A Tale of Technological Terror

It’s October. Boo. Scared? Tough as you may be, the computer you’re reading this on can be as scary as it is powerful. After all, your Mac is, for better or worse, an extension of your brain. (mmm, brains) Any spooky activity on the OS can translate right to real-life anxiety. It’s time for an electronic exorcism.

The lantern’s flickering out

You’re traversing a foggy forest, kerosine lantern held shakily toward a maze of mossy trees. A soft grunt, then a rustle is heard behind you. With a primal swivel, you whip around to see what it was just as the lantern dims and… darkness.

It’s a familiar feeling — running out of juice just when you need it most. That thin wire with which the Mac is charged is so easily tangled, tossed aside, or forgotten while rushing to a meeting or stopping into a cafe to answer email. The meager Mac battery simply was not meant to last. Alas! There are a few tricks to keeping the flame alight:

  • Endurance actively monitors and adjusts the Mac battery to get the most out of every last drop.
  • iStat Menus unearths important internal data and displays it on the menu bar for perpetual reference.
  • CleanMyMac X evaluates computer performance and polishes every crevice of the OS for smooth operation.

WiFi issues

The signal is fuzzy

Static. You climb the rusty ladder further, reaching the top of the small, decrepit cabin. As you sit shivering on a gritty shingle, you glance out into the misty abyss and check the signal again — only static.

Beyond the comfort of our homes, where WiFi has, by name, a strong sense of fidelity, there lies an endless mesh of unfamiliar signals. Bounding between these public hotspots and conference networks, a common fear of indeterminate disconnection lingers. To stay connected, however, is a matter of monitoring:

  • NetSpot crafts a heatmap of WiFi signal strength overlayed on local area blueprints.
  • WiFi Explorer displays advanced graphs of multi-band metering in real time.
  • TripMode rounds up all sources of in-and-out network traffic for complete control.

Low disk space

No room for supplies

Time is skewed. How long have you been here? The woods are dense, and you’ve made the cabin your home. It’s a temporary shelter from what’s been howling afar. You return one morning with gathered food, only to find no space left to store it. Icy air licks at exposed skin. You drop the goods.

Drive storage easily deceives. One moment, there is plenty of room for project files — in an instant, there is none. A Mac is only as useful as its capacity to maintain the information within. Luckily, it is not necessary to sacrifice personal data to increase storage:

  • Scrub the far reaches of your Mac drive with CleanMyMac X.
  • Forget double-takes with Gemini, which algorithmically finds and zaps duplicates.
  • Offload drive space to the cloud using CloudMounter.

Malware and viruses on a Mac

Trusty tools ain’t so trusty

Are they werewolves?  It’s hard to tell by lantern light. Whatever be those hairy, hunched beasts, a flimsy arrow seems to steer them off. Good thing you have plenty. What’s not so good — as a creature approaches, you go to draw the bow and its string snaps out of place. You scramble for the nearest rock to throw, but look up to find nothing in sight. A close call.

Mac apps, like bows in the wilderness, are essential utilities. And while not so literally, in a way, they do keep us alive. When an app crashes, work can be lost, time is wasted, and frustration ensues. Sometimes you’ll be prompted to send crash logs to the developer in hopes of repair via future update, but it could be an isolated issue on your device — and one that’s hard to troubleshoot. In this case, the best bet is a reset.

Resetting an application purges problematic preference files and leaves the originals in place. After a reset, an app will open as if it were freshly installed, without the hassle of reinstallation. Here’s how:

  1. Open CleanMyMac X. If you don’t have it yet, get it free on Setapp.
  2. Click Uninstaller in the sidebar.
  3. From this list, locate the app you wish to reset.
  4. Select the dropdown arrow, then Application Reset.
  5. Click Reset, and done!

Security issues

The door is jammed

Returning from a trip to felled trees some distance away, you struggle to maintain the weight of firewood balanced on weary forearms. At the doorstep of the cabin, you relinquish, logs tumbling to the dirt — quite the clamour. The noise will surely attract unwanted attention. Reaching for the door, it fails to open. Jiggle handle. Nothing. Ram and push with shoulder. Nothing. It’s jammed.

We are frequently on the threshold. Keyholes, logins, permissions — access is limited to more daily locations and information than it may seem. And, more often than not, that access is granted by something stored within memory. Where did I put the key? What’s my password for this website? As with most mechanics of the mind, memory can be augmented with computational tools:

  • The Mac Keychain. It’s integrated with the system and syncs with iCloud, but it is far from intuitive. Features are lacking.

  • A password manager. There are many, many options here, but few are intuitive, secure, and feature-rich. Secrets is simple on the surface, but packed with tools to organize and protect.

Greatest causes of data loss

Frailty is frequent

The creatures have closed in on the cabin home, growing steadily in number and sounding from more directions than one. Time to leave. You set up a decoy and toss the essentials in a rucksack. On a path to nowhere, you sprinkle crushed pine from a pouch, covering your scent. Hours pass. Then days. It’s hard to know when you’ve last eaten. Weakness sets in and, at times, it’s impossible to move at all. Drained of strength, you slouch against the base of a towering oak and scoop twigs for a fire.

Macs are powerful. They are persistent. But with frequent use, any machine will wear down — even the best of them. When a Mac starts to slow in its normal processes or perhaps freeze up completely, it can be tedious to recover. To prevent from reaching this stage, it is very possible to be proactive:

  • After an application hang-up, force quit. Evade potential data loss by securing it with Disk Drill.

  • Apple’s own Time Machine backup is excellent, but limited in its simplicity. Get Backup Pro allows for full backup customization, scheduling, and bootable disk creation.

  • New features in CleanMyMac X monitor processor demand, battery levels, and staggering applications.

Setapp

The fog clears

Hair knotted, skin thickly coated with dirt, you pace proudly to the edge of the plateau on which you have been trudging. With the might of a true mountaineer, you have traversed wicked woodlands and triumphed over unknown creatures. Thick, earthbound clouds roll heavily over the precipice, and, finally, vision is cleared. The horizon breaks in the distance, unobscured by forest foliage. In the valley below, a small village hums. Sweet chimney smoke tumbles kindly toward you.

Macs are, like nature, formidable in their beauty and ability to function despite vast intricacy. Yet it is simple to use a Mac, and rightfully so. With time, however, certain horrors will present themselves that are inevitable. Precious data can vanish. App utilities can fracture and freeze. Connectivity may at times fail to properly function. No cause for fear — to abate such nuisances, one need only apply the correct cure. Setapp, a drawer full of solutions, is just the place to look. It is not only a functional first-aid kit, but a source of diverse tools for any computational ailment.

When a Mac puts on a spooky act, the real horror is a lack of prevention. A fortified laptop, booby-trapped with apps, will keep the desktop demons at bay. No more ghosts afloat.

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