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Archive for December, 2008

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…

Updating to 10.5.6

December 24, 2008 6 comments

Following the recent post where I restored a backup to return to 10.5.5, I’m now back to 10.5.6 with no apparent problems so far. The research into the 10.5.6 waking from sleep issue was confusing with some conflicting advice, so here is a brief summary of what I did and the results.

The original problem was that after updating to 10.5.6 using software update my hackintosh would appear to sleep but had shut down, so hitting the power button resulted in a full startup rather than a brief waking from sleep. Before upgrading I had made a bootable backup using Carbon Copy Cloner so this was restored to get back to a fully working 10.5.5 system. Read more…

HD here I come

December 21, 2008 Leave a comment

hf100While picking up Mrs Bassheads last few presents yesterday I popped into Jessops to have a look at the special offers. I’ve had my eye on a Canon HF100 for a while now, and intended to order one from Amazon after Christmas. The price on Amazon.co.uk recently dropped from £550 for £450, then shot back over £500 before I had a chance to order one. It’s currently sitting at £476, and Jessops had the HF100 for £499 witha £50 cash back from Canon. Even better, when I paid the system said the price was £489 so the total after cashback is £439. I could order from Amazon and get one for £426 with the cashback but it’s in my hand and I can now shoot HD christmas video to bore the family.

Compared to my last video camera (Sanyo Xacti HD2, soon to be appearing on Ebay) the HF100 is stunning. Easy to use menu’s, responsive screen and an easy to control yet fast zoom make it a pleasure to use. The footage doesn’t disappoint either. I set the camera to 25p mode and used shutter priority at 25 to get amazing low light performance. The Xacti would just go black and fuzzy in low light, and although there is still noise in the Canon’s footage there’s also a lot of detail. Read more…

Categories: hackintosh, macintosh, video Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ambrosia Software 15th Anniversary bundle

December 21, 2008 Leave a comment

Not free but offering outstanding value, Ambrosia Software is celebrating its 15th year with a bundle of six games for $19. The titles are a mix of old (updated) and new, so there’s something here for everyone. I’ve already bought this one to keep me going over the Christmas holiday. Here’s the descriptions from the Ambrosia web site:

  • Apeiron X Arcade-style, fast-paced, frantic gameplay. You versus the nefarious Pentipede and other mushroom patch baddies.
  • Redline! Put the pedal to the metal in this intense 3D racing game. Hop in and burn rubber through myriad race tracks across the Web.
  • Bubble Trouble X – Arcade-style family fun, filled with frolic, fins, and fishy foes. Use the maze itself to pop the cutthroat competition.
  • Darwinia Save a virtual world from a deadly computer virus. Real-time strategy and lush3D landscapes remind you remember why gaming is fun.
  • SketchFighter Pilot your sketched ship through hand-drawn graph paper mazes, battle bugs and bosses, solo or with a friend.
  • Aki Mahjong Solitaire is an elegant blend of the ancient Chinese game of Mahjong with an enchanting journey across Japan.

The offer ends midnight December 24th, and the titles purchased separately cost $123. Sounds like a bargain.

Mac Giving Tree offers free software

December 21, 2008 Leave a comment

It must be christmas, the MacUpdate bundle just ended with another bonus app, and the Mac Giving Tree at Macheist is open for signups. Get Synergy (iTunes controller) and Enigmo 2 (puzzle game) now, with two more apps unveiled on Christmas day. Sign up two other people and you get two more free apps. No hints to what they are at the moment, but you can’t complain about free Christmas presents. I’ve played Enigmo 2 for a couple of hours this afternoon and got to level 16 with many more to go, so what could be better than free entertainment?

10.5.6 on Hackintosh

December 16, 2008 3 comments

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The latest update to Mac OS Leopard is now out, and 10.5.6 looks so far to be working fine on my hackintosh. I installed Leopard using the Chameleon/Boot132 method a while back which allows the use of Software Update for OS upgrades. This time around the update installed just as it would on any other Mac, a couple of restarts and the system was up and running again. Apple have an article listing all the fixes and changes for anyone interested.

As usual, I strongly recommend making a backup before the upgrade, especially for hackintosh users. SuperDuper has been suffering a problem recently on my system so I’m back to using the excellent (and free) Carbon Copy Cloner.

UPDATE While the install was painless the results since have been less than smooth. I expected to copy some kext’s from my backup to get audio and the basics (reboot, sleep etc) working, but even with these the hackintosh would not sleep correctly. Every time I tried waking from sleep the system rebooted, so for now it’s back to to 10.5.5 using Carbon Copy Cloner to restore from the backup.

Virgin Media launches 50Mb broadband

December 15, 2008 Leave a comment

50mb_modemDetails of the trials have been leaking out for a while, and today Virgin Media has launched their 50Mb Cable broadband service. Priced at £35 a month with a Virgin phone line or £51 a month without it’s not cheap, and I haven’t been able to find any mention of speed caps on the web site. It’s hard to believe there aren’t any speed limits during peak hours when the 20Mb service was capped so heavily (down to 5Mb after 3 Gb) but maybe that’s what you pay for. The new service comes with a rather nice wireless N router, although you have to pay a £50 service activation fee so it’s not exactly free.

The most interesting part of this service is the 1.5Mb upload speed. I’ve written about backups on Mac’s and Hackintosh’s several times and the one thing that stops me using online backup services is the pathetic 768kb upload speed of my 20Mb broadband service. Not really an issue at the moment though as I’m not interested in paying more to Virgin Media, and their web site says the 50Mb service isn’t available at my address.

Categories: internet, money Tags: , ,

Windows 7 Build 6956

December 13, 2008 Leave a comment

This week I had a chance to play with the latest (available) Windows 7 build, 6956. The new style taskbar that was a hack in the previous 6801 version is now standard, and surprisingly includes the Windows explorer by default. There are some tweaks and graphical changes to the installation and startup screens but nothing massively different to the previous build. Techradar have a nice guide to what to expect from Windows 7 so I won’t repeat it all here. Read on for a screenshot gallery, and remember that these were taken running in VMware so there’s no Aero effects. Read more…

Categories: microsoft, windows Tags: , , ,

The Macintosh Virus issue

December 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Or should I say, the lack of Macintosh Virus issue. There’s still no serious threat in the wild, and anti-virus software vendors still warn we should be running anti-virus software on our Mac’s just incase there is a threat in the future. Macworld published an article this week looking at the recurring question, and concluded you don’t need anti-virus software on a Mac if you follow good practices.

virusbarrierx5I must confess that I am currently using VirusBarrier X5, as it was part of the current MacUpdate bundle. There was nothing wrong with Clamxav, but since I had the software I thought I might as well give it a try, if only to scan downloads destined for a Windows virtual machine. It works well, doesn’t appear to slow the computer down and has some neat features to speed up scanning. Would I pay for another years updates after this subscription expires? Probably not with the current lack of threats, but that may change as Mac’s continue to become more popular.

Is this payback for the legal bullies?

December 10, 2008 Leave a comment

Following my recent rant about the state of UK copyright infringement persecution I was delighted to read at ArsTechnica that consumer organisation Which? has filed a complaint with the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. The target of the complaint is law firm Davenport Lyons, those fine caring citizens who are making a habit of targeting alleged online copyright infringers with offers of pre court settlements for several hundred pounds. Which? accuses Davenport Lyons of ‘excessive bullying’ following repeated threatening letters to innocent internet users.

Davenport Lyons have hit the news several times this year, for a range of actions against owners of open WiFi networks, alleged game pirates and even  gay pornography downloading pensioners (alleged). It’s about time these legal bullies were called to answer for their ‘victories’ against those hardcore criminals, especially the single Polish mother of two who ended up with a bill of £16,000 after failing to appear in court for a civil case. Is common sense making a comeback?