Create Windows 7 Install Disc On a Macbook Pro

I was trying to install Windows 7 on my Mac this morning and it turned out to be an all day affair! My biggest issue was trying to create a Windows 7 install disc on a USB flash drive using Boot Camp. (Boot Camp is software included with OS X Lion so you can run compatible versions of Microsoft Windows on an Intel-based Mac.) For reasons known only to Steve and finally now me, the checkbox that enables this magic was greyed out and disabled under Boot Camp. I found a thread in a forum discussing the issue and was able to fix it. (I lost the link to the thread but I’ll repeat the important parts here.) The fix involves editing an “Info.plist” file under the Boot Camp application bundle. For those that are not Mac savvy, apps on the Mac are simply folders (commonly referred to as bundles) with a “.app” suffix which causes the “Finder” application to treat them differently. You can right click any “.app” bundle and chose to “Show Package Contents” to look inside them.

So showing the contents of the “Boot Camp” app located under “/Applications/Utilities” will expose a “Contents” folder which contains the “Info.plist” file. Edit this file using the Dashcode app (I believe this installs with Xcode which is included on the Lion/Snow Leopard install media under the optional folder) and look for the “USBBootSupportedModels” setting in the left hand pane. Clicking the little triangle will expose/unfold a bunch of models that support USB booting. According to Apple, these are the only models that support the feature but you can alter this file to include the model of the Mac you currently use. Click the Apple icon in the top most menu and find the “About This Mac” option. click “More Info” then “System Report”. This is where you look to find your Model Identifier. Mine was MacBookPro6,2 which would translate to a MBP62 string. There is also a Boot Rom version in the same report a little further down that you should pay attention to. Mine was listed as MBP61.0057.B0C. I took this to mean that I should also include a MBP61 string in the list of supported models as well. Clicking the little plus icon next to “USBBootSupportedModels” will allow you to add strings for both your model and boot model. Save the file to your desktop. I was very carefully to rename the original file to something like Info.old.plist before copying the modified file back in place from my desktop. I also went in and changed the ownership of the file to “root:wheel” after copying. Follow these steps then when you restart Boot Camp the option should be available to you. Happy “Boot Camping!”

Apple Slides Java To The Side

I’m typing on a shiny Macbook pro. I like Macs. I have possession of several Apple devices from iPhones to laptops, to an Apple TV unit. Therefore I am qualified to tell you what your next Mac is gonna look like. Hi, I’m Cliff. You’re here because you haven’t seen what your next Apple computer is gonna look like. Are you ready? Brace yourself because its a shocker! I should sketch up a prototype in my graphics editor, but I’m all too excited to reveal the breaking news. (Maybe I’ll stick something towards the end of this post.) The following post is inspired by (and I hope my non-technical readers are forgiving since this makes no difference to anybody but me) the glaring omission of the Java runtime from Apple’s new beta operating system, Lion. Even though Java can be installed through the Java Preferences I was shocked to find it absent and it prompted me to consider the trends of current Apple devices as typical features have been dramatically altered over the years leading up to things like reversed scrolling and missing scroll bars. Without further ado, especially since I’ve completely exhausted my “ado” allowance for the month…

Introducing the Mac of 2012
I was going to begin by listing what the next Macs won’t have but actually it might makes sense to describe it in terms of what it will have because it will take far less words. You’re next Apple computer will be a screen hardwired to both your finger and a twelve core CPU. Apple plans to employ every human being on the planet in their factories, pay them zero wages while hardwiring each individual to the units it pushes out of its factories. After your unit is manufactured your position will be terminated at which point you are to visit yourself in your local Apple store and purchase your right to walk out with your new unit. Upon arrival you will have a choice among which model you wish to buy, though details are currently sketchy on how the selection process will work. Most individuals will likely opt for the lower models due to their current economic status but a certain amount are expected to buy into their more powerful product lines. Apple will still feature a 30 day customer satisfaction agreement which individuals can take advantage of should there device fail to perform to their expectations. Reimbursement would require customers to return the product to the original place of purchase so it (and the customer) may be sent off for refurbishing. This new process is referred to as the new Apple Care package which will come bundled with each device at rates forecasted to be competitive to the current warranties.

What you’re giving up…
Apple plans take the user computing experience to the next level by removing all legacy technology from its product lines. Optical drives are a thing of the past and will no longer be included. Gone also are the spinning hard drives, physical keyboards, track pads, power supply, speakers and camera. Indeed, expect your new Apple devices to be razor thin and ultra compatible with everything from the $4,500 Mac you’ll still need to return to the store and purchase to boot your new device to none of your thousands-of-dollars-worth of existing Apple equipment. Apple is removing all hardware compatibility from its stack in flavor of the new compatibility layer it has yet to complete at the time of your purchase. While most people value the ability to plug or wirelessly pair their mobile devices to things such as the stereo in the car Apple recommends you pair only with devices from their Apple certified product line which, at the time of this writing, excludes every vehicle, headset, speaker dock, television, or other electronic device manufactured and currently under manufacture at the time of this writing.

This has been a sneak preview reporting of what’s coming in tech. I’m your insider, Cliff, and I’ll catch you back here next time. For now, good night!

iChat breaks, Apple Keynote and more

I work with a remote team. As such we need remote management software. Things like net meetings, screen sharing, web based whiteboards, etc. We used to rely heavily on WebEx until company mandate pushed us to another Cisco based Meeting Place thing. Meeting Place is kinda cool but here’s the thing. It doesn’t work on the Mac. I mean it’s supposed to work on the Mac. It’s advertised to work on the Mac. Hell, we even have a couple people in our company who have it working on the Mac. Still, a good plenty of us cannot make it work on a Mac. The It that I’m talking about is screen sharing. It doesn’t work on a Mac. In fact, it has been working only sporadically in a variety of Mac forms. OSX screen sharing, screen share over iChat, VNC from finder… all different approaches to the same thing. All of these approaches give me trouble in one way or another.

Just yesterday I figured (well not just me but me and my QA buddy who shall remain shameless/nameless) out the problem with broken screen sharing in iChat. We have wireless in our offices but to use it you have to log in through a proprietary VPN client. The VPN, it seems, gets in the way of iChat screen sharing. I assume there’s more to the story.

That’s only one of my iChat woes. I’ve been seeing crazy behavior when logging into one of my AIM accounts. It probably won’t affect most people since it this is a corporate account but the problem only happens with iChat and it only happens under certain circumstances with this one account. However it happens frequently enough to drive me crazy. So in my mind iChat and OSX is in a horribly broken state while everyone else sees it as one of the world’s most wonderful creations.

Speaking of Apple’s wonders, I just watched the Keynote 2009 on and things are looking really good in iLife. I just recently upgraded to iLife ’08 to start playing with the reduced functionality in iMovie ’08 and now I feel like I need to race to the Apple store, checkbook in hand so that I can lay down several thousand dollars for every product mentioned in the keynote. They do an awesome job at marketing but then again I’m an easy sell. I love the ideas around face detection in iPhoto. I was both blown away and disappointed by the places feature. Blown away because it’s amazing but disappointed because they pull their maps from the wrong place.

The new MacPro is looking tight too. My only problem with it is the return of the Apple over-design. Non-removable batteries!!! WTF???!!! C’mon, if you can’t solve the battery life issue without fusing it to the machine then give us the regular 300 recharge model so we can blissfully overcrowd our landfills with NiCad, Lithium, or whatever the material DeJour is today. Could we have possibly sacrificed a millimeter or two reducing life from 1000 to maybe 725 recharges just so we can pull the darn thing out on our 600th powering where the thing still fuels up but begins discharging at double the rate? I’m sorry but there’s a bit of arrogance in thinking your product is so good that nobody should ever need to dig the battery out. That’s because it’s accompanied by the thought that your company is so JohnBlazed that if there ever is a need to claw the battery away from your pristine product then the customer (me) should/would be ever so pleased to beg you to perform the clawing while paying premium $$$ to help finance your specialized Mac battery removal claw that is only ever used by the rare 25 customers that are dumb/rich/[insert adjective describing a human with too many greenbacks on hand here]/wasteful enough to pay. This is and will always be my pet-peeve with Apple. Practicality goes out the window too early with their engineering team.

I wonder what would happen if some of the lead engineers spent a month or so in the hood? Y’know, where you have to live exclusively on practicality and people don’t generally have an extra $650 to pay for battery claw services on their $2700 Mac pro that they bought a few years back. These are the same people that will/have figured out how to extend the life of the original Macintosh Power books well beyond the 90s and into modern times where they have them not only hooked up to DJ equipment but also the non-cable-ready 1982 Zenith in the living room, Who is Jerrold? that manual push button cable converter box (you know the black box with the brown trim and the little lever on the side that switches three ways stolen from Comcast and rigged to pick up extra stations? Don’t act like it’s just me…) and the latest media toasters pushing Blu Ray copies of Hancock to the homies ’round the way. These are the same people that practically invented Bluetooth headsets.
Bluetooth Wireless
They won’t get any credit for it though, it’s all good.

Mighty Macbooks and Intel Chips, Batman!

I’m still new to the blog thing. Every so often I get caught off guard. For eg., I posted an article to Digg and got close to 1000 hits. Today I babbled something about OS X on a site that nobody ever visits (this one) and got another surge. Could somebody tell me where to find the valve for the rushing page hits? I twisted and turned that little knobby thing under my toilet and only got a wet ceiling as a result. I received 100 hits from and went to check the site. When I viewed source my site was nowhere in the HTML markup. Is there and invisible gnome that trolls the web leaving sporadic links to unbeknown blog-owners dumb writings? Can I invite him over when I really do have something important to say?

What I mean is I got caught off guard. You know that feeling you get when you answer the front door all groggy at 6:30 in the morning where one slipper and a barb-wire fence for a hairstyle a tattered robe and your Snoopy boxers only to be surprised by half the neighborhood crowded on your front lawn to ask about the drunken comment you made randomly at last night’s block party which started a chain reaction of controversy? That’s sorta what I feel like. I wasn’t trying to slam Mac in general but I also wasn’t highlighting any of it’s super cool features like I typically do.

Listen up y’all… (If the crowd is still sitting in my front door after I’ve changed my robe and returned properly clad with a combed wig) I love Mac (in general) and use my Mac (for almost everything) and wish most of you were here when I first got my Mac pro. More important I hope you stick around because I have tons of questions about Macbooks, OS X’s, and Java related stuff that maybe some of you zealots can help me through. Don’t just show up in the morning and walk away. Drop a line (like a few of you did) and lets rap for a minute.