to commonly asked questions.

August 2010

Time Machine not completing the backup

Scotty -

I'm working on things to be addressed when I book another session w/you, but I'd like to know how to separate my AOL account from my Road Runner Account - you combined them on my mail site and it just doesn't work for me - I want no AOL mail to come in on the mail site - only on AOL when I sign onto AOL.  Can you please tell me how to do this so I can take care of it right away.

Thank you.


To remove an email account from your Apple mail program (the stamp) it should be simple. Go to Mail then to preferences. Next, you’ll select the accounts tab and that will get you to the area that lists all accounts currently managed in mail. Simply select the account you are interested in deleting then hit the minus button on the bottom left hand corner of the screen. This will remove all the email associated with that email account. Since you are talking about AOL, it is IMAP based which means it will not alter your email on the AOL server at all and it should continue to come in where you were previously checking your AOL mail as always.

Adding and organizing bookmarks in Firefox.

Rather than upgrade to a MacBook now since MSOffice 2011 is not ready for the Mac, I went ahead and changed out the router with an Net Gear.  Do I have to do anything on my mobileme© account so the syncing will work?


You should not have to do anything at all to your mobileme account as the router is an independent from content you get from the web.  Once your computers and devices are back online, regardless of what router they are using to connect to the internet, your mobileme services will continue to sync in the background.

Replacement battery for older Macbook pro

I'm switching from Windows to MAC and will pay someone to assist in setting up Eclipse, Apache, and MySQL on my MAcBook PRO

It's a bit of a process and takes quite a bit of attention to detail but can be done if you are good at following instructions.  

Here are a couple of great walk throughs on the process.  I would suggest reading through each carefully first to compare methods.  One involves using Xcode whereas the other does not.  You'll need a text editor that can create php files as well like bbedit or text wrangler.  

Setting up PHP, MySQL, and Apache in Mac OSX Leopard · superfancy
How to set up Apache, PHP, & MySQL on Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) | Tangential Musings

Each of the above examples are based on Leopard but should be fine with Snow Leopard as Apple hasn't changed server architecture very much from 10.5 to 10.6.  Hope that helps.

Moving contacts between virtual machines

My question:  I don't think I did anything originally, but my I-phone was all of a sudden not syncing with my calendar.  This morning I opened the "mobile me sync preferences" and checked the "synchronize with mobile me" box and put it on "Automatic". Then I checked the calendar box and the mail box, and it synced my calendar, but ever since, my phone says it has "no service" and will not allow me to call out or receive calls.   But it is getting e-mails........and my calendar.  What have I done and how can I correct this??


Sounds like your phone has lost the signal to the ATT cell tower near by but is still on your wireless network. This would explain why data continues to go through but no calls are happening. Calls rely on the cell tower down the street. Data like email and calendar syncing can rely on the wireless network as well as the cell tower.

I would suggest you reset your phone by holding down both buttons on your phone for a few seconds until you see the red slider. Then turn the phone back on to see if it rediscovers the cell tower.

It could also be explained by something having happened to your sim card inside the phone. You may want to take it by ATT or Apple store and have them change the card out. ATT may be the best bet on that one. I don’t think the Apple store deals with the sim cards.

Last could have been late on your phone bill and ATT turned off service!

Screen sharing to the iPad?

1.  Time Capsule will not complete the back up for me no matter what I do.  

Check my work for me:
I followed the Time Capsule book's instruction and did ethernet cord from the wall outlet to the WAN port.
Then I did another ethernet cord from the computer to an ethernet port on the Time Capsule, supposedly for faster saving.  
It does everything it is supposed to and then it mysteriously shuts down.  

2.  Computer just totally froze for no reason and I could do nothing but shut it down.  I now have some strange stripes in the background, oops, just checked and now they are gone again.  sigh.


As far as time machine not backing up, I would suggest you may want to erase the Time Machine drive using Disk Utility and even rename the drive. Then restart the time machine backup process on your mac. Time Machine can sometimes run into problems when it tries to rejoin a previous backup from a new system like we’ve done in your case. Also, be sure that you’ve named your computer in the sharing pane of system preferences.

If there’s no name then Time Machine will also have problems. I would suggest making a new name different from what the old computer or any other computer is called in the house.

The strange stripes are a little more serious. Let’s just call it a fluke for now but it you see them again and again, that’s a sign that the video card (embedded on the logic board) is failing. We don’t want that to happen. That’s not good.

As for the other question concerning video, I’ll look into that tomorrow.

Parallels slow on the Mac

How do I add a bookmark to Firefox?
How do I delete one item from a drop down of a bookmark?


To add a bookmark to Firefox you’ll want to click on the star on the right hand side of the url bar at the top. You’ll then see a drop down menu where you’ll be able to select where to save the bookmark.

To organize or delete bookmarks in Firefox, you’ll go to “Bookmarks” in the menu bar. From the pull down, you’ll select to “Organize Bookmarks”.

Now you’ll be presented with a window showing all your bookmark folders and from there you’ll be able to select each bookmark and either move or delete it.

Shared folders between users


I am trying to figure out which battery to order for daughter’s Mac BookPro, and striking out!  All I know is that it is the 15 inch Mac Book Pro, 1.  I have a serial number for her current battery, but cannot figure out all the other stuff they are asking for on the website.  

Any thoughts?  There are several choices.


Battery Technology inc Battery for Macbook Pro 15.4in Laptop Batteries

This should be what you need.  Now just find who will sell it the cheapest.  

FW mode and time machine help

How do I get my all my contacts that were saved in my outlook email?  They all are gone.


User is running Parallels and has two installs of Windows...

They're not gone remember.  They are over in the other windows universe.  "Windows 7".  Go over to that virtual machine and export them using outlook into a .pst file.  It will be a selection to export within outlook.  Drag that over to the mac's desktop area.  Quit Windows 7 and now open the virtual machine Win Seven.  (I think that was the name of it.)  Now drag that .pst file into the Windows area and choose to import that pst file into Outlook.  That should do it.  

Video Camera and Parental Controls

Hi Scotty - 

We forgot to go over the video chat screen sharing for the ipad to the desk computer.  Is there an easy way to do that?  and an easy way for you to explain for me how to set it up?



Currently there is no way to share the ipad screen with your computer or vise versa. You can however, use an application called GoToMeeting on the iPad that will allow you to view another computer’s screen on your iPad. It’s a paid service and not really exactly what you are looking for I’m thinking but the technology is out there. Just not mainstream yet.

Computer to computer screen sharing is very common and built into Mac OS X. The iPad has a way to go yet.

Installing ram in an iMac

I hope you are well.  You installed Windows on my mac for me about 2-3 years ago.  I am having some what I would call performance issues with QB and windows.  I was wondering if you could help me address them or if you are not able to is there someone you can direct me to?

If the problem is exclusive to Windows and Quickbooks, I may not be able to assist.  If the problem is however, related to the Mac, then I should be able to help solve what's going on.  Could you be a little more specific?

I think it may have something to do with Parallels but I am not sure.  It just seems like it takes a very long time for Windows and QB to open-alot longer than on a regular IBM pc.  I seem to recall that the mac was supposed to run Windows better and faster than the IBM could.  Any thoughts?


Parallels does give you the ability to allocate more ram to the virtual machine. When using Parallels or VMware you need a lot of ram. Then dedicate as much as you can spare to the second operating system. If on Snow Leopard 10.6, keep in mind that operating system requires 1 gig of ram by itself. So I suggest powering off Windows (not suspending) then give more ram to it inside Parallels settings windows. Also, don’t have any unnecessary programs running in either operating system while running Quick Books. The more free ram the better.

If the problem didn’t used to be there but has developed within Windows then that’s a different story. That would point more to problems within Windows. It’s not a bad idea to have a backup virtual machine (install of Windows) and a backup of your QB data just to be safe in case you get into a pinch.

How much memory for VMware?

Hi Scotty,

Thanks for speaking to our CMS music educators last week.  I learned a lot from hearing you speak.

I have a question for you.  I took my computer in today to have a hardware problem fixed, and it will be gone for a while.  Friend has graciously agreed to let me use his computer.  He has an iPad and can function on that at school.  I set up a new user titled “user” on his computer.  I was able to get all of my settings, calendar, contacts, etc. on that user, but I'm not able to access his applications and the other files of mine that I have stored on his user account.  His user account cannot access mine either to let me drag things I need over.  How do I set the users to be able to access the information on the other user's side of the computer?  If I can't do this it's pointless for me have a separate user with my settings.  I would really like to have the best of both worlds while I'm stuck on his computer.


Ok, so applications in the applications folder are common files between all users and should be accessable no matter what user you’re logged in as. If you don’t see a particular application in the applications folder from your user then that means that it is not currently living in the correct place. For instance, if one user drags firefox into their documents folder instead of the applications folder then the other user can’t see it or use it.

Mac OS X has a shared folder in the user’s folder area. This is a common area where users can drop important files that they’d like other users to be able to see and work with. Beware however, sometimes the permissions of a file do not set correctly when you move a file into the shared folder. This means that you may see the word document in the shared folder (dropped in by another user) but you may not be able to open it due to the permissions being wrong. To correct this problem, should it occur, select the file, choose “Get Info” from the menu bar under file I believe, then add yourself as a user by clicking the Plus button in the bottom left hand corner where you see “permissions”. You most likely won’t have to do this but it’s good to know if you do.

Now, if by applications, you mean iPad/iPod apps then this is a bit easier. Simply turn on home sharing in his itunes on his side then log into your user (while his user is still on)...{fast user switching must be turned on in system prefs to be able to log into multiple accounts}...then turn on home sharing in your itunes. His library should now appear in your itunes left hand column and you can pull apps of his into your own apps folder inside iTunes.

Hope that helps.

Long FireWire Cables

  How are you?  Well I hope. I have a couple of questions is you can help me.

1)   I have bought the large external hard drives to back up my desktop computer.  How do I do it?   I forgot all those instructions you gave me...sorry.

2)   How do I hook up and transfer info from my apple laptop to the apple desktop?  I bought a firewire cord the salesman recommended; however, when I hook it up between the 2 computers, neither the laptop or the desktop recognize the other and thus I do not know how to transfer, for example, a large video file movie I made on the laptop to the desktop so I can edit it.

Please help,


1. You can use Time Machine (built in to your mac’s system preferences) to back up your data. Go to system preferences, select “time machine” and then turn on the feature. Next, select the disk that is already connected to your computer via whatever cable came with the drive. USB or firewire. It won’t matter. If the drive was originally formatted for windows then Time Machine will ask permission to erase the drive. If you have just bought the drive then there should be nothing on it you care about losing so go ahead and say ok. That’s all you should have to do. Time Machine is a wonderful feature of the operating system. But it’s only available on 10.5 Leopard and higher.

2. The salesman who recommended you buy the firewire cable was probably pushing you toward putting one of your drives into target disk mode. While it’s very easy to network macs in your home, sometimes you have a really big file like a video that you’d like to move from one computer to the other as fast as possible. Wireless is ok but too slow for large files. So here’s what you’ll do:

Turn off one of the computers and restart the computer holding down the T key. You’ll see a weird symbol floating around on the computer screen now. Next, connect both computers with the firewire cable. Hopefully both computers have firewire. Older macbooks do not have Firewire. That feature was exclusive to macbook pros. Now you’ll see on the computer that is powered on normally, a hard drive icon on your desktop representing the computer in target disk mode. Now just navigate to the file from that drive and drag and drop the file to your booted mac and you’re done. Turn off the target disk computer using the power button, disconnect the FW cable and turn it back on normally. Finished.

FW is fast enough that it makes the extra steps worth it.

Stolen computer privacy issue


We are considering letting our oldest daughter video chat but we do not want to undo the parental controls.  Is the a way to video chat while keeping the parental controls on the computer?



Even with parental controls on your daughter’s user, she should still be able to use iChat without a problem. Skype should also be available. You have the ability to block individual programs with Leopard’s parental controls but by default, the camera is still active. You may just want to utualize screen sharing in your home so you can keep an eye out for what’s taking place.

HP scan not working

Hey Scotty.  Hope all is well and you had a great summer.  I finally got around to ordering the new RAM for my iMac.  Only now I have forgotten where to install it!  I opened that little slot on the bottom middle of the screen, but cannot figure out how to insert the new disc thing.  Can you give me a quick walk thru?

Thanks so much!


I think I can do better than that...YouTube may have the answer.YouTube - installing ram in imac

I believe you have a white iMac. You can try this one: YouTube - How to Install RAM in a White Intel iMac

Downloading linked videos

One question, she is using VM Ware for 2 programs, but has very little green when she is on it. Can you install more memory, and recommend where to get it? We just got the 4Gb that came with the iMac, which is an i3. I do not know how high to go, or how quickly we will need it.


Adding additional ram...Since you're not going to be running in 64 bit anytime soon, that means that no one program will be able to address more than 4 gigs by itself.  So you don't need to be in a big rush to max out the machine.  You may want to buy the max allowed in one slot (4 gigs I think) from and then dedicated that much solely to VMware.  (available as a settings in the prefs of VMware)  

Making much better to use


Where do I get a 12-15' firewire cable? I need to be able to use the theater computer in a chair. I thought we had connected the hard drives via USB but not the case.



Amazon would have what you need but you'll need to know which firewire connector is needed.  There's 400 and 800.  And then there's 400 to 800.  Here's a 400 to 400 but I think you need 400 to 800.  Just not sure what kind of laptop you are using to manage music downstairs.  I think it was a macbook which may not have the firewire 800 port.  I'm pretty sure your hard drives use 800.  You want to use 800 over USB anytime you can. Firewire Cable IEEE 1394, 6 pin to 6 pin, 400Mbps, 14 Long: Electronics

Bulk email won't send

since they stole my computer, can they access our history? Can they see our online banking, etc??


I would say absolutely yes. That is a serious concern. I would move forward with trying to reset all the passwords you have as soon as possible. If they are smart enough, they can discover your passwords to sites and other. Your computer does not store banking passwords but there is plenty of other data there to look through.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news.

How is the Quickbooks Mac version?


I hope you are well, my scanner just stopped working and I have tried all I know to do to fix it.  I have downloaded the most current driver and software.

This is the message I get when I go to scan something

Process:         HP Scan [1038]
Path:            /Users/HHBrown/Desktop/HP Scan
Version:         ??? (???)
Code Type:       X86 (Native)
Parent Process:  launchd [108]

Date/Time:       2010-08-10 15:29:04.099 -0400
OS Version:      Mac OS X 10.6.4 (10F569)
Report Version:  6
Sleep/Wake UUID: CB337DC3-05B3-49B6-8A6E-173C90C8EF61

Interval Since Last Report:          73752 sec
Crashes Since Last Report:           1
Per-App Crashes Since Last Report:   1
Anonymous UUID:                      710CBA1D-4CDA-4FE4-88BF-4F7328EE3CFF

Exception Codes: 0x0000000000000002, 0x0000000000000000
Crashed Thread:  0

Dyld Error Message:
 Library not loaded: /Library/Printers/hp/Frameworks/HPWorkflowsManager.framework/Versions/A/HPWorkflowsManager
 Referenced from: /Users/HHBrown/Desktop/HP Scan
 Reason: image not found

Model: MacBookPro5,4, BootROM MBP53.00AC.B03, 2 processors, Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, SMC 1.49f2
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, PCI, 256 MB
Memory Module: global_name
AirPort: spairport_wireless_card_type_airport_extreme (0x14E4, 0x8D), Broadcom BCM43xx 1.0 (
Bluetooth: Version 2.3.7f1, 2 service, 19 devices, 1 incoming serial ports
Network Service: AirPort, AirPort, en1
Serial ATA Device: Hitachi HTS545032B9SA02, 298.09 GB
Serial ATA Device: MATSHITADVD-R   UJ-868
USB Device: Officejet Pro 8500 A909n, 0x03f0  (Hewlett Packard), 0x4012, 0x26200000
USB Device: Internal Memory Card Reader, 0x05ac  (Apple Inc.), 0x8403, 0x26500000
USB Device: My Passport 070A, 0x1058  (Western Digital Technologies, Inc.), 0x070a, 0x24100000
USB Device: Built-in iSight, 0x05ac  (Apple Inc.), 0x8507, 0x24400000
USB Device: Apple Internal Keyboard / Trackpad, 0x05ac  (Apple Inc.), 0x0236, 0x04600000
USB Device: IR Receiver, 0x05ac  (Apple Inc.), 0x8242, 0x04500000
USB Device: BRCM2046 Hub, 0x0a5c  (Broadcom Corp.), 0x4500, 0x06100000
USB Device: Bluetooth USB Host Controller, 0x05ac  (Apple Inc.), 0x8213, 0x06110000

Can you help or advise what I need to do?  


Well we could go back and forth on this one. I did recently have an HP driver install become corrupt. You may try going to /Library/Printers/ then delete the hp folder. You would have to reinstall the software again. If you do that then you may also want to toss out HP scan. Now there is another issue. 10.5 requires HP scan pro. 10.6 requires HP scan. Looks like you have the proper software but you may need to trash it and start over. There is another option we coul also try and that would be to toss the prefs of the HP scan application. That file is located in the ~/Library/preferences/ folder. But that’s actually something that may be better handled over town hall. Try deleting the app and reinstalling the app first.

Oh, almost forgot, you may also try deleting the printer from the system preferences printer pane first. Just hit the minus button on the bottom left hand corner of the screen in the printer window in system preferences.

There are many things we could try to fix the issue. These are only a few.

iPad doesn't sync to 2 computers well.

 Thanks for your help last night. I need some help getting the Intimidator Video to download.  I could not pull it off; so if you have any ideas, I would appreciate it.


To download that particular file, just like other files, you can right click on the file link and you should have the option to “download linked file”. If you don’t have right click enabled then you can hold down control on the keyboard and click the link.

GoToMeeting requirements

curious about the letterbox plugin. I googled it but not sure which to get it from. 


His site is down at the moment but the plugins are still available. Be sure to follow the install instructions. (included in the download) Just be ready to redownload the plugin if Apple updates and breaks it. It really should be built in to the application but for some reason Apple has not implemented it. The developer is usually only a few days behind updates.

New Macbook or keep using old computer?

if I have this list of people on Iweb and they will not go through how can I move the entire thing into another email that can be sent out


Most likely one of the email addresses is incorrect so often the entire list won't go out.  So it wouldn't help to pull the list over to another email.  Recheck your email addresses in the list.  You may find that one of them has a comma or no @ sign or ".cam" instead of "com".  etc...

Time Capsule not archiving


Is switching to QB for Mac a good idea? We are getting an iMac for the office.

I would have to say that based on the opinions of the majority of clients I’ve worked with who’ve made that switch, no. Most of them absolutely hate the lack of features in the Mac version compared to the Windows version. You may want to also consider the online version of Quickbooks. That’s where it’s all headed anyway. Limited features compared to the Windows version also however. So overall, if you are used to the Windows version of Quickbooks and use it in depth, there’s a very good chance you will be disappointed in the Mac version.

Here’s a useful comparison chart.
Online Accounting Solutions and Professional Internet Accounting Software - QuickBooks OE | Compare to QuickBooks for Mac

How to get to the Archive Utility in Time Capsule


I have been synching my iPad with my iMac. I need to shift it to synch with my work laptop. Is there a way to do that without losing all of the apps?


You can set the iPad into a manual sync mode. (available under the info tab in iTunes) This will allow you to manually manage certain parts of your content like movies and music. This will not allow you to manually manage applications. The iPad remains married to the first computer. You can transfer apps to the new computer then sync to that one but that would be come a pain moving back and forth. You would select “transfer purchases” under “File” in the menu bar. This copies all the apps into the new computer including free ones then you can begin syncing from that computer. Note: You will also lose all pictures.

iPhone and incoming/outgoing email problems

Hi Scotty, I am interested in joining your discusson group on Monday night. Do
I need any special equipment to do that?  Also I'm guessing that a lot of it will be
way over my inexperienced head, but I still think I would enjoy it.  Thanks


When you click “join” on the Town Hall page, your computer will install a program called GoToMeeting. The requirements to run that program are as follow:

For Mac-based Organizers and Attendees
  • Required: Mac OS® X 10.4 (Tiger®), OS X 10.5 (Leopard®), OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard®)
  • Required: Safari™ 3.0 or newer, Firefox 2.0 or newer; (JavaScript and Java enabled)
  • Internet Connection Required: Cable modem, DSL, or better recommended
  • Required: PowerPC G4/G5 or Intel processor, 512 MB of RAM or better recommended

I’m pretty sure you meet all those criteria. See you soon!

Weird email showing up and won't delete

I've got a simple computer question to run by you.  Child needs a computer for school this year.  I assume it's mostly word processing needs but not totally sure.   Husband’s thinking about cleaning up the hard drive on his Powerbook G4 and letting him use that.  I think that it's about 4 years old??  Do you think that's a good plan?

The new low end macs are about $1,000 - right?

Told you it was simple!  Take good care! Thanks,


That powerbook has really seen its prime and it may be time to move on.  Yes you can get some more miles out of it.  You put office on it (you may already have it on it) and he should be fine.  But your kids are gamers also.  That powerbook can't drive anything modern in terms of graphics.  But that's not a reason to buy him a computer for school of course.  If he's a good kid and has proven he can take care of things then I'd say get him a macbook but if he still has a way to go in showing responsibility then he rides with the powerbook for a while and earns the nicer machine.  

Online Storage and Backup


Thanks for your note

If you look at the succession of screen shots, I think I know what the problem is-The passport is already "full" and my iMac wants to send all my files, not just the new ones.



That's exactly right.  The target drive has to be at least the same size and have at least an equal amount of free space available.  If the passport drive is an old archive drive then there shouldn't be anything wrong with erasing the drive using disk utility (with the drive connected directly to your computer) then trying again.  However, if there is data on the passport drive that is important then that can not be done of course.  You'd need a different drive.  

Good call.  

Companies that recover damaged drives

I need a quick reminder as to how to get to the page to archive the contents of time capsule to my external hard drive.
Thank you.


To get to the archive utility in your Time Capsule, you’ll first launch airport utility (do a spotlight search with the magnifying glass in the top right corner of your screen for airport) Next double click the picture of the aiport time capsule in the list of devices on the left. (Should have a green light next to it) Next select “disk” from the top of the window. From there you should see the “archive” button. However, you’ll have to first have a drive connected via USB for the archive feature to be active.

Sorry I don’t have a screen shot for you. I don’t have a time capsule.

Tax Free weekend iMac purchase

Any other thoughts on the iPhone email not sending because it won't relay issue?  I made all the fixes you recommended on the mail servers and still have the same problem.   Do you think if we stopped the forwarding the the RR email to and just let me received those normally, that might solve the issue from the phone? (if so, please tell me how).   My phone now won't let me send from either mac. com or account (I was able to on the old phone) and all this will make it harder for me to get off of the RR address if all my emails from my phone are still sent from that address.   Not an immediate urgent issue as I still can function on the phone, but as my "business" side (aka volunteer life) kicks back off when school does I would appreciate the efficiency of using my phone with out always having to change the sender address.  If I need to schedule another appt with you, I am happy to do that too.

Thanks for helping me with this.


To stop Road Runner from forwarding your email to another account you’ll need to go to and login. Next go to Settings then select “Forward options”

You may then want to delete your mobileme account from your phone and re add it to see if that will solve the incoming/outgoing issue with your email.

Unplug your computer during a thunderstorm or you'll be sorry.

Ok Scotty, this other thing freaks me out:  I got emails dated 12/31/69 with no content and they won't delete off my phone either. Still no mail on the desktop and this is the second time in a week the 1969 email thing has happened. Any thoughts?  I will look at your calendar to see when you have an hour as I'm out of ideas on how to get mail back. (unless it's that video blocking incoming). 

Sent from my iPhone


Weird but not unheard of. One I’m guessing there’s no subject in the email either. I would check the header info and see where it’s coming from. Chances are that your email address got on to a spammer’s list and you are one of 1000’s of accounts that are being sent these messages. The good news is that it should be harmless to you. The bad news is that if you were a windows user this would be something to be concerned about. There’s a chance the email contains windows code trying to run. That’s one explanation.

Another explanation is that the server you are getting your email from has a problem with its date stamp among other things. I would say that it’s not exclusive to your computer since you phone is showing the same email. The header info is the key here. That will give you more of an idea as to where this is coming from and what we can do to stop it.

Can iWork be downloaded?

Great newsletter! So where do you recommend i start storing all my data, in which "cloud" is best online? Which company has the best online storage, does Apple offer any?


So as computers develop, so will the cloud, and it will become integrated into the operating system. But for now, if you’d just like offline (or cloud) storage as backup there are several options.

Mozey and Carbonite are cloud based backup services where you pay a yearly fee to backup only your internal drive. I’m not so much a fan of these due to the speed at which it takes to recover an entire drive’s worth of data. I prefer just a pair of good old fashioned hard drives that you rotate every once in a while. Use one while the other one sits in a safe or at someone else’s home then 6 months later, switch them.

Another cloud based storage is Dropbox. If you have multiple computers then Dropbox is wonderful. It’s 2 gigs for free. It’s not really meant as a backup although you can use it that way. Just not a lot of space for free. But it syncs folders between computers fantastically.

Lastly is iDisk. Yes, Apple does offer cloud based backup but iDisk has been underwelming in its performance. You have 20 gigs of stoarge as a mobileme user but some of that is allocated to email and picture sharing etc... But it syncs between computers well. Just slow. Dropbox is much faster.

Turning off the auto response in MobileMe

Where was it that you recommended to take my external hard drive to get fixed in Charlotte?????????


There are two companies that I usually recommend to people. One local and one nation wide.

Local: Data Recovery Group 7512 E. Independence Blvd., Suite 100 Charlotte, NC 28227
National: Drive Savers

Neither of these is cheap. But the Charlotte firm may be more willing to work with you.

How many drives do I need to backup?

I am going to get a new imac desktop tomorrow (tax free no less).  My though was to get the 21.5” but wanted your insight again on the benefits/tradeoff of the more powerful vs less powerful system.  For roughly $300 more, I can get the 3.2GHz vs 3.06 and 1TB drive vs 500GB.  You know the differences and how we use our computer.  My plan would be to have this computer for 5 years but allow for the need to upgrade sooner given technology changes (we’ve had the current system for 6 yrs).


congrats on the new purchase.  This is the perfect time to buy.  If for some reason they don't have what you want in stock then you can still order it online and get the same tax credit but they'll do that at the store with you as a last resort.  The only reason I mention this because if you don't get the computer we would need to postpone our session.  I'll confirm it in a separate email coming up in a few minutes.  
 I think the larger question here is screen size.  The 27" may be overkill for you but it sure is sweet.  But given your normal use and needs I think the $1199 base model is super.  I don't see a compelling need for you to move to the next tier up unless you are lusting for 27" vs. 21".  I do wish they still offered the 24" which is what I use currently.  So to answer your question, I don't think you need to move up.  Stick with the $1199 and you'll be happy.  

Static IP and VPN setup

Some electricians convinced me a surge protector for he house was a good idea (for all appliances and computers)
Was I sold a bill of goods?


This is perhaps the best and most important question I’ve gotten. I want to make clear that my reference to useless surge protectors was aimed at the 5 or 6 plug outlet extension chord types most people use near their computers, tv’s or video game systems. Those are (in my opinion) %100 worthless when fending off a direct lightning strike. They are good for small fluctuations in power and are designed to basically terminate power via a small circuit breaker based on a fuse inside.

Now the type of surge protection you are referring to is a home wide system that is designed to withstand a great deal more increase or decrease in power. This is far different from the power strips I was thinking of however, I have seen electricity do whatever it wants to. I’ve seen computers damaged by only ethernet cabling. If actual lightning hits your home, then the only %100 true protection that your electronics are not going to be in the physical path of electricity is to have them unplugged.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the home wide system is a good investment. It will most certainly help against brown power. That’s when the voltage goes up and down in small increments. That’s also where an UPS (uninterrupted power supply) comes in very handy as well.

Ultimately though, at the risk of offending someone, if lightning is the hand of God, it will do whatever it wants to. And if there is a physical wire connecting one item to another. Nothing will stop it. If there where something that could guaranteed to stop lightning, then let’s go sailing out on Lake Norman during the next summer evening thunderstorm, hook it to the mast and see what happens.

I don’t mean to be flippant. I just see a lot of damage to computers during the summer due to this. And they all same the same thing. “I had it connected to a surge protector”. 3 computers last week just in my client base alone.

Finding a lost application.

I have a dumb question. If I need I pages on my laptop I can't download it from the Apple store online? I have to physically buy the disks?


No such thing as a dumb question. yes, you can download a demo of iWork then purchase the serial number after you decide if you like it. It works for 30 days I believe starting the first time you open either of the 3 applications: Keynote, Pages, or Numbers.

Apple - iWork - Download a 30-day trial of iWork.

Buying an extra adapter

Have a message that say I am away where to go to delete 


You are using MobileMe so you’ll need to log in to MobileMe at then go to your mail settings.

Now select vacation and be sure to uncheck the auto-response box.


Do you still make housecalls?

YIKES!  My computer would not start up today and I was afraid...very afraid.  Long story short..It works now.  BUT, my Time Capsule is not working so great anymore.  

You just updated both my kids computer and my own to be 1 TB Hard Drives.  
My Time Capsule is 500MB, so it can't even begin to back up these two computers AND my laptop.  
Do I go for the 2TB Time Capsule to back up hopefully my Mac World, OR is there something better and cheaper than the $500 Time Capsule that still backs up on its own and maybe even wirelessly.
I know you like Seagate as we have talked that before for one computer, but what if I want to do the whole group together?  Or is the whole group together a bad idea in the first place?

This was the Seagate one I found that would be big enough.  Just don't know if that is the right choice or the Time Capsule.  Thanks.

Desktop hard drive | External Desktop hard drives | FreeAgent | GoFlex Desk | Seagate


I would say no to the above drive. I have no experience with it but generally, trust the Apple software Time Machine and avoid the third party backup software and that’s what that Seagate is pushing. Now to answer the question about Time Capsule. The 2 TB time capsule is nice but way too overpriced for me to recommend. Instead I think it would be a better idea to either get a $99 FreeAgent by Seagate and let the two kids share backup between the two computers as long as they only have less than 500gigs of data a piece. And my bet is that they don’t have anywhere near 500 gigs each so the 1 TB drive would be fine for them to move back and forth to share. The other option is for each of them to have one. Which is still only $300 total for 3 drives versus the 2TB Time Capsule. So I’m leaning more toward each computer having it’s own backup. Knowing what I do about your setup, as I remember, you deal a lot in video so you have to be in the hard drive buying business. it might not be a bad idea for each computer to have its own backup. That way you don’t have to worry about space.

Now there is another solution though costly. DroboFS is the ultimate answer. It’s a box that holds multiple drives that all computers can use to backup. And the big positive here is the drives can be removed and increased in size to grow as your data needs do. The negative is the price. It’s most likely more than you need. Just thought I’d mention it.

Adding items to the dock


I am getting ready to purchase a mac mini server.  I will be using the server for law firm documents.  Confidentiality is key.  

What do I need to do to be able to have access to the server from the internet?  What is a VPN and what do I need to get one set up that is secure?


Ok. Small question with big answers. In order to access your server reliably from the internet you need what’s called a static IP address. Generally, your ISP (internet service provider) gives your home a dynamic IP address. This means it changes all the time. It’s a number like 123.345.456. But when this number changes then it’s basically a moving target. If you purchase a static IP, that means you are purchasing one of those numbers and your IP address will not change. This is more common in business than in the home due to the cost involved. Once you have a static IP, you can always see the server online from other areas of the world.

Now, this is not the only way to remote back to your server at home or computer for that matter. There are other ways to do so. There is a service called DynamicDNS. That will allow you to do the same thing without the need of a static IP. It is basically always checking your dynamic IP and keeping a record of it.

Then there’s the fisher-price version of remoting in that is included with a MobileMe subscription. it works sometimes. But is reliant on all the routers between the two computers trying to connect to be set to UPNP (universal plug an play).

Off all these methods, I would consider having a static IP to be the most secure but most costly.

Now to answer your VPN question: A VPN is a virtual private network. That encrypts all the traffic between two computes thus making the connection secure. Perhaps the most common VPN software available is VPN tracker. I’ll be honest however, it can sometimes be a little difficult to deal with. Mac OS X also has a built in VPN service but is more of a hassle to deal with than VPN tracker.

Here are a couple vids to get your feet wet:

YouTube - How to Configure MAC OS-X VPN
YouTube - How to set up a VPN on Mac

One last thought. Many people think they need a server to serve files remotely. A server’s real core purpose is to allow multiple users to sign in from multiple terminals (or computers) in a given environment. In other words, if I work on the 5th floor of a Bank but need to log in on the 3rd floor, a server will allow me to access my user account from any computer. My files then don’t live on the computer but the server. This is a different thing completely from accessing documents outside the business. That’s where the static IP conversation above comes in. None of that is contingent on whether the computer you are trying to connect to is a server or not. It can just as easily be an iMac.

Extracting video from the web

I have lost the app for yahoo messenger also our printer is not working. Told you /


Finding the yahoo messenger app shoule be an easy fix. You may want to add it to the dock in the future (although it can sometimes be easy for people to accidently remove items from the dock.). Here’s a similar question and answer on how to add items to your dock and where to find applications like yahoo messenger.

As far as the printer goes, that is a small bit more detailed. But try the following:

1. check to make sure the printer is connected to the airport express in husband’s office
2. go to system prefs then print and fax preferences.
3. hit the minus button in the bottom left hand area of the window.
4. Now hit the plus button and your printer should show up in the list.
5. select that printer and hit “add”. The correct drivers should install automatically and you should be good to go.

eMail forwarded by RR is causing problems

Hello Scotty,
 I am in need of a new power cord for my computer. The other one is fried and makes sparks when it's pugged in YIKES! I cannot seem to find a replacement. Can you point me in the right direction or do you offer them?


Honestly, I would check
ebay. You can usually find used power adapters for Mac laptops at a descent price there. One thing to be aware of is that a common difference between macbooks and macbook pros is that the pros use an 85 watt adapter and the regular macbooks use 65 watt adapters. It’s not the end of the world if you use one with the other. It will just charge the battery at a more regulated rate.

If you purchase directly from apple they’re going to charge around $79 whereas you can often find them on eBay for much less.

Mouse not working on laptop

Do you still make house calls?


I absolutely still do house calls.  That's the main part of my business.  If you need any assistance you can schedule a session online at  If you have any problems with the site just email again and we can schedule manually.

Mail servers going down on desktop

can you offer how to put documents on the dock, I mistakenly erased mine and don't know how to put it back thanks,


It’s very easy to both pull out things from our dock as well as leaving them in there by accident. The two most common itmes that people want in t their dock are applications and docmuments. Look carefully and you’ll notice a small line on the far side.

You can drag documents from a finder window (inside your documents folder) to the right side of the dock and applications (from your applications folder) to the left side of the dock. Then you’ll be able to launch them easily with one click right from the dock. To find the items you want to put back in to the dock you’ll need to use the finder. Double click on the icon on your desktop “Macintosh HD” then click on the documents folder on the left hand side of that window. Inside, you’ll most likely find the documents you were looking for.
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