Oct 2014

Bing - Who said I want Bing!

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

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

Somehow Bing keeps cropping up. Check this out:

search_google

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

bing

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

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

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

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

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

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

omnibar

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

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

safari_extensions

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

Reading the InstallMac Web site was less that encouraging:

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


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

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

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

—Pat
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Mail - Verify Certificate - What is this?

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

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

show_certificate

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

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

system_defaults

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

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 8.22.50 AM

Then I had to enter my computer password.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 8.23.14 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Pat

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Frustrations, Oh the Frustrations!

My computing life since Yosemite arrived has been a HEADACHE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Pat
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