Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Never Be Afraid To Ask

In the past couple of days I went to Microcenter because the gaming mouse that I was looking for. The mouse, a Razer Deathadder, was listed at full price. However, I had already done my price comparison and checked to find the lowest price online. J&R listed the price as 45$, a whole 15 dollars less then retail price. So I went down to Microcenter and went straight to the mice isle and picked out my Deathadder. Right as I did so I was approached by an employee, he kindly asked if I needed help with anything, and I responded "Yes". I then showed him a print out from J&R with the same mouse and asked if he could match their price. To my surprise he told me he could. He got the manager to sign the paper and I was able to get it for 45$... or so I thought. On my way home I noticed that the person at the checkout counter had read the 45$ as 49$ and charged me the wrong amount. Ironically that was the same price I would have payed on J&R with shipping. I was too far away to return and get my five dollars back, but it just goes to show that if you don't ask you will never know if you can get a lower price. Also check your receipts before leaving the store, life lesson learned right there.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Gamers Gotta Game

Most of you who game probably know that one of the most important, if not the most important thing, is your mouse. Your mouse is your weapon of choice, the thing that separates you from the rest. It is the thing that helps show if you are a noob or a pro. However, the hardest thing about your mice, is choosing which one you should be using. There are just so many mice out there, it can be daunting to choose a good brand. So, what should you be looking for a in a mouse? First and foremost would be form factor. Does it fit your hand comfortably? Are the buttons in good places so as not to get in the way or be accidentally clicked? Is it big enough for your hand? Things like this are very important. The best way to decide that is to go hands on. Find your local computer store and try out the mice there, see how they feel. Next, does it support button assigning? You want to have full customizability over your mouse. This is very important because some buttons on the keyboard are in such bad places, it is better to map them to your mouse. For example, when in Team Fortress 2 the button to use voice chat is "V", but when you hit that button it prevents you from walking right. That can cause you to die, and you don't want that. Hence the reason I assigned "V" to one of my mouse's buttons. Up next is the DPI, dots per inch, which essentially means how far your mouse will move on screen every inch you move off screen. So if you display is 1024x900 and your mouse dpi is 1000 then you would move across your entire screen every one inch. The higher the dpi, the faster your mouse will move across the screen. Also, you will want to have an optical gaming mouse, it is the most accurate when it comes to movement. Finally, the compatibility with your operating system. Most of you use Windows, so that is not a big issue for you, but Mac gamers will have a tougher time. With the recent addition of Steam to the Mac's arsenal, Mac gamers have to find a mouse that is compatible with their OS. I know for a fact, as a Mac gamer, that Razer supports the Mac OS with their mice. With all that said, who should be buying from? Top brands that I recommend are Logitech and Razer. If you wish, leave a comment below about which mouse you have!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Turn Your Favorite Website into an App!

If you constantly have certain sites open, but hate switching between tabs, this is the right article for you. Fluid is an application for Mac that allows you to take any URL and make a small application out of it. Simply put the link of the website you wish to use, give it a name, choose a folder to store it in, and give it an icon. Once it is done, you can run your application whenever you want, and get rid of all those nasty tabs. No more jumping between windows, you can just switch between applications. Plus, if you use spaces, you can have your app always open in certain space. That makes it even more organized! Not to mention the fact that you can reset browser history just like in a normal browser. This is useful in case the site gives an update. This is a great way to give Skype some competition, just make a Gmail app. Leave a comment below stating what applications you have made out of websites!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

They're like tentacles!

Those of you working with desktop computers can know how frustrating it is to have wires everywhere. Behind your computer, in your computer (if you built it), behind your desk, it can get very messy and hard to deal with. Not only does it make clutter, it also prevents airflow. This is bad, especially inside your case and on the back side of your case. Here are some tips on ways to make your wire management better.
  1. 1. Label all your wires by wrapping a little piece of tape around them like a tag.
  2. 2. Bunch all the wires in the back of your case/leading to your monitor by tying them up with velcro straps or zip ties.
  3. 3. If you have a bigger case, and it support wire management, wire all your wires through the back of your case. You can use 1x1 base mounts with adhesive backing to create areas for zip ties to go. Use the zip ties to fasten down the wires in those areas.
I hope these tips help some of you struggling with wire management. You can also search YouTube for tutorials.

Leave a comment showing your cable management!


Friday, August 27, 2010

*Ring* *Ring* Gmail Calling

As some of you may have heard, Google has announced a new feature that has been added to Gmail. This feature allows you to make calls anywhere in the US and Canada for free, while you are in Gmail. Call qualities all depends on the speed and quality of your internet connection, and it costs extra to call outside of the US and Canada. Plus, this option works hand in hand with Google Voice, if you have one. If you don't have a Google Voice, don't fret, you can still use this feature. So why use Gmail Call? For starters, it doesn't disrupt your workflow. For example, if you want to call someone, but the phone is in another room. In addition, if you do have Google Voice, you can use the two together. You can use Gmail Call as a Caller ID if someone calls your Google Voice number. Also, you can transfer calls from Gmail to your phone, or vice versa. Say you are in the midst of a call with someone, and then you look at the time and you have to go or you will be late. It is a hassle to hang up and call back, instead you can easily press the asterisks key and send the call to another Google Voice number. Your cell phone will then start ringing, pick up and then end the call on Gmail. There are many other things you can do with Gmail Call, so give it a try. If you haven't set it up already, you will need to install the video and chat plugin. Then just log onto Gmail and scroll down to where it says "Chat", you should see something that says "Call Phone". If you don't see this, don't worry, it just means your account has not been activated yet. It took my account a full day until it was activated. Give it a try and post your thoughts below.

*Thanks to Lifehacker for some of the ways to use Gmail Call.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Where's the Mail!

Many times have I tried to find an email, but I just can't. It can become so frustrating to search through folders and folders, full of mail. In the end, it is just impossible sometimes to find that one email with the info you need. However, if you use Gmail and Firefox, or Google Chrome, there is a solution! A browser plug in called CloudMagic is a quick and convenient way to find certain emails. Much like Windows' built in search, and Mac OS X's Spotlight, CloudMagic indexes your email and allows you to find mail quickly and easily. Once installed, log into Gmail and you will notice the search box for CloudMagic in the top right corner. To set it up, click on the drop down menu and click "Manage Accounts". Put in your credentials and it will start indexing your email. After that, head back to Gmail and you can now use CloudMagic to search through your emails. In addition, if you are composing a message and need info from another message, use CloudMagic to search for that message and copy the information you need. No need to tab to another page and find the message. This is a growing addon and will support other mail clients soon, so make sure to check back on their website!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Follow up on mag safe adapters

So as many of you know, I recently purchased a new mag safe power adapter for my macbook (black) because of my cat. Well it turns out, that charger didn't work. Even after the SMC reset I did, it failed to charger after my computer had been put to sleep. I went and exchanged it for a new one, and yet the same thing happened. I didn't want to go through charger after charger to find out, so I scheduled a Genius Bar appointment. I sat down and described my problem to the Apple Genius Employee. He then told me that cases like mine, where the new charger doesn't charge older models (pre unibody), had been coming in all week. "Put simply," he said "When Apple redesigned the charger they failed." As a result, I traded in my new, shiny "L" shape adapter for an older "T" shape adapter. I have no trouble at all with my new "T" shape adapter. I was told that if I ever needed a new adapter, just schedule a Genius appointment, and they can go through the Apple Service Center to get me a "T" shaped adapter. So a warning to all of you older macbook owners, stick with the adapter you have!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Breath Life into an Old Machine

Got an old PC/Mac not being used? Is it slow and you don't want to use it because of it's speed? Well here is a way to fix that. I recently decided to breath life into my old iMac G5. It already had the max amount of RAM, but the hard drive was five years old. The HDD works fine, it is just very slow. So I decided it was time to upgrade. I bought a 60 GB SSD from OCZ through Newegg's Shell Shocker deal, it was a really good price. Remember to keep an eye on those deals! Now, since my iMac was so old, I needed to buy something called "IcyDock 2.5-3.5 SSD Converter". This is a small black box that will house the SSD, and it will also fit where the HDD would go. I needed this because I couldn't put a mounting bracket in my iMac. Before doing anything, I backed up all my information from my HDD to an external drive. This way, incase anything went wrong, I had all my files backed up. After receiving my SSD, I took out my old hard drive, and put my new SSD in with the IcyDock encasing around it. Then, I booted up the machine and inserted the installation disk that came with my computer. Before I did anything within the installation program, I went to "Utilities" and then opened up "Disk Utility". I then proceeded to format my new SSD so that OS X could be installed. I closed Disk Utility and then ran the installer. It only took about 15-20 minutes to install everything! My iMac is now much faster. Next I have to upgrade the OS to Leopard (it came with Tiger), but that is for another post. If you have a PC, you can do the same thing. However, PCs are more versatile and allow you to do much more then just the HDD replacement/upgrade. You can also upgrade your CPU/Processor, RAM, Graphics Card, and any other peripherals. So before you decide to throw out that old computer, consider upgrade some parts and make it last even longer!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Build it, don't pre build it

Everyone uses computers now a days, but a lot of people buy pre built PCs. However, you shouldn't buy a pre built PC, you should always build your own. When you build a PC, you know what is going into your computer and you spend the time putting it together. You make sure to get quality parts, unlike computer retailers who don't always use quality parts in their products. In addition, you feel the success of building the computer, the fact that you put it together with your own hands. Plus, you can build a PC with the same budget as buying a pre built one, and get much better parts. Not to mention if anything goes wrong, each part is covered under warranty, unlike a pre built computer were the whole thing has one warranty. Also that you don't have to worry too much about compatibility issues when it comes to building your own computer. If you buy a computer from a retailer they may have software and other things that prohibited your from adding certain hardware or software. Sometimes they even ask that you send it in so they can do the upgrade, and that can cost money you don't want to spend. It is always best to build your own, no matter how long it takes. This doesn't really pertain to Macs, unless of course you are building a Hackintosh. If it is time for you to upgrade to a new computer, I highly recommend you build it yourself. It is a good experience and you get much better parts for money. And if you don't know where to buy parts, you can always check out my post,
where you should be buying parts. Make sure to use sales to lower your cost if possible. And remember, it is always good to buy all the parts at once so when you build it and test it, you can see if you have any problems. Good luck and remember, it is best if it is built by you!

Leave a comment below showing off your computer!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Geeks Have Tools Too

As an avid Mac user, I am always looking for a way to customize my desktop. As many of you know, RainMeter is a way to customize your desktop if you are a Windows user. Wouldn't it be great if you could do things like that on your Mac? Well, as a matter of fact you can! With a simple application called GeekTool. GeekTool is a system preferences pain that runs scripts, images, and just plain notes, right on your desktop. Its a great way to leave reminders for yourself, have a clock with a date, or even see what iTunes song you are currently listening to. Plus, you can create your own custom scripts using AppleScript. You can also use scripts that other people have made and add them to your collection. In addition, you can color customize everything to make it fit with the theme of your computer. I highly recommend this application to all Mac users out there! Remember, geeks have tools too.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Make it Rain on Your Desktop

Want to spice up your Windows 7 desktop? If you have some free time on your hands, check out the application RainMeter. Once installed, it is best to read up on how to use it. The application can be very confusing at first, but in time you will come to understand it and find it easy to use. This is one of the must have applications for Windows users. It shows you real time stats of you computer, such as loads and other things. It can also give you a music control which you can interact with and use. Plus, for those of you into theming your desktop, RainMeter can give your desktop a beautiful look. Keep in mind the more you use and add widgets, the more RAM this will take up so it can slow down your computer. RainMeter is also great for keeping yourself in order. You can even do live feeds from your favorite websites, right on your desktop. So what are you waiting for? Make it rain on your desktop!

Leave a comment below showing your desktop, or your thoughts on this application.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Grab it before it's gone!

A couple nights ago, I had quite an experience. My friend and I were talking, and he mentioned how he wished he had "name grabbed" his name on Gmail. I asked him what he meant by that, and he explained to me that "name grabbing" is when you get you full name as your email. For example: John.Smith@gmail.com would be considered name grabbing if John Smith acquired it. When I heard this from my friend, I immediately went Gmail to check if my name was still available, and to my surprise it was! I quickly filled out the form and got the email. I was so proud, I finally had the perfect email. I even went and had all my old email accounts forwarded to my new, name grabbed, email. One email to rule them all. I no longer have to check multiple sites, it is all in one place. In addition to that I spent a good hour organizing my contacts. So why am I telling you all this? I am telling you this because you should try and grab you name now, before someone else does. You may ask "Dave, why do I need to name grab an email, I am fine with the one I have.". Here is why you should get one. Imagine someone, a relative that lives across seas, asks to stay in touch and would like your email. Which would you feel more comfortable giving? Crazygamer69@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@gmail.com? I would pick the latter of the two, this way your relative doesn't give you a weird look and walk away. Not to mention how cool it is when your friends ask for your email and you can just give them your name. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and name grab your email!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Where should you buy your parts?

Many people now a days don't know who they are buying from, they just figure if they sell what they want, they should buy it. When it comes to computer parts, this is not the case. You should know your distributor, their policies, and what others have to say about their services. Just like every computer part is different, some better then others, so are the sites you should be buying from. Instead of having you search google for hours to find these sites, I am going to list for you the top five sites that I think you should be visiting.

1. Newegg: At number one is Newegg. They have been in the market for a long time, and they know what they are doing. They have many ways of sorting through products, making it very easy to find what you are looking for. In addition to that they provide user feedback so you can see if what you are looking for is reliable, or if you should buy a different part. Plus, check Newegg every day, they have their "Shell Shocker Deal of the Day". The shell shocker is a great way to get something expensive/pricey for much less then it is usually sold for. However, Newegg can be a little pricey on shipping and tax, but that does not take away from the great return policies and easy of use on their site.

2. Microcenter: Coming in number two is Microcenter. Not only is this site great, they also have retail stores. Which is very useful because you can go and look at the product you want, and get expert opinions on the item from the store employees. Although they have daily deals like Newegg, they also do have lots of clearance items and the option to buy online and pick up from the store in eighteen minutes. Their prices also rival Newegg's at times.

3. Tiger Direct: In the third slot is Tiget Direct. Although I have not actually used their services, people who I know have and said they are very reliable. They have daily deals like Newegss, although they don't always promote the best items, compared to Newegg who promotes many great items. Their site is a little more difficult to navigate compared to the two above, but that does not stop them from providing great products.

4. Amazon: Not exactly the site you would expect in fourth, but Amazon is indeed a good place for buying computer components. Their site is easy to navigate, and their process of shipping the items good. The return policy is not as good as the other sites and they also don't really provide reviews compared to other sites. However, they do offer great prices depending on what you are in the market for.

5. JR: Coming in last is JR. Their prices can be very good, but they are more of an home appliance store then a computer store. They do offer a great variety of parts though, and they also have stores you can visit like Microcenter. Their shipping is also well priced compared to the others on the list.

These are some of the sites out there just to give you some options. There are obviously many other sites that will provide you with excellent prices and services. Keep in mind these are just suggestions from me, being that I prefer these sites and shop there more often. If you have a site that you think is good, leave a comment about it!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Best way to save

As an avid online shopper, I love to make sure I am getting the lowest price possible. Yet, it can be very annoying going to every site in search of the item you want. Who wants to do that? It is no fun. However, if you use Google Chrome, you're in luck! There is a very handy Chrome extension that you can get that makes all your price comparison very easy. The extension is called PriceBlink and it is totally free! Once installed, it is easy to use. When ever you view a product, PriceBlink will automatically search for the item on other sites registered in its data base. PriceBlink will then provide you with a drop down menu, showing all the lower prices and the shipping rates. If you have the lowest price, it will tell you, "You have found the lowest price!". This is great, and can save you a lot of time, but because it is fairly new not all sites are listed. For example, when I search for computer parts, sites like JR and Microcenter are not listed under the results. I recommend that you install this extension, as it is a huge time saver, and a big money saver too!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Streaming: Mac to 360

It is probably a little known fact that Microsoft's hit console, the Xbox 360, can have music, photos, and more, streamed to it from a Mac. However, it can be done with a program called Connect 360. Here is how:

1. Download Connect360 from the link above.
2. Mount the .dmg and install the program.
3. Open up System Preferences and look under the category of "Other".
4. Click on Connect360. If it says "System Preferences must quit and reopen to run this application" just click "OK". This is because the program runs in a 32 Bit mode and your Operating System runs at 64 Bit.
5. Follow the instruction provided with in the application on how to link your Xbox 360.

Once linked, you can stream you music, photos, and more to your console. The only downside is the free version of this software only allows you a certain amount of items to be streamed. If you would like the full version, you will have to pay 20$.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Spinning Disks and Little Bricks

Hard Drives (HDD) and Solid State Drives (SSD), both ways of storing data on your computer. I have recently been looking into SSDs and HDDs. Here is the break down on each so you can figure out which is right for you!

Hard Drives:  HDDs have been around for years. They have come to the point were they are the standard on just about every computer that ships today. HDDs are made up of a spinning disk that saves your data on it. They are cheap to make and sell at a good price point.  You can get a 1 TB (terabyte) drive for around sixty dollars. That is 1024 gigabytes of space, for only sixty dollars! However, you also must look at RPM, rotation per minute, because this is what it really comes down to. Speed. How fast the disk can spin. Speed is what sells most HDDs out there. The higher the RPM, the fast you will be able to open files, open applications, save files etc. The standard drive today is 7200 RPM, which is not bad, but it us not really so fast. Drives can go as high as 15,000 RPM, however the higher you go the less disk space you will get. For example, you purchase a 1 TB 7200 RPM drive for sixty dollars, or you can buy a 300 GB (gigabyte) 10,000 RPM drive for one hundred and eighty dollars. When buying a HDD you must keep in mind that failure rate is between 2-4%. A friend of mine claims that 1/6 hard drives that you buy will fail in 3 weeks. I don't know whether or not this is true, but if it is that is a 16% failure rate. With all the hard drives I have bought, none have failed in the first three weeks. Most hard drives, if not defective, can last any were from 2-3 years depending on how much use they get. Yet, the more you use a drive, the slower it will become. This is why it is key to keep your hard drive clean and delete files you don't need. If you don't, it takes longer for the disk to read. This is because the more information that is stored on the drive, the longer it takes the drive to be read by the laser eye. So key to having a long lasting drive is keeping it clean. The less stuff you actually store on your drive, the faster it will run and the longer it will last.

Solid State Drives:  SSDs are a new technology that have hit the market in the past couple of years. Instead of having a spinning disk like HDDs, SSDs are made up of little memory blocks, like the ones found inside of USB sticks. For this reason, SSDs are MUCH faster then HDDs. While hard drives can read/write files at about 40-50 Mbps (megabytes per second), SSDs can read/write files at 230-250 Mbps! That is five times the speed of a hard drive. However, due to the fact that SSDs are so new, they are extremely expensive. Here is a price comparison: 1TB 7200 RPM HDD is about sixty dollars as stated before, while a 30 GB SSD is about one hundred dollars. Right now your probably thinking "Ok, so I can get a 30 GB SSD, I don't use that much space anyway." That is a perfectly good thought at this point, but we haven't covered lifespan of the drive yet, so don't leave just yet! The thing about SSDs is they start to break down the second you start using them. The more they are used, the slower they go and because of this they don't last as long as HDDs. An SSD might only last you 1.5 years, unlike the conventional HDD which will last you 2-3 years. Although they run faster and cost more for less space, SSDs don't last as long as HDDs.

Hopefully I have given you a better sense of the drives out there on the market. This is more of a brief overview of each, there are many more things to be looking at when it comes to buying drives. As of now, it is not worth buying an SSD. However, if you do want to buy an SSD, here is what I suggest. When you install your SSD, only install your operating system on your SSD, then have a HDD to which you can install all your programs on. This way, your SSD will last longer and all your programs and files can be stored on an HDD in case of failure. Plus, you get the super cool six second boot up when you install your operating system on an SSD! I also suggest, if you are in the market for an SSD, to buy the ones made by either OCZ, Kingston, Intel, or Corsair, they are the best on the market now. If you want to purchase any HDDs, Seagate and Western Digital are the way to go. Good luck to those of you in the market for a new storage device!

Leave a comment below about which one you would choose!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Triple Booting the Hackintosh

Alright, after much messing around I FINALLY figured out how to dual/tri boot operating systems. Current setup:
HDD 640GB: Snow Leo
HDD 160GB: Win7 (64bit)
HDD 30 GB: Ubuntu

Here is how it is done.

First: Install snow leopard any way you would like. Make sure that when you install this operating system that ALL OTHER HDDs ARE DISCONNECTED. If they are not you may mess up the installation. Once you install apply all the kexts you need and when you are done install chameleon RC4 bootloader. I did this via terminal with the following commands:

Assuming your Root disk is /dev/disk0s1

Step 1. Gain Root privileges and navigate to Chameleon Directory

sudo -s
cd Desktop/Chameleon-2.0-RC4-r684-bin/i386
Step 2. Install boot0 to the MBR, Check your rdisk number!! This can be found by opening up disk utility and clicking on your SL drive. Then click "Info". It will be listed there:

sudo fdisk -f boot0 -u -y /dev/rdisk0
Step 3. Install boot1h to the partition’s boot sector. Again, check your partition number. Same method as before, but instead you click on the SL partition and click info to find the number.:

sudo dd if=boot1h of=/dev/rdisk0s1
Step 4. Install boot to the partition’s root directory:

sudo cp boot /

Once you have completed that reboot and make sure all is working before you move on.

Step 2: Now that you have SL working, turnoff your computer and unplug it. The disconnect the SL HDD and connect the next one that you will be using. This happened to be my ubuntu drive. Turn on your computer and install ubuntu however you wish on that drive. Once done, reboot and make sure everything on the ubuntu drive works.

Step 3: Now as before turn off everything and disconnect the power. Then go and disconnect the ubuntu drive, leave the SL drive disconnected, and then plug in the windows 7 drive. Boot up and install Win7. Install all updates and make sure everything is working.

Step 4: When you are sure everything on windows is working shut down your computer and unplug it from the power source. Now plug in the SL HDD. Make sure that when you boot up, you go to the BIOS and check that the SL HDD is the FIRST drive to boot out of all the HDDs connected. Once you have done that you can boot up and chameleon should load showing Windows NTFS and Snow Leopard HDD. You can now boot into either of them! If you are dual booting, you are finished! If not, follow the next step.

Step 5: Connect the Ubuntu drive and Connect the Mac drive but NOT the windows drive! Now boot into ubuntu. You won't be able to do this through Chameleon, it won't recognize the drive. Hold F12 on boot up to select the Ubuntu HDD. Now, once in, follow these instructions to install Grub. This will allow Chameleon to recognize ubuntu.

1. Boot into Ubuntu like you normally would.
2. Launch Terminal.
3. Type df and press RETURN or ENTER.
4. Note the first entry on the list – the one mounted as /. This is the one we want. In my case it was /dev/sda3.
5. Type sudo grub-install /dev/sda3 – replace /dev/sda3 with the correct entry for your system.
6. Enter your Password and press RETURN or ENTER.
7. Close the terminal window and restart your system.
8. Boot into OS X and reinstall Chameleon.
9. Leave a comment below about how everything went for you.

Due note you may not have to install chameleon again when you are finished.

Step 7: Once you can boot into mac and chameleon, reconnect the windows drive. Now boot up and you have a successful triple boot on three separate HDDs!

Thanks to Daily Blogged for the steps on how to dual boot ubuntu.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Flag, the apple, or the penguin?

A friend of mine on twitter, Angel of Grief, inspired me to write this article.

Many people like to play fan boys/girls. Windows is better then Mac! Mac is better then PC! Linux beats everything! However, I don't like to play fan boy. I feel that saying one is better then the other is just plain wrong. They are all different and all have their strengths and weaknesses.

Windows: Windows has been the operating system of choice for the past 10-15 years for most consumers. It is the biggest platform to develop for when it comes to games and programs. Plus, you can build a windows computer with any part there is on the market, assuming it is compatible with the version of windows you are running. However, the greatest down fall for windows is the viruses. It is the number one operating system to be attacked, thus you always have to be careful of destroying your computers. Of course there are always virus programs, but those slow down your computer and get bigger and bigger as more viruses come out. The more viruses, the bigger the application becomes when protecting your computer.  In recent years it has become easier to keep files stored online instead of on your computer. A friend of mine works completely online, and downloads nothing to his computer. He uses Google Docs for his documents and that is were he works. The only thing he downloads to his computer is games via steam.  As you work more and more to put your things online, you become less worried over the possible attack on your computer. This way, if you are ever attacked, you have all your files backed up online.

Mac: The Macintosh operating system has been around almost as long as Windows has, just a little longer. However, it isn't until recently that Macs have gained popularity with consumers. Their marketing ploy was genius. While Microsoft was selling their Windows based computers to major corporations, Apple was selling their Macintosh based computers to schools. This way, the children would use Macintosh growing up and that would be their operating system of choice when they finally bought their own computer. Macs have been known to be good for graphic design and also productivity in general. Their user interface is also a plus, as it is much more user friendly compared to Windows and Linux. Up until just a few months ago, Macs did not really do gaming. Even though the first Halo game, Halo Combat Evolved, was launched on the Mac, not many big games such as Halo have been on a Mac since. With the addition of Steam to the Mac, gamers now have the option of cross platform gaming. Mac games, however, have a long way to go until they catch up with Windows games. Macs have not fully utilized the graphics card. Unlike Windows, Mac does not close all background applications when running a game.

Linux: And then there is the penguin, the underdog. Linux is a completely user created, and free operating system. It is very open and allows development of almost anything. However, linux does not support gaming and is only really good for productivity and flashy effects. It is fully customizable and can be installed on anything, just like Windows. It is also a very small operating system that does not need a lot of hard drive space to install. That, in itself, is a perk compared to Windows and Mac which can each take 10-15 GB minimum to install.

This is just a very brief view of each operating system. Again, you can pick which ever you feel is best. I have worked with all three and I see the ups and downs in each one. To me, Windows is for gaming, Mac is for productivity, and Linux is good for productivity and user customizability.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Mag safe not so safe...from my cat

My good old mag safe power adapter for my macbook, which is the second one I have had, fell prey to the damage my cat dealt it. Just the like the original I had, this one fell to a tear in the cord itself, which heated up to such a degree you could be burned when touching it. I was forced to replace my old one with the new, sleeker looking, mag safe. However, the newer version covers the ethernet port on my laptop. A down side, but not by much since I am always wireless. The thing that caused me the most trouble was when charging. When I first plugged it in, the green light did not go on and my mac did not charge. I worried that maybe I had bought a faulty product. Luckily I used a relative's macbook to test, and sure enough it worked. My relative has the early 2010 unibody macbook. So I headed over to my trusty friend Google to see what I could find. Most of my searches yielded nothing, which really annoyed me because I didn't want to return this, I needed to charge my computer. Next stop was the Apple Support Forums, and sure enough many others had the same problem I had. After reading through a couple thread, I found one that had a possible fix. The fix was as follows:

1. Turn off your macbook and unplug your mag safe.
2. Remove your battery.
3. Hold down the power button along with the option and control keys for five seconds.
4. Place your battery back in your computer.
5. Connect the mag safe.
6. Boot up your computer and hold down the power button, and the option and control keys like before. Wait until the sleep LED flickers and then stop holding down all three buttons.

I was very pleased to find that this fix worked and I now have a new mag safe that is fully functional. I also learned from Lifehacker that there is a proper way to wrap your power cable. You can watch the following video so you can learn how to properly wrap your power cord without causing damage:

*Video property of Tested.com

This information helped me enormously, I hope it does the same for some of you!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

New iPod Touch to be Released?

Engadget posted an article recently stating that "a reliable source (John Gruber) told them that there would be a new ipod touch in just a couple of weeks." From what he told Engadget, it is suppose to have the new Retina display the iPhone 4 has and also will come with a front and back camera. What it will look like however is still unknown. So, if you are in the market for an ipod touch, I would recommend waiting a little longer.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A simple way to create a website.

I recently discovered a neat way to host your own website. Unfortunately you don't get your own domain name, but you can host for free. To do this you can use Dropbox, an online storage site. Dropbox gives you 2.0GB of free space if you are a free user. There is a monthly fee if you wish to pay, but there really is no need. So here is how you can set up your own website for free!

1. Join dropbox. You can do this by using the following link: Join Dropbox!
2. Once you set up your drop box, download the dropbox application.
3. After installing go to the dropbox folder on your computer and go to the "Public" folder.
4. In this folder you can put your html file. You can create one in a simple text editor. I used Textwrangler, I found it very simple and easy. If you don't know any html, it is very easy to learn. You can learn it from HTML Tutorial from W3
5. Once you have all your files in place, log on to Dropbox and navigate to your "Public" folder.
6. Click on your html file and it will load! You now have your own website.

Now since you don't have a custom domain name, and the one from dropbox is long and annoying, you can use TinyURL to create a shorter name. Plus, if you are really serious you can get Dreamweaver. I think my version is cheaper :). Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


It is best to have another Mac if possible when doing this. Before starting, open a text document and title it "Installation Attempts". In this document you will want to keep notes of everything you did. This way, if you mess up you can see why you messed up. You must understand that this process can take a lot of time and that it won't always work on the first shot. I had many kernel panics and had to start over many times because I had no backup drive. A kernel panic, for those of you who don't know, is when the OS detects an error internally that is unfixable. Sounds bad right? Well it is and you really want to try your best to avoid those. This installation info is for the motherboard I am use, EP43-UD3L, if you have a different motherboard I would suggest you try InsanelyMac or Hackint0sh.org, both of which have very helpful forums. Google is also a great source, but the links can lead to headaches.

First things first is to prepare the USB thumb drive. You will need minimum an 8GB USB drive. You will also need a copy of the Snow Leopard installation CD. Retail!

1. Follow the Lifehacker Guide to Building a Hackintosh, BUT ONLY PROCEED UP UNTIL THE PART WITH THE TERMINAL COMMANDS. Once you are at the part with the terminal commands STOP!

2. Use the same guide (above) and scroll down to where it says "Setting Your Bios". Use the pictures there to assist you in settings your bios. Your bios won't look like theirs, but most of the things will be the same so you can match them up.

3. Now that you have set your bios, you are almost ready to install. One last thing must be done to the USB drive before we install. Download the SnowBootLoader from InsanelyMac EP43-UD3L Installation. Proceed by running that on your USB drive. DO NOT RUN THIS ON YOUR ACTUAL COMPTUER! It will ruin your Mac if you do!

4. In the link above, also download the /Extra folder along with the other attached files. Next, place them all on your USB drive along with the SnowBootLoader.

5. Now boot off your USB drive. This can be done by holding F12 and selecting "USB HDD".
6. You will now boot into the Snow Leopard Installation disc. Click continue at the first screen after selecting your language.

7. Go up to the top bar and click "Utilities" and then choose "Disk Utility".

8. Select your hard drive and format it. Make sure that you format it as a GUID partition scheme, also make sure that it is Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

9. Proceed by finishing the installation, it will ask you to restart the computer when you are done.

10. When you reboot make sure to boot from the USB drive again! Now when it shows the "Snow leopard installation disc" hit any of the arrow keys on the keyboard. You will then be able to choose your hard drive. Highlight it and hit "enter" on your keyboard.

11. Snow Leopard should boot normally. If you made it this far, the hard part is over! If you don't have sound, not to worry we are going to fix that.

12. Once at the desktop you will see the USB drive, open it up and locate those files we placed on it earlier.

13. Drag the "VoodooHDA.kext" onto Kext Utility. It will ask you for you password, type it in and let it proceed with installing it. When complete click "Quit"

14.Drag alc888.txt onto AppleHDAPatcher. Again put your password in and let it install.

15. Next, run the "About this mac" package. This will identify your CPU/Processor. This is aesthetic, but should be done any way ;).

16. Run the SnowBootLoader on the Snow Leopard Hard Drive.

17. Open up your Macintosh HD (or what ever you named your hard drive). There should be a folder there named Extra. Go to your USB drive and copy all the contents in the Extra folder to the Extra folder in your Macintosh HD.

18. Now open up the application Terminal. Paste the following code and hit enter:

sudo defaults write com.apple.loginwindow LoginHook /Extra/bonjour/ifconfig.command

19. Go to energy save and turn off sleep, it won't work.

20. Eject your USB stick and reboot your computer. It should reboot and boot right into the Snow Leopard hard drive. Update to 10.6.4 and you are ready to go! Congrats!

I hope this guide helps some of you out there. I know it can be hard to do this, but it is totally worth it in the end. Also, if the "About Mac" part of your computer doesn't show the proper information, that is because of your DSDT.aml file. I won't get into this now, but you can patch that to make the computer read the information correctly. Thanks to InsanelyMac and Hackint0sh.org for all their help!


Monday, August 9, 2010

The Parts List

You can't create a computer that works without the proper parts. It takes many hours of research to get it right when it comes to a Hackintosh. All your parts that you buy must be "compatible" with the OS (operating system). Now, keep in mind my parts are not the most up to date parts. Something you must always remember when building/buying a computer. The second you receive the parts they are obsolete. As for the parts list, here it is:

Case: Antec Twelve Hundred ATX Full Tower
Motherboard: Gygabite EP43-UD3l LGA 775 Socket
Processor/CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650
RAM/Memory: 2x Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB (2x2GB)
GPU/Graphics Card: EVGA GeForce 9800 GT 1GB DDR3
PSU/Power Supply: Corsair 750W ATX PSU
Hard Drive: WD 640GB Caviar Black 3.5" drive. 3 GB/s
Monitor: Samsung 21.5" Rose
Speakers Logitech LS21 2:! Stereo

As I stated before, this was not all top quality stuff. I got what worked and what I needed. Also, price may vary depending on your parts. In the next post I will talk about how I installed the operating system. I won't go into detail here on how to put together the actual computer, but I can link you to some sites. I found Kitchen Table Computers a good site for illustrated instructions. Next post: Installation!


Story of My Hackintosh

Something that has recently become my big summer project was building a Hackintosh. For those of you who don't know, a Hackintosh is essentially the Mac operating system running on PC parts. I have spent most of my summer working on mine and thought it would be a good idea to share the experience here. I hope these next couple of posts help some of you who may be thinking about making one. And even if your not making one, you can always see the possibilities. Posts to follow.


Getting to know me

Put simply, I am a simple guy. I don't look for much and I don't follow trends (unless there is a REALLY good reason to be following it). I spend lots of time with computers and video games. Just so you get a sense of how much time I spend, I am considered the "tech kid" in my grade. I am the go to guy if you have any problems. I know macintosh very well, but not so much windows and linux. As for other things in my life, I love rock. Zeppelin, The Who, The Beatles ect. The list goes on. That's all for now.


What is the most expensive Mac you can buy?

Little fun thing I do every once and a while is build the most expensive mac. Why? Mostly because it is hilarious to see the price that it comes out to. How many people have that kind of money!? Any way, in my most recent attempt the price came to $24,702.85. I love the fact that there is change. I used the most recent Mac Pro as my base. I started with the 12 core since it is most expensive. And here are all the parts I added:
Glad I didn't have to type all that!
As of now, this is the most expensive mac you can buy. I don't know why you would want to, but if you do..... use it well.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A new tide has come...

Welcome one and all who have made their way through the sea of links to my blog. As of now there is nothing much to see here, but in the future I plan on posting about things that I am doing. No particular theme to my posts, although there is a good chance most of them will be related to computers and gaming. I  am still setting up and I hope you join me on this new journey I am embarking on.