Categories
Apple iOS Noteworthy

Technews for week 10

Here in Norway weeks starts on Monday and we use week numbers. Below is the most interesting technews for week 10.

Google consolidated its Android App Store, Book Store, Music and Video Store into Google Play. Unfortunately, only apps are available in Norway.

Apple’s App Store (for iOS) reached 25 billion downloads (that’s 25 milliarder here in Norway).

Apple released the new iPad with Retina display, faster processor and graphics, 4G/LTE, better camera.

At the same event Apple also released an updated Apple TV and released iOS 5.1, a minor software update.

Maxis announced that it reboots its SimCity franchise with a new release next year.

Categories
Apple Mac Noteworthy

Technews for week 7

Here in Norway weeks starts on Monday and we use week numbers. Below is the most interesting technews for week 7.

Apple unveiled the next version of Mac OS X: Mountain Lion is the name for version 10.8. A Developer Preview was made available for download for paying developers.

HTC announced on their Facebook page that my Desire HD actually will get Android 4.0.x a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich later this year.

Categories
Apple Mac

Kakewalk 4.1.1 makes it a breeze installing Lion 10.7.2 on my hackintosh

Definitions

A hackintosh is a PC (a non-Mac) which runs Mac OS X as its operating system. A hackintosh has usually been difficult to set up and get fully working without doing heavy research and tweaking post-install. With Kakewalk it’s (almost) as easy as installing Windows 7. Kakewalk is a little utility which makes a bootable USB thumb drive with Lion. There are of course some prerequisites:

You already have a Mac or hackintosh, or a friend with a Mac or hackintosh.

You need to buy Lion form the Mac App Store. If you don’t have access to the Mac App Store, visit a friend and log in with your Apple ID. Make one if you don’t have one. Keep the downloaded installer in a safe place.

You need the right hardware. This is the most important step, as the wrong hardware will make it difficult or even impossible to install Lion. The holy grail in a hackintosh is its motherboard. And the preferred manufacturer due to compatibility is Gigabyte. It shouldn’t be necessary to say that Mac is Intel only, so as of writing the best choices are the Sandy Bridge Core series (i3, i5, i7 on socket 1155). As graphic cards go, you can’t choose whichever you want. The safest choice is to use the same type as in the official Macs. See Kakewalk’s compatibility page and TonyMac’s CustoMacs to get an idea. The rest of the hardware can usually be based on personal preference.

My hardware

MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 Z68 S-1155 M-ATX (BIOS: F11)
CPU: INTEL CORE I5 2500K 3.30GHZ 6MB S-1155
RAM: KINGSTON DDR3 HYPERX 8GB 1600MHZ CL9 (2X4GB) (Only 4GB during setup)
GFX: XFX RADEON HD6870 1GB GDDR5 PCI-E DVI/HDMI/DP (HD-687A-ZHFC)
CASE: FRACTAL DESIGN DEFINE MINI MINITOWER M-ATX BLACK
PSU: CORSAIR TX 650W V2
HDD: One I had lying around (60GB from a PS3), I use a Kingston HyperX SSD 120GB as my main boot drive for Windows 7 and another 500GB HDD for storage + NAS.

Background story

I bought this hardware earlier this autumn, with a plan to install Lion sometime before Christmas. I also have a four year old white MacBook, and as soon as 10.7.2 came out, I bought it on the Mac App Store. I used Lion Disk Maker to make a bootable USB thumb drive (8GB) and used it to do a clean install. Then I waited for Kakewalk to get updated for 10.7.2!

Install

I used the same USB thumb drive to make a bootable Lion installer with Kakewalk 4.1.1. And it really was a kakewalk! Installing Lion on my hackintosh was just a little more challenging than on my MacBook. After some 30 minutes Lion was up and running. But I had no ethernet or sound. Since my mobo is practically the same as GA-Z68MX-UD3H-B3, I used the tips in this thread over at the Kakewalk forum to get them working.

Haven’t had time to test sleep yet, but the system is responsive and fast.

Will post updates if I get any issues.

Update November 2011: Just a couple of days after I installed Lion with the help of Kakewalk, TonyMac released UniBeast. UniBeast also makes you an USB thumb drive for installing Lion.

Update December 2011: I finally got sleep to work without issues! I first deleted the Extra folder from root. Then I downloaded MultiBeast 4.2.1 and my mobo’sDSDT.aml file (be sure to rename it to exactly that!) to my desktop. Running MultiBeast, I chose “UserDSDT Install” and “System Utilities”. You can chose extra kexts (drivers) if you want to. I then restarted, put the system to sleep, woke it up with the keyboard (the power button also work), and restarted again and entered BIOS. It was not reset! Upon waking up, my system uses 5-10 seconds before USB and ethernet becomes active.

Here’s the description from MultiBeast on what it does:
UserDSDT is a solution for those who have a pre-edited DSDT on the desktop with an .aml extension. Installs your DSDT as DSDT.aml, 64-Bit org.chameleon.Boot.plist with GraphicsEnabler=Yes, Apple Boot Screen, UseKernelCache=Yes, GenerateCStates=Yes, GeneratePStates=Yes and npci=0x2000 and darkwake=0 kernel flags, MacPro3,1 smbios.plist and tonymacx86 Remixed theme in /Extra. Installs FakeSMC.kext in /System/Library/Extensions. Installs Chimera v1.7.0 r1394 so the system will be bootable from the hard drive and ready for sleep with all hardware recognized in System Profiler. Backs up /System/Library/Extensions/AppleRTC.kext to ~/Desktop/AppleRTC-Backup and then patches the original to prevent CMOS. Does not include any Network or Sound drivers or Graphics support beyond GraphicsEnabler.

Categories
Apple Mac Tips and Tricks

Manually switch between GPUs on the new MBP

The April 2010 MacBook Pro (MBP) has two graphic cards. An integrated Intel HD Graphics on the moteherboard and a discrete NVIDIA Geforce GT 330M. On the previous model, the user had to manually change the graphic card in use through the preferance pane and then do a log off / log on. The new MBP does the switching automatically between the two GPUs, based on the apps you run.

Apple has given us a list of frameworks that will trigger the discrete GPU, they primarily include: OpenGL, OpenCL, Quartz Composer, Core Animation and Core Graphics. Also, if you plug in an external display the discrete GPU is also turned on.

AnandTech

Rumored to use NVIDIA’s latest Optimus technology, many were surprised to find out that this solution was actually Apple engineered.

You can not choose between the two GPUs manually, but there’s an option in the display preference pane to switch off the Intel one. It should have been the other way around; Running only the Intel GPU would prolong the battery life.

If you want to know which GPU is active, you have to launch System Profiler and see which is “connected” to the display.

Not any more! An app called gfxCardStatus will now show you right in the status bar which GPU is in use. And the latest version (1.6 as of this writing) now has experimental support for manual switching between the two GPUs!

Picture courtesy of AnandTech.
Categories
Apple

iPhone gets multitasking this summer

On April 8th 2010, Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the features of iPhone OS 4, the next big update of iPhone’s software coming this summer (probably around 22nd of June, with the rumored iPhone). iPhone OS 4 will (finally!) bring multitasking to the iPhone, together with 100 new features (knowing how Apple counts features, changing your homescreen wallpaper is one of them). Several features were revealed at the event:

  • Multitasking for 3rd party apps
  • Organize apps in folders
  • Unified inbox in the email app, also threaded view
  • iBooks (same as iPad)
  • Game Center, a social network with matchmaking and achievements (think XBOX Live or Playstation Network)

There will also be new features for developers, given access to even more of the iPhone’s functionality.

Multitasking

“Now we weren’t the first to this party, but we’re gonna be the best. Just like cut and paste.”

Steve Jobs introducing multitasking

On other smartphones, multitasking often slows down the phone and drains battery. Off course, Apple has a better solution (being sarcastic there). According to Scott Forstall (senior vice president of iPhone software), multitasking on the iPhone is done through a new set of services. The two I find interesting are background audio and fast app switching. The first will allow online services like Pandora (streaming music, not available outside US) to keep playing in the background. I assume Spotify will do this too. The latter allows for apps to save their state so that e.g. a game session can be instantly restored when relaunched. Multitasking will be transparent to the user and switching between apps is done by double tapping the home button. Then a window will popup with icons for all the “running” apps.


Video courtesy of Engadget

Organize apps in folders

As all with an iPhone now, navigating lots of apps isn’t a breeze. With OS4 you can sort apps in folders. Just drag the icons on top of each other, and they will form a folder. As you can see on the picture above, folders can even be put in the dock. The folder will automagically be named based on the apps’ category, but you can rename it if you want. I’m definitely going to have one in the dock for the most played games (Plants vz Zombies being one of them!) and another for Safari, Mail, Tweetie (Twitter client) and other related to the Internet.

Unified inbox

Unified inbox means that if you have multiple email accounts, you can see all of them in one view. You can off course choose to see one account at a time. OS4 also supports more than one Exchange account. Finally, you can organize your messages by thread. If you set up a Gmail account, iPhone will now ask you if you want to synchronize your calendar and notes too (according to Engadget). Sweet!

Game Center

Apple apparently won’t let  Plus+ and OpenFeint (two popular social gaming networks for the iPhone) alone anymore. With Game Center, Apple wants to build a social network allowing you to play against you friends and show off your achievements.

Compatibility

I have an iPhone 3G, which will NOT support multitasking (because of hardware, according to Apple). Anyway, I’m saving up for a new phone this summer and where ready to drop the iPhone were no multitasking was on the horizon. With the release of a new iPhone and OS4 in a couple of months, I’m definitely buying one!