Monthly Archives: April 2016

Really Good News About Nasty Pop-Up Ads and Scareware

This is a great bit of new information for Mac users who might suddenly see a pop-up message (or a LOT of them) while browsing the Web.  The Mac operating system is really, really secure, but… horrid people (most of them living in India, it appears) have found ways to insert nasty bits of unwanted programs that have been difficult to get rid of. Maybe you downloaded a “free” bit of software, or fonts, and extra programs sneaked in as well.

Malware

This “adware” or “shareware” wants to frighten or annoy you into spending money to MAKE-IT-GO-AWAY.  Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a penny.  Just update your Mac’s operating system to the newest version.  Every time you restart your Mac after that, the operating system scrubs out any possible newly-installed bits of unwanted crapware, leaving your Mac sparkling clean!


In case you are not clear on the concept, here is how you get the NEWEST operating system:

Pull down your Apple menu, and choose “Software Update”, if it shows up.  If you only see “App Store”, then choose that, and then click on “Updates” at the top.  You should be able to find “El Capitan” pretty easily.  Go get it, for free, and install it.

If it runs slowly after that, follow the instructions in my article that tells you how to speed up your Mac for free.


If you are unsure about a message that you see via email or the Web, and you want an expert, highly-biased opinion, take a picture of the message with your phone, and text it to me at 619-804-4627, and say “what do you think?”.  I see this kind of stuff every day, and I don’t charge for the advice.  Why?  Because I need to keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening from day to day, and I never object to dispensing advice!

Possible Fix for Cox Internet Flakiness

A LOT of my clients are complaining about their Macs losing Internet connection on a constant basis, forcing them to re-start the cable modem… Sometimes, several times a day. These are folks using an Apple device (Airport Extreme, Time Capsule, or Airport Express) for their wireless network.

Right now, Cox is telling folks to beware of the problem when installing new, bought-separately cable modems, and that they are working with Apple on a fix.  Personally, I think that their programmers are lazy, but that’s another topic.


 

At the moment, I believe that the problem all relates back to “IPv6” – What the heck is that?  It’s the far, FAR better way of dealing with the Internet as it matures and grows.  However, many companies are resisting the change-over to the new system, which allows for vastly more growth in numbers of connected devices, worldwide. Modern companies have made the awkward change to the new system, but not everybody.

In the meantime, here is a possibility for making things more stable:

On your Mac, close all windows.  Click once on the colorful desktop. At the top of the screen, look for the “Go” menu.  Pull it down, and choose “Utilities”.  Double-click on the “Airport Utility” program, and then follow these instructions to downgrade your Airport’s firmware:

Apple Airport/Time Capsule 7.6.3 update breaks IPv6 tunneling, fix is downgrading

If it doesn’t make a difference, then you can always switch it back.  Let me know if it helps!


Update from Darren:

I may have a solution for you, because I had the exact same problem. For months, I would have to reboot my modem and Airport router intermittently but persistently, sometimes once a week, other times more than once in a day. I tried resetting the modem using Cox’s automated system, I tried 3 different Airport routers to see if that was the problem…. I even rigged up a remote control just as Tony did, to turn the modem off and on. 

Finally, at the end of my rope and without much optimism, I called Cox tech support. On the call, a helpful (!) support person and I half-accidentally stumbled on the issue. The problem in my case was that I had a modem (Motorola’s SB 6121) that wasn’t able to handle the level of service I had ordered from Cox (I have the next tier down from their top speed, whatever that’s called). So I ordered a new Surfboard 6183 modem, got Cox to initialize it, and haven’t had the problem since. 

I imagine if you didn’t want to buy a new modem, you could always downgrade your service speed to achieve the same effect. Seems worth a try, anyway. I suppose I could still blame Cox for not being savvy enough to know that I needed a better modem for my service level, but for now I’m just happy that things are working properly.


Update two:

I just went to look at my cable modem, which is an old Motorola Surfboard 6120 – probably six years old.  I’m severely tempted to order a newer 6190, or the 6183, which is sold at Costco.

SB6190 SURFboard® Cable Modem


Update three:  I bought the Surfboard 6190 a while ago, right after writing this article.  I’ve been serenely happy with the results.  My previous modem wasn’t particularly OLD – It was more middle-aged.  It seems that a NEW, properly-sorted-out-for-2016 modem is what was needed.

Cox Cable Glitches

 

Susie wrote:
Hey Tony,

I have a Motorola modem (from Costco – as you advised awhile back) combined with an Airport Extreme to supply the wireless internet throughout my house.
For several months we have had the issue where the internet connection goes down periodically  (once every couple of weeks) and we need to unplug things, then replug them and the problem is solved.
Recently however, the problem occurs almost daily, sometimes several times a day.
Any ideas?  Time for a new Modem?  Airport extreme?

 

It seems like it should be the cable modem, based upon what you say, and it is time to run a test:
Connect JUST the cable modem to a power-strip with an on/off switch.  If the Internet connection is lost, flip the switch off, then on again.  If the Internet runs smoothly from then on, we might have our culprit.
HOWEVER.  Save the receipt and the packaging if you buy a new cable modem.  Cox Cable, the Internet providers, are being pretty glitchy lately, as a service.
IMG_9330
The white box shown above my keyboard is a remote-control, and it allows me to do the same power-reset of the modem remotely (my network hardware is under my house). I have to do it this at least twice a week.  I bought a package of three Capstone Indoor Wireless Remote Outlets from my local Costco for under twenty bucks, and they work GREAT!