January 17, 2011 - Hammondsport Mac Users Group

ATTENDING: Tom B, Bob S, Mike S, Jerry L and Nancy C.

TOPIC: Troubleshooting Your Mac

The group had a few laughs at a slideshow of real-life remedies called 'There, I fixed it.' Also Tom shared a personal horror story of tightening up a loose bolt on his old Ford Econoline engine cover, resulting in a cavalcade of unfortunate events ending with 'I wish I had left things well enough alone.'

What is the spinning beach ball of death? See how an animated GIF works.

PROBLEM 1 - Webpages loading slowly in Safari, especially those with lots of animated ads, pop-ups and annoying videos. SOLUTION - go to Safari Prefs>Security>disable plug-ins, java, javascript

PROBLEM 2 - Mail stuck in endless loop trying to send an e-mail. SOLUTION - Force-quit Mail (OPT+COM+ESC). Then Hold SHIFT key down while launching Mail. This will cancel out the Send email. Delete (or fix) the stubborn file.

PROBLEM 3 - Network not responding - cannot access the internet - try rebooting your cable modem and wireless router by simply unplugging/ replugging them.

Built-in Mac Remedies
-----Restart your Mac - cures most problems
-----OPT + COM + ESC - opens dialog box to force-quit a hanging application
-----CTRL + COM + POWER - the famous 3-finger salute to force a reboot
-----Log out/in as a different user - is prob still there?
-----Safe Boot - hold SHIFT at power up - Apple only apps - is prob still there?

Mac Utilities - found in the Utilities Folder (Finder Menu > Go > Utilities)
Disk Utility - use it to Repair Disk Permissions - shows S.M.A.R.T. status of HD(Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology- diagnostic method originally developed by IBM)
Activity Monitor - shows which apps are hogging your Mac's resources


Drive Genius - great disk-maintenance / repair utility recommended by Jerry ($99) - 10.5.3 or higher

DiskWarrior - the one-trick pony that fixes hopeless hard drives ($99)

Macaroni - installs in System Prefs - automatically performs routine maintenance ($10)

Pacifist - enables you to re-install a specific pkg from an install disk - free 'indefinite' trial period ($20)

AppDelete - shareware ($5) that thoroughly uninstalls an unwanted application and all its parts (203k) - an older free version 1.1.1 is available here

AppFresh - freeware that quickly scans your computer for update status of all applications, both Apple and 3rd party - works on all OSX including Snow Leopard.

PhotoInfo - freeware download (188k) - OS10.4 to 10.5 PPC/Intel - change photo files with wrong EXIF data (dates, names)

Web Resources

Apple Discussions - just pick your topic of interest - then search that forum

Mac Troubleshooting Superguide - handy down-loadable PDF from Macworld

Apple's Troubleshooting 101 - online help from the creators

Information Cheat Sheet - every mac owner should print and fill out this sheet

Quick Assist - on-line help from Apple for any Mac activity

MacFixit - longtime report site for problems /solutions for Macs

Kim Komando - call-in radio show with great tips, advice, troubleshooting (mostly for PCs) - listen to her weekly show in Hammondsport area on AM820 - Saturday 10am-12noon

iFelix - great help site for problems w/ printing cross-platform and wirelessly

iFixit - troubleshooting guides for Macs

In the News

Stuxnet virus (11-26-2010) - is this for real or just a masterful psych-out?

NYT on Stuxnet (1-16-2011) - exposes Israeli and US secret work against terrorists

Teleportation Machine - the Quantum paddle? Parallel universes? Beam me up, Scotty.

10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Technology - something helpful from the NY Times

Vintage Mac

Tom brought a seventeen-year-old1994 PowerBook 520c (the first PB with a trackpad). It still works well running OS 7.6. Link to Apple's older Mac software (pre 1998).

The Vintage Mac Museum - a really cool interactive display of early macs and software (Japanese)

Other Things Learned at Our Meeting

(1) It is possible to open a bottle of wine with a shoe, according to three people at our meeting who attested to having done this. Read how.

(2) Kodachrome film can be processed at home using Black and White film developer. Of course, the images will be black and white. Since there is no longer any commercial processing of Kodachrome, this might be the last resort.

(3) Bob recommended watching David Pogue in the NOVA special 'Making Stuff' starting 1/19/2011 at 9pm EST.

(4) Jerry recommended Adblock Plus for your Mac's Firefox browser to stop annoying pop-up and Flash ads - read more.


Hammondsport Mac Users Group - Hammondsport, NY 14840 -