How to Bulletproof (or Unf*ck) Your Mac

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(Photo: Small Dog Electronics)

Macs are easy to use. Intuitive!

Viruses? Never heard of ‘em!

Well, perhaps. But problems do crop up, even with the venerated Macintosh. Not long ago, I went to use Spotlight (cmd + spacebar) and, well, it looked a little off.

It displayed “Indexing Spotlight,” with an estimated finish time of several MILLION hours.

I’m no computer scientist, but that seemed like an abnormally long time. Alas, “ruh-roh” realizations alone do not diagnose problems, let alone fix them. Much of the world has felt the same at one point or another: “My [fill in the blank] is screwed, but I don’t even know where to start.” Cars? Computers? Health? We’re all ignorant of something, as mastering everything just isn’t an option.

So, I put a notice out on the Internets asking for help and learned a lot about Macs in the process. First and foremost: It need not be complicated to bulletproof (or unf*ck) your Mac.

But what if your Mac crashes or is stolen? Does that goddamn spinning beachball mean that my computer’s going to implode? Is there a simple way to sleep soundly at night?

My hope is that this post somehow helps you to do exactly that. It won’t be fancy, and it won’t impress the Carnegie Mellon CS crowd, but it will get the job done with minimal headache and paradox of choice. Here’s what I’ve learned so far…

We’ll start with an e-mail thread from Jared Cocken, Creative Director of The Wonderfactory, then we’ll lead into personal suggestions.

If you have alternative solutions or more elegant fixes, please let me know in the comments!

Enter Jared

Most software glitches on OS X are permissions-based. Permissions set the read/write characteristics of every file and who those files can be viewed by; it’s an old system that comes from Mac OS X’s Unix underpinnings. Luckily, it’s usually pretty easy to repair permissions.

Below are a few steps that will (A) Fix common issues on Macs, and (B) Keep your Mac running smoothly.

Step 1: Backup Data and Repair Permissions

1) Backup your data using one of the following methods:

Local Incremental Method – You can use Time Machine to perform incremental backups. I like the freedom of no wires, so I back up over WiFi to a Time Capsule ($299). The initial backup will take awhile, so plug your Mac into the Time Capsule’s ethernet port and let it run overnight. The subsequent, incremental backups take far less time since they only back-up items that have changed. If you don’t want to spend the cash on a Time Capsule, you can opt to plug in an external drive. I like these drives from Western Digital; they’re affordable and easy to store.

Off-Site Incremental Method – If you don’t want to spend the cash on an external drive and you’re more worried about your data than your OS, I recommend Backblaze ($4 per month for unlimited storage). It won’t backup your OS files, so if you want to avoid the pain of hand-restoring your system, you’ll want to double up with one of the other methods, as well. If you have a lot of data, the first back-up will take you a long time even on a fast connection; incrementals will speed through. Should you have a fatal drive error and don’t have time to wait for a large data download, Backblaze will expedite you a harddrive (for a fee).

Off-Site Clone Method – I recommend SuperDuper! ($27.95). It allows you to create a bootable clone on an external drive, meaning you’ll be able to get your machine restored with all of its data in no time. It can be scheduled, or set to run when you plug in a specific external drive. I perform a clone weekly and store it off-site.

 

2) Open up ‘Disk Utility’ – [Location: "/Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility"]

  1. On the left, you’ll see little drive icons. There should be a slightly indented icon ‘Macintosh HD’ underneath another icon with a number (mine is 500.11 GB)
  2. Select the one named ‘Macintosh HD’
  3. Select ‘First Aid’ from the tabs
  4. Hit ‘Repair Disk Permissions’ and let it run
  5. When the repair is complete, click the non-idented drive and run another repair
  6. Congratulations, you just repaired your permissions. It’s actually good practice to run this every time you install/update software. I normally set a calendar reminder so I don’t forget.

3) Restart your Mac

Did that solve your problem? No? Not time to reach for the whisky just yet. It’s time for some drive repair.

Step 2: Fixing A Corrupt Directory

Another common problem is a corrupt directory file. The directory keeps track of how all the files are connected. If it gets messed up, your computer will effectively be driving in the dark. But this can be fixed.

Remember that DVD that came with your Mac? The one that has the ‘Do not throw these DVDs away’ label on it? It’s time to go and dig that out.

  1. Insert your OS X DVD
  2. Restart your Mac
  3. Press and hold the ‘C’ key until the Apple logo appears (you’re now booting from the DVD)
  4. Open up ‘Disk Utility’
  5. 1. Select Macintosh HD on the left
    2. Select ‘First Aid’ from the tabs
    3. Hit ‘Repair Disk’ (NOT ‘Repair Disk Permissions’) and let it run
    4. If you see any red results, they were likely the cause of your Mac’s problems

  6. Restart your Mac (making sure to select ‘Restart’ from the hard drive, not the DVD)

Did that solve your problem?

No? DAMMIT MAN… what have you been doing to that poor computer?!

Time to move onto the final step…

Step 3: Enter DiskWarrior

If Disk Utility wasn’t able to fix the problem, you’re going to need to bring in the big guns. Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m talking about DiskWarrior ($99), the Spartan Army of OS repairing awesomeness. I’ve been using it since 1998, and it’s saved my bacon on numerous occasions. Sure, it might not look like much, but it’ll bring a whole world of hurt to those evil directory demons. How? It wipes them from the face of the earth by building it’s own directory.

Here’s how to use DiskWarrior:

  1. Insert the DiskWarrior DVD
  2. Restart your Mac
  3. Press and hold the ‘C’ key until the Apple logo appears (you’re now booting from the DVD)
  4. Agree to the ‘Blah, Blah, not our fault if you lose stuff, but we’re TOTALLY claiming the credit if we fix it’ disclaimer
  5. Select Macintosh HD from the drop-down menu, and hit ‘Rebuild’.
  6. Once DiskWarrior has finished building a preview directory, you’ll get two options: ‘Preview’ or ‘Replace.’ Click ‘Replace’ while shouting “This. Is. SPARTA!” (wearing an adhesive beard is recommended during this step).
  7. Restart your Mac
  8. Rejoice that all of your problems have gone away!

No? Okay… Now would be a good time to book an appointment at an Apple Store. The specialists at the Genius Bar will probably perform the exact same steps you just walked through, so it’s worth printing this post out beforehand to show what you’ve tried already, just so you don’t waste your time (or theirs).

If you call Apple Support, chances are that they’ll just tell you to reinstall your OS. Unless you followed Step 1 and backed up your data, that’s going to be a giant pain in the ass. Consider yourself warned!

Good luck!

Afterword and Additional Thoughts from Tim

Ultimately, I did all of the above but remained unconfident, even after adding other safety nets like using DropBox for redundancy and the lightweight Prey for theft protection. Why still unconfident? Simple: I’ve f*cked this type of thing up in the past with alarming regularity.

After all, the basic concept of a “bootable drive” eluded me for an embarrassingly long time. In plain-speak: you need a way to look at your computer without *using* your computer. Duh. The afflicted machine needs to be treated like a patient etherized upon a table, hard disk as still as a dead heart.

In the end, I took perhaps the simplest route as an insurance policy: I made an appointment at my local Mac store’s Genius Bar and brought DiskWarrior along with me, hat in hand. Long story short, my friendly Mac Jedi fixed my laptop using the store’s external drive, and the computer’s been fine since.

During the wait, I peppered this fine gentleman (nameless for reasons that will become obvious) with Mac questions of all sorts. There were a few additional takeaways that I found helpful:

1) If you’re going to run around with your laptop in a backpack, as I do, it’s best to get a machine with a solid-state drive, like the new Macbook Air.

2) To speed up reboot time, take all the crap on your desktop and put in a folder labeled something like “Desktop stuff to July 17, 2011.” This eliminates the need for your laptop to generate thumbnail images and accelerates everything.

3) Think Macs are impervious to viruses? Not forever, at least that’s my bet. I ended up installing the simple Sophos Anti-Virus for peace of mind.

4) You don’t need to buy new licenses for software when you get a new computer. Just copy and paste the following folders to your new computer in the appropriate locations:

- “Applications” folder
– Within “Library” (in your home directory), the “Applications Support” and “Preferences” folders.

Can anyone confirm or refute that this works?

5) Computers inevitably end up clogged with crap: stupid applications that don’t pan out, bloated unnecessary files, etc. I asked him: “If you were starting from scratch, what would you put on your short list of must-have applications?” His survival list included the following:

- Tuneup – for cleaning up and unbloating iTunes.
Cocktail – use 1x per month to clean up your OS.
Handbrake – for ripping DVDs to your hard drive.
VLC media player – for playing various media files.
Transmission – for downloading torrents (BitTorrent client).
1Password – for (not)remembering log-ins and passwords.
Quicksilver or Alfred – for quickly launching apps (Call me old-fashioned, but I’m perfectly happy with Spotlight for the app-launching feature)
Netnewswire – RSS reader (I don’t have an RSS reader installed)
AppZapper (Tim addition to the list) – aptly called “the unintaller Apple forgot,” I use AppZapper to delete all the niggly hidden files, sometimes dozens, associated with applications that you want to get rid of.

Any other votes for elegant must-have applications? Other Armaggedon-avoiding Mac tips?

###

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Posted on: July 17, 2011.

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150 comments on “How to Bulletproof (or Unf*ck) Your Mac

  1. As far as passwords and storage are concerned, I was tipped by a friend at Intellectual Ventures and a rather prominent Hacker to try Lastpass. I use multiple logins on websites for work and personal use and different projects I have running. Lastpass can save these under profiles so that depending on who you want to log-in as, you just select and Lastpass remembers the information.

    Furthermore Lastpass has plug-ins for most browsers and even cellphones so that you can just plug-in and start. This removes the ability for someone to go into your browsers cache of stored passwords, which is incredibly easy to hack into, even for a novice like me, and moves the information into a secured space on the cloud.

    How secure is the cloud holding your passwords? Well, considering the reputation I say it’s pretty good, as good as other backup sites if not better. But again all these tips are at your own risk…

    Like

  2. Tim
    Big fan, both FHWW and FHB. Lost 18 lbs and keeping it off for 6 months.now to gear up for the next 15 lbs.
    Don’t recall if you covered this somewhere or if it needs an update, but we do a lot of editing, and I wondered if you ever looked into a transcription service to take recorded text and turn it around into a text file? I’m looking into using Dictamus on the iPhone and then either doing voice recognition on the Mac or sending it out for someone else to transcribe. Any experience? Results!

    Like

  3. Hi everyone, sorry to post as a reply to this blog entry, but the forum is down. Does anyone know if it will be back up soon? Thanks

    Like

  4. Something that most people don’t know about is the Firewire target disk mode. Basically if your Mac won’t boot anymore, but still has valuable information on its hard drive, you can easily copy it to another hard drive, without needing to boot that computer. This is achieved by simply by hooking your broken Mac up to another working Mac, so that the broken Mac acts as an external hard drive.

    You’ll need to buy a Firewire cable whose one end can be plugged into your broken Mac, and the other end plugged into a working Mac. Then boot the working Mac normally. Then boot the broken Mac but while holding down the T key. Your broken Mac should magically boot up and show a huge Firewire icon indicating it has just become a large external hard drive. The external drive will pop up on the working Mac’s desktop mounted, and you can then copy all the files you need from the hard drive that refused to boot an OS earlier. This works because in some cases the OS files are corrupted, but there are at least some data on the drive that is still recoverable.

    This is also a great way to transfer files between two working Macs, since it can be a lot faster than transferring over wireless.

    Like

  5. I would add Perian to the list of programs that make the Mac experience even easier than it already is. It’s an all-in-one add-on that lets your computer play just about every type of media file in VLC.

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  6. Spotlight tries to index changed or new files in real time. But it won’t run when certain CPU usage threshholds are being met. It also cannot (inexplicably, could be a bug) index files on the computer when one data file is continuously being written to the same drive. For example, if you open Quicktime and start recording a video file and leave it recording endlessly, Spotlight won’t be able to index (it also won’t perform a Time Capsule back-up–I haven’t tested local Time Machine back-ups, but I would guess it’s the sam). In my personal experiences, Spotlight fails to index when continuous data files are endlessly being written to the disk, such as recording from Quicktime, more than from CPU usage. But both affect indexing.

    When you boot your Mac and it hasn’t been indexing for a while due to these factors, it will start to try to index the drive, and you’ll see the “Spotlight indexing” message you normally only see if Spotlight is indexing a drive for the first time. Tim said it looked like this process was going to take millions of hours–the computer may have said that but it was wrong. It probably said that because Spotlight “caught its breath” and began working on catching up after a restart but then the user started invoking processes right away that caused Spotlight to clam up. If you leave the computer running untouched it will catch up fairly quickly–but Spotlight is shy–it doesn’t like to run when you’re doing other things.

    You can open activity monitor and in the search field type in MDS. This will show the process that is being used to index the computer. Watch that as you stop interacting with the computer, the CPU usage of MDS will increase. It’s coming out of hiding and indexing. You’ll know it has caught up when CPU for that process returns close to 0.

    Should Apple have a GUI that shows when Spotlight is backlogged and when it’s catching up? Of course. I guess they figure there aren’t enough users who use their Macs in such a way it would get backlogged to begin with.

    I would take issue with much of the other advice offered, but since it’s late, the one thing I’ll say is that it is cheaper and just a better idea to buy an Airport Extreme and plug an external drive into it to create a wireless “TIme Capsule” back up device than buy a Time Capsule device itself. Time Capsules are known for recalls due to bad drives and overheating. The Airport Extreme has a good reputation though and you can buy a good quality drive to connect to it and can add capacity or switch drives later on as needed.

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  7. fellow mac users. luckily i have already used the time machine backup to bulletproof the new macbook I purchased in March 2011 at best buy. note the computer has a 1 year warranty so I decided to wait to purchase the extra mac care 3 yr warranty

    here’s where I’m open to suggestions.

    when I bought it there was a small “smudge” in the screen i thought nothing of. In june vertical lines appeared in my screen. I took the computer to apple store in soho and they said they wanted to send it away. I then received an invoice for $755 + tax to repair the screen )note brand new the computer is $1086)
    I said no way and they sent the computer back (the screen much worse then when I brought it to them. I have screen shots to prove). I took the computer to best buy thinking they’d cover it but their warranty is only good for 14 days. now I’m stuck with a computer that doesn’t work as well as an ipod touch that’s linked to this computer. it’s now August and there’s no way I’m paying for that kind of repair for a new computer still under warranty with a manufacturers defect.
    any suggestions are much appreciated.
    i do love macs and so they kinda have me by the balls here!!! I’m just really disappointed in the customer service.
    please help.
    dave

    Like

  8. I never got the chance to be a Mac User. But these holidays, I might be choosing Mac over Windows. True, never heard of viruses but I find this blog very helpful especially for the current and future Mac Users like me. Our locals say that it’s hard to look for a Mac technician, but with these steps shared by Mr. Tim Ferriss, you yourself can become the next house Mac-Technician! Kudos to this blog!

    Like

  9. Hey Tim, good suggestion on the Sophos AV. I’ve also had great luck with the Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac – it’s simple and effective. And it’s free…

    Like

  10. F*cking brilliant post. My mac has been crawling like a sedated earthworm but there’s no good information out there about how to refresh everything. The idea of try to back everything up and start with a fresh install makes me break into a cold sweat so I’m hoping running through the process you outlined will fix things for me.

    Like

  11. I went through the exercise of “repair disk permissions” , and now I am receiving a message of “startup disk is full” . I hadn’t received this until I did the disk repair. Any thoughts?

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  12. Everything I’ve read here re cleaning up Macs has been a wealth of great advice. However, I’m hacked and hacked bad. I’ve been to the Apple Store and the genuises have been out-geniused. I have an Apple Care extended contract…I’ve phoned and spoken to many senior techs and senior “specialist” techs — so many that they’ve probably got a coffee cup with my name on it to drink out of when the calls come in.

    Yep. And, they’ve probably got one of those “No” signs with my name on it at Apple Care Central hanging right above that coffee cup….

    Thus far, problem persists with resolution.

    Seems like the Net Bios has been changed and me, Apple and everybody else who has tried can do nothing to reflash it.

    At this stage, Apple has advised me to “call the police.”

    Uh… what?

    That might be fun if I baked donuts. But I don’t.

    I’ve tried all kinds of anti-malware and rootkit detection software, some of it sent to me by the organization or person who wrote the program: unfortunately, the “real” superuser just turns it off.

    This has been going on since May 2011: I’ve had my photos stolen, photography programs stolen, Itunes stolen, my personal/financial information jeopardized.

    Unless one can prove money/goods amounting to $10,000 or more has been stolen, nobody is too interested. They’ve got SONY and the Pentagon to worry about.

    Apple knows (you can read online) that Leopard, Snow Leopard came replete with security flaws in the firewall, etc., which allowed hackers easy access.

    One Apple Care tech ran tests verifying I am not the “real” Admin of my computer and I cannot run commands in the terminal. Apple engineering then threw him (and me) under the bus.

    I am not smart enough to fix this myself. Compared to 18 months ago, I’ve become like an Olympic Silver Medalist at computers…but, I don’t know how to do this.

    If anybody here knows whom I might contact to fix this, I’d really appreciate any suggestions.

    Like

  13. Man, you guys are members of a cult.
    Hey, the king is dead! Long live the king!
    I’m on my second apple. I’m even less impressed than the first time.

    First it “disappeared” safari. I jumped through hoops, gave up and called Apple, after confirming I was under warranty the joker treated me like I was dumber than dirt. However, after having me do all the things I’d already done he went into his apple “ninja” bag of tricks…..eventually he said “I’ve never heard of this before, do you have the disc?” Of course I did. We loaded it.
    Next day it was gone again! But now I have the secret and know the magic to get it back.

    Then it got a crack in the top near the plug in. Genius tells me “it happens”. Now I’m retired and this darned thing has never been dropped….hmmm, build quality? Oh yeah, in the meantime the bottom started coming off. So, they fixed the bottom and told me it would be real expensive to replace the keyboard…..Whole keyboard for a crack in the rim? Puh-leeze.

    So, I tell genius I got a virus. He tells me “impossible”…..so I say, “well, when I have something like this happen with an IBM they call it a virus”
    So, I bought a Mac antivirus. He said I didn’t need it, but…..

    Then I tell him some other problems, especially the cursor becoming the apple version of the “blue screen of death” he kinda looks at me like I’m dumber than a rock, but says he’ll hook it up directly to apple HQ and check it out. Lo and behold, problem! So, master computer allegedly fixes it. I ask him to check it again, aha, another problem.
    He hooks up directly to apple transfusion HQ again. Says I’m fixed.

    Ok, guess what? The cursed, oops, freudian slip, cursor/ball comes back. Daily and often.

    I talk to a gal the other day. She and her husband are Mac people. I ask about the cursor ball and she starts laughing, says her husband got so mad her threw his out the window…..Is he gonna change? Naw, part of the cult, gotta get another Mac. She also says that all she does when the ball shows up is turn the computer off.

    Nuts, absolutely nuts.

    Now guys, if this was an IBM you’d be screaming!
    But its an apple, so lack of performance is OK, right?
    One of the things that endears it to you, right?

    I have a 6 year old Dell that I bought on sale for my teenager, and it smokes this Mac. Celeron processor and whatever MS had before Vista.

    Truth be told, I see all of them as tools. Nothing more nor less. I have absolutely no emotional attachment. I’m not invested in anything to do with computers, and from what I’ve read I don’t think I’d like either Jobs or Gates.
    I just want it to do what I want it to do with minimum hassle.

    Oh yeah, intuitive? Huh? The only thing I find intuitive is Job’s marketing. He absolutely nailed it. Took a hammer and turned it into a “statement”.
    I’m not in love with the Mac, but gotta admire the real achievement, turning an inanimate object into a “must have”.

    Maybe I’m drinking the wrong kool aid?

    Like

  14. Lo siento, I couldn’t resist, from financial wizard Gary North
    Apple Takes a Bite Out of Me
    Gary North

    Dec. 1, 2011

    I have always suspected it. Apple as a company is over-hyped. The company’s new iPad users’ support strategy proves it.

    I ordered it online. It came in a box. There was no packing slip. There was no piece of paper telling you what was in the box.

    Here is what was in the box: an iPad, a charger, a cord for the charger, a booklet, and a card.

    The booklet was a warranty. It was written in (I estimate) 3-point type. There is no way I could read t. The card’s type face was slightly larger. It mentioned two web addresses.

    My wife found these two printed items. I looked. I could not.

    I plugged in the charger. I plugged the cord into the iPad. An image of the famous bit-into Apple came up.

    Soon, I learned I had been bit into.

    On the screen was a small box that said configure. It just sat there. I tapped the screen. Nothing. I tapped the box that said configure. Nothing.

    Then I thought: “These people have the reputation of being cute. The trick has something to do with cute. It’s a puzzle for grown-ups” So, I used my finger to slide inside the box. It did not look like a slide, but was in fact a slide.

    It could have said “slide to configure.” But no. “We’re Apple. We’re cute. Figure it out.”

    I went through steps trying to configure it. The keyboard popped up. I went through steps until I came to registering. I tried. I had to enter my email address. It refused to accept it. It said I had already registered it. It offered no advice as to what to do next.

    Maybe I did register years ago when I set up with iTunes. My daughter got me to do that. I never got very far with iTunes.

    So, I tried to register with iCloud. It had a sample email address, but without instructions as to which email address to use. I tried to enter one. But I must have clicked the wrong button. The keyboard disappeared. I could not get it back. I tapped the screen. Nothing. Yes, there is an on-line digital manual. There also ought to be a site filled with instructional screencast videos.

    Before you order one, click through and read the manual. Make sure it’s worth the time to master the device. It may be. But be sure.

    Or maybe you can find a teenager who can teach you how to use it. Maybe he can read the fine print booklet to you, too.

    I gave the iPad to my wife. Maybe she like it. She likes puzzles. I don’t. I like ease of use. I like instruction videos. I like “monkey see-monkey do.” If she masters it, maybe she can teach me.

    Do I have a bad attitude? No doubt. But it is in response to what I regard as a customer-insulting company.

    The iPad may be the cat’s meow for teenagers who can help each other get started. But I am in marketing. I can sense “screw the user” right from the start.

    This company has an attitude: “We are indispensable. Customers aren’t. We don’t care if you like our stuff or not. Put up with it.”

    I was sent “switch to Apple” eletters for 15 years. My response from now on: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

    I suppose some Apple corps fanatics will blame me. It’s all my fault. They reflect the attitude of the company.

    There is a concept called the lifetime value of the customer. Here is what it teaches. It costs you a lot of money to get a new customer to buy the first time. If he becomes a fan, you make your profit on the back end: upgrades, support products, and so forth. Apple’s lifetime value for me will be the cost of that iPad. If my wife doesn’t like it, she can give it to my techie son for Christmas. He generally hates Apple, but he likes gadgets. Maybe he’ll like it.

    If I never use the iPad 2, there will be no upgrades for me. No iPad 3. No iPod.

    The company should go the extra mile to get new users hooked within a few minutes. Puzzles are not the best way.

    Apple is competing with Android. What is Android? It’s a rival operating system for tablets that Google gives away for free to tablet producers.

    My prediction: Android will win the battle of the tablets. It will take a few years, but Android will win. There are lots of hardware companies that will use the open source software made available by Google. They will compete against each other. They will improve the product line. In the battle for market share, open source will win. It’s not patent-driven. It’s customer-driven.

    Like

  15. I’d like to thank Tim for sending me his personal account of getting unf*cked with the Geniuses at his local Apple Store.

    Me, biker chick and photographer, an unlikely frequent flyer to the Genius counter, the last person in the world you’d ever think capable of speaking fluent “computertechese,” finally brought her bad juju Imac saga to close.

    No virus here, Tim… in AppleSpeak, “Hacked” is the new “Broken.”

    Therein lies the next great Apple tee shirt…

    After reading everything available (including Tim’s Blog) I began my own campaign of trying all reasonable suggestions to unhack my Mac.

    I’m nobody special; there are a lot of hackees out there. I did my best to follow somebody’s recent advice re: “force quitting oneself from a hostile server.” I logged into Accounts/Networks/Servers and replaced the information I found there with the name/email of the most empathic Apple Care senior tech.

    Oh oh…force quit is as force quit does; the Accounts Log In pane kept popping up after this and all I could do was force quit it and send a good 25 or so of those “Tell Your Problems In this Report” to Apple.

    By Report #24 or so, it was sort of like: “Ah, eat my a** on a picnic bench. You don’t read these reports anyway. If you do, here’s my number _______ call me up and curse me out.”

    Sadly, the phone never rang.

    Smells like: Hacked Spirit.

    Next day: only can log in with Firmware PW — go to Utilities or run the installation disc — which promptly redirects itself to install a rogue “remote” program which isn’t very nice.

    Back to Apple Care. I insist on speaking to an Engineer. Must have sounded authoritative. That, or suicidal.

    He wants to run First Aid: Problems with File Permissions, Problems with Directory.

    “Click Repair Disc.”

    “Disc Repaired.”

    If it said: “Jump off the Empire State Building” think he’d believe it?

    We run the installation disc and watch the log.

    By line #4 it confirms the Directory/Files really did not get repaired.

    He says: “Okay, this log confirms the hard disk is BROKEN.”

    “Dude, it’s HACKED.”

    “It’s BROKEN. Here’s a confirmation number; go to the Apple Store. They can replace it, look at the computer.”

    “No, it’s all BROKEN. I want a new computer. I’m sick of this.”

    “I can’t confirm that.”

    “I’m confirming it. I don’t want to hear any sadass story about they don’t have the part, they have to run tests and this will take the next two weeks or any other stupid crap that’s going to annoy me. This is Apple’s fault. Not my fault. I’ve done everything you told me to do. This is because your product was imminently hackable and Mac has no idea how to respond to this. Now man up and quit blaming the victim.”

    “I don’t know if they’ll replace it.”

    Christmas is a time of good cheer and even better business.

    I certainly have a loud way of sharing my pain when I believe I’m being treated unfairly.

    New Imac. Same big 27″ screen. FASTER Processor….with LION.

    I guess they were busy and didn’t have time to hang out with me. F*ck ‘em. I got enough friends at Harley Davidson.

    What about this:
    Lion has done away with dodgy components like FTP, Back to My Mac and a whole list of other creepy stuff which I surmise might have helped break lots of people’s computers.

    Meanwhile, check access/permissions on those Public Folders, Drop Box and make sure they are all set. Check for a folder in your library which contains your ISP…set access/permissions — it’s easy for anybody who knows where you live to access this via FTP and hack your computer from the internet. Set a Firmware pw. Download the OSX Developers Manual on Security from the Apple Website, if you still use Leopard/Snow Leopard consider reading Mac OSX The Missing Manual – David Pogue.

    Personally, I read enough books in grad school, so I just read motorcycle magazines and crossword puzzles and watch Pimp My Ride, but I’m just saying if you like to read smart stuff sometimes.

    Tim, I sure hope your Mac is just plain broken and you fixed it.

    If by some evil chance it’s Broken is the New Hacked, let me know.

    Back in Hell’s Kitchen we used to say, “2+2 ain’t 22.” But, I’m thinking a lot of those Geniuses, they don’t know that.

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  16. Just want to say the Backblaze is the sh!t. I’ve used several backup programs and this is bar the easiest. Great for those that don’t have time to learn new software ins and outs. Thanks.

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  17. I didn’t see anyone mention “Pacifist” http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/6812/pacifist/
    This is a great program for installing/extracting pieces of your OS for Mac that may be missing or corrupted. My problem was that the AppStore was corrupt. Apple now requires the AppStore to be installed and working in order to do certain upgrades. “Pacifist” allowed me to extract and install the AppStore from my system cd and a few other critical files from the OS without installing the full Mac OS X. It does more so check it out at the MacUpdate link.

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  18. Old thread (and maybe someone else already replied, but I don’t have time to read through the replies): No, you don’t need to “purchase new software licenses” when you get a new computer. Few Mac apps have an install limit. Reinstall the software and enter any serial numbers for the license. Exception: Adobe commercial software – often has a limit; uninstall FIRST From the old computer and de-authorize that computer, then reinstall on the new computer.

    The method described will copy over preferences. Some apps also store their data in those folders and obviously you want that data. However, many apps will sense they are on a new computer and still demand the serial number. Plus some store data in the root/main Library, others in the user Library. You may have to copy both.

    I’m surprised, though, that the tech didn’t recommend you use the Mac Migration assistant.

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  19. How can I remove all permissions and bust them down to Everyone can do Everything? Yes, there are a million very good reasons to not do this, but I’m not looking for those “you’ll regret this” warnings. System never sees the Internet and I can blow it away and rebuild at will.

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  20. hi there my macbook air has a 256 gegabytes flash drive wich has a magic disk speed test app 265 mb/s read 204 mb/s write speed soo 4 hours at about 250 mb/s thats about 15,000 seconds thats a lot of data

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