to commonly asked questions.

August 2014

Upgrading a 10.5.8 Mac.

I want to upgrade my mac. Current is 10.5.8 and processor is 2GH core 2 duo.

Upgrading from 10.5 at this point requires getting your machine to 10.6 first via an install disc then using the App store (which only existed after 10.6.8 is installed) to update to 10.9.  However, if your computer will not go to 10.9 due to its age, then 10.7 or 10.8 may not be available via the app store any longer.  I can install which ever version you need.  I can also connect you with a copy of 10.6 on disc.  Otherwise you can acquire one through eBay or  

3 beeps equal bad ram.

Hi Scotty – computer will not turn on.  It has a black screen and beeps 3 consecutive times, over and over.
What I've read regarding it, it is the RAM?   Something I can do?


You are correct about the ram.  There are many ways to go about solving the issue and there are a few possibilities.  The most likely culprit is the ram.  (thus the 3 beeps).  At the bottom of the computer there is a panel that you can remove with a phillips screw driver.  This will reveal the two slots where the new ram is installed.  There are two plastic tabs you can pull downward to remove the ram.  Then reseat the ram by pushing it back up.  If one of the chips is bad, you can discover this by leaving only one in and restarting the machine.  However this is where the actual slots themselves must also be considered.  If it's not the ram but instead the actual slots, then the ram may work in one slot but not the other.  This means you must go through a process of elimination until you come up with a reliable combination where you get the 3 beeps error consistently.  

ram chip 1 in slot 1
ram chip 1 in slot 2
ram chip 2 in slot 1
ram chip 2 in slot 2

By methodically going through this process, you can usually identify which is the problem.  I'm guessing since, in your case, you just added ram recently, it's most likely a bad piece of ram.  However, is usually very reliable ram.  But it's not unheard of.  The good news is, once you've determined which piece of ram is the problem, you can leave the other one in and allow the computer to run while you have the bad piece  replaced by  

Now for the bad news.  If the ram beeping error is inconsistent then it will take a very long time to find a reliable combination of what ram in what slot that may actually cause the problem.  Ram is made up of sectors and it's common for bad ram to work normally until the bad sector is eventually needed by a particular piece of software.  In other words, it could take some time.  

iMac needs more ram

We need to upgrade our iMac ram and browser and would like to schedule some time. Should we go with 4 or 6GB and what browser will give us the longest use with most applications out there? Also, should I go ahead and order and install ram or would you prefer to supply from your source?

I prefer to order my ram from It’s very good ram and usually very reliable. You can go to and find the make and model of your iMac by downloading their scanner. It should find what you need automatically. As far as the amount of ram goes, I would suggest purchasing the maximum amount of ram you can afford. It’s better to max out the ram usually rather than slowly step up. That being said, 4 gigs is fine.

As far as “browser” goes. I will assume you are referring to the operating system. The version of the operating system that would work best for you iMac would best be determined by the speed of the processor. If you go to the upper right corner under the black apple in the menu bar, you can choose, “about this mac”. That will tell you the speed of the computer and then give me a better idea of what the age of your computer is.

Microsoft Office getting sick

so sorry to keep bothering you and this isn't urgent, but I can't use microsoft office stuff.  I finally got excel to open after a few trys and having to restart the computer. I made a few changes to a document and now can't get it to save - keeps saying disk full??  then i tried to open a document in word and it said microsoft has encountered a problem and must quit.  
Interestingly, I have gotten similar messages popping up today while using email - saying "force quit"

Sounds strange. First you need to address your storage issue. Right Click (control + click_ on the Macintosh HD icon on your desktop and select to get info. This window should reveal how much space you have used and is available. If you are running low on disk space then that’s something that would need to be addressed. I can’t remember if that was one of your prior issues or not.
Secondly, Microsoft office may need to be reinstalled. If I remember correctly, you have a macbook air or new macbook pro which means you do not have a CD drive. If that is the case, we could use my laptop drive to remotely reinstall office. I have found that Office sometimes “gets sick” and reinstalling is the best method of healing. Keep me posted and I’ll be happy to address the issue. You may want to hold off until Monday and meet me on my town hall session or schedule whenever you need as well.

Above all else, you need to make sure you have available space on your computer’s hard drive. I seem to recall that was a relatively new machine so I don’t see you having filled that drive up. But stranger things have happened.

Time Capsule doesn't have enough room to backup

My time capsule says that the backup is too big. I think that I need to delete the content and start fresh or somehow get it to delete old backups. What do I do?

Several ways to go about this. You could erase the time capsule drive and start the backup over again by going into Airport Utility, selecting disks, then erase from there. You’ll then need to re add the time capsule drive as a time machine drive via system preferences.
Another way would be to mount the time capsule drive from the finder window then select the sparse image bundle (my arch nemesis) then delete it, followed by emptying the trash. That would also free up space. It’s possible that deleting one sparse image bundle made from another computer backup may from up enough space to allow your own computer to back up as well.
Another solution (although short term) would be to exclude many items from backing up (system preferences/time machine/options). This would allow for only the most important items to be backed up. i.e.: iPhoto library or documents folder. Not the best choice here either.
The thing not to do, is mount the sparse image bundle, therefore revealing your backups.backupdb folder then selecting a range of backup folders and deleting them. I do not recommend that method.

Which drive should I buy?

Should I get a back up hard drive for Time Machine? And where in Charlotte is the best place to look and which one would you recommend.

A backup drive for your computer is the most important thing you can have.  I personally prefer the Seagate brand drives.  They fail the least often.  Every drive dies, or at least we should assume they do so we are not surprised when it does happen.  You can get a Seagate Backup Plus at any Best Buy.  

User needs both exchange and iCloud calendars but let's avoid Outlook.

I just realized that I am having an issue with the calendar.  My assistant uses our office outlook to make appts in my calendar (linked to hers) and none of those transferred.  I assume this is not a fixable problem since the other outlook is the only way our calendars are tied.  Is it a problem to use the new email you set up but the old calendar? If that is ok, can you tell me how to get back to my old calendar? Sorry!

This actually should be an issue that may be easily resolved.  Before we jump ship and go back to Outlook as your mac app for calendaring, contacts and email, it may be as simple as turning on calendars from within your exchange account already setup on the mac.  To do this try the following:

Go to system preferences and internet accounts.

Select the exchange account that should be listed on the left column then select to turn on "calendars".  That should redownload all the calendars that are associated with the exchange account without having lost any data.  These exchange based calendars should now show up in apple's calendar.  
Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 9.44.46 PM

These exchange based calendars should now show up in apple's calendar.  These should be listed along with your other iCloud calendars that already exist.  (work and home I believe) 
Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 9.46.57 PM

If that doesn't bring the calendar(s) down onto your calendar, then next go to the apple calendar program and select preferences from the menu items at the top of the screen.  They may be in the calendar but not yet enabled.  Just check the "enable" button seen below.  
Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 9.47.35 PM

Why Road Runner email is terrible.

…still getting messages about other devices in use and my emails are not being sent anymore.  What should I do? Can't remember what you did to get my emails going again.
I will also check into getting a new email address.

First as you already know...stop relying on as your main email address!

Because it’s a POP email account and not the more modern IMAP, this means that your email still thinks it’s 1995. Therefore this POP account gets very confused when more than one device or computer is trying to check it at the same time. iPads, iPhones, computers all make a call up to the email server to request email. The account gets very confused by this (because it’s crap) and sends down the message “other devices in use” etc... So if you want to check from another device then this means you have to make sure all the other device’s mail apps have been quit. On a computer, you must actually quit the mail program. On an iOS device, you’ll need to double click the home button at the bottom of the device then kill the mail app that’s running. This will allow a different device to start a conversation with the email server. Terrible right?’s what everyone with a RR email should be doing or has already done. Either:

A: stop using road runner email.
B: only use RR email for junk and create a new email that IMAP like gmail or iCloud.
C: If you must continue to use RR email, then create a gmail or iCloud account then go to and log in. After you’ve logged in, go to your RR email settings and set the RR email to forward a copy to your new gmail or iCloud email address then discard the copy. This will prevent RR email from storing a copy therefore filling up the pathetic 100 megs of storage they give each user. 100 megs of storage vs. the 7000 megs that gmail gives you for email storage.

In closing, I can’t stress it enough. Get off of RR email. It’s nothing but a horrible bag of pain and suffering.

At this point I often hear people say “but Scotty I can’t stop using my RR email address. It’s my Apple ID.” I agree. I don’t like to encourage people to change Apple IDs but that’s not what this is about. This is about using that as an EMAIL ADDRESS. It can continue to be a username as far as Apple is concerned. Whether or not it is functional as an email address makes no difference to Apple. They just want a series of characters that represent you uniquely and using an email address was their first choice.

OpenDNS not working

Hi Scotty -
Open DNS was not working to block content on our network.  I was able to get it to work on the mac & mac pro but it does not block content on my iPhone, kindles, or fire phone.  I saw in the tech support section on OpenDNS that it is unable to operate on Uverse.  Is it possible that the mobile devices go through the Uverse router and not Airport?  Is there a work around for this?

Any suggestions on how to get this to work would be appreciated.

There are several ways to set up OpenDNS. One method is to apply the settings necessary to each device individually. This would block access to filtered websites on some devices while allowing all content on others. Another method of applying the OpenDNS filter is to apply the settings to the router itself. When a home is using an Apple router or other third party router such as a Linksys, Netgear, etc... this is a fairly easy process. However, if the family is only using a Time Warner or ATT router exclusively and no other third party router, these companies often lock their own routers to the point where certain changes can not be made. i.e,; DNS changes.

I cannot recall which method we used in your case but it sounds like we didn’t apply the changes to the router itself but to individual devices. However, it’s important to keep in mind that OpenDNS will only filter your personal wifi network. A person could always jump to another neighborhood network nearby or turn off wifi on their phone leaving them to surf the web via the unfiltered LTE or 3G network of the phone carrier. This may also be the case.

Husband wants a new laptop

Scotty, my husbands lap top just died and he is about to buy a new one. I wanted to check with you before he bought anything to see what we should buy. He wants a 15 to 17 inch screen. Windows 8 and Microsoft office applications for work. Other than that he uses the internet and very basic. Bill pay and his basketball coaching... Email. Mostly work from home features. I want him to go with an apple product so we can all be in sink. What do you think? Can you help advise us on what to buy?

Sounds like a Windows laptop will be the way to go. If he’s interested in running Windows 8 then he could buy a macbook pro and install vmware fusion or parallels then run Windows 8 in virtualization but that may not be what he’s looking for. He’d have to purchase a copy of windows 8, and the virtualization software to run it in. That’s an approximate additional cost of around $300 on top of the price of the computer itself. So it really just depends how bad he wants to run windows 8. Being an Apple consultant, I do not support anything that happens inside Windows 8 other than getting it set up on the mac itself.

Which airport router is right?

I need an apple router and airport. Which one do you recommend.

If you visit you’ll see the 3 types of routers Apple sells. For the largest coverage, the Airport extreme ($199) is my favorite. As an extender, the airport express ($99) is a nice addition to cover a larger distance. It can be used alone but I would only recommend the airport express as your soul router in small spaces. For very large homes, it’s acceptable to use multiple extremes and/or expresses. They both offer USB ports to connect printers and hard drives to as well.

Lastly, there’s the time capsule ($299-$399) depending on storage capacity. It’s essentially an airport extreme with a hard drive inside. The concept is that you’d use the time capsule as a wireless backup via time machine. However, while I love time machine when it’s used with a directly connected drive, time machine, when used with a time capsule router, is flawed. Therefore, I do not consider the Time Capsule a reliable product and cannot recommend it.

Video into iMovie from DVD

Can you help us? Our hope is to put together an iMovie of old movies and pictures for a gift. We already have converted old movies on Costco DVDs and but the files are saved as “unix executable” files (.VOB, .IFO, .BUP). When I try to pull the files, it says the files are “unreadable.” The videos play but I want to pull them into iMovie and it won’t let me. Would this be something you can help with? 

Most likely, when you had costco burn video to a DVD (probably from tape like VHS or something older like that) they made an actual DVD and not just video files stored on a DVD disc. This shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll need some special software designed to rip the video content from the DVD. If you’d like, you can check out Handbrake and try to do it yourself first. Handbrake should be able to convert the DVD video content into something usuable the iMovie can then take to edit like .mov, .mp4 etc...

Keep in mind, the ripping process (taking video off a DVD) can be quiet long so we may only walk through the process for you to then be left to do the homework of ripping all the costco dvd content yourself.  Then maybe I return at a later date to assist with the actual iMovie editing portion.  

Do updates slow my computer down?

Is slow performance related to the need to upgrade and, if so, why.??  

It is true that every time we update our computers or iOS devices, each update asks the processor to do just a little more. Be it graphically or within calculations. However, there are rare cases where updating the software will solve slowness issues which may be caused by the current operating system’s own problems.

Generally you can regard each computer or iOS device as having a limited number of upgrades within its life before its usefulness expires. I would say that number is around 4 major upgrades. In other words, if you buy a computer with 10.5 installed, I would expect it to run up to 10.9 with each upgrade making the computer a little slower than the one before but eventually being unable to update to 10.10. In terms of iOS, the same is true. Buy a new phone running iOS 8 and expect it to be ready for replacement by around iOS 11.

These are just estimated lengths of time of course. Apple eventually cuts off older devices by no longer supporting that particular device’s older processor in future updates.

HP 8610 airprint available?

I am looking at HP office jet pro 8610.  Guy loves it. You?  It is compatible with apple and is air print. 

8610 is a nice printer and capable of printing from iOS devices via what Apple calls AirPrint but HP calls ePrint.

What printer for iOS?

What type air printer do I need to purchase for the Charlotte Latin IPad Air for my 7th grader? Where can I get it?

The HP 5000-7000 series photosmart printers are nice.  Epson is making better printers over the last few months as well.  HP calls the iOS printing technology "ePrint".  Most all the other manufacturers, including Apple, call it "airprint".  Most printers have this technology now.  Available at Best Buy, Apple store, Staples, etc...

Apple ID password change.

I had to authenticat the set up of my children's email for school w apple.  Couldn't remember my password for my Apple ID so had to reset it.  Now I can't get email to send because it says incorrect icloud password.  Is the icloud password and Apple ID password the same thing or different?

That depends on whether your Apple ID is based on an actual Apple provided email address or not. If your Apple ID corresponding email ends with @me, @mac, or then most likely you are using that ID for both purchases via iTunes and the app store as well as an iCloud ID which would be related to syncing data like contacts, calendars, pictures etc...

So most likely when you changed your Apple ID password, it effected your email as well. We assume that when we change our passwords within accounts that that change would automatically push to all other related areas but that is not the case. When we change our passwords, we have to go to every device and every application that needed that password and enter the new one.

Parent iPhone Contract

I work with a lot of parents concerning what our children are doing in today’s technological world. One particular family recently shared the contract they use with their own children. They graciously gave me permission to share it with anyone else who’s interested. Feel free to download it and customize to your own family’s dynamic.

Remember, having your child sign a contract is the easy part. Holding yourself and your child accountable for its regulations is another.

Parent iPhone contract in Microsoft Word (editable)

Parent iPhone contract in PDF form (non-editable)

Moving from 10.5 to a more modern OS

Hey Scotty,   I have osx 10.5.8 and need at least 10.7.  How do I do the upgrade, do I need to purchase software to install.??

In order to move from 10.5 to anything beyond that, you’ll first need a copy of 10.6 Snow Leopard on Disk.  Apple sells through its online store.  You may also find it on eBay.  I also have copies.  After your computer has 10.6 installed, you’d run all the updates there to get to 10.6.8.  The disk would only have 10.6.3 and you have to have 10.6.8 in order to get the Mac App Store.  Once the Mac App Store has installed after 10.6.8 then you can update to 10.7 or 10.8 depending on the age of your computer. Most likely, if your computer had 10.5, that means its rather old and will not go to the latest version of the OS.  

If you would prefer I move the computer to the most modern OS it can run, I would be happy to do so.  In this situation, I would pick it up and return it the next day.  One more note:  You must have at least 2 gigs or ram to move past 10.6.8.  

TVs not connecting to the internet

We have not been able to  get our TVs to connect to the internet ever since we messed with the routers. Any suggestions? Thanks.

I can’t recall if your tv’s connect via AppleTV, built in ethernet, or have their own wifi connectivity built in.  If AppleTV or they’re relying on a wifi card built in to the tv, then you should be able to join your wifi network through settings on either the AppleTV or TV settings.  If ethernet, then there’s probably an issue at the router keeping the ethernet going out to your tv’s from sending a signal.  Either way, I’m sure we can solve it.  I just don’t remember your exact setup.  
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