By Collin Allen

Boot Camp

April 5, 2006

Apple is now officially prepping a technology to allow Windows XP to run on Intel based Macs. Currently called “Boot Camp,” the software will ship with the next major release of Mac OS X. For all the details and beta software, visit Apple’s Boot Camp beta page. You’ll have to provide your own Windows XP SP2 CD, of course, but Apple intends to make a multi-boot Mac a legitimate reality.

Fixing a Frozen iPod

April 1, 2006

I’ve seen a number of questions on the web related to frozen iPods which either get stuck on or off. Holding the Hard Reset buttons indicated in the previous post will – if the iPod is accepting any input at all – force it to do a full reboot. In most cases, the freeze is a one-time issue, and this solution will get you out of the situation.

However, if the iPod reboots and gets stuck again, try resetting it yet again and holding the Disk Mode buttons to force the iPod to become a simple external hard drive. When connected via USB or FireWire, it can be Restored with Apple’s latest iPod Updater software. Sometimes a Restore is the best way to get your iPod working again, as it wipes the device clean and reloads all the factory settings. The Restore function is so deep that it will even fix an iPod hard drive which has been completely written over with zeroes!

If the iPod is still locking up, it may be the result of a more serious problem that can be determined by thoroughly testing the hard drive. Stay tuned for more iPod fixing tips in the very near future.

Hidden iPod Commands

March 31, 2006

I grew tired of Googling each time I needed the correct button sequence to put iPods into their various modes, so I’ve put together this little table.

iPod Generation Hard Reset Diagnostic Mode Disk Mode
1st Generation “Scroll Wheel” Menu + Play Previous + Center + Next Previous + Next
2nd Generation “Touch Wheel” Menu + Play Previous + Center + Next Previous + Next
3rd Generation “Touch Wheel” Menu + Play Previous + Center + Next Previous + Next
4th Generation “Click Wheel” Menu + Center Previous + Center Center + Play
5th Generation “Click Wheel” Menu + Center Previous + Center Center + Play

Doom Lottery Machine

March 24, 2006

I work at a small but fantastic place fixing up computer hardware of all kinds. Most of the time, this involves desktop PCs, laptops, and rackmount servers, but every so often a unique item comes by that makes you wonder what it’s capable of. Today, this item was a Montana state lottery ticket machine. While the machines used ancient computer hardware and had no trace of lottery related data (darn!), I did spend a couple minutes testing it and, naturally, launching Doom! The LCD on the machine was monochrome and only used the top left quarter of the video output. With some configuration, video could probably be sized to use the available space, but I didn’t want to put more than a couple minutes into hacking, as this is work, after all.

doom lottery machine front

doom lottery machine side

doom lottery machine closeup

Dual Booting on Intel Macs

March 19, 2006

For those who own a shiny new Intel Mac and a copy of Windows XP, it’s now possible to install Mac OS X and Windows on different partitions and pick a system at startup. Driver support is, not surprisingly, still lacking, but should be brought up to par in the next few weeks. Apple’s transition to the Intel architecture has opened the door both ways – Windows can run on Macs, and Mac OS X can run on PCs. Choice is good.