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How to try Linux

Download and try the following OS, and give it a go. I’m actually using Ubuntu to host this website and a number of other clients sites, although I’m using the 10.04 LTS edition. LTS editions have longer lifecycles, which saves you having to rebuild your server so often – and patches are supplied for the life of the edition.

Ubuntu Linux v10.10

Ubuntu is a Linux 2.6 based Operating system, and is, simple and well supported with “Graphical based” installers and tools.

A good introductory read is the “New to Ubuntu” guide.

After this, you can download and install Ubuntu:

  1. Download “Desktop CD” installation files.
  2. Follow the installation details for a Graphical Install
  3. Introduce yourself to the Operating system.

Other books on the OS are:

Book CoverBook CoverBook Cover

Bootcamp 3.0 fixes WinXP BSOD for Multitouch Trackpad

Apple released Bootcamp 2.1 with OS 10.5, which allows you to dual boot to Windows XP/Vista on your Mac.
Subsequenet to that release, there was a driver update for the Multitouch trackpad which was suppose to improve souble tapping, etc. However it caused a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) the moment you double tapped, courtesy of applemtp.sys.

Many people sent suggestions to Apple to fix this, but it seemed to be falling on deaf ears.

Little did we know that Apple were releasing a new version of the touchpad driver included with Bootcamp 3.0 on the Snow Leopard install DVD.

I’ve updated my Bootcamp to 3.0, and indeed the applemtp.sys driver version has increased to The FAQ for the Snow Leopard update states that Bootcamp 3.0 has:

“Improved tap-to-click support – The ability to tap the track pad to click the mouse button is now supported on all Mac portables that run Boot Camp.”

In my tests, so far, there has been no more crashes. I get to use double finger right click tap, and the track pad responsiveness that I got in the older buggy driver is back as well.

Thanks Apple. No more BSOD.

Laptop HDD failure

Data Rescue II

Last Friday at work my Mac (OS X 10.4) laptop HDD died. After the purchase of an extra external HDD and some custom recovery software, Data Rescue II, I tried to recover as much as I could. The bad news is the Hard drive had not just gotten corrupted, but failed. After an attempt to clone it to a second drive for analysis, and during my recovery attempt it developed the click of death. Now it no longer appears in the Hardware list on Data Rescue.

However, I was lucky on two counts:

  • I sync my entire iTunes library music+photos to my ipod WITH the full resolution photo option enabled
  • I recently started using Carbon Copy cloner to sync to an external Firewire drive


The external HDD was bootable and I got my system back online with it, albeit 4 weeks old. Carbon Copy Cloner had cloned all the data, and made the drive bootable as requested. Note: using a firewire HDD was required to make it bootable. I’m not sure if this is still valid with newer intel Macs.

The iTunes sync alone saved my music purchases and iPhotos from the last 4 weeks. I will be sure to commence a more thorough backup regime, and I will be using my 2 HDD’s now as Primary and Secondary backups – one being offsite (at work). Its not worth the hassle of having anything less.

Are you lucky enought to have upgraded to OSX 10.5 already? You might be thinking you could use Time Machine, but it wont produce an instantly usable bootable backup in the case of complete HDD failure. I think Time Machine will complement any use of CCC.

I did lose 4 weeks of Mail, Documents, and a new CVS repository I setup – but this is small compared to what could have been lost.

The lesson learnt is that anyone with a mac should buy an external firewire hard drive of the same size or greater than their “Macintosh HD”; Clone it with CCC; and reclone it regularly (synchronise option). This will prevent the heartache of loosing all your photos, music and data in this electronic world.

The Complete Guide to Mac/Windows Interoperability

You’ve got a household full of PC’s and you’ve stopped yourself from getting a Mac because you don’t want to deal with incompatibilities. Eight years ago that would’ve been understandable, but today Mac OS and Windows can work together in harmony on the same home network. Here’s a primer on how the two systems inter-operate.

I have been using Macs now for 5 years, and the compatibility issues that one would have been there are practically gone. Check out the article at LifeHacker for the full details.

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