Archive for August, 2009

Snow Leopard Problems

August 31, 2009 6 comments


The first system I tried Snow Leopard on was my 1st generation Macbook. I expected some problems installing onto a hackintosh but all the reports I have read so far say the Leopard to Snow Leopard upgrade works just fine. Unfortunately this hasn’t been the case with my Macbook.

Before starting the upgrade I made a full backup to an external hard drive. The Snow Leopard upgrade is fairly straightforward, there are few options you can change now so it’s just a case of insert the DVD and go through the installer steps. After installation there were immediate problems visible, starting with many missing items at the right side of the menu bar. No time, no iStat menu’s and other items missing. I’ve since found out that iStat menu’s has problems with Snow Leopard, but trying to go into System Preferences> Date & Time>Clock just caused System Preferences to hang and needing a Force Quit. It looked like there was a conflict somewhere, so I tried again. Read more…

10.5.8 on Hackintosh

August 28, 2009 2 comments

Snow_Leopard_BoxSnow Leopard is released today which means the focus of the hackintosh scene will quickly shift to the latest release. I picked up my Copy of the Snow Leopard Family Pack on the way home from work today and will by attempting a hackintosh install over the weekend, as a fresh install. My three hackintosh’s will be staying as they are until all the bugs are ironed out and Snow leopard is stable on non-Apple hardware.

My main Hackintosh, based on a Gigabyte P32-DS3R motherboard and Intel Core 2 Quad 6600 processor, is running 10.5.8. I had a problem with sleep not resuming after the install, but a quick search of showed a perfect fix by deleting disabler.kext and IntelCPUPMDisabler.kext from the Extensions folder. The same didn’t work with my newest Intel Atom server Hackintosh, in the limited time I have had over the past two weeks I haven’t found a fix yet. The HThackintosh hasn’t been attempted yet, as this and the server are not routinely web browsing or doing any other risky activity. Also, by the time the eighth point update to an Apple OS is released the urgency to upgrade is wearing off. These machines may stay at 10.5.7 until the Snow Leopard on Hackintosh guides are well tested.

As I always say, don’t forget to make a backup before upgrading any system, Apple or not, to Snow Leopard. My Macbook is currently being backed up to an external USB drive using the excellent Carbon Copy Cloner, as soon as I have the option to restore to Leopard from a backup the newest big cat will be going on as an upgrade.

Snow Leopard available from 28th August

August 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Snow_Leopard_BoxIt’s been a while coming, but today Apple has finally set a date for the release of it’s next operating system. Snow Leopard is available now for pre-order, with Friday 28th August given as the delivery date. Pricing in the UK has been set at £25 for a single machine upgrade (from Leopard), and a family pack for five machines is £39. Those upgrading from Tiger are still expected to buy the Mac Box Set which contains Snow Leopard, iLife and iWork for £129.

The Atlantic price divide, part 247

August 20, 2009 Leave a comment

One of the camera’s Canon announced yesterday, the S90, looks like a contender for my next compact photo shooter. It’s due out sometime in September based on early information, with a UK price of £449 for pre-order from as shown below.

Amazon_S90_UKNot cheap but the spec is good and I would expect this to quickly drop below £400. Since I’m off the Florida at the end of October I took a look at early US prices to see if it would be worth waiting and buying out there (dependant on reviews and a hands on of course). The price is shown below.

Amazon_S90_USI know UK citizens often get a poor deal when it comes to prices, but this is ridiculous. At the current exchange rate (as I type on 20th August 2009) of $1.65 to the pound that makes the US Amazon price the equivalent of £260. The other way round, the UK price is $740. However you look at it this is an obscene markup, and as this article questions, didn’t the British PM promise an end to this?

Categories: money, photo Tags: , , , ,

Are Megapixels going the way of Megahertz?

August 19, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve been looking at high end compact cameras recently, in my continuing quest for a reasonably sized camera that can capture good images in less than optimal light. My Nikon D50 does a very good job, and while a £120 vibration reduction lens would make it even better it’s still a big camera to carry around a theme park all day for holiday snaps. The Panasonic DMC-FS3 (a £100 compact) I took to San Francisco and Las Vegas earlier this year did an OK job in daylight but gave poor results as the light levels dropped.

Unlike the iPhone 3GS finally replacing my mobile phone and PDA, my quest for an all in one image/video capture device has been a failure. The Sanyo Xacti range failed to deliver, with the C5 and HD2 being too much of a compromise in both photo and video quality. A Canon HF100 now does video duties with excellent quality results, so the hunt is on for a compact that can deliver good results in low light.


The current model that has caught my eye is the Panasonic LX3. A fast F2-F2.8 lens (meaning more light reaching the sensor so faster shutter speeds and less blur) and a sensible 10 megapixels suggest at least one manufacturer has taken a step back from the megapixel race to assess what customers actually want. This happened a few years ago when AMD and Intel reached a limit in pure processor speed and had to start looking at increasing efficiency and the number of cores in their processors. Megaherts was never much more than a marketing buzzword, and megapixels means even less. Would anyone choose a fuzzy fifteen megapixel image over a sharp six megapixel one? The crazy thing here is that the number of pixels comes from multiplying horizontal and vertical resolution, so while my Nikon D50 produces six megapixel images of 3000 by 2000 pixels, a twelve megapixel camera which sounds twice as good gives images of 4240 by 2824 pixels, an increase of around 40% both horizontally and vertically. To get a true doubling of resolution to 6000 by 4000 requires a 24 megapixel camera, well out of the consumer price range.


The reason for this rather lengthy ramble is that todays big photographic news is the announcement of the Canon G11. Where Panasonic decided to keep the number of pixels the same and improve image quality with the move from the the Lx2 to Lx3, Canon has decided to reduce the G10’s 14.7 megapixels down to 10 megapixels for the G11. Hopefully reviews will shortly rave over increased low light image quality, and other camera manufacturers will finally realise that consumers value image quality over marketing hype. This may be wishful thinking on my part, but I suspect that two big names making a brave move may be enough to start a new trend.

UPDATE Looks like there’s another model to compete with The Panasonic Lx3, as Canon also announced the S90. Offering the same 10 Megapixel sensor with a 28-110mm zoom and F2-F4.9 lens this may be the model that goes head to head with the Lx3 at a similar price.

Categories: photo Tags: , , , , ,

Mac OS 10.5.8 Released

August 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Apple has released Mac OS 10.5.8, the eighth update to it’s Leopard operating system. Offering the usual combination of security and bug fixes, full details are available in knowledge base article ht3606. I’m currently working through my three hackintosh systems to see if there are any problems with the upgrade, so a full report will follow.


Mac Software Bundles

August 5, 2009 Leave a comment

If you love a cheap bundle of quality software as much as I do there are three offerings available right now, all priced just under $50. First up is TheMacBundles at $49.95, offering the following:


The bonus programs expire over  the next few days so the bundle goes against previous form by getting smaller as time passes, rather than adding software as sales targets are reached. There are no killer apps in this one and it doesn’t offer the same amount of saving as some of the previous Mac Heist or MacUpdate bundles.


The second bundle is MacBundleBox, offering 12 apps for $49. Standouts for me are Freeway Express, iCash and Stomp. The last is a video convertor that looks like it could fill the shoes of the much missed Visualhub. Several of  the included apps sell for $60+ so there’s some fine savings here.


The final package is TheMacSale, with 10 strong apps for $49.99. Standouts for me are Flux, a WYSIWYG web editor with strong CSS support, Iris for photoshop style image editing, and the personnal version of REALbasic for writing software.

I’ve passed on TheMacBundles and bought TheMacSale package. I’m tempted by MacBundleBox so will probably end up buying that as well. The real benefit of these software packages is that after buying them for the past few years I have an app for most things you could want to do with a Mac.

iPhone firmware 3.0.1 released, jailbreakable

August 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Apple has released an updated iPhone firmware to fix a recently discovered critical SMS vulnerability. Version 3.0.1 doesn’t appear to offer any other fixes or changes, and the latest post on the iPhone Dev Team blog confirms that redsn0w 0.8 works fine with the new release, as long as you select firmware 3.0 as the base for the patching, NOT 3.0.1. I have confirmed this works with my own iPhone, and since this is a serious security flaw I would recommend everyone updates asap.

The media reaction to this flaw has been mixed, ranging from informed to hysterical. While some are screaming ‘iPhones are unsafe’ other sites have pointed out this appears to be a common flaw with a wide range of smartphone platforms including Google and Microsoft mobile operating systems.