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How-to: Fixing macOS spellcheck and dictionaries

Over the last few months I’ve been annoyed to no end by Apple macOS’s stupid and illogical dictionaries.
Correct words getting corrected to a language I don’t know or care for. Questionable grammar decisions and other nonsense.

This started happening in macOS Sierra, but got better with updates. It then happened again in macOS High Sierra and I thought; “oh well, annoying, I’ll just turn it off”. And from what I found on the internet that’s what many people did.

But now in macOS Mojave it’s the worst – And adding Spanish to my vocabulary I kinda requires me to have a working spellchecker and functional dictionary. My Spanish sucks…

So, on-and-off I’ve been looking for a solution. Resetting this, deleting that config file. Installing Grammarly (or considering it). Scouring forums for answers. The general consensus seems to be that Apple sucks at words and you should turn off spellcheck.

But then I figured it out…

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Installing MySQL on macOS with root password reset

Following the recent macOS Mojave update I figured I should update MySQL 5.7.16 to 8.0.something, too. This didn’t work out because of the impossible security hash introduced with it. None of my tools are compatible with it apparently.

After some frustrations and loosing all my databases (Migration/Upgrading also didn’t work) I went back to 5.7. The latest version of MySQL 5.7 is 5.7.24. Easy enough, right? Wrong…
It took me a few hours to figure out. But here is my “first launch” setup guide.

After the installation is complete the MySQL manual sort of tells you you’re done and good luck. What it doesn’t mention however is that the temporary password you get is expired before you even use it. You get your password and as far as I can tell their Password Reset instruction is lacking completeness, too.

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AdRotate Pro Nulled

A “nulled” piece of software is a hacked and modified version of that software. It is made suitable for use without a license. Using it is illegal and there are some big risks using such software.

You are looking to safe a few bucks, at great cost

You are looking for ways to run your website the cheapest way possible. Often that results in cheap hosting and using free software and plugins. Some even go as far as using nulled or hacked versions of paid plugins.

As with lots of paid plugins, there is a nulled version of AdRotate for WordPress floating around. This, “fortunately”, is an older version of AdRotate Pro. Therefor it lacks newer features and has some bugs that have been fixed since.

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How to start with AdRotate for WordPress

Congratulations! You are about to monetize your website in the most efficient way possible with the AdRotate for WordPress banner-management plugin.
Online advertising is the most effective way to earn money. And there are many affiliate programs you can join.

Let’s get started and increase your income!

What does AdRotate do?

AdRotate plugin is one of the best and widely used WordPress banner-managers for people and businesses who wish to make money through their website. AdRotate for WordPress has the possibility to put multiple adverts in a group and shows them alternating on your pages and posts. So no more repetitive displays of adverts if you don’t want to, which in turn won’t scare away the visitors.

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Howto: Supercharge your wifi network

Check out my tips and hand-outs on how to make your wifi network faster. I use Apple’s Airport Extreme base station as an example. But the general tips and settings apply to every access-point of any brand.

I did a lot of experimenting and some research on what does what and where and how it works best. These settings make my wifi network more reliable and much faster.

What works for me…

Everything in this article works for me. That doesn’t necessarily mean it works for you too. My house and surroundings are different from yours. That said, the general rule of thumb is to just try and see what works best. The settings I use are all fairly generic and will apply to many people. But you may have to tweak a few things to your situation.

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Howto: Solve email issues in macOS

Dealing with email issues in macOS can be a tricky thing. And is not always straightforward – Is the issue with the account? Your server or with macOS Mail.

Here are some tips and methods to find out what may be going on. How to interpret certain error states and error messages. I’ll recommend common settings and warn of cave-ats. And how to fix stuff in macOS mail.

If your mail is not working

Your first step is to restart the macOS mail client. See if it works then. If not. Go to the Window Menu and click “Connection Doctor”.

A new window should open, checking all your settings.

Interpreting the error

Connection doctor lists all your email accounts 2 times, one for incoming and one for outgoing email. In the above example I deliberately broke one account – It’s marked with a red dot and the exact error is displayed behind it.

This means I have to check my settings, check the username and password. In my scenario the password is missing. When I add it in settings and check again everything shows green.

Checking settings

Of-course once we know what’s wrong with the email settings. I can go into settings and correct what macOS Mail thinks is wrong with it. In my case something with the username and password.

Things to check

View the screenshots here – And especially the items marked with a red arrow which are essential for a working mail account. Reach these menus via the Mail > Preferences menu.

Common Email ports:

Secure IMAP – port 993
Secure POP3 – port 995
Secure SMTP – port 465
Standard IMAP – port 143
Standard POP3 – port 110
Standard SMTP – port 25 / 587

Disable automatic settings detection

There are 2 easy checkboxes to disable this silly behaviour and give some freedom over what macOS Mail does.

In Mail Preferences, under each account in Advanced there is this little checkbox.

And in SMTP Server List for each server in Advanced is this similar checkbox.

Uncheck both and set your settings as you need. Save and restart the macOS Mail client.
Why? Since Apple knows just about *nothing* about your hosting providers servers it can’t possibly guess the right settings with any accuracy. Some hosting providers have a autodiscovery feature that may work. But in my experience Apple can’t seem to interpret that too well.

IMAP vs. POP3

If you receive your email on multiple devices you should try to use IMAP. This means that your email is synced via the mail server to all your devices. POP3 can not do that and will download emails on the device that asks for them first. Leaving the other devices without those emails. Having an asynchronous email setup like that is very 1995 and not very efficient. Most providers support IMAP these days. If you can, ditch POP3.

Security and privacy concern

If you can, always use the secure option. Check with your email provider if this is possible! When using a secure connection your email is encrypted end-to-end so nobody can snoop around and you can feel more comfortable sending eyes-only information.

Saving the settings

Saving the settings is done by either moving to another tab (top), selecting another account (left sidebar) or closing the settings window completely and confirming at the prompt.

Note: This post applies to pretty much every recent version of Mac OS X and macOS. So Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite and Sierra *all* have this tool. Probably older versions too.

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6 ways to a faster and safer WordPress

Having a WordPress website is often great, but it also makes you vulnerable for all kinds of attacks and mischief – Or maybe not vulnerable, but it invites many wrong doers to try and attack you. You’re an easy target. Let’s make it a bit less easy for them without using plugins!

Recently I’ve been plagued on another website by slowness, the occasional downtime and other annoying stuff. Paying more attention to usage stats and the error_log it turns out there was a bunch of stuff going on. A few of IP Addresses constantly tried something with wp-login.php and some other pages and files being loaded over and over again for no apparent reason.

Another issue was the RSS feed WordPress generates. Sure, it works fine. But if you get almost 10000+ requests on it per hour, that’ll slow things down, too. Sometimes.

So I did some research and have come up with a few things to try and prevent this kind of behavior. Of-course it’s no use blocking IP addresses but you can prevent access to things or if they access those things lessen the load on your server a great deal.

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Adjusted bounce rate and track 404 page requests in Piwik Analytics

Over the last few days I’ve been doing some research about how Piwik Analytics reports bounce rates – The same way as Google Analytics – and what to do about it.

Recently I launched a satellite site as a sort of landingpage for AdRotate Pro to drop the bounce rate on my primary site. But then, since the landingpage has no other pages the bounce rate there was 100%. Just because there are no more pages than the front-page.

Heartbeat timer

To try and counter that Piwik Analytics has introduced a heartbeat timer in their latest version of Piwik. I found this in their API documentation and was recommended to me on the forums when asking about it.

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The ultimate development environment for Mac OS X

Updated: December 26, 2018

I’ve pieced together what I think is the ultimate development setup. This tutorial is particularly useful if you’re working in different places and have to rely on public wifi or if you don’t have high speed internet available.

As you may have read I’ve moved to the Philippines. This means I no longer have a home address for a while. This also means that high speed internet becomes a luxury. To not being hindered in developing things like AdRotate and other plugins I needed a fast and reliable alternative for my online development server. So that even if internet is wonky, I can still do some work.

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Troubleshooting common email issues in OS X Mail

Improve your email overall, fix issues with receiving or sending email. Or generally make things work if you simply don’t know how OS X Mail works or is supposed to work. This post will outline a number of things to look at which may improve your overall mail usage but also will be helpful if things go bad. This post is particularly useful if you use IMAP/POP email combined with SMTP (for sending). Exchange accounts are a whole different kind of animal and are not covered in this article.

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