(SFOTT) 64on32

My old Mac Pro (1,1) from 2006 was officially not supported anymore and stuck at Mac OS X 10.7.5 (Lion). While being claimed by Apple at the time in 2006 as being a 64-bit computer, turns out the EFI was only 32-bit. This 32-bit limitation is what prevents it from having Moutain Lion (10.8) and Mavericks (10.9) installed. Or so I thought.

Turns out the Mac community will always find a way.
Tiamo on the Macrumors forum had developed a boot.efi that basically emulates a 64-bit EFI. Olivier over on oemden.com had developed 64on32 (SFOTT) which took the drudgery out of making a USB key so that you can install Mountain Lion or Mavericks.

The process went something like this, you need an 8 GB USB drive, an installer of ML or Mavericks. This is where it got tricky because since I was using Lion (10.7.5), the app store checks your Mac and knows your system is not compatible and won't let you download the Mavericks installer, so you have to use another Mac that can upgrade normally. I had to go over to a friend's and use their Macbook (Hey, Dave!). His system was already on 10.9.5, Mavericks but I was able to use the App Store to download the Mavericks installer. I copied it to a flash drive and then went back home to my Mac Pro.

I copied that Mavericks installer to my Apps folder. Then I inserted the 8 GB flash drive and started up SFOTT and followed the instructions. It is an automated process and you follow the directions and it basically takes Tiamo's boot.efi and creates a patch or USB key for 32-bit Macs that allow them to install and run Mavericks.

The process went smoothly the first time around and I am running Mac OS X 10.9.5 Mavericks. I don't have any glitches or bugs so far but then I had upgraded many of the components so it is not just a stock Mac Pro from 2006. I have upgraded the CPUs, Wifi, Bluetooth, hard drive to an SSD, graphics card, etc, so it handles Mavericks just fine. I don't know how much more life this Mac Pro has in it but to be 8 years old and running the latest OS?


Xeon 5355s


My Mac Pro (1,1) from 2006 was the entry level 2.0 GHz model. It was a 4 core Xeon, it had dual processors but each with only 2 cores. I knew that it was possible to upgrade the CPU but really kept putting it off. Finally I decided to do it and the whole experience was rather fun and inexpensive, so much so that I am kicking myself for not having upgraded sooner!

I decided to go with the
Xeon 5355s, a matched set of 2.66 GHz 4 core processors. So, I am jumped from a 2.0 GHz, 4 core Mac Pro to an 8 core, 2.66 GHz and all it cost me was $45. For that price I got the matched set of Xeons and the Arctic Silver thermal paste. I watched three different people on Youtube do CPU upgrades on my particular Mac Pro model. My reasoning for watching all three is that while most of what they did overlapped one another, I did glean little tidbits and tips from each and so I finally felt comfortable to do the upgrade myself.

It went quick, in about 90 minutes, which may seem like a lot of time, but it wasn't. I took extra time to clean the inside of the Mac Pro, the heatsinks were a mess, but I got it all done and it started right up. One of the things I did do
is err on the side of caution and installed smcFanControl. This is an app that lets you control the fans and their speed (RPMs). The new Xeons are faster and there are more cores and thus more heat. Using smcFanControl I was able to get the temperatures down to the levels I had with the 4 core 2.0 GHz Xeons.

This is the first of many upgrades I will be doing to this old Mac Pro, trying to extend the life of it.

Anker 2nd Gen Astro


The Astro came in the same slick packaging that I have come to expect from
Anker. It is minimalistic and eco friendly with no plastic to worry about. You get the Astro external battery, a micro USB cable, an instruction manual and a mesh travel pouch. The Anker 2nd Gen Astro is an external battery that is always on, there is no on/off switch. They have an LED light display that shows the battery level. You give it a firm shake to start a charge or to see the remaining battery level. It is less than 5 ounces in weight and has a nice feel to it with a soft rubberized coating. The battery itself is charged by one micro-USB input port. There is only one USB port and it is intelligent in that it won't exceed the capacity of your device. In all the Astro has 6000 mAh of power and supports up to 2 Amps.

I decided to give the Astro a real workout so I planned a day where I would have to depend on it. I let my
Samsung 7" tablet and my iPhone 4S both get below 30% on their respective batteries. I made a day of taking the trolley downtown, taking pictures, using an app to record my steps, etc. I had the iPhone quickly use up what was left of it's charge. So, the Anker Astro charged it up while both were in my backpack. I then used my Samsung tablet while the iPhone was charging. Later on it was down to about 15% and I used the Astro to charge it back up to 100%.

The Samsung tablet has a 4000 mAh battery and the iPhone 4S a 1430 mAh battery. The Astro has a 6000 mAh battery and a percentage of that is lost in the charging process I believe. Anyway, both were able to get fully charged and the Astro had a single 10% segment left on the LED display. The tablets will chew up most of that capacity pretty quick. If I use the Anker 2nd Gen Astro just for the iPhone, I figure the Astro should be able to recharge it
three times before the external battery needs a full charge.


SanDisk Cruzer Fit

There are times when smaller is better. In the past I have had flash drives that are just too big and can be cumbersome. The low profile of this SanDisk Cruzer Fit flash drive allows you to leave it plugged in to your laptop all the time. With a conventional flash drive this isn't always the case as it may be an inch and half long. It could easily get snagged on something if you were tossing it into a backpack or bag. This flash drive, however, is tiny and with the cap on it is about the size of your thumbnail! There is a hole to attach a small lanyard if you find it difficult to remove from the USB port.

This is most definitely a flash drive that you want to just plug in and forget about it. I have a 32 GB Cruzer that I use with my
RAVPower. I can see myself loading music on this and plugging it into a car audio system too. So far, SanDisk has capacities of 16, 32, 64 GB with this Cruzer Fit but I imagine they will come out with 128 GB eventually.

Monument Valley


This past week Monument Valley finally was made available for the Android platform. On iOS it had sold more than 500,000 downloads in the first month and was priced at $3.99. There was the typical outcry from people on iOS that the game was too short or perhaps too expensive. It is interesting to me that I see much the same thing with the Android crowd, maybe more so. Just as with my earlier blog post about Threes!, I applaud developer ustwo for not going the IAP (in app purchasing) route.

In interviews the developers said that they wanted this game to be more of an experience, more akin to watching a film. This is what makes it a real jewel of a game for me. They could have gone the
freemium route, could have had way more than 10 levels, could have made you spend money along the way to unlock levels through IAPs. But I would argue that might have been a much different experience and not necessarily a better game.

For me the gameplay, the sound, the music and the story are all interwoven perfectly. This game was really meant to be experienced on the iPad and that is how I first played it. In my comfy chair, with my iPad Air, to which I had a bluetooth speaker paired! I took almost 2 hours to finish Monument Valley. I was in no rush and in fact took advantage of how easy ustwo had made it to take screen captures of the game. There were details, backgrounds, lush landscapes that I wanted to view after I had finished the game.

I heard so many people talking, bragging really, of how they beat the game in less than an hour. I feel sorry for those people because in my opinion they totally missed the point.

I feel like the 2 hours enjoyment, the experience that I had for only $3.99 was worth it. I saw a movie recently,
Captain America the Winter Soldier and spent $8 for the ticket and another $12 for a drink and popcorn. I finished my popcorn in the 20 minutes of previews and the movie was over 2 hours long. Now, being a comic book geek I did enjoy the movie no doubt but was the experience better than Monument Valley? Quite frankly, no, I enjoyed myself more in the 2 hours of playing the game and then the 30 minutes after viewing the art (screen captures). So, while I spent the same amount of time, roughly 2 and a half hours, one cost me $4 and the other $20. That is a great bargain.

With the success of Monument Valley, the developers are now planning to introduce "lost scenes", additional levels which should help appease some of those who feel cheated. I will enjoy more content but it really isn't necessary for me. I would rather that ustwo concentrate on their next great game.

Adobe Creative Stylus vs Adonit Jot Touch


I finally had an iPad Air with Bluetooth 4 support and now I wanted to find a pressure sensitive stylus to use. The top choices seemed to be the Adobe Creative Stylus and the Adonit Jot Touch. I have a number of apps that can use a stylus, from Sketchbook Pro to Procreate and even note taking apps like Penultimate. While both promise over 2000 level of pressure sensitivity and features like palm rejection, I found those claims to be iffy and varied wildly from app to app. I suppose they are doing the best they can with the restrictions of a device like the iPad but it is not anywhere close to my experience with my Wacom Intuos tablet and Cintiq. Granted those devices are way more expensive and maybe I am expecting too much from a stylus that costs less than $100. I actually bought both together for less than $120, but still, while they are not close to Wacom they are far better than a dumb stylus.

Both have programmable buttons and both take different routes in terms of the point of the pen. The Adobe Creative Stylus still uses a rubber nib and while they did reduce the size of it, I still find it too big. Adobe decided to go with a
AAAA battery to power the stylus, and while it may last a good amount of time, you still have the additional cost of buying batteries. And they are an odd size at that, some of the local drug stores and such did not have this size, they had AAA but not this smaller size. The case they provide is very nice, you can carry extra nibs, a battery, all in all a classy case. The stylus itself is sturdy, just not as much as the Adonit Jot Touch.

Adonit has a very solid constructed stylus with a screw on cap and it has more weight to it. They include a USB charger and the top of the pen snaps into the cradle magnetically to charge. This was a welcome addition.
Who likes to spend additional money on batteries? Adonit chose to go with a plastic disc on the tip instead of a rubber nib, it does take some time to get used to it. You really have to train yourself to use a stylus with a disc in this manner. While I was turned off at first, it quickly became apparent to me that it was better than the rubber nib. With the Creative Stylus, say I were to draw a circle freehand, that rubber nib still is too big and prevents me from seeing the point of what I am drawing. With the Jot Touch I have no such problem. I can see through to the tip, the disc is transparent. I can draw that same circle and close off that circle easily because I can see where I started without a rubber nib in the way.

The Jot Touch has become my go-to stylus because of it having no rubber nib, and for the easy recharging.




I quickly bought this game after seeing it on iTunes and also the great reviews of it on iMore.com and MacBreak Weekly. My biggest pet peeve of late is this widespread movement of
freemium games and IAPs (in app purchasing). It is so refreshing to see that some developers like Sirvo are steering away from that business model. The developers of Threes! put a lot of work and love into this game and the $1.99 that I spent for it was probably too low. Of course now there are clones coming out like a 1024 or 2048 and they are in most cases free, which in turn feeds this vicious cycle. There just seems to be a vast majority of people that think games should be free or at most 99 cents. How are unique, quality games going to be born in that environment?

I find this game to be a perfect mobile game and works equally as well on the iPhone as it does on the iPad. The music and sounds complement the gameplay and you do have the option to turn both of them off if you find it annoying. I confess I did turn both off after a week or two
but then found myself turning them both on when I was getting higher scores. I wanted to hear what the new, higher tiles might say. Like I wanted to hear what tile 192 "ThreeJay" had to say. When he busted into an old 80s song, "You're the Best" from the Karate Kid soundtrack, it had me laughing out loud!

So far I have only been able to get up to the 768 tile, "
Triferatu" and a high score of 21,000. There is a surprising amount of strategy and intuition involved in getting those higher scores. I highly recommend this game and hope Sirvo has many more to come.

IOGear Bluetooth 4.0 USB Adapter

My Mac Pro had an older version of Bluetooth and I wanted to upgrade to the latest Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Low Energy) standard. In searching around I saw many USB adapters but most that were for Windows. I needed to find one that would work for Mac OS and be able to find drivers for it. Turns out this IOGear Bluetooth 4.0 USB adapter was just what I needed. On Mountain Lion this adapter/dongle works fine and the drivers are ready to go but on Lion and earlier you have to do a bit of work. I ended up hacking the kernel extension for Bluetooth devices to get the IOGear driver working. This blog here was very helpful and made the process a snap.

I get great range with this and it works with all of my Bluetooth devices. The Kinivo headphones and the Anker speaker cube work wonderfully with my Mac Pro now. The dongle itself is tiny and it does have a blue light that stays on all the time. I keep it plugged in on the back of the keyboard so the light isn't much of an issue for me.


Kinivo BTH410 Stereo Headset


I wanted some decent quality bluetooth headphones but didn't want to spend much money. In February,
Amazon was offering these Kinivo BTH410s for $35.99 and they usually go for $60 elsewhere. It wasn't important what they looked like as they would be used for home. I was more concerned with the quality of sound, range and battery life. These Kinivo bluetooth headphones are Bluetooth 3.0 EDR and supports the audio codec aptX. This makes a huge difference in the sound of the streamed music. Range in my experience is about 60 feet and I have been getting more than the 8 hours listed battery time. Takes about 2 hours to recharge them and they give you the standard microUSB cable to facilitate that. Never got the chance to use them for hands-free calling yet so I can't write about the quality of the microphone.

Has a lot going for it but some point out the cheap plastic and build quality
but I say find me something better for $36! Many of the complaints I read about are probably because people are folding them up and tossing them in a purse or backpack. I think that, yes, if you use them on the go then they will probably get beat up quickly. With me however, these are for home use so I don't ever have the need to fold them up. Loved the fact that once I paired it with my iPhone, iPad, Mac Pro, Apple TV, Roku that it remembered those connections later on. These were great when I had heavy construction going on outside, up and down the street. I was able to watch something on Netflix with these paired to the Roku, for example, and was able to drown out the construction noise. Could also come in handy if you wanted to watch TV late into the night but not wake other people in the house.

I almost never got these headphones. Amazon delivered it by the postal service but my mailman delivered it to the wrong address. Two weeks went by and I contacted Amazon and they refunded my money. Then a few days later
the headphones are on my doorstep! I called Amazon and arranged for payment again. What good fortune though, I almost missed out on these great headphones at such a low price!

Anker Cube MP141

I keep striking out with Bluetooth products. Whether it was speakers or headphones, I just have not had a good experience. Now we have products and devices sporting Bluetooth 4.0 and I decided to try again. I had a couple people recommend the Anker Portable Mini Bluetooth Speaker [Drum]. When I saw they had a newer product, the Anker MP141 Portable Bluetooth Speaker [Cube], I chose to buy it instead.

The Cube has a 4-Watt Driver, a microphone to use it as a speakerphone and a 3.5 mm audio port to connect it to other devices. The wireless range is 30 feet
and it lasts 20 hours on a single charge. The battery life is impressive and the sound quality is very nice. Not enough people talk of packaging and extras that you get, but Anker knows how to do it right. They give you an audio cable, a micro USB cable to recharge it and printed manuals, but I loved the travel pouch best of all!

I highly recommend this speaker and believe it is a great bargain for the quality of the sound and the fit and finish of the components. It does not look, feel or sound cheap in any way. It was only $35 when I bought it on




So, you have an iPhone/Android phone or tablet and you don't have enough storage space. The solution for some is to just buy a phone or tablet with more capacity or buy a Micro SD card to expand your capacity. Being a Mac user I couldn't go the Micro SD card route
or could I? I found this on my exploration to solve the problem.

RAVPower is an all-in-one that can be a wireless card/USB reader, act as a WIFI hotspot, as a NAS file server, etc. It does everything pretty well. It is perhaps a half inch wider than a typical iPhone and I have been getting 5 hours on a single charge in average use. They have an app called Airstor that I used to set it up but I now just use an iOS app called FileBrowser to interact with it. I have a 32 GB SD card and a 32 GB USB flash drive plugged in so my iPhone and iPad have an additional 64 GB of storage.

One of the coolest features it has going for it is that it can stream to 5 different devices. Imagine you go on a road trip and you load up movies/tv shows on this RAVPower. While you are driving, the wife, dog and 3 kids can all have their phones/tablets out and watch different streaming movies.

In a pinch you can use this in an emergency to charge your phone. I have read where many call this a nice swiss army knife type of gadget and they are right. The price fluctuates wildly on
Amazon. Some weeks I have seen it selling for as low as $38 and other times for as high as $100.