Find out if someone has accessed your MacBook’s camera

Get notified when your MacBook’s iSight camera is being used to keep hackers from spying on you.

After reading about how hackers have taken control of a MacBook’s iSight camera to spy on the person sitting in front of it, you might start to get a feeling that someone is watching you. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you, after all. Making matters worse, hackers have been able to spy on people without triggering the little green light that tells you your iSight camera is active.

You can simply cover your iSight camera with a piece of tape or use an app to disable it, but if you want to continue to use your MacBook’s webcam for FaceTime and Skype and the like, then it’s annoying to have to remove the piece of sticky tape (and its residue) or reactivate the camera.

Monitor instead of disable

If the hackers make you disable your webcam, then they’ve already won. A better course of action is to monitor your iSight camera so you know when it’s being used. MacOS doesn’t let you do this natively, so you’ll need to turn to a third-party app: OverSight.

OverSight is a free app that installs quickly and places an icon in your menu bar to let you know it’s running. When an app accesses the iSight camera, you’ll get a notification like this:

oversight.jpg
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Bonus: OverSight will also tell you when your microphone is being used:

oversight-mic.png
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

You’ll get these notifications whether you are using FaceTime or Skype or a hacker is tunneling into your machine and accessing the camera. Better to have to ignore OverSight’s notifications when you are using the iSight camera than not get them when a hacker is using the iSight camera to spy on you, no?

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Top 10 Twitter tips and tricks

Below is a listing of our top 10 favorite Twitter tips and tricks. These tips help make your Twitter experience more enjoyable and can help increase your followers.

Customize

  • Change your profile picture. Use a picture of yourself to make it seem more personalized if this is your personal Twitter account.
  • Utilize as much of the 160-character limit Twitter BIO space allows. Include keywords your followers or potential followers may be trying to find.
  • Create your own background image. However, do not make the image too much like an ad or sales pitch. The background image must be less than 800k and we recommend a size of 1600×1200 for a large image or smaller if you plan on tiling the image or just having it on the left-hand side. Finally, keep in mind that smaller resolutions and monitor sizes hide much of the background.

Third-party tools

Take advantage of the hundreds of different third-party online tools and services that enhance your Twitter experience. Below are a few of our favorites.

  • TwitPic – Take advantage of TwitPic to post pictures on your tweets. If you want to post pictures while away from the computer, use the Twitterific app.
  • Qwitter – Great service that sends an e-mail anytime someone unsubscribes from your Twitter profile and mentions a possible Twitter post you made that may have caused them to leave.
  • Manageflitter – Fantastic site for managing your followers and getting an overview of people not following you back, quiet users, and inactive users.
  • WeFollow – Great website that allows you to add yourself to a listing of Twitter users by tags you find interesting.
  • SocialOomph – Another great service with a collection of free Twitter tools including the ability to schedule when tweets gets posted.
  • Twitter Fan Wiki Apps – Finally, this wiki has a listing of several hundred different Twitter applications and tools for users wanting more.

Use Twitter search

Take full advantage of the Twitter search tool. Below are just a few tips that can help improve your search capabilities on Twitter.

  • Search for your website or blog URL and see if others are mentioning your page.
  • Search for anything near you by adding near:”city state”. For example, typing near:”Salt lake city Utah” club would return current tweets that have happened in Salt Lake City, Utah with the keyword club in them.
  • Find people whom you may enjoy following by searching for keywords that interested you.
  • If you do not want tweets with links add ? -filter:links at the end of your search query.
  • Need more options, use the Advanced Twitter search.
  • Any time you get excellent results, click the “Save this search” button to save them. For those with the old Twitter interface, these results can then be found under “Saved Searches” on the right-hand part of your profile. For those with the new interface, they are under the “Searches” tab next to your timeline.

Followers

  • Engage followers.
  • Do not follow too many people. No one wants to follow someone following thousands of people with only 10 followers.
  • Retweet interesting posts.
  • Retweet and participate in conversations with people with lots of followers.
  • Realize it is impossible for anyone to read every tweet.
  • When first joining do not follow hundreds of people, doing this may mark you as a bot.

Create useful and interesting tweets

  • Try to make all your tweets informative, useful, or funny.
  • Do not post mundane posts, e.g. eating a bowl of cereal.
  • Add hashtags to your tweets. For example, if your tweet is about computers, consider adding #computer in the tweet.
  • Tweet frequently. No one is going to follow someone they do not know who has not tweeted in months. Try to tweet a few times a week or daily if you can manage.
  • Do not whine or complain. Most people unfollow anyone who constantly whines or complains.
  • Try to make your valuable tweets during the times people will most likely see them.
  • Keep some space available in your tweet in case someone retweets your post.
  • Use special characters in your tweets.

Know the lingo

Know the Twitter lingo, these are just a few examples: @reply, Direct Message (DM), follower, hashtag, retweet (RT), trending topics, and tweet. See the Twitter descriptionfor a complete listing of Twitter terms and lingo and related terms.

Follow the masters

Following a few of the masters of Twitter and Social Networking give you an understanding of how to tweet better, posts to RT, and inspiration for tweets of your own. Below are the top ten Twitters we recommend following.

@GuyKawasaki
@Scobleizer
@jeffbullas
@briansolis
@tonyrobbins
@kevinrose
@timoreilly
@donttrythis
@zappos
@brainpicker

  • Twitaholic – A full listing of the top users on Twitter based on Followers, which is great for finding and following the top users and learning what they are doing with their account.

Tip: Many of the first few hundred people are celebrities on Twitaholic, if they do not interest you skip the first page.

Create and use lists

Twitter list iconTwitter lists are an excellent method of filtering filter through the people you follow. To create a list, click the Lists link, and then click Create a list. After creating a list, visit the person’s profile page you want to add and click the list icon (shown to the right). Our Computers and Tech list is an example of a public list we created.

Go Mobile

Apple iPhones, BlackBerry phones, Android phones, Windows phone 7 phones, and most of the other smartphones have Twitter applications. Take full advantage of these applications. For users who do not have smartphones Twitter also has extensive support for SMS, which can send tweets over a text message.

Advertise

  • Mention your Twitter page as many places as you can, e.g. your business card, e-mail signatures, web page, blog, and on Facebook.
  • Create a tweet button or at least your Twitter name on your pages, similar to the examples below.

Top 10 Mouse Tips & Shortcuts

Computer MouseMost computer users don’t take full advantage of the computer Mouse. Below are computer mouse tips and secrets that help you get the full potential of your computer mouse and increase your overall productivity while on the computer.

Shift key and mouse click

Many text editors and programs allow you to highlight all or portions of text using the Shift keyand the mouse.

For example, click at the beginning of the text in the below text box. Hold down the Shift key, scroll to the bottom, and click at the end of the text to highlight all of the text.

Bonus Tip: Holding down the Alt key while dragging and highlighting text in a text editor allows you to selectively highlight text. Highlighting text this way is useful if the paragraph or other text is in a column. Note: This tip does not work in the above box and has to be done in a text editor or word processor.

Take full advantage of the scroll wheel

Today, everyone is familiar with a mouse wheels ability to scroll up and down on a page. However, this wheel can also do so much more, below are just a few examples.

  • The mouse wheel is not just a wheel. It can also be used as a button. Pressing down on the wheel will acts like a third mouse button. The wheel button can be used to open a web page in a tab by clicking the wheel on any link and can also be used to close a tab by clicking the wheel on any open tab.
  • Zoom in and Out on a web page, word document, excel spreadsheet, etc. by holding down the Ctrl key and scrolling up to zoom in and down to zoom out.
  • Hold down the Shift key and scroll down in most Internet browsers to go back to the previous web page.
  • Some mouse wheels can be pushed left or right to also move back and forward between web pages.

Select with double and triple click

Any word can be selected by double-clicking the word. If you want to highlight the whole paragraph or sentence, click the mouse button three times on any word.

Try it now on this paragraph by clicking three times fast on any word in the paragraph.

Bonus Tip: If you double-click and then drag your mouse, it will highlight one word at a time.

Right-click menuUse the right-click

Take full advantage of the right-click any time you highlight text or want to view the properties of an object.

For example, if you highlight a file or text, you can right-click that highlighted item, copy it, and then right-click anywhere else to paste it.

Bonus Tip: If you highlight or select any file or text and then click and drag while holding the right mouse button, when you let go an option to move or copy that file is shown. This saves you the extra step of having to right-click where you want to paste the item.

Bonus Tip: While in a browser, pressing and holding Ctrl while clicking on any link opens a menu with options for that link.

Ctrl key and mouse click or highlight

While holding down the Ctrl key, you can left-click to select multiple objects or highlight multiple sections of text.

For example, in a selection box, if you wanted to highlight more than one of the items listed, you could hold down Ctrl and select each item you want highlighted.

Bonus Tip: Mozilla Firefox users can also hold down the Ctrl key and individually click on each cell in a table they want to copy. They can also hold down the Ctrl key and drag their mouse down a row to select just that row or text without selecting any of the other text in that table.

Use the mouse side buttons

Many new computer mice also have buttons on the side of the mouse. These buttons can be programmed to do anything. However, by default, the left-thumb button can be used to go back on a web page. Using the thumb button makes browsing the Internet more efficient since you do not need to move the mouse cursor to the browser’s back arrow button to go back a page.

Use the Windows Snap To feature

Take full advantage of the Windows mouse Snap To feature, which will automatically move your mouse to buttons that appear in a dialog box.

For example, if you delete a file or close a window, you may get a prompt asking you if you are sure you want to perform the task. With the Snap To feature enabled, the mouse cursor automatically moves to the Ok button, so all you have to do is click the left mouse button if you agree. This saves you the time of having to move the mouse cursor to the Ok button and then click Ok.

To enable this feature, open the Mouse properties under the Windows Control Panel and check the Snap To check box under the Pointer Options tab.

Bonus Tip: While changing this feature, we also suggest looking at other available options in the Mouse properties. For example, increasing the Motion speed can also help increase your productivity while using the mouse.

Manage the open window with the mouse

Double-click the top title bar of any window to maximize a window or, if it is already maximized, resize it to a smaller window. You can also double-click the icon for the window in the top-left corner of the window to close that window.

Move the mouse with your keyboard

Instead of using the mouse that came with your computer, you can also enable Windows to use the number pad as a mouse.

Customize your mouse

Finally, if you have a mouse with more than two buttons, installing the included mouse software allows you to customize the mouse even more.

For example, if you don’t use the side buttons to move back and forth in a web page, change it to something you do more often, such as switching between open windows or opening the calculator.

Best Web Surfing Shortcuts!

Take advantage of tabbed browsing

Take full advantage of tabbed browsing on all Internet browsers. While reading an article or browsing a website, you may come across a link that interests you. Any link to another page can be opened in a new tab so it does not interrupt your reading. To perform this action, hold down the Ctrl key and left-click the link. If you have a mouse with a wheel, click the link by depressing the wheel instead of rolling it. Either of the methods opens a link in a new window.

Tip: To open an new blank tab, press Ctrl + T at the same time.

You don’t need the http:// portion of a web page

When entering an Internet address you do not need to type http:// or even www. in the address. For example, if you wanted to visit Computer Hope you could just type computerhope.com and press enter. To make things even quicker, if you are visiting a .com address you can type computerhope and then press Ctrl + Enter to type out the full http://www.computerhope.com address.

Quickly move between the fields of a web page

If you are filling out an online form, e-mail, or other text field you can quickly move between each of the fields by pressing the Tab key or Shift + Tab to move back a field.

Tip: This tip also applies to buttons, if you press tab the buttons can also be highlighted. Once a button is highlighted press the spacebar or enter to push the button.

Tip: With a drop-down box that lists dozens of options you can press the first letter to scroll down to that letter. For example, you may try by clicking a state drop down and then press “U” to quickly scroll to Utah.

Bonus Tip: You can also use the autofill feature to fill in common form fields.

Know your Internet browser shortcuts

Internet browsersThere are dozens of different shortcut keys that can be used with Internet browsers. Below are a few of our top suggested Internet browser shortcuts.

  • Press Alt + D or Ctrl + L to move the cursor into the address bar.
  • Hold down the Ctrl key and press the + or – to increase and decrease the size of text. Ctrl + 0 will reset the text.
  • Press the backspace key or press Alt key + left arrow to go back a page.
  • Press F5 or Ctrl + R to refresh or reload a web page.
  • Press F11 to make the Internet browser screen full screen. Press F11 again to return to the normal view.
  • Press Ctrl + B to open your Internet bookmarks.
  • Press Ctrl + F to open the find box to search for text within the web page you are reading.

Protect yourself and avoid bad websites

Use Internet search engines to their full potential

Get the most out of every search result. If you are not finding what you want try surrounding the text in quotes. For example, searching for ‘computer help’ without quotes returns results with “computer” and “help” anywhere on the page. However, if you search for “computer help” with the quotes it only return pages with “computer” and “help” next to each other.

Tip: In every search box you can press enter instead of using the mouse to click the Search button.

Try alternative browsers

Most computer users use the default browser that comes included with the computer, with Microsoft Windows this is Internet Explorer. There are many great alternative browsers that are all free to download and use and may have features your current browser does not include. Below are a few of our favorites, try one or try them all.

Top Keyboard Shortcuts! Submit PC Tips Request Here!

Best Keyboard Shortcuts

Using keyboard shortcuts can greatly increase your productivity, reduce repetitive strain, and help keep you focused. For example, to copy text, you can highlight text and press the Ctrl + C shortcut. The shortcut is faster than moving your hands from the keyboard, highlighting with the mouse, choosing copy from the file menu, and then returning to the keyboard.

Below are the top 10 keyboard shortcuts we recommend everyone memorize and use.

Ctrl + C or Ctrl + Insert and Ctrl + X

Both Ctrl + C and Ctrl + Insert will copy highlighted text or a selected item. If you want to cut an item instead of copying it, press Ctrl + X. This action removes the text or item and stores it in the clipboard for you, rather than just copying it to the clipboard while leaving the original behind.

Apple computer users can substitute the Ctrl key for the command (cmd) key on their computers. For example, pressing Cmd + C copies highlighted text.

Ctrl + V or Shift + Insert

Both the Ctrl + V and Shift + Insert will paste the text or object that’s stored in the clipboard.

On Apple computers, use Cmd + V instead.

Practice

Use the above text input fields to highlight the “Cut or copy this text” text and press either Ctrl + C to copy or Ctrl + X to Cut the text. Once Cut Move to the next field and press Ctrl + V or Shift + Insert to paste the text. For further demonstration, visit the following link.

Ctrl + Z and Ctrl + Y

Pressing Ctrl + Z will undo any change. For example, if you cut text, pressing this key combination will undo the cut. These shortcuts can also be pressed multiple times to undo or redo multiple changes. Pressing Ctrl + Y would redo the undo.

On Apple computers, use Cmd + Z and Cmd + Y to undo and redo.

Use the above text input field to highlight some or all of the text and then press Ctrl + X to cut the text. Once the text has disappeared press the Ctrl + Z to undo the cut.

Tip: If you did the first example as well (cut and paste text) if you continue to press Ctrl + Z it is also going to undo that change.

Ctrl + F

Pressing Ctrl + F opens the Find field, which allows you to search the text currently displayed in any program that supports it. For example, Ctrl + F can be used in your Internet browser to find text on the current page. Press Ctrl + F now to open the Find in your browser and search for “shortcut” to display each time shortcut is mentioned on this page.

On Apple computers, use Cmd + F to find.

Alt + Tab or Ctrl + Tab

Pressing Alt + Tab switches between open programs moving forward. For example, if you have your browser window open and other programs running in the background press and hold Alt and then press the tab key to cycle through each open program.

On Apple computers instead of using the Alt key use the Command (Cmd) key. For Example, Cmd + Tab to switch between open programs.

Bonus Tip: Press Ctrl + Tab to switch between tabs in a program. For example, if you have multiple tabs open in your Internet browser, press Ctrl + Tab to switch between them.

Bonus Tip: Adding the Shift key to Alt + Tab or Ctrl + Tab moves backward. For example, if you are pressing Alt + Tab and pass the program you want to use, press Alt + Shift + Tab to move back to that program.

Bonus Tip: Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10 users can also press the Windows Key + Tab to switch through open programs in a full screenshot of the window.

Ctrl + Back space and Ctrl + Left or Right arrow

Note: This is for PC users only and does not work on Apple computers

Pressing Ctrl + Backspace will delete a full word at a time instead of a single character.

Holding down the Ctrl key while pressing the left or right arrow will move the cursor one word at a time instead of one character at a time. If you want to highlight one word at a time, hold down Ctrl + Shift and then press the left or right arrow key to move one word at a time in that direction while highlighting each word.

Ctrl + S

While working on a document or other file in almost every program, pressing Ctrl + Ssaves that file. Use this shortcut key frequently if you’re working on anything important in case an error happens, you lose power, or any other issues that could cause you to any work since the last save.

On Apple computers, use Cmd + S to save a file.

Ctrl + Home or Ctrl + End

Ctrl + Home will move the cursor to the beginning of the document, and Ctrl + End will move the cursor to the end of a document. These shortcuts work with most documents, as well as web pages.

On Apple computers use Command and the Cmd and the up arrow to get to the beginning of a document or text or Cmd and the down arrow to get to the end of a document or text.

Ctrl + P

Control + P is used to open a print preview of the page or document currently being viewed. For example, press Ctrl + P now to view a print preview of this page.

On Apple computers use Cmd + P to open the print preview.

Page Up, Spacebar, and Page Down

As you may have guessed, pressing either the page up or page down key will move to the next or previous page. When browsing the Internet, pressing the spacebar moves the scrollbar down a page. Similarly, Shift + spacebar moves the scrollbar up one page.

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