MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer questions e-mailed in by our readers.
This week, readers wrote in with questions about MacBook systems not booting on battery power, how to deal with advertisements in Safari, how to restrict printing with an administrator password in OS X, and fonts not displaying properly in Apple's Font Book utility. I welcome views from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!
Question: Laptops not booting when on battery power
MacFixIt reader Robin asks:
I have two MacBooks, but they only work when I plug them into the wall. Are the batteries damaged beyond repair? Will I need to get new ones?
That might likely be the case. The battery or the computer should have a small button that if pressed should show you a series of green LED lights that indicate the charge level. Use this button to see if the batteries can be charged at all, and if not then you will need to have them replaced or the system serviced. You can also try resetting the system management controller (SMC) to see if that helps fix the situation, since this controller is responsible for managing power in the system.
Question: Managing advertisements in Safari
MacFixIt reader Albert asks:
How do I block offensive ads in Mountain Lion with Safari?
You can install a plug-in blocker and an ad blocker in Safari to do this. There are several options to choose from, but some that I've used are ClickToPlugin to block plug-ins from automatically activating, and Safari Add-Block to block embedded ads. You can also use Safari's pop-up window blocker (in the Safari menu, or in the Security section of Safari's preferences).
Question: Restricting printing with a password
MacFixIt reader "Yocuz" asks:
I have an iMac that was running 10.6 or 10.7 and enabled [a password on the print function] feature via an article I found online (have since not been able to find it) using some sort of setting in the server version of the OS. I didn't install the server version but one of its packages or options.
The password showed up application wide any time the print function was requested. The dialog box for the admin password showed, but this was removed when I updated to ML 10.8.
You can set up a password requirement for shared printers (on the network), so other systems printing to it require authentication. Beyond this, OS X does not have an option for passwords to print (such as for local printers); however, some manufacturers may have password options in drivers they supply, though usually these are set up on the machine for all users.
Question: Fonts displaying oddly in Font Book
MacFixIt reader Dina asks:
I'm recently having trouble displaying fonts in the Font Book app. This doesn't happen with all fonts, but for only a few, where they are displayed in Hebrew script instead of the Latin script (I don't use Hebrew in my Mac -- I don't even know how to read it!). If I try to use the fonts, they work fine in my apps (Photoshop, Word). The problem only occurs in Font Book.
You can try grouping your fonts and then disabling them in groups, to see if one or two corrupt ones might be the root of the problem. Have you tried verifying your fonts? Do this by selecting them all in Font Book and then choosing "Validate Fonts" from the File menu. Also be sure to disable any duplicate fonts or those that are flagged with conflicts after verification.
Does this problem happen in other user accounts on the system? If not, then try removing the Font Book preferences file (called "com.apple.FontBook.plist" in the username/Library/Preferences/ folder), and try removing the Font cache using a maintenance utility like Onyx.
Note: This problem was ultimately fixed by Dina locating the troubled font and realizing it only contained capital letter characters, causing Font Book to substitute symbols from other fonts when displaying it.