In an age of Google email data mining, "phishing" scams, and sleazy social networks such as Facebook, one can never be too careful with personal data. And as Richard Snowden has proved to the world: just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean the NSA aren’t after you.

This brings us to a topic of a similar nature involving a "feature" added to Apple’s Mavericks iPhoto application: automatic facial recognition. I discovered this "feature" after I recently upgraded to OS X Mavericks, and created a bootable install image. Exploring new features, I was delighted to find most of the applications and OS features had improved — that is until I ran across facial recognition in iPhoto.

Besides the utility of slowing iPhoto to a crawl, facial recognition didn’t really seem to be that useful of a feature anyway, so I resolved to stop the facial scanning and eliminate the face repository. If this "improvement" to iPhoto bothers you as much as it does me, use the following steps to kick iPhoto’s creepy Big Brother off of your Mac OS X system.

First, be sure to Quit iPhoto if it is running. This is critically important, because we will be doing things that iPhoto will not like if left open. This includes removing all databases with scanned face information. So if you wish to stop facial recognition, but keep the facial recognition database, run only the first and very last command in the listing below.

Next, open Finder. Select the Pictures folder, and control-click iPhoto Library. Select the Open With option and choose Terminal.app.
NOTE: If Terminal.app does not appear in this list, it can be found in the Applications/Utilities folder.

Here is a screenshot of my Finder window in action:

With the Terminal window open, type these commands at each $ prompt:

$ defaults write com.apple.iPhoto PKFaceDetectionEnabled 0
$ cd ./Database/Faces/Detected
$ ls
$ rm *.apdetected
$ cd ../../apdb
$ ls
$ rm Faces.db
$ rm BigBlobs.apdb
$ exit

(The ls commands show the contents of each directory, so you may omit those.)

You may now open iPhoto again — this time it will not scan your personal photos for faces to insert into a database. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I am not associated or employed by any company producing software or hardware reviewed on this site.

Posted by: glasskeys | 01/07/2014

IT Blogwatch – 01/07/2014

AT&T Death Star

I used The Schwartz this morning, working on this IT Blogwatch article with Richi Jennings.

These are fun to work on, and I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to a great publication like ComputerWorld.

Posted by: glasskeys | 12/17/2013

IT Blogwatch – 12/17/2013

john-miller-bricked-bios

I had tons of fun early this morning working on this IT Blogwatch article with Richi Jennings.

(To view a larger image with a more detailed description tap or click a thumbnail.)

Many people have upgraded to Windows 8.1 for the sole purpose of being able to boot to desktop. Although it is very easy to change the settings to do this, Microsoft has placed these settings controls in the most non-intuitive place possible for users to find. The place that would have made sense would have been found in the [Control Panel][Administration Tools][System Configuration], [Boot] tab, instead it was buried under the Navigation and Taskbar properties on Desktop.

Follow these 3 simple steps to boot to desktop in Windows 8.1:
1) If on the home screen, click the Desktop tile.
2) In Desktop, right-click the Navigation bar at the bottom of the screen. (This is the bar that holds the clock tray). Select Properties in the context menu window.
3) Click the Navigation tab, and then tick the top two checkboxes in the Start screen section – most critical is the Show desktop background on start option.

Congratulations, you are now able to boot directly to Desktop.

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Posted by: glasskeys | 10/17/2013

Windows 8.1 update today.

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Microsoft has decided to release Windows 8.1 today. If you have an existing Windows 8 installation, follow this link, and click the Get the update button which opens the Store app to start the free update, alternatively you can use tap the Store tile, then tap the Update link in the corner to accomplish the same task. For those of you new to Windows 8, you can purchase Windows 8.1 from Microsoft here. I recommend biting the bullet and purchasing the full Win 8.1 Pro edition.

If you are updating, you can pause or cancel during download, tap the progress tile, and these options appear at the bottom of the screen.

I will be checking out Win 8.1 today and trying to find hacks useful to users along with features/improvements to the OS. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I am not associated or employed by any company producing software reviewed on this site.

Google Reader - No Mas.

Google Reader – No Mas.

Today is the day we found out Google Reader will be no more. For those interested in finding a good app replacement to use on their iPad or Android tablet, I recommend Flipboard for the iPad, and the Pulse News reader for Android tablets.

Incidentally, the Pulse News reader is also available for Nook tablets, previously covered on Glasskeys.com here.

Disclaimer: I am not associated or employed by any company producing software reviewed on this site.

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Posted by: glasskeys | 03/12/2013

Building Apps for Win 8 tablets and mobiles.

Building_win_8_apps_for_tablets_and_mobiles_01

I recently ran across this video tutorial series called Building Apps for Both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 from Microsoft on the Channel 9 website.

Download links are available for each of the videos in the series, in both WMV and MP4 formats which means you could watch the tutorial on your iPad if you so desire.

 
 
 
 
  Settings.   Control Panel.   Power Options.  
 
 
 
 
 
  Tap the “Choose when to turn off display” link.   Change advanced power settings.   Display – “adaptive brightness” settings.  
 
     
     
      Click Apply and close setting windows.      
 

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Although the Windows 8 platform is a great platform for tablet and touch screen devices, there remain some areas that Microsoft could improve upon. One of these areas is the feature known as Adaptive Brightness. The intended goal of adaptive brightness is to automatically adjust screen brightness settings to match ambient light levels. In plain English this means: “If it is bright outside, make the screen brighter. If in a dark room, dim the screen a bit.”

Sounds good…in theory. In reality, this “feature” is as adaptive as the extinct dodo or sabre-tooth tiger. Dimming the screen at random intervals (usually whilst watching video or engaged in productive pursuits), makes this Windows 8 feature as welcome as Clippy was to users of Office ’97.

The least frustrating solution I have found to fix adaptive brightness, is to turn it off entirely.

To do this on your Windows 8 tablet, navigate to Control Panel, then Power Options. Tap the “Choose when to turn off display” link, then the “Change advanced power settings” link. In the Power Options window, scroll down and expand the Display section – buried inside this is the Enable adaptive brightness setting group. For each option in this group, select the off value in each drop-down.

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Recently I purchased the Lenovo S230u “Ultrabook” which is a Windows 8 laptop/tablet device. The screen can swivel and fold over, literally transforming itself into a Surface tablet. In my case make that Surface Pro – as I replaced the EOM “tweaked” version of Windows 8 with a fresh 64 bit install of Windows 8 Pro.

Whilst gleefully using my device I discovered that I really didn’t want have to press the red Fn key every bloody time I need to use one of the function keys (F1-F12), which is the default out-of-the-box behaviour.

Messing about in the Thinkpad Setup (BIOS) menu, I discovered the answer to the problem. Oddly enough the hardest problem I encountered was figuring out how to access this menu in the first place. It turns out shutting down the machine and turning it back on will not present an opportunity, the only reliable way I found after reboot to see the “To interrupt normal startup, press Enter” caption was to restart.

After you click restart, and the machine starts to reboot, keep your finger poised over the Enter key, because you will only have a window of 1 or 2 seconds before the caption disappears. Once the Thinkpad Setup menu appears, navigate to the Config menu and set the Change to “F1-F12 keys” value to Legacy.

Finally because the setting doesn’t take effect until after you save you will need to press Fn F10 one last time to save and exit.

Happy keyboarding!

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Posted by: glasskeys | 02/07/2013

Free Windows 8 programming book.

Microsoft Press Blog

Microsoft Press Blog

For those interested in developing apps for Surface Pro tabs or Windows 8, you may be interested in a free eBook from Microsoft Press on the topic.

Click here to open the Programming Windows 8 Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript book page with downloads available in PDF, EPUB, or MOBI formats.

Disclaimer: I am not associated or employed by any company producing software or books reviewed on this site.

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