Category Archives: Safari 5.1

Transmission – Port is closed

I don’t often get into 3rd-party software or non-Mac hardware issues, but here’s a little trick I discovered today that could prevent a situation that adversely affects Safari and other network software.

Not so long ago I bought a new router, and everything was working fine. However, when I recently fired up Transmission, I found that not only were my downloads not so fast as I’d normally expect, but that all internet browsing was completely throttled. Basically, Safari would just get stuck half way into loading a page and eventually timeout. Killing Transmission would immediately restore Safari’s connectivity.

Looking in Transmission’s preferences ‘Network’ pane revealed that the port was either closed (red button) or the port could not be checked (yellow button). Now there are a number of reasons this can happen, but since I knew nothing had changed except my router since the last time Transmission was successfully used, I decided to go check out some of the router’s settings.

To do this, quit Transmission if it’s running, then enter your router’s IP address in Safari’s search bar. Typically, this will be something like, but if you’re not sure, you can find your router’s IP using my free utility ‘FastTasks‘.

Once you’re in your router’s admin pages, look for Advanced network settings. In my router, I found a bunch of firewall and network protocols (see the first screenshot below). Neither disabling NAT nor UPnP had any effect (those were my first thoughts about the likely culprit), but turning off the ipSec PassThrough option sure did, with the upshot that Safari and Transmission are not only playing nicely together again, but Transmission’s download speeds have markedly improved. 🙂

Here’s the settings I used to get back up and running; see if you can find similar options if you’re experiencing the same problem.

Turning off ‘ipSec PassThrough’ in my Router’s Advanced Settings:

router settings

Transmission’s Network Preferences pane:
transmission network prefs

block MacKeeper and other browser ads

Generally, I like to keep browser extensions down to a minimum, but here’s an essential one if you are tired of all those ‘Clean your mac’ / ‘Speed up your mac’ ads on every website you visit. Download and install the Safari adblock extension from here:

What I like about this particular adblocker is that, if you go with the default filters, not only does it load your pages faster but it also reformats the page as if the ads were never even there, rather than leaving unsightly, blank placeholders in the page as some other ad filtering services do.

The extension is free, though you’re encouraged to donate if you appreciate the work done by the developer. 🙂

Related Posts
how to uninstall MacKeeper

how to remove ‘Top Sites’ in Safari

If you are fed up with the ‘Top Sites’ feature in Safari 5, here’s how to remove it.

1. In Safari > Preferences > General, change ‘New windows open with’ and ‘New tabs open with’ to either ‘Homepage’ or ‘Empty page’ (as you prefer).

2. In Safari > Preferences > Bookmarks, uncheck ‘Include Top Sites’.

Now you also need to get rid of the caches, and to stop Safari from continually storing images of your web page history (Tip: Safari will still track your History in the normal way, but here we are going to prevent it from downloading the image files that are used in Top Sites), so:

3. In Safari > Reset Safari…, check ‘Reset Top Sites’ and ‘Remove all webpage preview images’.

Click ‘Reset’.

4. Go to your home folder Library (~/Library) by clicking on the Folder icon in the dock, pressing ‘shift-command-g’, and typing ~/Library in the box.

Navigate to Caches >

5. Click once on the Cache.db file. Hit ‘command-i’ on the keyboard. In the Get Info panel that opens, check the ‘Locked’ box. Close the panel.

6. Click on the Webpage Previews folder in and press ‘command-i’. Check the ‘Locked’ box. Close the panel.

7. Navigate back to Caches > Metadata > Safari> Bookmarks. Go into the Bookmarks folder, hit ‘command-a’ and then ‘command-delete’ to send all the selected files to the Trash.

8. With the Bookmarks folder selected in Finder, press ‘command-i’ and check the ‘Locked’ box. Close the panel.

That’s it. No more ‘Top Sites’, and no more wasted time or space downloading and storing webpage previews! :- )

And what about later versions of Safari? There’s no way to remove Top Sites in Safari 7 that I know of (if you know different, please leave a comment below). However, there’s no reason to suffer in silence! Let Apple’s Safari dev team know how much you dislike it:

Safari feedback

Related Posts
How to Troubleshoot Your Mac with FT2
how to clear Safari’s cookies on quit (Safari 7)
FastTasks – download the free OS X utility app from Applehelpwriter

java not working on Lion

Unlike previous OS X iterations, Java does not come installed by default on Lion OS X. Instead, you need to download it and enable it.

First, check to see whether Java is installed by running this command in

java -version

If you don’t get a version number back, then you need to go here first and download the Java update from Apple:

Once Java is installed, then you need to enable it. In your Applications > Utilities folder, you should find the Java Double click on that, and in the ‘General’ tab, click the enable checkbox at the top (see screenshot above).

Java working! 🙂

why is my mac running so slow?

UPDATE: Please also see How To Troubleshoot Your Mac with FT2.

There can be various reasons why your Mac starts running slowly. Some of these can be app-related – especially if you are making multiple changes in programs that have autosave enabled. Other problems could be due to running processor-heavy apps that need more RAM than you’ve presently got. Before you dash off to Crucial to check out your RAM upgrade options, here’s a few basics to run through:

1. Applications > Utilities > Disk
How old is your HDD drive? Click on the top-most hard disk icon in the left column and check the S.M.A.R.T status at the bottom right of the window. Does it say ‘verified’? If it says anything else, back up all your important data and start thinking about buying a new hard disk. If the S.M.A.R.T status is verified, have a look at how much space you’ve got left. A nearly-full disk will slow you down. Generally, it is recommended that you have at least 10% free, but I’d work on getting that closer to 25% for optimum performance. If you have less than that, think about what can be archived onto a backup disk (or two..), such as photos, movies, and even your songs.

2. Applications > Utilities > Activity
What’s using all the CPU time? Is it something you need to be running? Select any obviously unnecessary resource hogs and hit ‘Quit Process’.

3.  > System Preferences > Users & Groups
How many apps are in your ‘Login Items’? Remove anything that is not absolutely necessary at start up time.

4. Have you downloaded MacKeeper or other Anti-virus software?
If so, remove it.

5. How recently did you upgrade to Lion and are you using Time Machine?
If you’ve only recently upgraded in the last day or so, or turned your Mac off not long after upgrading, perhaps Spotlight is still indexing (indicated by a dot in the middle of the ‘spyglass’, top right of your screen) or TM is still updating (indicated by the TM indicator spinning in the menubar). Either or these will eventually finish and return your system to (about) normal, but you should let your system run (leaving it in ‘Sleep’ mode will do the trick) for at least 24 hours if you’ve only just upgraded.

6. Did you repair system permissions after upgrading?
Even though the Lion installer should fix system permissions after an upgrade, if you then added any other 3-rd party apps or restore something from Time Machine, repairing permissions is always a good idea. Doing so is harmless, and rules out permissions as a possible factor of poor performance. Do Step 4 here. Unless any are indicted in red type, don’t panic about the permissions errors that come up in the ‘details’ window – many of these can be safely ignored.

7. Clear out your caches
Caches, in general, help to speed your computer up. However, if you’re a heavy internet browser and you’ve never cleared your caches or your history (I mean like in several months), then this is worth doing from time to time. You can clean out Internet caches in Safari or Firefox by choosing Safari > Empty Cache or Firefox > Tools > Clear Recent History > Everything. Your computer has other caches that can usefully be cleared out periodically, too: use OnyX to do so.

8. Is the system slow with just one particular program or while trying to open some particular window?
A couple of things could be going on here. If its your browser, try killing some of those extensions/add-ons – every one of them slows you down just that little bit, and many slow you down a lot. Another possibility is a corrupt ‘plist’ or preference file associated with a particular app. Curing this is a bit more tricky and requires knowing your way around the hidden Library folder. If you think this is your problem, leave a comment below to get further instructions.

featured picture Speedo ©2011 Phil Stokes

Related Posts:
why is my mac running so hot?
FastTasks – download the free OS X utility app from Applehelpwriter

turn off auto paging in Safari

Having problems with Safari loading more than one page when you click a link? In blogs like WordPress, clicking on the ‘comments’ link can cause Safari to behave a bit oddly, only loading the comments briefly before loading more than one page onto the screen.

If you’re having this problem, try turning off the auto-page extension tool. Go to the Safari menu at the top of the screen, next to the Apple logo. Click the menu and chose ‘Preferences…’. Click the Extensions tab. Look for ‘AutoPagerize’ in the list on the left hand side. Click it, and un-check the ‘Enable’ box. Job done!

Safari Preferences:

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