When free becomes a PITA

It has been ten years since I made the decision at home to move from Windows to Mac. I had grown sick of the six monthly cycle of wiping my hard drive clean to re-install Windows and apps in order to regain my system’s performance [geek requirement!]. Back then I purchased myself a 15-inch MacBook Pro, by today’s standards it was HUGE, it came with a traditional hard drive, a superdrive (aka DVD burner) and the most minimal amount of RAM.

Another reason I enjoyed the move to Mac was one, rather stupid, experience I’d had after an install in 2002 when doing one of those six monthly re-installs. On this occasion I had idiotically forgotten to unplug from the internet, I wiped my desktop, spent the requisite time installing Windows XP and several application suites only to have malware self-install and take over my machine; you learn the hard way sometimes in life, don’t you. Whilst that was my only such experience, I grew sick of the constant need for annual anti-virus subscriptions, constantly shelling out funds to McAfee, Symantec or Kaspersky in order to protect my machine as Microsoft certainly wasn’t doing so out of the box.

Thus in 2009, I decided to purchase the MacBook Pro. Back then, Macs were not yet on the radar of hackers, at least not in any great way. Coming from a Unix-based foundation, OS X (now macOS) was better prepared to ward off threats. Despite this I was forced to eventually seek out some measure of protection and recommended sources suggested the free version of Sophos was worthy of installation.

Initially this worked well, however there have been a few issues along the way over the years. About five years ago there was an issue where key files had been identified as potentially infected files – yikes! Thankfully they resolved that quickly. There has also been an ongoing niggling issue that affects Time Machine backups, it really slows these down considerably and I was always forced to disable whenever I remembered to connect my backup drive [I’ve woeful for a geek at doing so].

Tonight, I have been forced to uninstall Sophos as it was blocking all web browsers from accessing the internet. I was near pulling my hair out trying everything from restarting, quitting mDNSResponder, deleting my wireless networks, deleting caches, and even considering re-installing macOS Catalina.

Before re-installing macOS, I decided I’d try removing Sophos. Poor design of this app requires your connection to the internet and a functional web browser in order to manage its features, thus removal was my only choice. I don’t feel I can go without protection these days, so I may need to look at alternate options now, at least my web browsers are restored to me.

macOS Mojave issues

This past week my late-2015 MacBook Pro has been having issues connecting via wireless to our router, requiring me to restart the router before web browsers can access the internet. The strange thing is, other web-enabled applications and tools have had no issue accessing the internet during this time, so I know there’s some issue with macOS Mojave. Seriously frustrating. I am just waiting for a news posting on Mac websites to say Apple has been tweaking settings in preparation for macOS Catalina or what have you.

Using the inbuilt wireless diagnostic tool, I have changed our 5GHz wireless channel given its recommendation. It appears several other wireless routers in our neighbourhood were sharing the same channel, the tool suggesting a swap to channel 161.

Here’s hoping tweaking the 5GHz channel, restarting the router and my MacBook Pro will finally resolve the issues I’ve been experiencing. I also hope that macOS Catalina brings improved code; I dare to dream, don’t I.

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