From the Desktop

Glen Kohler
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 12:28:00 PM

Empty the Photos Trash

Most Macintosh users I encounter use the Photos program to store and organize photographs. But no photographer bats a thousand, so a lot of pictures wind up in Photos’ trash folder—which is a different place than the System trash found in the Dock. Picture files in the Photos trash are out of sight and therefore out of mind, sometimes for years. It is not uncommon to find hundreds, even thousands, of image files in the Trash folder inside of Photos. 

Then one fine day, someone decides to empty the Trash in Photos. Maybe the hard drive is getting full. Or the Photos library is being moved to an external hard drive to free space on the internal drive. If there are too many files in the Trash, the program may not be able to get rid of them. That’s when the fun begins. 

When the Trash cannot be emptied the animated status bar gets about half-way, then stalls. So you wait. Try to be patient. The status bar doesn’t move. Well, that’s a lot of pictures. Make coffee—or lunch. Let it work. The status bar still doesn’t change. Repeated attempts to Force Quit, re-start, and empty the trash go back to the same state. Resorting to advice on the Internet from others who have faced this problem is tried, but some recommended commands are not available. Shit. 

The best solution is to empty the trash before there are 300 files inside. If the number of unwanted files is more than 400, trouble is likely to occur. If there are more than 1,000 files you will probably be calling me. 

Tech Topic

Internet scams range from mild to wild. There’s a flavor for every web user. Best practice is to Stop, Look, then Decide Whether to Click, pretty much all the time. 

Identify Misleading Links

Searching for printer drivers or help with computer-related problems can turn up sites that resemble something by Canon or HP or Epson, but aren’t. The way to tell is to read the URL, either in the Google or DuckDuckGo search listing, or in the top of the browser after navigating to the site. The word Canon may be there, but it may not be in the right order or accompanied by the right words as real Canon sites. Take a moment to check where you are about to go. 

Expensive ‘Free’

Free software distributed on the web should be viewed with suspicion. Software that sounds and looks like something you might want can be a Trojan horse that ushers unseen applications past your Mac’s security check. There are several fake Mac maintenance applications, so it pays to exercise caution towards programs that make alterations to the operating system. If an application is not from the App Store, you will be asked by macOS if you want to install it anyway. If you are not 100% confident about the source, it is better not to install some minor application or utility that has the potential to harm your system. 

Free games are especially suspect, as they are aimed at children and teens who often act without caution. Allowing administrative access to your computer to a young person who is addicted to games invites the unwitting installation of malware. This is not a guess. I have seen it. Cleaned up after it. You don’t want it. 

The Classic Scam Phone Call

India seems to be scammer central. Almost everyone I know has been called by someone with an Indian language accent saying that their Windows operating system is defective and must be repaired to avoid a catastrophic crash. I play with them, feigning amazement that they can tell what hardware I have and which version of Windows. They always cite some flavor of PC and the latest Windows, whereupon I ask them how my Macintosh computer happens to be running Windows instead of OS X. 

Hard Core Scammers

Some of the worst scams involve installing Team Viewer and giving control of your computer to an unknown person. It could be for an alleged repair; installing a piece of software; or as one client ruefully reported, in answer to an e-mail alleging that a payment would be taken from their bank account if not stopped by calling the provided phone number. The person on the other end of the line insisted that payment could only be stopped on my client’s computer, by installing Team Viewer and assuming control. 

That client is an attorney. Highly intelligent people can be induced to abandon caution if they think they are having an emergency. 

Apple will never call to tell you about your computer or ask you to install Team Viewer. 


Here is a humorous reply to a scammer’s e-mail: 


In this video a scammer makes the mistake of calling a savvy, well-prepared software engineer: