21 May 2013

Witness and AppleScript: Using Calendar to set a schedule for your alarm

A lot of users are asking about the possibility of setting up a schedule for Witness, auto-arming the alarm at specific times every day. We have not yet implemented such a feature, as we feel this would make the app much more complex, but there is a solution for those in desperate need of a schedule. All you'll need is Calendar, and a script to tell Witness to activate the alarm.

Step 1: the script

You can activate Witness with AppleScript using the following command:

tell application "WitnessUserAgent" to activate

This will activate the alarm on all your Macs (but not on those that have been excluded). To deactivate, you can replace "activate" with "deactivate".

You can download these simple scripts here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/19163287/

Step 2: Calendar

Unfortunately, Apple has removed the ability to run a script from Calendar in Mountain Lion, but there is a workaround: you can save the script as an Application, and then choose “Open File” as the alert option when you create an event in Calendar.

Choose “Other” to select the Application file you want to open.

You'll find the scripts saved as Applications in our download link above as well.

14 May 2013

New recovery stories

We’d fallen a little behind on Undercover’s Recovery stories page, but I have (hopefully) made that up to you by posting a whole batch of testimonials from our users today! Check it out: www.orbicule.com/undercover/mac/recovery.html

You can also find Witness success stories at http://www.orbicule.com/witness/success

10 May 2013

Witness feature in the picture: Face detection

Do you have a stay-at-home Mac, but a stay-at-home pet as well? If you’re less interested in knowing what your cat is doing during the day, you can set up Witness so it will only trigger the alarm when the camera sees a (human) face. That way you’ll only get alerted when there really is something up.

Go to the Witness Preferences on your Mac (under System Preferences, or via the Witness menu item), and choose the Cameras tab.

At the bottom of this pane, select the option to "Alert me: Only when a face is detected"

Et voila: no more false alerts from Fido!

This option may also come in handy when you have your camera pointed at a moving object, like a ceiling fan or a window with a tree behind it.

02 May 2013

9 tips for traveling with technology

Apart from using Undercover, how do you keep your Mac and data safe when you’re on the road? Here is some useful advice:

  1. Avoid using computer bags that look like computer bags. I use a regular backpack to tag my Mac along.
  2. Save stuff online. iCloud, Dropbox and other web-based services are your friend here. Not only can you use them to access your data anywhere, they provide a place to keep your files out of reach in case your Mac gets stolen.
  3. Use strong passwords, certainly don’t keep them in the same bag as your Mac.
  4. Encrypt your sensitive data. Undercover (or other theft-recovery software) is unfortunately not compatible with full-disk encryption, but there are other solutions to keep your (business’) info secure. (Like Knox, for example.)
  5. If you don’t need that level of security, do take the effort to set up a password for your account. Automatic login may be convenient, but can the thought of a stranger going through your personal files perhaps change your mind about that?
  6. When you have a theft-recovery application like Undercover installed, you’ll want the thief to be able to go online so the software can gather as much tracking information as possible. Create a separate (honeypot) account without a password. This dummy account will provide the thief an easy way to use your Mac, without access to your personal files.
  7. Set a screensaver password. Also a bit less convenient, but it will be a comfort to know the thief (or any other creep) can not access the account that you left open while you go to the bathroom at Starbucks.
  8. Enable the Apple Firmware Password. It will prevent anyone who doesn’t know this password from wiping or replacing your HD.
  9. Keep an eye on your Mac and keep it as close to you as possible at all times. Take it with you as carry-on luggage when you’re flying. I also always store my backpack under the seat in front of me, and not in the overhead compartments. (I’m tiny, so I usually don’t have any problems with my designated leg room on the airplane. :))

Also have a look at these great tips from whereisjenny.com: http://www.whereisjenny.com/2010/11/28-tips-for-traveling-with-laptop-slr-camera/