Thursday, October 28, 2010

Apple creating integrated SIM cards, cutting carriers out?

iphone 4 ios carrier bars2 650x487 Apple creating integrated SIM cards, cutting carriers out?A rumor is stirring that alleges Apple and Gemalto – the lawsuit-happy company we heard about recently – are working together to design SIM cards that can be integrated in the iPhone. This means that iPhones will come with a SIM card built in and consumers can pick and choose their carriers.

GigaOm is reporting:

It’s rumored that Apple and Gemalto have created a SIM card, which is typically a chip that carries subscriber identification information for the carriers, that will be integrated into the iPhone itself. Then customers will then be able to choose their carrier at time of purchase at the Apple web site or retail store, or buy the phone and get their handset up and running through a download at the App Store as opposed to visiting a carrier store or calling the carrier. Either way, it reduces the role of the carrier in the iPhone purchase. Gemalto and Apple have not responded to requests for comment.

The first problem that comes to mind is the same one Google with its Nexus One: price. Without carrier subsidies, the iPhone tends to run between $600-700 alone. I’d venture to say that most folks would rather commit to a carrier if it means shaving off several hundred dollars on the up-front cost of the phone.

It’s a novel idea, but it’s not the first time something like this has been considered and it hasn’t worked out very well in the past. However, if there is anyone that can make something like this work, it’s Apple.

Gemalto is just as much in this as Apple, according to the rumor:

The Gemalto SIM, according to my sources, is embedded in a chip that has an upgradeable flash component and a ROM area. The ROM area contains data provided by Gemalto with everything related to IT and network security, except for the carrier-related information. The flash component will receive the carrier related data via a local connection which could be the PC or a dedicated device, so it can be activated on the network. Gemalto will provide the back-end infrastructure that allows service and number provisioning on the carrier network.

If it’s true, this would be perfect for world travelers who don’t want to be committed to a carrier. You just buy your iPhone from Apple and roam around freely to use it as you please, with whom you please.

[Via: GigaOM]

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Linux - Top 10 CPU-hungry apps

Categorized | System, cli

Linux - Top 10 CPU-hungry apps

October 27th, 2010 by T4L

If you want to find out which applications you run eat the most of your CPU, run the command below:

ps -eo pcpu,pid,args | sort -k 1 -r | head -10

This will display a top 10 list of those processes, starting with the hungriest at the top.

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Dozens of Great Alternatives To LimeWire

After more than a decade of loyal service, LimeWire was shut down yesterday by a U.S. Court. As LimeWire was one of the world’s most used P2P-applications, the shutdown affected millions of people, mostly casual downloaders. Luckily for them, there are plenty of alternatives and potential replacements former LimeWire users can choose from.

appes and orangesAfter a lengthy court battle, LimeWire lost its case with the RIAA yesterday. The New York District Court demanded that LimeWire shut down its entire operation, including all searches and uploading and downloading that occurs through the client.

In a response to the decision LimeWire made its client unusable, leaving millions of users with no other option than to find an alternative. The good news is that there are several applications and services that are ready to act as a replacement. We will discuss a few of them below.


FrostWire is a popular free and Open Source P2P client supporting both Gnutella and BitTorrent downloads. The application was first released in 2004 by members of the LimeWire Open Source community. FrostWire is similar to LimeWire in use and layout, and is fully compatible with iTunes. There are versions available for various operating systems including Windows, Mac, Linux and even Android.

FrostWire has always emphasized the non-infringing use of their client. In 2008, the client introduced its FrostClick service through which it promotes independent artists, which has been very successful.


MP3Rocket is another LimeWire spinoff with a very similar look and functionality. It works on Windows and Mac and the application supports both Gnutella and BitTorrent downloads.

Unlike its name suggests, MP3Rocket is not limited to finding MP3s. It is capable of downloading any file format including video files and software. In addition to downloads, MP3Rocket also has hundreds of streamable radio and TV-channels.


The two applications we discussed above both support BitTorrent downloads, but like LimeWire they were rarely used for this purpose. The main reason is most likely that many of its users don’t really know where to find .torrent files. For those who want to switch over, here is a list of some decent torrent sites.

LimeWire users who want to give BitTorrent a try might also want to consider using a dedicated torrent client such as uTorrent, Vuze or Transmission.

Music/Video Streaming

Music fans who don’t mind streaming tracks in their web browser actually have a few alternatives. Grooveshark is one of the most elaborate music services. It holds more content than the average download store, supports playlists and works on various mobile phones.

For video streaming there are perhaps even more alternatives. There are literally hundreds of sites one can choose from, although we have to warn of excessive popups on most sites. A Google search for “movie streaming” should be enough to get going.

Usenet / Newsgroups

Usenet is another good alternative to download all sorts of files, but depending on the service you sign up for it can be a bit harder to figure out than the other alternatives. Also, any good Usenet service requires a paid subscription, which is the trade-off for getting one of the fastest and most anonymous download services.

Direct Download Sites / Search Engines

There are numerous sites that search open web directories or allow saving of otherwise streaming music. BeeMP3, DilanDau, MRTZCMP3, MP3Hunting and various Mulve-style alternatives such as the PirateApp and Firefox plugin Vkontakte DL are just a few of those available.

More More More

The alternatives discussed above are really just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens, if not hundreds of alternatives to LimeWire that can be used for sharing and finding files. This includes some of the older LimeWire versions that are reportedly still working. Other notable P2P applications are Soulseek, Ares and eMule.

It never ends.



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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to guard yourself and your Mac from Firesheep and Wi-Fi snooping

The prevalence of free/cheap and open Wi-Fi networks in coffee shops, airports, offices and hotels is a great boon to the traveling Mac or iPad user; it makes connectivity and remote work much easier than it used to be.

Unfortunately, since most of those networks don't employ WEP or WPA passwords to secure the connection between device and hotspot, every byte and packet that's transmitted back and forth is visible to all the computers on the wireless LAN, all the time. While certain sites and services use full-time browser encryption (the ones that have URLs beginning with https:// and that show a lock in the browser status bar), many only encrypt the login session to hide your username and password from prying eyes. This, as it turns out, is the digital equivalent of locking the door but leaving the windows wide open.

Firesheep is a Firefox extension which makes it trivially easy to impersonate someone to the websites they log in to while on the same open Wi-Fi network. It kicks in when you login to a website (usually in a secure fashion, via HTTPS) and then the site redirects you to a non-secured page after login. Most sites that operate this way will save your login information in a browser cookie, which can be 'sniffed' by a nogoodnik on the same network segment; that's what Firesheep does automatically. With the cookie in hand, it's simple to present it to the remote site and proceed to do bad things with the logged-in account. Bad things could range from sending fake Twitter or Facebook messages all the way up to, potentially, buying things on ecommerce sites.

That process is known as "HTTP session hijacking" (informally, "sidejacking") and has been a known problem for several years, but many sites have not changed to protect their users. Firesheep has made this process of sidejacking very easy, and a reported 104,000+ people have downloaded it. It is important to realize that the security problem exists for users of all browsers. Firesheep is available only for Firefox, but that's just the exploit side; it will gladly harvest cookies from Safari, Chrome, IE or anything else. Unfortunately, you've got to assume that any unencrypted site you go to while on an open Wi-Fi network is susceptible to compromise by this attack.

Read on for some suggested ways to combat this security challenge.

Photo by adactio | flickr cc

The solution -- if your site supports it -- is quite simple: after you connect, the site should keep your session secure using SSL or https. Some sites, including most banking sites, already do this. However, encryption requires more overhead and more server muscle, so many sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) only use it for the actual login. Gmail has an option to require https and has made it the default setting, but you should make sure that it's enabled if you use Gmail (Google Apps has a similar feature). This also doesn't necessarily help if you're using an embedded browser in an iPhone or iPad app, where the URL is hard-coded.

Protecting yourself from Firesheep if you use Firefox or Chrome is possible with extensions like the EFF's HTTPS Everywhere, Secure Sites or Force-TLS. These work by forcing a redirect to the secure version of a site, if it exists. The obvious problems with these solutions are: a) you have to install one for each browser (and we have not yet found one for Safari), and b) it only works if a secure version of the site exists.

If you want to protect yourself more completely, you have a few options.

A) Don't use open networks. This is the easiest option, but also the least convenient or practical in some circumstances. What happens if you "need" to get online and an open network is your only option? [You can also suggest to your network provider that they implement WPA security. If they complain that users won't know the network password, tell them they can include the WLAN password in the name of the network, which keeps it effectively 'open' yet encrypts the connections to block this vulnerability. –Ed.]

B) Use a SOCKS proxy and SSH tunnel. By redirecting your web traffic over a secure encrypted connection to another computer, you can lock down all your browsing and work worry-free. If you know your way around the command line, you can do this for free. If you're looking for an easy solution, though, I recommend Meerkat (which we have mentioned before). The developer has a page devoted to protecting yourself from Firesheep. Setting up Meerkat will take some initial time and effort (and it assumes that you have access to an shell account somewhere, perhaps via your web hosting company; you can also use your home Mac if you turn on Remote Login in the Sharing preference pane). After that, it works very well and, once set up, will protect all of your browsers. For $20 it will make the process much easier, especially if you aren't familiar with SOCKS and SSH tunnels. The developer is also very responsive to questions.

For $25, you can use Slink, which connects you directly to your home machine for access to your data and services. Adding in a Firefox plugin will automatically load your proxy settings for safe and secure browsing. The same approach works with ShareTool, also $25 for a pair of licenses.

C) Use a VPN. This is the easiest solution of all, as well as the most thorough. It will not only encrypt your web browser traffic, it will encrypt all of your Internet traffic (including IMs, email, etc) at least from your computer all the way out to the web. I used Witopia some time ago with both my MacBook and my iPhone. It was very easy to configure and use. For $40/year you can use their "personalVPN – PPTP" service, which will work for both iOS devices and Macs. Their products page describes some important differences between some of their offerings. Their $70/year "personalVPN – SSL/PPTP Combo" is worth a look if you have the budget for it, but the $40/year version will probably suit most people's needs. Of course, if your employer or school offers a VPN client for your use, that will do the job as well.

Although my name is the only one on the byline, TUAW editor Mike Rose also contributed to this article, including several significant additions. He's a goodnik. - TjL

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Apple iPhone travels to the upper stratosphere and back, doesn’t skip a beat

iphone weather balloon Apple iPhone travels to the upper stratosphere and back, doesnt skip a beat

This is why I love science. As part of a science project, a Dad, his son, and others who are part of the Brooklyn Space Program sent a capsule attached to a weather balloon into space with the hopes of recording some stellar video and retrieving the unit when it fell back to earth. The team designed an insulated capsule which contained a Go Pro Hero HD camera and an iPhone, which was used to track the craft via GPS. Eight months of research and development went into the project.

The team, headed by Luke Geissbuhler, launched the capsule and weather balloon from Newburgh, NY earlier this year. The craft had to meet a myriad of FCC regulations to launch and was designed to sustain the harsh conditions present in the Earth’s stratosphere. The craft was assembled on site and launched smoothly. Post-launch, the craft initially climbed 25 feet per second and continued climbing until it reached the stratosphere.

The craft and its sensitive electronics were subject to 100MPH winds and external temperatures as low as -60°C. To be fair, the hand warmer on the inside helped to offset any extreme temperatures. After 70 minutes in flight, the craft reached an altitude of 100,000 ft (19 miles high). At this staggering height, the weather balloon burst and the craft began its downward descent. The capsule and balloon initially fell at speeds up to 150MPH even with a deployed parachute. Thankfully, this parachute softened the landing by slowing the capsule down to 15MPH when it began to approach Earth.

Unfortunately, the camera died two minutes shy of the landing so the team was not able to capture the end of this exciting journey. While the camera dies, the iPhone shines. At this crucial endpoint of the flight, the iPhone begins sending its GPS co-ordinates to the team, enabling them to locate the capsule a mere 30 miles from the launch site. The entire journey is chronicled in the video below. Take my word for it, it is worth six minutes of your time.

Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.

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[Via 9to5Mac and the Brooklyn Space Program]

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal - Unity replaces Gnome as default shell

Filed under: OS Updates, Linux, Open Source, Canonical

Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal - Unity replaces Gnome as default shell

Linuxby Vlad Bobleanta (RSS feed) Oct 25th 2010 at 9:00PM

Ubuntu Unity screenshot

Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has announced that the Unity shell currently used in Ubuntu's netbook edition will become the default user interface for Ubuntu's main desktop edition as well, starting with the next version of the operating system. Unity became Ubuntu's netbook UI with the release of the current version of the OS, 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.

Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal is set to be released before the end of April 2011, and will represent a significant milestone in Ubuntu's history. It will be the first version of the OS not to ship with the Gnome shell as the default UI. Gnome will continue to be the underlying framework, as Unity is based on it, but the interface layer will look nothing like Gnome.

The reasons for this shift are many, but consist mostly of differences of opinion between Ubuntu's leadership and the upstream developers of Gnome. According to Shuttleworth, Ubuntu tried to participate in the Gnome shell design process but found many philosophical differences that were impossible to reconcile. They decided to go their own way and improve Unity to the point at which it will become a viable replacement for the Gnome shell.

Gnome's rejection of global menus as well as performance issues with Gnome's new Mutter window manager are also to blame for Ubuntu's change of direction. A key factor was also multi-touch, and Shuttleworth's clear belief that extensive support for it should be built into the OS. Unity is already multi-touch-enabled in Ubuntu 10.10 but the plan is to bring richer touch interaction to the desktop with Ubuntu 11.04.

This move could anger at least some open source enthusiasts, but it probably shouldn't. Ubuntu is clearly trying to further differentiate itself in a Linux world filled with UIs and user experiences that are extremely similar. It is a risky bet, but Shuttleworth says that developers need not worry because fragmentation can be avoided by using to ensure that desktop integration mechanisms are standardized and interoperable. Whether that will be enough to alleviate all possible issues or silence the critics of this decision remains to be seen.

The standard Gnome shell will continue to be available as a non-default installation option.

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Best Buy to sell WiFi-only Galaxy Tab for $499

galaxy tab Best Buy to sell WiFi only Galaxy Tab for $499

It looks like you’ll have a plethora of buying options if you want to pick up the Samsung Galaxy Tab, as it looks like Best Buy will offer this Android tablet in a variety of options including a WiFi-only model for $499.

According to a leaked document, Best Buy will offer the 7-inch Android tablet with just WiFi and no long-term data contract for $499. That’s comparable with the Apple iPad and the two tablets will be going head to head in the retail store.

Will the Tab be appealing right next to an iPad? It’s tough to tell. The Android tablet will have a 1 GHz processor, multiple cameras and the flexibility of Google’s mobile operating system but the screen-size difference may be difficult to overcome.

I don’t agree with Apple CEO Steve Jobs about there not being a need for 7-inch tablets, as I think that’s the right size for portability. With that said, when an average consumer walks into a store and sees the iPad and Tab side by side for the same price, that extra few inches on the Apple tablet may make a difference.

The leaked document also said Best Buy will be offering the 3G versions of Samsung’s Android tablet for Sprint and Verizon. The Verizon version will land Nov. 11 and it will have 3G data capabilities and it will cost $599 with monthly data options.

Sprint went official with its Tab plans today and it will cost $399 with a two-year data contract. AT&T and T-Mobile will also offer the Samsung tablet but the companies haven’t announced pricing or availability yet.

So, the tablet wars are here and you can be sure the big retailers like Best Buy will help determine who wins and loses. I would have hoped that Samsung would have priced the WiFi-only version of the Galaxy Tab a little bit below the Apple iPad but it is reasonably priced considering that it’s packed full of high-end components.

Are you going to pick up the Samsung tablet? How are you going to buy it?

Check out our hands-on version of the Galaxy Tab below.

[Via pocketables]

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How to Build a Hackintosh Mac and Install OS X in Eight Easy Steps [Video]

How to Build a Hackintosh Mac and Install OS X in Eight Easy Steps

How to Build a Hackintosh Mac and Install OS X in Eight Easy Steps Building a Hackintosh from scratch—that is, installing Mac OS X on non-Mac hardware—has never been easier, and the final product has never performed better. Here's how it works.

Note: This is our third and most recent Hackintosh build (here are the now-outdated first and second). This time, to make things really easy on you, we put together a video walkthrough of the entire process. You can watch the video in its entirety below, but we've also broken up the video next to the accompanying text in each step below.

The Full Step by Step in Video Form

How to Build a Hackintosh Mac and Install OS X in Eight Easy Steps

NOTE: YouTube's being finicky about the privacy of these videos (they're public for some regions, still private for others), so our apologies if you can't see the video yet. You should be able to soon.

Background music by Pex "Mahoney" Tufvession.

What You'll Need

Before you get started building your Hackintosh, you will, of course, need a few supplies.

How to Build a Hackintosh Mac and Install OS X in Eight Easy Steps

The Hardware

There's no such thing as a definitive Hackintosh build, and you can find plenty of hardware that will run OS X using this or a similar method, but we're not going to dive into every possible option here. Instead, I've put together a list of the hardware I'm using and that I can guarantee runs like a dream (or at least it does for me). Also, the installation process below is tailored to this hardware; you can still build a Hackintosh using other hardware, but this installation process may not work 100%.


Here's all the hardware I bought off Newegg for this Hackintosh build:

In all, the subtotal on Newegg for all that hardware is $1,123.92; skip the SSD and the second set of RAM, and you've still got a solid machine for an even more reasonable $828.92.

Once you've got all your hardware, you'll need to assemble your computer. Putting together the hardware for your Hackintosh is just like building any other computer from scratch. You mount the motherboard to your case, install your CPU, RAM, graphics card, storage and optical drive, and plug in all the necessary cables. It's always a good idea to read over your motherboard's instruction manual, but if you want a little more help, hit up our first-timer's guide to building a computer from scratch.

The only thing you need to know is that you shouldn't plug your SATA drives into the off-white SATA ports at the bottom of the board. All the rest should work fine.

The Software

On the software end of the spectrum, you'll need a few things. Apart from the obvious (the Snow Leopard install DVD), you'll need to download somes files that'll contain the tools that let you install OS X on your machine. The method I'm using to install OS X on our Hackintosh this time around is a new one by a guy called tonymacx86, and it's really great. I've added direct links to the downloads below, but all credit goes to tonymac for the dead-simple tools.

To make things really easy, you can download the whole shebang (minus the OS X combo update) via BitTorrent here.

I'd suggest downloading everything you need now, and putting MultiBeast, the Mac OS X Combo update, and the post-installation files on a thumb drive.

Install OS X on Your Hackintosh

At this point you should have assembled your PC, and have all the software you'll need install OS X on your Hackintosh. Now it's time for the fun—and easy—part. The process this time around is surprisingly simple, but I'll still walk you through the process step by step.

Step One: Burn iBoot to a Disc

How to Build a Hackintosh Mac and Install OS X in Eight Easy Steps
Above I told you to download iBoot from tonymacx86. If you haven't already, unzip and extract iBoot.iso. Now it's time to burn the file to a CD or DVD. (It's a small bootloader, so a CD will work just fine.)

In Windows: Insert a blank disc, right-click iBoot.iso, and click Burn disc image. Select your disc burner in the next Windows prompt, and hit Burn.

On OS X: Insert a blank disc, right-click iBoot.iso, and click Burn "iBoot.iso" to Disc.

Burning the disc shouldn't take more than a minute or so, and iBoot should be ready to go.

Step Two: Adjust Your BIOS

How to Build a Hackintosh Mac and Install OS X in Eight Easy Steps
Now that you've got the iBoot disc ready, it's time to turn on your soon-to-be-Hackintosh and adjust the BIOS so your computer's OS X-friendly. So make sure you've plugged in a keyboard, monitor, and power, and fire it up.

Note: At the time of this guide, I'm using the latest BIOS for this motherboard: P7P55D-E-PRO-ASUS-1002.ROM.

When you get to the first boot screen, press the Delete key to open up your BIOS. Once inside, you'll need to make a few adjustments.

  1. On the first BIOS screen, arrow down to the entry labeled Storage Configuration, hit Enter, and change "Configure SATA as" to AHCI. Press Escape once.
  2. Next, arrow over to the Advanced tab, then arrow down to the section labeled Onboard Devices Configuration. Hit Enter, find the Marvell 9123 SATA Controller entry, and set it to AHCI. Press Escape.
  3. Now arrow over to the Power section and set Suspend Mode to S3 only.
  4. Finally, arrow over to the Boot tab, hit Enter on Boot Device Priority, and set your first boot device to boot first from your DVD drive, then set your second boot device as your primary hard drive.

Hit F10 to save your changes and exit the BIOS.

Step Three: Boot from iBoot into the Snow Leopard Install DVD

How to Build a Hackintosh Mac and Install OS X in Eight Easy Steps
When your system restarts, put the iBoot disc you burned above into the DVD drive. Assuming you set everything correctly in your BIOS, iBoot should boot into the screen below.


When you get to this screen, eject your iBoot disc, insert the Snow Leopard install DVD, and press F5 on your keyboard. In few seconds, the iBoot disc in the center should be replaced by a new disc labeled Mac OS X Install DVD. (If it doesn't right away, wait a few seconds and hit F5 again.) Once it does, hit Enter, and your computer will boot into the Snow Leopard installation wizard.

Step Four: Format Your Disk and Install OS X

How to Build a Hackintosh Mac and Install OS X in Eight Easy Steps
After a minute or two of loading up, you should be looking at the Snow Leopard installation wizard. Select your language and continue. Before you get started with the installation, however, you'll need to format your hard drive so you can install OS X. So, from the file menu at the top of the screen, select Utilities -> Disk Utility.

Once Disk Utility loads, click on your hard drive in the sidebar and select the tab labeled Partition. Set the Volume Scheme drop-down to 1 Partition (unless you have a reason for wanting otherwise), name the volume whatever name you want, and set the Format to Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Now click the Options button and ensure that GUID Partition Table is selected as the partition scheme.

Now that everything's set, hit Apply. When you're prompted for confirmation, click Partition.

In twenty seconds or so, your drive should be formatted and you'll be ready to install OS X. Quit Disk Utility, and continue with the installer.

The installation is completely straightforward, so just follow along with the default settings. When the installation finishes (the time will vary—it always claims it'll take 30+ minutes, but is normally done in 10 to 20), you'll most likely see the Install Failed screen pictured below.


Don't panic! This is all part of the process. Just click restart, put iBoot back in the drive, and this time, when your computer restarts, iBoot's Chameleon bootloader will give you the option to boot into your new installation. Select it and hit Enter.

Step Five: Update but Don't Restart

How to Build a Hackintosh Mac and Install OS X in Eight Easy Steps
The first time OS X loads, you'll see Snow Leopard's fancy welcome video. Once that's done, OS X will walk you through the setup wizard, during which you'll enter in your username, location, etc. Just follow along.

Once you're finished with the setup, you're finally at your new Hackintosh desktop. Since you probably want to use the most up-to-date release, you'll want to update your Hackintosh before adding the finishing touches.

At the time of this writing, 10.6.4 is the most current release, so if you didn't already download the update package above (remember, we told you to put it on your thumb drive?), grab the MacOSXUpdateCombo10.6.4 package from Apple, double-click on the DMG, and run the installer.

When the combo update finishes, you'll be prompted to reboot. Don't reboot your computer—at least not yet. You've got one thing you need to do first.

Step Six: Run the MultiBeast Package

How to Build a Hackintosh Mac and Install OS X in Eight Easy Steps
Remember the MultiBeast download from tonymacx86 that we grabbed earlier and stored on a thumb drive (along with other post installation files)? It's time to use it.

Make sure you've plugged your thumb drive into your Hackintosh (or just re-download the files if you forgot to save them to a thumb drive) and open MultiBeast. This tool will allow you to boot from your hard drive going forward, so you don't need to use iBoot every time you want to boot up OS X.

On the Install MultiBeast screen, tick the checkboxes next to EasyBeast and System Utilities, then click Continue. When the EasyBeast installation completes, eject the iBoot disc and restart your computer. Once you've rebooted, you've got one more step to go.

Step Seven: Copy Custom Kexts to Extra Folder, Manually Add Sound and Ethernet Kexts Using Kext Utility

Now it's time to use those other post-installation files you downloaded earlier. So dive into the folder named Post Install and open the folder named Extra/Extensions. In a separate Finder window, navigate to the /Extra/Extensions folder at the root of your drive (in Finder, you can just type Cmd+Shift+G, type /Extra/Extensions, and press Enter).

Now drag all the files from your thumb drive's Extra/Extensions folder into your hard drive's Extra/Extensions folder. Enter your password when prompted, and let Finder replace any files that already exist.

Finally, navigate back to the Post Install folder on your thumb drive. Inside you'll see three files: An app named Kext Utility and two kext files named VoodooHDA.kext and RealtekR1000SL.kext. Drag and drop VoodooHDA.kext onto Kext Utility (enter your password when prompted), and you'll see a window like the one above. Once it says Done, you can quit Kext Utility (click Cancel), and then this time drag and drop Realtek R1000SL.kext onto Kext Utility. (Basically this installs custom audio and ethernet extensions to your system so they work as you'd expect.)

Step Eight: Restart and Enjoy!

Now that you've updated and installed a few extensions customized to your hardware, you're ready to restart your computer, boot directly from your hard drive, and enjoy your new Hackintosh.

A Note on Performance and Other Loose Ends

I've been using this system for a couple weeks now, and in all my testing, everything's been working like a charm. If you're interested in benchmarking, here's how my build fared on Xbench (spoiler: the total score was 303.38).

As I mentioned above, you don't need to buy a pricey SSD (a regular hard drive will work fine), but the system with the SSD is fast, especially on startup. I've added a handful of startup applications to my login items, including apps like Chrome. When my system boots, all of my startup applications are running before my desktop fades in from blue—it feels more like resuming from sleep than rebooting.

Another thing to note: About this Mac identifies the processor as i5, but it's a superficial issue. You could manually edit the text file that populates those fields, but I won't go into that here.

Finally, keep your iBoot disc handy. In the event something does go flaky, especially if you end up having any problems booting directly from your hard drive, you'll likely want that iBoot disc on hand for troubleshooting.

Huge thanks go out to my Hackintosh-helping pals Onetrack, Stellarola, and Davide, to tonymacx86 for his great tools and work, to videographer extraordinaire Adam Dachis, and to the Hackintosh community.

Adam Pash is the editor of Lifehacker, loves to tinker, and can't bring himself to buy what he can build himself for less. You can find his work daily on Lifehacker, or follow @adampash on Twitter.

Send an email to Adam Pash, the author of this post, at

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The How-To Geek Guide to Learning Photoshop, Part 1: The Toolbox


Photoshop is one of the most intimidating programs for any beginner, but has powerful image editing ability for any skill level. Look through a fresh install of CS5, and learn the basic tools and info to help you get started.


Out of the box, this is what your default CS5 installation will look like. It looks even more intimidating than older versions, so let’s spend a few minutes taking a basic look around the program, demystify it, and get you editing your photographs, painting, or whatever you might want to do with your fresh install.

Starting your Custom Workspace


You’re going to want to move your panels and palettes around in an effort to get comfortable with your new install. In this area of your screen, you’ll see various “Workspaces,” which are the various arrangements of said palettes and panels. This can be helpful, because you might want a different arrangement for editing photos than you’ll use if you are also a painter or designer.

CS5 autosaves your changes to your workspaces, so create a new, custom one to play around in. You can always edit your stock Workspaces to fit your liking later.


Click the sshot-482 to bring up the contextual menu. Create a “New Workspace” and name it anything you like. Use your own name, or anything that suits you. Make certain to pick “Keyboard Shortcuts” and “Menus” as you can edit both of them and tie them to your workspace.


Click your new workspace and feel free to play around in it.

Customizing the Toolbox

sshot-483 The toolbox is where you get all your mouse or cursor-based tools. By default, it is locked to the side of the screen in a panel area. By clicking the sshot-483 arrow, you can bring up a condensed version in your panel. The sshot-483 is a toggle, that will switch between the two versions.You can also click and drag the sshot-483 to create a “free floating” version of the toolbox.
sshot-484 The aforementioned double column format of the toolbox. Now that we’ve identified that we can change the shape of the toolbox, let’s briefly look at what’s available in it.

The Options Palette


At the top of your screen, directly under your menus, you’ll see the options palette. When you select different tools, you’ll have the various options you can edit here. Each tool is complex without these options, and can become extremely powerful with knowledge of its options.

What’s in the Toolbox?

marquee Rectangular Marquee Tool: Shortcut key m. The basic selection tool, marquee, AKA “Marching Ants” allows you to select areas of layers or flattened photographs. Shift + M  will cycle through to the various other selection tools, including the ellipse tool. You can hold Shift while drawing marquees to create squares.
move tool Move Tool: Shortcut key v . The basic move tool. Once you select an area, choose the move tool to move it around. You can also move whole layers without selecting them.
lasso Lasso Tool: Shortcut key L . Another selection tool, allows you to draw quick, shaped selections around parts of your image. Shift + L will cycle through the alternate lasso tools, including Polygonal Lasso and Magnetic Lasso tools.
quick selection Quick Selection Tool: Shortcut key w . A rough selection tool that works like a paintbrush. Brush around in an area, and Photoshop will read your image and try and guess what you’re trying to select. Press Shift + W to get the indispensible magic wand tool, which is a Bucket Fill or Flood style tool for selections.
crop Crop Tool: Shortcut key c . Draws rectangular selections, then cuts your image down to the rectangle you draw. Very useful for straightening crooked images. Press Shift + C to pick the Slice Tool and Slice Select tools, useful for creating multiple images from a single one, usually for web content.
eyedropper Eyedropper Tool: Shortcut key i . Picks a color from any document you have open. Shift + I will cycle through the tools: Color Sampler, Ruler, and Note Tool.
healing brush Spot Healing Brush Tool: Shortcut key j. Useful for erasing blemishes, scratches or unwanted noise from images automatically by painting over them. Press Shift + J to find the Healing Brush, Patch Tool, and Red Eye tools.
brush Brush Tool: Shortcut key b . The single most complex tool in the toolbox. Many articles on the brush tool to come, but for now, paint with left mouse clicks, and select different brush styles with right mouse clicks. Shift + B cycles through to the Pencil, Color Replacement Tool, and Mixer Brushes, all worth experimentation.
clone stamp tool Clone Stamp Tool: Shortcut key s . Another photo-editing brush, Alt and Click to set a “Source” and then paint with the Left mouse button to copy from your source. Shift + S also gives you the pattern stamp tool.
history brush History Brush Tool: Shortcut key y . Working in tandem with your History Palette, you can paint “back in time,” so to speak. Use a filter, then selectively undo parts of it with the History Brush. The Art History Brush is buried underneath here, accessible with a Shift + Y.
eraser Eraser Tool: Shortcut key e. Erases layers to transparency, and locked or Background Layers down to the Background Color. Shift + E will cycle through the Magic Eraser and the Background Eraser tool.
gradient tool Gradient Tool: Shortcut key g . Clicking and dragging will fill your layer with a basic gradient using your foreground and background tools. The options palette has a lot of different gradients to use. Hidden under the Gradient Tool is the Paint Bucket Tool. Shift + G will cycle through to it. Use the Paint Bucket to fill areas of similar color in your image.
blur tool Blur, Sharpen, and Smudge Tools: By default, no shortcut key. These are three photo editing tools that do exactly what they say. Smudge, in particular, can create excellent painterly effects in your images. Left click and hold to bring up the contextual menu and pick the “buried” Sharpen and Smudge tools.
dodge tool Dodge and Burn Tools: Shortcut key o. Dodge and Burn are photo editing tools that lighten and darken images, respectively. This tool is not the zoom tool, as confusing as it may look. Shift + O cycles between the two of them.
pen tool Pen Tool: Shortcut key p. A nightmarish frustration for beginner users, the Pen Tool is tough to get used to, but a favorite of Photoshop Pros. Similar to the Pen Tool in Adobe Illustrator, works in tandem with the Paths Palette. Shift + P will give you alternate Pen tools related to working with paths.
text tool Type Tool: Shortcut key t . Allows you to set typography, by default horizonally. Shift + T will give you the Vertical Type Tool, as well as the Type Mask Tools.
path selection tool Path Selection and Direct Selection Tools: Shortcut key a. More tools made for editing paths in the path palette. Ignore unless you’re trying to learn the Pen Tool. Path selection picks whole paths, while Direct Selection picks line segments or points within paths. Cycle with Shift + A.
custom shape tool Custom Shape Tool: Shortcut key u. Bizarre tool for creating clipart type vector shapes from a library in the options palette. Shift + U will also give you the more helpful tools for rectangles, polygons, and lines, all helpful for learning paths in Photoshop without suffering through the pen tool.
zoom tool Zoom Tool: Shortcut key z. Yes, this is the real zoom tool and not the Dodge tool. Zoom in with left clicks, zoom out with ALT plus Left Clicks. This is likely the most basic tool in the toolbox.
hand tool Hand Tool: Shortcut key h. Scrolls your document without using the scrollwheel or scroll arrows. Press and hold the Space Bar at any time to use the quick Hand Tool, release Space to return to your previous tool.
Foreground Background colors Background/Foreground: The active colors you are painting with. The top color is Foreground, the back Background. x swaps the two colors. d reverts them to the default colors, black and white.
quick mask mode Quick Mask Mode: Shortcut key q . An alternate mode for creating complex selections with the Brush, Eraser, and Paint Bucket tools. The Q key toggles to and from Quick Mask Mode.

Stick with How-To Geek for the next section of the HTG Guide to Starting With Photoshop, where we’ll go beyond the cursor tools, and go into the panels, palettes, menus, and filters that make Photoshop seem so complicated.

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