Friday, September 17, 2010

Extend Partition on Mac

I had a bootcamp partition that I never used and wanted to extend my Mac partition to the Windows partition.  In the Disk Utility, there were no options to do this without destroying your data.  I investigated further and found a solution using the command line version of the Disk Utility.

This command allows you to merge two or more existing partitions into one.  The partitions will be merged and all data will be lost except for the first one.  Run the command diskutil mergePartitions for more details.

Steps I used to extend my partition are explained below.  The commands below are for my disk setup and may have to be modified to suit your configuration.  

1) Show the partitions installed on your mac:

macbook-pro:~ mactimes$ sudo diskutil list
   0: GUID_partition_scheme *500.1 GB disk0
   1: EFI 209.7 MB disk0s1
   2: Apple_HFS MacBook 449.8 GB disk0s2
   3: Microsoft Basic Data WINDOWSXP 50.0 GB disk0s3

 2) Merge the partitions by running the following command.  Be very careful of the syntax and order. 
macbook-pro:~ mactimes$ sudo diskutil mergePartitions "Journaled HFS+" New disk0s2 disk0s3
Merging partitions into a new partition
     Start partition: disk0s2 MacBook
     Finish partition: disk0s3 BOOTCAMP
Started partitioning on disk0
Merging partitions
Waiting for disks to reappear
Growing disk
Finished partitioning on disk0
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *500.1 GB   disk0
   1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS MacBook                 499.8 GB   disk0s2
Once done, you will see that the partition table has been merged and you are able to recover the wasted space of your Boot camp partition.  

Monday, September 13, 2010

DVD Region Free (Matsushita UJ-686)

When I first bought my Macbook Pro, i could not find any Region Free firmware for my DVD drive. It has been about a year since I bought it and to my surprise they exist now!

There aren't really any instructions but the process was easy and straight forward.

1) On the Apple icon in the file menu select "About this Mac".

2) Select "More Info..."

3) Under "Hardware" in the left pane select "Disc Burning"

4) Make a note of the model of your DVD drive. In my case, it is "Matsushita DVD-R UJ-868"

5) Open a browser and open

6) On the left pane select "Firmware Database"

7) Select "Matsushita (Panasonic)"

8) Search for your model and download the firmware

9) Go back to the "Matsushita" listing and scroll down to "Utilities"

10) Download "MatsushitaFlasher"

11) Launch "MatsushitaFlasher"

12) In the application go to the file menu "File" and select "Open..."

13) Select the RPC1 version of the firmware you downloaded.

Note: Make sure nothing is accessing the dvd drive or this step will not work.

14) When the terminal opens you will have to confirm that you want to proceed with the operation

15) Sit back and wait a couple minutes and wait for the command to finish

Afterwards, insert any dvd and enjoy the show.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, May 27, 2010

3G iPad - How to convert your SIM card to a micro SIM card

I waited a long time for my 3G iPad and now that it is here, I want to use it how it was meant to be used. I was thinking of my options and the obvious choice was to make use of what I already had: My iPhone SIM.

First things first.
I needed a way to put the SIM card back into the iPhone so I needed to look for an adapter. I had a look around the local shops and surprisingly could not find anything. A simple web search pointed me to what I was looking for. An Austrian company, Microsim-Shop, is selling them for €5.99 with free international shipping. It sounded too good to be true but I gave it a try anyway. I wouldn't be happy being scammed but €5.99 is not a big loss if I were scammed.

When it arrived a week later, I was actually surprised. Not only that it came but also because it came exactly as advertised.

Let the cutting begin!
Side by side, you can see there is a huge size difference between Micro SIM and regular SIM.

Due to this, you need to cut the SIM down to the size of a Micro SIM.

I started by overlaying the adapter on top of my existing SIM card. Then with a pencil, marked down where the edges should be using the inner edge of the adapter.

Once done, you just need to cut the card just outside of the pencil marks to match the size of a Micro SIM card.

The first edge I cut with a razor. The razor made a nice straight line but took much longer than I spend cutting the SIM card.

To save time, I pulled out a pair of scissors instead of using the razor. The edges are not as straight but good enough!

The end result gave me a new Micro SIM card that fit nicely into my new Micro SIM adapter.

The Micro SIM card fits nicely in the tray although you can see I cut a little too much off the slanted edge. Not a big deal as it still fits in the SIM card tray quite nicely.

3G iPad here I come!
Now the ultimate test, I put the SIM card in the iPad and give it a go.

The first thing you have to do is go to your iPhone Cellular Data settings and make a note of the APN settings. Type the same setting into the Cellular Data settings of your iPad. In my case it is

Once done, check to see that you catch a signal from your provider (in my case 3 mobile) and ensure it is in 3G. Then open a browser and browse to your favorite website.

Simple as that. You can now use your new Micro SIM to access the Internet from your iPad.

This is not a permanent solution as I eventually want to use both my iPhone and iPad at the same time. But for now it will do. There are other options I use to browse the Internet by Tethering using my iPhone but that is another post all together (Coming Soon!).

As a final note, the technique mentioned above is for information purposes. If you run into any issues, I am more than willing to help although I cannot guarantee this technique will work for everyone. Also, there is a risk that you incorrectly cut your SIM card making it completely unusable. Please use at your own risk!

Friday, May 21, 2010

iPad Arrived!

After months of anticipation, I finally received my Wi-Fi + 3G iPad.

I was not sure what to expect from it, but after playing with it for a few hours, I am extremely happy with it. It by no means is a replacement for my laptop but it is a very nice compliment. Since receiving my iPad, most of my browsing is done from my iPad and once the Facebook application is released, most of my basic computer needs will be covered by my iPad.

The good: iBooks is a very impressive application. It takes the idea of books to a new level. Its like reading the glossy pages of a colorful magazine instead of a dull colored paperback. I haven't read a full novel to really provide information about the readability but the iPad user guide from MacWorld was a nice treat. In addition, there are loads of free downloads at the bookstore to keep you busy. There are other book reader applications such as CloudReaders which allow you to upload all your PDF books to your iPad and read them too. The pages fill the screen nicely and very readable from what I have seen so far.

Comics book applications. I was never a big fan of comics nor manga. But I did download a few of the applications and had a look at the freebies. Again very impressive. The quality of the comics are very impressive and much better than I remember comic books being as a kid.

Games were very impressive. I never played games on my iPhone but downloaded a few and gave them a try. Fieldrunners was a blast. The objective of the game is to defend the field from "runners" and prevent them from reaching your gate. I also downloaded Dungeon Hunter HD which reminded me of the days when I was playing Diablo. Graphics are impressive and the gameplay is excellent. Controls can be difficult at times though. The last one I downloaded was Battle of Wesnoth, which was a cheapo but well worth the $.99 I paid for it. For someone that stopped playing games years ago, I found myself interested with hours of game time with these gems.

SportCenterXL was awesome. I get all the news about my favorite teams right at the palm of my hands. There is no need to go to the web to catch up on my favorite teams anymore.

The basic applications were a nice treat too. Photos are displayed very clear and crisp. It was a treat to sync my photos and view them from the iPad. Mail was nice as well although it took a little time to get used to the keyless keyboard. iPod surprised me with the sound quality. I was expecting something along the lines of my iPhone but was surprised by the clarity of the sound. By no means will it replace your HiFi system but for portable sound, very nice.

The bad: News Readers... I haven't found one I liked yet. On my iPhone I used Byline but could not find anything as easy to use. FeeG+ has a nice concept of combining Google Reader, Facebook and Twitter but I was not impressed by the presentation. But is probably the best of the ones I tried so far.

Facebook still not available?! I remember all the early advertisements showing Facebook but there is no app available yet. This came as a huge surprise to me.

I mentioned earlier that it is no replacement for a PC. I guess that kinda falls in the bad (although some may say that it is i a league of its own). Its much easier to walk around the house with the iPad to do basic computing rather than lugging around the laptop. Especially when you have to go to the bathroom and know you will be in there for a while. ;)

For what its worth, once you get used to the iPad, it really is a treat. I imagined it as a big iPhone at first but it is much more. You will know what I mean when you pick up your iPhone after playing with the iPad for a couple hours.

With its limitations, it is still much more than I was expecting. A big thumbs up from me.

Monday, May 10, 2010

How to jailbreak iPhone OS 3.1.3 using Spirit

I previously wrote an article about, how to jailbreak an iPhone, last year. If you had gone through the walkthrough you may have found that it was long and painful. Since then, I reverted to the unjailbroken default Apple iPhone OS and had been happy with it ever since. But in anticipation of my iPad arriving, I wanted to jailbreak again so I had a way to tether using my iPhone.

As I was on the latest OS, there weren't so many options. That is until Spirit was released. There is both a Windows & Mac client and can be applied to latest versions of OS for iPhone & iPad (3.1.2, 3.1.3 & 3.2). It does require an activated iPhone which should be the case for most people.

So let the Jailbreaking begin:
  1. Very Important! Make a backup before doing anything. You can manually make a backup by connecting your phone, opening iTunes and right-clicking on your iPhone and selecting Back Up.

  2. Close iTunes.
  3. Download a copy of Spirit from the website.
  4. Extract the contents of the zip file and launch the application.
  5. Double click to launch the Spirit application.


  6. You will be given the option to Jailbreak. You know what to do.

  7. The jailbreaking process starts up and lasts for about 30 seconds.

  8. A new message will display indicating that the Jailbreak has completed.

  9. The iPhone will reboot and display a funky background with a progress indicator completing the setup on the device.

  10. After booting, just log into your iPhone and look for the Cydia icon and that is it.

  11. I would suggest installing Rock as the first jailbroken application. Rock provides a nice interface for installing applications, and is much faster than Cydia.
After installing a few applications and a new theme, my iPhone currently looks like this.

At the very beginning i mentioned why I jailbroke my iPhone. It was to install the application MyWi. This application costs $9.99 but worth every penny. It allows your iPhone to become a wireless access point for other devices (such as an iPad) to connect to. If you have an iPad (especially WiFi only model), I highly recommend getting this application.

As a final note, the technique mentioned above is for information purposes. If you run into any issues, I am more than willing to help although I cannot guarantee this technique for your iPhone. Please use at your own risk.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lonely Planet volcano relief for iPhone

Due to the chaos and loads of stranded travellers caused by the volcano in Iceland, Lonely Planet decided to offer 13 city guides for free! Even myself had to cancel a trip to Europe due to this event.

The city guides are: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Copenhagen, Istanbul, London, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, and Vienna.

This is a limited offer available only until the 22nd of April 2010. Download them while you can.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Broken Home Button on iPhone

The most illogical thing happened to me today. I have had issues with my Home Button on my iPhone for several months now. It gradually got worse to the point that it became completely unresponsive. Today i decided to go to the service center to have it fixed.

I cleaned up the phone to reduce the chance of Apple blaming me for the hardware failure. At this time I noticed some scratches on the protective screen protector so I took it off. An hour later, while in the MTR i noticed that my Home Button was resposive. After further tests, I realized that it was working fine. Even the double click to iPod.

I know this story sounds completely illogical but somehow all my issues are solved. So if any of you out there have issues with your iPhone and you have a protective screen cover, you know what to do.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, March 28, 2010

How to disable Skype automatic startup

Since moving abroad, I starting using Skype quite frequently. If you haven't tried it before, I highly recommend giving it a try. Now I contact all my friends and relative abroad. You can download a copy for free from the Skype website.

The application itself is wonderful and the only complaint I have is the auto startup. I hate applications running in the background when I am not using them. Especially ones that are using your system resources and actively connecting to the Internet taking up your valuable bandwidth.

You would think that the option to disable this would be in the preferences but it is not. To disable this you need to go to the Account settings in System Preferences. This walkthrough will show you how to do this very easily.

Disabling Skype automatic startup:
  1. From the apple menu (), select System Preferences
  2. Under System, select Account
  3. You may need to click on the lock in the lower left hand corner to change these settings. For this you need to have access to an Admin account
  4. Select the account you want to disable the automatic startup from the list of accounts in the left column
  5. In the account settings click on Login Items
  6. From the list of items, select Skype

  7. Below the items, select on the minus sign (-) to remove the application from starting up
  8. You have just disabled the settings. The next time you log into your account, Skype should no longer start up
After changing these settings, Skype will only be running when you want it to. Not only will it reduce the resources used on your Mac but also reduce the bandwidth stolen from this application. Hope it helps!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Follow-up: iPhone Sync for Google Calendar & Contacts - Mojibake (文字化け) issues

I previously wrote a post about sync'ing your Iphone with Google calendar & contacts. Since then, I realized that this configuration can cause issues for Japanese users. For certain emails, it causes Mojibake (文字化け). For receiving, I have first hand experience and suspect it is the cause for sending issues I had too.

I would suggest to follow the previous walkthrough only for the calendar & contacts. For email, continue to use the Gmail configuration wizard instead of Microsoft Exchange.

After reconfiguring my email settings, all the emails which had issues were downloaded correctly, without any Mojibake (文字化け) issues.

How to change the hostname of your Mac

When you first bought your Mac, you may have been in a rush to set it up and named your Mac something you wish you could change. Well, it is not so difficult to do, you just need access to the terminal application and run a few commands.

Three commands are required to change your hostname.

So start by launching the Terminal application located in the Utilities folder of your Applications.

To set the display name of your Mac (in my case MacBook Pro) in the command prompt, type the following command:
macbook-pro:~ mactimes$ sudo scutil --set ComputerName "MacBook Pro"
To set the host name of your Mac (in my case macbook-pro) in the command prompt, type the following command:
macbook-pro:~ mactimes$ sudo scutil --set HostName "macbook-pro"
macbook-pro:~ mactimes$ sudo scutil --set LocalHostName "macbook-pro"
Thereafter, if you wish to view the names configured, use the following commands:

To view the diplay name of our Mac (in my case MacBook Pro) in the command prompt, type the following command:
macbook-pro:~ mactimes$ sudo scutil --get ComputerName
MacBook Pro
To view the diplay name of our Mac (in my case MacBook Pro) in the command prompt, type the following command:
macbook-pro:~ mactimes$ sudo scutil --get HostName
macbook-pro:~ mactimes$ sudo scutil --get LocalHostName