboard Shortcut Preferences method. In the Engadget article they stated they had to use “Command+Shift+ J” because “Command+J” is used for “Edit » Find » Jump to Selection”. Remember you can setup keyboard shortcuts to use any key combinations as long as they do not conflict with other already defined shortcuts.

  4. podfeet - September 6, 2015

    I think the value of both might be in the problem you hit, James, where the menu was greyed out. If the menu is greyed out I don’t think the menubar keystroke would invoke the command at all but maybe the on that triggers from the command line change would? I’m spit balling here so maybe I don’t understand the differences either.

  5. Donald Burr - September 23, 2015

    Photowalks are fun, and are a great way to both meet other people you might have a common interest with, and learn a lot of great photography tips and techniques.

    If you are looking for a good photowalk and/or are bummed that you couldn’t go to Trey’s photo walk (either because you didn’t know about it, you missed it, or you don’t live in LA) then I have something you might be interested in. There is another Internet photographer/trainer celebrity, Scott Kelby, who, every year, sponsors a Worldwide Photo Walk. Groups all across the world form up on one day and go on photowalks. You’re sure to find a group near you no matter where you live (unless maybe you live in Antarctica or something 🙂 ) There are even contests, you can submit any cool photos you took on the photowalk and you might win something. It too is a sponsored event (sponsored by many camera makers, etc.) but the only sign of this is the ads that are on the Worldwide Photowalk site, the actual photowalks themselves are friendly, sales pitch-free affairs. And they are absolutely free and open to the public. This year’s photowalk is coming up in just a little over a week, on Saturday, October 3, 2015. You can get more information and/or sign up at http://kelbyone.com/photowalk/

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