The case of the mysteriously sleeping MacBook

Reader John Greeves believes he has a stumper in regard to a mysteriously sleeping laptop. He writes:

This is a weird one but I’ve run out of ideas. My MacBook Air works perfectly until I put it on the subwoofer that sits next to my desk. When I do that, the screen blacks out and I can’t start it again. But if I lift it off the speaker and press a key, the screen lights up. This doesn’t happen anywhere else I put the computer. Do you have any idea what’s going on?

I think I do. Like all the best things in life, it’s done with magnets. A little background:

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How to restore a missing recovery partition

Reader Kai Peterson installed a copy of Yosemite but seems to be missing something. He writes:

I installed a clean copy of Yosemite on an external hard drive, which I cloned to another Mac using the demo of Carbon Copy Cloner. When trying to troubleshoot something on that Mac I discovered that it had no recovery partition. Is there any way I can create one?

There is. Before I walk through it I should tell you that this is expected behavior. When Carbon Copy Cloner 4 clones a bootable drive to another drive, it doesn’t create a recovery partition in the same way that the OS X installer does. Instead, it creates an archive of it and places the archive here: /Library/Application Support/com.bombich.ccc.

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Finder labels too subtle? Create garish folder icons instead

Reader Ingrid Sorenson finds some elements of OS X a little too subtle. She writes:

In the past I used to assign labels to folders so that I could more easily find them in long list views and on the desktop. Now that OS X uses colored dots instead of coloring entire folders I have a lot of trouble finding labeled items. Is there anything you can think of that will help my folders stand out?

Yes. I’d suggest changing the icon on the folders that you want to easily identify. Like so.

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Photo Stream how-to: Delete once, remove all copies

Reader Bengt Hamsten needs a little extra help understanding the whys and wherefores of Photo Stream. He writes:

When I take a picture with my new iPhone 6, a copy immediately lands on my other iPhone 5, my iPad, my MacBook Pro, and my iMac. But if I want to delete that picture, I must delete it separately on all five devices. How can I delete a picture on all devices with one action?

The short answer: Be patient.

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'IT's locked me out!' Dealing with mandated password change

A reader who wishes to remain anonymous has a bone to pick with corporate IT. He writes:

My company forces us to change our email password every three months. I suppose this makes us more secure but it’s really inconvenient for me because sometimes I forget to change the password on one of my devices, that device tries to get my work email, the company’s system locks me out when it receives too many instances of the wrong password, and then I have to reset my password and start all over again. Can you recommend a technique that will prevent this from happening?

Depending on how open your IT department is to new ideas, you might forward them a copy of Microsoft’s So Long, And No Thanks for the Externalities: The Rational Rejection of Security Advice by Users. It and other security studies suggest that the “best practice” of changing passwords every couple of months has outlived its usefulness. Not only are attacks more varied and swift than when these policies were put in place, but it often causes users the kind of frustration that leads to greater security lapses (taping their new password to the monitor or simply creating a single-character variation from the old password, for example).

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How to deal with obnoxious ads on your iOS device

Reader Al Young has had it with the cruft that appears on his iPad. He writes:

I spend a lot of time surfing the web on my iPad. In the last couple of years it’s become more frustrating because of all the pop-up ads that hide the stuff I want to read. Is there some way to get rid of it?

Let me begin by saying that a lot of the websites you enjoy rely on ad revenue to stay in business—this one included. The tradeoff for you getting “free” content are the ads that are placed before you. That said, I’m sympathetic in those cases where pop-up ads obscure what you’re trying to read and bear minuscule Close buttons that you have to tap 20 times to dismiss.

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How to get rid of unwanted subscribed calendars

Reader Daniel Conlan is overwhelmed with calendars and would like to do something about it. He writes:

Last year, some people at my work set up a lot of Google calendars for our workgroup. We’ve since had a reorganization and a lot of these calendars are now unnecessary. How can I get them off my Mac and iOS devices?

You can easily hide them or, if you like, get rid of them altogether. We’ll start by hiding them.

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