to commonly asked questions.

August 2013

Mac booting to a gray scren

this is the error message I get when I tried to email a picture from iPhoto. any ideas how to fix this?

Screen Shot 2013-09-29 at 5.08.33 PM


While in iPhoto, Go into your preferences and select “Accounts”. Check to see that your email is spelled correctly and while you’re at it, re enter your password in the field provided.

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 11.19.11 PM

If that doesn’t take care of things, hit the minus key and just read your email account.

Replacing my current MBP with what?

Hi Scotty
Question.  Why will I have to pay for iCloud when I run out of whatever?  First thought is that it is a scam since they want credit card number.  Can you help please?  


This day has been coming for a while now. Here’s what it all means. If you were a MobileMe subscriber many years ago, when Apple made the transition to iCloud, in an effort to appease people who had paid money, they gave extra iCloud storage space to everyone for a period of time. That time is up. Your iCloud storage space went from around 25 gigs to 5 gigs. If you want to keep your iCloud 25 gigs of storage space then Apple would love for you to pay them $40 per year. In my opinion, there is absolutely no good reason to do this. iCloud holds your contacts, calendars, some documents (if you created them in iWork applications such as Numbers, Keynote or Pages), as well as about the last month of pictures. That is going to continue. For most people, 5 gigs is totally enough to continue to use iCloud syncing services like the ones mentioned above. iCloud does not, and has never been an online storage area for your entire iPhoto library. This is a misconception shared by many of the people I work with.

The iCloud storage space is also used to back up your iOS device (iPad or iPhone) if you so choose but again, there is really no need to back up your device to the cloud. Let’s say you drop your phone in the lake (like I did a couple years ago). What did you just lose in terms of data?

Your contacts and calendars? No. Those will sync via iCloud and live on other computer and at whether you buy more space or not.
Your pictures? No. Your pictures are moving into iPhoto via photo stream if you turned on photo stream. And everyone should turn on photo stream!
Your music? No. No music lives on your iPhone that does live in iTunes are can be downloaded again from the iTunes store.
Your movies and apps? No. We no longer buy files. We buy permission to download those files for the rest of our lives. So if you bought Jaws 3 years ago and had it stored on your phone so you could watch it after going swimming in the lake later that night on the boat during the overnight campout, you can just redownload it again from the iTunes store once you’ve gotten a new device.

The one thing that you WILL lose is the order or arrangement your apps appear on your device. Which apps were on the front page? Which were in a folder? etc…

You will lose home videos you took on your device whether you have iCloud backup turned on or not. Those items do not move to the cloud until you connect to a wifi network. Which brings me to my next point. You can set your device to sync and backup to iTunes over wifi in your home already so the case to pay Apple $40 more just to keep the order of your apps seems pointless to me. I suggest you save your money. Do not pay for more space in iCloud and instead buy something nice for yourself.

Laptop monitor cracked

Hi, I had the app face dialer which I loved & no longer works in os 7, can u research & fins an equivalent to that app & the swype android one


Looks like Face Dialer was last updated almost 2 years ago.  I would guess the developer walked away from the app.  Finding something comparable will be a matter of digging through the app store and trying things out to find one that fits your own needs.

Random followups

Hey Scotty, we haven't needed you in awhile but need to get you over here soon for a couple of things-will make an appt.

My daughter needs an iPad for school work, basically needs it for internet, word, and writing papers.
we were thinking that we could get a generation or 2 old and maybe a refurbished one?
she would like the larger one, not the mini.

Do you have suggestions where we should purchase that and/or do you have one for sale?

any help that you can give us would be wonderful, after I buy it, that would be the perfect time to get you over here to help with set up of that also.

I don’t sale devices. There are a few places to consider. The newest iPads are usually available refurbished directly from at a slightly lower cost. Usually around $50 cheaper. But the overall price of these devices is still fairly high. Ebay is probably your best way to go. Be sure to check the seller’s rating before buying. And beware of added values to increase the price such as “free case with purchase” or “comes with the following software…”. When you buy an iOS device it should come to you completely restored with no apps installed. Another place to consider is Craigslist. This is more cut and dry and requires you to go pick up the device from someone’s house but overall you can find very good deals on Craigslist if you can get over the fear of dealing with a stranger in person.

Lastly, to get a good feel for the actual value of these older devices, go over to and check out what other companies buy these devices for. That will give you a ball park figure for the device you have in mind. Hope this helps.

Restarting an iPad, Calendar duplicates and iCloud email issues

Hi Scotty,  Can you please give me a call when you get a minute. I went to update my computer and when it turned back on as a restart nothing was there, not even my hard drive shows.


First try to hold the power button down until it cuts off then restarting.  If that doesn't help, hold the power button down again and restart but this time hold the "option" key down.  You will hopefully be presented with 2 hard drive choices.  Your regular drive and a recovery drive.  Choose the regular "macintosh HD" and restart and see if that gets you back up again going.  

Finding my wifi password


My daughter is going into grade 11 needs a new computer (her plastic Dell died after 4 pretty good years). I am probably going to give her my current MBP and then get a new one for myself, and then have you come over and help with all the switching over along with making sure everything is getting backed up ... but here is the dilemma - Macbook Pro with Retina Display vs Macbook Air? (its a good dilemma ... but I am worried as hell that I will be making things worse and spending a lot to do so!)

My main beef with my current MBP is:
1. Slow photo editing - not all the time but it happens often that I waiting for a photo to process after an edit.
2. Low battery life - I am always worried I am going to run out of power when I am away from power ... and I almost always do.

My concerns with the NEW Macbook Pro are:
1. Everything on the web says to wait until they come out with the new chips ... which would then handle the battery life question.
2. Will it make much difference in my editing speed

My ONLY concern with the NEW Macbook Air is:
1. Editing speed - will it get worse somehow going to the air (assume I choose the highest speed option

*If the speed is going to get worse with the AIR, I might consider just waiting until the new MBP's come out and simply try to survive with my iMac at home and iPad on the road and my desktop PC at work.

*But if speed somehow gets better, then I am inclined to get the AIR and relish the long battery life, and simply wait for another time to get me a retina display. (WHAT DOES TURBO SPEED MEAN anyways - would that actually help me?)

Thanks for your help Scotty!

First off, it sounds like you need to rule out the air.  You are dealing with large images and you need as much horsepower as you can afford.  Sot the MBP is going to be the better option.  

Secondly, yes I would wait until the next revision of MBP if you can limp along with your daughter for now.  I think you'll be happier in the long term rather than second guessing your decision for the next few years.  

Third, battery life is never what we want it to be.  I have found that even if our battery life triples in length, within 6 months we are disappointed that it's not double that.

So you may want to wait on the new MBP and when they are released (with the newer lower energy consumption processors) there will be a longer battery life to them.  Also, Mavericks 10.9 will help battery life a little as well.  That's been a big focus on that operating system version.  You'll want to consider the price difference between processor speeds when you ARE ready to buy.  For the large majority of people I work with, I never recommend spending the extra money to get the faster processor but in your case it's something you should consider.

First - Thank you for the quick response - greatly appreciated.

THIS IS MY FINAL QUESTION TO YOU ... (not trying to create the never ending email chain)
I do MOST of my photo editing on my iMac at home - probably 75%. I only do photo editing on my MacBook when I am traveling longer than a day. Before I rule out the AIR, I wanted to know what speed would be like relative to what I have now. With the new chip, 500+GB SSD and this thing called turbo boost, would the AIR be better, the same or actually worse than my current MBP?

The Air would not be slower than your current MBP.  In my experience, nothing beats taking your iphoto library on an external drive down the the Apple store, option launching into iPhoto using your own library and test the speeds of each computer for yourself.  You are investing a couple thousand dollars.  It's not a bad idea to test drive each machine.  That's the only way you can know for sure what you like the best.  

It has been my experience that almost 100% of the time, no matter which choice people go with, they wish they had chosen the other machine as soon as something doesn't act they way they should.  Overall, our expectations have outgrown a computer's ability to perform.  It's the same reason we all speed in a 35 mph zone.  We are not used to waiting on computers but we have all reached a point where we expect our computers to be faster than they actually are.  

I strongly suggest you go put your hands on both machines using your own iPhoto or Aperture library.

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