Does your computer do strange things?

One of the listservs that I read each day is the MacRogues On-Line Mac User Group and OS X DISCUSSION LIST. I while occasionally provide an answer, I am often frustrated that the all-text listserv format does not make it easy to "show" someone how to fix a problem. The topic that caused me to want to "show" the answer this time is the problem of screen flashing on Macs.

The message writer said "The screen will freeze before flashing a solid blue and then return to normal." Several people responded, most suggesting a hardware problem.
One of the listservs that I read each day is the MacRogues On-Line Mac User Group and OS X DISCUSSION LIST. I while occasionally provide an answer, I am often frustrated that the all-text listserv format does not make it easy to "show" someone how to fix a problem. The topic that caused me to want to "show" the answer this time is the problem of screen flashing on Macs.

The message writer said "The screen will freeze before flashing a solid blue and then return to normal." Several people responded, most suggesting a hardware problem.

Instead, I suspect the computer owner or someone has been doing a little exploring and found their way to the Universal Access System Preference. This panel can be the source of all sorts of unusual Macintosh behavior!

There are several ways to get to System Preferences. The most obvious might be an icon in the dock, but I have noticed that quite a few Mac user tend to remove the icon from the dock, so let's use a different method of getting there. If you click and hold on the Apple Menu in the upper left corner of your screen, you can find System Preferences there. . .



By the way, when you see an ellipsis (&hellipWinking in a menu, it is a signal that choosing that menu item will cause a dialog box with additional options to appear.




Choose Universal Access and then select the Hearing tab.



If there is a check in the box "Flash the screen when an alert sound occurs, then each time you computer alerts you that you cannot do something, the screen will flash.

While I do not know if this has fixed the writer's problem, I know that over the years we have received many calls from the clients of Bob LeVitus Consulting who could not understand why their screens would suddenly flash. I wish all problems were as simple to fix as those caused by making changes in Universal Access, but if you are not expecting your screen to flash or the display to suddenly enlarge or several other unexpected problems, check out the settings in Universal Access.

Oh, one more thing!

Remember those ellipsis marks shown at the end of some menu items? We also use those as a tool in writing sometimes. Have you ever tried to use them, and then had them get all messed up as you tried to print or have you ever tried to make them look "right?"

Although they look like three periods, just typing three periods make them look to close...

Some people type period-space-period-space-period . . .

Those can break apart if they occur at the wrong place in a line. The real way to produce them on your computer is to hold down the Option key on your keyboard while typing a semi-colon – then they look a act just as they should…

– Pat


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