Stop your Mac from going to sleep

July 16th, 2013

As my regular readers over on Hardware 2.0 will know, I've now got a Mac. It's a Core i7-powered, Retina display MacBook Pro, and it is amazing!

It's a great portable system, and I use it for work, and for processing photos and videos.

Because the MacBook Pro is a portable system, Apple have optimized it for battery use, and this means that it goes to sleep whenever it thinks that you're not using it. This is great if you are trying to get the most from your battery, but at other times it can become a bit of a pain in the rear.

While I could dig through the settings and tweak them whenever I don't want the Mac to go off, this is hardly a handy set up, mostly because I forget to undo the changes, and then I hose the battery.

A simple solution I've discovered for this problem is a simple app called Caffeine. This is a freeware app that puts an icon in the right side of your menu bar, which, when you click it prevents your Mac from automatically going to sleep, dimming the screen, or firing up the screen saver.

Very simple, yet very effective, and well worth downloading.

I’m baaaaack!

July 16th, 2013

Wow! How time flies … and how I've neglected this blog!

It's amazing how life, work, other writing commitments, and a whole bunch of other stuff has come between me and writing for this blog. But no more!

I'm back, and things are going to change!

Expect a regular stream of posts on this blog. If you don't see them, bug me!

Mac OSX Mavericks

June 10th, 2013

Apple have just announced their latest version of the OSX operating system. Named "Mavericks" which will be available from the Mac App store.

New features include "massive performance" improvements to Safari, tabbed finder windows, menus and docks across multiple monitors, integration with Apple TV.

Tagging will be a major feature as will the integration of an iBooks app.

Users who hate the leather and stitches interface will be pleased - it's gone in Mavericks!*

Mavericks will be available in autumn 2013.


*  iOS users will be happy too - the stitching will be gone from the iPhone and iPad as well!


How-to: Burn your Windows 8 .ISO to DVD disc

October 22nd, 2011

It seems that some of you who have downloaded the Windows 8 Developer Preview .ISO files are a little uncertain as to how to get that file onto a DVD disc.

Fear not, here's a quick rundown to get you going!

#1 - Download the Windows 8 .ISO file(s)!

Well duh! Download them from here if you don't have them. Then save it somewhere easy to get to (like your desktop).

#2 - Download and install ImgBurn

Rather that try muddling through with burning the .ISO file with whatever tools you might already have installed (you wouldn't be reading this if you knew what to do with them), download ImgBurn and use that.

This way we're all on the same page!

#3 - Burn the .ISO file to DVD

OK, pop a blank DVD into your DVD writer drive (I'm assuming that you actually have a DVD writer, if you don't I'll show you something else you can do in a moment). With that done, fire up ImgBurn. Select Write image file to disc.

Point the Source to the .ISO file you downloaded and then click on the big button at the bottom-left of the window to kick off the disc writing process.

Annnnnnd after a wait you're done!

Now you've successfully burned your Windows 8 .ISO file to the DVD ... congratulations!

#4 - Use the DVD

You can now use the DVD like any other OS install disc ... pop it in the DVD drive of the system you want to install Windows 8 onto and boot up the PC and you should get that Press any key to boot from CD or DVD message. Press the heck out of that 'any' key and you have lift off!

Note: If you don't get that Press any key to boot from CD or DVD message then you'll need to dig out your motherboard manual and twiddle with the boot device settings.

What if you haven't got a DVD burner or just don't want to hand over an entire machine to Windows 8 testing? Are you stuck? Nope! You have two options:

Option #1 - Create a bootable Windows 8 USB flash drive!

I warn you in advance ... there are a lot of steps involved to do this!

  1. Download the .ISO!
  2. Mount the .ISO file as a drive ... if you don't have a tool to do this, I suggest SlySoft's Virtual CloneDrive - it's free!
  3. Get your 8GB USB flash drive and format is as follows:
    - Insert a USB flash drive into your computer
    - Start a Command Prompt as an administrator (right-click on the entry and select Run as administrator) and type diskpart and press ENTER
    - Type the following BOLD lines a line at a time:
    DISKPART> list disk
    DISKPART> select disk X
    Note: Where X is the number for your USB flash drive you obtained from the list command
    DISKPART> clean
    DISKPART> create partition primary
    DISKPART> select partition 1
    DISKPART> active
    DISKPART> format FS=NTFS
    DISKPART> assign
    DISKPART> exit
  4. Make the USB flash drive bootable by:
    - Start another Command Prompt as an administrator and navigate to the boot folder of the Windows 8 ISO image
    - Type the following:
    bootsect /nt60 X:
    Note: Where X is the drive letter for your USB flash drive
  5. From a Command Prompt type the following:
    XCOPY X:\*.* Y:\ /E /F /H
    Note: Where X is the drive letter for your USB flash drive and Y is the drive letter of your mounted Windows 8 .ISO file
  6. Boot your PC up from your USB flash drive. If your PC won't boot from your USB flash drive then you'll need to dig out your motherboard manual and twiddle with the boot device settings.

Option #2 - Go virtual!

Here’s how!

Note: Your PC must support hardware virtualization for this to work.

  1. Download and install VirtualBox (I’m using this because it’s free so you don’t have to shell out on virtualization software … don’t say I never give you anything!).
  2. Download the Windows 8 ISO from here. So far I’ve only tested this with the 32-bit ISO.
  3. Create a new VirtualBox virtual machine. Call it whatever you want but select Windows 7 as the OS type.
  4. In the Motherboard tab under System, check Enable IO APIC.
  5. In the Processor tab under System, check Enable PAE/NX.
  6. In the Acceleration tab under System, check Enable VT-x/AMD-V and Enable Nested Paging.
  7. In the Video tab under Display, check Enable 2D acceleration.
  8. Remember to mount the Windows 8 .ISO file you downloaded and you’re good to go!

X-ray cross-section of the iPhone 4S camera

October 15th, 2011

This is an awsome image:

This is an X-ray cross-section of the 8 megapixel camera in the new iPhone 4S. It was taken by the great folks at Chipworks. I encourage you to check out the original, high-resolution image. It's breathtaking.

Also thanks to Chipworks, we know who built the camera: Sony. This shot was taken using an infrared microscope that can look through the structure into the base layers of the chip. Can you read the lettering?