Posted in All Other Stuff, Computers, Technology

Wanna Play Pac-Man? Try Google!

This just in!

Today, and only today (Pac-Man’s 30th birthday), you can play Pac-Man directly on Google’s website!

I discovered this by clicking the Home icon on my browser… The website displays a still image, no sound, for about 5 seconds, then the game begins, with music and all!

Here is a cropped screen shot.

Pac-Man on Google's website
Pac-Man on Google's website

Now that you’re done reading the exciting news… GO PLAY!

🙂

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Posted in All Mac Stuff, Computers, Software, Technology

MacbookPro Core 2 Duo on Boot Camp Issue – Windows 7

I’ve been decided to make use of Apple’s Boot Camp and install Windows 7 Ultimate on my Core 2 Duo Macbook Pro, which I purchased in early 2007. According to Apple’s website, Windows 7 on Boot Camp is not supported on this model, but I still decided to take the plunge and try it out.

The Mac specs are as follows: Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz, 3 GB RAM (up from 2), 320 GB WD Black (upgraded from 120), Mac OS X 10.6.3…

After creating the Boot Camp partition and booting from the Windows 7 CD, the installation began and everything went fine. No problems at all during the installation.

My first problem – and only major one so far – has been strange behavior and video lock-ups right after logging on to Windows 7. As soon as the desktop starts to load (seconds), the video image gets garbled, and it looks like this:

Windows 7 on Macbook Pro - Lock-up
Windows 7 on Macbook Pro - Lock-up up close

This doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen frequently enough to make me wonder if it’s hardware or software. Also, it does not happen when Windows 7 is installed inside a VMware Fusion virtual PC running on OS X.

I’ve tried reinstalling Windows 7 a few times – it happens on the very first login with a clean installation, no drivers, no boot camp software – clean, and even after subsequent successful logins, with and without drivers or the Boot Camp software installed. At first, I thought software was the problem – the answer seems quite obvious, right? “missing drivers…” but my high hopes for solving the problem were soon crushed, when it happened again after loading the boot camp drivers that came on the OS X 10.6 DVD, and upgrading to 3.1. So it happens without drivers after a clean install, and with the Boot Camp software installed. So, it must not be a driver issue, but something else, right?

When this happens, there is no way to get past it, and the Mac has to be powered off by holding down the power button. In my early attempts, I proceeded to turn it back on and try to log on to Windows, but got the same results: video would lock-up right after logging on. I’ve also experimented with Windows XP on Boot Camp, and has not happened once, so it must be something with Windows 7. Oh – tried both x86 and x64 versions, still random lock-ups.

It was only after resetting the PRAM and NVRAM, as described on an article on Apple’s website that I was able to log on to Windows 7 and actually use it! It works great, fast, snappy, and have been experimenting with it for the past few days, but the problem does come up every now and then. A simple hard-shutdown or resetting the PRAM and NVRAM will allow me to use Windows 7 again. A minor annoyance, but I understand that this laptop is not “officially” supported to run Windows 7 on Boot Camp.

While I’ve had some other minor issues, none as grave as this one though. Hibernation doesn’t seem to be fully supported – the image doesn’t get saved to the hard drive, so I gave up on it (no big deal), and sometimes sleep is rudely interrupted by some unknown reason, and the Mac will come out of sleep even with the lid closed, and stay awake. No, there is no software open, no downloads or updates going on…I’ve checked already.

My Logitech Bluetooth mouse works the first time I connect it, but no more after that. It even shows up in the list of items, but it just doesn’t connect again, unless, removed from the Bluetooth devices panel and re-added. Not worth the hassle, so I just leave the mouse aside.

I’ve been able to connect to my wireless network at work, which runs on a Linksys WRT54-GL with the factory firmware, at home, running the Airport Extreme N Base Station (previous model) in bridged mode, and the Netgear Dual-Band WNDR3700 as my main router. Connecting to my CentOS-based file server works, and behaves normally.

Overall, Windows 7 on the Macbook Pro has been a great experience. My experience with Vista was limited, to maybe less than 10 hours total, but I hear good reviews about Windows 7 and want to get familiar with it. Might even build a budget system and run Windows 7 on it, but that I’ll leave for another post.

Have you had a good or bad experience running Windows 7 on your Mac? If so, share your thoughts!

Thanks for reading!

Posted in Computers, Networking, Technology

Getting a NAS

I’ve been looking into the idea of getting a NAS (Network Attached Storage). This would greatly help me in the aid of keeping all the files in one place, as well as the backup for my Mac.
I currently use two to three external hard drives to store data: A Western Digital MyBook, which is where I keep my Time Machine backups, as well as other application files, music, movies, and anything else that I don’t need access to on the go. I also use an internal 3.5″ EIDE hard drive connected to a USB to Sata & EIDE adapter that I purchased from Newegg a while ago. While this helps me switch hard drives quickly, it’s quite cumbersome because of the need to carry the hard drive, plus the adapter box with all its cables. Many times I’m away from home and wish I had “a file” with me, only to realize it’s sitting on my desk at home – unplugged and offline on my external MyBook drive.

I’ve known about NAS for a while, but never really cared much to have one. It was until recently that I discovered this specific one, from Netgear – the ReadyNas Duo

I’ve been considering a diskless setup, which allows me to select the hard drive of my choice. It’s likely that I will be purchasing Western Digital Caviar Green hard drives, which allow me to select the maximum capacity available and know which hard drive my system is using.

Such device running on a fast wireless and ethernet network would be a great way to keep everything centralized and in one place. I could wirelessly backup my Mac and my wife’s laptop, as well as stream music to any stereo in the house using the Apple Airport Express, and watch my digital movies in the big TV.

The possibilities are endless, and I’m sure with great planning, documentation and implementation such system would be of great benefit. The idea of a NAS just came to mind – nothing concrete yet, no plans to purchase; but it would be a great way to be more organized and centralized in this digital world of ours.

Posted in All Mac Stuff, Technology

Macbook Pro Matte vs Glossy

I am on the verge of purchasing a new Macbook Pro to replace my almost 3-year old Macbook Pro. When glossy where first introduced on the Apple products, I was disgusted that they had gone so mainstream, but quickly said to myself: “They’ll never do it to the rest of the line or the rest of the ‘Pro’ series!” Boy, was I wrong. They did, and it now has consumers confused more than ever before. Yours truly is typing from a matte screen. My wife has an HP laptop which has a glossy screen. I have used it and try to “see” the reflections, and while they ARE there, they are only there when you focus on them. If your eyes stay on your work and you don’t shift focus, the reflection isn’t that bad – at least not on this HP laptop. I am very confused, for I am not sure whether I want matte or glossy. I thought I would never consider a glossy screen, but after a few trips to the Apple store, man – glossy looks pretty good and sharp! But after countless hours of reading reviews and seeing how upset many people are regarding the glossy screens on the Macbook Pro’s, it makes me want to wonder and reconsider my blind choice of going glossy. I compared them, side-by-side, and matte definitely looks sharper and more saturated. The matte screen looks washed out. (these were machines at the Apple Store). There was also a lot of reflection from the fluorescent lighting from the store on the glossy screen, while none on the matte. This was, distracting when looked directly at – but after a few minutes I was able to ignore the reflections. I think it all comes down to personal preference. I am, indeed, glad that Apple brought back the matte on the Macbook Pro’s, but they should also extend the option to the rest of their displays, including the iMac & Cinemas. Without any further ado, I close my rant with the following: Try them both, ask questions and see for yourself. No one can make these decisions for you. Reading more about matte vs glossy online just adds to the confusion because there always are two sides to the coin.
It’s still not time for me to upgrade, but hopefully in the near future I’ll be getting the new Macbook Pro with a 17″ glossy display.

Posted in All Mac Stuff, Technology

Setting up Airport Extreme (802.11n)

So I recently took the plunge and decided it was time to update my existing home network, and to once and for all rid it of the nuisances and inconsistencies that were occurring on a daily basis. The old setup consisted of a Belkin 802.11n router with wi-fi turned off, and two PC’s connected to its ethernet ports, plus an Airport Express (802.11n) to create and share a wireless network.

“Why not use the Belkin’s built-in wi-fi?” – you may ask. Performance. The wireless capabilities of this router were very disappointing, causing occasional drops, hangs, and poor speed. Unplugging the Belkin from the wall for about 10 seconds seemed to do the trick, and shortly after it was all back to normal. This grew old, however, and after a while of dealing with this, configuring the device on a weekly basis and trying everything I could think of, I was glad to get rid of it.

I was looking for different routers and options to upgrade. For a while, the D-Link DIR-825 seemed like a good choice, however, I went with a new Apple Airport Extreme Base Station. I don’t have the newer model with the improved antenna, which was released in November 2009, but the one before it.

The network now consists of: DSL Modem in bridged mode > Airport Extreme Base Station > Belkin Router (used as an access point), > and an Airport Expressed connected via Ethernet to another room. I have wider coverage at home, and have also noticed that performance is faster.

Something that I am still debating is whether to have two networks: 2.4 GHz for the “g” devices, and a 5 Ghz for the “n” devices. I also have to draw a sketch of my network and makes notes, and document all the settings. That will be another day – as I am still not finished with the setup.

Posted in Technology

Wolfram Alpha Search Engine

Wolfram Alpha’s search engine focuses rather on calculating data entered by the user and displaying back results with useful stats. The premise behind the search engine is to work on calculations done to data, rather than searching for data on a large database.
I have used the search engine quite extensively since it was released, mainly to help me with mathematical calculations to check accuracy for my homework.
I have also used it “just because”, with random data, to test the system’s capabilities.

It is quite easy to use, intuitive, and fairly fast on the calculations and data search.

To visit it and test it out, go to http://www.wolframalpha.com

Posted in All Mac Stuff, Technology

Apple Releases New Hardware: iMacs, Macbooks, Magic Mouse…

As previously rumored and posted on the MacRumors website, Apple has released some, if not all, of the expected updates to their Mac lineup. This includes: Updated iMacs, now with two choices for screen size: a 21! and 27″, and it includes a wireless mouse and keyboard.
Apple also released a new version of the Mac Mini, which sells for $999 and it is advertised as a “Mac Mini Server.” It includes Apple’s latest operating system, Snow Leopard Server, and it’s aimed for small business at an affordable entry price. Many will disagree, and will say “this is just an expensive mini”, but in reality, it is well-priced. The license for the server version of Snow Leopard sells for $499, so for another $500 you get a mini with the features that the “server mini” has.
In addition to these, the Macbooks were updated as well. Other products include: a new mouse labeled “Magic Mouse”, an all-aluminum remote control, as well as new and improved versions of the Time Capsule and Airport Extreme devices.
To read the full article and get all the details, go to ars technica’s website by clicking here