Slow Mac – Spotify could be the reason why

So, I have seen a couple of Macs in the past few weeks, of decent spec, running really slowly as well as taking ages to boot (many minutes), I checked all the usual things, such as verify disk, repair permissions, console logs etc. and there were no obvious issues

anyway, I took a look at login items and the only common item for both machines was that the Spotify app was set to run at startup

once this was disabled it was like they were new machines!

if you’re Mac is running slow, and everything seems fine, then try following

Open System Preferences

Then Users & Groups

Then click on your account, and then Login Items

click on Spotify and then click on the minus button at the bottom of the window


Next, click on Finder

then press CMD SHIFT G

paste in the following location


delete the com.spotify.webhelper.plist file


Then reboot the machine


On both the machines I did this on, it was like they were brand new, and both owners were very pleased with the result, hopefully this works for you too

Oh, and the Spotify app still works, a good result all round


Parallels – Disable Adverts

So, you’ve forked out for Parallels – wise choice, its a great bit of software, but annoyingly, you get bombarded with adverts, bit annoying when they’ve already got your business, but there is a solution – and by entering the following into a Terminal window, the nuisance will end


defaults write com.parallels.Parallels\ Desktop ProductPromo.ForcePromoOff -bool YES


Enjoy your advert free Parallels experience

Apple Diagnostics

Another recent discovery was that Apple have changed the traditional Apple Hardware Test for a more modern Apple Diagnostics program

Heres a little checklist for you to check that all your hardware is fully functional


If your Mac was released after June 2013, then you will need to run Apple Diagnostics

This is done by holding down D as you power on the machine


If your Mac was released before June 2013 and is running 10.7 or newer, then you will access a more traditional Apple Hardware Test

again, this is accessed by holding down D as you power on the machine


If your Mac is older, and won’t run 10.7 or above, then buy a new one 🙂

alternatively, Apple Hardware Test should be available on one of the original Mac OS installation disks

you’ve guessed it, insert the disk into the Mac, restart the machine and hold down D to access the Apple Hardware Test


If you’ve run the tests and you’ve got an error, then check out the following page for what the error code relates to



Create a Mavericks USB Key

Something that has been around for  while, but I’ve just stumbled across it, is Diskmaker X

This nifty app will do all the donkey work in creating a bootable Mac OS X USB Key, you just need to following

1. Mavericks Installation app from the Mac App Store

2. Diskmaker X app from their website

3. an empty 8GB USB Key


Once you have downloaded the Mavericks app from the App Store and Diskmaker X from their website, then insert your USB Key into your Mac

Run Diskmaker X

When prompted, choose 10.9

It will then look for your Mavericks app, when it finds it, choose ‘Use this copy’

Then if you are using an 8GB USB key, then choose  ‘An 8GB USB Thumb Drive’

If you are using a partition on a larger drive, then choose ‘Another kind of disk’

Confirm the choice of disk by clicking on ‘Choose this disk’

When it warns you about erasing the drive, confirm that you wish to continue by clicking on ‘Erase and create the disk’

You will then be warned that you will need to input your admin password, so click ‘Continue’ and then enter your admin username and password when prompted

The process is fully automated, so from now until completion it will take around an hour, maybe longer on slower machines, you will get a dialog box when it has completed, confirming this and asking you for a donation, it’s not compulsory, but as it is quite a useful app, its always good to encourage future development, so please consider it.


You can then boot into the USB from the Startup Disk option in System Preferences, or by holding down ALT when the machine boots up



iPad – Kiosk Mode

We had to set up some iPads which would be locked to one app – Kiosk Pro

This app was used to display a specific website, and remove all of the usual Safari navigation options, so that only this site was accessed, the iPad was then secured in an enclosure that prevented access to the Home button, which in turn prevented the undoing of this process


SO, to start with, you need an iPad

The Kiosk Pro app


Then you set them up as follows


Kiosk Pro

When you launch Kiosk Pro, you will be presented with the Settings screen, which I set up as follows, you may wish to adjust them to your needs

Settings Menu

Show Settings In App – Never

Passcode – 4 digits of your own choosing


Unique iPad ID – set an Identifier on each if you wish (optional)

Homepage – URL of the website you are restricting the iPad to


Show Top iPad Information Bar – Off

Show Address Bar – Off

Show Bottom Navigation Bar – Off

Show Progress Indicator – Off

Text Selection for Accessibility – Off

Fix Window to Viewport – Off

Disable Zoom – Off

Disable Touch – Off

Page Loading Background Colour – left as default


Allowed Domains – URL of the website you are restricting the iPad to and any subdomains on the restricted site

Restricted Domains – Not massively necessary, but you could use it to block specific sites, I left this blank

Show Off Domain Alert – On

Off Domain Alert Text – left as default, but can be edited to your needs

Timer Settings

Idle Time Limit – 60 seconds

Refresh Homepage Every – 60 minutes

Page Loading Time Limit – 300 seconds

Visitor Management

Browsing Time Limit – 30 minutes

Good-Bye page – left blank

Custom Navigation Links

Enable Custom Links – Off

PDF Display

Show Thumbnails – On

Show Page Numbers – On

Disable Zoom for PDFs – Off

Page Transition Style – Scroll

Scroll Orientation – Horizontal

Background Image – left as default

Internet Access

Detect Connection Errors – Off

Custom Connection Problem Page – Left blank

Memory and Privacy Settings

Clear Cache – Off

Accept Cookies – Never

Clear Cookies – Off


AirPrint – Off

Show AirPrint Icon – Off

Remote Settings Control

Enable – Off

Email Notifications

SMTP Server Settings – Configure these to be notified of any change to the Power Supply or Remote Update of Settings



Next you need to configure your iPad to enable Kiosk Mode, you can do that by following these instructions

First, you need to enable ‘Guided Access’

you do this by pressing the home button

then you go into Settings

then General

then Accessibility

then Guided Access

Switch it on

Set a Passcode


Now you need to go back to Kiosk Pro, so press the home button

Go to Kiosk Pro

if you set up your app as above then your site will appear this time, rather than the Settings page

Next you press the home button 3 times in quick succession to begin the Guided Access (Kiosk Mode) setup

You can configure the Hardware Buttons options – Sleep/Wake Button and Volume – I leave these off

As we want people to use the site, we leave the Touch and Motion options enabled

Then press Start in the top right hand corner of the screen, and secure your iPad in it’s enclosure, as we opted for enclosures with the home button covered, there is no way for anyone to exit the Kiosk Pro app, and ensures that your Digital Information iPad is not tampered with in any way


To exit this mode, you need to remove your iPad from its enclosure and press the home button 3 times in quick succession, and then enter your passcode