Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Bioshock - update

So I installed Bioshock via steam and its working well on my MBP. Im able to play with everything on full, I just had to take the resolution down two notches from the 1440x900. Not to bad so far. :)

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Bioshock on a Macbook Pro

Hi, just thought Id let you all know that Bioshock runs fine on a Macbook Pro Core Duo (2ghz) with 2GB of RAM and an ATI Radeon X1600 256MB RAM.

So far the game is running with the textures on high in 1024x768 without any problems and a good framerate in my quick tests. I played around 15-20 minutes in the game without any problems.

Unfortunately its getting late here so I didnt want to play around with it for too long today but tomorrow hopefully I will find time to try it in higher resolutions and will post back here to let you know how I get a long.

Bioshock - Fix for side-by-side error

So like many of you I installed the Bioshock demo today to give the game a try to see what all of the fuss was about :)

The installation went smoothly but when I tried to run the game, I got an error something along the lines of;

Error: The Side-by-Side configuration information in "c:\games\Bioshock" contains errors. This application has failed to start because the application configuration is incorrect. Reinstalling the application may fix this problem
Reinstalling the game didnt fix my problem and neither did alternative drivers for my graphics card.

I did some research and the issue seems to be derived from a problem with VC++ files either not matching or being included in the program.

The solution that worked for me was to run windows update and install the latest windows updates and .NET updates, then reboot.

After the reboot Bioshock started and ran fine, no issues with videos or game play.

Hope this helps someone else.


Sorry neglected to mention that this is on a Windows Vista 32bit installation, running on a Macbook Pro with an ATI Radeon X1600 256MB RAM graphics card.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Manually sorting pictures in iPhoto 08

So I've been playing with iPhoto a bit more over the past couple of days but the one thing that I'd like to do I haven't been able to and thats manually sort photos within an event.

The problem is that when you double-click the event to access the photos it contains and then go to the view -> arrange by -> menu option, the option to sort manually is greyed out. I've tried this on various events and libraries with the same results on them all.

A quick search on the internet revealed that I'm not the only person having this problem and although a workaround exists on the Apple discussion forums, its just that a workaround, so lets hope that Apple fixes it soon.

One good point that I have came across though and perhaps this is something that was generally known and only I missed it, is that keywords seem to be unique to the library, which is great news for me as I tend to break our photos into libraries such as holidays, family events and so on. Which means that I can now add keywords like beach, sightseeing and views without having to worry about them popping up in the wedding library.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

iPhoto 08 - Quick tip

Just thought Id post something I just found out when playing with iPhoto 08 just now. If you drag your mouse cursor slowly across the icons displayed in event you (or events as iPhoto calls them) the icon changes from the first picture in the event to show you the next and so on, so basically by dragging slowly across the entirety of the icon you can see all of the pictures that the event is comprised of.

Quite useful :)

Monday, 13 August 2007

iWork 08 and iLife 08 - installation

I received my iLife 08 and iWork 08 discs today and thought I'd post up a few comments here about the installation.

iLife 08

First of all I installed iLife 08, this doesnt require a serial number and once you start the installation will automatically replace the previous version of iLife on your computer. Therefore there is no need to manually uninstall it and this way all of your settings, iphoto library and so on are carried across into the new applications.

The one exception is the old version of iMovie which is copied into a separate folder.

Also be aware that your iphoto library will be updated to be compatible with the new version so if you plan to go back at some stage you may want to make a backup of your current library before installing the new version of iLife.

So far I've only launched the individual apps to make sure that they work but otherwise havent really played with them. After installation I ran software update and there was an update for iphoto already available but so far thats it.

iWork 08

iWork I installed second, this does require a serial number to work as the full version and the installation installs into an iWork 08 folder leaving your iWork 06 intact. If you want to install iWork 06 it should be enough to drag the folder to the trash.

Again as with iLife Ive only just launched the apps to make sure that they work, so far they look good and from the quick look that Ive had at numbers it seems quite impressive.

I ran software update afterwards again but there are currently no updates available for iWork.

Thats pretty much it for now, once Ive played with the the apps a bit more I'll post more info here.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Desktop Tower Defense

I was bitten by the Desktop Tower Defense bug, if you dont know what it is, its a flash game where the purpose is to prevent critters getting from one side of your desktop to the other by building a maze or series of defenses composed of different types of cannons. Every time you kill critters you get gold which can be used to upgrade the existing defenses or build new ones.

It might sound a little strange but its well worth checking out and giving it a try for yourselves. Try it first on the easy level just to get the hang of it and then switch up to medium for a bit more of a challenge. Ive managed to get through medium without losing a life and around 6000 points, so Ive decided to give hard a try but Im not having much luck so far :)

Anyone already playing this?


Dockables are some small single purpose apps that you can drag into your dock. They perform actions such as putting your computer to sleep, activating the screensaver, shutting the computer down and so on, all with one click. Definitely worth checking out, so click here :)


I just recently caught onto the Soprano's - talk about coming late to the party :) But for anyone else who hasnt seen it yet its definitely worth watching.

iApps released

So the latest versions of the iApps are out, namely iLife 08 and iWork 08. I have to say that so far they dont look too bad based on what Ive read so far on the net. Ive already ordered my copies from the Apple store in the UK.

This brings to mind something that doesnt quite make sense for me though, Ive never understood why the Apple store here in the Czech Republic takes 3-5 weeks to get new software after release. It would be nice if Apple arranged for shipments to be made in advance of announcements but even so, I wouldnt expect it to take more than a week if they shipped after the announcement. A minor gripe at the end of the day but still frustrating.

Hopefully my copies will arrive on Monday, although most of the torrent sites have links up already. Actually Apple is officially offering a downloadable demo from its site thats good for 30 days, though Ive seen some posts on the net stating that if you remove a certain .pref file the 30 day count resets itself.

In the meantime there are some reviews and first looks up at and to whet your appetite if youre still waiting to receive your discs as I am.

The one thing that I havent noticed though is anyone talking much about the installation process but it could be that I simply havent looked hard enough. I understand that iWork will install onto your mac and leave the current version alone, so you will have to remove it if you no longer want it. The new version also seems to take up less space but I havent had chance to check this yet.

As for iLife my understanding so far is that this does replace the current version with the exception of imovie as the new one doesnt have as many themes etc as the old one and also doesnt run on some of the older G4 macs.

I'll post some more once I receive my discs.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Emulating Windows on a PowerPC Mac

My father-in-law has a small problem with his Powerbook, it doesn't run Microsoft Money and as a lot of people in the Mac community will tell you, most people coming over from Windows use Money.

Anyway I thought I would help him out by installing an emulator for him, so I looked around (unfortunately being on a powerpc it immediately ruled out Parallels or VMWare) and came across iemulator, which I thought used to be free but is now commercial and Q (Quemu), which is freeware.

I bet you can guess which one I went for right? :)

Installing Q wasn't a problem, it was a simple case of drag and drop and presents a control panel a little similar to VMWare. I set up a new virtual machine, chose Win2K as the operating system, purely so it wouldnt need as many resources as XP does and would hopefully be useable and started the installation with a Win2k SP3 disc that I have.

The installation was slow - it took around 2.5 hours which surprised me, of course I expected it to be slow but it was longer than I expected. After a reboot windows started up and then immediately gave me an error "MSGina.dll failed to load", which is a known issue.

After following the steps in the guide it still didnt work and I realised that it was due to my own stupidity as I was trying to replace the DLL with the one from the CD and as it was a slipstreamed disc was basically the same file.

At this point I saved the virtual PC while I went to look up the error and work out a way around it. Unfortunately afterwards when I came back to it I had a lot of issues with getting the virtual PC to start/boot from the CD. It kept crashing and freezing the powerbook so badly that I had to hard shutdown by holding the power button down. (The whole computer was unresponsive and the mouse cursor frozen).

It took a lot of fiddling but the solution in the end was to leave the CD out after a reboot, try to start without the CD which of course would fail. Shutdown the virtual PC and Q, put the disc back in, wait for it to mount and then to start Q again, then in the options for the virtual PC to set it to boot from the CD. Afterwards it finally booted and I could get to the recovery console again. Though this still left the msgina.dll problem.

To get around it I went to the Microsoft site and downloaded service pack for for Win2k, I then booted into parallels on my Macbook Pro and used Winrar to extract the msgina.dll file and copied it onto a usb disk.

Back on the powerbook I created a blank disk image in Q, renamed it to .img (note Q uses .qcrow or .raw which arent recognised by the disk utility in OS X), mounted the image formatted it as DOS and then copied the msgina.dll file onto it.

Then I booted the virtual PC from the CD, went into the recovery console and using expand, "expanded" the file and over wrote the version that was there. I mounted the image in the virtual PC as a floppy disk image, initally once the virtual pc was at the recovery console DOS prompt but this didnt work, I ended up having to put it in the virtual pc options.

After a reboot the virtual PC finally started and I got to the Win2k desktop.

Great I thought - I'll just install the Q provided Win2k drivers, so I started the .exe file from the image that comes with Q and it promptly crashed the virtual machine and the powerbook so badly that I had to reboot again.

After the reboot and once Id started Win2k again I decided to leave things as they were, Windows seemed to be ok and I thought it would be enough for my father-in-law.

I then decided to install outlook as he has a lot of problems opening .msg files (if any of you know a way to open these on a mac please let me know). So I put my office CD in, started the install, enter the key and then the installer bombed out. Tried it a couple more times with the same result.

So thinking it might be something to do with the CD reading via an emulator I copied the contents to the virtual PC and tried again but same result, it bombed out. I thought it might be because it's office 2003, so I found my old office 2000 cd and tried that, again the installer bombs out. In every case no error message is generated it just simply closes.

I tried downloading the latest release of Q as opposed to the stable version which I was using but still had the same problems, so now although I have a windows installation I cannot get office to install or find anything on the net to help, even in their own forums and/or wiki.

Anyone out there have any ideas as Im lost at the moment, Ive posted on the Q forums too and Im hoping someone will know something.

Thanks in advance

Update :

After doing some searching on the forums, I found out that with Windows 2000 you still need to update the installer. I tried to download the installer from microsoft within the virtual pc but it failed the Microsoft verification test, so I ended up downloading it via XP from within Parallels.

I then tried to get it into the virtual pc by using a 2.5mb floppy image but it reported that the downloaded archive was corrupt despite it opening fine in xp when I tested it. So long story short I ended up burning the file to cd and running it from the cd in the virtual PC, which worked.

After the the installer had finished updating I tried the Microsoft office install again and this time everything worked out fine.

So I now have a working Windows 2000 install with office running under Q, sometimes its a little slow, but it is running on a PowerPc so I guess it can be forgiven. Otherwise the only problems remaining are USB support and a bug that prevents you from running the virtual pc for a second time after its been shut down. If you try to run it again, the whole powerbook freezes and needs to be hard powered off.

Speed Download

I was looking for a way to download multiple files over night and came across a few program while I was searching but Speed Download was the one I finally settled on that suited me the best. Its not free, which initially gave me reservations but after trying out the demo for a day I ended up buying it.

It basically does what it says on the tin and adds downloads to a list that you can set up to download in whatever order you like, when you like and so on. The links can be captured when you click on them in a browser or from a text file or you can had them yourself either by typing or cut and paste. Its also got growl support so youll know when something has finished or started.

I'm still playing with it but so far Im quite happy with it. After I've used it for a few more days I'll post an update here.