Boot Camp Drivers for iMac (Early 2009)

Apple’s newest iMacs are a fast set of machines and run Windows faster than any PC I’ve ever used, but unfortunately, Apple has yet to update Boot Camp with the required drivers to support the latest and greatest components. Mac OS X ships with the necessary software and works as expected, but Windows XP is met with some trouble. Right away, you’ll notice that your graphics resolution is set to a paltry 800×600, and you have no sound output as well. Here’s how to get those systems working until Apple can provide an “official” fix:

Graphics Drivers

Visit nVidia and download the “GeForce 9M Series (Notebooks)” driver package, as this is graphics chipset in the Early 2009 iMacs. Run the downloaded setup utility, next-next-nexting your way through the steps, and reboot at the end when prompted. Upon restart, you’ll be able to properly max out your display to the iMac’s native resolution.

Audio Drivers

Boot Camp 2.1 actually ships with RealTek HD audio drivers, as evidenced by the lack of a yellow exclamation mark for this system in Windows’ Device Manager, but they don’t seem to work properly, since there’s no sound output.

Visit RealTek and download the “High Definition Audio Codecs” driver package for your OS. In this instance, I downloaded “Windows 2000, Windows XP/2003(32/64 bits) Driver only (Executable file)”, since I’m running Windows XP Pro SP2. Run this setup utility as well, rebooting again when done. After restarting, you should be greeted with Windows’ standard login sound, confirming the install worked.

Update: The Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard disc includes Boot Camp drivers for these iMacs. The Snow Leopard disc is a hybrid image: it provides the Mac OS X installer when viewed under a Mac OS X system, but shows Windows drivers when viewed in Windows. Just run the setup in Windows right off the disc, and you should be set.

Boot Camp Drivers for iMac (Early 2009)

iPod Screen Scratch Removal Revisited

Several years ago, I recommended RadTech’s IceCreme as a great solution for cleaning up your iPod’s scratched-up screen. While I still stand by my results and recommendation, IceCreme isn’t the sort of thing you can find at a nearby store, and is also a little pricey. Removing scratches from iPods and other pocket-bound electronics remains a common problem, so I thought it would be worthwhile to test some of the other available options. Additionally, since nicks and scratches occur on more than just the screen, we’ll also test the solutions elsewhere on an iPod.

For this little experiment, I chose three solutions offering varying levels of abrasiveness: Colgate toothpaste, Brasso metal polish, and Easy-Off oven cleaner. All three promise to leave their intended surfaces shiny and clean, and in the case of the latter two, free of scratches. We’ll see how each fares when put to use on both the front plastic and back metal of an iPod. To keep things clear, each polish will be used in a masked-off area, hopefully leaving a clear division among the results.

The target iPod is an already well-used 4G 20GB iPod, with most of its still working inner parts removed and replaced with padding just to help sustain its form while being polished. Donated to the cause, this iPod will be beat up even further, with even layers of light scratches, heavy scratches, and deep cuts, simluating everything from normal wear to keychain induced destruction. It has surely seen better days, and is now destined for that great Apple Retail Store in the sky, all in the name of science.

I started with Brasso first, since it has been recommended many times since my last scratch removal post, both by commenters and firsthand accounts. If you’re attempting this yourself, be sure to work in a well ventilated area, as Brasso smells very strongly of ammonia, and might start to irritate your eyes after a short while!

scratch_ipod_brasso

 

After only five minutes of polishing, the results were quite good, with nearly all of the light and medium scratches completely removed from the screen area. Deeper cuts remained, though their rough edges were significantly smoother.

scratch_ipod_brasso_done

 

Toothpaste was next on the list, and while it left the iPod minty fresh with a sparkling shine, its scratch-reducing effects were barely noticeable. Due to its sticky consistency, it was also more difficult to polish with than the more liquid Brasso, yielding poorer results for double the effort — a total flop.

Oven cleaner was last, and I really had no idea what to expect with it. Claiming to leave glassy surfaces shiny and free of scratches, it sounded like a possible winner. As it turns out, it’s not much more than a repackaged kitchen cleaner, resulting in a streak-free but still heavily scratched iPod. I’ll end up cleaning my glass top oven with this one, and nothing else.

With the front of the iPod clearly showing Brasso as the top choice, it was time to see what worked best on the scratched metal backing of the iPod.

 

scratch_ipod_scratched_back

Again, after just a few minutes with each polish, Brasso came out on top, while the other two trailed woefully behind. The Brasso-polished back still had quite a few scratches, though far less pronounced than when I started. All of them, including the deep cuts, had a very slick feel, whereas the others still left the surface pretty rough.

scratch_back_comparison

Convinced that Brasso was the right choice, I went back and finished off the front, cleaning up all but the most severe marks on the screen.

scratch_ipod_front

 

Given the results of my tests, I can easily recommend Brasso as a great iPod polishing solution that can be had for under $3 at your local stores.

iPod Screen Scratch Removal Revisited

Consolas Cursor Fix

If you’ve attempted to use Consolas as your choice programming font on the Mac, you may have noticed (as I did) an odd issue with the font, where your blinking cursor hangs much lower than the current line. Oddly enough, this little issue only seems to affect Mac OS X. Even the Consolas set that ships with Microsoft Office 2008 has the same problem! Yet, when the same exact font file is used under Windows, the cursor position is correct.

John Gruber mentioned that BBEdit 9.1 now ships with Consolas as its default font, so I decided to see if it had the same cursor problem I had experienced in the past. As it turns out, BBEdit’s version of Consolas works just fine, as seen in the image above. However, it doesn’t include the other styles like Consolas Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic.

Through one way or another, the copy of Consolas that ships with BBEdit 9.1 is different than the one that ships with Microsoft Office 2008. To make system-wide use of the working version, download BBEdit 9.1, mount and open the .dmg, and navigate to:

(Control-click BBEdit, and choose “Show Package Contents” to get inside the application bundle): BBEdit.app/Contents/Resources/Fonts/consola.ttf

Copy consola.ttf from BBEdit’s “Fonts” folder to your own Fonts folder at /Users/you/Library/Fonts, or /Library/Fonts if you want to make it available to everyone who has an account on your computer. Then, fire up your favorite editor, set Consolas as your preferred fixed-width font, and get coding!

Update: Bare Bones has apparently changed the version of Consolas that ships with BBEdit versions later than 9.1, and they now have the cursor problem as well…

Consolas Cursor Fix

How to Run Hamachi on Leopard

A while back I detailed how to get Hamachi VPN running on Mac OS X, but times have changed, so here’s how to go about it under Leopard. Again, it’s a bit tricky, involving some Terminal work, but it’s pretty straightforward as far as command-line software goes.

Download and Install Tun/Tap

Hamachi for Mac OS X depends on some other tunneling software, a Tun/Tap kernel extension which does the low-level work. Download the latest Tun/Tap package and install it.

Download and Install Hamachi

Next, download the latest Hamachi for Mac OS X. Installation is a bit more complicated than the Tun/Tap drivers. Unzip the archive, and open up a Terminal window, and type “cd”, followed by a space. Don’t press Return just yet… Instead, drop the Hamachi folder right into the Terminal window, which will insert the path to that folder after the prefix you just typed: cd /Users/you/Downloads/hamachi-0.9.9.9-20-osx. Press Return, and the Terminal’s new working directory will be the Hamachi folder — this is just a quick drag-and-drop shortcut to avoid typing out the path to a folder you already have available.

Once in the Hamachi folder, type sudo ./install. Enter your administrator password to perform the install.

Hamachi should now be installed, and you can initialize it for the first time by typing hamachi-init. This will generate public and private encryption keys in your Home folder, under .hamachi/ (the initial dot makes the folder hidden in regular Finder windows).

With both set-ups out of the way, it’s time to start using Hamachi!

Run Hamachi

Configure Tun/Tap by typing sudo ./usr/sbin/tuncfg

Start up Hamachi by typing hamachi start followed by hamachi login.

At this point, you should be connected to the Hamachi service, but without a VPN for your computers to join. If you already have a network, or plan to join a trusted friend’s network, you can easily join it by typing: hamachi join SomeNetwork.

Most likely, though, you’ll need to create your own network: hamachi create MyNetwork

Now you should have a virtual network in place and can go online hamachi go-online MyNetwork.

To see other parties on the network, run hamachi list

If other computers are online, you’re ready to connect to them with any higher-level software like iChat via Bonjour, the Finder’s “Connect to Server” command, Safari, etc.

To log out of Hamachi and shut down VPN connections, type hamachi stop

For more information about how to use Hamachi, you can view its manual by typing code>hamachi -h

How to Run Hamachi on Leopard

iPhoto Billing Information Error

While trying to order some prints from Kodak/Apple via iPhoto yesterday, I repeatedly got the pseudo-error message:

Please review your billing information and approve it.

After checking out my billing information twice, and still getting that error, I found the answer on an Apple Discussions thread: Make sure your credit card verification code is entered in the Account Information screen. Why iPhoto doesn’t highlight or complain about the missing required field is beyond me, but overlooking this tiny field causes problems that hardly indicate their source.

iPhoto Billing Information Error

How to Set Up Multiple Subversion Repos on MediaTemple

I’ve been busy lately with lots of side projects (including the new theme surrounding this post), and one key tool that helps keep my work organized and sane is Subversion. A while back, I discovered that my web host of choice, MediaTemple offers two ways to host Subversion repos for your own usage alongside regular web hosting: you can make use of a single Apache webserver driven Subversion repository, or configure full-blown Subversion over secure SSH tunneling. Here’s how to get the latter up and running, complete with a hosted checkout of your work that auto-updates after your commit.

Enable SSH Access

By default, SSH remoting is disabled on MediaTemple accounts, requiring you to explicitly enable it in the Server Administrator control panel section for your primary domain.

Once there, set SSH on “Enabled”, and save your changes. MediaTemple’s easy-to-use configuration tool couldn’t make this step any simpler.

Connecting and Creating a Repository

Fire up Terminal in your Applications/Utilities folder under Mac OS X, or grab the latest version PuTTY under Windows, and connect to your MediaTemple host as serveradmin@yourdomain.com. For example, if your site were example.com, you would connect as follows:

ssh serveradmin@example.com@example.com

The domain “example.com” is in there twice, first because it’s part of your full username, and second to point SSH at the right server. (If your SSH client complains about not being able to connect, you can try replacing the first @ sign with its encoded version, “%25”.) Type “yes” to confirm adding example.com to your known_hosts, if asked, then enter your administrator password to finish logging in.

Enter the following commands to switch to your “data” directory (provided by MediaTemple), and create a basic repository for your code/information:

Change directory (cd) to your data directory:
cd ../../data/

Create a “repos” directory to hold one or more repositories:
mkdir repos

Change directory to the folder you made in the previous step:
cd repos

Create a repository (replace “tests” with your desired repository name, using underscores for spaces). Letter case is important, so if you capitalize any part of the name now, you’ll have to capitalize it later when using it. The bit about “fsfs” is to use a specific Subversion database type recommended by MediaTemple — it’s the default type for newer versions of Subversion, but it’s best to put it just to be safe.

svnadmin create tests --fs-type fsfs

You can repeat this to create as many repositories as you wish inside the “repos” folder.

Log out of MediaTemple:

logout

Checking Out Your Repository

On your local computer (not on MediaTemple), decide where you want to keep your repositories. I recommend someplace easy to get to like /workingcopies/, but a repo can go anywhere you prefer. Check out a copy of the repo you just made:

svn checkout svn+ssh://serveradmin@example.com@example.com/home/1234/data/repos/tests /workingcopies/tests

Be sure to replace “1234” with your four-digit MediaTemple server ID number that can be found in your Service Activation email.

To verify everything drop a simple file into your new repository folder at /workingcopies/tests, such as test.txt, and do:

svn add test.txt followed by svn commit -m "Adding test file."

Auto-updating MediaTemple

If you have some code stored in a repository that you’d like to automatically be made available to the world, such as a WordPress theme or web application, Subversion provides various “hooks” that can be run at times like pre-commit, post-commit, etc. Subversion hooks are nothing more than scripts which you define, and get run when the applicable action occurs. Here’s how to set up an automatically updating WordPress theme repository:

Connect to MediaTemple again, using the initial ssh command at the start of this tutorial, then change directory to where you want to use this repository on your MediaTemple server:

cd ../../domains/example.com/html/wp-content/themes

Check out a copy of your repository elsewhere on your server, using file:// instead of svn+ssh://

svn checkout file:///home/1234/data/repos/tests tests

Again, replace “1234” with your server ID, and also replace “tests” with your repository name (in both places). Now you have a copy of that repository on your server. Edit the hook so it gets updated automatically when you commit changes:

cd ../../data/repos/tests/hooks

Make a copy of the post-commit hook example:

cp post-commit.tmpl post-commit

Use your favorite command-line text editor the post-commit script:

nano -w post-commit

Change the entire script (below #!/bin/sh) to:

svn update /home/1234/domains/example.com/html/wp-content/themes/tests

Exit, saving changes, with Control-x, y, Enter.

Make your post-commit script executable:

chmod +x post-commit

Finally, log out of MediaTemple again:

logout

Now, after a commit, Subversion will automatically update the repo you have checked out on your server, and your changes should be reflected almost instantly.

There’s a lot more to using Subversion, so here are some hand-picked resources to keep you going:

Recommended

How to Set Up Multiple Subversion Repos on MediaTemple