The wife has been on me to fix a problem on her computer for a while now. She’s barraged by near constant prompts to enter a password for the dozens of processes that need access to the Local Items keychain. Somehow, on her computer the password for that keychain got changed (it starts off the same as your login password, and you really have to go out of your way to change that) and we don’t know it.
Googling around I found some recipes for how to fix it. Basically just resetting keychain stuff back to factory fresh. The easy way, using the Reset My Default Keychain button in Keychain Access, did nothing except breaker her normal login. Being paranoid, I added another admin account on her computer just for this occasion. Glad I did.
The next recipe was more drastic. Delete the borked keychain on the command line. The theory was that it’ll just give you a shiny new keychain at next login. I just moved it out of the way. My theory was that if things are worse after the reboot, I can always move it back into place from other admin account.
Another reboot later, and her login doesn’t work, again. Not sure why, the login password probably not stored in the keychain (more like /etc/password, right?) Went to log in with my other admin account to reset the password, and the login screen is broken?
Specifically, I pick my user icon and the text field where you enter your password is in focus for a microsecond then blurred. Clicking the mouse in the field did nothing. Fearing the wrath of wife for bricking her computer I moved over the my mac to google this new problem and suddenly my machine won’t connect to the internet. I think its a non-related DNS problem, but why now? ugh.
While demonstrating the problem to wife, I randomly found the fix for the login problem. Just hit tab; while you can’t click in the password field, you can tab into it. Thankfully my password still works and I was able to reset hers for the umpteenth time today. After she was in, iCloud said it wanted her to authenticated. We did that and things seem to better now (as in not prompting her passwords constantly.) But, if I moved the original keychain directory out of the way, home come all her original keychains and keys still show up in keychain access, wat?
Problem sort of fixed, not gonna mess with that any more today. I’m pretty might next corrective action will be drop her machine down the stairs.
On to the bonus round for other things that annoy me routinely on my own mac:
- If mac is closed, asleep, and an external display is connected, I should be able to wake it with an external keyboard, right? Nope. It does wake up from the external trackpad reliably though.
- After eventually waking up with external display connected, about half the time the colors are borked. Desktop background and some windows look like they’re running in a low color mode. Some are fine. Only way I’ve stumbled on to recover this is to open and shut the mac itself, which takes way 5 seconds to change to dual screen mode and another 5 seconds to change back to just external display.
- Was coding away this week and noticed that my screen was flashing whenever a bell fired in my terminal program. Oh, that’s a feature in iTerm, let me go turn off. Um, wait, its not turned on. Hmm, wait, its not just my terminal program its happening OS wide (like when new iMessages arrive.) Hmm, that seems to be an accessibility feature that I turned on my mistake. Ah, yes, there is feature for that. But, wait, its not turned on. A restart (for a different problem) seemed to clear this up.
Apple, I wanna love you, but you’re making it real hard these days. Getting pretty close to saying forget it, and going back to Linux.