Answers...

to commonly asked questions.

Can my computer be fixed?

Below is a picture of my daughters computer. As you can see it has lines running through it on the screen - is this fixable?
IMG_5137

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I guess the more important question might be “is it worth fixing?” Judging by the power supply connected, it’s a recent model. Displays are expensive repairs unfortunately. While I do not do repairs, Apple may quote you around $1000 for the repair. And if you have the machine repaired, I do suggest using Apple to do it. They would need to replace the entire screen. If the machine is a 2015 (and I think it is) then it may be worth repairing but my personal limit would be $400 toward the repair of a few year old computer.

Where can I buy a hard drive for my iMac?

Hi Scotty! You helped me a few years back with some memory upgrades. I have had a hard drive failure on a iMac. Can you remind me of the website in which I can purchase Mac comparable hardware/hard drives please? I’m interested in a solid state for a 2011/2012 24” iMac. If you have any recommendations, or if I should upgrade, I would appreciate that too.
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Any hard drive will work in a mac. There’s actually no such thing as a mac drive or windows drive. Every drive can be formatted to work in either Operating system. It’s all just marketing. Therefore you could use Amazon or Newegg to order your drive. Solid States are available from both sites as well.

In terms of your iMac, you can still get more life out of your 2012 machine but you’re approaching it’s twilight years. My general rule of thumb is 5 years for someone who makes a living on their machine, 6-7 for most all other computer users. After 7 years, you’re on borrowed time in terms of usualness, speed, ability to run modern software, etc…

Happy to answer any other questions you may have. By the way, if you’ve never done an iMac HD replacement, it’s a little scary the first time. There are tutorials online but proceed with caution. Normal first time mistakes include cracking the glass by not using a suction cup to remove the front bezel, shocking one’s self by accidentally discharging the built up charge near the power inverter, dropping screws into the body because they didn’t use a magnetic screw driver. You’ll need torx by the way. Not trying to scare you. Just heads up. ifixit.com is a great place to view breakdown tutorials if you’ve never done it before.

What's wrong with my printer?

I don’t know if you would be the right person to ask about this but I’m having trouble with my printer. It tells me ( or told me) to replace ink cartridges - I did - but it’s still not printing correctly and it also won’t pick up the wireless signal. I may need a new printer but maybe not ...
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With most printers there are a few things you can try. in the printer settings, there are usually a couple of different settings. You're looking for "restore network defaults" and/or "restore defaults". Anything close to that. Initiate those commands and it may bring the printer back to life. You can also try cleaning the print nozzles. There's a command for that in the software as well.

As far as the wireless issue goes, it can sometimes be the fault of the wireless network itself. You'd hate to buy a new printer just to find the same problem. The most common issue with printers not able to print wirelessly is that the wifi network has multiple instances of the same name. Or the network has been split into segments. ie: Sells Network 1, Sells Network 2, Sells Network Kitchen, Sells Network Basement. If the network router and repeaters are handling the home IP addresses incorrectly, you could have the printer on one network but your computer is on a different and they wouldn't be able to see each other.

Overall, the money you would use to pay me may be better suited to go toward a new printer. I feel that printers are usually for about 3-4 years then it's time to move on.

Get rid of unwanted extensions

How can I remove map frontier and their annoying ads?
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There are several possibilities as to why this is happening.

Open Safari and go to preferences. (under Safari in the menu bar)
Go to extensions in preferences and choose to uninstall any that you are not familiar with.
Under General in preferences, check to make sure your homepage is what you'd like it to be.

If this doesn't solve the issue, it may be slightly more complicated. But not too bad. Join me on a Monday night town hall and I'd be happy to finish it if removing the Safari extension doesn't do the trick.

How can I optimize my Mac?

Scotty-
Looking for a place with instructions on how I can run a optimization program or something on my MacBook Pro. This computer is getting old, is slowing down, and needs to be cleaned up. Disk Utility while running in normal mode doesn’t do much for it. Isn’t there a way to start the computer in something like Safe Mode and do a deep cleaning Disk Utility?
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Your hard drive may have an invisible partition on it that will allow you to boot into Recovery mode. You can find this out by holding down the Option key at start up. If your computer has a recovery partition, you will be able to select it there. After in Recovery Mode, you can open disk utility and choose to repair the disk from there. This will allow for a more thorough job than running disk utility while in the OS itself. However, this may not help your cause. There are a few other reasons you might want to consider as well. I have an article on those here.

Safe mode is different. Safe mode can be triggered by holding down the Shift key at start up. What this does is keep non indigenous processes from running at all. So if you had a piece of software causing problems like a Flash plugin or Norton, etc… it would prevent that from running therefore allowing only factory OS processes. It's a good way to trouble shoot third party issues. The problem is, Safe mode is a very limited mode. There are many things your computer can not do when in safe mode. So it's not a mode you want to work in for long. Graphics processes are extremely limited also so your computer will feel very slow while in it.

I do not recommend any "optimizing" software. These usually just add yet more completely unnecessary processes to the running list. The best thing, in my opinion, is to understand how your mac works, what processes are running in the background, the age of your machine vs. the OS's age, what role cache files play in certain programs, etc… Always backup before doing anything. Time machine is great. Be sure it's running.

I may be able to help with cleaning things up remotely if you feel the need. Remote sessions can be scheduled on the homepage of my site here.

Why does my computer get slow?

Scotty-

Why does my computer get slow? Do I have too much stuff on it?
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A common misconception is that computers get slow because their hard drive has too much stuff on it. This is rarely the case. My general rule is that you should be concerned about the amount of data you have on your internal hard drive once you get below 10% capacity of that drive. Modern operating systems are able to move data around on the drive so that it can best perform when asked to pull up a file or program. The days of "defraging" a hard drive are gone. Computers do this automatically now.

Computers get "slow" because we update them. When we update computers, the hardware is then asked to run software that was written for current spec hardware. Just like phones, as we update, the computer struggles more and more with each update, to keep up with the current software demands. If we never updated our devices, the speed experience would change very little throughout the device's life. The problem is, we always want the new feature. So we update. When you compare this continuing sloping model to say the video game industry, a terraced model, you can see a big difference. No one ever says "my xbox is running slow. My playstation is running slow". This is because the video game industry works on a different model. They build hardware meant to last for almost a decade. The software updates and games developed are always written and optimized for the very first build of that hardware. In other words, if you buy a video game in 2018 for a gaming system, you are buying a game that was written for a piece of hardware that came out possibly 5 or 6 years ago. In this model, profit is based on selling software that runs on hardware.

The computer industry is opposite. Their profit is based on hardware that runs software. So it is in their interest to encourage you to buy new hardware.

Another reason computers run slow is because they may have started running processes in the background you are unaware of such as Photos Library facial recognition, Flash content, never ending indexing loops, etc… And easy way to see what's going on in the background is to open Activity Monitor and sort processes by CPU percentage. Keep in mind there are two categories of processes. Yours and the computers. You can kill any of the processes that are your own but be cautious killing system processes. You can get into trouble there. General rule: if you don't understand what it means, leave it alone. Another thing to consider here is that just because you find the process eating up major resources and kill it, doesn't mean it won't just come back later. There are many reasons a process might start without you knowing. Too many to describe here.

The last major reason a computer starts to slow is because the spinning hard drive could be failing. But you would usually know that pretty quickly as it would start showing other symptoms like not being able to boot, locking up constantly, or making clicking sounds.

Which router is best?

Which router should I buy for my 3000 sq ft home?
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I suggest one of two options…

1: two Airport Extremes with the option to add other extenders later. ($200 per device) $400 total hardware.
2: Netgear’s Orbi system. $300
Amazon.com: NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Mesh WiFi System with Tri-band – Wireless router and extender replacement, maximize WiFi speed and range, Up to 5000 sqft, 3pk (RBK33): Computers & Accessories

Apple may be leaving the router business. I think they’re great routers but just like to be open about their future. That said, the Orbi router system is gaining traction. I’m happy with them as well.

3: Another consideration is the Netgear Nighthawk. This router has many features that most users will not use. It's a very strong router but with only one source.

Why aren't my calendars syncing?

I hope this is an easy fix - seems that every since I did all of that upgrading, when I put something on my desktop calendar, it does not go onto my phone. (If I put something on my phone, it does go onto my desktop, however.)

I just went to system preferences - and turned on iCloud Drive, but that didn’t seem to work. Not sure if I should have turned that on….

Seems like something just needs to be turned on, but I am not sure what.
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Calendars can be very confusing. The main reason for this is that almost every email account service we use (gmail, iCloud, aol, exchange, yahoo, etc…) all offer their own calendar and contact syncing to go along with the email. Because of this, sometimes we end up adding events to one calendar but don't have that that calendar on a different device. So the first place to start looking when troubleshooting calendars is to figure out which calendar services you actually need. In a perfect world, one service is the best way to go. For most people this is either iCloud or Gmail's calendar system.

1. On your Mac, open system preferences/internet accounts. Select each account and see if calendars is checked. You will return to this area eventually and uncheck the services you don't want in the end.
2. Open Calendar on your mac and go to preferences, check which is your default calendar. This can be the issue as well. You may be adding an event automatically to the wrong calendar.
3. On your phone, go to the Calendar app, select Calendars at the bottom of the screen and see if you have the same accounts active on your phone as you saw on your computer.
4. Decide if you can eliminate some of these calendars but be aware that if you turn off, say your gmail calendar, then any events on that calendar will go away. So you may have to move those events from one calendar to a different one before you turn that calendar off.

These are good starting points to check. It's rare that calendar and contact issues are technical problems like software issues. It's much more common that we just don't have things set the way we'd like.

My email isn't coming in on my Mac

You were at our house today. I just got on my Mac and my email is no longer pulling up.

Can you walk me through how to put it back on? I used the password that I have had for a long time and it isn’t working.
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I actually didn’t change anything on your Mac so this is a separate issue from what we covered yesterday concerning your devices.  If your carolina.rr.com email is not functioning on your Mac, first step is to verify that your password is correct.  Go to webmail.carolina.rr.com and log in to make sure you have the correct password.  

After you’ve verified your password, next go under the black apple on your computer (top left corner) and open system preferences.  Next go to Internet Accounts and select your Carolina account on the left side.  You may be prompted to enter your password.  That step may solve the issue. 

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 8.46.53 AM



 If not, take the next step. In your Mail, under the word Mail in the menu bar, select Preferences:

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 8.48.48 AM


Next, select Accounts at the top of that window, select the Carolina account to the left, then server settings as seen below:

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 8.50.24 AM

Re enter the password (that you verified earlier) and that should solve the issue.  


Outgoing email settings crossed

Whenever I try to send an email using my account, I get the message that I have copied above. Again, I am more than happy to pay you for helping me with this problem.

PastedGraphic-1
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From the screenshot, it looks like the outgoing servers for each email address are incorrect. This means that one email account is trying to use the other email account’s outgoing server to deliver its email. And they don’t always like to cooperate. Think of it like asking Fed Ex to deliver a UPS package. That looks why you’re getting a bounce back. Maybe not really enough for one session’s worth but I’m happy to work on it for you if you have some other items as well.

Gmail never finishing syncing with the server.

Hi. I don’t mean to be a pain, but this seems like strange activity to see while I’m working. I have been in mail for several hours and this activity seems to be taking a really long time. This morning, I am still having to log out of mail and then comeback in to get new messages. It worked great for awhile,but I seem to be back to the problem?
Thanks

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 9.47.25 AM


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I can’t recall whether we turned off “allow less secure apps” in your gmail settings or not. That can sometimes play a role with how Apple’s mail program acts with Gmail. Allowing less secure apps sounds like a bad thing but Gmail has deemed any app other than Google Chrome less secure. So if that setting is turned on, then many email programs can have a problem.

Have you tried “rebuilding” the inbox? Available in mail under Mailbox in the menu bar.

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 9.43.03 AM

Did I install a virus accidentally?

I received an email from UPS that I now realize was phishing. It had a tracking number listed and I clicked on the tracking number (stupid I know) I saw an icon from the email pop over as if it was a download. Should I be concerned?
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This happens to many people. Most likely a file was downloaded to your downloads folder. As long as you didn't double click on that file and install that program 9it would have requested you enter your admin password) then you should be fine. Just go into your downloads folder and throw away the file, then empty the trash.

Relinking your Photos Library.

My computer doesn’t seem to be able to access the photo library for some reason
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To have the Photos app relocate your photo library, try holding down the Option key while launching Photos. This will present you with a list of candidates. Select the preferred library and that should reopen the missing pictures. It is possible to have more than one library. This is sometimes done by accident so you might have an empty library and a full one. The correct place for a photo library to live is in the User's pictures folder. Some people move their photos library over to an external drive due to space concerns.

Should I buy a refurbished Apple computer?

Looking for advice on buying refurbished computers from Apple.

Do you know people who’ve had lots of issues?? Did they buy refurbished from apple? These will be for sales people etc. not for my computer.
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Apple may have changed their policy at this point but in my experience there are two categories of refurbished.

1. Open box item. Person returned the computer because they just didn't like it. Perfectly fine. Apple wipes it, repackages it. But they can't sell it as new so it's called "refurbished". This used to be known as refreshed.
2. Item was damaged. Underwent repair. Now resold after having been repaired. This is the problem scenario for me. Apple often sends these out to a third party repair company. They have been known to not repair their own computers other than inside an Apple Store. And mostly desktop computers at that. These third party repair facilities often repair lots of different computers. Not just Apple. I've seen many refurbished computers come back with issues having been resold. The main problem is that Apple usually sends the item back out for repair instead of just exchanging the computer for a new one on the spot.

In all fairness, this does not happen often. But it's enough to sway me away from refurbs. Imagine you pay $2100 for a refurb. Two weeks later you have an issue. Would you want it repaired or replaced. The good news is that Apple sells AppleCare with all refurbs just as they do with new computers. (Although you only have 60 days to purchase I believe.)

Re entering email passwords after a Keychain reset

I am having a similar problem with one of my mail accounts.  I am not receiving emails in that account and it is asking me for a password.
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After a keychain reset as I think you have done recently, you'll be asked to re enter your passwords of various accounts. Your email accounts are included in this. Should be simple to solve. You can re enter your email passwords in a couple of different areas. Let's try system preferences first.

Under the black apple in the top left corner of your computer, choose System Preferences. Then select Internet Accounts. Click on the email account you wish to re enter the password to on the right hand side. You should see a drop down to re enter your password. That may do it. If not, let me know and I'll give you another way to enter your password to an email account.

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 6.29.10 PM

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Scotty-

I tried your fix - it didn’t work.
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The very first thing you want to do when troubleshooting email password problems is first make %100 sure the password you think is correct, IS correct. To do this go straight to the source. If you're using gmail, go to gmail.com and log in from the webpage. If you're using Yahoo, go to yahoo.com and log in from the webpage. If you're using iCloud, go to icloud.com and log in using the webpage, and so on.


After you've proven to yourself you know the password proceed:

The next place to re enter your email passwords can be found in your Email program's preferences. Open up your email program. (I call it the stamp). Probably in your dock.

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 8.39.46 PM

Open Preferences from the "File" drop down menu at the top.

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 8.40.30 PM

Select Accounts, then the email account on the left. Then "Server Settings" across the top area.
Enter the password for both the incoming and outgoing settings.

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 8.42.26 PM

If you don't see those choices you will need to do the following:

Select "Server Settings" then edit SMTP Server List

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 8.46.48 PM

Then enter the password here for the respective account.
Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 8.48.42 PM

If that doesn't work, there may be other issues at play, or something very obvious we are simply missing. If this does not work for you, send me your email and pw and I would be happy to troubleshoot it further for you.



Kindle book not accessible

Scotty, I have a question. One book on Kindle still stuck with cover showing and will not allow me to access contents

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Hard to say.

Try the double click trick of killing the application like we discussed.
Maybe try moving to a different book then back to that book again
Try turning off then on the wifi network on your iPad.
Try accessing the book from a different network like at a friends house. (just to see if there was an issue with your own network speed. Most likely not but good to rule out that possibility)

Resetting your keychain after admin password change or upgrade

You helped me install an updated OS on my Mac Book last week. I just tried to get into your Monday evening townhall for help and was unsuccessful.
At any rate, I am now unable to use my computer as I continually get keychain password requests.
Per online instructions I changed my password and this did not correct the problem. I’d appreciate any advice you might be able to give me.
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The keychain is the application on your Mac that holds all/most of your passwords relating to email accounts, wifi, and various other services. If a person changes their admin password, sometimes the keychain must be reset. This usually means that afterwards, you would be required to re enter your passwords for all the items mentioned previously. The computer will ask for those upon launching each service then you type in the password related to that program. For instance, open email. Email says "enter password for xyz@gmail.com". And so on.

To reset the keychain, the most effective way to do this is as follows:

First, before you ever do anything, always make sure you are backing up.

1. In the finder, go to the menu bar and select "Go". While holding down the "Option" key, you'll see "Library" appear in the list.
Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 6.30.27 AM

2. Select Library. Once that folder opens, go the the folder called "Keychains".

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 6.32.30 AM

3. Select the contents of that folder and throw them into the trash. You may be asked for your admin password.

4. Restart your computer. You'll now be asked for various passwords however now, when you enter them, your keychain will keep up with them.


NOTE: The whole reason this happens is for security. When your computer detects that the admin password has been changed, for security reasons, it assumes the worst and locks your old passwords from being viewed or used. Imagine if you had your computer stolen and the bad guy manages to change your password. You wouldn't want him to be able to view all the other passwords to your account.

Inconvienent I know. But as I say, security equals inconvenience. Hope this has helped.

Your Privacy on the Internet

In case you haven't been paying attention…

This happened on December 2, 2016 to protect your privacy on the internet.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/02/2016-28006/protecting-the-privacy-of-customers-of-broadband-and-other-telecommunications-services

Then this happened on April 3, 2017 to stop that from happening.
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-joint-resolution/34/text

Read it. Understand it. Then contact your Representative or Senator to let them know if you are happy with that or not.

https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

HomePod, buy or not?

My thoughts on HomePod:

The market is crowded. Alexa is winning at the moment. I see her in more and more homes I go into daily. And I see people using it. The sound is ok. It is what it is. A small cylindrical speaker that sits in your kitchen or wherever, pushing out minimal sound. Alexa is not for an audiophile, a purest. It's an item of convenience. There is no necessity to this market. But they are popular. Apple knows this and they're late to the game. The first generation of HomePod will be expensive and not have nearly the features of its competitors, but it will have the word "apple" on it. And that's usually enough to make it a hit in the long run.

It sounds better than Alexa but will do less. It's first and foremost, a really nice speaker. It will never beat out my dedicated Bose 501s from the 1980's that I still use on a daily basis but it's not meant to. That's not it's competition. Apple is pushing the ambient room technology that's inside. It has the ability to discover the room shape and acoustic signature then form it's audio output to best suit its environment. Sounds cool. But it does't yet integrate with Spotify and I can't order toilet tissue from Amazon with it yet. First world problems.

I'd look at it like the first Apple watch. The people that buy one will convince themselves its great but deep down inside they'll wish they hadn't spent so much money on it. Then 2 years later the HomePod 3 will be mature enough, everyone will have one, and the original first gen owners will upgrade. The current Apple Watch 3 is cool and useful. But it's the 3rd gen. It takes a while to mature. HomePod 1 will have a way to go.

I will help lots of people with them but I won't consider buying one myself until about 2 more years from now.

Now, with all that being said we need to understand one very important thing about Siri, Alexa, HomePod, GoogleHome, etc… If you plan on using any of these technologies you need to plan on giving up your privacy. But you did that the day you started using a smart phone anyway.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-joint-resolution/34

How can I get my Addressbook contacts from an old time machine backup from a different computer?

Hi Scotty,
I can’t find my old address book from the time machine backup of the tower drive.
I’ve searched for address book, contacts, vcards and .abbu files - nothing.
Any suggestions?
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Yes. You won't find them with your current approach. They're there but a little difficult to get to. First the easy method: If the time the time machine backup is from the exact same machine you are looking for previous info from, you can just open Address book, enter time machine from the menu bar and back in time you go. Most likely however, you're trying to get address book info from a backup that belonged to a different machine. This is where it gets tricky.

Short answer:

It's possible. Here's how:

Using terminal, show invisibles
go to the backup drive backup.backups.db/Macintosh HD/Users/yourname/library/Application Support/Addressbook/
grab all the contents of that folder.

Now, if you are looking just replace the current contacts on your machine with the old machine's contacts, easy. Just go to the sister folder of the above mentioned folder located on your internal drive and delete those contents, then replace them with the contents you harvested from the old backup.

However, if you're looking to add the old contacts to your current contacts then you'll NOT want to use the above method. Instead, create a new user on any machine. Harvest the contents of that same folder, drop them into the internal sister folder, open address book. They they are. export vcard that contains all contacts. Do not export using address book archive. Select all contacts, then choose to export as a card. Now take that vcard back into the original user you're trying to combine with and import that vcard. It will combine them all.

Advice: always backup before you do this.

If you need a little more detail on how to accomplish this I'm happy to go into a more step by step method. There are some short cuts but it takes a little more knowledge. For instance, you can skip the terminal step to show invisibles if you know the exact file path name syntax and can use the Go to folder command in the menu bar. Most people are not familiar with this.

I may have left you more confused. It's not actually that hard or time consuming but if you aren't careful you can overwrite your current contacts if you make a mistake.
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