Mac Stopped Booting After Removing BootCamp Partition

Using Bootcamp is a great way for using native Windows applications and if you need all available horsepower in your computer for Windows. This utility will partition your hard drive and in essence make your Mac a PC with Windows. In some cases you could get by using virtualization instead though. It depends on what you are planning to do.

BootCamp Mac Problem And Solution

I decided to write this little article because I stumbled onto some problems when removing the bootcamp partition. I hadn’t used Windows in many months so I decided to delete the partition and gain some more hard drive space. It is easy enough to do. You just browse to the utility folder in OSX and start up the bootcamp application where you can delete the partition and reclaim your hard drive space. I have done this many times with other Macs and it worked flawlessly.

This time it didn’t really work but! I didn’t notice anything until I had to do a reboot. And that can take several weeks before I do. What happened is that the Mac wouldn’t boot at all. I hear the boot chime sound but after that a flashing folder with a question mark appeared.

This error is telling you that the Mac have problems booting from the hard drive. To make a long story short.. I had to start up the Mac with the non booting hard drive in target disk mode and connect it to another mac using firewire cable. The other Mac detected the drive but couldn’t initialize it. It could at least detect it so thats a start. If it asks you to format the hard drive select NO! do NOT do it.

So you think you should download an expensive hard drive repair application, do you? Nope, try something called TestDisk. This application will read the hard drive and enable you to re-apply the correct partition table without damaging anything. It is a bit fiddly because there are no real GUI and the work is done in the terminal but it works. At least it worked in my case. I suggest you read the manual in this case.

You may have other problems preventing your Mac from booting. But this article was written for those who had specific bootcamp issues.

Age of Mythology For Mac

Age of Mythology is a RTS (Real Time Strategy) game available for Macs. If you are interested in mythology and like a good strategy game this is a safe bet gaming wise for your Mac. Metacritic gives a score of 89 for this game. This is considered very good.

Many reviewers talk warmly about the great gameplay, voice acting and storyline. The game is getting older but still worth playing. It is simple and easy to understand and gets more rewarding when you master it.

age of mythology for mac

The game came out in 2002 / 2003 and even if you have a new Mac, compatibility shouldn’t be a problem. Universal binary patches for the game is found here: Age of Mythology for Mac – Patches

You play one of nine ancient civilizations to greatness by commanding many aspects of your empire: gathering resources, raising massive armies, waging war against enemies, establishing profitable trade routes, building new settlements, enhancing production or military might, exploring new frontiers, and advancing through four distinct ages.

age of mythology 2

During the struggle for supremacy, you can use mythological creatures like Minotaurs and Cyclopses to boost your armies’ strength. Call upon the gods for help in flattening enemy towns with meteors or scattering opposing troops with lightning storms.

The game use a 3D engine developed by Ensemble Studios and brought to the Macintosh by Westlake Interactive. Although this engine is a bit dated today reviewers like the developers attention to details in this game. Also, this game doesn’t demand much power from your computer so it could easily be played on mac laptops available today.

With that said another option is to get the Windows version and play it in a virtualized environment such as parallels desktop. Due to the relative low system requirements it should be playable with a somewhat modern Mac even while virtualized.

Apple 85W Magsafe Power Adapter, MacBook Charger

The Apple 85W MagSafe Power Adapter is important for powering your Apple Laptop and to charge its battery. When you look at this MacBook Charger it is clear that Apple use resources to design something as simple as a power-supply. The design thinking is mainly noticed in the actual power-plug called: MagSafe.

What is MagSafe?

MagSafe is the name of the special type of magnetic power plug Apple uses on their macbook chargers. The magnets makes it easy to plug-in the power cable and hold it firmly to the computer. One of the best features is that if you are so unlucky to trip over the cable, it will detach from the computer without taking the entire computer with it. Potentially saving you from an expensive repair…

The plug itself have a small light that indicate if your laptop is charging or fully charged. Orange when charging, green when fully charged.

Apple 85W Magsafe Power Adapter (Retail Packaging)

Apple 85W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter (for MacBook Pro with Retina display)

85w MagSafe Power Adapter

The Apple 85W MagSafe Power Adapter is the most powerful one Apple have. It is designed to power the MacBook Pros. Although it can be used with all portable Intel Macs if you want. You also have smaller versions of this macbook charger. 60 Watt for the MacBook and 13 Inch MacBook Pro and a 45 Watt charger for the MacBook Air. Where the 85 Watt is biggest and 45 Watt smallest in size.

MagSafe to MagSafe 2 Converter

MagSafe to MagSafe 2 Converter

MagSafe 2 was introduced when Apple released the retina MacBook Pro in 2012. Due to its smaller size they had to shrink the power plug. They made an adapter so that you can use your old charger if you wish. Its available on Amazon.com for about $14 US. I use this adapter myself at work and it works just fine. I could use my old 85watt adapter at work and the magsafe 2 version at home.

Is A Third Party Charger Safe?

Using third party stuff is always a gamble. It could work alright but the next day fry your entire computer if you are unlucky. If your computer is still within warranty I would buy the original charger. A lot of the people we hear about that have batteries that explode and whatnot have in some cases used third party adapters. I wouldn’t gamble with safety, but again. A third party one could work just fine. Its your choice.

Finding The Best Mac Software Is Not Hard

A lot of the built in software is useful. It is nothing new that operating systems come with pre – installed applications, almost all of them do. With OS X it seems like Apple is able to walk the extra mile to give you the best mac software. Many of the built in apps are quite good.

mac-osx-software

Finding the Best Apps

It has become much easier finding good applications now. A tip is to use the App Store and then click on the Top Charts button. Now you get a list of apps with high ratings.

best-mac-software

You can also refine your search and find the best mac software in other categories like Games or Finance just to name two. It is also possible to sort the list by the best free apps while not considering the paid ones and vice versa.

I can find myself using quite some time clicking around in the app store. It is a lot of great software there.

Other Software Options and Tips

The app store is not the only place to find mac os x software. Good old trusty Internet is right around the corner with other possibilities. Here are some of my free favorite apps not available in the app store.

Many of us also like to have some kind of office suite installed. Here are some office for mac alternatives you should check out. Free and paid ones.

One of the things people like to do when they get a new computer is setting a wallpaper. OS X have some gorgeus hidden wallpapers.

OS X is a modern OS that Apple keeps up to date as it ages. Take a look at its history for some quick info about every release.

Mac Mini Mediacenter, Small & Easy HTPC

Using a mac mini mediacenter is one of the smartest move I have made. I have tried many different home theater solutions without being completely satisfied. Loosing a bit of money in the process too, trying out different solutions. Not all of them are free you know …

Many years ago I had the original Xbox, you know the first game console Microsoft released. It was modified so it could run software not originally allowed by Microsoft. For example Xbox Media Center (XBMC). This software allowed me to play almost any kind of media and it worked well with downloaded movies and TV-shows regardless of what type of codec it was encoded with.

This setup worked just fine for a long time. Xbox Media Center was the best media center solution for me. However you needed to have an modified unit but that was quite common in those days.

Fast forward a few years….

mac-mini-media-center-1

The time came when we got an 50 Inch Plasma TV. TV Shows and movies are becoming available in HD and I want to view the downloaded content in the best quality possible. Most HD content wont play using the original Xbox, the processor just isn’t fast enough. So the search for a new unit to place under the TV begins.

First I tried using the Xbox 360. It worked okay but it was not perfect for me. Then I bought the Apple TV but I wasn’t satisfied with it at all. Even with hacks it could not play the highest resolution HD content. It had a good interface though. If you have all your media in iTunes, the Apple TV might be something for you.

Again, after a while, I found something called Popcorn Hour A-110. The price wasn’t to bad and it worked well with HD content and MKV files straight out of the box. However the interface was slow and it lacks good support for music, at least when I used it. If you are on a budget however the Popcorn Hour might be a good choice for you. Because it plays nearly everything you can throw at it. Popcorn Hour also gets firmware updates from time to time so it might get new features later on.

What Now?

This page could have ended here. I was pretty near keeping the Popcorn hour because it really worked okay … but then I discovered something called Plex Media Center for OS X. I tried it out on my 13 Inch MacBook Pro for a few months and WOW!, it blew me away, and I am pretty hard to impress. This was exactly what I was looking for!

Plex can play an wide range of video, audio and photo formats as well as online streaming audio and video. It also present this content using powerful library features. This is what sold me: Plex automatically retrieve metadata from the Internet, and display it using one of its good looking skins. It downloads covers and artwork without having to manually tag everything yourself. As long as the directories are named somewhat correctly it will find the info about a particular TV-show or movie online.

I was talking about Xbox Media Center above, Plex Media Center is based on that code base. The developers of Plex have decided to dedicate this development for Intel Mac OS X computers. If you have an older G4 or G5 I am afraid Plex wont work for you. You need an Intel based Mac and at least Mac OS X Leopard.

So, Mac mini mediacenter is certainly possible. I have recently done this myself and I will now tell you a little bit of how I did it setting up my Mac Mini mediacenter.

My Mac Mini As Mediacenter Setup

Can you spot the Mac Mini? Probably not because it is inside the cabinet. It is a small computer, thats for sure… Plex Media Center for OS X is currently running. Showing the movies I have available right now. I am controlling everything with my Harmony 900 remote (a buggy one if you ask me), all devices are hidden though!

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Sound Setup

I have an receiver underneath the Mac Mini. I have connected the Mac Minis sound output using an optical cable. More specifically a Toslink to Mini Toslink Cable. My receiver have an Toslink input but the Mac Mini have a Mini Toslink output. You plug in the cable where you would plug in your headset or speakers, it is the same port. The Mac Mini will detect the optical cable and automatically change the output to digital.

toslink-to-mini-toslink

If you already have an optical cable but the wrong connector, you could just save a few dollars and get an adapter instead.

Video Setup

HDMI Cable, easy and simple. In many cases this makes it easy to deal with the overscanning issues that can appear. I used a DVI to HDMI adapter before but when Apple added HDMI ports to their mac mini computers it made it easy connecting it to a TV set.

plex-display-calibration

Remote Control

aluminum-apple-remoteIf you want to use Mac Mini as Media Center you also need some way to remote control it. For me, the Apple Remote is enough and works fine. However when you buy a new Mac Mini Apple doesn’t ship the remote control anymore, you will have to buy it here: Apple MC377LL/A Remote. This is no fancy remote, it will do what it is supposed to do and nothing more. I like it that way.

I have to mention one problem I had. When I was using the remote my girlfriends Mac started responding to the remote as well. To turn that off you go into System Preferences -> Security and tick the “Disable remote control infrared receiver”. That should help.

I also use the built in Screen Sharing App in Mac OS X if I want to do a bit more heavy administrative work on the Mac Mini

 

 

 

Hardware Requirements?

This was a question I asked myself before I decided to go the Mac Mini Media Center way. Should I go for the cheapest model?, or buy the one with a faster CPU?. I thought a bit on that, and then I looked at what type of files I usually watch. I came to the conclusion that the cheapest Mac mini would work for me. I can play 1080p, x264, DTS releases without any hiccups. If you want to do more with the Mac at the same time you should consider getting more RAM. It is extremely easy to install new RAM in the newest Mac Mini from Apple. You do not have to take apart the entire computer anymore. Just pop off the bottom lid and there you have the RAM slots.

Storage?

With HD material you will undoubtably fill up that internal drive pretty fast. That is why I am using an external USB drive instead. You can also use storage over the network if you have something set up in your home, NAS for example. It usually works over modern wi-fi but I recommend cabled network anyway. I find it more stable, and cheaper. Cables can be hidden you know.

Shopping List, And Software

As I stated above, this is not the cheapest home theater setup you can find. But for me, this is the only thing that works the way I want it to work. That is why I am willing to pay for that. Here I have a shopping list for you if you want to get started yourself. I am assuming you have some kind of receiver already. If not you will have to make the necessary changes.

– Apple Mac Mini MD387LL/A Desktop (NEWEST VERSION)

– Apple MC377LL/A Remote. Remote control for Apple desktop/notebook PCs. Offers play/pause, volume control and forward/back buttons.

– 6ft Toslink to Mini Toslink Cable. Connectors: Toslink to Mini Toslink. Premium Quality with Gold Connectors.

– Plex Media Center for OS X

What about support and help?

I recommend you to browse the plexapp forums. You will find a lot of useful information and helpful people over there. Even the developers are active and answering some of the questions users have. You can also comment below if you have any questions or need help. I will try to help you to the best of my ability…

The Mac Mini Computer – Cool Ways To Use It

Put Your Mac Mini Computer To Use
The Mac Mini computer is the cheapest desktop computer Apple offers to its customers. Depending on what type of use you have this can be the perfect computer for you.

If you didn’t know, when you buy this computer you only get the computer itself. You will have to buy a keyboard, mouse and display of your own choosing. This keeps the price tag lower (compared to Apple standards that is), and in my opinion it is nice to be able to choose the keyboard and mouse I want to use myself.

An Apple Mini Mac … Is It Slow?

Everything is relative but for its size the short answer is: no. If you want to dig deep in numbers you could always check out mac mini computer benchmarks from the guys making GeekBench. This will give you something to compare with against other Macs. The unit is practically noise-free. You wont get a headache having this in your room, that’s for sure. Also the computer is ridiculously small. Place it just about anywhere you want. It looks pretty darn nice too!

mac-mini-back-2011 mac-mini-front-2011-2

Light to medium computer work

For general home computing this will do nicely. You can play some games on it. Of course, do not expect to be able to run the latest and greatest graphic intensive games. But some of them can be run. This is the perfect computer if you just do some casual stuff. Like surfing the web, reading e-mail, editing some photos / video, listening to music. Even watch movies if you want. It will do all that and a bit more. Connect it to the TV via the HDMI port on the back for example, I have done so with mine.

You also get the Mac Mini with several BTO configurations, like bigger hard drive, more memory and even a little faster CPU if you are willing to pay for that.

Mac Mini Server

This computer is also great for some smaller server tasks. You can set it up as a Mac Mini server to host your own Blog. Store your iTunes library or even use the Server software from Apple to really do some interesting things. If you prefer using a linux diet here are instructions for ubuntu.

Mac Mini Computer HTPC

The Mac Mini computer can also be used as an mac mini mediacenter. It is not so hard to understand why, the computer is small so it is easy to place in your home. It makes practically no sound at all. We Mac OS X users also have the perfect free HTPC software to make all this work together. In 2010 Apple added HDMI ports to this computer, this makes it easy to hook it up to your TV.

“Unibody” Design

With the Mac Mini model introduced by Apple in 2010 it became easier to replace the RAM yourself. Even Apple themselves advertise this feature on their own webpage. The mini supports up to 8GB of RAM and you can replace it yourself if you like. Just remove the bottom cover  of your mac mini computer and you get access to the memory slots.

2010-mac-mini-3

The power supply is built-in now, you only need a small power cable. No need for a big power brick laying on the floor anymore. Apple have removed the DVD drive, a good move if you ask me. How often do you use that drive anyway? Only with OS install and that can be done using a USB stick. It also now comes with fusion drive as an option.

Problem Ejecting Your Macs DVD or CD?

Get that stuck DVD CD out
Some are struggling with the fact that they have a CD that refuses to eject itself when you press the eject-button. This can be rather annoying, but fortunately it is often easy to solve. Here are some tips for you if your mac cd won’t eject.

(Note: Step 5 only works on computers that do not have Intel processors. If you have an Intel machine, and do not get the CD out after trying the steps 1-4 I recommend that you contact Apple Support.)

1. If the CD dosent come out, close all applications and try again. It may be some application you have open, it might use the CD even if you are not aware of this.

2. If this does not help, open the terminal and type the following: drutil eject and this will hopefully eject the CD.

3. If this don’t solve it, open Disk Utility. And select the CD, then press “Eject”. (In some cases, the CD does not appear in disk utility. If so, proceed to step 4)

4. CD still stuck? OK… reboot the machine, and during startup, press and hold the mouse button. (If you use the Mighty Mouse, or other multi-button mouse, it is the left mouse button that has to be held down.) After a few seconds, this should eject your CD.

If none of these tips work you probably need to call Apple Support.

Cheap Car Charger For MacBook Pro Using An Inverter

If you want an car charger for your macbook pro you don’t have to buy anything extremely expensive. Of course, that is entirely up to you but you will get a long way with buying an inverter instead.

We are (at least myself) taking with us more devices than ever. We are not only bringing our laptops but also smartphones and tablets. All of them want their share of power and it is my suggestion that an inverter is the best and cheapest choice if you want to charge multiple devices at the same time.

Whats An Inverter?

Its a device you plug in to your cars 12-volt outlet. It converts it into 120V AC power. It looks like this: and is a bestseller on Amazon.

BESTEK 300W Power Inverter

As you can see it also has USB ports on its side. Meaning you can charge your smartphone or any other USB device at the same time charging your laptop. Make sure you have an eye on the watt though. The one pictured above is rated for 150w and the biggest charger Apple ships with their laptops is rated at 85W so it should be plenty of headroom for you there.

Get one yourself at amazon.com, they also have an cheaper model rated to 75W if you want to save a few bucks.

BESTEK 300W Power Inverter Dual 110V AC Outlets and 4.8A Max Dual USB Ports

Use Mac Backup Software, Mac Backups

Let us find Mac Backup Software but remember that a Mac is just like a regular PC in so many ways. It has a hard drive, a motherboard, memory, CPU and so on. Many of these components are not just used in a Mac, but also regular PCs.

For instance the hard drive in your Mac is just a regular standard notebook hard drive found in other PCs as well. Just because this hard drive is in your Mac it doesn’t mean it will never fail. All hard drives can fail, even the ones in a Mac so you need to take some precautions.

If you have a fairly new Mac with SSDs it is in my opinion even more important to have a backup routine. If a regular hard drive fails there is a chance of getting the files back. If an SSD fails it is much more difficult.

Imagine all your family photos or videos wiped, just like that. Years of memories gone forever. With no other place to get them back. Would that make you sad? I guess so … deep inside you know it is important to take backup of your data but you haven’t done so yet.

Do it, NOW!

You will regret it later, I can tell you from my own experience. When I was younger I made some music on a hobby basis, I still do but not as much now… All was well and I actually was able to create some tracks people liked. As years went by I was careful not to delete the original project files, but one time … Yes, they where gone, just like that. And I didn’t have any backup. Imagine how annoyed and sad I was, this was actually many hours of work, gone. I still had the finished MP3 music files, but not the project files so I could not go back and edit and change the music if I wanted.

Even after this disaster I was pretty lazy with my backup routine, maybe I burned a DVD once a year or so, not nearly enough to keep up to date I might add…

In Mac OS X Leopard Time Machine was introduced, and this was made to solve the problems I have mentioned above. The laziness problem. You go out and buy an external drive for your computer, plug it in and tell your Mac to use this as your backup disk. Time Machine then starts the initial copy to the drive. The initial copy will take some time the first time. Then it backups your changes every hour. This is faster.

Some argue backing up every hour is too frequent, you can not easily change this yourself but if you use the free software TimeMachineEditor the backup frequency can be changed easily.

So please, make sure you backup your files using Mac Backup Software, you do not know how much your files are worth until you’ve lost them forever.

Converting FLAC to iTunes and Apple Lossless

Get the best sound quality
If you are like me you want to get the best sound quality from your portable device as possible. There are some ways to achieve this and I will show you how you can do just that.

Maybe you have wondered how you can fit so many songs onto your device, and still have room for thousands more songs. The answer is compression. If we just copy a CD without compressing it into MP3 files it would not hold so many songs. And it would be painful to transfer the songs over the Internet, because of its size.

If we DID copy a CD directly without doing anything, the sound quality would likely be much better, you might hear more details and the music quality would likely be a lot better. And that is almost exactly what I am going to guide you through right now.

Hold on! wont this fill up my device fast?, and give me less room for songs? Good, you understand me. You are absolutely right, this will fill up your player pretty fast but let me ask you … How many songs or albums do you really listen to? Do you listen to thousands of songs? Or do you have favorites you mostly listen to? Do you really want the best sound?

Right, rip those favorites of yours in Apple Lossless and keep those songs you listen to less in their current quality state. I will now guide you in how to rip your CD in Apple Lossless with iTunes.

Rip a CD with Apple Lossless

Insert your CD and this window will popup, select NO here because we are going to change some settings.

lossless-1

Now get into the Preferences.

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Click the Import Settings button.

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Choose to import using Apple Lossless Encoder. Then click OK to get out of this window, and OK again in the other window.

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Now click the Import CD button in the lower right corner of iTunes, and it will start to rip the CD and encode it with our newly set settings.

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Now you just connect your iPhone, iPod to your computer and drag the newly ripped CD to your iPod, and you can enjoy lossless music on the go! Or stream it with Airplay!

What about FLAC support in iTunes?

I have to confess, sometimes it annoys me that Apple insist on doing things his own way. For people having their entire music collection in FLAC format it is cumbersome to get it over to iTunes. First you have to decode the FLAC files to WAV for example, then you have to re encode those to Apple Lossless … and not to talk about the metadata lost in the conversion process. Pretty annoying to punch in the track names again, but there is a solution. And as always I try to find FREE solutions and I found one.

Your solution is the following free application: X Lossless Decoder. This will help you with the entire process and save you a lot of time!