Canon EOS Software

My girlfriend tonight wanted to take photos of a newborn in the next few days and was asking about a remote capture solution. I recalled that Canon had an open spec and since she owns a high-end DSLR, a 20D I figured it would be intact. I found the EOS driving software online but it’s a pain in the ass– it requires you to have the original EOS software installed or to have the original install CD’s at your disposal. Having neither, as this is a new MBP I did a bit of research and found someone who had managed to hack the updater (which is really just the installer in disguise).

It’s really quite simple. Rip the “UpdateInstaller” package out of the mounted installer pack. Right-click, “Explore Package Contents”. Browse through Contents->Resources->SDI-bundle. Explore Package Contents again. Lastly, delete “update.plist”. Voila!

And once we were in it was indeed very simple to remote control the 2OD through the Mac. Why did that have to be so arduous?

MacBook Pro: One Week Later

I’ve now had my MBP for one week of semi-active use. My primary machine at work has been a 4-year old Dell 17″ Insipron loaded with Windows7 x 64. Over the past week I’ve found a lot to love about my new Mac, notwithstanding the abiliity to actually run the iPhone Simulator in a resolution that actually fits it on the screen. I’ve loaded Parallels 5 and it’s really taken care of the necessary evil of running PC apps on my Mac. It’s seamless, reasonably fast (once the VM is running in my session) and it totally took the Win7 install perfectly.

I’ve also loaded some of the Pro Apps, lamely Logic. I’d like to spend a bit more time with it but I just haven’t had the time. I’ve cheked out some of the tutorials over at, but I haven’t purchased anything yet. Some big changes are coming in my career that should allow me the time to do some of those things. For now I’m settling for ramping back up in the iPhone SDK (OS4 baby!) and following along with the StanfordU classes. Now that I’ve got a legit machine hopefully I’ll be submitting something to the App Store soon.

Intel Light Peak Technology

I do occasionally scout the forums on MacRumors but like any good forum out there it is really hit or miss. Aside from the grandstanding of folks who’ve apparently tirelessly been waiting for an Apple MBP update who now believe they were “screwed” and will be waiting for the next revision, it tends to be ground zero for some of the new Apple technologies coming soon.

One of those technologies is Intel’s Light Peak tech. In short it replaces a copper wire based bus system internally with one made of fiber-optic conduit. I’ve read some reports that suggest Apple originally came to Intel with the need/want to reduce the physical size of the cable bundles inside its machines.

Closeup of fiber-optic connector

Light Peak Connector

In a machine with some breathing room the 4-wire USB bundle doesn’t seem large, but given how many ports are used in portable machines today and that space is a premium in those enclosures I can see the problem.

Unfortunately the tech isn’t ready for primetime, yet. Engadget ran a story yesterday that reported that Intel is claiming it’ll probably be ready for primetime late this year or early next year. One of the things they’re still working on is providing power to these ports in addition to data. That means augmenting those fiber bundles with some copper to carry electrons back and forth (bummer) with those photons.

LightPeak coexisting with USB3

Light Peak coexisting with USB3

Back to MacRumors for a second: There’s a little kerfluffle there about waiting for this technology to supplant USB3.0. I don’t think that’s going to happen: From what I understand the end-use ports can still be ferried information via LightPeak’s project 10 GB/s throughput. The end user will still be able to use whatever ports they’d like but internally manufacturers could use cables with a lot less bulk and connect them to an insanely speedy bus.

Personally I’m excited to see this tech out in the mainstream. Let’s hope Intel continues getting their act together.

Bought a new 17″ MacBook Pro!

I took the plunge after Apple finally updated their (300 day old!) MacBook Pro line. I’m excited on many levels: this is the first laptop I’ve ever bought for myself first off. I’ve always had access to desktops that I built myself or with my dad as a kid. My most recent machine is the 4-core i7 from last year with HT, 8 processors showing up in Win7. Its been my beast but I haven’t had a whole lot to use it for. I packed it with an insane (at the time) amount of RAM, and a high-end video card to play games with. To my astonishment I ended up playing games from yester-year via Steam; Unreal Tournament, Descent 3 or games that didn’t require a whole lot of graphics complexity. Soon after my attention began to shift.

In March I picked up a Dell Mini 9 on a one-day sale for super-cheap. I’d become interested in iPhone AppDev and needed a machine at home to do it on. The Mini9 became the perfect Hackintosh for me to learn, love and eventually decide I wanted to try this for real. Everything was good until the pre-release SDK of the iPad which ran in a simulator that was larger than my entire display. So, I began waiting for Apple to refresh their line. In early January I made some predictions about what chips would actually be used. Let’s take a look shall we?

Most of the geeks I know and around the web seem to think that the Arrandale chips are destined to be in the next MBP’s. Based on what I’ve seen so far of package sizing, I’m projecting the following:
17? MacBook Pro Core i7-620M (2.66 Ghz -> 3.33 Ghz Burst) @ 35 watts in the rPGA pack
15? MacBook Pro Core i5-520M/540M (2.4/2.53 Ghz -> 2.93/3.06 Ghz Burst) @ 35 watts in the rPGA pack
13? MacBook Pro Core i3-350M (2.26 Ghz No Burst) @ 35 watts in the rPGA pack

I was definitely right about the 17″ and 15″s and power consumption requirements. The 13″ sadly did not see an upgrade, but I’m surmising that’s due to the high power consumption with the i3 chips and maybe even no real reason to go further. I also have this hunch that we’ll see the end of the 13″ MBP; it should have remained just a standard MacBook.

So back to my config:

2.66GHz Intel Core i7
500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400
SuperDrive 8X DL
MBP 17″ HR Glossy WS Display

I figure once I get Logic Pro installed I’ll be using an eSATA card on the EC slot and dumping my media there. I’m really excited; I can’t wait to see this thing on Wednesday!

iPhone OS 4.0

I’m sure you can read up elsewhere on the interwebs about some of the more critical features of the upcoming iPhone OS4 release. What I’d really like to concentrate on is a new clause that I signed yesterday involving development and use of 3rd-party IDE’s or non ObjC languages. The critical portion is reproduced here:

Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

This ends Adobe’s attempt to become a bit more relevant in the web space and I honestly feel a bit sorry for them. Flash has enjoyed being the king of the web for so long they’ve grown a bit complacent. However, if someone tried to convince me 5 years ago that the next battleground would be in the mobile device space and that Apple (ha!) would be on the forefront I would’ve laughed.

So, back to the changes in the dev agreement. My girlfriend’s cousin is currently a Java developer and has been dabbling a bit in iPhone dev, but only through a middle-ware tool called AlcheMo or Flash’s upcoming CS5. This has been his only expsoure to the OS because it would be a challenge for him to learn ObjC this late in the game– in his defense, he didn’t start out as a C programmer so I can understand a bit of his frustration. It isn’t as though he’ll be unable to develop for the iPhone, but he’ll need to do so: a) using a Mac and b) using XCode. As someone who started from the ground up one of these is a bit of a financial investment which is why I started with a Hackintosh.iPhone OS 4 Logo

On the flip side Apple is doing what they’ve always done: encourage shift to their platform. I’m more than happy to develop on a Mac and use one as my primary machine day to day. However the work that I do does occasionally require Windows so I will dual-boot.

iPhone OS4 Outed!

Apple is in the middle of a press event right now detailing some of the major features of the next iPhone OS release, due out in Summer 2010. I’ve read that there will be a Developer Preview released today.

My only problem currently is that I’m still awaiting a MacBook Pro refresh (due in January mind you) that would allow me to migrate to Snow Leopard which is the only thing the current SDK supports (sadly). One of the larger requested features, Multitasking is now available and it looks very sweet. They’ve demonstrated the audio library so Pandora can finally exist in the background as you run other apps, and Skype(!!) maintaining a background status while you’re using the phone for other things.

It’s really exciting but I definitely need some new development hardware if I’m going to take advantage of any of this cool stuff. More later.