Apple Wish List

I really like my Apple products as you might have read in the my way to Apple blog post, but there are still some things I want to have changed or improved. In former times when I used Gentoo Linux on conventional PC hardware, most of these thing could have been fixed on my own. So this is more or less the only disadvantage of using Apple products.

In the hope of some apple execute to be bored and browsing the web, I want to give a list of all the changes and improvements I would like to see on future Apple products. For most of the points I already filled a feedback form on the Apple Feedback page or sent an email to Steve Jobs or Tim Cook. I you like some of my suggestions, feel free to do the same! Continue reading

My way to Apple

My desktop (Windows) and server (Linux) in 1999

My desktop (Windows) and server (Linux) in 1999

A few years ago, I couldn't imagine to use a Apple Macintosh someday. My first computer was a Intel 80486 PC running Windows 3.11. Though I already installed my first SuSE Linux on that 484 machine wiping accidentally the primary partition I stayed with operating systems from Microsoft on my desktop until Windows XP. Then I decided to switch to Gentoo Linux on my desktop which I had used on my servers for quiet sometime. I left a copy of Windows on a dual-boot partition for gaming and some applications like Photoshop which have no Linux version. Continue reading

I²C via USB on OS X using FT232H

Many sensor chips use the I²C bus, sometimes called TWI or SMBus, for communication. Most microcontrollers support I²C also natively and if not I can be implemented easily in software. Connecting I²C devices to a PC is much more difficult as soldering them onto the mainboard (where a SMBus can be found usually) is not a viable solution. Up to now I usually used a Atmel AVR microcontroller in teamwork with a FT232R (a standard USB↔RS232 converter).

The USB 2.0 successor of the FT232R, the FT232H, has a Multi-Protocol Synchronous Serial Engine (MPSSE) included which is designed to support serial interfaces such as I²C, SPI or JTAG at speeds up to 30 Mbps. This sounded to me as an interesting option to test I²C and SPI devices directly from my PC. Continue reading

Simultaneity in the AirPlay Universe

Most Apple products support the streaming of audio (and some even video) data through the network to AirPlay enabled devices like Apple TV, AirPort Express or third vendor products. Apple advertises the AirPlay technology with:

[...], you can stream your tunes to more than one room simultaneously, [...]. AirPlay works over Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection, or a combination of both.

But how simultan can these devices stream under real world conditions? I tried to address this issue with two 2nd generation Apple TVs and an iMac Streaming through Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet. It proved to be a difficult task to measure this precisely! Continue reading