Bing - Who said I want Bing!

Back to my Frustration Stories - And this time its Bing.

I am not a fan of being tracked on the Internet. I view Google as a necessary evil and I try to limit my exposure to some degree. I do have a gmail account—but it’s not my every day account. I alternate my search engine of choice between Google and Duck Duck Go. I do use Facebook and Twitter, but I try not to expose too much. I have a web site. I try to keep Flash turned off and I don’t use Adobe Reader.

Somehow Bing keeps cropping up. Check this out:

search_google

I have entered a search for iPad Cases into the address bar/search bar of Safari. Clearly it show that the search is to be performed in Google. But, check out the results:

bing

How in the heck did my search results end up in Bing? Clearly, something has gone wrong. This is the second time in two weeks that my Safari searches have been hijacked to Bing.

Last time I did some searching and I found a software to remove adware. It worked, but it didn’t help me find the culprit. I want the pleasure of knowing the source of my pain and I want to nuke it myself!

Just a week ago I spent two days backing up everything, re-formatting my hard drive, reinstalling the OS and all my applications from the Apple App Store or from new copies directly from the developer and then carefully choosing which settings and files to to copy from my backup.

At the end of the process this computer was humming! It was performing as I expect it to. I had won! So what is this Bing thing?

I have two hobbies that cause me to download files, lots of files from the Internet. These are design files, fonts and pdf files used with my Silhouette Cameo and my Brother embroidery machine. I am pretty darn careful—but somehow, something has gone wrong once again!

My earlier research made me consider that a Safari Browser Extension could be the culprit.

omnibar

I do use FlashToHTML5, and it has proven to be safe and effective. The same is true of ClickToPlugin, iPassword, and Pin It Button. You can see that I also have a few extension that are in place, but turned off.

Omnibar is one that I do not remember installing, so it made me suspicious. Since there was a button to change search engines, I chose the “Default” button, closed the Safari Preferences and tried another search.

safari_extensions

That didn’t fix the problem so I did some research (and that darn Bing came up again).

Reading the InstallMac Web site was less that encouraging:

Who can use the InstallMac product?InstallMac was built for Mac developers interested in generating additional revenue from their applications and for advertisers looking to distribute their Mac application.Is InstallMac a virus, Malware, Spyware or in any way harmful to my computer?Absolutely not!InstallMac is a software distribution platform, and as such we make every effort possible to ensure that no such programs are being installed on your computer. More so, we strongly encourage our users to report any such attempts to misuse InstallMac.


Tell me that doesn’t raise you suspicions! I don’t know what application installed this plugin, but I am not a fan! I clicked the “Uninstall” button, quit Safari, restarted it and tried a search. Success!

I still don’t know where Omnibar came from. I will certainly be on the lookout for anything from InstallMac and I will frequently check to make sure it’s not installed.

Are there weird things happening on your computer? If you can’t figure them out, give us a call at
Doctor Mac Consulting, (408) 627-7577. We can help you fix the problem and our rates are reasonable.

—Pat
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Mail - Verify Certificate - What is this?

While some computer frustrations are major, some are just minor annoyances. This message is one which I was seeing frequently:
Verify Certificate

My instinct was always to click the “Connect” button. That would bring up my email and it would work until I either quit Mail or restarted my computer. I had clicked “Show Certificate” several times, but it didn’t do much:

show_certificate

Once again, I would click “Connect” and life would continue.

After doing this for months and months, it was getting old. Instead of clicking “Connect,” I decided to try the disclosure triangle in front of “Trust.”

system_defaults

Then I clicked on the “Use System Defaults” button. I chose “Always Trust.”

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 8.22.50 AM

Then I had to enter my computer password.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 8.23.14 AM

It was time to see if anything had really changed. It had! I could get my mail without that annoying message!

Now, for an explanation of what really happened. mail.macmousecalls.com is a mail account service provided, by my web hosting service, DreamHost. They have security certificates in their name for their own mail servers. They can be trusted. My mail server account is covered under their certificate, but instead of using mail.dreamhost.com, I use mail.macmousecalls.com, so we have a “host name mismatch.”

This is not the only account I have with this problem. My pat@doctormacdirect.com email account is provided by DigitalForest, another web hosting service and it has the same issue.

I know and trust both DigitalForest and DreamHost, so trusting mail servers provided by them makes sense—total sense.

If you have these “Verify Certificate” windows popping up in Mail and you recognize the company, you are safe. Just go ahead and verify the certificate.

Of course, in my case, the issue still existed on both my iPhone and my iPad:
image1

In this case, I clicked on “Details.”
image1 2

Then I clicked “Trust” in the upper right corner and now I get my email without any further problems.

If you are having computer problems such as this and you don’t know how to fix them, give us a call at
Doctor Mac Consulting, (408) 627-7577. We can help you fix the problem and our rates are reasonable.

—Pat

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Frustrations, Oh the Frustrations!

My computing life since Yosemite arrived has been a HEADACHE!

Did you notice that I did not say “since I installed Yosemite?”

My problems cannot be blamed on Yosemite. Instead, I will blame myself, some bad luck, and some unsafe downloading and some bad timing!

If I were to write about the whole thing, I suspect you would read a page or two and loose interest. So instead I’ll tackle a problem or two at a time.

We’ll begin today by talking about critical software. My critical software probably won’t be your critical software. But, if you have software that you depend on, make sure—double sure, it will work in the new operating system software.

For me, and for Dr. Mac Consulting, our critical software is Mac Helpmate. If you are our client, you probably have Mac Helpmate installed on your computer. It is the application that allows us to see and control your computer. While we can also use screen sharing via Apple’s Messages application, it can be difficult to set up, especially with novice users.

Since there was a public beta of Mac OS 10.10 Yosemite, I signed up and gave it a try, but not a great try since I do not have a recent Mac that is not in critical use. I did install the beta on a flash drive—and I ran it (slowly) several times. I did download Mac Helpmate — and it seemed to run.

However, after upgrading to Yosemite, I found out it just would NOT run. We’ve been working with Dean Shavit for over ten years. Mac Helpmate had been bullet-proof software — it just worked. We occasionally had server issues, but those can be expected, especially in the late afternoon and evening hours when everyone is using Netflix to clog up the web.

Dean’s company is very small. When there are only a few people who do the programming, it is reasonable that it can take a week for new software to be completed. However, that week was one of frustration!

I have a large SSD card in my MacBook Pro. It is possible to make a partition on a working hard drive and it is possible to run Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks on one partition while running Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite on the other. It is not possible to run either one when the SSD drive gets flaky.

I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why. I don’t even want to know how, but I have some advice for you. If your drive is reporting block count errors in Disk Utility, even if those errors can be fixed, there is a problem! It is time to back up the drive and prepare for a day (or more) of working on your Mac—not fun work, just hours and hours of backing up, formatting, installing, configuring, downloading, updating and re-copying.

I did it. I survived. It wasn’t pretty. Mac Helpmate is working—and working beautifully. I am back to helping clients. I’m happy!

If you have not upgraded to Yosemite, make sure your hard drive or SSD drive is in good condition. Make sure your critical software will work. Then download Yosemite. The interface is a bit different than Mavericks, but it will quickly grown on you! If you need help, we at
Dr. Mac Consulting are around and ready to help!

—Pat
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Taming the Fonts List

One of my favorite things about the Mac is the way it handles fonts. I find the “Show Fonts” menu item that is almost always under the Format menu in each application to be invaluable.

show_fonts

At least it was working until I did some graphic projects on my Silhouette Cameo. Somehow there were a lot of weird fonts showing up in my Favorites List--ones that certainly aren’t my favorites:

favorites

I will admit I had used them--but they were cluttering up my nice, clean Favorites list--the one I expect to use when I work on the Dr. Mac Consulting Newsletter. Although I could easily figure out how to add a favorite…

add_favorites

…getting them out of that list was not so easy! I did some logical deduction. If I want to remove something from the dock, I just drag it out. Yes, just grab the fonts you don’t want in the list and drag them out! My list was clean!

cleaned Favorits

That worked, but let’s do this even better! If I click the + sign in the lower left corner, I can make a new collection, name it whatever I want and then add fonts to that collection.

dr_mac

That’s not quite how it works. I can get a list of fonts and it will include the faces like bold and italic--but I don’t get that nice list like the Favorites List.

All is not lost! In many Apple applications there is a menu item under the application’s name called Provide_______Feedback. It is not available in all apps, but take a look around and you will find one.

provide_feedback

Just make sure it includes the feature you want to complain about.

feedback_form

Does it work? I have never gotten a direct answer back from Apple, but I have noticed that some things that I reported have changed! I have a friend who is a Product Manager at Apple. He says that at each meeting for their product, a stack of feedback forms is waiting for him. He distributes them to his team. His team is expected to respond to Apple in some way for each feedback form. So, yes someone reads them and someone is tasked with deciding if the issue needs to be fixed. It’s really heartening when you see your request in a future Apple update.

--Pat

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Canning

I hope that title has you a little intrigued!

I’m talking about preserving food, in this case, tomatoes, for use in the fall and winter. We picked up a lug box of canning tomatoes at a roadside fruit stand. The tomatoes on display were $1.99 a pound and they were beautifully perfect! However, I was looking for the not-so-perfect fruit. A few bumps, bruises and splits don’t matter when you are peeling and chopping them anyway. I got a lug box (about 25 lbs.) for $5.00.

tomatoes

I began learning about canning fruits from my grandmother. She died before the first personal computer was invented, so I KNOW she didn’t use our modern technologies to preserve foods. Instead she relied on the knowledge passed down from her mother and grandmother, friends and other relatives and books like the Ball Blue Book.

ball_blue_book

The book in the photo is my trusty copy of the Ball Blue Book. It is over 30 years old and I use it each time I can something. However, it is not always easily available. It tends to get lost in my cookbook bookcase.

That is just what happened on Friday. I needed the recipe and information on canning tomatoes.

canning_tomatoes

When I could not find the book, it was time to use a little technology! My iPad can often be found on my island or kitchen counter, so my first thought was the Apple App Store. I typed in “canning” and this is what appeared:

canning_apps


Right there was a free app, How to Can. Since playing on my iPad wasn’t getting those beautiful tomatoes into jars, I “bought" it.

The app contains good basic information about the canning process and is full of good advice from a well-respected information source. The app has a link to how to subscribe to Mother Earth News on each screen. This app is also an advertisement, so the free price is justifiable for lots of good information.

basics


It is easy to visually find your way to the information you are looking for using the illustrated index on the left side:

general_tomato

Most important, it has the information on how long to process (boil) the canned tomatoes:

tomato_timing

In a few short hours, I had 19 pints of diced tomatoes cooling on my counter, ready to be labeled and stored for use this fall in chili, soups and stews. They look so beautiful!

canned_tomatoes

--Pat

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