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Posts Tagged ‘windows’

Hackintosh Atom server

July 27, 2009 3 comments

In a previous post I told the sorry tale of my Synology DS106e network attached storage box. It served me well for 18 months until the fan stopped working and a scheduled backup led to the hard drive overheating. It was time to upgrade my server, and there were several options available.

  1. Buy a replacement NAS box, either a newer Synology model or something similar from Qnap, Thecus, Netgear etc. This would cost anywhere from £70 for a used item on eBay to £300 for a top of the range home/soho device. The current Synology one drive budget NAS is around £180 online.
  2. Buy a used Mac Mini from eBay. The newer Core 2 Duo/solo models fetch a high price but the original G4 versions at 1.25 or 1.4Ghz are selling for around £120. Ready made server in a small and silent box, easy to setup and expand through software.
  3. Build a mini hackintosh based on an Intel Atom processor. This is perhaps the most flexible approach, is should be able to run Leopard and hopefully Snow Leopard. Linux and windows shouldn’t be a problem either, so it has plenty of options for software.

I decided to go for the third option, not really surprising since I have already built a Quad Core hackintosh and a Home Theatre hackintosh. Building something is usually more fun than buying a ready made device, although this depends on how well the end result works. With the decision made I started looking at the Insanelymac forums for details from people who had already used Atom processors. Read more…

Windows 7 RC released

The Windows 7 Release Candidate is now available to the general public, having been offered to MSDN and Technet subscribers for a few days. I downloaded the ISO image earlier today from the Microsoft web site. The most surprising thing for me about this was that it was done on a Mac using Firefox, but I guess Microsoft is taking web standards a bit more seriously these days.

VMware Fusion has just finished installing Windows 7RC using the Windows Vista profile. The install went very smoothly and surprisingly fast using the easy install feature and the release candidate serial Microsoft emailed. There’s no Aero 3D at the moment but that’s not a big loss. The most impresive thing having played for a few minutes is that simple tasks like changing display preferences are easily accessible with one right click on the desktop. Windows 7 even picked up when I made VMware full screen and automatically adjusted display resolution to 1680×1050.

Don’t believe the ‘Experts’

December 31, 2008 2 comments

I’ve enjoyed some of the in depth guides on Techradar.com recently, so it was a surprise to read a couple of articles there today that are, while clearly opinions, rather short sighted. The first, Why Mac clones defeat the whole point of a Mac, misses the whole point of building a hackintosh. Here’s the section that gets it all wrong:

There are three major desktop operating systems available at the moment:

  • Linux – an open OS running on open hardware
  • Windows – a closed OS running on open hardware
  • OS X – a closed OS running on closed hardware

Minor feature quibbles aside, all three operating systems do much the same thing. The decision of which one to run is an idealogical one that balances your love of freedom against your love of stability.

I could almost believe this is designed to start a flame war and boost site hits. Since Linux offers the most freedom it’s the least stable? And OS X is the most stable because it offers the least freedom? Idealogical decisions play very little part in the choosing of an operating system. A lot of people use Windows because they don’t know there’s an alternative, or they are happy with it. Many of us use Mac’s because we prefer the way Mac OS works, not because of some idealogical statement. Read more…

Do mac users need Antivirus?

October 11, 2008 2 comments

I posted a while back on the various Antivirus apps available for the Mac. Anyone interested in an update should have a look at the article on Macworld that looks at the threat and makes some interesting points. And don’t forget that Windows running in a virtual machine (using VMware, Parallels or the free Virtualbox) is still Windows so needs protection.

One of the comments left after the article raised a good point, why hasn’t there been a major security breach of Mac OS X? Now that the Mac’s market share is growing there would be a lot of publicity for whoever writes the first widespread security threat, so where is it? is this luck, or is Apple doing something right?

OpenOffice.org release 3 available now

October 11, 2008 Leave a comment

The big push doesn’t start until Monday, but the third release of the OpenOffice.org office suite is now available from mirror servers. I grabbed the Mac version (with native Aqua interface) from the UK mirror server a short time ago but there is a long list of worldwide mirror servers at the distribution.openoffice.org site.

I had a quick play with the suite this morning and so far I’m impressed. The Writer component managed to import my CV (resume) with no problems. It’s a Word document with lots of fancy tables so the software coped well to keep all the elements where they should be. The interface looks a little dated with white toolbars, but for a free office suite the Mac version of OOo 3.0 looks like a highly usable bargain. Also available for Linux, Solaris and Windows, read on for a screenshot gallery. Read more…

Microsoft talks ‘Windows Cloud’

October 2, 2008 2 comments

It looks like Microsoft is taking the idea of cloud computing seriously. Steve Ballmer yesterday announced that a new version of Windows will be launched at the end of October, currently titled ‘Windows Cloud’ with a final name to follow. Opinions from the web seem to differ on what the new OS will include, with reports ranging from an OS for Cloud developers to one based on Windows server with cloud services integrated. Google and Apple are already embracing the Cloud so it’s no surprise The Redmond Giant want a slice of the action.

Also mentioned by Ballmer was the existence of Midori, a research project looking to build the OS that may one day replace Windows.

Windows Vista: Not that bad

June 27, 2008 Leave a comment

If ever there’s been a case of damning with faint praise it’s an article on Gizmodo titled ‘Ten reasons why Vista isn’t that bad’. From the title that suggests it’s only slightly bad, to some of the weakest excuses I’ve heard yet, it’s one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while. Here’s the list of ‘reasons’ Read more…

firefox 3 now available

June 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Firefox 3 was due to hit the download sites at 6pm UK time but it’s just appeared at mozilla.com. Download the version for your OS here or choose an OS and language here. Spreadfirefox.com appears to be down at the moment, so hopefully this won’t interfere with the world record attempt.

VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1

A while back I compared the three biggest Virtualisation products for the Mac. Parallels, VMware Fusion and VirtualBox are all impressive products that performed equally, and I used the free Virtualbox for my occasional Windows needs. Parallels was part of the recent MacUpdate bundle which I bought, so I’ve been using that most recently. It’s been running well and seems more responsive than the previous versions I tried.

The reason for this recap is that VMware Fusion 2 beta 1 has been released, and adds some interesting new features. Multi display support will please some users, even if support for eight monitors is very niche. Importing Parallels and Virtual PC machines is a useful if late addition. DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 2 is perhaps the most interesting, and I’m wondering how well this will work on my hackintosh. Perhaps the biggest improvement is that version 2 allows any printer attached to your Mac to be used direct from Windows without installing drivers.

Also new is an updated version 1.6 of Virtualbox. It’s now out of beta, although there are a few things still not supported:

Currently, we are aware of the following restrictions:
•    No support for Host Interface Networking
•    No support for Internal Networking
•    No support for audio input
•    No support for VT-x/AMD-V (rarely required)
•    No support for raw disk access
•    The numlock emulation isn’t implemented yet
•    The VirtualBox kernel extension is currently accessible from all user accounts
Note that we are planning to address all known issues.

Things are certainly moving on in the Mac virtualisation market, so I’ll be trying all three products again this week with some updated results to follow.

Modular Windows

April 8, 2008 Leave a comment

When details of the next version of Microsoft Windows first started appearing, there was much talk of it being a lot more modular in nature. There were even Microsoft demo’s’ of a bare bones ‘MinWin’ that removed the many layers of Vista and gave a fast and compact core that used 40Mb or Ram and 25Mb of disk space. For once it sounded like Microsoft’s engineers were leading the development of Windows 7 instead of the marketing teams.

Unfortunately thing don’t seem to be going the way I had hoped. Arstechnica has an article titled ‘Why modular Windows will suck for Microsoft and suck for you’ that makes a good argument for why it’s not a good idea. It’s all about the way in which Windows will become modular, using software or services that are bought individually or subscribed to. If you want the full Windows package you end up paying more for it, or users who want to strip out the bits they don’t use could get a cheaper deal. Read more…

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