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Mac Screen Saver Issue #security

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Sometimes I need to use my computer to read things, as somebody who considers himself security conscious it means I need to have my finger at the ready as my computer turns on the screen saver after 3 minutes (180 seconds) and password locks it. However I do need to be able to read something without needing to be sure to interact with my HIDs. My old solution was to set my screensaver to lock after 15 minutes (900 seconds), however this poses a security risk as I can forget to lock my screen using the hot corner (see image) if I were distracted by something.

System Preferences - Screen Saver

So I needed a way to automatically reset the screensaver back to the 3 minutes after a grace period. OSX has a tool called default which allows changes to be made to the system settings, and it allows you to change the screensaver like this:

defaults -currentHost write idleTime -int 180

Now the only time I really do this is at home, so I need my computer to be secure before I leave for work in the morning. I decided that 8:30 would certainly be a time that I would still be in the house and my Macbook would be open should I have forgotten to reset the timeout. So I first added this following line using crontab:

30 8 * * * defaults -currentHost write idleTime -int 180

Naturally this is still not very secure, sure the effort is half way there, and it should really reset it more often. Perhaps I would want to set it every 15 minutes, which should give me a maximum grace period of 15 minutes. This would be unhandy in the evening when at home.

0,15,30,45 * * * * defaults -currentHost write idleTime -int 180

Or every 15 minutes only for the period of time you are in an environment where you may not entirely control who has physical access to your machine. This could be on a customer site, at a conference or in a shared office space. Or at home while the kids are still awake.

0,15,30,45 8-21 * * * defaults -currentHost write idleTime -int 180

This says between the hours of 8:00 and 21:45 I want you to set my screen saver to 3 minutes every 15 minutes.

Image source: me, Brian Solis


Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

September 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Posted in access, lifehacks, OSX, security

Google Gears with Chrome, not on OSX #gears #google

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These past weeks I have been working on a MacBook Pro and as such was collecting all the applications I needed. Obviously I need all the browsers, with add-ons. While running Google’s Chrome browser I discovered that Chrome for Mac OS Snow Leopard is crippled.

I find this ironic as they are both Google products, one of which is frequently pushed to me by Google’s ads while using Safari and Firefox, and don’t interoperate. I can get Gears for Internet Explorer 6.0+ and mobile, FireFox 1.5+ on Windows/Linux/OSX, Safari 3.1.1+ on MacOS Tiger and Opera Mobile 9.51; so they do interoperate with much of the browser cosmos. After a little searching I discovered that the only Chrome for Windows and Chrome Lite for Android support Gears.

Getting Google Gears for Chrome on Mac OS Snow Leopard

System requirements
  • Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard, G4+/Intel CPU
  • Firefox 1.5+
  • Safari for Mac OS Snow Leopard is not supported
  • Chrome for Mac OS Snow Leopard is not supported

What’s going on?

According to the LA Times Technology blog[1] Google is going to end of life Gears, and migrate to HTML5. Apple had the same idea when they didn’t enable Flash support on their IPhone and IPad devices.

“We are excited that much of the technology in Gears, including offline support and geolocation APIs, are being incorporated into the HTML5 spec as an open standard supported across browsers, and see that as the logical next step for developers looking to include these features in their websites,” wrote a Google spokesman.[1]

Last November TechCrunch noted:

Gears, which allows for offline web app functionality, is completely off the table as a Chrome for Mac feature right now, according to project lead Mike Pinkerton (he actually noted this back in July). Apparently, Google plans to push ahead with full HTML5 support rather than rely on Gears, at least on the Mac.[2]

So what shall I do in the mean time? What would you do?

  1. What’s powering Web apps: Google waving goodbye to Gears, hello to HTML5
  2. Features Chrome For Mac Beta Will Be Missing

Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

April 16, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Posted in OSX, web

Tagged with , , , ,

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