Aug 19, 2013

    Get blocked apps onto your Mac

    The New York Times technology expert and writer J. D. Biersdorfer lets you in on how to get around Mac's Gatekeeper feature, and how to have clearer Skype calls.

    I downloaded a program from a website to run on my Mac, but the system won't let me install it because of "security preferences". Why is this so?

    The default settings in the latest version of OS X (10.8) allow only programs from the Mac App Store to be installed on the computer. The alert you see comes from Gatekeeper, one of the built-in OS X security features intended to protect the Mac from malicious software.

    To install a blocked program manually from the desktop, right-click the program's icon. In the drop-down menu that appears, choose Open and then click the Open button in the alert box to proceed with the installation.

    If you want to relax the Gatekeeper security, head to System Preferences, click the Security & Privacy icon and then the General tab. Click the Lock icon and sign in.

    Under the "Allow applications downloaded from:" line, choose "Anywhere" and close the Preferences box. You can return to Preferences and restore the stricter settings later.

    The audio quality of Skype calls is often pretty bad. Is there a way to make it better?

    If you are on a home network with the rest of the family, ask them not to engage in bandwidth-intensive activities during a call.

    Using a headset microphone instead of the computer's built-in microphone and speakers can also make for a better-sounding experience.

    If possible, making Skype calls from a computer directly connected to the network with an Ethernet cable may help with the audio quality. If a wireless connection is the only option, try to position yourself near the router or a place where you can get a strong network signal.