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Archive for August, 2009

Enabling 64-Bit in Snow Leopard

August 28th, 2009 5 comments

The most powerful update in Snow Leopard is the ability to move to 64-bit support.  By default, Snow Leopard has 32-bit enabled and you have to purposefully enable 64-bit.

Here is how to determine if you have 64-bit enabled.

  1. Start the Systems Profiler through the Applications or Click the on the Apple Menu and choose About This Mac > More Info
  2. Highlight “Software”
  3. Look to see if the “64-bit Kernel and Extensions” has a Yes or a No to identify whether 64-bit is enabled.

64bitOFF

Enable: To enable 64-bit you have to hold down the 4 and 6 on the keyboard when you boot up the computer. Check back in the Systems Profiler and it should be marked as yes.

I am not sure if they will turn this into an official setting some place, but here is how to enable 64-bit by default on startup. Huge thanks to netkas.org who originally posted these settings.

Long Term Enable:

Find this file…

/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.Boot.plist

In that file, find the lines that read:

<key>Kernel Flags</key>
<string></string>

and change them to

<key>Kernel Flags</key>
<string>arch=x86_64</string>

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Snow Leopard strains Fedex

August 28th, 2009 No comments

We probably won’t know how many copies of Snow Leopard, the latest Mac operating system, sold until after the weekend. I do know the shipping industry took a hit today trying to get them all delivered.

I was working outside when the FedEx truck rolled up to deliver my copy of Snow Leopard. The driver politely asked if I wouldn’t mind telling him what was ordered. Apparently the Rochester office of Fedex alone received over 4500 of these identical boxes to distribute around the region, putting quite the overload on the personnel this morning, working to get the distribution out and onto the trucks for delivery.

He wasn’t overly impressed when I told him it was the latest Apple operating system that was released today. Regardless, it did make me wonder why Apple didn’t do a downloaded distribution. I certainly would have downloaded an ISO image instead of watching for the FedEx truck to arrive.

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The Snow Leopard Bandwagon

August 28th, 2009 No comments

If Apple knows how to do anything right, it is to build up hype about their own product. The world seems to know that their latest release of operating system is called Snow Leopard and it comes out today. First of all, this is an upgrade to the already existing operating system, Leopard. (hence the clever name) For the average consumer, the feature list on this upgrade is rather small, so who is running out to buy this thing?

The first people to get this thing installed are the bloggers. While Mac enthusiasts used to make up the majority of the people who keep the retail shelves alive, this one is nothing short of a media frenzy. Every person out there who affiliations with technology running a blog, video stream, podcast or general news update is trying to get this installed first. Some of them just want to post up that they have it first with a few first impressions. Many of them scramble to try and break it. After all the person who finds it NOT successful gets the news.

The second in line are the educated community who understand how powerful these updates really are. Having 64-bit support is huge, whether you know what it means or not. It is such a huge change in how the operating system operates and interacts with the applications that Apple doesn’t even set this as the default for most installations.  The performance enhancements and the capabilities this opens up are worth the effort.

The last people who bought Snow Leopard were the ones caught in the Apple net of advertising.  They really don’t know whey they wanted it, but knew it was the cool thing to have.  The low price point made it attractive, regardless of what it actually did.  Finally they were afraid of not updating and keeping current.

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Uncorking the Evo X

August 21st, 2009 No comments

Mitsubishi Evolution and Respect VR48789After having a 1992 car as my newest vehicle, moving to a 2008 Mitusbishi Evo X was quite a jump in technology.  For those of you not familiar with modern day import tuning techniques, there are a lot of available resources that will allow you to alter or modify how the computer in the car controls the car itself. I consider the Mitsubishi Evolution X to be the Mr. Potato head of import tuning.  That is to say once you have the methodologies figured out, you can change out parts on the car relatively easy and adjust the computer to recognize the difference.

Tuning EvoX Chris WirthDiving into the fuels maps, timing adjustments and throttle settings of a car is not some place you want to wander alone for the first time. I was lucky enough to enlist a guide along this first attempt as Chris Wirth offered up almost an entire day one weekend to explain the ins and outs of tuning the Mitsubishi Evo X.  While Chris does not own a shop, I consider his opinion to be above and beyond what most shops comprehend about this car for one predominant reason: He is data logging everything the car does, every day, all the time.   (I am pretty sure he has been doing this since birth)  I first met Chris in 1997, when I found him using a 386 laptop to tune his 1996 Eclipse at the time, using some ODBII software I had never heard of.  The Evolution X has marked a rebirth for Chris, as I see him digging once again into learning everything he can about this new car.  If the name is not familiar, you may know him as “hiboost” on many of the online forums.  He also just took first place at the 2009 DSM Shootout in the Evolution X class.

From the Factory

The Mitsubishi Evolution X is an amazing car, period.  I was able to get the car out to Watkins Glen twice so far after almost owning it a year, and out of the box it drives and handles amazing.  When it come to putting power to the ground however, Mitsubishi takes quite conservative approach to tuning this car for street use.  One could say the power is being strangled out of the car.  By having overly rich fuel maps in inappropriate power ranges, the car under-performs for every day driving.  It has the same hesitation feeling of when you turn your air conditioning on and take off from the light.

Uncorked

EvolutionX UncorkedUsing the Tactrix OpenPort cable combined with the latest version of ECUFlash and EvoScan, Chris was able to manipulate everything from fuel delivery to timing curves.

The result was an approximate 22 hp gain, without changing any physical components of the car, with less boost.  Adding a manual boost controller and re-adjusting will easily put the car into a 30 HP gain.  You can actually tune the boost from the ECU, but it is a derivative of 3 different tables, based off of engine loads.  Frankly it becomes a lot easier to turn a dial.  Regardless of our power estimates, the car is a new completely new car to drive.  It is responsive, smoother and more consistent throughout the power band. There is no hesitation and car drives like it should have when Mitsubishi handed over the keys.

Cookbook

There are already plenty of resources online to get you going with tuning the Evolution X.  Most of the resources have been published on the Evolution M forums.  Keep an eye out for Chris to summarize them all soon, and consider hiring Chris to tune your car for you if it is a little overwhelming. Not only does he give you a baseline tune that will be easy to upgrade from, but he takes the time to give you the resources for you to tune yourself.

The alternatives to tuning yourself or hiring Chris to do the work are to send your ECU in to one of the larger shops to have them tune it.  Many of them claim 50HP gains for the minor cost of $500.  While I can not dis-prove their results, I have seen the tune that Chris first had on the car after paying to have it done.  Not only is the power mis applied, but the gains were not even close to the published amounts.  It’s amazing how you can make your own numbers look good when you own your own dyno.

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Office for Mac 2010

August 14th, 2009 No comments

Microsoft announced yesterday that it intended to release of a new version of Microsoft Office in 2010 for Mac.  This new version will offer a Microsoft Outlook client, which has never been in the Mac suite of programs.Office for Mac 2 flavors

Dan Miller at PC World wrote an article, not understanding why this mattered at all.  At a time when the world is migrating away from client based software, Microsoft Office is the most expensive and aging platform to go with.  I think you live in a different world than market segment this will affect Dan.

There is a large percentage of companies out there have no concept they can move away from Microsoft Office, nor would they want to.  I walked into my accountant last week and they were still all on Office 2000.  This year, I just left the bottom of the barrel in the world of technology adoption rates, the manufacturing industry.  They are still conceptualizing that all of these clients talk together in this strange new world called “collaboration”.

Microsoft Office is more than a suite of applications.  For the corporate user, it is also a client to the business applications that have been adopted around the Microsoft centric platform.  Microsoft Office is the client for Microsoft Sharepoint and while there are many other flavors of collaboration suites, Microsoft still has the corporate attention.

Let us not forget the security and control aspect.  Having an office suite, capable of taking orders from the mother ship of either active directory or exchange server, allows corporations to maintain control of their systems.  That is a huge advantage for companies with small or outsourced IT departments.

While Microsoft is getting ready to finally launch a new version of Windows, the Mac has silently infiltrated the corporate marketplace.  In a race to keep up with the cool toys, the outside salesmen and the guys trying to maintain the latest gadgets are buying Macs.

I actually observe it as a surge from the college kids who have jumped over to Macs.  Dad lost track with what was cool a long time ago in technology, but his son or daughter tells him all the cool kids are on Macs.

Microsoft may be shooting themselves in the foot for putting Outlook on a Mac version.  After all one of the lagging pieces to allow the corporate adoption rate is the dis-similar clients in email.  Integrating with Exchange may create a surge of corporate adopters buying Office 2010, while they are in the Apple store buying a new Mac. Be careful on your pricing Microsoft.

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31 Flavors of Microsoft

August 7th, 2009 No comments

So far, the news on Windows 7 has been nothing but resoundingly positive.  After fumbling the transitions to Vista, Microsoft really needs Windows 7 to be adopted by the public as Apple continues to gain momentum in the home user market.

One things that Microsoft continues to blunder is the release options for what should be a single operating system.  From a consumer perspective, I want Microsoft to make one operating system and either enable or disable the features at installation.  I realizing having three or four sounds pretty clear, but it is numbing to think about and make those choices for most people.  Frankly they shouldn’t have to.

windows-upgrade-chartThis week Microsoft released a chart to Walt Mossberg, a Wall Street Journalist, detailing the choices of upgrading to Windows 7 from Windows XP or Vista.  The worst part is, that in somebody’s head at Microsoft, this chart is a positive thing.  For the rest of the planet, it spells confusion, requiring consumers to think too long about what version they want or need.

Another confusing chart Microsoft, and you might as well hold the door open for the people entering the Apple Store.  Most people at home, don’t know what they have, and don’t know what they need.  As a home user, I would obviously only need Home, but then there has to be something I am missing out on in the professional versions.  Ask any home user whether they have 32 bit or 64 bit and the response back will nothing short of a blank stare.

The flip side is that people have been waiting so long for a new operating system from Microsoft, the majority of users will be buying new licenses.  With outdated hardware and larger incentives to buy OEM licensing, I doubt  you will find people that will be upgrading at all.  By making this chart, you have just certified that people should buy a new computer when getting this operating system anyway.  Now they just need to choose which one offers the better experience.

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Google Yanked Public Calendar searching?

August 3rd, 2009 No comments

I just spent 20 minutes trying to find a calendar in Google, thinking somebody was playing some form of “hide the button on Steve” joke.  One of the most powerful features in Google Calendar was the ability to search public calendars.   Well apparently sometime around February of this year, the entire feature was scrubbed, leaving the entire premise of publishing events somewhat useless.

I am grateful I had already added a few key calendars to my google setup already.  For instance 3 event pro skier Jaret Llewellyn entered all of the Pro Water Ski Tournaments into google calendar, which I love to know about. Thank you for doing that Jaret. Hopefully you will keep updating it, regardless.

So I missed that it was gone for almost 6 months, which might be an argument that it is not used a lot.  Well, I used it more when I traveled.  If I know I was going to be in a certain area or region, I could search posted calendars, in that area, for events I was interested in.

I also wanted to use Google calendar to publish public events that might not be covered yet. While I can use this for my personal preferences, knowing nobody will see them without some direct involvement is a discouragement to using them at all.

Without having a link to the ICS file for any calendar, you will be hard pressed to find the calendar you are looking for now.  Hopefully Google is working on something to update this mechanism, but after seeing that it has been dormant for 6 months, I do not have a lot of hope.

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