Tag Archives: Apple

Do more with your old MacBook

Have you got an old MacBook that Apple doesn’t support any more? Can’t install the latest and greatest version of Mac OS X on it because the CPU is too old? You’re probably seeing a warning from Chrome that Google has discontinued support for Mac OS X 10.5.3 or whatever is on that ancient beast? It’s the same with Firefox.

Flash isn’t updated either and when you go to Youtube to watch a video Chrome shows you an ugly warning that it’s outdated. Frustrating isn’t it?

What’s more, you’re probably leaving yourself open to exploits by nasties on the Internet. Problems and bugs are found in Flash all the time. Browsers and operating systems are the same too but if that software isn’t actively updated then you’re out of luck. I discovered Opera browser is still built for these old machines and it’s fast but Flash was still a problem and I needed a better solution.

As unlikely as it may seem on an Apple computer, it’s Linux that came to the rescue!

I didn’t think I could put Linux on the MacBook as there was no Bootcamp to dual boot the machine. Thanks to I found the MacBook help pages for Ubuntu which pointed me towards rEFIt, a “boot menu and maintenance toolkit for EFI-based machines like the Intel Macs.” Even on an old MacBook 4,1 I could install Linux!

Installing rEFIt was simple enough, just run the package installer when I mounted the .dmg file. However the boot menu didn’t appear, even after several reboots until I pressed down ALT while rebooting.

Partitioning was a problem. I used the command line diskutil tool as suggested here but ran into problems because it couldn’t do a live resize. It would report that it ran out of space or there were too many deep links. Luckily the Ubuntu install CD comes with Gparted and after booting into the live CD I ran that and freed up 40GB of space for my new Linux install. A couple of reboots later to verify everything was working and then on to Linux!

Thankfully I didn’t run into the problems a recent Ars reviewer of Ubuntu Linux 12.10 came across. Linux installs are getting simpler and simpler. I told it to install alongside Mac OS X and let it set up partitions.

The WIFI adaptor in the Macbook requires a proprietary driver and after hooking the laptop up to an ethernet cable I started updating packages. While doing that I looked in the System settings and discovered that Ubuntu had installed the right driver without my prompting! I’m not sure when that happened but WIFI has been rock solid since.

Time to install Opera, the restricted packages (mp3 and dvd playback, etc), Java for Minecraft and finally Minecraft. Getting a Minecraft icon for Unity was a pain and I can’t find the script I used now but some quick Google-fu will find it.

Linux on the MacBook is nice and fast, even with Unity on there. I may replace that with a lighter window manager if it becomes a problem but it’s much improved on older releases. If you have an old MacBook and you don’t need some proprietary software that isn’t available for Linux then you should definitely put Linux on there. You’ll have the security of using updated software and a nice new desktop and apps to play around with!

Windows screenshots on a Macbook Pro laptop

Creating a screenshot in Windows is normally simple. Press Print Screen, fire up paint and paste it in. However what do you do when you have a laptop keyboard without a PRT SCN button?

It’s rather simple actually, thanks macrumors people.

To create a screenshot on a Macbook Pro laptop press either fn+shift+F11 or fn+ALT+F11. The latter one grabs a single window. Fire up paint and CTRL-v those pixels in!

Colin and Nick discussed video formats this morning on Twitter. Colin said that “iMovie lags like crazy on H.264 video” which might explain why the transitions in my first commentary didn’t render correctly when I did the voiceover in iMovie, and resulted in the video lagging behind the audio later in the video.

Anyway, I went searching, and found MPEG STREAMCLIP which will convert MP4 files to Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC). A 596MB file became a gigantic 11GB file! I haven’t tried editing a video with transitions yet but hopefully iMovie will perform better.

Is the iPad suitable for gamers? For iPad games yes, but really the device doesn’t interest me. I spend all my day at a desk where I have access to more powerful machines. If I was going anywhere would I lug around an iPad? Possibly but the price definitely puts me off as I do so little traveling. It’s not available on this side of the Atlantic yet anyway.

Some of my colleagues at work are going mad over the iPad but I wondered if it was suitable for gamers? Here’s one gamer’s review of it. The ability to play split screen games is interesting. I’d love to give it a go, but God, I’m trying to drum up the enthusiasm to finish this post quickly. It was never meant to be a gamer’s device:

Here’s the verdict:

If you have to question if this a true gaming device or not – then it’s not a gaming device. Its just a device with games on it.

Crash Different

An oldie, but as they say, “a goody”. For all the Mac fans who are sick and tired of their computers crashing. (Hey Mark!)
Found this on a CD while sorting through my CDRs and music collection. Most are now ripped to MP3 and the physical media is heading into the attic for safe storage.

Why is it that most of my compilation CDs are from about 10 years ago? Does music become less relevant the older you get? I’ve never bought music online but if I do, Blue Lights on the Runway by Bell X1 will probably be the first album I buy. Love “The Great Defector”, their current single.

Mac OS X Leopard and Nokia N73 Bluetooth Problems

When I got my new Macbook a few weeks back I thought I could use the Bluetooth functions to browse and copy files from my Nokia N73. It worked just fine on my previous Macbook, an old 2 year old machine destroyed by a cup of tea, so I wasn’t expecting any problems.

Unfortunately it seems that Mac OS X Leopard and the latest firmware of the Nokia N73 just do not like each other. No matter what I did, I could not get the Macbook and N73 to pair. The configuration tool stopped every single time on the “getting more information” part of the wizard. I’m not the only one experiencing problems. There’s a long thread on the Apple website. Both Apple and Nokia have been informed and are aware of the problem but I suspect it’s something in Nokia’s latest N73 firmware.

I have a card reader, now to find the SD sleeve that came with my Sony Ericsson phone. Nokia didn’t include one with their phone.

PS. does anyone else find the keyboard of their Macbook isn’t as responsive as it should be? I have to really hit the y and Enter keys to make sure. It is very annoying!

Macbook Porn

After I destroyed my Apple Macbook I thought I’d never get to put stickers on a Macbook again. Luckily the machine was insured and the replacement Macbook came this morning.

Compared to the previous machine this one is a huge upgrade! The new Macbook has 2GB of RAM, a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 160GB drive and comes with Mac OS X Leopard installed!

Now, where did I put that Ubuntu install disk ..

How to win an Apple Mac Air

  1. Join Twitter.
  2. Follow @wubud.
  3. Tell your friends.

@wubud (pronounced woo-bud) is where Paul Walsh will reveal his next venture. You may remember Paul from a previous post here about his qik adventures when he missed his flight home because he was talking to people on the Internet. He landed a bed in a penthouse suite so don’t be too sorry for him!

Anyway, he explains on his blog why he’s going down the Twitter route and it’s an interesting experiment. It certainly caught the imagination of several people we both follow and I know others are blogging it too. Nice way to spread the word, eh? I think the incentive to win a Mac Air helps too, don’t you think?

So far only 203 people are following @wubud so it may take a while to get to the 5,000 followers Paul wants.

Paul’s in San Francisco next weekend, so you never know, he might reveal the master plan to you if you ask nicely if he hasn’t done it before then!

What about me? Do I want to win a Mac Air? ‘Course I do! My Macbook died this evening. A cup of tea spilled on it while I was feeding the baby. I quickly dried it off as best I could with paper towels but the screen was black and the thing is dead. Luckily backuppc had done a backup 6 days ago so I doubt I lost much stuff.

How to Insult the Mac Brigade

I’ve insulted the Mac Brigade. I am so sorry. I didn’t realise that putting stickers on an Apple Macbook was such a heinous crime. HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO STUPID?

Well, that’s how Bernie puts it anyway. Sort of. He posted a photo of my Macbook at BlogTalk and the response surprised me. Hahahaha. Thud! (Laughing my head off)

For those who missed the original shot, here’s one I took moments ago. There are stickers from Laughing Squid (and a button too), getfirefox.com (Thanks Nikolay), Zooomr.com, Hyku, that WordPress crowd who get everywhere, and 2 from Om Malik: FoundRead and NewTeeVee.
The other button says, “hard bloggin’ scientist” and I got that from Jan Schmidt last Tuesday at BlogTalk. Thanks!

Macbook

Lovely isn’t it? Who’s on your laptop? Anyone got a Dell sticker to put on the Apple Logo? It’d shine through nicely!

How to replace and calibrate your new Macbook battery

Last week I bought a new Macbook battery from the Apple Store to replace the slightly aged one that came with the machine. I’m travelling shortly and I need enough juice to play MAME and Doom do some work while I sit in airports waiting for connecting flights.

Late last week a parcel came for me, my new battery! Here’s how I replaced the old battery and calibrated the new one, with nice pictures.

macbook battery box

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