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You've always wanted to learn how to software yourself—or just whip up an occasional —but never knew where to start. Luckily, the web is full of free resources that can turn you into a programmer in no time.

Since the invention of the internet, programmers have been using it to discuss software development techniques, publish tutorials, and share code samples for others to learn from and use online. If you’re curious about how to become a programmer, you can get off to a running start using tons of great free web-based tutorials and resources.

First Things First: Don’t Get Hung Up on Choosing a Language

A common pitfall for beginners is getting stuck figuring out which programming language is best to learn first. There are a lot of opinions out there, but there's no one "best" language. Here's the thing: In the end, language doesn't matter THAT much. Understanding data and control structures and design patterns does matter very much. Every language—even a simple scripting language—will have elements that you'll use in other languages as well and will help you learn. In classes I took to get my degree in Computer Science, I programmed in Pascal, Assembly, and C—languages I never actually got paid to program in professionally. I taught myself every language I've used in my career, reusing concepts I already knew, and referring to documentation and books to learn its syntax. So, don't get hung up on what language to learn first. Pick the kind of development you want to do, and just get started using one that works.

There are several different kinds of software development you can do for various platforms, from the web to your desktop to your smartphone to a command line. In this article, we’ll outline some of our favorite starter tutorials and resources for teaching yourself how to program for each major platform. We’re going to assume you’re a savvy user, but a newb when it comes to wrangling code snippets, so we’ll keep things at the beginner level. Even just following through a beginner programming tutorial, you’ll be happy to see how far you can get.

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According to OSXDaily, ’s next scheduled update to Snow , OS X 10.6.2, doesn’t support Intel Atom processors. This is no problem for anyone on Apple hardware, because no product runs an Atom. If you’re on a hacked netbook, though, it looks like this is the end of the line for your OS X updates.

Although it’s not confirmed, rumor has it that next update to Apple’s previous Leopard OS (10.5.9) will also knock out Atom support. Until a pops up from netbook hacker circles, Atom machines running 10.6.1 and 10.5.8 should probably avoid upgrading. Is Apple sending a message to users running its software on third-party machines? It seems likely, but it also doesn’t seem like it will do much to stop determined netbook enthusiasts.

Apple breaks Atom Hackintoshes with upcoming OS X 10.6.2 update originally appeared on Download Squad on Mon, 02 Nov 2009 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rather than wait around for your software to notify you of updates (let’s face it, a lot of applications never will), these five handy tools keep an eye on your apps, alert you when an update’s available, and streamline the updating process.

by Wesley Fryer.

Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite software update tools, and now we’re back with the five most popular nominees. Read on for an overview of each, then cast your vote for the one you like best in the poll below.

Note: Clicking on the screenshots below will enlarge the screenshots to their original size.

FileHippo Update Checker (Windows, Free)


FileHippo.com is a software download site that hosts tons of both freeware and shareware, so the FileHippo Update Checker is a natural extension of their web site—only better. The lightweight application (the download is 155kb) scans your computer for installed apps in seconds, compares your installed version with the FileHippo.com database to check for new releases, then lists all detected updates in a list in your browser along with links to download your updates. FileHippo Update Checker is a free download for Windows only. (Original post)

Synaptic/APT (, Free)

The Advanced Packaging Tool, a.k.a. APT, is a free tool built into most Linux distributions and many variants that handles the installation, removal, and updating of software packages. APT is a tool that went a long toward making Linux a bit friendlier to the masses who aren't comfortable installing or compiling software packages on Linux, but it runs from the , so it's still not all that friendly to folks joining Linux from the Windows or worlds. That's where Synaptic comes in. Synaptic is a graphical front end to APT that makes the tool wildly more user-friendly, and—yes—it handles checking for and updating software with aplomb. (Folks using , the most popular Linux distribution among Lifehacker readers, take note: Synaptic will be replaced by the Ubuntu Software Center—another APT-powered update tool—in April of 2010.)

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and Psystar have been embroiled in litigation for quite a while now. At the core of the dispute: Psystar modifies Apple’s operating system software so that it can run on its clone machines. It then sells its computers with OS installed to, well, anybody who wants one. As you can imagine, this does not make Apple happy.

Anybody familiar with The Great Clone Crackdown of 1997 will tell you that Apple likes to keep a very tight grip on any device that presumes to run its software. Apple points out that Windows machines are a mishmash of often conflicting hardware and suffer from quirks and errors and incompatibilities that such a set up can bring.

So Apple’s cadre of lawyers descended quickly on Psystar. In July of last year, the company sued Psystar for copyright and software licensing violations, quickly amending its lawsuit to additionally charge Psystar with violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

And there was much lawyering.

More than a year later, now that discovery has been completed, the two parties have each filed for summary judgment, which, in effect, asks the judge to rule in favor of the filing party because enough evidence has been shown that either makes or breaks the lawsuit.

Psystar’s argument, and the one covered in its motion, somewhat relies on the “first sale doctrine” which says that any purchaser of a copyrighted product can then take that lawfully-made copy and sell it, so long as no additional copies can be made. For its part, Apple says that when one “purchases” its OS, you are only purchasing a license to use the product. Its Software Licensing Agreement (SLA) quite clearly states [PDF link to Snow Leopard SLA] that the user cannot modify the software to run on a non-Apple system.

The idea that what you are purchasing is a license to use the product is pretty commonplace among software manufacturers, because, the argument runs, you can cut any software company’s profits off at the knees if every purchaser became an owner with free rein to redistribute the software. Apple states that no software company in its right mind would put the money into research and development of any software product at all if that were the end result of bringing its product to market. Groklaw suggests this could have ramifications for FOSS and and the GPL.

Continue reading Psystar, Apple file motions for summary judgment

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Learning is a process which continues throughout the life of an artist, graphic designer, and illustrator. Along the , designers find the task of mastering Adobe Illustrator a large obstacle which requires practice and experience in using the vector-based application. Practice comes in the form of tutorials, which offer tips, tricks, and artistic styles from other designers who have mastered certain techniques based on their experience.

From these tutorials, a designer can polish their skillsets on a variety of topics which will strengthen their own artwork. Sometimes a simple tutorial has tips which may have been overlooked based on the subject of the tutorial. By looking past the subjects of the tutorials, an endless array of learning opportunities exist. Essentially, the tutorials become not only a teacher but a “class” which a designer can repeat as often as necessary to refine their skills.

This post presents 40 excellent simple to complex Illustrator tutorials and presents the overall techniques of each tutorial, summarized in a brief overview. The purpose is to pick and choose among the tutorials based on the areas that need improvment. Whether a seasoned professional or a designer just starting out, these Illustrator tutorials offer a way to brush up on one’s skills.

Illustrator Tutorials

Gradient Mesh Bell Pepper Tutorial

  • Use multiple smaller Meshes to create a realistic object
  • Learn to use the Eyedropper Tool (I) to sample colors from a reference

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How to create a Television Icon

  • Using Offset Path on an object
  • Learn to use Gradients to create surface texture and depth
  • Create a reflection using an Opacity Mask

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Working with 3D Objects and Transparencies to Make a Vector Cola Bottle Design

  • Learn to “cut” up an image in Pathfinder and use the pieces in 3D Revolve to create solid objects
  • Map art (symbols) onto a 3D object

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Create a Stylish Colorful Text Effect in Illustrator

  • Learn to use Offset Stroke on text
  • Apply a Pattern Swatch to text

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Illustrate a Malevolent Skull in 8 Steps

  • Working with a sketch and outlining with the Pen Tool (P)
  • Use Outline/Preview modes during design process
  • How to use the Reflect Tool (O) to save time

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A squabble over EFI-X

My Clippings September 16th, 2009 by

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Last year we have spoken about what seemed to be the future eldorado of , the USB key EFI-X

It made it possible to the owners of PCs (with the specifications close to the ) to easily create Hackintosh. It was enough to connect the key before installing completely the standardl OS X. 
A little time ago, the company announced that version 1.0 of its key would not function with and that a new version, 1.1, would be needed.
Tom’s Hardware UK reports the story of the administrator of the blog AsereBLN who was irritated by this news and decided to see what this key contained.

After having removed the black epoxy resin that protected the components from inquisitive eyes, he was surprised to see that it did not have much more than in a banal USB key and than this product should not cost more than 10€ to manufacture; however it is sold for more than 200€. 

One may have thought that the price was justified by the software development, but he also decided to decipher the firmware of the key and  found there… open source code developed by 86 group and hardly any attempt to hide it.
He thus decided to shout about this in a high voice on his blog, and to even propose an open source clone of EFI-X, the EXI-X.

It was learned that the manufacturers of the EFI-X key decided to prosecute him. We will keep you informed of the current situation during this process and we ask you to moderate your remarks in the reactions to this . We have made some efforts during the drafting of this so that no-one can reproach us, since we have only reported the facts without making any assessment. Make of this as much as you like.



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Two years ago, I detailed how to build a Hackintosh for under $800—then covered how to do the same with less hacking. Now that Snow ’s out, we’re revisiting the , building a Hack Pro from scratch for roughly $900.

For folks eager to try a but never wanted to plunk down the high price tag to get it, the Hackintosh—that is, a regular PC tweaked to run OS X—has always been an attractive option. That said, it’s not something you should take on lightly unless you’re willing—even enthusiastic—to and maintain a PC entirely from scratch. I can’t guarantee it’ll be easy, but if you follow this guide step-for-step (it’s exhaustive) and stick with the same (or at least roughly the same) hardware as I am, I can vouch for a rock solid system that also happens to cost a good deal less than you’d pay for a comparable Mac.

Price Comparisons

Most Hackintosh enthusiasts will say you shouldn’t build a Hackintosh primarily to save money, as it’s more than just an insert-disc-and-click install. Still, I always enjoy looking at the price differences between my Hackintosh and ’s current offerings. At the moment, the cheapest Mac in the store is a Mac mini sporting a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 120GB hard drive. For $300 more, I’m running a 3.0GHz Quad-Core processor, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a damn saucy card. I could have made this build much cheaper by skimping on hardware and still ended up with a great little machine, but I liked aiming for around the $800 price point from my last build—plus I really wanted to make it fly.

The most expensive iMac, by comparison, has only a 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo with 4GB of memory for $2,200 ($1,300 more than my build, but it is built into a monitor), while the cheapest Mac Pro has a single 2.66GHz Quad-Core processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 640GB hard drive—and it costs $2,500 ($1,600 more than mine, though it’s a different and better processor and DDR3 rather than DDR2 RAM). In short, my $900 “Hack Pro” sports nearly as good or better hardware than any Mac that Apple sells short of the $3,300 8-Core Mac Pro (which can, incidentally, get more expensive, but it won’t get much better).

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Personal issues have kept me from writing as regularly on my favourite case as I would like, but hopefully that has ended or at least been minimized. Many interesting things have happened recently, particularly regarding discovery, and I have only just began to digest the and do not write on a subject until I am fairly sure that I have the facts down and some solid defensible opinions. However, this is a perfect opportunity to step back and take a look into the discovery between the parties prior to Psystar filing and then just as suddenly, fleeing, bankruptcy. As far as I have seen, this has not been reviewed elsewhere on the web.

Typically, in Federal Court, discovery requests and answers are not filed with the Court unless there is some dispute, and even then, they are often heavily redacted as we have already seen with the Letter Brief filed by Apple on April 29, 2009. In fact, the parties had earlier requested, and had been granted, a Protective Order allowing the redaction (or filing under seal) of certain areas of inquiry in any discovery which must be used as an attachment in support of any filing. Due to these circumstances, we know precious little about precisely what types of inquiries were propounded by both parties. However, attached to Rudy Pedraza’s Declaration filed with the Bankruptcy Court were copies of Apple’s Answers to Psystar’s First, Second, and Third Requests for Admission (comprising 181 separate Requests).

General Information on Requests for Admission

 
Before discussing the contents of the filings uncovered, I will give a short primer for the layperson on the nature and purpose of the discovery avenue of “Requests for Admission.”

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suggest – sometimes it’s helpful, sometimes it’s off the mark. For the guys at Sophos, it’s a source of mild amusement. Why?

Well, take a look at the YouTube clip they generously shared with the world. Among the top suggestions when you type “remove” in for the first word of your query? Apart from annoying pests like Antivirus 360 and Antivirus 2009 (both fake antivirus malware) you’ll also notice AVG, McAfee, and Norton.

What does it all mean? Obviously a lot of people are searching for on how to get rid of those programs. Norton and McAfee – well, those two are apps we love to hate. But AVG? Really?

Sure. It’s a not-uncommon problem with AVG that something gets bunged up with the installer and you need to remove your current version completely in order to install the new version.

Google suggest proves that a lot of people want Norton, McAffee, and AVG off their PCs originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 20 Aug 2009 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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For some reason the installer thinks hackintoshes are powerPCs.  There’s a simple for this:

Download the Silverlight  plugin for .
Mount the .dmg file
Drag the Silverlight.3.0.pkg file to your desktop
Unmount the .dmg – not required now
Right click on “Silverlight3.0.pkg” and choose the “Show Package Contents” menu item.
Double click on the “Contents” folder.
Double click on the “Resources” folder.
Drag and drop the file “InstallationCheck” to the .
Close out the folder you’re working in.
Finally double click on the “Silverlight3.0.pkg” package, and it should install fine now.

VIA Msi Wind Forums • View topic – Installing Microsoft Silverlight v2 on OSX (Advent 4211).

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