#321 Novatel 4G Hotspot, Think, Sony DSX-S-200X, ClamXav, Canada vs US

Blogworld Expo coming up Nov. 3–5, 2011 in Los Angeles this year – early bird pricing ends July 21st. Novatel 4G Hotspot review to replace the cruddy Samsun device. Review by Caleb aka geekosupremo of Think from freeverse.com/think. Gruesome story of how I cleaned up my HDD and SSD to play nice. Wayde Gutman, aka gutmach1960 on Twitter reviews his Sony DSX-S200X head unit for connecting his iDevices in his car from Crutchfield.com. bart reviews ClamXav from Clamxav.com. In Chit Chat Across the Pond, Pierre Bourgeois, aka @BouPierre explains the differences between Canada and the US in the tech world including what’s available and cost differences.

itunes

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 July 17th, 2011 and this is show number 321.

This week was the deadline for submissions for Blogworld Expo presentations, so Katie Floyd and I were hard at work getting our papers in. We submitted two panel ideas – one would be an in depth tutorial on how to make a good audio podcast, and the other is more of a beyond the technical talk – about how to figure out what need you can fill with a podcast, how to grow your audience. I think both talks would be really compelling. I also submitted one for how to make a live video podcast, I’ve learned so much in the last year about it I think I have a lot to add to the show.

Blogworld Expo is Nov. 3–5, 2011 in Los Angeles this year, and early bird pricing ends on July 21st. Check it out at blogworldexpo.com.

Novatel 4G Hotspot

Last week I reviewed the Samsung 4G Hotspot, and I wasn’t very kind. While it achieved great speeds, two separate devices were not able to keep a wifi connection. The woman who supplies me with these devices started accusing me of somehow sabotaging them. I was vindicated this week when I received not one but TWO letters about the Samsung 4G hotspot. the first is from David Roth, he wrote:

Same experience, with two different Samsung 4G Hotspots. No such problems with the 4G Novatel mifi.

And then from Joseph Colletti:

Your review of the Samsung 4G LTE device was right on the money. I bought this when it first came out, and it was not good. About one week after I bought it, the Novatel 4G MiFi came out. I brought the Samsung back, and exchanged it for the Novatel MiFi. I’ve been very happy with my old 3G MiFi, and the 4G MiFi works flawlessly.

So I ditched the Samsung device and got the Novatel device, affectionately known as the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi® 4510L. Let’s call it the Novatel 4G Hotspot, shall we?

So the most important thing to tell you about this device is that, unlike the Samsung, it actually WORKS. I haven’t lost my wifi connection once in the last week, so right there I’m willing to forgive it some of its other shortcomings. But lets talk about the good stuff first.

The Novatel 4G Hotspot is about 2.5 times as thick as the old 3G mifi from Verizon, pushing a half inch thick. it has a lovely LCD display on top that shows me my signal strength, BATTERY LIFE and how many computers are connected to it. That battery life indicator is the most beautiful thing, knowing how much time you have left is essential on a device like this. I haven’t completed battery tests yet, but since the Samsung device went a grand total of 40 minutes, it won’t be hard to beat. I’m definitely getting more than two hours of it, I suspect it’s more in the 3-4 timeframe. Just like your gas gauge though, the last couple of bars of battery life slip away much faster than the first two!

18 down, 7 up17 down, 20 upOn Verizon’s 4G LTE network, you get some amazing speeds. I took a couple of snapshots, the first was 18mbps down, 7 up, and then 17mbps down, 20 up! Steve and I remain baffled at how we can be getting over the air speeds that trounce the speed we get from our physical cable connection.

The Novatel 4G Hotspot also has a light indicator on the side that tells you the status of your connection to the internet. I know they’re trying to be helpful with all the different colors it displays, but there are so many options that it’s pretty confusing. I’ve actually been carrying around the 73 page PDF manual (printed double sided and two pages per page) until I can memorize how this thing works.

  • Solid green light means it’s got a 4G signal but nothing is connecting to it
  • Blinking green light means it’s got a 4G signal and it’s transmitting data
  • Solid violet light means it’s on 3G but with nothing connected
  • Blinking violet means 3G and transmitting
  • Solid amber means the device is in power down mode, but not yet off
  • Blinking amber means the device is powered off but charging

Now those are only the colors I care about! There’s red and white too but I don’t want to bore you too much, just bore you enough to realize why I’m carrying the darn 73 page manual around!

The one big disappointment is that the Novatel 4G Hotspot will not provide a wifi signal while you’re charging it via USB, AND doesn’t appear to allow you to even run the stoopid VZAccess software to use it as a USB modem. At least in my perusing of the 73 page manual I couldn’t find it! They did talk about opening a .pkg file on the Mac or running a .exe file on Windows, but they didn’t say where to GET those files. On the older devices when you plugged them in via USB, they mounted a CD image and then you could install the software if you wanted to. I’ll keep hunting around, but they sure could have made this easier! At least you can charge it via the included wall charger, but how often when you’re mobile do you have easy access to a power port???

The Novatel 4G Hotspot has a full router interface via the familiar 192.168.1.1 you type into your browser. One feature I found by reading the SEVENTY THREE PAGE MANUAL was that it supports a temporary network, so you can let people borrow a cup of internet without having to change your own security settings. That’s pretty cool. I should say though that the very first thing you should do when you get the device is change the admin password, since it’s simply…admin. Yeah, that’s great. You can set up high level security (WPA2 with TKIP encryption) with a strong password both to administer the device and to actually access the wifi network. They really should have that near the beginning of the 73 page manual, don’t you think?

The Novatel 4G Hotspot allows you to change the settings on how soon it shuts down when it’s idle – you can set it from 2-60 minutes, or even set it to never. I thought that was cool. There’s one unexplained port on the Novatel 4G Hotspot, a wee tiny little circular port covered with a wee tiny little rubber cover. I asked Steve what he thought it might be and he suggested it’s to attach an external antenna. Now that’s a really interesting option. I didn’t quickly find a list of accessories for the Novatel 4G Hotspot, but maybe that’s coming later.

The only other thing I wanted to comment about is that I often found I had to re-enter my password to connect to the Novatel 4G Hotspot even though it was set to remember the password in my Keychain. Not sure why it did that, not a huge hassle but annoying.

Bottom line time. The Novatel 4G Hotspot beats the pants off of the Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot, not only because it actually works, but because of the display showing battery life and signal strength, and the good web interface to change options on the device. I even found that by downloading the configuration file I could actually change the total number of connected devices it would allow. I’m going to try to set it to six and see if it actually works. Full retail price on the Novatel 4G Hotspot is $270, with a two year contract it comes down to $100, but they have an online discount that brings it down to $50. That 2-year contract will run you $50/month for 5GB/month, or $80 for 10GB/month, and of course there’s an early termination fee of $175 from Verizon. At $600/year for this device, it’s definitely not cheap, but we saw speeds (especially upstream) that wee way better than our cable modem. If I lived alone, I would buy one of these in a heartbeat and cut the cable internet service in a heartbeat.

ScreenSteps

This weekend I was messing around in Google+, rearranging my circles. As you get into it, you might find out like I did that some early assumptions about what’s right for you weren’t quite right. I had a giant pile of people in one circle, but there was a subset of those people that I also wanted in a smaller circle. Let’s call the big circle friends, but the subset is close friends. I wanted to figure out how to copy people from friends to close friends, without removing them from the friends circle. I was working away at it by hand, very inefficiently, when ConnorP jumped onto chat with me. I told him what I was trying to do and he stopped talking for about 5 minutes. I figured a squirrel must have walked by outside and he’d forgotten we were talking, but then suddenly he popped back in with “check Dropbox”. To my delight, Connor had created a very short little ScreenSteps lesson showing me exactly how to reorganize my circles in Google+.

What’s interesting about this is that in less than the time I could execute the maneuver the hard way, Connor had created simple instructions with beautiful screenshots and annotations to show me how to do it the easy way. It took him less than five minutes, and it saved me about 10 minutes. I put a copy of his ScreenSteps tutorial in the shownotes so if you ever need to do this you’ll have it handy:
Connor’s ScreenSteps Tutorial on How to Copy People in Circles on Google+

Think about how helpful you can be to your friends, family and colleagues if you buy ScreenSteps like ConnorP did. Check out their free 30 day trial at ScreenSteps.com and be sure to tell them Allison sent you!

Think by Caleb

You know what? the NosillaCastaways rock. On Friday morning I realized that I sorta forgot to actually start writing the podcast. It wasn’t my fault actually, you see, Katie Floyd insisted that we actually get our Blogworld Expo submissions in on time and not miss the deadlines so I worked on that instead of the show. Not to worry, I sent out a call on Twitter asking for reviews and the NosillaCastaways came through in spades! Good thing, wouldn’t want me to have to do my own job here, now would we?

Let’s start of with Caleb’s review of Think from freeverse.com/think
=======insert Caleb==========
Ahoy Capt. Allison and fellow NosillaCast-aways. Caleb, aka geekosupremo on twitter here. This time to talk about another simple and useful app.

First a problem to be solved; focus. No I’m not talking about photography. By focus I mean channeling attention, in this case on one app. A lot has been made about full screen apps lately and while that’s all fine and good it’s not a perfect solution. Sometimes you don’t need the app to fill the screen you just need to “turn down” the noise of all your other apps and desktop. That’s where Think from Freeverse.com comes in. It is a free and simple app that will gracefully turn down the visual background noise of a cluttered or normal desktop and leave you with a visually striking way to divert most of your focus to the one app you really want to use.

When you launch the app it will present you with a darkened screen with a strip of icons showing your active apps, they call this the “Illumination Panel”, it looks like what you get when you press CMD+Tab. Once you select the app you want from the panel it will be brought in front of the “Backdrop”. The “Backdrop” creates a visual separation from all your other apps, you can change it’s color and transparency from the “Control Panel”. The “Control Panel” is a floating tool bar that will always allow you control over Think. There is a very good break down of the interface on the Think page at Freeverse.com.

I find this app especially useful when writing, like this review. It allows me to let TextEdit take front and center in my mind and on the screen while still allowing me to look at Firefox and iTunes in the background without having to give them my full attention. If I need to read the Freeverse page in Firefox more clearly I can click its dock icon to bring it to the front. Once reassuring myself that I have the details correct I can click the backdrop to bring TextEdit back to focus again.

So to conclude Think from Freeverse will help you focus on one app at a time. It is free, universal and compatible up to Snow Leopard. I find it to be useful since it allows me to raise and lower apps as needed, unlike full screen apps. And did I mention it’s free and universal? Because that’s really great for all of us still using PPC based Macs. Hope this helps you all with your work flow. Till next time, caio.

================

Think sounds perfect for most of us, Caleb. It seems that everyone has ADD these days, doesn’t it? I’ll give Think a try!

Smile

This weekend I finally took Bart’s advice and finally cleaned up my operating systems. The operative word there is the “s” on the word system. When I cleverly put an SSD in place of my optical drive, I left the OS and applications still living on my HDD. I thought that very clever as now if my SSD failed me, I could always boot to my HDD. The problem is that the applications get very confused with two OS’s running around, two sets of Library/Application Support folders and all that. Plus whenever I did a right-click, open with – I’d get two of every application, one on each drive, and of course the ones on the HDD were getting sorely out of date. Now that I think of it, the OS over there was getting old and stale too.

So after some strategic brainstorming with Bart, I did a final backup of the HDD, held my breath, and erased the drive. Ok, that didn’t actually work. I couldn’t unmount the HDD – Bart said it was because of the crosstalk between the drives. He suggested booting from my Snow Leopard CD, which I did but that caused a kernel panic. He then suggested that I make sure that I’m using the right Snow Leopard. Sure enough I was using the one from my family pack license, not the new one that came with the new MacBook Pro. Bart (ever patient Bart) explained that the older Snow Leopard DVD didn’t know about the newer model and so wouldn’t have the right drivers to do the job. Geez, for someone who’s pretty good at this stuff I sure have a lot to learn!

Finally dug out the right Snow Leopard DVD, and erased the HDD and then simply dragged my home folder back to the clean disk. Bart suggested NOT naming it Macintosh HD since so many applications look there for stuff. After booting onto the SSD (in the admin account), I then had to run a command line change ownership command to make the ownerships between the allison account on the SSD and the HDD identical:

sudo chown -R allison Volumes/fatso/allison/

Now I could repeat the trickiest bit of the whole running off two separate disks. I selected the allison account on the HDD in the Accounts preference pane, and right-clicked on it to get to the advanced menu and set it as my home folder. If you ever need to do this, I put a link in the shownotes to a very tongue-in-cheek description of the path complete with screen shots over at ransom-note-typography.com for you.

After all this shenanigans were over I assumed I’d carry on about my business, but it turns out that’s when I started to figure out how wonky things really were with apps crossing lines between solid-state and spinning hard drives. Sadly all of my snippets from TextExpander had disappeared! Bart was offline so I decided to write him an email.

smile logoAnd that’s the actual point of this long diatribe! It was IMPOSSIBLE to type that email without TextExpander! I couldn’t BELIEVE how many things I went to type and realized I had to type out the entire words. it was barbaric I tell you! Just TextExpander alone is 12 characters and my snippet is 3, so that meant 9 extra characters every time I typed it! Snow Leopard came up a few times, so that’s another 9 extra characters. heck, even my signature was gone!

If you’re not using TextExpander, you wouldn’t know the pain I was suffering because you’re doing all that extra typing every day and don’t even realize it! If you download the free trial of TextExpander, I guarantee you’ll be hooked. If you do go ahead and buy it, would you believe they have a 90 day money back guarantee? Now that’s faith in their product! Make haste, go to smilesoftware.com and check out TextExpander and be sure to tell them you heard about it here on the NosillaCast! And in case you’re still worried, KyleMag and Stu Helm helped me out on Twitter to get my precious TextExpander snippets back up and running so I survived the whole débâcle!

Wayde Gutman on Sony DSX-S200X

Next up we’ve got a review from a long time NosillaCastaway, Wayde Gutman, aka @gutmach1960. He took a different approach to solve the problem of a car without an iPod port to the stereo head unit – he bought an entirely new head unit for his car! And of course he got it from Crutchfield. Let’s have a listen:

==insert Wayde========

sony head unitHello Allison and the Nosillacastaways. This is Wayde Gutman, better known by my handle Gutmach. A short time ago, there was a problem to be solved, how to play audio files from a iPhone or iPod Touch in a car audio system ? Allison’s solution was to go with a third party add-on for her Honda’s OEM system. My solution was to replaced the stock head unit in my Toyota Tacoma.

sony head unitThe replacement unit is a Sony DSX-S200X, FM/AM Digital Media Player. The Sony was purchased thru Crutchfield.com, it came with a installation kit for my 2007 Toyota Tacoma. It looks Toyota made. It comes with its own remote! The Sony Digital Media Player is also available thru Best Buy.

The Sony does not play CDs, but has two USB connectors, one internal, another one on the face of the Unit. It will play MP3, WMA, and AAC files. No support for Ogg Vorbis, though.

The following are compatible with this head unit: Ipod Nano (3rd, 2nd, and 1st generations), iPod Classic, iPod Touch, iPhone4, 3G S, 3G, and the iPhone. It also plays nice with the Sandisk Cruzer 4 gb. Check out the Sony website for more information.

Now I can listen to my iTunes library, Librivox audiobooks, or Pandora, while driving during the dry, hot months that is Arizona summer. Problem solved. There are photos of Sony DSX-S200X in my Toyota, with the different ways of connecting the iPhone and the Sandisk for playback, on the blog.

Thanks Wayde – this is a great solution. I did that (or I should say I had Honda Bob do that) for both of my kids cars too (through Crutchfield of course). With my car I had the Nav system put in, so I’d have had to toss that whole thing out to get the head unit replaced! They charge an arm and a leg for the Nav systems in cars so it wasn’t early a good option for me. Thanks for letting everyone know about another great option for getting an iPod connection into your car. One more thing, the Sony DSX-S200X from Crutchfiled will run you right around $200.

Bart on ClamXav

Bart originally dismissed ClamXav from his experience with version 1.0, but George from Tulsa suggested he give it another go.

What is ClamXav?

It’s an OSX version of the free and open source anti-virus Clamxav.com. It consists of the command-line Linux tools, and a native OS X GUI.

ClamXav provides a number of services including:

  1. a GUI you can use to initiate on-demand scans of folders on your computer
  2. a Finder service to allow you to right-click on any file or Folder in the Finder and scan it
  3. a scheduler to allow you update virus definitions and scan given folders at regular times
  4. a background process that can ‘watch’ a set of specified folders for Viruses “ClamXav Sentry”
  5. If you run the Sentry process you also get a menubar icon for interacting with ClamXav

ClamXav is a free download:http://ClamXav.com/

(Clam started as a Linux solution, but there is now also a Windows port Clamwin, but I haven’t used it)

The Good:

  • The GUI is clear and simple and seems fairly Mac-like. A HUGE improvement over the old 1.x versions I tried a few years ago
  • The menubar (if you’re running Sentry) item provides access to all the important functions in a nice simple way
  • Very good granular control over the background agent’s activities – can easily control what folders it looks at, and what it does when it finds a virus
  • Does not seem to be a resource hog – have been using it for 3 weeks without a noticeable effect on my machine’s performance
  • Has Growl integration
  • If you’re a terminal geek, you’ll be happy to find a standard looking Linux-like install complete with .conf files in /usr/local/clamXav which allows for full control of the low-level config, even for stuff not presented in the GUI
  • Good price – free 🙂

The Bad:

  • The GUI provides home users with all the controls they need, but some corporate users may have issues. In particular, the app does neither obeys OS X system-wide proxy settings, nor provides a GUI to specify custom settings. The functionality is there though, it’s just not presented in the GUI, so a small tweak from the Terminal will sort you out:http://www.bartbusschots.ie/blog/?p=2060
  • Still no way to scan the entire startup disk because ClamXav still gets lost in an infinite loop of simlinks in /Volumes – this REALLY needs to be addressed!
  • Seems to be no way to find out details about the viruses it finds. All you get is a name, no way to click it for more info.
  • The GUI’s list of infected files does not show the path to the file and can’t be configured to, you have to right-click each file one by one to display the path
  • The defaults are VERY un-intrusive in the system, perhaps too much so, leaving regular users with a too much work to do to get a the level of protection they have come to expect from an AV solution
  • The default exclude list is out-right dangerous! It has sample exclusions that are ON by default that are nonsensical and were meant purely as simplified examples. However, as they are on by default that allow attackers and easy way to by-pass ClamXav because most people won’t think to turn them off!

My Suggestions For a Sensible Home-user config (ZERO IMPLIED WARRANTY HERE, USE AT OWN RISK):

  • Turn on automatic updates of virus definitions in the schedule tab of the settings window
  • Turn on Sentry (the ‘Launch ClamXav Sentry when you log into this computer’ option in the Sentry tab in the settings window) and add some folders to watch. For power-users just adding the Downloads folder is probably fine, for less tech-savy family members adding their entire home dir makes more sense IMO – what ever folders you do add, be sure the Subfolders checkbox remains checked (checked by default)
  • Consider creating and specifying a Quarantine folder, and consider setting Sentry to automatically move things there. (I don’t do this, but some people may prefer that mode of operation)

Conclusion:

  • I’ve been using ClamXav for three weeks and overall I’m happy with it. Once you have it set up, it does it’s thing quietly in the background and you don’t have to worry about it.
  • I think this app is user-friendly enough to install on your non-tech-savy relatives’s Macs.
  • It’s the best value for money AV I’ve yet seen on the Mac, it works, and it’s free!

Chit Chat Across the Pond

Pierre and Allison at Macworld 2010
This week’s guest is Pierre Bourgeois, aka @BouPierre

User background: Boomerang Switcher

Got first Mac in the mid-1980’s – first computer. Kept it for 10 years. Moved to the dark side in 1995 and came back to the Mac when it went Intel. The reason for the move is that I was frustrated with nuking and paving my teenage daughter’s Windows box every 2 months so got her a Mini. Have not looked back. Managed to move the rest of the family to Mac afterwards.

At work, we are and will always be Windows (some software is only Windows – if it goes Web based, we may have a chance!)

Positive signs, we are piloting the iPhone and iPad as Blackberry alternatives. Am on the pilot test for iPad. Will not need to bring my PC on vacation as have full access to email now – yeah!!! As we do not pay for the phone hardware, there is a lot of pressure by younger staff to allow iPhone iPad and Android.

Canadian perspective

Although Canada is a neighbour of the U.S. (and you would expect there to be minimal differences), there are nonetheless some important differences in our digital Apple and related experiences:

Cell phone companies: We have three principal cell phone carriers and for the last year, all of them have the iPhone. Result: We can get 6 Gig plans at reasoanble cost $30 per month) and hotspot (tethering) is included. So if you have an iPhone and iPad, you do not really need a 3G plan for your iPad. (the Good). Where we get killed is on roaming charges. Canada is (according to the OECD) most expensive country in the world for roaming.http://dwmw.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/silly-season-cellphone-charges-oecd-comparisons-and-is-canada-a-wireless-leader-or-laggard/

I do travel once in a while to Europe and the US. I got an unlocked iPhone 4 (we have had this since the release of iPhone 4) and the price differential was paid for after one trip to the US by getting a local SIM card.This, plus the fact that the standard contract for subsidized phones is 3 years (vs. 2 years in US and 18 months in Europe) means that getting an unsubsidized iPhone makes sense especially if you intend upgrading every year or two (if it is unlocked, you typically get a better resale price).

Music: Many people talk about the Amazon as an alternative for music. Does not work for here as we are not able (unless we get an Amazon US account), able to purchase music. (the Bad). This is an issue for folks outside of US and UK. Based on past experience with how long it took the iTunes store to roll out, it is likely that we might be waiting a while for content to be available via iCloud. (the Meh) My best guess is that it will take one to two years.

Books: The iPad and Kindle have had a tremendous positive effect on book pricing for English language content. When Canadians buy e books, we go (legitimately) go through the Amazon US store for books. As a result we pay the US price. As the Canadian dollar is basically on par with the US dollar, this means that we pay US pricing. This is revolutionary because in the traditional book pricing, we typically paid a 30%-50% premium over the US pricing. Kobo (a Canadian competitor) is competitive challenger is reacting. (the Good). The iBook store is not a competitor and has a very limited number of titles in its library. My gut feeling is that iBooks will not be a significant player for a number of years (if ever)

Netflix and TV: We have it (streaming only – same price as US since this year) but the the library up here is much smaller. Canadian cable and satellite providers are challenging Netflix andthis could kill the service here. The issue is whether Netflix is engaged in “broadcasting” (which is very regulated). (the Scary) On a related note, if I click on a Jon Stewart clip, invariably, I will get a “you are Canadian and cannot view this video”. Why? Because the Canadian network has acquired the digital rights. As a result, Hulu, etc. are not accessible (unless you use proxies). So if I want to see a show from NBC – I cannot go to the US network site to see the content – I need to go to the Canadian network that bought the broadcast and digital content (the “let’s see)

Non-English content: I am native French speaker. As a result, I have a perspective on getting content in another language.(although for the most part, all my software is in English and most of my content is as well.

Books: zéro (very poor – there are some bizarre reasons for this including the fact that it is illegal to sell French language content in France for less than 95% of list price – this resulted in the fact that digital books in the French language are not available. This law is referred to as the Lang low http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lang_Law.Amazon ran afoul of this rule by selling books with free delivery (that represented more than 5%). Recently, the French government extended the rule mentioned above to digital content. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/05/france-attempts-to-impose-e-book-prices-on-apple-others.ars, Even if the law does not apply outside of France, the market in France is so significant that the impact is the same.

So if you go to amazon.fr, you will see no digital content.

Similarly, we have limited access to film and movies because content deals are not being done. TV: not that bad for Québec-based content. A lot of shows available on the web or via iPad (tou.tv). Availability of French language content on iTunes and Netflix is quite poor.

Music: took a while but are starting to see more French language content on iTunes but large parts of back catalogue is not available. Also, much less content than in other French language areas.

Software: all good – we get competitive pricing and access.

Pricing for Apple products: We pay, depending upon the hardware, 5% to 10% more than the US. This is frustrating as the Canadian dollar (the Looney) is now at par or better than the US dollar. Access to Apple Stores – depends where you live. In my case, 20 minute drive from my home, 5 minute walk at work so I can’t complain. Other parts of Canada do not have as good coverage. Odd thing: If I want to get a portable with a French language keyboard, I cannot go into the Apple Store to get it – it is a build option on apple.ca

Using IOS or OS X in another language: IOS does it better (and M’soft is better at this than OS X). On IOS, I have the English and French keyboards set. As a result, on the virtual keyboard, I just need to press the globe key (right of the space bar) and can switch from language to the other. This is great as it means I can easily switch and avoid spelling errors. So this can be useful for people who use another language periodically: example: you want to send a note to a Spanish speaker – if you have the Spanish keyboard added, you can at least avoid typos (but will not give you grammar and sentence structures. Initial reports on IOS 5 indicate that the French language module even has limited grammar ability. On Apple OS X, switching languages is not that great. For example, I challenge you to switch languages in a Pages document (Word is not much better).

Well you really got a twofer there today with Chit Chat Across the Pond with Pierre, but a bonus Bart with his review of ClamXav. I was so worried I wouldn’t have enough content this week because of working on the Blogworld Expo submissions, but luckily Wayde and Caleb came through too.

That’s going to wind this up for this week, many thanks to our sponsors for helping to pay the bills: ScreenSteps, and Smile. Don’t forget to send in your Dumb Questions, comments and suggestions by emailing me at allison@podfeet.com, follow me on twitter at twitter.com/podfeet. 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. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.

7 thoughts on “#321 Novatel 4G Hotspot, Think, Sony DSX-S-200X, ClamXav, Canada vs US

  1. Nick Riley - July 18, 2011

    I was interested to hear you and Bart talk about ClamXAV this week – I used to use this when it had the clunky interface too!

    I was curious though that during your recent chats you haven’t mentioned Sophos for Mac. Is there something horribly wrong with it that you didn’t give it any airtime – am I leaving myself open to virus attack?

    I come from a PC background and have always used an antivirus even on my Mac – old habits die hard you know?

    I’d be interested in any feedback you may have

    Thanks

  2. George from Tulsa - July 18, 2011

    Nick –

    ClamX AV is free, though donations are accepted. I recommended Bart give it a second look after having used and been annoyed and price-increased near to death by Intego. I just gave up on Sophos at its web download page. Sophos looks to be “nagware.” It is free, but their goal seems to be capturing your ID to up-sell and cross-sell. By contrast, Clam X AV is just “out there,” free to download, stays up to date for free, doesn’t track users, and doesn’t deluge users with marketing email.

    A secret about AV software is most ( perhaps all ) of the AV companies share signature databases. Thus one AV is probably as effective as another, to the extent malware can be identified by known signatures. Not all can; the MacDefender stuff was evolving rapidly, whether by artificial intelligence or just a lot of programming by its inventors. Like HIV, malware can evolve faster than defenses can identify it.

  3. Mark Allan - July 18, 2011

    Hi, I’m the developer of ClamXav and I’d like to thank you for your recent review/chat about it.

    I like some of your suggestions (in particular the comment about right-click to view path!), so I’ll be sure to look into them. There is, however, one thing I have to pick you up on: the sample exclusion settings are not enabled by default. It’s possible there might have been some weird issue when your preferences were converted from ClamXav v1.x – I know there’s an odd issue with converting the v1.x quarantine setting which I need to sort out. If you delete your preferences file (which you’ll find at ~/Library/Preferences/uk.co.markallan.clamXav.plist), you’ll see that the default is definitely disabled. The two checkboxes denote that two out of the three patterns are to be treated as Regular Expressions.

    Also, at the end you say you have to log out and back in again to activate Sentry after clicking the “start at login” checkbox….that didn’t occur to me! There is an option in the ClamXav menu to launch Sentry, but you’re right, selecting that checkbox ought to start the app immediately.

    Thanks again for what is a largely positive review.
    Mark

  4. George from Tulsa - July 18, 2011

    Hey, Mark Allan, if you check back in here —

    I appreciate your work on Clam X AV and have donated to its support.

    The last time I logged on to donate, Paypal and /or my credit card posted there shut me down. I sent you an email asking for an alternate path to send you money (there’s that international issue), and never heard back.

    Still, I persisted, changed credit cards posted with PayPal, and I think you ended up with my donation. At least it was charged to my card!

    I’ve noticed some developers have US side PayPal accounts. I’ve also had some good luck with Google Checkout.

    Maybe it would be worth your time to have other ways for your users to donate.

    AND USERS – shareware doesn’t mean freeware. If a developer offers up a program as “donationware” that works for you, send some money! You’ll sleep better without that lump under your mattress.

  5. Al Varnell - July 18, 2011

    I assist Mark in his ClamXav forum with uncompensated tech support.

    Just wanted to make a couple of additional corrections and add a comment or two.

    In the lead paragraph above you reference the clamav website as the place where ClamXav is from, but you won’t find it there. That is the source of the engine which powers ClamXav but the Mac GUI is at http://www.clamxav.com.

    I provided a comment about proxy support on bart’s blog.

    “Still no way to scan the entire startup disk because ClamXav still gets lost in an infinite loop of simlinks in /Volumes – this REALLY needs to be addressed!”

    This was addressed in the current version 2.2 and should be working. If anyone is still experiencing problems with this please come visit the forum and let us know.

    “Seems to be no way to find out details about the viruses it finds. All you get is a name, no way to click it for more info.”

    That’s a valid point and one that probably cannot be dealt with. There are now one million signatures in the clamav database and not one of them is described by the clamav community, which is where such info would have to come from. Couple that with the lack of uniformity in the naming of malware within the AV community and it makes it even harder to research. We also see a large overlap in malware types. A Trojan to one vendor is a Fake to another and Scareware to a third. With the clamav community being an all-volunteer one, it’s all they can do to keep up with signature writing. Documenting the details concerning what is does is never going to happen.

    Nick commented that many AV companies share their signature databases, but I can assure you that none of them share anything with the clamav folks. There is a sharing of collected malware samples that takes place in the VirusTotal database (another volunteer organization), but that’s about the extent of it. If a vendor chooses not to share what it has then clamav won’t know about it until somebody else uploads it to them.

    This comment applies to most all AV software, but I always caution users not to choose to “Scan e-mail for malware and phishing” and have ClamXav either Quarantine or Delete infected files. This will almost always result in a corrupt email database and possible loss of all or portions of an e-mail database. If you want need to check your email (and most people should) then those messages need to be deleted from within the e-mail application itself and not by moving files around.

    A slimmed down version of ClamXav became available via the AppStore this weekend. I haven’t checked it out yet, but know that it does not contain Sentry folder watching, due to Apple’s restrictions on AppStore software. If you want the full capability you will need to download it from a different trusted site.

    Again, I’d like to encourage anybody having issues with ClamXav to drop by the forum at http://markallan.co.uk/BB/index.php so we can help.

  6. Bart B - July 19, 2011

    Nick – I’ve not talked about Sophos because I’ve not used it. Had ClamXav not been to my liking the free Sophos version was next on my list of contenders. Like George said, Sophos is not free in the same way ClamXav is, it’s only free monetarily, it’s not Free and Open Source Software. Personally, I like to go FOSS when I can.

    If you do use and it do like it, perhaps you could do a review for Allison? I’m sure lots of listeners would be interested to hear your first hand experiences with it.

    Mark – I’m terribly sorry – you’re right, I must have read one check-box too far over! I’ll make a correction when I’m on with Allison again this coming weekend.

    If you’re looking for suggestions, the four things you could do to make me love the app more would be (in order):
    1) allow for the paths to be added as a column in the main window (I’m glad you like that idea)
    2) add way of getting a description of the virus found somehow
    3) improve proxy detection – I’m guessing my proxies were not found because we use a PAC file to allow failover between a cluster of proxy servers, rather than hard-coding in a single proxy address.
    4) Have Sentry auto-start when you check the box, or at the very least put another button to start Sentry right next to that checkbox, because that’s where people will be looking.

    Thanks for taking the time to listen and to read.

    Regards,

    Bart.

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