Technology is awesome: iPhone

This is part of a ‘series’ of posts where I write about some of my favourite pieces of technology and how awesome I think they are. The technology ranges from iPhones to paper-clips. Quite simply, technology is awesome!

iPhone 4

The iPhone. The reason the iPhone is in the technology is awesome series is because of two mains things. The first is the design, specifically the design of the iPhone 4 and 4s (pictured above). When Steve Jobs first showed the iPhone 4 during his keynote speech he likened it to a Leica camera, one of the most stylish brands of camera around. I couldn’t agree more. I love the black glass front and back, and the brushed stainless steel sides are fantastic. Even the small dark bands breaking it up, and the buttons are great. It’s a great combination of industrial design and sleek futuristic tech.

The second reason why I love the iPhone is for what it is. Just a screen, with a couple of little buttons. When I look at the phone in my hand and think back to the days when I had some Nokia 33something, I’m amazed at how far technology has come. It is exactly that feeling which made me want to do this series of technology is awesome posts. That feeling is what has earned the iPhone the first post in this series.

How to: Install OSx86 using a USB stick (using a mac)

I’m sure a lot of people out there would like to install OSx86 on their non-apple computer, or hackintosh, but do not have a CD drive. I imagine the majority of these people are installing on a netbook, or maybe, like me, you’ve run out of blank DVDs. Lucky for you I’m here to tell you use a USB stick to install OSx86.

First up you need OS X. Since I was putting it on a hackintosh I used the iAtkos version of OSx86, as it is made to work out of the box with all kinds of hardware. You could also use a normal retail version of OS X if you have one, or any other distribution. This method should also work for any version ie 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7 etc.

We want to put the files for installation on our USB stick, but we only have an image file (.dmg) which we would normally burn onto a disc. There are a couple of ways of putting the files contained in the image file onto the USB in the appropriate structure, for example using disk utility, but the easiest method I found was to use a little app called SuperDuper! as it was quick and simple to use. The app isn’t completely free, but lucky for us there is a 15 day free trial, and since we are only using it for a single purpose we should be fine.

With the USB stick you want to use for OSx86 (should be 8Gb or more) plugged in, fire up SuperDuper!

SuperDuper!

On the left, next to copy you want to click Disk Image… then browse to where your image file is located on your hard drive and select it. Now click the drop down next to “to” and pick your usb stick from the list. If you stick is not formatted with a mac friendly filesystem then you will be prompted to change this using disk utility. When you’re done SuperDuper! should look like this, where derp is the name of my USB stick:

SuperDupter! locked and loaded

Click Copy Now, enter your password, confirm the prompt and away it will go.

SuperDuper! working

Mine takes 15-16 minutes to complete on average. Now sadly this is where I became confused as I thought the little tick next to Made derp bootable in the image above meant that i could just plug it in and it would boot. I was very wrong.

We need to install the chameleon bootloader onto our USB stick before it will be bootable. This is actually pretty easy. Head over to Voodoo Project and download the latest .pkg version (the one with the highest number, in the highest version of XCode (scroll down)). Run the .pkg file when it has been downloaded and continue until the final prompt before install, which should look something like this:

chameleon bootloader installer

Unless you want to install the bootloader onto your hard drive (you don’t) click Change Install Location… and select the USB stick.

chameleon bootloader destination select

Click Continue, Install then enter your password when prompted.

It should finish up and that’s it! You’re done! When you reboot with the USB stick plugged in, assuming your BIOS is set up right, you should be taken straight into the chameleon bootloader and be allowed to choose to boot from the USB or from your local hard drive.

If you have any questions about the process or anything else please feel free to ask. Have fun!

How to: Setup Sublime Text 2 for web development

Having received a bunch of comments on my previous post explaining how to setup sublime text for web  development asking me to just write a completely new one for Sublime Text 2 as quite a few things have changed.

So Sublime Text 2 is currently out for beta, you can get it here, and if you bought a licence for the first version you’ll be happy to know it will still work. There have also been some changes on the plugin front, some good and bad. Sadly the WebDevelopment plugin is no longer available, but I feel that the functionality of Zen Coding is sufficient to fill this gap. The good news is there is a swanky new plugin called Package Control.

Package Control

Package Control does exactly what it says on the tin. It allows you to search, browse and install packages (plugins) available for Sublime Text. It will also keep them all up to date without you having to lift a finger. Literally the hardest part is installing it, and even that is easy:

  1. Open up Sublime Text and press ctrl+` which will bring up the console at the bottom of sublime.sublime text console
  2. Next up you want to copy and paste the following into the console:

    import urllib2,os; pf=’Package Control.sublime-package'; ipp=sublime.installed_packages_path(); os.makedirs(ipp) if not os.path.exists(ipp) else None; urllib2.install_opener(urllib2.build_opener(urllib2.ProxyHandler())); open(os.path.join(ipp,pf),’wb’).write(urllib2.urlopen(‘http://sublime.wbond.net/’+pf.replace(‘ ‘,’%20′)).read()); print ‘Please restart Sublime Text to finish installation’

    Then hit enter.

  3. When it has finished downloading and installing it will ask you to restart sublime. Do this.

ZenCoding

Installing ZenCoding is now very simple. First we want to bring up the package control dialogue. On Windows go to Preferences -> Package control, on Mac click Sublime Text 2 -> Preferences -> Package Control.

Click Install package and you will be presented with a list of available packages for sublime. We want ZenCoding so you can either scroll down to the bottom of the list, or just start typing “zen” to search for the package. Click on the one you want and woosh, it will install.

Feel free to ask any questions and let me know if you think ZenCoding is alright on it’s own without the old WebDevelopment plugin.

The new iPad

iPad 3

So the new iPad was announced today. Let’s see how it compares to my predictions.

  • It will be called the iPad 3, not the iPad HD – half correct, it is now simply called the iPad. This makes sense in my opinion. They don’t want to get up to ridiculous numbers, who wants an iPad 13, so they just got rid of them. Also since they are trying to get to a world without a pc it makes sense that they take their naming convention from their iMacs and Macbooks. Just update the hardware and leave the name.
  • “Retina” display – Yup 2048 x 1536
  • Dual core processor – Yup, the A5X
  • Improved graphics chip – Yup, have’t heard what it is yet though
  • Better camera(s) – Yup, the rear camera is up from 0.7MP to 5MP. Front facing is still the same.

Not bad!

The most secure way to download content

secureThere have been many stories recently about people having to pay huge fines and compensation for downloading illegal content via peer to peer networks. I’m sure that this has caused many people to stop downloading content via this method. Luckily there are a few tools and services you can use in to allow you to continue to download this way while remaining safe and anonymous.

My first recommendation to anyone who downloads any content from questionable sources online is to get yourself a VPN. A VPN works by encrypting all of the traffic between you and a remote server, which then connects to whatever content you are trying to get hold of. This prevents anyone from being able to look at what kind of traffic is passing along your internet connection, and therefore they cannot tell if you are getting any illegal content. Very handy at preventing those pesky letters from lawyers.

Second up is to get yourself a VPS or seedbox, depending on what you are doing. These are servers which you can rent specifically with the purpose of downloading torrents etc. A seedbox allows you to upload the torrent file of the download you want to the server, which will then download the torrent to it’s local hard drive. Not only is this fast but it also prevents any torrent traffic from appearing on your personal internet connection. You can then connect via FTP to the seedbox and download the files to your local computer. Using a VPN to connect to the seedbox will further increase the security of the whole transaction.

My final recommendation is to stop using peer to peer networks altogether. You should use a direct download service to download your content. A very good example, and what I use, is called usenet. Usenet has the benefit of having the option of downloading via SSL (secure) as well as downloading at the full speed of your internet connection, as you are connecting to real servers rather than other people acting as seeds. You can rent a VPS, much like a seedbox, for downloading from usenet to a remote location rather than directly to your home machine.

Using all three of the methods I have mentioned today may seem like overkill, but it genuinely is the most secure method you can use for downloading illegal content. Even using one of my suggestions will greatly improve your protection and anonymity on the internet.

Two Essential Backlinking Tools

As I’m sure many of you know, and if you didn’t then now you do, the number of backlinks to your site is hugely important in Search Engine Optimization or SEO. These are links from other websites to yours, whether its a blog, forum signature or forum profile they all count. Generally speaking, the more backlinks you have the higher you will rank in search engines.

Another important factor is the anchor text of your backlinks. This should correspond with the keyword you are trying to rank for. For example I would use the link backlinking tools to help this post to rank for that term. The words “backlinking tools” is called the anchor text.

There are all kinds of ways in which you can create these backlinks, but I am going to talk about two pieces of software, which when used together create a very powerful backlinking system.

Sick Submitter

First up is Sick Submitter. One of the main features of Sick Submitter is to automatically create backlinks using forum profiles. These are the profile pages which are made when you sign up to a forum. On these forums you can usually have a signature which will appear after your posts. This signature also appears on your profile on the forums. By placing a link in your signature you create a backlink to your website. Sick Submitter will register at the forum, check your inbox for the confirmation email, login to the forum and add your link to your signature, all automatically.

As you can imagine this is incredibly powerful. You give the software “packets” which contain lists of forums for it to go and post your link at. You can literally create thousands of backlinks to your site using this tool. The software comes with a set of packets for you to use when you first get the software and their forum has many user created packets which you are free to download and use, as well as premium packets you can pay for. They also release a new packet every month for you to use. Using this software you can literally generate thousands of backlinks to your site.

Scrapebox

Do you remember how I said that you can create your own packets for use with Sick? Well Scrapebox is the software you need to create these packets. Scrapebox works by searching Google, Yahoo, Bing and AOL for “footprints” of forums which you can use Sick to register and post your backlink at. A footprint is a unique combination of words which will only appear on a website running the forum software you are targeting. It can create huge lists of websites which run forums which you can bundle into a packet and let Sick loose on creating backlinks.

Using a combination of these two software packages can really generate incredible results. Sick Submitter makes the whole task of registering and creating the links completely automated and quick while Scrapebox automatically seeks out new places for you to add your backlinks to.

I intend to write a few tutorials on how to use Sick and Scrapebox so be sure to subscribe via RSS or follow me on twitter so that you don’t miss out!

A good read: Self Made Minds

self made minds logoA couple of months ago I stubled upon Acron Domains while looking for places to park domains. It is the largest UK based domaining community and a fantastic resource if you’re into that. I think there was a thread about making your domains earn £1 a day or week, and someone had linked to a blog called Self Made Minds. It’s written by two guys, Al and Scott, who each have their own businesses online.

I started from their very first post and have been reading through them all. They have a great many insights into making money online, from leasing domains to affiliate marketing. If you are looking for something to read in your lunch hour for a month or so and want to make a start in a similar line of business then I highly recommend it.

How to: Install flash on your iPhone

Flash! On your iPhone! Yes! See:

Flash on my iPhone

Man iPhone 4 screenshots are huge…

Anyway in order to do this your have to have jailbroken your iPhone.

  1. Fire up Cydia and go to Manage -> Sources
  2. Add the following source: http://repo.benm.at
  3. Let it do it’s stuff then search for Frash. Install it
  4. Win.

Find your favourite flash site. Enjoy. You may also want to install Frash toggle if you use sbsettings, so you can turn it on and off when you want to.