Why Australian Meta Data Laws Have Not Stopped Online Piracy

In 2015, the Australian government passed legislation. The laws would see that telecommunications companies keep tabs on user activity. This would allow government agencies to oversee national security. In turn, helping curb online piracy.

Although piracy is a serious crime, Australians continue to use file-sharing services. By using a Virtual Private Network, they can mask their identity. Consecutively getting away with the illegal downloading of copyrighted material.

Australian Meta Data LawsWith a Google search of “VPN Australia free,” you will be lead to hundreds of free private networks. These services will disguise your IP address and allow you to remain anonymous.

As of earlier this year, the new meta-data retention laws are in full effect, but will they put an end to online piracy?

What is Meta-Data?

Meta-data are facts, statistics or items of information based on a specific communication. It is information such as the time, date and duration of a call or the IP address of a user that visited a certain webpage. Meta-data does not record the actual website or content of the call, only individual stats.

Many people were in outrage when the government first announced the law. It enables providers to draw conclusions about a person’s life. This, in turn, infringes upon personal privacy.

The Meta Data Retention Law

Aimed at the nation’s interests, providers will keep meta-data on their clients for at least two years.

With meta-data laws now in effect, government agencies will be able to access the. Information. They will also be able to trace the IPs users who are downloading copyrighted material.

This, in turn, could mean fines or potential jail time for those who choose to disregard the law.

Why It Does Not Work

There is one major problem with the legislation. Some Australians are using a personal VPN service to mask or block out their IP address. With this service, users can block their activity from prying eyes.

A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a service run by a VPN provider. It ensures that all data are travelling to and from your computer or phone encrypted and hidden.

VPN’s provide a few different features, for example:VPN features

• They hide your internet activity from your ISP and the government
• They grant the ability to bypass government restrictions
• They allow “geo-spoofing.” This lets you access services denied to you based on your geographic location
• They protect you from hackers when using public WIFI
• They allow you to Peer-to-peer download in safety

In the End

Australia’s meta-data laws are a total infringement of personal privacy. Citizens around the world need to be aware of what is going on. These laws will make our information vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves. They also impeach on the freedom of access to information.

It is now impossible to stop illegal downloading. With VPNs continuing to rule the internet, users can hide their identity and get away with piracy.

So, in today’s age of information and technology, is there any way to prevent online piracy?

The Best Dumb Phone of 2017

Many smartphone users may scoff at the idea of using a ‘Dumb Phone’ in this day and age, gone are the days of having an always-on connection. Finding a Dumb phone with Wi-Fi is all but impossible, as this goes against the grain of what they are all about, but for many, they serve their purpose, and they serve it well.

What is a Dumb Phone?

A dumb phone 2017 is a throwback to the mid to late 2000’s, gone are the touchscreens and the short battery life. Say hello to the all singing and dancing phone that can call and text. Maybe you do get a few extras, but not that many.

There are a few manufacturers who have taken the opportunity to offer phones that are made with another purpose in mind, this you will see shortly.

Best Dumb Phones

Samsung does it again, top of the list, but this time not for a smartphone that is Samsung a157crammed full of features. The Samsung a157 bucks all the trends and brings a thin form factor clamshell design. Even though there is no camera, so no chance of selfies with this phone, you do get five hours of talk time and close to 10 days of standby time. Surely this is more than enough to keep you connected when nationwide texting and calling is sufficient?

Internet

If you cannot do without checking your social media, the best dumbphone option LG Xpression 2might be the LG Xpression 2. Although not Wi-Fi, you can use AT&T’s mobile web service. The three-inch touchscreen the phone provides is just enough to keep up with your updates and does well with light fingertip controls. One advantage the LG has over the Samsung is the inclusion of a camera, yet it is a lowly 2mp resolution. It also offers just under four hours of talk time and up to a whopping 16 days of standby time between charges.

Rugged

If you are the outdoor type of person and need something slightly more rugged, the convoy three from Samsung might just be the ticket. It is pure military spec and as sturdy as they come. It comes dust proof and water resistant and has a hands-free operation for messages or re-dialing. The downside to this phone is, it only works with Verizon’s CDMA network and is not available with any other carrier.

Conclusion

As you can see, if you have specific needs for requiring a dumb phone, or you want to get one for children or elderly members of the family. There are more than enough options available. You do not worry about what operating systems they run on Android or iOS is the first thing that went out of the window.

Android or iOSYou can see why many people call them dumbphones, yet there are the few who call them feature phones. For many though, they can be a lifesaver in the times when they wish to leave their feature-packed smartphone safe and sound at home and require something a little more disposable.

Mac OS Versus Windows 10 – Which is better for beginners

Over the years this has been another argument, which was the best operating system? This argument still goes on, and it may never be answered. Each operating system can do certain tasks better than the other. From here it can come down to user preference.

Beginners

The question when beginners are involved can be slightly easier to answer. Much of this is not just down to the operating system, and be it Windows 7, Windows 8 or the latest version of Windows 10. It is down to, what happens when something goes wrong?

Mac OSCompared to Windows computers, there are fewer users of a Mac OS. If you run into a problem, unlike when you have a problem with windows, family or friends may know the solution. With a Mac OS, it may mean you have to seek the help of a specialist.

On a daily basis usage wise, there is little difference. That is unless you love gaming. Games can be played on the Mac OS, but there are nowhere near as many as on Windows systems, and this is where Macs get left behind big time.

Threats

As with anything that is so popular, there are always many people who want to take advantage. This is one area where Windows fall short. Viruses and hacking attempts are rife on windows based systems. That is what you get for being the most famous in the world. So much for success.

Upgrading Windows

If you have a certified copy of a previous version of windows, Microsoft held a free upgrade offer for downloading Windows 10. Even if this offer has finished, they may introduce it again as they have a major update arriving in October. So fingers crossed.

windows 10If you wish to download it separately, you can find an ISO image directly from the Microsoft site, and from here you can download this file and burn it to a DVD rom and then follow the instructions once you reboot your computer or laptop.

Secondly, as with any updates on windows, all of these you can obtain from the Windows Update app, and on most occasions, this is set to automatic, and will notify you of any updates, including an upgrade update to Windows 10, just tell windows to accept, and it will take care of everything else.

Computer Performance

This is one area where many people spend countless hours trying to squeeze the last ounce of performance from their systems.

One of the easiest ways is to keep your recycle bin empty and defragging windows 10 to keep everything organized. Once you have Windows 10 installed, this application is turned on by default. It is one less thing for you to worry about knowing that all your files are being organized without any intervention from yourself.

Apart from the user preference. It is much safer to say that for beginners they might find Windows 10 to be a better option. There are hundreds and thousands of pages of information on the internet for how to do this and do that. From your first day on a new computer with windows 10, you are never far away from being able to find a solution.

iPhone X – Is it worth the money?

Most of the critic’s results are in, yet these are not as important as the consumers. For these reviews to come flooding in, we have to wait until November for the iPhone X release date. At that moment in time, there might be a different light cast upon the top priced phone.

iPhone X

Price Tag

There are mixed feelings about the hefty price tag and not all of them favorable. There will be the ones who buy the phone regardless of the cost, and the others who will settle for the overshadowed iPhone 8. Is the iPhone X worth the money? Some say yes, and some say no.

Features

What does the iPhone X bring new to the party?

Facial recognition, this they have included so they can finally get rid of the home button. Just by looking at the phone will unlock the phone. They tried this in the presentation, and to start with, that did not go too well. Moreover, what about when you want to take a photo, and the phone is locked?

iPhone X edge to edge OLED

All glass design and the screen is an edge to edge OLED. Extra insurance would be highly recommended, the last thing you want to do is drop a $1000 bucks phone on the floor.

Wireless charging is cool, but the iPhone 8 phones have that, one also has the same f1.8 camera as the iPhone X.

Alternative to the iPhone X

The Samsung Galaxy S8+. This comes with a nearly borderless OLED display which is larger than the iPhone X, and it happens to have a better resolution.

Both models of the S8 have facial recognition and iris authentication as well as fingerprint authentication. The Samsung also offers wireless charging and has full support for the standards put forward by the WPM (Wireless Power Consortium) and the PMA (Power Matters Alliance). Sadly the iPhone X only supports one of these.

There are a couple of other phones on the market which make a great android equivalent to the iPhone X, but it appears the Samsung stands above the iPhone at the moment. Only time will tell once consumers have their hands on the Apple to test it out and tried the operating system.

Viruses

This is one area where the iPhone does excel at the moment. If you are concerned about security on your phone and you ask is it possible to get a virus on your iPhone. The answer is not really. There have only ever been a few viruses on the iPhone, and professionals created these.

There are worms (write once read many) out in the wild which is similar to a virus. These, at the moment only attack one particular iPhone. This is an iPhone that has been ‘Jailbroken.’ If you have a jailbroken phone, that is not the fault of your phone.

As you can see, there are new features on the iPhone X some of which are also on the iPhone 8 models. You can then look at the Samsung S8 and have all the same features plus more for less, and the Samsung is available now, so there is no need to wait until November.

Asking if the iPhone X is worth the money, that question can only be answered by the person who is standing in the store contemplating on buying one.

How Do I Get That Rom?

Introduction…
In order for Basilisk II to run properly, it requires a Macintosh ROM image. On a real Macintosh, the information to run the computer is contained in a special chip, or set of chips, called ROM chips. Basilisk II needs the information from these ROM chips in order to function. This tutorial will outline the steps needed to extract the information from the Macintosh ROM, save it to a file on a floppy disk, and then transfer it over to Basilisk II. The steps outlined below require a Windows-based PC and a real 68k based Macintosh. The resulting ROM image can be used on all other ports of Basilisk II however, and is not limited to the Windows version.

Disclaimer (and Other Useful Info)…
First and foremost, the following tutorial cannot be used on a Macintosh system that you do not own. It is illegal to extract the ROM image from the Mac unless you actually own it. Second of all, this tutorial is not meant to cover PowerMacintosh systems. In its current build, Basilisk II will only emulate 68k based Macintoshes. These are the Macs that run on the Motorola 680×0 line of processors. Also, ROMs from especially old Macintoshes (such as the black and white Macs) will not work with Basilisk II. You are safe with Macintosh systems that use a 512k or 1mb ROM. These include most of the color Macintoshes (again, excluding the PowerMacs) such as the Mac II line and the Quadra models.

Before getting started, here’s a list of some utilities that you’ll need.

Phase One: Creating the Macintosh ROM Disk…
When downloading Basilisk II, a program called “GetROM” is included in the package. This special program allows you to extract the information from a real Macintosh’s ROM and save it to a file on the disk. Due to the way that the Macintosh stores information on disks, we need to get this program onto a Macintosh formatted disk in order for the program to work correctly.

  1. If you haven’t already done so, download the Macintosh disk image containing the GetROM application. The file is in ZIP format, and will need to be decompressed by using a utility such as WinZip (http://www.winzip.com), and is about 124k in size.
  2. Put a blank floppy disk into your Windows PC’s drive, and launch HFV Explorer.
  3. Click the “Write Floppy” icon across the top of the screen, circled in red in Figure 1 below.
  4. A new screen will pop up. Make sure that the box next to “Floppy Drive” reads “A:“. In the “Volume File Path” field, make sure that the path points to the Macintosh disk image that you downloaded and decompressed in step 1 above. If need be, click the browse button (the button that has two greater-than symbols on it) to navigate to the disk image. The image should be called “get_rom.hfv“. In the example in Figure 2 below, the path to the filedisk is on the Windows Desktop (c:\windows\desktop\get_rom.hfv).
  5. Click “OK“. This will write the contents of the GetROM disk image to the floppy in your PC’s floppy drive, in Macintosh HFS Standard format.
  6. When the process is complete (it may take several minutes), you will see a warning message that states that you now have two volumes with the same name. First, eject the floppy from the PC’s drive. Then, click “OK” and exit HFV Explorer.

PearPC:Mac OS X

Introduction…
Addendum: Since I wrote this, I have been informed that there is indeed another PowerPC emulator out there called SheepShaver, and although it does not run Mac OS X, it does run Mac OS 8.6-9. Check it out here!

It has literally taken years. Years of broken promises from commercial vendors claiming to have been on the verge of releasing what has proven to be the impossible task of emulating, through software, the PowerPC architecture (Two big offenders are Microcode Solutions’ Fusion PowerPC and Emulators.com’s SoftMac Professional). So what happens when commercial vendors fail? Leave it to the resourceful folks at SourceForge to come up with an open source (and free) PowerPC emulator for both Linux and Windows. What does PearPC do? Here’s some highlights:

  • PowerPC G3 processor emulation
  • Ethernet networking
  • The ability to run multiple PowerPC-based operating systems

However, there are some limitations to what PearPC can do:

  • The PowerPC emulation does not support the vector processing technology of AltiVec (a.k.a., Apple’s “Velocity Engine”). AltiVec is roughly akin to Intel’s MMX technology (Note: there are experimental builds of PearPC that do dabble into AltiVec; check this link for more information).
  • PearPC has no sound support
  • PearPC does not support USB, although it “fakes” USB well enough to fool the operating system running within it
  • The emulation is, well, slow

I know that this last point is a real killer, but it’s a fact. The truth of the matter is that it is much more difficult for a CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer) chip such as a Pentium IV to emulate a RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) chip, such as the PowerPC, than for a RISC chip to emulate CISC.

So how slow is it? That depends on the version of PearPC that you run. There are currently two flavors: a generic and a JIT (Just In Time) version. The generic version is the slowest, running about 400 times slower than the computer on which PearPC runs (Yes…you read that correctly). So, if you have a 400Mhz Pentium, the generic PearPC version should top out at a screaming 1Mhz on your system. Fortunately, there is hope. The JIT version of PearPC is a bit more efficient, running at a much faster pace of 40 times slower than the host hardware. This means that our 400Mhz Pentium would drive PearPC at about 10Mhz. In a real world scenario, this would put PearPC at about 77Mhz on a 3GHz Pentium. And although this may be a bit depressing, the fact that we actually have a PowerPC emulation environment running in a completely alien computing architecture is well, quite cool.

I am writing several tutorials on PearPC, dealing mainly with the Windows platform emulating Mac OS X systems. At this time, the tutorials encompass the following:

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the PearPC experience!

Questions? Feel free to contact me at pearpc@frontiernet.net.

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Installing Mac OS 7.5.3 on Basilisk II for Windows

Introduction…
Installing Mac OS 7.5.3, which is now freely downloadable from Apple Computer’s website, onto Basilisk II isn’t has tricky as it might sound. This tutorial will go through some of the basics on getting Mac OS 7.5.3 running under Basilisk II, with the specifics focusing on the Windows platform. The techniques described here should transfer over to the other platforms that Basilisk II runs on.

Before getting started, here’s a list of some utilities that you’ll need.

Getting Started…
The first part is the least fun, and that is to download all 19 segments of the Mac OS 7.5.3 installer. I recommend creating a folder on your desktop called “Mac OS 7.5.3 Install Segments“, and saving the downloaded file to that directory. To save time, download only those segments that have the “.bin” extension. Downloading the files with the “.hqx” extension will only take more time. Do not allow WinZip or any other decompression program to alter the files in any way. Simply save them in the directory as-is.

Now, download the Mac OS 7.0.1 boot disk image here and unzip it to your Basilisk II directory.

The next step is to create a blank disk that we will eventually install 7.5.3 onto. The easiest way to do this is to launch HFV Explorer.

  1. Open HFV Explorer. Once the program launches, you will notice that it bears a striking resemblance to Windows Explorer.
  2. Click on the “File” menu, and then click on “Format New Volume“. You should now see something similar to the picture in Figure 1 below.
  3. In the “Volume Name” box, type in “Mac OS 7.5.3“. This will be the name that will show up on the emulated Mac’s desktop.
  4. In the “Volume Size” box, choose 50 or 100mb (100mb or larger is recommended).
  5. Next to “Volume file path, or floppy selection“, you should see a button with two arrows on it. This is circled in red in Figure 1. Press this button, and you will get a standard Windows file requester.
  6. Navigate to your Basilisk II directory.
  7. Type in a name for the new disk. For this tutorial, I chose “Install.hfv“. You don’t actually have to type the extension “.hfv“, as the program will add this automatically.
  8. Press “Save“.
  9. Press “OK“. You will now notice that a new disk has been mounted on the left pane of HFV Explorer called “Mac OS 7.5.3“. This is the disk that we just created.

Copying the Files…
Now we’re ready to copy the 19 Mac OS installer segments to the newly created Macintosh disk. To do this, you will again need HFV Explorer.

  1. Using HFV Explorer, navigate to the volume that contains the folder that you saved the 19 installer segments to. Remember that this was called “Mac OS 7.5.3 Install Segments”
  2. Now, drag the entire “Mac OS 7.5.3 Install Segments” directory over to the “Mac OS 7.5.3” disk, as is shown in Figure 2 below.
  3. A requester will pop up asking you to select the copy mode. Leave the defaults, and click “OK to All“, also shown in Figure 2 below.
  4. HFV Explorer will now copy the entire directory over to the Basilisk II file disk, and will also make the proper conversion from the MacBinary (the “.bin” extension) to Macintosh format (neat, huh?). There is no status bar, so keep an eye on your hard drive light. When it finishes copying the files over, quit HFV Explorer.

Booting into Basilisk II…
The next steps will be to prepare Basilisk II to boot off the System 7.0.1 disk and to then install Mac OS 7.5.3 onto the disk that we just created and formatted.

  1. Launch the Basilisk II GUI.
  2. Click on the “Disk” tab, as shown in Figure 3.
  3. All available disks will show up on the right hand column under “Available disks“. You should see at least two disks: “System70_boot.dsk” and “Install.hfv“.
  4. Double click on “System70_boot.dsk“. This will move it from the Available Disks to the Installed Disks column on the left.
  5. Double click on “Install.hfv“. This will move this disk to the Installed Disks column as well.
  6. Both disks should now appear in the “Installed Disks” section, as is shown in Figure 3.
  7. Now, click on the “General” tab. Since Mac OS 7.0.1 (which is what we will be booting from first) is rather old, Basilisk II needs to be set to report itself as an older Mac. ID #7, the once great Mac IIfx, will be the target machine. This step is circled in red in Figure 3 as well.
  8. Click on the “Run” button at the bottom right of the Basilisk II preferences screen.
  9. Basilisk II should now boot, and if all goes well, you should see two hard disks mounted on the Macintosh’s desktop.

Installing Mac OS 7.5.3
Yes, we’re actually ready to start the Mac OS 7.5.3 installation process! The next few steps will outline this process, which is fairly easy from here on out.

  1. Once Basilisk II has booted, double click the disk on the Macintosh’s desktop labeled “Mac OS 7.5.3“.
  2. A window should appear with a folder inside, and the folder should be labeled “Mac OS Install Segments“. Double click this folder.
  3. A window should open with the 19 install segments. Find the first one labeled “System 7.5.3 01of19.smi“, and double click it. This icon should be fairly easy to spot as it is the only one colored blue. It is also circled in red in Figure 4.
  4. A license agreement will come up. Press “Agree“. (NOTE: if you get an error about a “Bad F-Line Instruction”, you’ve found a problem with the Basilisk II FPU emulation. You’ll need to go back to the Basilisk II GUI, click the General tab, and uncheck the FPU option. This should fix the problem).
  5. The 19 installer segments will assemble into one disk that will be mounted on the Macintosh Desktop, called “Sys7.5 V7.5.3 CD Inst“. Double click this disk.
  6. You should see an icon called “Installer“. Double click it.
  7. A welcome screen will pop up. Press “Continue“.
  8. The next screen that pops up will have a box in the upper left that should have the words “Easy Install“. Click on this box, and make sure that “Custom Install” is highlighted. This is shown in Figure 5 below, circled in red.
  9. The options will change on the window to show several options marked by “x” boxes. On the very first option, “System Software”, click the triangle to the left of the “x” box to expand the list of options.
  10. In the options that are shown, click in the box next to “Universal System for any Macintosh“. This is circled in red in Figure 5 below.
  11. Make sure that the “Destination Disk” option at the bottom of the requester reads “Mac OS 7.5.3“. If it doesn’t, then use the “Switch Disk” button to change it.
  12. Click “Install“. The rest is automatic, as the installation will take place without your having to attend to the computer.
  13. When the installation completes, click “Quit“, and then go to the “Special” menu and choose “Shut Down“. This will cause Basilisk II to exit.

Booting from Mac OS 7.5.3…
The last steps to take involve some cleaning up, and then booting 7.5.3 under Basilisk II.

  1. Launch the Basilisk II GUI.
  2. Click on the “Disk” tab.
  3. Double click on the “System70_boot.dsk“. This should move it back to the “Available Disks” column.
  4. Click on the “General” tab.
  5. In case you are wanting to run Mac OS 8 at any time, switch the “Model ID” to one of the Quadra models (e.g., ID 14, a Mac Quadra 900). This is still completely compatible with Mac OS 7.5.3.
  6. Click “Run
  7. Presto! You’re now booting Mac OS 7.5.3 under Basilisk II.

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SoftWindows 98

Whatever side you take on the MicroSoft anti-trust issue, one fact is abundantly clear: Windows is here to stay. Being one of the newer operating systems on the block, it only seems right that we should try to get this operating system to run under emulation. The first emulator to accomplish this is Virtual PC (see article). But because Virtual PC and SoftWindows take such a different tack on emulation in general, Insignia Solutions’ SoftWindows product became the latecomer to the Windows 98 emulation scene.

A little background information is required here on just why it took SoftWindows a bit longer to arrive on the Windows 98 emulation front. With Virtual PC, Connectix Corporation has tried to create, in software, an entire PC–right down to the IDE interface, EtherNet chips, and the motherboard. By doing this, according to Connectix, the best possible compatibility can be achieved (for more information on Virtual PC, please click here). Insignia Solutions, on the other hand, has taken a different approach. Insignia believes that this approach can only be taken so far, and that in order to gain more and more speed, Windows must be made more and more Mac-like. To that end, Insignia has written special drivers for Windows 98 that will allow the Mac OS to accomplish many of the tasks that would normally have to be run through emulation. For example, whenever one tries to format a floppy disk in SoftWindows, the Mac OS takes on this task and circumvents the normal Windows floppy formatting, making the format a bit faster; nothing needs to be emulated, because the Mac is allowed to do this task natively. But, whenever there is a major code change in Windows, these Insignia drivers may become incompatible. For example, back in June when I tried to install Windows 98 on SoftWindows 95 v. 5.03, major conflicts arose. Elements such as the mouse pointer and the hi-color (16-bit) display driver refused to work correctly under Windows 98. So, in order to get Windows 98 to run correctly under its emulator, Insignia needed to modify these existing drivers in order to not only insure Windows 98 compatibility, but to also make sure that general, day to day applications would still run under emulation and that speed was still kept a priority (this was a must, seeing that Windows 98 requires a bit more horsepower than 95 ever did).

Enter SoftWindows 98 (and SoftWindows 95 v. 5.04, available for download off the company’s website). Insignia updated its drivers for Windows 98, and now MicroSoft’s newest addition to the Windows family runs. But, how well does it run?

First Impressions


Upon first running SoftWindows 98, it’s pretty easy to see that the custom graphics routines built into the product pay off quite nicely. Compared to Virtual PC’s general GUI (Graphical User Interface) functions such as drawing and redrawing menus, scrolling, and opening windows, I would have to say that SoftWindows 98 is probably twice as fast. This is because the graphics routines are made more Mac OS native, and therefore there is less that needs to be emulated. Even in 16-bit hi color, the interface is smooth, and even dragging windows opaquely is quick and responsive. Changing screen resolutions is even a breeze, even when compared with the real Windows 98. Instead of having to go into the Display Control Panel in Windows and resetting the screen resolution (and, in many cases, having to restart the computer), SoftWindows allows the user to dynamically re-size the Windows 98 desktop just as easily as resizing any Mac window. This is done by holding down the Command and Option (Alt) keys, and using the mouse to resize the Windows desktop. For a really strange Windows screen resolution, see the Screenshots section. Insignia is to be commended for this.

Sound is also fast and smooth, because SoftWindows includes a custom sound driver that basically makes the Mac’s sound hardware act as a native sound card within Windows. Nothing needs to be emulated, and so sound input/output is fast (There are some problems with this scheme, however. See the “problems” section below).

I challenge anyone to install Windows 98 from scratch in under 10 minutes. Even on the fastest Pentium II systems, the installation of Windows 98 takes from 20-30 minutes. With SoftWindows 98, Insignia Solutions has included a fast installation scheme that will create a Windows 98 hard drive file, and install Windows 98 within 9 minutes. I was impressed.

SoftWindows 98 supports 3Dfx cards in the VooDoo I and VooDoo II flavors (it should be pointed out that Virtual PC 2.1.1 does as well). If your Macintosh has a VooDoo card installed, SoftWindows 98 will take complete advantage of it if it’s needed. Obviously, the implication here is games. Since this is a software based emulator, the more that hardware solutions are used, the faster demanding applications such as games will run. Since the emulated Pentium processor doesn’t have to process the actual graphics, which are handled by the VooDoo card, games will naturally run faster.

Networking is also very nicely handled quite nicely. As with its predecessors in SoftWindows 4.0 and 5.0 and up, SoftWindows 98 includes a custom Winsock.dll file that basically turns all internet activity over to the Mac OS. Normally on a Windows computer, whenever a TCP/IP application tries to call up internet activity (e.g., a Netscape tries to load a webpage) and the computer isn’t connected to the internet, Windows will launch dialup networking in order to dial up an ISP and connect to the internet. In SoftWindows, dialup networking isn’t even installed under Windows 98 (and, in fact, it shouldn’t be, as this will interfere with Insignia’s custom drivers). Whenever the Windows 98 tries to access the internet, the Mac OS’ networking software is automatically called upon to dial up the ISP. This has some significant advantages over using the Windows 98 dialup networking. First, this scheme is faster. The reason is that, again, as with the graphics and sound, there is little that needs to be emulated. Because the Mac’s standard Open Transport networking software is used to pull data off the internet, the network activity is Mac OS native. And with the infusion of more PowerPC native code in the recent release of Mac OS 8.5, this helps even more. Essentially, Windows 98 and all its TCP/IP applications simply become another TCP/IP application for the Mac OS. As far as the Mac’s TCP/IP is concerned, there’s no difference between calling up Internet Explorer under Windows 98 and calling up Netscape Communicator under Mac OS. It’s a pretty neat system, although there are still some problems associated with this networking scheme.

SoftWindows 98 doesn’t have the nifty drag and drop abilities of Virtual PC (which allows files of almost any type to be dragged and dropped from the Mac environment to the PC desktop), but it does include the ability to select parts or all of the Windows/DOS screen and drag these parts to the Mac desktop. This is very handy for making quick screen grabs. And, SoftWindows allows for PC Executable files (those ending in .exe) to be double-clicked on the Mac. This will launch SoftWindows 98, and once Windows 98 loads, the PC program will run normally. I have my Netscape Communicator set up to use SoftWindows 98 as a “helper application” so that whenever a PC file is downloaded from the internet, SoftWindows is automatically run. The only problem with this scheme is that if SoftWindows is already loaded and running, double-clicking on a PC program on the Mac side fails to launch this PC program in SoftWindows.

Problems


As can maybe be expected, there are always problems with any software product. I found a few with SoftWindows 98. The first, and most important, is compatibility. This is the most important aspect for an emulator, because no matter how fast it can scroll graphics or draw windows or menus, all is lost if that particular program that you want to run won’t run. Just some of the programs that I found that wouldn’t run were not out of the way, off the wall, obscure applications. How does QuickTime 3.0 sound? When I tried to install QT 3.0, I ended up reinstalling Windows 98. The entire hard drive image was completely trashed. Another program that I tried to install worked for a short while (about a day), and then started to interfere with the Windows 98 bootup. This program is Mcafee VirusScan 3.2. Seeing that the viruses are a very big part of Windows life, a virus scanner is very important. I should point out, however, that versions below VirusScan 3.2 still do work. And, there are some games that just refuse to run under SoftWindows. An example is Frogger and Tomb Raider III. Both of these games are 3Dfx based. I must point out that these programs work just fine under Virtual PC.

As nice as the TCP/IP scheme is under SoftWindows 98, it is still plagued with problems. For example, when trying to play the demo for Descent III: Freespace, my modem started to dial up my ISP for no reason at all. When trying to run this game under Virtual PC, things went off without a hitch. Other programs that use TCP/IP networking that gave SoftWindows 98 a problem include PCanywhere, Pegasus Mail, ICQ, and Jackhammer, all of which run just fine under Virtual PC.

And, these are just minor gripes, but I would like to see several things changed and/or added to future versions of SoftWindows. First of all, I wish that there were a more streamlined way of screen resolution/color resolution modification for full screen. Again, I must look at Virtual PC. It has a very nice full screen mode, and when the screen color mode and/or pixel resolution changes, the result is transparent to the users. With SoftWindows, if the screen resolution is changed and the color content changed and you want full screen abilities, you must manually modify the Mac’s screen resolution to match that of the Windows resolution. SoftWindows strengths lie in its windowing modes, where the user can dynamically resize the Windows 98 screen size. But in full screen modes, SoftWindows has some work ahead. Also, sometimes standard dialup networking through Windows 98 is needed. I would like to see the ability to switch between standard, classic Windows TCP/IP networking and the Insignia scheme. This can be done now, but the user needs to move files in and out of the Windows and Windows\system folders; a real pain.

[The following was added after this review was posted. I forgot to add that every once in awhile, almost at random, the specialized sound driver used in SoftWindows 98 “disappears”. When this happens, the SoundBlaster Pro emulation kicks in, which is not nearly as efficient as the native Insignia driver. The only way I’ve found to cure this is printed here; remember to go to STEP 11.]

Conclusions


I still see SoftWindows 98 as a product in development. With all of the new overhead added to Windows 98, adding and tapping into Windows 98 to make it more Mac OS native as Insignia has done is bound to cause some problems. (And, I will tell anyone who hasn’t used Windows 98 that it’s not faster than Windows 95; with MicroSoft’s obsession with taking over the desktop and conquering Netscape Communications Corporation, it has added more and more code that makes Windows 98 slower than its predecessor. This is, of course, my opinion. Other opinions are welcome.) There are advantages to Insignia’s scheme, as I’ve noted that general functions in Windows 98 become faster and more fluid when the Mac OS can perform these functions natively. But, with Connectix’s scheme of emulating the PC right down to the motherboard, compatibility is the strongest achievement. I feel torn; I like SoftWindows 98’s user experience and networking, but when a program fails to run under SoftWindows 98, the chances are very good that Virtual PC will have no problems with this program.

Install OS X on Pear PC

Accessing Mac OS X 10.3 Installer CDs from PearPC…

Buy a Copy of Mac OS X 10.3
Use MacDrive to Access Installer CDs
Use UltraISO to Create Disk Images

Installation Preparation…

Before we can install Mac OS X, we need something onto which we can install it. Normally, this is a Macintosh formatted hard drive. But PearPC does not use a physical hard drive. Just as it uses ISO disc images instead of real CDs, it uses hard disk images. A hard disk image is a file that contains what the emulated Macintosh thinks is a real, physical hard disk. PearPC also requires some other “tweaks” in order to create a working, bootable Mac OS X configuration. (Fortunately, I have done that work for you, which should save you a good 500mb in downloads).

Your download list for this portion of the tutorial looks like this:

PearPC
The hard disk image file prepared for a Mac OS X installation (about 6mb in size). This file is a self-extracting, compressed archive. Double-click it to extract it. Allow yourself some time and some hard disk space, as this image file decompresses from 6MB to 6GB.
The most recent version of PearPC (currently at version .31) for Windows, or Win32. I highly recommend the JIT version of the software

The Installation Process…

1. Create a folder on your C hard drive and name it PearPC. Unpack all the software that you downloaded above and place everything in this new directory.

2. Copy the OSX3.iso image that we created in the previous tutorial to the PearPC directory. This should leave you with three items in the PearPC directory: the main program directory (i.e., pearpc-0.3.1-win32-jitc) the hard disk image 6gb.img, and the OSX3.iso disc image. Copy the entire contents of the pearpc-0.3.1-win32.jitc to the PearPC directory that we created in step 1. Once you’ve verified that pearpc-0.3.1-win32.jitc is empty, delete it.

3. In the PearPC directory, locate the file named pearpc.example and open it with WordPad.

PearPC is driven by what it finds in this configuration file. Most of the items in this file are fine if left alone. However, we need to tell PearPC where to find both the OSX3.iso and 6gb.img disk images, and in what order to boot.

4. In WordPad, scroll through the text file until you come to the line labeled prom_bootmethod. The default value for this setting is auto. Change this value to select as is shown here:

prom_bootmethod = “select”

5. Continue scrolling through the textfile until you find the line labeled pci_ide0_master_image = “/test/imgs/linux.img”. This line tells PearPC where to find its hard disk image file. Edit this line to read like the following:

pci_ide0_master_image = “c:\pearpc\6gb.img”

6. Edit the line that reads pci_ide0_slave_image = “/dev/cdrom” to read like the following:

pci_ide0_slave_image = “c:\pearpc\osx3.iso”

7. Click File and Save As. Give this file a name of OSX.pearpc.

8. Open a command prompt by clicking Start->Run and entering the text cmd or command. Type CD c:\pearpc and hit enter. PearPC’s syntax is very simple: pearpc . For our example here, we type the following, and hit enter:

ppc osx.pearpc

9. PearPC launches (at last!). It presents you with a list of boot options. We wish to boot from the ISO disc image containing the Mac OS X installation material. In this case, we see that this is option 1. Press 1, and hit enter:

The Mac OS X installation boots (and boots very slowly; don’t get too impatient, as the install screen will eventually come up).

10. The Mac OS X 10.3 installation screen appears, asking for you to choose a language in which to install Mac OS X. Select your language of choice and click Continue. A welcome screen appears.Click Continue. Click Continue two more times, and Agree with the license agreement.

11. The installer asks for a location in which to install Mac OS X. Click the disk named PearPC and choose Continue:

12. Since we wish to perform a customized installation of Mac OS X, click the Customize button in the lower left of the installer window. Remove the checks from the items labeled Additional Applications, Printer Drivers, Additional Speech Voices, Fonts, and Language Translations. Click Install.

13. When the installation attempts to run a check on the installation disc, click Skip in the lower right corner of the screen.

You should now acquint yourself with a good book or a nice, long movie. Installation of Mac OS X can take hours. On a 2GHz Pentium 4 system, this basic installation tops out at about three hours.

15. Once the installation process completes, PearPC quits abruptly. This is normal. To finish things up, edit the macosx.pearpc once again, place a “0” after the line PearPC about the existance of a CD-ROM:

pci_ide0_slave_installed = 0

This tells PearPC that our CD-ROM is no longer installed. Now boot PearPC in the same way as in step 8 above, choosing 1 to boot PearPC into Mac OS X. Congratulations – you are now running Mac OS X on a Windows computer! (Note: when the Mac OS X Setup Assistant asks you for information on connecting to the internet, tell it that you are not ready to connect at this time).

Creating ISO CD disc images from Mac OS X installer CDs.
Installing Mac OS X
Configuring Mac OS X networking
PC/Mac File Sharing
Printing From PearPC
Integrating PearPC and Active Directory

Questions? Feel free to contact me at pearpc@frontiernet.net.

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