to commonly asked questions.

Saving DVD's using handbrake

When I clicked on my mail icon on my MacBook Air, the following message popped up:

You can't use this version of Mail with this version of Mac OS X

You have Mail version 4.5 (1084/1084). It can't be used on Mac OS X Version 10.6.5 (Build  10h574).

This is the first time this message has appeared. What doe I need to do to resolve this matter?

Interesting. First thing I would do would be to delete the icon in the dock then go to the applications folder and re drag the mail icon into the dock. You may want to also “get info” on the mail application in the applications folder to see if you really don’t have the version needed. If that doesn’t work, you can try using the Snow Leopard disk (using the remote disc sharing feature) and choose to do an optional install and select the mail application to install. If you have trouble making that happen then you could always try to pull a copy of mail from another mac that’s running the same version of the OS using a flash drive. I just can’t remember if the mail application will be as simple as copying from another drive. If you need assistance, just let me know.

Locked out of the iPod. Forgot the password

My email is showing up on my old iphone.  How do I cancel that account on my old iphone?

To delete the account on your iPhone, go to Settings then to mail, contacts, and calendar. Next, select the account by tapping on it and you can then scroll to the bottom of the page and select “delete account” in red. That’s it.

ATT Uverse wireless router is crappy

Hey Scotty,

Hope all is well!  I am in need of either a netbook or a has to be PC based :((  Do you have any suggestions??


My first suggestion would be to run as fast as you can away from them! My second suggestion would be to consider using a mac laptop and use bootcamp. Therefore you have all the benefit of good hardware and you can boot to either the mac or pc by holding down the option key at startup. You could also use virtualization software like vmware but that may not fit your needs.

The netbooks out there are all just crap in my opinion. I don’t have any experience in what is a good choice. Luckily they’re pretty cheap so you won’t have to invest much.

iCal upgrade and using two routers

Reminder pls- where do I go to back up time capsule on my external hard drive?


To archive your time capsule backup, first you’ll want to make sure the backup drive is plugged into the usb port on the back of the time capsule router. Next, go to airport utility and select disk in the top of the window. Next select the “archive” button. Your network may be down during the process so time it when you won’t need to be online for a couple hours.

iCal in 10.5.8 and the new mobileme

How do I get movies off my DVD’s and into iTunes using Handbrake?
  1. insert dvd
  2. open handbrake
  3. select the DVD icon in the left column of the drop down window. chose "open"
  4. After handbrake scans the dvd for chapters, select start. Choose the location you want these movies to live. ie: External drive If you have the space the just let them live in the iTunes folder. filepath: users/music/iTunes/itunesmedia/movies
  5. Now that the movies are in the right location, it's time to tell itunes they exist.
  6. Go to iTunes preferences under Advanced. Uncheck the "copy files to iTunes". This has already been done. Hit ok.Screen shot 2011-05-27 at 1.51.27 PM
  7. Now, in the menu bar, go to File and select "add to library"
  8. Navigate to users/youruser/music/iTunes/itunesmusic/movies and select the movie(s) ...(multiple select by holding down the command key) then hit choose.

Your movie will now show up in itunes and can be synced to other devices.
Test this out before investing a lot of time into importing to make sure you've selected the best format for your viewing experience with handbrake. The .m4v movies should be fine. Just nice to check to make sure there are no problems. That's it.

Weird picture landed on the desktop

Hi Scotty,

My daughter locked her i-touch and forgot the password.  Do I need to take it to the store or do you know if it is possible to fix from home.  My friend was told you can plug it into the computer and unlock somehow.  Do you know?

Also --our email is still doing something weird.  Not working properly.  Has the spinning ball thing going for too long too often.

If the ipod is locked then then only way to bring it back to life is to put it into recovery mode and erase the data and resync it to itunes. To do this there is a pattern to holding and releasing the two physical buttons on the touch. Directions can be found here: iPhone and iPod touch: Unable to update or restore There are also many videos on youtube that will show you the pacing/timing of the hold and release of the buttons as well.

If your email account is an IMAP account like mobileme or gmail then deleting and readding the account should help. I am available next week. Just check my calendar on this website to schedule a session.

iCal has gone missing

I want to use both my ATT router and my airport router separately. How do I do that?

How to set your airport extreme up so it will work seperately as a DHCP server from the network it's attached to:

open airport utility
double click on the extreme basestation icon in the left column
choose internet from the tabs across the top
next to "connection sharing" choose a public IP address" instead of Bridge mode.  
apply the update and you will be warned of a double NAT error.  Select to ignore it and the extreme will update.

Now your airport is handing out 10.0.0 ip addresses and your ATT router is handing out 192.168 numbers and you have two separate networks in the home.  The airport will work at 802.11.n speeds and the ATT crappy router will only work at 802.11.g speeds. 

Remember you have changed nothiong on the ATT router so it should continue to work but later you can turn that off it you'd like.  Just not yet.  

Now if the ATT router is handing out 10.0.x numbers then this will not work but it's highly doubtful that's happening. 

What's good for simple blogging.

Bet you are hearing from a lot of folks on the Ical deal.. I updated out Imac, but its not syncing any more with anything... ugh. Also, the apple extreme network is not holding... had to go back to ATT and it seems extra slow.  It was so much faster with extreme when you were here, but it just does not stay.. goes off line and have to revert to att..... should I just get on your schedule to come back by or can you tell me what to do?  Especially concerned about Imac too... they must have an issue because I know I "upgraded".. maybe not on the two laptops but on the desktop for sure.  Do I have to upgrade something on the iphones???

When you upgrade your mobileme calendar at you need to have all yoru iOS devices on 4.2 or later. Your computer should be at 10.6.4 or later however, if you are still in 10.5.8 you can still use the mobileme syncing. Go here for directions.

With the airport extreme, we will want to re-add it to the network but let it handle it’s own DHCP. It would be easier if I did that part but can show you how to manage it in the future.

Time Machine...time to erase and start over.

How to get iCal in 10.5.8 back to syncing after the mobileme upgrade:

Go to iCal’s preferences.
Now select accounts
Now add account by clicking the plus button in the bottom left corner.
Now enter mobileme for the name of the account
enter your full mobileme email address and password

Now for the trick part, select the toggle triangle in server and enter the following: https:/

Your mobileme calendars should appear in the left hand column. Hope that worked.

Alternative to Safari

Question......signed on our computer tonight and a pornographic photo (a jpeg) came up after we signed on with password. How can that happen? It was in small form on our desk top. Appreciate it was not an email or Internet site via safari but seems rather odd. 

It didn’t get there by itself. Someone manually drug it from a source like off a web page and onto the desktop. That is the only way it got there.

Mail not responding

Somehow I have lost my calendar on my macbook... the icalendar but have it on my me mobile account.  any quick fix?

It sounds like you may have just accidentally removed it from your dock. Go to the finder by clicking on the happy face in the dock then go to the applications folder. You should find iCal in that folder. Drag it back into the dock and you’re done. Now if you’ve already done this and it’s not in the applications folder. First, do a search using spotlight in the top right corner of your screen to see if you can locate it and if it’s gone then you have two options on getting it back.

1. Use your install discs to do an “optional install” which would allow you to choose specific apps to reinstall. or even easier....

2. Find another computer that has the same version of your operating system and copy ical to a flash drive and move it to your computer. Many mac applications are drag and drop. When you open ical the next time, it will find your calendars and all should be well again.

When is the next iphone coming?

Can you refer me to a simple straight-forward set-up guide for a blog?  I have something for wordpress but wondered if there was something more Mac-specific/friendly?

There are several out there. Google owns blogspot also known as blogger. Probably the one I’d recommend.
Wordpress as you mentioned before. is investing heavily to draw people away from some of the previous listings.

Give all of them a try. They’re all free. They host your blogging space so you don’t pay anything. However, they reserve the right to place adds there.

If you’d like something a little more sohphisticated, then you could also check out squarespace. It’s paid but has a few features that are pretty cool. Have have a new version of their builder coming out soon that should be much easier to use so I have high hopes. Right now it’s a little too difficult to use for Grandma Edna. I have trouble too. But worth checking out.

Can my family share apps? Yes.

Hi Scotty,

Hope you're well. I have a quick question: Time machine says that it can't back up - it needs to create a new backup and delete the old one. It says it may take several hours. Do I agree to let it do this? And why is it doing this?


I think that overall, it’s a good idea to erase time machine and let it start over periodically. I would suggest about once a year. There could have been so many changes to the computer’s data that time machine would rather get a new more identical copy of the data than keep up with all the changes. I say go ahead and do it. What would be even better is if you erase the Time Machine drive before hand. As long as you have no other data singularly on that drive. If it’s a stand alone drive connected directly to your computer, you can use “disk utility”. If it’s a time capsule drive, then to erase it, you’ll use the “airport utility”. After you’ve erased the drive then you can fire time machine back up and let it start backing up again.

I have also found that some files don’t work well with time machine. A few times, I’ve had clients have problems with the “microsoft user data folder” in the documents folder. It has something to do with Entourage’s file system. I know you most likely don’t use Entourage but just giving you possible explanations. There are other programs that may have caused the issue.

iPad for elder generation? Good choice.

Flash download worked...and lots of other took 4 that is normal. Thanks much. How do i get the google internet explorer installed, like you did on the imac? Sorry i missed the town hall

Many updates and restarts are normal.  I'm thinking you mean Google's Chrome.  You can find it here:

Parental controls block https sites

Hey Scotty, wanted to ask you about my e-mail.  Nearly once a day my e-mail stops receiving messages and I have to shutdown or restart my computer in order to get mail on my mobile me account. It does not happen on my Entourage account however,

What is causing this??? I am frustrated because it takes forever to shut down, reboot and wait for all the messages to come in!

Let me know if you can help me with this problem.  Thanks!!

It’s unusual that Entourage would be working correctly when Apple’s Mail program would not. It may be that the mail program is having difficulty syncing the mail account(s) with the server. This could be solved by deleting the accounts and re-adding them but it’s not guaranteed.

One hint at what is going on is to check the activity window in Mail by going under “Window” in Mail’s menu bar and select “Activity”. This could tell us what is actually stuck.

You don't have a virus.

I still use a second gen iPhone (3G) and have been putting off purchasing a new one.  Apple usually releases new versions of the phone in June, but that may not be the case this year.  Should I go ahead and get the iPhone 4?  

That 3G phone is definately starting to show it’s age I’m sure. You’ve waited long enough but I think you’re right. I don’t really foresee Apple releasing a new phone until after the summer. No one knows for sure however, our best info will come from the WWDC conference to be held the first week in June. Look for Apple to announce details on iphone release roadmap then. They just released the white iPhone so it is not likely they’ll come out and revise them so soon after the white release. But this is all merely speculation. Only apple knows. I would suggest waiting til the first week of June to hear what Apple says then base your decision on that.

Snow Leopard install failed

My daughter bought Pages for her iPad. Does everyone have to buy it individually for each iPad?


No. Your computer will have the authorization for the app and you’ll be allowed to share that app among your home’s iOS devices including all iPads. You can use Home Sharing to sync apps between iTunes libraries automatically as well.

USB or not USB?...thunderbolt!

I was going to give my mother an iPad 2. Does she need a home computer or can the iPad function independantly?

You’ll need a computer to initialize the iPad first but after that it doesn’t need a computer to function. However, you may want to consider occasionally connecting to some computer so that it can backup itself as well as transfer purchases made via the iTunes store. But I’d say getting the iPad for the mom is a great way to go.

Buying an LCD projector

Dear Scotty,
    Will you please help me with this problem that happens on the playroom computer and my brothers laptop, but not my mom’s computer: When I am on safari and I go to a website (such as Google) it works fine, but when I try to click on a hyperlink that leads me to another part of the website (like clicking on the Google Docs link) I get a message that says: Safari can’t oen the page https://etc.... can’t establish a secure connection to the server.

My first guess would be that you may be using a computer that has parental controls on it and thus cannot connect to any website that is using https.  In other words, if you cannot log in to an account on the web that that is most likely the problem.  This is a google docs link which requires https.  Can you log into to get your mail?  If you can then the parental controls are not the problem.  It would be something else.  

Change the number of rings on iPhone before going to voicemail.

Scotty - Hi there and help! Our son was just playing a game on his computer and a message popped up that he has 56 viruses and 17 threads and his computer is infected!  A message to install Mac Protector then popped up.  What do we do now?

Your email said Mac Defender, this is Mac Protector.  I can't tell is it's real or a scam.  Help!

It’s not real. It’s a scam. Don’t install it. Remember they will try to be as persuasive as possible. “You are infected! Run for your life!. Your children’s health depends on it!”

How do I remote back to my home computer?

Sorry to bother you, but I am baffled.  I bought Snow Leopard, downloaded it and my desktop is completely blank.  I can't access anything, it's just blue.  I tried restarting the computer, but the same thing happened again.  Any advice?

Oh No!  I hope the install didn't fail in the middle.  Try forcing it to shut down by holding the power button down, then boot the machine holding the C key down.  Now go through the install process again.  Hopefully the installer will find the hard drive and just overwrite the problem.  If not, then we may need to reformat the drive and install Snow Leopard then recover all your data from the time machine backup you just made today.  I hope the TM backup finished.  

Do you repair Windows computers? No.

If I buy a new external HD (I'm looking at the LaCie 1TB all-terrain) should I get the USB3 or USB2? Would the USB3 be compatible with my laptop since it's a couple of years old?

The Lacies are good drives. Although as you’ve heard me say...every drive dies. So backup the backup. There’s almost a zero percent chance that Apple will ever support USB 3. They now have Thunderbolt which doubles that speed. The problem is that no devices really exist yet to use it. I would say go ahead and get either USB 2 or 3. The 3 model will come with a standard USB 2 cable as well as the newer 3 form factor. If you can save a little money by just getting a 2 then do that. With all that said, if you can afford the Firewire 800 model that’s the best choice.

Are these startup items ok?

I need to purchase a projector for a website demonstration. We need one that is Mac and PC compatible.  Is this something you can help us with?  Do you sell them?  Can you help us set it up?  Which model do you like?  We don't know anything about this.
Thank you so much!

I don't sell any products.  But to answer your other questions...any DVI enabled LCD projector will be fine.  It's not a matter of computer compatible but rather what connectors are involved.  The most common video output is DVI although many Apple computers require an adaptor like mini-DVI to DVI or the new display port to DVI adaptor.  It just depends on the computer.  I would be happy to assist you setting it up.  You're going to want to consider price and quality.  You can buy a decent projector for around $500 and pay less if you want less quality.  

Generally you're paying more for a brighter bulb, a higher resolution and more connection features.  I don't have a personal favorite but I think overall, budget will be the largest factor.  I would strongly suggest checking here first to get your feet wet. - lcd projector

iPad 3G plans

How do you set the iPhone for number of rings before it goes into vmail?

While I have not done this myself, there are several articles on the web all describing the same method.

How to Set the Number of Rings Before iPhone Goes to Voicemail | The iPhone Guru
How to change how long your iPhone rings before calls go to voicemail | iPhone and iPad Forums
iClarified - iPhone - How to Set the Number of Rings Before Your iPhone Goes to Voicemail

Replacing a Dell with a new Mac using remote access

When I had my old pc I used Pc Anywhere on my laptop when I traveled.  Do you know of other programs I can use or is this the best one to communicate with my home computer when gone

There are several ways to remote back to your apple computer at home. Perhaps the easiest is mobileme. It’s $99 per year and you’d need to have both the router at your home and the router you are connected to while you are away set to UPNP. That allows the service called “Back to my Mac” to function. You can share the screen and move files as well.

Another solution is LogMein. There’s a free version that works fine. I find it to be a little clunky personally but you get what you pay for.

Then there’s the more full featured software like GoToMyPC by the good folks at Cisco. It’s more costly but works well. You could also try it free for 30 dyas.

I would start with LogMeIn and see if that does what you need.

Finding your password on your computer

Hi Scotty,

You helped a while back with recovering some data/pics on our G4 that died. We've replaced that with a new desktop.

We also have an HP laptop that was dropped and now the screen is dark. We know the computer is still working, we can see that, but the screen won't light.

Do you do any repair type work on non MACs? If not, any suggestions?

Thanks so much,

I'm sorry that I don't work on Windows Computers nor have I found a good resource to refer people to.  Of course there's the Geek Squad but your experiences will vary with them.  Can't say I recommend them completely.  You might try an online service like Laptop Computer Repair The Laptop Guy
You could google "laptop screen repair" and go from there.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

Growl is good

Scotty - great article -- thanks ...and thanks for the offer to answer
1) Two files in my Accounts / Login Items: Microsoft Database Daemon and
Blackberry Device Manager.  They OK??
2) I don't have a file named "Startup Items" (with or without spaces...) on
my laptop running 10.6.7  I DO have "startup" but that's all/.  It's part of
Microsoft Office 2008.  Should I be worried that there's NO StartupItems
folder?  (On my desktop running 10.5.8, I DO have that folder's

1. If you use Entourage as your mail program from Microsoft Office then keep it there. If you don’t you can delete the Microsoft Database Daemon. If you use a blackberry and like it on in the background then leave it. If you’ve moved passed the blackberry then delete it.

2. I would strongly guess that you may be missing the startup folder. Are you sure you’re looking in the computer’s library folder and not the user’s library folder? If it’s not there, then no big deal however.

Freeing up space on the iPhone

Question- IPads should send and receive email and access internet via 3G......regardless of being near wifi....right? I got away from wifi range and it ask for cellular connection.....what do I need to input?

Your iPad has the ability to connect over 3G using cell towers however you must first set it up with either ATT or Verizon. You can do this directly on your iPad. The monthly data plan is around $25 per month for 2 gigs of data I believe. But don’t hold me to that. You can set up your account by going to your iPad’s settings button then selecting “wireless data”. You can also cancel the plan any time. It’s month to month with no penalty.

It's time to erase Time Machine.

Wife does remote access to our office from that computer in the downstairs office. If I was to just replace that one with the iMac, could she still do that with the new Apple?
Is there anything the iMac can't do that the Dell can?


While a mac can run windows, looking to replace the current Dell with the Mac in hopes of running your remote software may be pushing it a little.  It can certainly work but in essence you'd be running an operating system inside an operating system inside an operating system.  Performance would be questionable.  If you really wanted to do it, you'd need to purchase a copy of Windows and a virtualization software like Parallels or VMware fusion.  

Conversely, you could also do it on the Mac via boot camp and it would be no problem.  This would just require you to restart your machine each time you wanted to boot into either operating system.  So yes, it can be done but you may want to use Boot Camp instead of virtualization.  It really just depends on how much she's doing remotely.  What kind of tasks, how long, etc...

Which GPS app is best?

Scotty- HELP... I need to do this, but have NO idea what my apple sign on/ password it... can you tell me how to find it?  You have had to do that every time you come here!
also- how do I permanently delete items in ALL GMAIL?  stuff in that folder won't delete...

Your mobile me user name is the first part of your address. The password can be found in your computer’s keychain application. On the top right hand corner of your computer screen you’ll see a magnifying glass. Click that and type in “keychain access”. Open the listed program and you should then see a list of passwords saved by your computer. One of them has an icon of a cloud just like mobileme. Now double click that one and you’ll see a check box to show password. Check it and you be asked for your computer’s password. Enter that and you should see your password for mobileme.
Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 12.40.02 PM
As for Gmail, its’ presentation in Apple’s Mail program can be confusing. It’s likely that you are looking at the “all mail” folder which includes deleted items. These items live on the server and should be able to be deleted from mail by selecting and deleting. You may want to join my Monday night town hall to work on this one.

Moving to Logic Pro

Hi Scotty
what is your opinion of the apple's growl application. i just updated my files as part of a software update and was prompted a suggestion to include the growl application.
what is your opinion of this newest application?
things are going well for my system and I have made folders and placed them on the desk top which makes for easier filing. thank you for your suggestion on the growl application.

Glad to hear you’re getting your folders and files under control. Growl is actually not a program written or supported by Apple. It’s a third party piece of software who’s job is to notify you by small text box, when something significant happens within certain applications. Growl supports only certain applications. I like Growl and feel it’s a great enhancement to the Mac so go ahead and update it!

Self Assigned IP is a problem.

Hi Scotty,

I have the iPhone 4 and it is completely full. Unfortunately I have hundreds of photos and videos that my children have snapped with my phone that seem to be taking a ton of space. Is there a way to erase them other than one by one on the phone itself? I can't find them on the computer.


I don’t know of a way to delete them directly on the phone other than selecting them one by one. However, you should be able to sync your phone to your computer, open iPhoto and select to import all. Then delete all the pictures off via iPhoto once the import is done. Next, in iTunes, under “photos” in the iPhone preferences window, just choose the albums or events you want to return back onto your phone. That should do it.
This image is a theme.plist hack