Category Archives: technology

Z77x-UP5TH, Clover bootloader, Mavericks and Yosemite

From tonymacx86


1. Download the OS X Mavericks Application from the Mac App Store
2. Prepare a Installer USB flash drive
3. Install OS X Mavericks
4. Install the bootloader and drivers to system drive

STEP 1: Download OS X Mavericks

The full operating system is a free download for anyone who has purchased Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Lion, or Mountain Lion. Download the Application from the Mac App Store using your Apple ID on any Mac or functional computer running Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later.

1. Open Mac App Store
2. Log in with your Apple ID
3. Download OS X Mavericks

The Application Install OS X Mavericks will appear in /Applications.

STEP 2: Prepare Bootable USB Drive

This step extracts the OS X Installer contents, then installs Clover bootloader to the USB stick.

1. Insert the USB drive
2. Open /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility
3. Highlight the USB drive in left column
4. Click on the Partition tab
5. Click Current and choose 1 Partition
6. Click Options…
7. Choose GUID Partition Table
8. Under Name: type USB (You can rename it later)
9. Under Format: choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
10. Click Apply then Partition
11. Open /Applications/Utilities/Terminal
12. Type the following, enter password and hit enter. This command completely erases the USB, then creates native OS X installer media from the Install OS X Mavericks Application.

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ –volume /Volumes/USB –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ –no interaction

Upon completion, the USB will be renamed Install OS X Mavericks.

13. Download the latest version of Clover from sourceforge
14. Open Clover package installer
15. Hit Continue, Continue, Change Install Location…
16. Choose the USB, now called Install OS X Mavericks
17. Hit Customize and install Clover to the same USB with the following Custom Install settings:

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 7.42.02 AM


(Legacy Mode)

 NOTE: There are a few different ways to setup Clover on the USB. Using Legacy Mode is the simplest and most reliable for 5, 6, 7, and 8 series Gigabyte motherboards with standard default BIOS or UEFI settings.

A few more changes need to be made to the default Clover installation:

20. Navigate to /EFI/CLOVER/ and replace default config.plist with attached config.plist*
21. Navigate to /EFI/CLOVER/kexts/10.9/ and add FakeSMC.kext
22. Navigate to /EFI/CLOVER/kexts/10.9/ and add your ethernet kext
23. Navigate to /EFI/CLOVER/kexts/10.9/ and add NullCPUPowerManagement.kext
24. Navigate to /EFI/CLOVER/drivers64UEFI/ remove VBoxHfs-64.efi and add HFSPlus.efi
25. (Optional) Navigate to /EFI/CLOVER/ACPI/patched/ and add DSDT.aml and SSDT.aml

*See attached config.plist for a working minimal configuration.

STEP 3: Install OS X Mavericks

Unlike UniBeast, this is a 3 part installation process. The system will reboot twice in order to finish the installation and the recovery partition.

1. Turn on the computer
2. Press the hotkey to choose boot device
3. Choose USB

If using a USB 3.0 port, the boot manager screen may appear, at which point proceed with steps a-b.

a. Choose Boot Manager
b. Choose EFI USB Device

4. When Clover boot screen is visible, choose Boot OS X Install from OS X Install OS X Mavericks
5. The system will then boot into OS X Installer
6. For a new installation of OS X, you MUST erase and format the destination drive according to the following steps before continuing. If you are upgrading from Snow Leopard, Lion, or Mountain Lion and you want to keep your files and apps, skip steps a-j.

a. Choose Disk Utility
b. Highlight your target hard drive for the Mavericks installation in left column.
c. Click Partition tab
d. Click Current and choose 1 Partition
e. Click Options…
f. Choose GUID Partition Table
g. Under Name: type Mavericks (You can rename it later)
h. Under Format: choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
i. Click Apply then Partition
j. Close Disk Utility

7. When the installer asks you where to install, choose Mavericks, or your existing install.
8. Upon completion, system will restart a 1st time
9. Press the hotkey to choose boot device
10. Choose USB
11. When Clover boot screen is visible, choose Boot OS X Install from OS X Install OS X Mavericks

The system will boot into the new drive, create the recovery partition, and complete the installation. Upon completion, system will restart a 2nd time.

12. Press the hotkey to choose boot device
13. When Clover boot screen is visible, choose Mavericks
14. The system will launch OS X Setup

STEP 4: Post-Installation

At this point, the easiest way to proceed is to install the bootloader, grab backups from the root of your USB drive, and copy the files that worked directly to the system drive’s EFI partition. However, getting post-installation 100% right for your system is something that needs to be done on a case by case basis. No single Clover setup will work perfectly for every system. For best compatibility, it is recommended that the EFI partition also be reformatted to FAT32 instead of default HFS.

1. Open /Applications/Utilities/Terminal
2. Type: diskutil list and locate your system drive’s EFI partition. It will be under IDENTIFIER. Be sure to use the correct one. (For this example: disk0s1)
3. Type the following, enter password and hit enter:

sudo newfs_msdos -v EFI -F 32 /dev/rdisk0s1

4. Download the latest version of Clover from sourceforge
5. Install Clover to Mavericks with the following Custom settings:


(Custom Install: UEFI-Capable Systems)


(Custom Install: BIOS-Only Systems)

These settings will install the bootloader to the system drive’s EFI partition automatically as part of the scripting. After completion, the system drive’s EFI partition will automatically mount.

A few more changes need to be made to the default Clover installation:

6. Navigate to /Volumes/EFI/EFI/CLOVER/ and edit config.plist
7. Navigate to /Volumes/EFI/EFI/CLOVER/kexts/10.9/ and add FakeSMC.kext
8. Navigate to /Volumes/EFI/EFI/CLOVER/kexts/10.9/ and add your ethernet kext
9. (Optional) Navigate to /Volumes/EFI/EFI/CLOVER/ACPI/patched/ and add DSDT.aml andSSDT.aml

See attached config.plist for a working minimal configuration. For more details and documentation navigate to /EFI/CLOVER/doc. To help navigate the config.plist and add a system definition, check outClover Configurator. For a GUI to mount/unmount EFI partition, see EFI Mounter v2.

You’ve reached the end of the universal setup guide. If you have issues, please create a support thread in the Desktop Support or Laptop Support forums. Special thanks to toleda and Going Bald for their testing and comments during the making of this guide. Good luck!


To get sound to work, followed these steps from HackinDoge:

First off, download the DSDT Editor and Patcher, a tool for extracting/editing DSDT files. I recommend copying the whole DSDT Editor and Patcher folder to /Applications/Utilities (or /Applications) instead of just the application so you’ll have access to all the patches on-disk, as opposed to downloading them individually.

Now that the editor’s installed, go to File > Extract DSDT. For new users, don’t panic at the tons of code that just appeared. We’ll only be editing a small section of this, so there’s no need to worry!

In the left column, scan the list until you see “Device HDEF” (it should under the “folder” Scope _SP.PCI0); click it.


Now, you should be looking at a piece of code that should be similar to this:

Device (HDEF)
            Name (_ADR, 0x001B0000)
            OperationRegion (HDAR, PCI_Config, 0x4C, 0x10)
            Field (HDAR, WordAcc, NoLock, Preserve)
                DCKA, 1,
                Offset (0x01),
                DCKM, 1,
                    , 6,
                DCKS, 1,
                Offset (0x08),
                    , 15,
                PMES, 1
            Method (_PRW, 0, NotSerialized)
                Return (GPRW (0x0D, 0x04))

That’s your audio device, which is what we’ll be patching. Highlight the entire original code up to the last bracket (From “Device (HDEF)” to the bracket above “Device (SAT0)”) and replace it with the code below.

Device (HDEF)
            Name (_ADR, 0x001B0000)
            OperationRegion (HDAR, PCI_Config, 0x4C, 0x10)
            Field (HDAR, WordAcc, NoLock, Preserve)
                DCKA,   1, 
                Offset (0x01), 
                DCKM,   1, 
                    ,   6, 
                DCKS,   1, 
                Offset (0x08), 
                    ,   15, 
                PMES,   1
            Method (_PRW, 0, NotSerialized)
                Return (Package (0x02)
            Method (_DSM, 4, NotSerialized)
                Store (Package (0x04)
                        Buffer (0x04)
                             0x0C, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00
                        Buffer (0x30)
                            /* 0000 */   0x10, 0x40, 0x11, 0x01, 0xF0, 0x00, 0x00, 0x40,
                            /* 0008 */   0xF0, 0x00, 0x00, 0x40, 0xF0, 0x00, 0x00, 0x40,
                            /* 0010 */   0xF0, 0x00, 0x00, 0x40, 0xF0, 0x00, 0x00, 0x40,
                            /* 0018 */   0x50, 0x30, 0x81, 0x01, 0x60, 0x90, 0xA1, 0x90,
                            /* 0020 */   0xF0, 0x00, 0x00, 0x40, 0x20, 0x21, 0x45, 0x07,
                            /* 0028 */   0xF0, 0x00, 0x00, 0x40, 0xF0, 0x00, 0x00, 0x40
                    }, Local0)
                DTGP (Arg0, Arg1, Arg2, Arg3, RefOf (Local0))
                Return (Local0)

You may notice the string of code got bigger; that’s a good thing.  After you’ve done that, press F5. It should have:

  • 2 Errors
  • 4 Warnings
  • 12 Remarks
  • 113 Optimazations

One of the errors can be fixed with the DTGP patch, which, if you kept the entire DSDT Editor folder, should be in <DSDT Editor and Patcher Folder>/Patches/DTGP.txt. To apply:

  • Close the error window.
  • Go to Patch > Open… (or ⌘P)
  • Go to the Patches folder and open DTGP.txt.
  • In the window that should open, click “Apply”.

When the patch has been applied, press F5 again. The “error” window should pop up again, but this time should say “1 Error”. This can be fixed by simply doing the following:

  • Scroll through the list of remarks and warnings until you find the error; click it.
  • The text in the main window should shift so that the following line is at the very top:
    Name (_HID, "ABCDEFGH")
  • Once you delete this line, the error should be gone!

Go to “IASL > Save AML as…” and save the file as “dsdt.aml” (you need to include the file extension, otherwise it won’t have any when saved). Place it in /Extra (or EFI/CLOVER/ACPI/patched if using Clover) and you should be good to go!


Clover Developers:
Slice, with help of Kabyl, usr-sse2, jadran, Blackosx, dmazar, STLVNUB, pcj, apianti, JrCs, pene, FrodoKenny, skoczy,, Oscar09, xsmile, SoThOr…

Source code credits:
Intel, Apple, Oracle, Chameleon, rEFIt and Xom.


Clover boot loader
Clover Configurator
Vietnam Tool
AppleHDA modified for Yosemite

How to install bootloader themes for your Hackintosh

from: MacBreaker


While the default bootscreen that’s installed by Multibeast doesn’t look bad, it could definitely be better. Luckily, Chimera (the bootloader that’s installed by Easybeast and UserDSDT) has a theming feature built-in, so that you can download custom themes to make your bootscreen just a little more interesting every time you boot up your Hackintosh. Chameleon, the bootloader that Chimera is based off, supports themes as well. Jump past the break to learn how to download and install Chimera themes.


To give you an idea of the possibilities, this is the theme that I’m using right now (LoginToLion):


Yes, that’s what I see every time I boot my Hackintosh. Not bad, right? Follow these steps to install this bootloader theme yourself:

1. Download a desired theme. Unfortunately, there’s not just one big repository for all bootloader themes, but the tonymacx86 Customization forum has a few, as does the Theme Park section of the official forums for Chameleon bootloader (which Chimera is based off).

2. Unzip the theme (almost all themes are downloaded as a zip file). Open theme.plist in the theme folder with TextEdit, and change the parameters under “screen_width” and “screen_height” to whatever your monitor resolution is.


3. Go to /Extra and open the plist file org.Chameleon.boot.plist. Between <dict> and </dict> in the file, add the following lines.

<key>Graphics Mode</key>

Replace 1920 and 1080 with the width and height of your monitor, respectively. Then save the file. In Mac OS X Snow Leopard, you won’t be able to save the file normally because it’s a locked system file (in Lion, you can unlock system files). Instead, save a new copy of org.Chameleon.boot.plist to somewhere random (make sure that you save it as a .plist file). Then delete the old copy of the file and replace it with the new one.

Editing theme.plist and org.Chameleon.boot.plist will make Chimera attempt to run at your given resolution. However, Chimera can only display resolutions that are programmed into your graphics card (these are called VESA resolutions). For example, my graphics card can only display the following VESA resolutions at the Chimera bootscreen: 1024×768, 1440×900, and 1680×1050. Nevertheless, you should still edit theme.plist to your desired resolution. Chimera should display whichever one of these resolutions is closest to the width and height that you entered. If you have a widescreen monitor but your graphics card doesn’t have any widescreen VESA resolutions, check out my workaround method.

4. Copy the theme folder into /Extra/Themes in your main hard drive. In /Extra/Themes, you’ll also see the folder for the Default theme. If you want to be really thorough, just delete that folder and rename the new theme folder “Default”. If you want to apply your theme with less of a brute force method, check out Step 3.

5. Go to /Extra and open the file org.Chameleon.boot.plist. Add the following line between <dict> and </dict> in the file:

<string>theme name</string>

Obviously, replace “theme name” with the name of the folder that contains the new theme in /Extra/Themes.

Reboot, and enjoy the new look.

Accessing hosts file on Mac OSX

/etc/hosts file on Mac OSX

I just put this together to cover a question I was asked recently. Might be useful to someone…
Where is the /etc/hosts file in Mac OS X?

The hosts file used by Mac OS X is in /etc/. Windows users sometimes have problems finding it since there’s no %SystemRoot%\system32\drivers\etc folder in the Mac OS. UNIX users might not expect /etc/ to be hidden by the Mac OS X Finder, so they often look in /Library/Application Support/
Accessing /etc/hosts

/etc/ is hidden by default. The easiest way of getting to the hosts file is to open /Applications/Utilities/ Then type:
sudo nano /etc/hosts

…you will need to type in your password. Your hots file will open in the text editor ‘nano.’
Adding entries to /etc/hosts

On a new line type the IP Address followed by at least one space or tab and then the hostname. Examples: mydevsite.local

…hit ctrl + o to Save, and then ctrl + x to quit the text editor.

See here for more about using /etc/hosts for Virtual Servers: Adding an entry to /etc/hosts on OS X
Background: What is /etc/hosts used for?

The hosts file is a simple way of mapping IP Addresses to hostnames. It overrides mappings provided by the Domain Name System network. The hosts file is commonly used by network administrators to provide access to LAN resources when no name resolution is available. The other common usage is to block access to specified hosts by adding host entries resolving them to — for example —

More Resources:

Home Networking Basics


by Dong Ngo

As the guy who reviews networking products, I generally receive a couple of e-mails from readers a day, and most of them, in one way or another, are asking about the basics of networking (as in computer to computer, I am not talking about social networks here.)

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate e-mails because, at the very least, it gives me the impression that there are real people out there amid the sea of spam. But I’d rather not keep repeating myself. So instead of saying the same thing over and over again in individual e-mails, I’ll talk all about home networking basics, in layman’s terms, in this post.

Advanced and experienced users won’t need this, but for the rest, I’d recommend reading the whole thing, and if you want to quickly find out what a networking term means, you can search for it here.

1. Wired networking
A wired local network is basically a group of devices connected to one another using network cables, more often than not, with the help of a router, which brings us to the very first networking term.

Router: This is the central device of a home network that you can plug one end of a network cable into. The other end of the cable goes into a networking device that has a network port. If you want to add more network devices to a router, you’ll need more cables and more ports on the router. These ports, both on the router and on the end devices, are called Local Area Network (LAN) ports. They are also known as RJ45 ports. The moment you plug a device into a router, you have yourself a wired network. Networking devices that come with an RJ45 network port are called Ethernet-ready devices. More on this below.

Note: Technically, you can skip a router and connect two computers together using one network cable to form a network of two. However, this requires manually configuring the IP addresses, or using a special crossover cable, for the connection to work. You don’t really want to do that.

LAN ports: A home router usually has four LAN ports, meaning out of the box it can host a network of up to four wired networking devices. If you want to have a larger network, you will need to resort to a switch (or a hub), which adds more LAN ports to the router. Generally a home router can handle up to about 250 networking devices, and the majority of homes and even small businesses don’t need more than that. There are currently two main speed standards for LAN ports: Ethernet, which caps at 100Mbps (or about 13MBps), and Gigabit Ethernet, which caps at 1Gbps (or about 125MBps). In other words, it takes about a minute to transfer a CD’s worth of data (around 700MB or about 250 digital songs) over an Ethernet connection. With Gigabit Ethernet, the same job takes just about 5 seconds. In real life, the average speed of an Ethernet connection is about 8MBps, and of a Gigabit Ethernet connection is somewhere between 45 and 80MBps. The actual speed of a network connection depends on many factors, such as the end devices, the quality of the cable, the amount of traffic, and so on.

Rule of thumb: The speed of a network connection is determined by the slowest speed of any party involved. For example, in order to have a wired Gigabit Ethernet connection between two computers, both computers, the router they are connected to, and the cables used to link them together all need to support Gigabit Ethernet. If you plug a Gigabit Ethernet device and an Ethernet device to a router, the connection between the two will cap at the speed of Ethernet, which is 100Mbps.

In short, LAN ports on a router allow Ethernet-ready devices to connect to one another and share data. In order for them to also access the Internet, the router needs to also have a Wide Area Network (WAN) port.

WAN port: Generally, a router has just one WAN port. (Some business routers come with dual WAN ports, so that one could use two separate Internet services at a time.) On any router, the WAN port is always separate from the LAN ports, and often comes in a different color to distinguish itself. A WAN port is exactly the same as a LAN port, just with a different usage: to connect to an Internet source, such as a broadband modem. The WAN allows the router to connect to the Internet and share that connection with all the Ethernet-ready devices connected to it.

Note: Since most Internet connections are slower than 100Mbps (a fast cable connection, for example, is about 50Mbps down and about 6Mbps up), an Ethernet-rated WAN port is sufficient in most cases. However, Gigabit Ethernet routers tend to also come with a Gigabit WAN port. That said, switching from an Ethernet router to a Gigabit Ethernet router generally doesn’t translate into faster Internet speeds, but only helps devices within your local network (LAN) to connect to one another faster.

Broadband modem: Often called a DSL modem or cable modem, a broadband modem is a device that bridges the Internet connection from a service provider to a computer or to a router, making the Internet available to consumers. Some providers offer a combo device that’s a combination of a modem and a router, or wireless router, all in one.

Network cables: These are the cables used to connect network devices to a router or a switch. They are also known as Category 5 cables, or CAT5 cables. Currently, most, if not all, CAT5 cables on the market are actually CAT5e, which is capable of delivering Gigabit Ethernet data speeds. The latest network cabling standard currently in use is CAT6, which is designed to be faster and more reliable than CAT5e. The difference between the two is the wiring inside the cable and at both ends of it. CAT5e and CAT6 cables can be used interchangeably and in my personal experience are basically the same, except CAT6 is more expensive. For most home usage, what CAT5e has to offer is more than enough. In fact, you probably won’t notice any difference if you switch to CAT6, but it doesn’t hurt to use CAT6, either, if you can afford it.

Now that we’re clear on a wired network, let’s move on to a wireless network.

2. Wireless networking: Standards and devices
A wireless network is very similar to a wired network with one big difference: devices don’t use cables to connect to the router and one another. Instead, they use wireless connections, known as Wireless Fidelity, or Wi-Fi, which is a friendly name for the 802.11 networking standard supported by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). This means wireless networking devices don’t need to have ports, but just antennas, which sometimes are hidden inside the device itself. In a typical home network, there are generally both wired and wireless devices, and they can all talk to one another. In order to have a Wi-Fi connection, there needs to be an access point and a Wi-Fi client.

Access point: An Access point (AP) is a central device that broadcasts the Wi-Fi signal for Wi-Fi clients to connect to. Generally, each wireless network, like those you see popping up on your smartphone’s screen as you walk around a big city, belongs to one access point. You can buy an AP separately and connect it to a router or a switch to add Wi-Fi support to a wired network, but generally, you want to buy a wireless router, which is a regular router (one WAN port, four LAN ports, and so on) with a built-in access point. Some routers even come with more than one access point (see dual-band router below).

Wi-Fi client: A Wi-Fi client or WLAN client is a device that can detect the signal broadcast by an access point, connect to it, and maintain the connection. (This type of Wi-Fi connection is established in the Infrastructure mode, but you don’t have to remember this.) Most, if not all, laptops, smartphones, and tablets on the market come with built-in Wi-Fi capability. Those that don’t can be upgraded to that via a USB or PCIe Wi-Fi adapter. Think of a Wi-Fi client as a device that has an invisible network port and an invisible network cable. This metaphorical cable is as long as the range of a Wi-Fi signal.

Note: Technically, you can skip an access point and make two Wi-Fi clients connect directly to each other, in the Ad hoc mode. However, similar to the case of the crossover network cable, this is rather complicated and inefficient, and is far less used than the Infrastructure mode.

Wi-Fi range: This is the radius distance an access point’s Wi-Fi signal can reach. Typically, a Wi-Fi network is most viable within about 150 feet from the access point. This distance, however, changes based on the power of the devices involved, the environment, and, most importantly, the Wi-Fi standard. A good Wireless-N access point can offer a range of up to 300 feet or even farther. The Wi-Fi standard also determines how fast a wireless connection can be and is the reason Wi-Fi gets complicated and confusing, especially when the Wi-Fi frequency bands are mentioned, which I just did.

Frequency bands: These bands are the radio frequencies used by the Wi-Fi standards: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The 2.4GHz band is currently the most popular, meaning, it’s used by most existing network devices. That plus the fact that home appliances, such as cordless phones, also use this band, makes its signal quality generally worse than that of the 5GHz band due to oversaturation and interference.

Depending on the standard, some Wi-Fi devices use one of the two bands, while others use both. Following are the existing Wi-Fi standards, starting with the oldest:

802.11b: This was the first commercialized wireless standard. It offers a top speed of 11Mbps and operates only on the 2.4GHz frequency band. The standard was first available in 1999 and is now totally obsolete; 802.11b clients, however, are still supported by access points of later Wi-Fi standards.

802.11a: Similar to 802.11b in terms of age, 802.11a offers a cap speed of 54Mbps at the expense of much shorter range, and uses the 5GHz band. It’s also now obsolete, though still supported by access points of later standards.

802.11g: Introduced in 2003, the 802.11g standard marked the first time wireless networking was called Wi-Fi. The standard offers the top speed of 54Mbps but operates on the 2.4GHz band, hence offering better range than the 802.11a standard. It’s still used in many mobile devices, such as the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3Gs. This standard is supported by access points of later standards.

802.11n or Wireless-N: Available starting in 2009, 802.11n has been the most popular Wi-Fi standard, with lots of improvements over the previous ones, such as making range of the 5GHz band comparable to that of the 2.4GHz band. The standard operates on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and started a new era of dual-band routers, those that come with two access points, one for each band. There are two types of dual-band routers: selectable dual-band routers that can operate in one band at a time, and true dual-band routers that simultaneously offer Wi-Fi signals on both bands.

On each band, the Wireless-N standard is available in three setups: single-stream, dual-stream, and three-stream, offering cap speeds of 150Mbps, 300Mbps, and 450Mbps, respectively. This in turns creates three types of true dual-band routers: N600 (each of the two bands offers a 300Mbps speed cap), N750 (one band has a 300Mbps speed cap while the other caps at 450Mbps), and N900 (each of the two bands offers up to 450Mbps cap speed).

Note: In order to have a Wi-Fi connection, both the access point (router) and the client need to operate on the same band, either 2.4GHz or 5GHz. For example, a 2.4GHz client, such as an iPhone 4, won’t be able to connect to a 5GHz access point. In case a client supports both bands, it will only use one of the bands to connect to an access point, and when applicable it tends to “prefer” the 5GHz band to the 2.4GHz band, for better performance.

802.11ac or 5G Wi-Fi: This latest Wi-Fi standard operates only on the 5GHz frequency band and offers Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1.3Gbps (or 1,300Mbps) when used in the three-stream setup. The standard also comes with dual-stream and single-stream setups that cap at 900Mbps and 450Mbps, respectively. (Note that the single-stream setup of 802.11ac is as fast as the top three-stream setup of 802.11n.)

Currently, there are just a few 802.11ac routers on the market, such as the Netgear R6300, the Asus RT-AC66U, and the Buffalo WZR-D1800H, but it’s predicted that the standard will be more popular by the end of 2012, when hardware devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones with built-in 802.11ac become available.

Technically, the 802.11ac standard is about three times faster than then 802.11n (or Wireless-N) standard and therefore is much better for battery life (since it has to work less to deliver the same amount of data). In real-world testing so far, I’ve found that 802.11ac is about twice the speed of Wireless-N, which is very good. (Note that the real-world sustained speeds of wireless standards are always much lower than the theoretical speed cap. This is partly because the cap speed is determined in controlled, interference-free environments.) The fastest real-world speed of an 802.11ac connection I’ve seen so far is 42MBps, provided by the Asus RT-AC66U, which is close to that of a Gigabit Ethernet wired connection.

On the same 5GHz band, 802.11ac devices are backward-compatible with Wireless-N and 802.11a devices. While 802.11ac is not available on the 2.4GHz band, for compatibility purposes, an 802.11ac router will also come with a three-stream (450Mbps) Wireless-N access point. In short, an 802.11ac router is basically an N900 router plus support for 802.11ac on the 5GHz band.

That said, let me restate the rule of thumb one more time: The speed of a network connection is determined by the slowest speed of any of the parties involved. That means if you use an 802.11ac router with an 802.11a client, the connection will cap at 54Mbps. In order to get the top 802.11ac speed, you will need to use a device that’s also 802.11ac-capable.

3. More on wireless networking
In wired networking, a connection is established the moment you plug the ends of a network cable into the two respective devices. In wireless networking it’s more complicated than that.

Since the Wi-Fi signal, broadcast by the access point, is literally in the air, anybody with a Wi-Fi client can connect to it, and that might pose a serious security risk. To prevent this from happening, and only let approved clients connect, the Wi-Fi network needs to be password-protected (or in more serious terms: encrypted). Currently, there are a few methods used to protect a Wi-Fi network (called “authentication methods”): WEP, WPA, and WPA 2, with the WPA 2 being the most secure, while WEP is getting obsolete. WPA 2 (as well as WPA) offers two ways to encrypt the signal, which are Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). The former is for compatibility (allowing legacy clients to connect); the latter allows for faster connection speeds and is more secure but only works with newer clients. From the side of the access point or router, the owner can set the password (or encryption key) that clients can use to connect to the Wi-Fi network.

If the above paragraph seems complicated, that’s because Wi-Fi encryption is very complicated. To help make life easier, the Wi-Fi Alliance offers an easier method called Wi-Fi Protected Setup.

Wi-Fi Protected Setup or WPS: Introduced in 2007, Wi-Fi Protected Setup is a standard that makes it easy to establish a secure Wi-Fi network. The most popular implementation of WPS is the push button. Here’s how it works: On the router (access point) side, you press the WPS button. Now, within 2 minutes, you press the WPS button on the Wi-Fi clients, and that’s all you need for them to connect to the access point. This way you don’t have to remember the password (encryption key) or type it in. Note that this method only works with devices that support WPS. Most networking devices released in the last few years do, however.

Wi-Fi Direct: This is a standard that enables Wi-Fi clients to connect to one another without a physical access point. Basically, this allows one Wi-Fi client, such as a smartphone, to turn itself into a “soft” access point and broadcast Wi-Fi signals that other Wi-Fi clients can connect to. This standard is very useful when you want to share an Internet connection. For example, you can connect your laptop’s LAN port to an Internet source, such as in a hotel, and turn its Wi-Fi client into a soft AP. Now other Wi-Fi clients can also access that Internet connection. Wi-Fi Direct is actually most popularly used in smartphones and tablets, where the mobile device shares its cellular Internet connection with other Wi-Fi devices, in a feature called personal hot spot.

4. Power line networking:
When it comes to networking, you probably don’t want to run network cables all over the place, making Wi-Fi a great alternative. Unfortunately, in some places, such as that corner in the basement, a Wi-Fi signal can’t reach, either because it’s too far away or because there are thick concrete walls in between. In this case, the best solution is a pair of power line adapters.

Power line adapters basically turn the electrical wiring of a home into network cables for a computer network. You need at least two power line adapters to form the first power line connection. The first adapter is connected to the router and the second to the Ethernet-ready device at the far end. There are some routers on the market, such as the D-Link DHP-1320, that have built-in support for power line, meaning you can skip the first adapter. More on power line devices can be found here.

Currently there are two main standards for power line networking, HomePlug AV and Powerline AV+ 500. They offer cap speeds of 200Mbps and 500Mbps, respectively.

How to build a Hackintosh

Check out these links:

Pioneers show Americans how to live “off-grid”

from Reuters

By Tim Gaynor

BISBEE, Ariz (Reuters) – With energy prices going through the roof, an alternative lifestyle powered by solar panels and wind turbines has suddenly become more appealing to some. For architect Todd Bogatay, it has been reality for years.

When he bought this breezy patch of scrub-covered mountaintop with views to Mexico more than two decades ago, he was one of only a few Americans with an interest in wind- and solar-powered homes.

Now, Bogatay is surrounded by 15 neighbors who, like him, live off the electricity grid, with power from solar panels and wind turbines that he either built or helped to install.

“People used to be attracted to living off-grid for largely environmental reasons, although that is now changing as energy prices rise,” he said, standing in blazing sunshine with a wind turbine thrashing the air like a weed whacker overhead.

Spry and energetic, Bogatay makes few sacrifices for his chosen lifestyle. He has a small, energy saving refrigerator, but otherwise his house is like any other, with satellite television and a computer with Internet service.

“Electric and gas are going to skyrocket very soon. There are going to be more reasons for doing it, economic reasons,” he said.

Bogatay and his neighbors at the 120-acre development are among a very small but fast-growing group of Americans opting to meet their own energy needs as power prices surge and home repossessions grow.

Once the domain of a few hardy pioneers, the dispersed movement is now attracting not just a few individuals and families, but institutions and developers building subdivisions that meet their own energy needs.

“It has its roots in 1970s hippy culture and survivalism, but it has now superseded that completely,” said Nick Rosen, a trend analyst and author of the book “How to Live Off-Grid.”

“Because of technology advancing … and because of high house and energy prices … there are a lot more people moving off grid.”

read more here..

Cheap Drinking Water from the Ocean

Carbon nanotube-based membranes will dramatically cut the cost of desalination.
By Aditi Risbud

A water desalination system using carbon nanotube-based membranes could significantly reduce the cost of purifying water from the ocean. The technology could potentially provide a solution to water shortages both in the United States, where populations are expected to soar in areas with few freshwater sources, and worldwide, where a lack of clean water is a major cause of disease.

The new membranes, developed by researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), could reduce the cost of desalination by 75 percent, compared to reverse osmosis methods used today, the researchers say. The membranes, which sort molecules by size and with electrostatic forces, could also separate various gases, perhaps leading to economical ways to capture carbon dioxide emitted from power plants, to prevent it from entering the atmosphere.

The carbon nanotubes used by the researchers are sheets of carbon atoms rolled so tightly that only seven water molecules can fit across their diameter. Their small size makes them good candidates for separating molecules. And, despite their diminutive dimensions, these nanopores allow water to flow at the same rate as pores considerably larger, reducing the amount of pressure needed to force water through, and potentially saving energy and costs compared to reverse osmosis using conventional membranes.

Indeed, the LLNL team measures water flow rates up to 10,000 times faster than would be predicted by classical equations, which suggest that flow rates through a pore will slow to a crawl as the diameter drops. “It’s something that is quite counter-intuitive,” says LLNL chemical engineer Jason Holt, whose findings appeared in the 19 May issue of Science. “As you shrink the pore size, there is a huge enhancement in flow rate.”

The surprising results might be due to the smooth interior of the nanotubes, or to physics at this small scale — more research is needed to understand the mechanisms involved. “In some physical systems the underlying assumptions are not valid at these smaller length scales,” says Rod Ruoff, a physical chemist and professor of mechanical engineering at Northwestern University (who was not involved with the work).

To make the membranes, the researchers started with a silicon wafer about the size of a quarter, coated with a metal nanoparticle catalyst for growing carbon nanotubes. Holt says the small particles allow the nanotubes to grow “like blades of grass — vertically aligned and closely packed.” Once grown, the gaps between the nanotubes are filled with a ceramic material, silicon nitride, which provides stability and helps the membrane adhere to the underlying silicon wafer. The field of nanotubes functions as an array of pores, allowing water and certain gases through, while keeping larger molecules and clusters of molecules at bay.

Holt estimates that these membranes could be brought to market within the next five to ten years. “The challenge is to scale up so we can produce usable amounts of these membrane materials for desalination, or gas separation, the other high-impact application for these membranes,” he says, adding that the fabrication process is “inherently scalable.”

Eventually, the membranes could be adapted for a variety of applications, ranging from pharmaceuticals to the food industry, where they could be used to separate sugars, for example, says co-author Olgica Bakajin, a physicist at LLNL. “Practically, the next step is figuring out how to take a general concept and modify it to a specific application,” Bakajin says.

“There are many studies that one can imagine to build upon this study,” says Northwestern’s Ruoff. “Our understanding of molecular processes will be helped by experiments of this type. There are interesting possibilities for nanofluidic applications, such as in nanoelectromechanical systems and in ‘smart’ switching [on and off] of the flow through such small channels.”

Randy Pausch: Time Management

Another video lecture by Randy Pausch on time management. Highlights follow, but do check out the video!

Some highlights from the film –

Thank you notes are important.

Time is the most valuable commodity.

People are the most valuable resource.

Procrastinators should set early deadlines the way one might set their clock ahead.

Sometimes you just have to ask.

When delegating:

1) Give authority with responsibility – whatever you need to get it done
2) Do the dirtiest job yourself
3) Treat your people well (dignity, respect, and love)
4) Be specific (date, time, penalty, reward)
5) Communication has to be clear
6) Get it in writing
7) Give people objectives, not procedures (tell them what needs to be done, not how to do it)

Praise and thank people.


1) Only have meetings “worth our time.”
2) Needs to have an agenda
3) Meetings should be limited to 1 hour
4) One minute minute – At end of meeting, have scribe write down in one minute:

– what meeting was about
– who was responsible for what and when
– what decisions got made
– email it to everyone

Don’t delete email.