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Archive for October, 2009

Using a Bluetooth earpiece with Windows 7

October 25, 2009 1 comment

windows-7-logoThis weekend I have been upgrading Mrs Basshead’s Netbook to Windows 7. There was recently a problem with Windows XP taking a random but often lengthy amount of time to show the desktop after logging in. Various fixes had been attempted but XP could not be fixed. I have the Windows XP restore disc’s so thought there would be nothing lost trying Windows 7 Home Premium first.

The install went well, with Windows 7 picking up most of the hardware and installing the necessary drivers. The only thing that caused me problems is bluetooth support for a Jabra earpiece, which Windows appeared to recognise and install but not connect. I tried a couple of Vista drivers with no success, then found a post in a HP support forum. Hewlett Packard have a package that adds Bluetooth support to a range of HP Netbooks and Laptops running what looks like any version of Windows 7. It also works great with the Samsung Netbook, and Skype now automatically uses the Jabra earpiece when it is powered on in range. If you’re having problems connecting bluetooth equipment to a Windows 7 machine these HP drivers may help, just remember to make a backup or System Restore point before installing them.

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Apple releases new iMacs, Mac Mini, Macbook and Magic Mouse

October 20, 2009 Leave a comment

As was widely predicted this morning, Apple has updated its iMac, Mac Mini and Macbook ranges. Also new is the Magic Mouse, described as ‘the world’s first Multi-Touch mouse’. The new products feature:

iMac

  • 21.5 or 27 inch LED backlit glossy display
  • 3.06/3.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor or 2.66GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor or 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor
  • 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM with four SO-DIMM slots supporting up to 16GB
  • 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 9400M or 256MB ATI Radeon HD 4670 (21.5 inch model)
  • 256MB ATI Radeon HD 4670 or 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4850 (27 inch model)
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and 10/100/Gigabit Ethernet
  • Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive
  • 1 or 2TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA hard drive
  • From £949

Mac Mini

  • 2.26GHz, 2.53GHz, or 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 1066MHz frontside bus
  • 2GB or 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor with 256MB of shared DDR3 SDRAM
  • 160GB, 320GB, or 500GB Serial ATA hard disk drive
  • From £499
  • Also available with two 500GB SATA hard drives and Snow Leopard Server for £799

Macbook

  • 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colours
  • 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 1066MHz frontside bus
  • 2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM with support up to 4GB
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory
  • 250, 320 or 500GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard disk drive
  • 8x slot-loading SuperDrive
  • New Unibody enclosure
  • Up to 7 hour battery life
  • £799

Magic Mouse

Magic_MouseA new design with no buttons. Instead, the whole top of the mouse is a multi-touch surface that responds like the trackpad in the Macbook/Pro’s. Not cheap at £55 but certainly cutting edge.

Overall it’s a very strong line-up for the Christmas Market. I’m a bit surprised the Macbook is still just a single model at £799 but Apple have never been interested in the budget market. The iMacs now go from fast to ridiculously powerful, and while the 1920×1080 HD resolution screen appears to be becoming a standard, the 27 inch version offers an enormous 2560 by 1440 pixels. The Mac Mini is still expensive now has the server model leaked earlier this year. Could this become the perfect small office server?

Mozilla blocks Microsoft’s Firefox plugin

October 19, 2009 Leave a comment

Monday mornings are not known for amusing news, but today is different. I fired up Firefox on my work Laptop and up poped a dialogue warning me that the Windows Presentation Foundation had been disabled.

Firefox_says_NO

The Windows Presentation Foundation plugin caused a stink earlier this year when it was installed into Firefox by a Microsoft update without the users consent or knowledge. Uninstalling the plugin proved initially difficult (later resolved with another update) and last week Microsoft announced it contained a critical security vulnerability.

The block came into effect late Friday, but since I’m a Macintosh user at home I do not (yet) suffer intrusive Microsoft updates that install components without my permission.

Forcing Macintosh Apps Fullscreen

October 17, 2009 1 comment

I use a 20 inch widescreen LCD with my hackintosh, and one of the things that irritates me is the amount of space I lose for the menu bar and dock. Hiding the dock saves space but it’s hidden on all screens when using Spaces, so I have it always shown on the left side of the screen. What I wanted was a way to force apps to go fullscreen like the built in ability of Adobe Lightroom.

PresentYourApps

PresentYourApps is the best solution I have found so far, enabling each app to have its own settings for removing or hiding the dock and menubar. This piece of donationware from Eternal Storms Software can apply a setting for any open app, and although the web site only says it’s Leopard compatible it appears to work fine under Snow Leopard. It doesn’t hide the window’s title bar (the top part with the window description and three minimise/maximise/close buttons), but I use the ‘Hide Menu Bar and Dock’ setting so hitting the top of the screen with the mouse cursor causes the menu bar to pop down over this. Similarly, my dock pops out of the left side of the screen. Switching to a different screen using Spaces returns the dock and Menu Bar to visible. I can now use iMovie with very little lost space on screen, and Firefox fullscreen is great for Google Maps.

Apple blocks iPhone jailbreaking with modified boot ROM

October 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Anyone looking to buy an iPhone for jailbreaking may be out of luck until a new exploit can be found. iClarified and many other sites are reporting that new (shipping since last week) iPhones have an updated Boot ROM that is no longer vulnerable to the 24kpwn exploit used to jailbreak the 3GS.

Macrumors speculates that the block on jailbreaking may be linked to software piracy on jailbroken iPhones. While there are genuine reasons for jailbreaking and unlocking, the continued piracy of cheap apps isn’t going to help the cause. Ripping off apps that cost only a few dollars/pounds is just hurting the developers that make the iPhone such a great platform.

eSata with a Gigabyte P35-DS3R Hackintosh

October 14, 2009 1 comment

Icy_Dock_1

For the past year or so I have been using the 4 bay SATA hard drive dock shown above in my main hackintosh. Made by Icy Dock it works perfectly under Leopard and Snow Leopard, allowing SATA drives to be hot swapped. Over the past couple of months I bought two Icy Dock  external USB2/eSATA drive enclosures for backup drives, shown below.

Icy_Dock_2

I initially connected these drives using USB as the six Intel SATA ports on my motherboard were in use. The remaining two purple SATA ports are from the Gigabyte SATA2 chipset, a re-labelled JMicron controller. I hadn’t tried these, mostly due to remembered problems other users had way back in the early hackintosh days.

Attempts using Superduper to make backups reported a transfer rate of 4Mb/second over USB2 so eSATA speeds were needed. The external Icy Dock cases come with an eSATA cable and expansion card socket/internal cable so there’s nothing else needed. A quick search showed that nothing was needed in the way of kernel extensions to get the jMicron ports working, so ten minutes of installing the expansion slot sockets and the external drives are now working fine over eSATA. Superduper is reporting around 60Mb/second transfer rate to the external backup drives so there’s no excuse to put off slow backups now.

There shouldn’t be any speed difference between the internal 4 bay drives and the external ones, but the great thing about this setup is that the drive caddies are the same differing only in colour and air vent. I can remove an external white caddy and use it in the internal dock and vice versa.

Jailbreaking iPhone 3.1.2

October 13, 2009 Leave a comment

pwnagetoolWith the release of the iPhone Dev Team’s PwnageTool 3.1.4 it is now possible to jailbreak everything but the iPod touch 3rd generation on the Macintosh. Blackra1n for Windows is available to jailbreak any 3.1.2 device including the iPod Touch 3rd generation, so your choice is governed by your platform or device.

I tested PwnageTool 3.1.4 this morning and it worked flawlessly with my 3GS. The previous 3.1.3 version for jailbreaking 3.1 had caused me big problems with the phone being unable to connect to the network after installing the modified ipsw. Luckily I had a version 3.0 ECID SHSH on file with Cydia so it was possible (if convoluted) to restore back to 3.0 and try again. Second time round upgrading to the modified 3.1 worked fine, and I have been unable to figure out what went wrong the first time.