Monthly Archives: October 2013

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff. Photo: Dell

In 2005, long before the Apple App Store, there was the Salesforce.com AppExchange.

If a company used Salesforce’s customer relationship management software, it could come to the AppExchange for additional tools and applications that plugged into that software. It wasn’t the first “app store,” but CEO Marc Benioff famously claims to have given Apple the trademark on that name “App Store” — for free.

Today, Salesforce unveiled a new extension to this service. It’s called Private AppExchange, and the idea is to give companies the power to build their own private version of Salesforce AppExchange, a version that makes it easier for its employees to find and install applications.

AppExchange includes hundreds of applications from hundreds of software makers, and it wasn’t all that easy to find and use them. Typically, you need the help and approval of your company’s IT department. But with Private AppExchange, your IT department can create a custom app catalog of pre-approved web and mobile apps from the larger pool available in the AppExchange, and it can provide a way for you to readily install apps on your own. When you want to use an approved application, you just find it in the catalog and click “install” — just like you would with an app store on your personal phone. This private app store can even include your company’s own custom apps.

The idea is straightforward: Save your IT department time and effort by making it easy for you to install apps yourself. But beneath the surface, Private AppExchange must handle identity management and access control, two notoriously sticky IT problems. AppExchange Private provides IT administrators with a dashboard for customizing the store and setting permissions depending, for example, on what department they work for. The company has also recently introduced Salesforce Identity, an identity management platform.

Salesforce isn’t alone in this market. Companies like AppDirect are also trying to bring app stores to large enterprises, while companies like Okta are providing identity management services for enterprise cloud applications. Outside of work, logging into websites using credentials from your social network of choice has become the norm. Services like Saleforce Identity and Okta are hoping to provide the same sort of convenience for the enterprise world.

These markets are picking up. According to a forthcoming report from AppDirect, 84 percent of the Fortune 100 offer employees external apps of some sort, and 72 percent of the companies it polled that serve consumer and small business markets have already adopted enterprise app stores.

By combining identity and an app store under one roof, Salesforce is hoping to gain an advantage over competitors. But a big question is whether companies will want to make Salesforce the center of the identity ecosystem — the ultimate prize Salesforce is aiming for.

A flying snake. Photo: Jake Socha

Jake Socha has been studying flying snakes since 1996, and he still doesn’t know exactly how they do it.

But he’s getting closer — thanks to the magic of 3-D printing and high-power computer simulations that use the graphical programming units, or GPUs, that now power everything from game consoles to supercomputers.

It’s a tricky thing to study. As his research collaborator, George Washington University Professor Lorena Barba, wrote in an abstract for an upcoming talk: “It would be hard to put a flying snake in a wind tunnel. So we are trying to put them in GPUs instead.”

Scientists have been living in an golden age of computer simulation, as they’ve discovered that these graphical processing units are good for more than speeding up explosions in Call of Duty. They are also great for certain types of mathematical work, such as simulating flying snakes.

The researchers have created two-dimensional computer models of the flying snakes, (pdf) but they’ve also done real-world simulations — using 3D printed components in water tunnels. Both show that snake-shaped objects would get a special aerodynamic pop should they tilt their bodies at 35 degrees as they drop from tree branches.

For the computer simulations, which were led by Barba and Anush Krishnan of the University of Boston, the researchers used a single Nvidia Tesla K20 GPU accelerator to simulate a two-dimensional cross section of the snake at a range of different speeds and angles of attack and then measure how that could provide lift. As it turns out, that 35 degree tilt provides more lift than one would expect, Socha says. “Its this spot where the lift really pops up,” he says.

Socha, a professor of engineering science and mechanics at Virginia Tech, has studied three species of these snakes — all of which live in southern Asia. They seem to use air travel as a kind of defense mechanism, flattening their bodies into an aerodynamic wing-like shape and then flinging themselves off of a tree. They drop fast and then even out in a kind of undulating and spooky s-like glide. They can easily cover 30 feet, if they drop from a tall enough tree.

Image L.A. Barba

Now that the first flying snake computer models have been built, the researchers hope to build more complex, three-dimensional simulations that will tell them more about how the motion of the snake affects things and whether the animal might be able to get additional lift by positioning the back part of its body behind the front — much like a bicyclist drafts the person in front.

Either way, the simulations are important steps toward understanding the flying snake. Scientists know about the snakes basic movements in the air, but there’s still a lot to learn Socha says. “The question I’m still most interested in is how exactly does the animal produce its aerodynamic force and how does it maintain control in the air.”

So why care about the flying snake? Socha says his work into this very novel type of flight could be applied to build a whole new kind of autonomous robots. “Maybe you can build a search and rescue robot that is able to get into cracks like a snake and go through rubble and emerge from the top of the pile and jump off and glide somewhere else.”

The Pentagon has already funded research in this area, by way of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Slithering drone, anyone?

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If any of you were hoping for a PS4 port of Titanfall, you are out of luck on this one. EA confirmed in a financial call that Titanfall, Respawn’s next-gen mech-shooter, will not be coming to any platform other than the already announced Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC. It’s those platforms forever.

“It’s exclusive only, for the life of the title, on Xbox One, and Xbox 360, and PC,” announced EA CFO Blake Jorgensen.

Some good news though is that Respawn was asked on Twitter if they would make games on the PS4, Respawn co-founder Vince Zameplla replied, “Of course we will, just not the first Titanfall.”

Valve has just announced today a 30% growth in active accounts during the past 12 months for Steam. This exponential growth of accounts has boosted Valve’s video game distribution service to over 65 million accounts. For those of you who have a dislike for math, that’s nearly 20 million new active accounts in the past year!

Originally built for exclusive Valve games back in 2003, Steam now carries over 3,000 games and software titles from publishers and developers all over the world. Valve has been quite busy with Steam this year as many new features have been announced and some even released, including Steam Trading Cards, Early Access titles, support for Linux titles, Family Sharing, Steam OS, Steam Machines, and the very interesting Steam Controller.

“The main goal of Steam has always been to increase the quality of the user’s experience by reducing the distance between content creators and their audience,” said Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve. “As the platform grows, our job is to adapt to the changing needs of both the development and user communities. In the coming year, we plan to make perhaps our most significant collaborations with both communities through the Steam Dev Days and the Steam Machines beta.”

It’s easy to add an app to the toolbar for quick access in Finder. Simply find it, hold down Command (⌘) and drag it up to the toolbar. Voila! You’ve got an app docked at the top of your Finder. To remove it, once again hold down ⌘ and drag it off the toolbar. This shortcut was available in previous versions of OS X, but in Mavericks, you’ve got to hold down ⌘.

Why pin apps to your Finder, you ask? Particularly when you’ve got a perfectly good dock on the side or bottom of your screen. There are a bunch of advantages. If you use different text editors to do things like code and write, just stick one or both of them up there and drag your relevant documents directly onto it. If you pin Mail or Messages, it becomes an quick shortcut to send a file. Or it can be handy if you do a lot of encoding and you pin a program like Handbrake up there.

But where this shortcut really shines is when you pin an Automator script — you can essentially include a button in your finder that does things like clear all files from the folder you’re in or automatically resize all images. The possibilities are endless for the power user.

[h/t Macworld Hints]

Illustration: Nicholas Blechman

There are few disappointments in the Digital Age more conspicuous than our failure, as security guru Dan Kaminsky puts it, to “apply the Internet to money.” Social networks and smartphones grant us superpowers beyond anything we might have dreamed 10 years ago: We almost never get lost, we can keep in touch with everyone we’ve ever met, and we can access the entirety of human knowledge. Not bad! But if we want to buy a $2 knickknack on the web, we still have to slog through a payments morass—multiple screens of personal information, plus painful transaction fees that are nominally paid by the vendor but inevitably passed along to us.

This has led to an incredible disparity in ecommerce. For a handful of big companies, Apple and Amazon chief among them, micropayments are outrageously profitable. These giants have your credit card number and your trust, so you can click and buy in an instant. For everyone else, there’s ostensibly PayPal, which rakes in billions of dollars a year for its parent company, eBay, by enabling streamlined payments to vendors. But setting up a PayPal account takes time for both parties. Vendors also complain that chargebacks—holds on funds when a customer disputes a charge—are hard to win, endangering what are already cash-flow-poor businesses. None of our online modes of payment offer the anonymity and universal acceptability of cash. What we need for micropayments is a digital equivalent to paper money: anonymous, fast, final.

Enter Bitcoin. For most of us, it’s tempting to write off the cryptocurrency as unserious. Remember all those headlines about price volatility and questionable legal status? But there’s a reason why venture capitalists and entrepreneurs continue to pay close attention. For all its weird politics and bad press, Bitcoin may just be the most ingenious system ever created for settling online transactions. Done right, it could put small ecommerce sites on a level playing field with the likes of Amazon and Apple. Instead of running from Bitcoin, we should commandeer it from the radicals and make it work for the rest of us.

Bitcoin could make buying from any vendor as painless as buying from Amazon.

If you’ve heard anything about Bitcoin, it’s probably the enchanting genesis story: a monetary system built entirely on mathematics, brought into being by a mysterious coder (or group of coders) going by the name Satoshi Nakamoto. If you know anything else about Bitcoin, it might be the anti-statist politics and black market proclivities of its superusers or the sometimes wild fluctuations in the currency’s value. In April 2013, speculation caused the price to soar from $140 to $266 in just four days—only to lose most of those gains almost overnight. In July it dipped down below $70 per unit; at press time it was back around $140.

Despite those worrisome traits, Bitcoin is really the first true currency designed for the Digital Age. It’s made out of bits but behaves like cash: It provides what is damn close to anonymity, transactions are final, and it’s hard to counterfeit (more so than greenbacks). This cashlike quality largely results from Bitcoin’s fulfillment system. Picture a 19th-century shopkeeper’s ledger. Bitcoin works similarly, except that instead of the ledger sitting on one person’s desk, Bitcoin’s ledger—called the “block chain”—is distributed over the entire network. There’s a shared record of every Bitcoin-denominated transaction ever, with the user info concealed by encryption. So while all Bitcoin network activity is essentially public (to protect against double spending), identities are private.

It shouldn’t be surprising that Bitcoin, which has a total current value of around $1.5 billion, is more vulnerable to price turbulence than the world’s more trusted national currencies. Whereas central bankers have all kinds of tools at their disposal for steering the value of their currencies, Bitcoin was pointedly designed without any central authority, and the rate of new money creation is fixed by an algorithm and set to taper off over time. There is no mechanism to safeguard the currency’s price, which means that unless you’re Winklevoss-level wealthy, it’s far too risky to mess around with more than a few dollars’ worth of the stuff.

So if the fundamentals are fixed, how can Bitcoin possibly become more than just a curiosity in the world of ecommerce? The answer is that Bitcoin is more than just a currency; it’s an open source protocol, and as such it’s something that can be molded. We can make Bitcoin our own by building on top of it.

One solution to the price fluctuation problem is relatively straightforward, albeit imperfect: Don’t hold bitcoins for very long. Instead, link an account containing dollars, euros, or some other major currency to a Bitcoin “wallet,” and convert to bitcoins only when undertaking an online transaction. The seller’s wallet can do the same. That way, both parties reap the benefits of Bitcoin’s slick settlement system without exposing a big chunk of wealth to the vagaries of price. This is the solution that Coinbase, a San Francisco-based startup, is already attempting. The company launched a promotion this summer that offers merchants free conversion from Bitcoin into other currencies (up to $1 million). That way vendors can accept it as payment but don’t have to keep a cash register and safe full of it.

we need to tame bitcoin’s wild price gyrations. it’s time to empower a central authority to regulate the currency.

But creating a layer of intermediaries between users and Bitcoin probably won’t be enough to tame the currency’s tempestuous price. It’s time to empower a central authority to help regulate Bitcoin as it grows. There’s already some precedent for such a move: Just this past summer, a group called the Digital Asset Transfer Authority formed to establish guidelines for digital currencies, including safeguards against money laundering. And leadership, despite all the rhetoric about decentralization, has already proven crucial to Bitcoin’s survival. Last spring, when a software update accidentally caused the block chain to split in two, a handful of the protocol’s core developers convinced merchants to stop processing transactions while they steered the community back to a common ledger.It’s not out of the question that superusers could endow a sort of Bitcoin central bank that intervenes when the price fluctuates too wildly.

Would the die-hards go along with this? Probably not. If they don’t, though, there’s always the nuclear option. A group of business-minded cryptocurrency experts could simply take the Bitcoin source code and start over, creating a Bitcoin 2.0 that uses the elegant settlement system, improves the mining process, and adds a layer of oversight.

The good news is that such an extreme move might not be necessary. If we can coax more people into using Bitcoin, it won’t just improve the currency’s public image, it’ll also help shrink its price oscillations. “I think Bitcoin is volatile right now because most activity is based on speculative value, not trade value,” says Chris Dixon, a partner at the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. “But if Bitcoin becomes mainstream, everyday use should tame the volatility.”

This currency, like all currencies, needs to inspire trust to succeed. Bitcoin is going to need leaders and institutions that stake their reputations and money on guaranteeing that the system works. To make the decentralized cryptocurrency a true force in the global economy, it needs a touch of—gasp—centralization.

GameChops, a videogame remix record label, has just released the new EP VLAD: a four part tribute to early, NES-era Castlevania music (aka some of the bestest 8-bit music ever!). The original Castlevania came out on the NES way back in the 80′s, and many of the tracks from the first games have been referenced in subsequent titles in the series for the last 25 years. If you were a child growing up playing the NES back in the day, you will recognize the tracks from VLAD immediately.

Electronic producer and jazz musician Joshua Morse has designed the music for VLAD, remixing such classics as “Bloody Tears” and “Vampire Killer” to create a unique sound that is both familiar and new to gamers who grew up with Castlevania; not bad for Mr. Morse, seeing as this is his first time delving into the world of electronic dance music. GameChops has a reputation for releasing quality remixes, and VLAD certainly seems to be one of them, especially since it was mixed and mastered by sound engineer Andrew Richards (virt, Chibi-Tech, Super Square).

VLAD can be downloaded from both Bandcamp and Loudr right now. Give it a listen if you like reimaginings of classic tunes that you can bump your butt to, just like I am doing at this very moment!

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Ubisoft has announced a new Open House event for the upcoming title, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot.

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Starting today and running until November 4, anyone can join in the quest to gain fame and fortune in Opulencia. The Open House gives everyone a sneak peek of The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot while the game is still in closed beta.

To get into the holiday spirit, Halloween-themed castles have been created and Halloween themes and costumes are available for a limited time. Players can customize with new items including a glowing pumpkin head, bat winged headgear, and cool costumes for your looters. The exclusive Bat Wings will be granted to every player joining the Haunted Open House.

Players can sign up or sign in with their existing Uplay account at The Mighty Quest website and will be granted immediate access during the event.

Jonathan Gray, co-founder of Continuuity. Photo: Continuuity

Many developers dream of working for a high profile company like Google or Facebook. But not Jonathan Gray. The first time Facebook called and offered him a job, he turned them down.

“I told them no way, no how,” says Gray, who started his first company — a web hosting business that ran on the Linux open source operating system — when he was 13. “I’m really entrepreneurial. I didn’t want to be just a code monkey, a cog in a machine.”

But Facebook kept calling. Gray was a core developer on Hbase, an open source clone of Google’s famed BigTable data storage system, a means of storing data across hundreds or even thousands of machines. Facebook was migrating more of its applications — such as its messaging system — to Hbase, and it needed someone with Gray’s expertise to help. “Eventually, they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” he says.

As it happened, Gray ended up building a system for Facebook that meant it didn’t need him as much as it once did. He left the company, and now, he’s offering much the same system to the rest of the world, helping anyone juggle “big data” in much the same way Facebook does.

Back in 2011, if a company wanted to see how many people were “liking” its Facebook pages and other Facebook stuff, it had to make due with data that was as much as four days old, and that made it hard to tweak their campaigns in real-time. But Gray helped solve this problem. As part of an effort to provide users with real-time stats, he built a system called Puma. This helped funnel data between Facebook’s different storage systems, and more importantly, it provided a platform that developers could use to build data-driven applications without becoming experts in Hadoop and Hbase.

Now, Gray’s company, Continuuity, wants to give everyone a platform on par with Puma. Continuuity’s first product, Reactor — which comes out of beta test today — is designed to help developers build real-time applications that rely on data stored in Hadoop and Hbase, without having to learn the finer points of distributed computing or cluster administration.

“Developers shouldn’t have to learn all this stuff,” he says. “They should just be able to build their app.”

The idea behind Continuuity actually dates to the days before Gray joined Facebook. As a senior at Carnegie Mellon University, he co-founded a startup called Streamy. The company provided a service that was sort of like Google Reader, but with a recommendation engine driven by your social network. That meant working with large volumes of data. He discovered Hadoop and Hbase while running Streaming. “I was interviewing this someone and he said: ‘Hey, have you seen this thing Hadoop?’” Gray says. “We didn’t end up hiring him, but I’m really glad we interviewed him.”

Streamy wound up using Hadoop and Hbase extensively, and Gray became a core contributor to Hbase. After Streamy folded, he wanted to start a new company dedicated to the platform. But then Facebook came calling. “It worked out. The company I would have started wouldn’t have been the company I wanted to work in,” he says. “Hbase was still too immature. It would have been a pure open source company hammering Hbase into something that would work for enterprises.”

Instead, Continuuity focuses on making Hbase easier to use. One digital advertising company, Lotame, has already undergone a Facebook-style transformation. It once offered its customers analytics data that was hours old to data, and now, that data is seconds old. More importantly, Lotame’s developers who aren’t experts in Hadoop can now build data-drive applications and services.

And, just for fun, Gray and Continuuity co-founder Nitin Motgi and Streamy co-founder Don Mosites re-built Streamy using Reactor. Gray says it took them only two weeks — as opposed to several months — to recreate most of the core tools.

Gray likens Reactor to a platform-as-a-service — something along the lines of Heroku or Google App Engine, an online service for building and hosting software applications. But as of now, Reactor is only available for use inside your own data center — not as a public cloud service anyone can use. “Our long-term vision is to eventually go cloud,” he says. “But some customers will probably never go cloud, and some have gone cloud and then gone back on-prem because it’s too expensive.

“All the customers that we’ve seen, not just the Fortune 500, but startups as well, have brought Hadoop on-premise. The customers who are in the cloud generally don’t have scale or don’t have a true big data problem. But companies like Lotame once they reach scale they’re mostly on-premise.”

  • New operating systems always bring new problems, and Mavericks is no different.

    The Migration Assistant in Mountain Lion had a tendency to crash while copying over your files, while other Macs with the OS dropped Wi-Fi after waking from sleep. The Mavericks update seems to have gone smoothly for most, but it’s far from trouble-free.

    Big issues like flickering USB-attached displays and QuickLook being anything but quick will have to be addressed by Apple. But there are also a number of problems that can be fixed — or at least worked around while Apple cooks up an update.

    Here are some of the biggest annoyances Mavericks users are currently dealing with and how to fix them. We’ll update the list as new issues arise.

    Stop and go. Screenshot: Roberto Baldwin/WIRED

    Stalled Download

    If it seems like your free copy of Mavericks has been downloading forever, you’re not alone. Open up Launchpad to get the current status of the download. There you’ll see the Mavericks download with a grayed-out icon and its current status. If it says Paused, just click on the icon to continue the download.

    If the download still isn’t working, launch Launchpad again and locate the Mavericks update. Instead of clicking to resume the download, hold down Option and the app icons will begin jiggling like they do in iOS. Click on the tiny x that appears on the Mavericks update to delete the download. Head to the App Store and start the download over. This seems to work for most users.

    Photo: Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

  • Gmail’s IMAP Wackiness

    Gmail’s IMAP implementation has always been a bit odd. Now Apple has updated the way Mail works with Gmail’s weird IMAP implementation for the better. But if you’ve tweaked your Gmail IMAP settings before you updated to Mavericks expect some odd message behavior. With All Mail tuned off for IMAP, when you move a file out of the inbox, it just reappears in the inbox later. Not exactly conducive to inbox zero.

    To get your correspondence back on track, you’re going to need to turn IMAP back on for All Email. To make the change head to your Gmail account in your browser of choice and navigate to Settings > Labels > and turn on Show in IMAP for All Mail under System Labels. Now moved messages stay put. Note, however, that your emails will now be downloaded to your computer. So if you’re short on space, you might consider using Gmail’s web interface for the time being.

    Now if you haven’t had any issues and you have never adjusted your Gmail settings. Just back slowly away from the settings and continue using Gmail as you always have.

  • Scrolling Broken in Chrome and Other Apps

    For some folks the ability to scroll up and down a site has been disabled in Chrome after upgrading to Mavericks. If Google’s browser is your vehicle to navigate the Internet, this is going to put a stop to that immediately. There are currently two ways to fix the problem. The first is the scorched-Earth solution of deleting and reinstalling Chrome on the offending computer. The second, less drastic, method is to make the scroll bars visible at all times. In the Finder, navigate to System Preferences > General > Show Scroll Bars > and click Always.

    This will bring the scroll bars back and seems to fix the issue not just with Chrome but with other applications that have stopped scrolling.

  • Mail Won’t Remember Your Password

    There’s nothing more frustrating than putting in a password and having an app or service immediately forget that password. This is doubly irritating if you use a very long alpha-numeric string to thwart would-be hackers and snoops. If Mail keeps forgetting your password every time it starts up, head to the Menu Bar and select Mail > Preferences. Click on the Accounts tab. Select the iCloud email account you’re having issues with. Select the Advanced tab. Under the Authentication drop down, select Apple Token.

  • Slow and Stalled Restarts and Shutdowns

    Shutting down the computer seems like the easiest feature to get right. But for some (including me), it’s become a patience game as the computer gets stuck on the grey screen prior to a full shutdown. To get your Mac back on track without resorting to holding down the power button until it shuts off you’ll need to hop into the Terminal and make a few changes. Copy and paste the commands below one at a time. After the first command, you’ll be prompted to enter your password.

    sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.coreservices.appleevents ExitTimeOut -int 1

    sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.securityd ExitTimeOut -int 1

    sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.mDNSResponder ExitTimeOut -int 1

    sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.diskarbitrationd ExitTimeOut -int 1

    sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.coreservices.appleid.authentication ExitTimeOut -int 1

    After you’ve run all these commands in the Terminal, open up Disk Utility from /Applications/Utilities folder.

    Select the drive you’ve installed Mavericks on and select Repair Permissions. After Disk Utility is finished, you should be able to select shutdown and restart with no more lagging or stalling problems.

  • Quickly Update Shared Links in Safari

    Apple added a Twitter/LinkedIn client to Safari. Unfortunately, that client, known as Shared Links, doesn’t auto refresh and there’s no how-key combination to update your feed. That’s a huge misstep for anything that pulls content down from the news heavy (and always updating) social networks. The good news is you can create your own shortcut using the Keyboard system preference.

    Open System Preferences and click on the Keyboard setting. Click on the Shortcuts tab. Select App Shortcuts then click on the + symbol. In the Application drop down select Safari. In the Menu Title text field you need to add Update Shared Links exactly as it appears in the View drop down menu in Safari. Now choose a keyboard shortcut combination. I chose Command+Shift+R. Command+R refreshes a webpage so adding shift to update the Shared Links seems natural. Click on Add and you’re done.

    Head back to Safari and try your new shortcut out.

  • New operating systems always bring new problems, and Mavericks is no different.

    The Migration Assistant in Mountain Lion had a tendency to crash while copying over your files, while other Macs with the OS dropped Wi-Fi after waking from sleep. The Mavericks update seems to have gone smoothly for most, but it’s far from trouble-free.

    Big issues like flickering USB-attached displays and QuickLook being anything but quick will have to be addressed by Apple. But there are also a number of problems that can be fixed — or at least worked around while Apple cooks up an update.

    Here are some of the biggest annoyances Mavericks users are currently dealing with and how to fix them. We’ll update the list as new issues arise.

    Stop and go. Screenshot: Roberto Baldwin/WIRED

    Stalled Download

    If it seems like your free copy of Mavericks has been downloading forever, you’re not alone. Open up Launchpad to get the current status of the download. There you’ll see the Mavericks download with a grayed-out icon and its current status. If it says Paused, just click on the icon to continue the download.

    If the download still isn’t working, launch Launchpad again and locate the Mavericks update. Instead of clicking to resume the download, hold down Option and the app icons will begin jiggling like they do in iOS. Click on the tiny x that appears on the Mavericks update to delete the download. Head to the App Store and start the download over. This seems to work for most users.

    Photo: Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

  • Gmail’s IMAP Wackiness

    Gmail’s IMAP implementation has always been a bit odd. Now Apple has updated the way Mail works with Gmail’s weird IMAP implementation for the better. But if you’ve tweaked your Gmail IMAP settings before you updated to Mavericks expect some odd message behavior. With All Mail tuned off for IMAP, when you move a file out of the inbox, it just reappears in the inbox later. Not exactly conducive to inbox zero.

    To get your correspondence back on track, you’re going to need to turn IMAP back on for All Email. To make the change head to your Gmail account in your browser of choice and navigate to Settings > Labels > and turn on Show in IMAP for All Mail under System Labels. Now moved messages stay put. Note, however, that your emails will now be downloaded to your computer. So if you’re short on space, you might consider using Gmail’s web interface for the time being.

    Now if you haven’t had any issues and you have never adjusted your Gmail settings. Just back slowly away from the settings and continue using Gmail as you always have.

  • Scrolling Broken in Chrome and Other Apps

    For some folks the ability to scroll up and down a site has been disabled in Chrome after upgrading to Mavericks. If Google’s browser is your vehicle to navigate the Internet, this is going to put a stop to that immediately. There are currently two ways to fix the problem. The first is the scorched-Earth solution of deleting and reinstalling Chrome on the offending computer. The second, less drastic, method is to make the scroll bars visible at all times. In the Finder, navigate to System Preferences > General > Show Scroll Bars > and click Always.

    This will bring the scroll bars back and seems to fix the issue not just with Chrome but with other applications that have stopped scrolling.

  • Mail Won’t Remember Your Password

    There’s nothing more frustrating than putting in a password and having an app or service immediately forget that password. This is doubly irritating if you use a very long alpha-numeric string to thwart would-be hackers and snoops. If Mail keeps forgetting your password every time it starts up, head to the Menu Bar and select Mail > Preferences. Click on the Accounts tab. Select the iCloud email account you’re having issues with. Select the Advanced tab. Under the Authentication drop down, select Apple Token.

  • Slow and Stalled Restarts and Shutdowns

    Shutting down the computer seems like the easiest feature to get right. But for some (including me), it’s become a patience game as the computer gets stuck on the grey screen prior to a full shutdown. To get your Mac back on track without resorting to holding down the power button until it shuts off you’ll need to hop into the Terminal and make a few changes. Copy and paste the commands below one at a time. After the first command, you’ll be prompted to enter your password.

    sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.coreservices.appleevents ExitTimeOut -int 1

    sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.securityd ExitTimeOut -int 1

    sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.mDNSResponder ExitTimeOut -int 1

    sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.diskarbitrationd ExitTimeOut -int 1

    sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.coreservices.appleid.authentication ExitTimeOut -int 1

    After you’ve run all these commands in the Terminal, open up Disk Utility from /Applications/Utilities folder.

    Select the drive you’ve installed Mavericks on and select Repair Permissions. After Disk Utility is finished, you should be able to select shutdown and restart with no more lagging or stalling problems.

  • Quickly Update Shared Links in Safari

    Apple added a Twitter/LinkedIn client to Safari. Unfortunately, that client, known as Shared Links, doesn’t auto refresh and there’s no how-key combination to update your feed. That’s a huge misstep for anything that pulls content down from the news heavy (and always updating) social networks. The good news is you can create your own shortcut using the Keyboard system preference.

    Open System Preferences and click on the Keyboard setting. Click on the Shortcuts tab. Select App Shortcuts then click on the + symbol. In the Application drop down select Safari. In the Menu Title text field you need to add Update Shared Links exactly as it appears in the View drop down menu in Safari. Now choose a keyboard shortcut combination. I chose Command+Shift+R. Command+R refreshes a webpage so adding shift to update the Shared Links seems natural. Click on Add and you’re done.

    Head back to Safari and try your new shortcut out.