Monitor a Color

My recent Apple //c project works great. but one thing I do not quite digest is the fact that the monitor is green: if the computer can display color so good, why settle for green?

With this premise I’ve been thinking about various solutions: buy a color monitor, specifically the version of my model, connect to a TV set, or modify the green monitor. The latter option provides more challenge, so I’ve been trying to acquire an LCD panel of that size, and adapt it into the monitor housing.

Looking at my favorite market – eBay, I found some nine-inch monitors, but they are all a 16:9 (widescreen) so are not good.

I found one brand “Pegasus” online at CompUSA, it looked very viable on their site, bought it, and got it in a couple of days.  Technically cant find anything  wrong with it, but is too wide, thick and can’t fit into the housing. I ended up returning it.

Nuevo Emulador de Apple II para iPad

Among my retro projects and daily activities, I had not had time to play around on my iPad. I finally had some time, and found another gem: Best of FTA.

The application name is convoluted, FTA refers to “Free Tools Association“, an Apple IIGS emulator. this App bypassed the AppStore controls by not mentioning that it is an emulator, and actually runs very well, better than the iDOS emulator solution i mentioned before.

Best of all, you do not need to Jailbreak to run it. however, to transfer the disk images, you need a program like iExplorer, which allows the device to view files.

Using this program you must navigate to the directory Best of FTA / Documents. Pictures are copied there> DSK. Then you have to look for the “list.activesxml” which is located in the Best of FTA / Best of FTA.app and copy it to your computer.

With an editor, add these lines for each> DSK has been copied, for example:

        
        Karateka
        1984
        Me
        
    
        APPLE2../Documents/karateka.dsk
        6

Then just copy the file back, and running the app the game will appear in the list. The program emulates a joystick, and keyboard to show you just have to drag the screen from bottom to top.

I welcome your comments.

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Apple //c: un caballo de batalla

A few weeks ago I acquired an Apple //c on eBay, and have been rebuilding it. I first cleaned and renewed it on the outside, which came out very good, along with the monitor. However, had no opportunity to turn it on as it did not came with a power supply, which I had to wait to find a good one on eBay, and wait for delivery. Finally the power supply arrived, which i hooked immediately along with the green monochrome monitor. With pleasure I saw the green LED lit, but nothing more. The classic “beep” and the floppy drive did not move. We have to bear in mind that this computer is 28 years old, was most likely used in schools for years, before end up auctioning on eBay. With this in mind, I was saddened a bit by thinking that it would be difficult to get parts to start up again this computer. Nowadays, any computer require to add and exchange pieces when it breaks down, and it is difficult to diagnose without knowing or have technical manuals. Having nothing to lose, the first thing I did was take it apart and try to move all the “chips” to see if they had a false contact. The good thing about the //c is that it is very simple: a motherboard, keyboard and disk drive. That’s it. With the machine opened, I tried a couple of times to turn it on, and when I separate the floppy drive, it worked! The problem was that one of the foundations of the mechanism has to make contact with the motherboard and was not doing it. fixed this, I inserted several floppies that had saved programs. All I got was a “check disk drive” after the computer started. I was not sure if it was that the discs were old and did not work or the floppy drive was damaged. I focused on the latter. I then disassembled the drive, and had open access to the reading head. I remembered that these drives suffer from dirt in the reading head, so I cleaned it with alcohol, which made it shine like new. With this done, I inserted the disk again and turned on the computer. The program loaded! From there I had other problems with multiple discs, which forced the reader to “align” the head, producing a loud and unpleasant noise. In the end I fixed it by cleaning the floppies themselves by wiping them with a trick: running a program that kept running indefinitely the floppy, and was turning all the time, then with a cloth soaked in alcohol, cleaned the surface of the floppy, then turned it over and did it again. the cloth was dirty, indicating that the floppy had dust and dirt on the surface, which in turn dirtied his head and prevented me to read the data. After an hour cleaning the disks, I tested one by one and all worked. then I reassemble the computer and it has been working perfectly. Ultimately it is clear to me that these computers are workhorses, strong and reliable, like the Volkswagen Beetle from the 70’s. A computer and floppy disks with 28 years work perfectly after a good cleaning. is more than I can say for some modern computers.

Update:

Yesterday I received several extras to the //c: a video modulator to connect the TV directly, a Mouse, and the cable to connect directly to the serial port of a Mac or PC.

The first two are very yellow, another excellent job for Retrobright!

The cable was a problem: a DB24 serial port instead of a DB9. As these cables are not readily available, much less at these prices ($ 6 with shipping) I tried to adapt to several cables that I have stored in the closet. I got a cable DB9 female to DB25 male, one female DB9 to DB9 female (extension) and the USB to DB9 serial, already had. Was too long, and after several attempts there was no connection. I eventually got bored and decided to make my own cable, according to the diagram in this league.

After installing the driver on the macbook, was finally connected. I had to play with different speeds so you do not send junk. I could send the system, but I still can not send the ADT program to create floppy. Continue to report.

Update:

I tried again to create the ADT disk, this time it worked! After creating the ADT disk, download some games Asimov.net, rename and transferred to the program download folder in the Macbook, where he met and transferred ADT by writing to a floppy.

Update:

Scare: I started testing some floppys they began to fail reading. I opened the computer to clean the head, and after a couple of times it just stopped reading the disc. Just showed on the screen “Check Disk Drive”. I worried, and after many attempts, I decided to stop and try the next day. If not, would have to buy another drive.

Luckily the next day it worked perfectly, I believe that I poured too much alcohol in the head or something. Since then I bought a floppy disk cleaner, and will not have to open the disk all the time.
This weekend, though it rained a bit, there Retrobright session. I disassembled the monitor again, which still has a yellowish hue and beside the new Mouse and the modulator, applied the gel. I added the photo next to the last, for comparison.

Joystick
I don’t know what ishappening with retro computing, suddenly the Apple II has become popular. I’ve been looking for a joystick – the Apple brand in particular as is the one I used to play with – and prices are skyrocketing! One of them sold on eBay at $200 dollars!
I have spent almost two months following a few bids and all have ended up around $100, I do not think it’s worth more than $25. In the end found a “CH” brand much like the original Apple at $19. I want it to play with it, not collecting, so I got it. I suppose another session Retrobright is at bay.

I welcome your comments.

Nuevo proyecto: Apple //c

For some time I have been into the ‘retro’: emulators for computers I had in the past, like the TI-99/4A, my first computer, which had connected to a cassette recorder to store my programs in basic.

After that I started to emulate Mac plus,  and later Mac System 7 color. But the computer that I mostdearly remember, is the Apple //c. This was my second computer (replaced the Texas Instruments) and my first Apple. This model was revolutionary (a term overused these days) for its time, the first Apple portable with integrated disk drive, stylish, compact, white color in a world of beige machines.

When I first saw it I immediately complain “this is not an Apple II!” but after examining it and use it I admire this great creation that was ahead of its time. I enjoyed this computer for many years, until – can’t remember – lost stashed in a closet, I think.

As mentioned earlier, a months ago after my Hackintosh, I have been following some auctions on eBay for these great computers. They range from new unopened to broken ones only good for parts. One thing I learned wax that there is a cleaner called ‘retrobrite‘ which is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, xanthan gum, glycerine and ‘oxy’ cleaner, that is used to restore the original color of plastic.

After months of sailing offers, finally found what I wanted, an Apple //c, in good condition, for $ 12 dollars! Of course I waited until the last minute to bid, and now I’m waiting to arrive in the mail. The computer comes without a power source, so I will have to adapt one or buy one in the same eBay, we’ll see. I have a couple of discs 5 1/4 to test it, hope it works.

My idea is to restore it, use it a little while, and then turn it into a “Frankintosh” mini G4 buying a less than 10 dollars, and by installing Apple II emulators and Mac plus.

Update 1:

I wake up early to apply the RetroBright as it needs 8 hours at direct sunlight.. I will give it several coats to make it right.

   

Update 2:

I pplied the RetroBright in the morning, by late afternoon the color was back on the CPU, but the monitor will need another day or so, as it has a light yellow still.  Here are some photos of before and after:

Apple //c at arriving time: note the difference in keys and back handle
Apple //c after RetroBright – colors are uniform, like new.
Final result: monitor & computer match colors, fully restored!

Mi propio instalador USB de OSX Lion

One of the problems I found when building my hackintosh was installing the system. Before the OS came in a DVD, which I have, but the latest – Lion 10.7, is available only via digital download or a USB  stick for $ 70 dollars.

Since I had already bought the digital version (via the App Store) I am not going to pay for the USB again, but somehow I had to save my purchased OS to a “material” medium.

For the installation I ended up using a USB Sandisk 16 MB, but I want to avoid the hassle of not having a hard media installer. It is important to have this kind of installer, because you can not always have Internet access, and it is important to keep a physical copy.

With this in mind, I started looking for one of these devices on eBay, where anything can be found. Turns out the Apple branded USB stick also comes packaged with the Macbook Air, with Snow Leopard installer specific to this model, so it does not work with other Macs. This contraption has faster access speed than a normal usb stick, it has 8 MB, and its available by Chinese sellers between 25 and 60 dollars, sometimes pre formatted and sometimes with the original software.

As I found the price excessive – a 8MB USB stick retails from $10, I decided to keep looking, until I found one selling  for $ 5; at the end of the auction I paid $ 12.

Now comes the fun part: immediately after receiving it I connected the stick and proceeded to format it with Disk Utility, but the disk does not show, although it mounts on the desktop without problems. (!?)

Searching the Internet, I found out that you need a Windows program to unlock and format the USB – which is  ironic.

The program is called SM32Xtest, and is a mass formatter. The link to download it is here, and video on how to do it is this.
After this obstacle, it is very easy to go back to OSX, USB and format with GUID Journaled, and follow this guide to install Lion fresh off the shop.

One detail that caught my attention from the original installer for Macbook Air, is that iLife ’11 is included. It’s a great idea to have two installers in one place, so I searched for my iLife DVD, and proceeded to copy it. The problem is that the installation files are invisible within the packages folder, so I had to “show” invisible files to copy to the appropriate directory on the USB. Here is how to do it-

In terminal type: defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
To make the changes work, type: killall Finder
To return to its original state: FALSE defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles

At the end, I made an alias of the installer and put it in the main directory USB. Now I have a universal Lion installer with the latest version (10.7.3) and iLife in one package, identical to the one Apple sells for $ 70, and had fun creating it.

I welcome your comments.

Cargar el iPad con una PC

It is well known that when you want to charge the battery of an iPhone, you just have to connect to the charger, or to a USB port on any computer. However, with the iPad is not the case, plugging the tablet reports “not charging” this is because the iPad requires more voltage to charge.

Surfing the net I found a software that enables the USB ports to send this higher voltage, while allowing for faster recharge the iPhone. The software is called “Asus AI Charger” and can be downloaded here.

I hope it works for you as well as did for me.

Segunda Hackintosh: proyecto "FrankenMac"

Lately I’ve been pondering the idea of ​​changing my PC. Although most Macs home we still need to have Windows machines, mainly for work, and especially for running applications that only exist for this operating system.

I have long been a “tower” Dell with a Pentium 4, quite dated, with a pair of internal hard drive running Windows XP and 7 respectively.

Over the years it has become more and more slowly, but rarely use it and I have few programs installed, I thought that it will be time to replace it.

After the success I had created the Hackintosh laptop, I decided to make me a “monster” that has the capacity of a G5, a fraction of the cost and ability to run other operating systems. With all that I have examined and read, I decided to put it together bit by bit (no hurry) and buying the pieces when I have money or find good deals.
The goal is to build an Intel i7 Intel i5 computer in the “box” of a G5, video card capable of supporting two monitors – now almost all do – a couple of hard drives (one for OS) and DVD , though the latter is hardly ever used.

My goal is to buy a used G5, preferably broken down, and clean, prepare and adapt it to my liking. The main thing is I want to preserve as much as the appearance of the box, front and rear ports to the extent possible. This means adapting the inputs of the motherboard to the case. In some places the card fit by cutting a hole, but I want to keep the whole box, so I’ll have to adapt the connectors with cables, a little complicated but more aesthetic.

Another problem I face is the power, I use the same as the G5, but from what I read is to use a commercial PC.

Eventually I hope to finish with a “FrankenMac” powerful, 16GB of memory, a pair of hard drives (SSD partitioned into two operating systems, and TB for applications and data) and all kinds of connectors: USB 3.0 to Firewire from but I still think that both will have these connections last several years if I have not used.

The most important thing is to keep costs down. If a last generation G5 equivalent costs about $ 2,500.00, the cost of my “FrankenMac” must be less than $ 800.00.

Estimated Cost of components:

Partes Costo
Caja G5: $89
CPU i5: $199
Tarjeta Madre: $109
RAM 8GB: $49
Fte. Poder 750W: $54
HD500GB (reciclado)
$0
Disco 128 SSD: $129
Tarjeta Video: $54
Total: $683

Obviously the more expensive the CPU at any given time I can turn down the i5 and save $ 100. The price of SSD is based on an offer, but with the advent of SATA 6G III and whenever I see most of those prices. Prices are based on Amazon, but in places like NewEgg or Fry’s you can find discounts, and if not looking at sites like Slickdeals and FatWallet.

A good guide to build a Hackintosh is on LifeHacker, and I also like to multi-boot, there is another guide from the same site.

Well, that I’m at the moment, I hope to win an auction of G5 soon, we must be careful because many are in very bad shape, battered and bent, or asking too much for an outdated computer and slow processor.

Update December 29:
The computer I bought on eBay arrived 3 days ago, I took to empty:

The first thing I did was replace the power supply with new, original drawing, cleaning and adjusting the space

the new fits perfectly, and I hope that the two fans are enough…

The next step is the motherboard (Motherboard) and I want to keep the back intact, I plan to do some “surgery”:


Next step: replace the USB ports, audio and ethernet ones that work, really wireless, firewire, and others do not use …
The ethernet port replaced it with a wall jack, then cutting it to edit it to have the same height and width as the original, actually cut and paste the frontalpara that looked identical.

USB ports to use a cable bought at CompUSA internal quad, which I cut to mold and to enter into the right place:

For audio, it was only a matter of soldering wires directly (could have done the same for others?)

After hard work, all set! Installed in the MacPro.

Accommodating the components to assemble “the beast”.

Be tested as the motherboard inside the case.

Another problem is the start button, as having no basis or conventional computer box, the cable with the power button is not included. The problem was solved by placing a screwdriver between the connector for a second.

The test was successful, the system boots, I made some adjustments to the BIOS, follow the guide to create the hackintosh of lifehacker.
I proceeded to create the usb drive with unibeast and Lion. After hours of frustration trying to solve an installation problem “waiting for the device to mount.” After much research, changing cables, disks and internet searching, I read that someone had problems with certain brands of thumb drives, so I changed the drive by Kingston and Sandisk ‘voliá’ installed with no problem.
A few minutes later saw first Lion in my “monster”!

Update December 31:

Everything works perfectly, I had a little problem with the network, but Multibeast “was responsible for adding the” driver “(or Kext) correct. Audio, video, monitor, everything works and is recognized. The system tells me the correct numbers.

Well, after that everything works is not only begun to assemble and put everything in place. To accommodate the motherboard I bought a strip of aluminum and made holes that match the original screws MacPro, then placed on the aluminum base screws that hold the new card. Once this is done, is working on special cables to connect the fans. I will adapt to make them look as much like the originals. The hardest part will be the cable for the power button, because there are not many electronic supply store and mail order involves waiting several days. I have to adapt or find connectors between my cable boxes.

Update January 8:

I have finished the important thing, I just need to install the DVD that came from factory: the motherboard only accepts SATA and my DVD is ATA, so I had to make the decision to buy a new SATA DVD, which I hardly use, or get an adapter. The new DVDs are priced from $ 20 to $ 50 and $ 19 adapter, which I found it expensive. after searching a while, I found on eBay adapters SATA -> ATA from $ 2.50! I bought one for 4.50 with shipping included.

All this time I was working on what it cost me more than all the conversion work: the front panel cable.

The custom cable has a connector for front panel, so you have to cut the cable to change. On the Internet you can find some versions of the configuration and how, you just have to find “G5 front panel cable.” There are also people on the forums that sell ready-made cables, but the price ranges between $ 40 and $ 50. These cables are very well done, but are intended to include Firewire motherboards, which mine does not have, and really does not bother me as long I do not use the interface.

With this in mind, I decided to make my own cable. after much effort, I got two internal USB cables (one for USB and one for audio, are equal) and two of three and two connectors for the power button and LED.

Based on internet diagrams and manuals for my motherboard made my own day

program for the cable. After analyzing a few times to avoid mistakes early on a Saturday I started the task. After hours of welding, gluing and test meter connections, the cable was ready.

When I saw the front panel LED lit by pressing the power button, I was very happy. my cable was a success.

Now we just need to wait for SATA adapter to install the DVD, and you’re ready. I decided not to activate more than an original fan, as they are quite noisy, which surprises me. Instead I installed the big fan that came with the power supply, which is very quiet and powerful. I will be monitoring the temperature with “iStatPro” to see that do not rise much, but I think at the moment are good.
Later I will play with the processor speed and memory, it can be easily modified. First I finished optimize and install applications, and then proceed to make a backup, to have to come back in case of loss.

Update January 12:
Yesterday I received the adapter SATA. immediately install it on the DVD (very small!) and connects to the computer. Nothing. The DVD does not open when I press the front button, no signs of life, although the adapter is lit LCD. I have to find another way to test the DVD, or even with another unit.
Update: complete failure. The DVD drive is not responding. remove one from the old PC, connect it and not recognize it. I have to buy a specific SATA DVD, but there is no hurry, do not use.

Software: but in the end everything works fine on OSX, has been a rough road. I can say that the first installation was

a success, but after adjusting the system I’ve had enough “Kernel Panics” when booting. Two very important things I learned from this: to avoid headaches, we must support the folder or folder “Extras” that resides on the boot disk. Here are kept many of the preferences and files that support booting, sometimes it is useful to restore them, when all else fails.

In a couple of occasions I had to reinstall the system, thinking he would lose all my applications and improvements made to the system but did not. After reinstalling, everything worked as before, so I made the subsequent reinstatement without fear. The only time I did not recover after installation remove the hard drive, connect it as external to my Macbook and replace the folder “Extras”. With the CPU fan that came from the same factory the temperature fluctuated between 55-65 degrees Celsius. speed up the system as planned (overclock) buy a “cooler” (heatsink) larger, with a couple of fans, which cost me $ 30. After installing the CPU temperature under 25 degrees (!) A big improvement. I proceeded to speed up the system basically changed some numbers in the BIOS, after reading people say that it is stable around 45 GHz. I chose to keep it to 43 and the memory speed from 1300 to 1600. The system is stable and Geekbench went from 9500 to 12400!

The next problem was the noise. more fans by having the Mac sounded like a jet. I found a link that talks about how to change the voltage from 12 to 5 volts and reduce the speed of them. I modified a cable that feeds all the internal fans, and is now much quieter. complete with the overclocking and temperature change in ventilation between 30 and 35 degrees, quite acceptable.

Update January 20:

After much blood and sweat (no tears) the “Frankenmac” is a success. The installation part of the system was more complicated than I expected, I had to reinstall last two systems, audio and lost it after a week of changes in drivers, kexts, BIOS and CMOS, I found that the cable connected the internal audio (which connects with the front panel) was not causing any sound. When disconnecting everything worked great.

What I learned: The Lion OSX is a very tough, the configuration has to be done down to the last detail. It should be very calm, composure and not despair when you leave a “kernel panic”.

The build your own machine gives you a more direct view of the components and configuration options of the same, the ability to increase their capabilities in an easy (via “overclock” or components faster) than an original Mac does not allow. At this point I can add a new CPU (i7) video card or RAM without problems, increase the hard drives and keep your computer running at an acceptable temperature.

I bought a super silent fan (10 dB) and installed it on the disk bay. I replace the original rear fans are a bit noisy.

Emulador de Apple II para iOS

Analizador de WiFi para el iPhone

The benefits of “Jailbreaking”

For some time I have been having problems with my WiFi. I tried some tricks to fix: move the router, change the setting, channel, etc.. I was always with areas “blind” where I have no signal.

Look for a tool to measure the WiFi signal. A friend recommended one for the laptop, but I thought the iPhone would be a better option, and search the App Store. It turns out that signal meters are prohibited, but in Google I found the reference to a course available on Cydia.

The program is called “WiFi Analyzer” and works perfectly, measures the power and gives a real-time graphics, so I could walk around the house and found the “dead areas” moved a little and change the router settings as the recommendation of the program to Channel 1 or Channel 11, which were the least interference with in my area.
Cambe showed me also mention that the neighboring routers, which transmit the force, the type of encryption and the channel that broadcast.
In conclusion I think a program like this is very useful, well worth the $ 2 that cost.

I welcome your comments.

Disco Hibrido

Some weeks ago I read at Matuk.com blog about a hybrid drive from Seagate, that uses a memory module to accelerate the data throughput between the drive and computer, achieving access times very close to SSD’s.

As you may have read earlier in this blog, my experience with SSD has been excellent, at the same time my wife’s computer (with a conventional drive) has become slow. With this in mind, and because “Chip” Torres‘ store is a bit far from me, I drove to CompUSA to buy one.

The cost is reasonable: 500 GB for $ 150, cheaper than a SSD (although I just saw a Kingston SSD/128 for $129) but with enough space for applications and data.
I just format it, and am in the process of installing the Snow Leopard from a USB.

I will continue reporting.

First update: After 8 hours (!) Trying to create a USB with Snow Leopard, I gave up and grabbed my original DVD. For some reason the transfer of a system image to the USB takes more than 10 hours.

Finally I installed the system and transfered files, preferences and applications from the previous hard drive, OSX makes it very easy for the user. Later today I will replace the physical disk to see how it works.

Second update: Success! The disk is installed, and loading times are a little faster, the OS still loads a little slow, but the applications show a big improvement. Apparently the applications will adjust in time. We shall see.

I welcome your questions and comments.