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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

iMac 27″ screen repair complete

November 25, 2010 7 comments

Intel iMac 27"

The new iMac 27" with LCD backlit screen.

 

My iMac 27″ came back from Apple after it developed dark patches on the screen and has had its screen repaired. It is now as good as new (well, technically better because I only actually bought a 24″ iMac, and this one was a replacement).

In any case, the machine is back and has been restored to its former glory.

My real worry is that, since it took 8 months for the patches manifest and suddenly, over the course of a month, spread to cover the whole screen, will I be in for another replacement in nine month’s time? I hope not because my guarantee runs out in March of 2011…. I think I’m going to have to get Apple Care, Again!

Fingers crossed.

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Firewire vs. USB

September 10, 2009 2 comments

The battle between Firewire (A.K.A. IEEE 1394, iLink) and USB rages on.

i switch

It’s well known that although USB 2.0 shows a higher speed on paper (480Mbps vs. 400Mbps) than Firewire, due to inefficiencies in USB protocol and the fact that USB requires the host to manage the transfer of data, Firewire is in actual fact faster on the whole.

The reason is cited as being not just the efficient, real-time, streaming oriented protocol but the Firewire controller itself, which manages much of the dirty work when it comes to data transfer, offloading the stress of controlling real-time, high speed data from the motherboard/CPU onto the device.

This offers two main benefits:

  1. The host CPU or controller has less work to do and can focus on other, more important stuff, meaning the attached host will feel more responsive and less stressed under heavy load.
  2. Because major data flow control is performed on the device itself, wasteful, detailed control data does not have to flow back and forth between the device and the host, leading to less wastage and latency.

…and two main drawbacks:

  1. The controller is relatively complex and thus expensive.
  2. The controller’s complexity can lead to difficult to diagnose compatibility issues.

Which leads to my main issue.

My Logitec MA-16FU2/WM external firewire and USB dvd burner regularly fails to mount disks on my Mac, while connected by Firewire but performs flawlessly with USB.

Basically, no disks inserted will mount at all under Snow Leopard.

Indeed “about this mac/more info…” shows no sign of any volume in this drive, whether it’s directly connected to the mini or via the firewire hub of the Princeton PHD-MM160IUH.

Moreover a second firewire / USB device will often fail to remount over firewire if I shut it down or disconnect it. Again, it works flawlessly over USB. Moreover, it even works with Firewire when connected to my Windows PC!

Go figure!

I’ve tried:

sudo kextunload
/System/Library/Extensions/IOFireWireFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleFWOHCI.kext/

and:

sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/IOFireWireFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleFWOHCI.kext/

but the external drives just shut down and restart, still without mounting the volumes.

No joy.

It’s really ironic that the Mac has worse support for firewire than Windows, especially since Apple were one of the founders of the specification.

basically, despite the ‘so-called’ superiority Firewire, I can only get my job done reliably with USB… sigh.

So long and thanks for all the fish – aka Good by free home page hosting.

May 7, 2009 1 comment

I just spotted this post saying good bye to free web hosting and felt obliged to respond.

I often lamented the move to blogging, which seems to make it difficult to keep track of where and how data is stored. After all, we are 3D beings, but blogging tends to be 1D in nature (time based). It’s a real step back in structure and organisation.

With .MAC (now mobile me) closing its own online web hosting door, I think that he has spotted something I’d missed, and that is the death of the personal home page. Web 2.0 is here to stay, so good bye then Web 1.0 You were fun while you lasted.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Craig.

Windows 7 not much faster than Windows Vista – My first impressions of Windows 7


I wrote this in response to an article I saw regarding the relative speeds of Windows 7 and Vista.

I have a venerable 2.8GHz P4 with Intel RAID on 2x160GB HDD and a gig of RAM which I bought in 2003 or something… I only upgraded it once to a 256MB NVIDIA 7600 as I was running it as a Tiger Hackintosh for a couple of years. It really flew on Tiger, but I had a real Mac (albeit a G4) which was slower but much less flakey and so went back to the trouble free XP.
I then made the mistake of BUYING A BOX COPY (sheesh) of Vista Ultimate. My first ever Box OS purchase. My poor machine really felt its age since it would no longer play back HD videos smoothly, so the box went back to XP again and served as my main Playback device for my Projector for a couple of years.

On hearing all the Windows 7 brouhaha I decided to retry Vista with SP1 and about 75 incremental upgrades and put office 2003 and Zend Studio back on.

To be frank, It wasn’t as slow as I remembered it. It was as if the patches were just enough to allow my old faithful to climb back on to its feet.
And Aero’s 3D surfaces for each application actually meant the interface was MORE responsive and Mac Like since each app didn’t have to redraw when brought to the front. With the RAID disks, even 1Gb of RAM was usable (although multitasking slowed it much sooner than in XP).

I found myself honestly enjoyin using Vista for the last month or two and not missing XP, even when I had to really struggle to find any of the randomly shuffled functions.

Last month, I forced myself to make what I promised is the last upgrade to this machine and got 2GB RAM. My old faithful suddenly sprang to life… After a couple of days of heavy use, the memory was full, but it appeared to be about 1.5GB of cache! Office opened instantly (once I turned off min/maxing animations) ! I mean that literally. It was definitely faster than XP in general use and although 1080P HD Vid playback still stutters, my Leopard C2D Intel iMac w/ 4GB of DDR2 can’t match it for general interface response speed!!

So, to cut a long story medium, I installed the Windows 7 RC on the 2nd of May(!!!) expecting wonderful things… Firstly, the interface and colours remind me of a certain open source OS. Light, simple, breathy. Everything is simpler. I haven’t scratched my head as much as I got accustomed to with Vista, for sure.

However, I NOTICED NO SPEED INCREASE for my particular workload of Zend, Office and a Trial install of Illustrator CS4, indeed Office felt marginally slower which corroborates what was mentioned in the article. Instantaneous was replaced with a slightly annoying Almost Instantaneous, but not quite sort of feeling.

Still, benchmarks aside W7 is definitely less offensive to use than Vista.

In conclusion, then, I think it’s all about expectations. I was expecting molasses for Vista and got syrup – It felt good. i was expecting water for W7 and got slightly warmed syrup – I felt cheated and actually missed Vista’s moody dark interface.

Windows 7 is not much faster than Windows Vista but of course, YMMV.


Disclosure: I’m a “slider” rather than switcher, finding my Windows use fading out since 2005 on the release of the Mac Mini. My SOHO now consists of 6 Macs and only 3 PCs (one of which is a netbook). I now basically use Windows for Office 2003 compatibility and a label printer that refuses to talk Mac.

BTW, Vista Boot Camp on an Aluminium Mac 24″ w/ 4GB of RAM is THE FASTEST Office 2003 machine I have ever used. It’s shockingly instantaneous! If I had time, I’d install W7 on it, but I can’t be bothered.

Safari 4 and Hotmail Problem – Can’t Open Mail

March 27, 2009 2 comments

Although you can log in to Hotmail with Safari 4, you may find that you can’t actually read messages: They won’t open when you click on them.

If this is the case, there is a simple solution.

  1. Restart Safari to clear your hotmail session.
  2. Open Safari >> Preferences menu
  3. Click on Advanced
  4. Enable the “Develop” menu by clicking the check box and close the settings box.
  5. Select Develop >> User Agent >> Opera 9.63 Mac
  6. Browse to hotmail.com or whatever you use.

You should now be able to access Hotmail Normally.

>> Remember to change your User Agent Back to Safari when you leave Hotmail if you are a fan of Browser statistics.

Apple release Mac OS X 10.5.5 Update – Nothing to report

September 17, 2008 2 comments

We have a nice selection of Macs all now updated to 10.5.5 without fanfare.
Each machine is quite different and has a very different selection of software installed and hardware connected.

  • Mac Mini (Intel 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo) – Mac OS 10.5 Server
    • Server version of Mac OS X
    • External Firewire storage
    • USB Memory Card Reader
  • iMac 24″ (Intel 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo)
    • Vista under Boot Camp
    • Various large video and graphical editing packages.
    • MS Office
    • Firewire 800 RAID storage
    • USB Card Reader
    • Firewire Scanner
    • Graphical Pen Tablet 
  • 12″ Powerbook (PPC 1.5GHz)
    • MS Office
  • Power Mac G4 Cube (PPC 1.4GHz) 
    • MS Office
    • Zend Studio for Eclipse
    • Entropy PHP on Apache Package
    • Scanner
    • Printer
    • Graphical Tablet
  • iMac 15″ (PPC 700MHz, dome shaped effort)
    • MS Office
I have upgraded all to Mac OS X 10.5.5 from 10.5.4 without a hitch, directly from Apple Software Update.
Now, there are some seriously arcane steps recommended by MacFixIt Macintouch and a few other sites,
such as booting into Safe Mode, disconnecting everything but the mouse and keyboard, standing up and turning around thrice before touching your nose with a rose scented towel, etc.
But I’ve never, once bothered with them. If I ever encounter a problem, or I suspect that a problem has occurred I just run the complete Combo Update from Apple Downloads.
p.s. 10.5.5 Combo is about 700MB in size.
Anyway… the reboot process took longer than usual, with a what might once have been disconcerting restart half way through.
All came back to normal, fine. No apparent differences in day to day operations. Goodness knows what the “extensive graphical updates” were. Probably just bug/stability fixes.
Will see if crashes get less of a problem with this OS…
Just thought you might want to know, since everything you tend to read on line is about problems people are having. Well, luckily for me, this time (touch wood) there were no problems.
Categories: Mac, Technology Tags: , , , ,

Difficulties installing Boot Camp 2.1

September 17, 2008 2 comments

I have an iMac 24″ running Vista under the Boot Camp that came with Leopard (v 2.0)

The next software update after installing Vista advised me that Boot Camp 2.1 was available, so I downloaded it but I couldn’t install it because an error appeared:

Error applying transforms. 
Verify that the specified transform paths are valid

The problem in my case was that I was using a localised version of Vista.

The Boot Camp software is stupidly American only. It expects to find a key in the (Windows) registry with the value 1033 (American English).

Instead, it found 1041 (Japanese) and the installer stalled!

The solution is simple:

<Now for the patronising bit>

First. Back up your Windows Registry.

Read through this post entirely before starting. If any of the terms are unfamiliar, write a comment asking for assistance.

If you don’t know how to backup your Windows Registry, or don’t know what a Registry is… or heaven forbid, what a backup is, you should stop reading this post right now, do a bit of googling and come back.

<OK, end of disclaimery patronising bittage>

  • To open the Registry editor click the start button and type regedit into the search field.
  • Select Edit and Find from the regedit menu and type “Boot Camp Services” then press enter.

Note that Services may be localised to the language of your system. In my case, it was

Boot Camp サービス

since I’m using Japanese Windows. You can search just for Boot Camp” if you’re not sure, but it may throw up lots of hits.

Edit the Language D-Word entry and change it to 409 in hexadecimal (should be 1033 decimal)
Re-run the installer.
Now you should be able to successfully installthe Boot Camp update.