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#899: Unlocking 'Local Items' Keychain Issue in Mavericks, Life Span of Your Mac, Wi-Fi Reconnection Issues in Mavericks

 
     
 

Hello readers,

When I thought about what to write about in my intro this week, I was stumped at first. I had yet to come across anything in the past two weeks that was useful enough to share with you. Usually, there’s an obvious topic, such as a network issue, daily hardware troubleshooting, or something like an Outlook problem that a customer has. Though we saw issues here and there, there wasn’t enough that I thought could benefit others who are far beyond your average consumers!

Luckily for me, I came across some juicy rumors. The newest (and most interesting) rumor I came across involved one of my favorite Apple products, the Apple TV. Allegedly,* Apple is testing out designs for a new model, possibly due sometime in the first half of this year. A persistent part of the rumor was that it would be combined with the AirPort Express. Not only would this make Apple TV a dedicated router, but it would also make any online streaming and AirPlay a lot faster since it would work within the unit (much like being plugged into ethernet). The new model may also include a TV tuner that would allow you to control your cable with an Apple user interface.

These rumors, combined with the strong possibility that the next Apple TV will have built-in App Store access, make the Apple TV even more valuable. I’d love to be able to play games using my iOS device(s) as a controller — I will be sure to have my wallet open if it’s available!

Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Barry
barry@smalldog.com

*Rumors!

 
   
     
  Unlocking 'Local Items' Keychain Issue in Mavericks  
   
 

For anyone who has been keeping track of my Tech Tails articles, you might start to see a pattern. If you see where I’m going with this, then you can safely assume that my latest article is — you guessed it — more insight into Keychain Access!

Perhaps one of the most widely used utilities for all users, Keychain Access is designed for your convenience, but even the most convenient apps can cause massive confusion when error messages surface.

It’s been brought to my attention that with the latest version of Mavericks (v10.9.1), some users are experiencing a repeating prompt that asks you to unlock the ‘Local Items’ keychain. If this has happened to you, don’t worry; your password is, in fact, correct. This prompt is a complete error on the part of the OS.

Why does this happen? I’m not entirely sure, but I have seen a pattern with anyone who has a problem upgrading to the latest version, or if the software’s directory becomes problematic.

The good news is that there’s a relatively simple fix for this, so please follow these steps to prevent the prompts.

  1. In Finder, select Go > Go to folder… (⇧⌘G)
  2. In the window that appears, type the following: ~/Library/Keychains/
  3. Click “OK”
  4. Look for a folder with a name similar to this: ‘A8F5E7B8-CEC1-4479-A7DF-F23CB076C8B8’ NOTE: Each folder has a unique number
  5. Move this folder to the Trash
  6. Immediately choose Apple Menu > Restart… to restart your Mac

After restarting the computer, a new folder is created in the Keychains folder with a name similar to ‘A8F5E7B8-CEC1-4479-A7DF-F23CB076C8B8.’ However, there is no need to double check and/or repeat the steps in this article, or to delete this folder. The new folder is expected, and corrects the symptom that I’ve described.

 
   
     
  Life Span of Your Mac  
   
 

When considering whether to repair their Mac or simply replace it, many customers will ask me what the average lifespan is of a Mac. This question cannot be easily answered by an average span of years.

The answer to this question is completely conditional upon a number of factors. To me, the lifespan of a computer is when it has reached a point at which it is no longer functioning properly, and the cost to repair it is comparable to the machine’s value. At this point (in my opinion), it would be a wiser choice to invest in a new computer, rather than repair this one. This is a choice many customers have to make in their lives, and it’s never a very easy one!

Although it ultimately comes down to your individual budget, there are a few useful references and standard questions you should ask yourself to help you make this decision. Aside from the obvious websites that can be referenced to determine the value of your machine (eBay, Amazon), one website I typically check is Everymac.com. Like the title says, they have a listing for every Mac, as well as model specifications, and an estimated current value range.

I’ve noticed that their estimate values are generally a little higher than the specific model actually sells for, but it’s a good ballpark figure. Obviously, looking for your Mac’s model on a website like eBay will give you a good real-world value, it just may take a little more time/consideration. (Is it an auction? How much time is left?)

One question you should ask yourself is how much this computer has cost you in the past. If you just had a major repair performed not too long ago, that’s definitely something to consider when making the decision of whether or not to continue to repair your Mac. If this is the first issue you’ve had in a few years of use, then it may very well be worth keeping it running (the same can be said for cars!).

The most important question I believe you should ask yourself, when making this decision, is how the Mac has been working for you. When a computer reaches a certain age, it’s inevitably going to face compatibility issues. Whether it won’t work with your brand new mobile device, or certain applications cease in their ability to be updated, causing further compatibility issues with things like websites or file formats. These compatibility issues should definitely be a considered factor when making your decision.

Your individual budget is the most important consideration, but it’s always good to take these conditions into account when making such a big decision.

 
   
     
  Wi-Fi Reconnection Issues in Mavericks  
   
 

I own an 11” 2011 MacBook Air and have never had a single problem with it, which is happily the experience of most Apple owners. Recently, however, I’ve noticed fussiness with Wi-Fi.

See, technicians at Small Dog are tasked with not only repairing computers but also speaking on the phone with customers and potential customers who call into the support line. Most of us listen to music while we’re working, but it’s hard to have a conversation with that background sound. I usually just pause Spotify when talking to customers, and occasionally this pause can last up to a half hour. My device will then go to sleep because it’s using its battery.

For the past couple of months, when trying to pick up where I left off on a particular song, I’ve observed that it will continue playing what has been buffered, then abruptly stops where the network connection timed out. I then have to wait several minutes for it to reconnect to our familiar repair network by turning off Wi-Fi for a moment then turning it back on.

If this happened every once in a while, I wouldn’t care at all but it became a consistent annoyance. As a technician, I was inclined to try all sorts of crazy troubleshooting techniques but discovered a far simpler solution, one that I would have recommended to a customer calling with the same issue:

System Preferences > Network > Wi-Fi > Advanced

Then, select the Wi-Fi network normally used and click the “-” symbol to remove it from Preferred Networks. If it has a password, the next step is to open Keychain Access, select the “login” keychain, order the list by Kind, and remove all AirPort network password types.

NOTE: Do not attempt this unless you know what your wireless router’s password is or unless you know how to manually reset it if necessary! We have no way of knowing what that is, so if you attempt this process and cannot reconnect, we won’t be able to assist you.

More information for your first line of troubleshooting network problems can be found here.

 
   
     
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