Proyecto retro: Apple //c

Some time ago I wrote about retro game emulators for the Apple ][. Recently I started playing with the emulator, recalling the old days it appealed to me to buy an Apple / / c, the first Apple computer I had.

I browsed through eBay for a while and found from very well conserved apple//c’s to units painted green (yikes!). Some of them come with monitor, printer and all of the original items, there are even a couple in their original unopened boxes … incredible.

Then I talked to my old friend Diego, a veteran of the Apple II scene, told him about my project and he clarified some issues of owning a old computer, such as not much support or resources.

I have Not yet decided whether to buy one or not, as it is something that occupies space and is not very useful. However in my research, I found many interesting things:

The used software (original) sold on eBay is very expensive, not less than $30 per program.

The 5 1/4 floppy disks are easy to find, and not very expensive, about $1 per disc.

A scene of enthusiasts for these computers is very active and there are individuals that maintain and use these computers, there is a long reservoir called “Asimov” ( where people have uploaded “images” of Apple Disks. You can find everything from original versions to “cracked” with even the pirates’ signatures.

The hardest thing of buying an Apple II this days is to get software, you have to buy old disks or create them again, meaning transfer program “images” back to physical disks.

At first I thought it would be a challenge, but after some searching I found enthusiast communities that are using serial cables and special programs such as Copy II Plus to recreate the floppy disks. After much reading, I found some shops and services specializing in Apple II, One of them, Retrofloppy offers transfer services and sell cables and specially a open source program, already on a 5 1/4 floppy, called ADT, specializing in original floppy transfers directly from a pc to the Apple II via serial cable, I think it saves time and effort.

After that I found something even more interesting: a hardware device called “Semi Virtual Diskette” (SVD) that emulates three floppy disks inserted into the Apple and other older systems by using a micro controller and some memory.

All this has encouraged me to buy an Apple //c, but I will not invest heavily in something that I can emulate. Anyway, I found all this information interesting and wanted to share with my readers.

Greetings and I hope your comments

Steve Jobs, adios, y gracias por haber hecho facil la tecnologia.

Steve Jobs


Emuladores para iPhone

As I’ve been playing lately with emulators, I recalled several games that were my favorites at that time so much fun.

At that time the games were achieved by importing them from U.S. stores but more frequently exchanged for ads in the newspaper. This is because in Mexico there were no software vendors, much less for Apple, and what little there was scarce and expensive.
I remember he had a character who lived north of the city which I phoned and went to your house with boxes of programs to exchange – or sell, if you had nothing that interested him. Fortunately, thanks to the purchase of computer m the United States, the previous owner I “inherited” a fairly large collection of programs, so the overnight I became one of the holders of the largest collections of the city.

Along with a great friend – Diego, also had plenty of software – we were meeting with the famous and exchanged many programs every two or three months.

With all this, I had access to an array of programs that I use and enjoy. Among my favorites were Karateka, Donkey Kong, Super Mario, and one in particular: Hard Hat Mack.
With this in mind, I was playing on my Mac a while, but one day waiting in line I started to play on my iPhone, and I thought it would be fun to play those games on the phone.

I started looking for an emulator of Apple] [, but first, Apple does not allow emulators in the AppStore, although there is a app called “Commodore 64” which itself is an emulator, but can not install more than a few authorized programs.


iDOS icon MiniVMac
icon gameboy4iphone icon genesis4iphone
icon gpSPhone icon mame4iphone
icon sNES icon psx4iphone
icon ScummVM icon snes4iphone


The other day I read a comment from my friend Manuel López about Beagle Bros, a former software company Apple II that was apart from educational, fun, adding humor to their programs, labels and graphics on its packaging and manuals. that brought me good memories of the time used Apple / / c, the first computer “portable” I had. I still have a poster of them, along with the disc and original packaging of one of its programs.

Unfortunately all my original programs for Apple II back home from a friend of youth alienation that I never wanted them back, so I lost all my collection. 

With this nostalgia made me want to go back to see the programs and I remembered that I have some Apple II emulators for OSX: Catakig, Virtual] [and OSXII. All require Apple ROM, which you have to get on the net it is illegal to include in the program, for copyright reasons. However, the three are not without bugs or errors.

Catakig – This is the first emulator and it works relatively well, although some disks (floppies images) are not recognized and generate error.

Virtual] [- is the most fun, the drive makes sounds, but not all my files are.


OSXII – is the fastest of all, everything I’ve tried works, and have the option of color or green.

Mac Emulator

After trying these, I remembered that there are some old Macintosh emulators, such as the 512 system 7 and system 9 68040.

MiniVmac – Mac emulator 512, with System 7, runs all the programs I have saved for years, very fast and smooth.

SheepShaver – This emulates the system 9 in color, high resolution, as the Mac IIci, one of my favorite computers of all time.

These are the emulators that I have installed. I found a page with links to other emulators for Mac OSX, I have to try to see how it works.

Emulators allow you to reuse old software, you may retrieve information that otherwise would have been lost, and especially that great nostalgia for the golden age of personal computing that many of us live. 

I welcome your comments.

ATV2: el nuevo standard

Although I have not written because of my work, the new devices keep coming. Now it’s the turn of the Apple TV 2. In one of my previous posts I talk about PLEX, the Home Theater software that turns a Mac mini in a full fledged home media center. you can listen to music, watch videos, TV, and much web content from Netflix to Hulu, YouTube and  all online video services.

The problem with Plex is that it requires a fairly powerful and expensive computer (mac mini core2 2.4ghz with 4 GB of RAM) and basically have a mac “wasted” connected to an  LCD TV, that you have to turn on by hand and wait for it to boot, or keep it on standby or sleep, while  it consumes electricity. This can be replaced with a small and inexpensive device delivers a computer that can be used for business or sold at a good price.

When Apple introduced the new version of its system for home media consumption, what most struck me was its price. $ 99 for a device very small, black, with only very limited and only basic connections in the rear, a top apple logo and a discreet “led” to the front.

Normally ATV2 functionality is pretty basic, restricted to the iTunes store, and consume content focused on Apple computers or local. This type of configuration will not agree with my way of consuming content, so I was not interested. Until finally XBMC.

As mentioned earlier, Plex is a modification of XBMC (Xbox Media Center) started as a “hack” in the first Xbox to turn it into a “Media Center”. Today has been modified to run on multiple platforms, and recently the “Port” to IOS, which runs on ATV2, iPad and iPhone.

A friend told me notice of the availability of this application, which requires having “jailbreak or unlock. after checking (with my friend as a guinea pig) that the program worked much like the Plex, I gave myself the task of getting one, unlock it and install XBMC.

The jailbreak is a little more complicated on this unit because it requires a series of remote control commands (no other mode of control) and a special cable (microUSB) that comes with the computer. After several attempts to stay ready. This thing is complicated and not for the fainthearted or cautious: you have to connect via SSH and type:

$ ssh root@[your ATV2 IP Address]
root@[your ATV2 IP Address]'s password: ''the password is "alpine" by default''

$ apt-get install wget

$ wget -O- | apt-key add -

$ echo "deb stable main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/awkwardtv.list

$ echo "deb ./" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/xbmc.list

$ apt-get update

$ apt-get install org.xbmc.xbmc-atv2

That’s it. Upon reboot, the homepage of Apple TV2, XBMC will appear enabling full functionality. Hence only a matter of configuring the local servers or computers where you have the movies, music and photos.

The interesting thing is that this can be done in the iPhone and iPad (previously released) and turn the device into a portable media viewer, with all the benefits of XBMC on hand. The only drawback is you have to be in a WiFi network, the amount of data to be transmitted, but a high-definition movie looks perfect.

At the end I replace my Mac Mini with Plex for this little gadget, and even sacrificed some visual candy, I have recovered a computer and I have instant-on a device that does not consume even half of energy or space than before.

As always I welcome your comments.

Lectores de Comic para iPad

From early age I loved to read. I remember before the age of 10 reading “The Golden Book of Children” hundreds of times, just like the entire collection of Emilio Salgari: Sandokan.

Soon after, I used to read Sunday’s newspaper comic strips, and once a week my father gave me some money to buy at the kiosk a “Tales of Walt Disney” or something similar.

One day – I remember it like it was yesterday – in a supermarket (Comercial Mexicana for compatriots) shopping with my mother found the volume “The ambassador of the shadows” from “Valerian agent spatio-temporal.” I must have had 12 years old.

Since then I have collected all sorts of European comic, particularly in Spanish. I have the entire collection of Valerian, Asterix, Lucky Luke and Blueberry, plus all  Moebius books.

The fact is gradually my hobby became a little expensive, since I order from Europe and bought six to ten books per batch from Spain, costing me almost the price of an iPad.

Then I discovered the Cbr format. Since then i have acquired comics in this format, which is simply a compressed jpeg  file. For me (and my pocket) has been a blessing. Now I only buy what I really like, and I can enjoy other titles which are not longer available.

In the beginning I used to read my Cbr’s in a 15′ Mac laptop with  Simple Comic which lets you view full-screen, and turn 90 degrees. It reads the keyboard to the left as an open book. The problem is that heated, the fan noise, and heavy.

Also read books and magazines (PDF) becomes a bit heavy and uncomfortable. One day I found on ebay a “Motion Computing” – tablet pc 12 “I bought it.

There was a big difference, but running windows had to use the “feather” (stylus) for all, as was heavy, it was warm and the fan noise. I also had to wait for loading the operating system, the battery lasted two hours, and the screen was not very bright.

Then came the iPad.

When he left the iPad, I like all: “Excellent for Comics!”. The problem is that it is very expensive. At the end I tried it and selling the brick “Motion” could buy it.

The experience of IPAD is the closest thing to read a book. No mouse, pen or pad. The speed of deployment, quality, and ease of use are excellent. No noise, light, immediately turn on and off as well. The battery lasts 10 hours, and I found: on a trip to Paris, we use the iPad on the plane to read, play games and watch movies, and arrived at the hotel with 20% of battery.

I have found new uses in addition to reading, has replaced 70% of my laptop. In the iPad, there are two types of readers: the basics and readers-store. latter as a platform for the electronic sale and offer a good variety.

The most prominent reader-store are Marvel Digital Comics, Comics Panefly Ave! Comics. they offer a free (less Hail! Comics, which costs .99 cents) with a proprietary format that allows reading bullet by bullet. It is very easy to buy and read immediately, but most collections are American and independientes.Solamente Ave! Comics offers European collections, and even in Castilian, but with a very limited selection but the prices are acceptable.

Among the readers. Cbr and cbz comic are Zeal, Cloudreaders, Comic Mobi reader, Comic Viewer, arc reader, Panefly, etc.
The most recommended are Coimc Zeal and Cloudreaders. the latter is free and works great with cbr, cbz and pdf. Zeal comic the other hand has an excellent storage system, which lets you “folders” or collections. It all depends on the style you have, but I post the comics I read and then delete them, so do not require a storage system, but some prefer to keep them all and the second program works very well.

Both programs offer options for brightness, change pages by dragging your finger like a real book, multi-touch to zoom in and move the bullet at will, and quickly scan through a lower bar.

Depending on the format, some comics are readable in size, there are others who come to read the text, something easy to play twice in the desired area to zoom. another feature I like is the power “position” the page a certain size and this remains fixed for the rest. This is practical and can cut many blanks in some formats.

finally, the iPad is the closest thing to perfect reader as to books, magazines and comics, especially the American format, and until they release a version of 15 inches (size of European comic magazines and normal) will remain in my preference.

Hopefully with the arrival of new pills on the market may be competition with powerful and user-friendly programs such as those mentioned above. Android is a platform with a future but also a lot of fragmentation that makes it very acceptable when you have something as solid as the iPad.

I welcome your comments

Plex – el mejor "Home Theater"

Jugando con OBD-II

I have always been passionate about technology and I enjoy tremendously open and analyze all I have to understand how it works and try to increase its functionality.

From a young age my father instilled in me a taste for trades such as carpentry and mechanics. Since then used to help you change spark plugs, oil and general maintenance, well, until I got to change drum brakes and disc. Over time, the automotive technology has changed and now cars use computers have replaced many mechanical functions that, in some ways is good, but difficult to diagnose equipment problems as needed “specialized” to read codes generated by these computers.

The OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostic) is a standard created to communicate with the car’s computer – factory-installed after 1996. The OBD-II is a connector that is usually between the wheel and foot controls, and once connected can read, transmit and edit data.

To access these data have to take the car to a mechanic or dealer to have an aid ODB-II reader. They connect to the car and can be diagnosed within a few minutes when the vehicle is the situation. The device is relatively expensive and the codes used are somewhat cryptic, which increases the cost of diagnosis made by the mechanic.

This reminds me when several years ago I was driving my SUV when suddenly all the dash lights came on, and started flashing the sign of “check engine.” Needless to say, I panicked, I immediately pulled over, turned off the car and turned on. The engine sounded good, did not have any noise, smoke or sign of failure, but all the dash lights indicate a fault with the “check engine” light still blinking. I finally called the dealer, who said I could do without a problem and take him the next day. Four days later and $ 350 less I replaced a sensor that was causing the whole mess.

This type of experience is what prompted me to look for a device to read the messages from the computer in my car and have a more clear picture of what’s happening in the motor.

Kiwi WiFi

After much searching, I found the PLX Kiwi Wireless Devices, which is a device that connects to the ODB-II and sends the data via WiFi to the iPhone, which is used in conjunction with a program. There are several applications to Windows and iPhone, but convinced me was one called DashCommand. – By the way, have a version for Android.

The apparatus and the program cost less than $ 200 usd and allow reading of data from the car through an instrument panel, such as oil levels, gas, pressure, torque, acceleration, rpm, level, etc.. It also measures the slip or skid, which displays real-time levels of lateral movement, acceleration and G-forces The inclinometer monitoring helps the field level in different types of road and race track creates a visual map of the path with acceleration and braking in order to analyze the changes occurred on the track.



Management and Consumer

Fuel Use


What I like about this program is the diagnosis, which shows marked errors and their meanings, with the possibility to erase the mistake once read. A couple of times the oxygen sensor has sent me errors, which are important but not on my board listed only as “check engine.”

Occasionally I use Kiwi to monitor some tours, and see the performance of my car. Also use it to check the cars of my family especially when errors appear. The software allows you to separate the results by vehicles, recognizing each by the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and storing it in its own database.

One of the things that I like the device is a small switch on the side, this allows off and on at will, so it can be left permanently connected and only activate it when necessary.

Well that’s it’s all for now. I’m sure in a few months will Gadgets and more sophisticated programs that allow control and even modify (tuning) the on-board computer to give better economy, acceleration or whatever. Ford released the Ford SYNC MyFord Touch that allows a little more control over the functions of the car, internet and above all entertaining. Other devices such as Mavia can do all this and more, including GPS tracking, and other online options that have not convinced me, as subscriptions and “geotagging.” In short, the future is very “hackable”. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

De como renove mi vieja Macbook Pro

I have had a 2006 Macbook Pro 2,2 for about 5 years now, its a strong, trustful computer which I only had to replace the internal hard drive once. The laptop has the maximum available RAM of 2 GB, 200 GB HD and has an Intel 2.16 Dual core porcessor.

I always try to have up to date OS and software, so with time the system has become slower mostly at startup and loading applications.

At work I have a Macbook Pro i5 with 4 GB RAM, so I can tell the difference on a daily basis, sometimes I think about replacing mine with a new model. The problem is that I don’t walk around with $2k in my pocket, so I have to find creative alternatives to renew my laptop.

After a lot of research, I learn that the main bottleneck is the Hard drive access. Depending on the speed the computer takes to open applications, the user experience can be slower or faster.

Nowadays there are lots of hard drive options, some very fast, but on a laptop a fast hard drive (7,200 to 10,000 RPM) produce a lot of heat, noise and consume more battery.

So at this point I got interested in SSD – Solid State Drives, which act very similar to RAM memory, but work as a hard drive. The advantages of these drives are the read and write speed, the low energy consumption and the fact that there are no moving parts, which makes them also very tough. Did I mentioned the read and write speeds are incredible?

My Mac used to take from 45 to 60 seconds to boot, compared to the i5 that takes 30. The same thing happened at loading applications and files, Photoshop would load in 15 seconds.  It may sound ridiculous but when you need to finish a deadline every second counts when you have a file or idea to be worked.

The main problem with SSD is the price, it is very high compared to traditional HD: a 240 GB can cost up to $500.  So what should I do? How to balance between capacity and price?

To whoever want to learn more about SSD, Anandtech has an excellent Anthology.

At the end I decided to buy a 120 GB SSD for 2 reasons: it is big enough for the OS plus applications with extra space for Photoshop scratch disk and system caches, and the price is around $200. The big files and applications would stay on my original HD.  Now the problem was to either use the original HD as external or replace the internal DVD with a bay that holds the drive. I like that idea, since i barely use the DVD anyway.  OWC have an adapter for the new unibody macs, but my mac model requires a special adapter sold by  OptiBay, but at the end I bought a compatible one from Ebay a lot cheaper ($20).

In my research found the best SSD is the Mercury Extreme Pro, from OWC. It is optimized for OSX, uses the SandForce processor that has been rated higher in several tests in different tech sites. the problem is the price is rather high, $250 so I searched for alternatives, and found both the OCZ Vertex 2 and Corsair Force series. They use the same SandForce processor o=-lus the OCZ’s specs are almost identical to the Mercury Extreme.

At the end I bought the OCZ from Amazon at $200. I install it (following this excellent video from OWC) and before replacing the DVD, I installed Snow Leopard on the SSD.

After that I replaced the DVD for the HD and put together the Mac. Awesome! Snow Leopard 10.6.6 starts up in 8 seconds! Photoshop takes 3 seconds and Safari 2 seconds. I couldn’t be happier.

In total my SSD uses 30 GB with OS and Applications, all my files are in the “normal” HD. There are no compatibility problems, hibernation or else.  Somewhere I read there were some sleep issues with SSD, but I have not yet experienced any problem. the only other thing I did is follow the guide on this site and disable the “noatime”.

I have tested side by side my Macbook and the i5 , and on startup and opening programs the difference is huge! I’m sure the applications “process” faster on the i5, but I have added at least two years of life to my trusty Mac. All for less than $250.

That’s it. I hope my experience helps to lengthen the lifespan of other Macbooks that still have lots to give, save money on upgrades much needed in this economy.  I will be happy to get you comments and suggestions.

Mi aventura creando una Hackintosh

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This guide is unfinished, I still have some components to complete, but I think my experience could be useful for many.

Well, I’ve taken on the task of modifying a Dell Inspiron 1440 to create a “Hackintosh” Snow Leopard dual boot / Windows 7.
The computer itself is quite compatible:

Dell Inspiron 1440
Intel Pentium T4500 (1M Cache, 2.30 GHz, 800 MHz)
vid: 384MB Intel GMA 4500MHD
aud: IDT HDA 102802
ACPI x64 based
Dell Wireless 1397 WLAN mini-card
RealTek PCIe 8136
1.3 Mega Pixel Camera

After searching extensively on the net, I found a couple of places where they explain the process at least a little clearer: macyourpc which use a similar laptop, and offer a variety of leagues and patches that create a functional whole. forums also, and especially offer many answers and guidance in this maze of patches and updates.

What became very clear to me is that this is not for the novice, you have to know a little about Windows, Linux and Mac also have to muster the patience, read a lot and be very clear that it will not be easy, but the result is very rewarding.

The first step is to prepare the machine to reformat the disk, as I have the installation disks from Dell, I do not mind losing the data. F2 to enter the BIOS of the laptop and choose to boot from the CD.

De Macyourpc BootSLv3.iso downloaded the bootloader using the Chameleon to allow the installer to run Snow Leopard on the Dell. After burning to a CD, booted the laptop with this CD. Upon entering, I offer a nice graphic of a chameleon, with icons to the center of my boot options: the disc, and Windows. Remove the CD and insert the original disc Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6), after a minute press F5 to refresh and immediately displays the Snow Leopard installation disc.
This moment is crucial, for the first time I selected the installation disc I was a mistake. Reading on the Web, I found to be given a command before running the installer, simply write-v cpus = 1 busratio = 20 and then Enter, so the installer works without problems.

When you start the installer, I selected the utility menu “disk utility” to initialize the disk. I must say that I tried several methods, such as formatting from windows7 but end up doing it from OSX with 2 partitions: a “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” and the other “FAT.”

Having done this I rebooted the laptop, and proceeded to install Windows 7. The process is fairly easy, just choose “custom install” and select the partition “FAT” and format it to NTFS. From there – without touching the other partitions – install Windows 7.
Windows installation is complete, restart with the disc BootSLv3.iso and following the aforementioned steps, I installed the OSX partition journaled.

I pause to comment that this procedure is learned by heart from having to reinstall the OSX about 8 times since I made many mistakes that left the facility unusable, almost always kernel panic at startup.

When finished, restart the laptop and you need to insert the disk BootSLv3.iso again, because it is still required to boot into OSX. Here you select the Dell osX and run OSX for the first time.

Following the lead of MacyourPc, I opened the disk BootSLV3 and inside is a folder called “post Install” where you have to run the installer “Chameleon 2 RC3. This allows the Dell Inspiron boot menu without the CD.
At this point my experience differs from MacyourPC guide: being a different model, the required kexts in the folder “Extras” and install were guilty of my “kernel panics” and subsequent installations.
The Kext are a kind of “drivers”, enable certain components and have to be specific to the hardware installed.

I installed some kexts related to my configuration, such as WiFi enabler directly from the “post install” CD. I looked kexts compatible with my components, and reach where they have the latest versions of kexts for my hardware. I installed and VoodooHDA VoodooBattery.
There is a folder called “Extras” in the new Mac, which contains kexts and boot configuration, here is where you store the same and you can change the resolution.

As the graphics card is the Intel GMA X4500 and no kexts available yet, to alter the decision to edit a file called where you have to modify this line:

<key> Graphics Mode </ key>
<string> 14400x900x32 </ string>

This is how I managed to change the resolution of 1024 x 768 by default.

Conclusion: The Hackintosh works perfectly, fast, functional and best of all: two operating systems on one computer, half the price of a macbook with the same processor, RAM, etc.. I will use that does not include games or complex graphics. I installed word processing, spreadsheets and presentations, and photo editor, all updated and working perfectly.

What works for me:

Video resolution 1440 x 900
Audio (but unable to control volume)

What does not work yet:

“Sleep” or “Stand-by” – the system freezes the assets and leave the computer alone for a while, or closing the screen
Volume control
Video card – I can not change resolution or brightness

I have not tried the card reader, microphone or monitor output.

Following steps:
I think the first is to do a full system backup, so I can regenerate in case of failure.
Search kexts compatible with my specific components
Upgrade to 10.6.3 because I read that is pretty solid and stable.
I upgraded to 10.6.3 without problems.
I solved the problem by installing volume “flower sound”.
I still do not solve the problem of “sleep”, the video and Quartz extreme.