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It’s been a while since I’ve put up a tutorial regarding anything dealing with XBox360. There is a reason for that… Quite simply, God of War III came out on the PS3 as well as Gran Turismo 5 so I had no choice but to ditch the 360 and get a PS3. In my opinion it was a good move. I don’t want to make this post about comparing the 360 to the PS3, so with that in mind, I would like to post up a quick tutorial on how to burn Xbox 360 backups using a new app I developed called isoBurn. isoBurn, simply put is an app that burns ISO’s and DMG’s for the Mac. It is the only app that I am aware of that can correctly burn backups of 360 games using native Mac OS X API’s, better yet, I have tested this app on OS X 10.7 (Lion) the next release of Apple’s operating system and it works flawlessly.

Tools you will need for a successful Burn:

  • isoBurn 1.0 (Available at the Mac App Store – Link) NOTE: As of 10/4/2011, Version 1.2 has been submitted to the Mac App Store with support for XGD3
  • abgx360 for Mac (Available on the abgx website – Mirror 1)
  • Blank Dual Layer Verbatim Media (All the others suck in my opinion and will not constantly burn a working game)
  • A Mac running at least OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)
  • A good DVD burner. The ones that come with the Mac’s are not the best and you would be better off with a good external burner.
  • A backup of a 360 game that you would like to burn
  • A modded Xbox360 running firmware iXtreme LT + for best compatibility

Ok, so now that you’ve got everything you need, fire up abgx360. We use abgx360 to verify the ISO and make sure that everything is properly patched and to generate a .dvd file if there isn’t one already. At the end of the tutorial I will cover briefly how you can use isoBurn to verify your disc to ensure that it has been burned properly. This is a good way to check some discs that you may have burned previously that don’t work, at least you will be able to know why they don’t work.

Verify your ISO with abgx360:

Open abgx360 and then open up your ISO file of the game by clicking on the blue folder icon to the right of the text input field. You should have something similar to the below illustration.

Now click on the AutoFix tab and copy the settings below.

When you have everything set correctly you can click on the blue Launch button at the very bottom it should turn green when you hover over it with your mouse.

After clicking on the Launch button, a Terminal window should open and you should start seeing a bunch of text similar to the below. DO NOT INTERRUPT THIS PROCESS. Let it do its thing.

Notice the lines in Red, the game I am working with has a blank DMI, a blank PFI and my Stealth check has failed. These are all bad things and fortunately are all things that abgx360 will fix for us.

You will notice that towards the bottom you’ll see some nice green lines of text. PFI, DMI, Video and Stealth have all been fixed, now it just needs to verify the CRC of the ISO. Let it finish, be patient this could take a few minutes. Finally we know that the program has finished when we see the line AutoFix was successful!

You can now close the Terminal and abx360. We can now move on to burn our game using isoBurn… Do me favor, when you get a chance, please rate isoBurn on the Mac App Store.

 

Burn your ISO with isoBurn:

Go ahead and open up isoBurn, if you haven’t downloaded it yet you can get it here from the Mac App Store. The interface of isoBurn is pretty simplistic which makes it a very easy tool to work with.

Opening isoBurn should present you with an interface as shown below:

Let’s quickly go over the interface. The big square on the top left is where you drag your ISO or DVD file into. Tip: If you drag your DVD file into the square, isoBurn will automatically set the correct layer break for you. If you drag in the ISO you have to set the layer break manually. To the right of the square you have File Name, File Type and File Size, these should all be obvious.

The Drive drop down will allow you to choose which burner you want to use if you have more then one. The speed allows you to select your burn speed, which should be 2x. isoBurn displays some general information about your chosen burner below the drive selection and speed pop ups. There is also a button that allows you to eject your disc if you need to.

The last section of the Burn interface is Burn Settings, this is where you would manually set your layer break if you used the ISO instead of the DVD file. From here you have the option of selecting to eject the disc or mount the disc after burn. Last but not least, we have the Burn button, when you’re ready to burn, click it. Now for the tutorial with a few screen shots.

With isoBurn opened, drag your DVD or ISO onto the big square on the left hand side, you will know that it worked when isoBurn shows you the File Name, File Type and File size of your image. See the screenshot below for an example:

If you used the DVD file you should have noticed that the layer break was automatically set for you, please reference the screen shot above.

If you used the ISO file you will need to enter the layer break manually, the proper layer break is 1913760. You should enter this into the layer break text field under Burn Settings.

Select your burner if you have more then one.

Select the Burn speed, IMPORTANT: Do not burn faster then 2x, it does not produce consistent results and may very well leave you with coasters.

Click the burn button. Wait about 45 minutes and your game should be ready.

 

Verify your burned disc with isoBurn:

isoBurn, is not just an ISO / DMG image burner but is also a tool that can provide you with useful information about any of your discs. One thing I’ve noticed with coasters is that for the most part, either the layer break was incorrect or the session was not properly closed. isoBurn can verify this for you, with the Media Info tab.

With isoBurn opened, go ahead and click on the Media Info Tab and put a burned 360 game in your burner. isoBurn will immediately analyze the disc and give you a few important pieces of information. See screen shots below for a game that has been correctly burned and one that will never play in a 360.

Screen Shot A

Screen Shot B

If you’ll notice on screen shot A, the key pieces of information are the layer break, Sessions and Appendable. A correct layer break should be 1913760 and there should be 1 session and Appendable should be No.

Now if you’ll look at screen shot B, you’ll notice that the Appendable is set to yes and that there is no session. This is an example of a disc that will never play on a 360.

This feature adds a valuable troubleshooting ability to your tool set. This will allow you to rule out if there is anything wrong with the burn itself or if there is another issue. How many times have you asked yourself after a burn and finding out that it doesn’t play if its because of a bad burn or because of outdated firmware that doesn’t support Wave ‘X’

Well with this tool at least you will know that the layer break is correct and that the session is closed and if abgx360 verified before you burned then there must be an issue with your 360 or the firmware you are using.

Please don’t forget to rate isoBurn on the Mac App Store, it only takes a minute, do it while your waiting for a burn to finish :)

Tutorial Disclaimer: This tutorial or the software isoBurn does not claim that it is able to produce working backups of Xbox360 games. This tutorial is only based from my own experiences and does not guarantee results. Use this tutorial and isoBurn at your own risk.

Legal Disclaimer: Copying or downloading games that you have not legally purchased or own is illegal in all countries. This violates not only laws in your own country, but international copyright laws as well. The purpose of this turoial is for making backup copies of games that you legally own. Software piracy is illegal carries a huge penalty if convicted, is ethically wrong, and hurts the game companies. Support the game developers by purchasing the games you play. You wouldn’t work for free would you? I am offering a SERVICE to those who cannot make backups of the games they legally own. Chris Fletcher is not affiliated with ANY of the companies, Microsoft, Xbox 360 or any others.

So… you’ve installed the latest SDK and XCode from Apple’s developer site only to find out that the only base SDK’s you are left to develop with are 3.2 and 4.0. What about if you have an iPhone 2G as your only development device? The iPhone 2G only goes up to iOS 3.1.3 and if you are stuck with the lowest base SDK of 3.2, you will not be able to push your apps to your iPhone.

This is exactly what happened to me. I downloaded the beta SDK for the 4.0 iOS when it came out. Little did I know that when you install that, it removes all SDK’s prior to 3.2.

Luckily for us, Apple is kind enough to keep previous versions of Xcode and their SDK’s available for download. Here is a list of available downloads.

You have to be logged into the Apple developer site http://developer.apple.com to download the above listed SDK’s. I downloaded the 3.1.3 Snow Leopard SDK since I already have 3.2 and 4.0 and 3.1.3 includes all of the above mentioned SDK’s as well as 2.0 and 2.1.

Once you’ve downloaded the SDK of your choice it should be in the form of a DMG, go ahead and mount that and open up the resulting volume. You should get something that looks like the image below.

iPhone SDK Volume

iPhone SDK Volume

At this point you will need to open up the Packages folder rather then running the installer because all we want are the SDK’s. When you open up the Packages folder scroll down a bit until you see the SDK’s. You should see something similar to the screen shot below.

Packages Folder

Packages Folder

You’ll see that there are device SDK’s and simulator SDK’s. You don’t have to install the simulator SDK’s if you don’t want to because all we are really after here is to be able to push our apps to an iPhone with an iOS earlier then 3.2. Double click on one of the iPhone SDK’s and you will be presented with an installer screen like the one below.

iPhone SDK Installer Screen

iPhone SDK Installer Screen

Click on Continue and and you will get to the next screen similar to the one in the screen shot below

iPhone SDK Installer Screen

iPhone SDK Installer Screen

On this screen you need to click on the drive you want to install the SDK to. In most cases it will be your primary Hard Drive. If you have your Developer tools installed on a different drive then you should select that one instead. Next you need to click on Choose Folder and you will be presented with a Choose Folder dialog similar to the screen shot below.

Choose Folder Dialog

Choose Folder Dialog

If you are like me and installed Xcode in the default location then you should have a developer folder in the root of your Hard Drive. Click on the Developer folder and then click choose. You will see a screen similar to the one below.

iPhone SDK Installer Screen

iPhone SDK Installer Screen

You can verify on this screen that you’ve selected the proper folder. It should have a blue circle around the Hard Drive and if you’ve picked the Developer folder it should say the following on the bottom “You have chosen to install this software in the folder Developer on the disk Macintosh HD. Click Continue and you will be presented with a screen similar to the below screen shot.

iPhone SDK Installer Screen

iPhone SDK Installer Screen

This is just a confirmation screen, from here you just need to click on Install. You may be prompted with a password screen. Enter your password to continue with the installation. You should see a screen similar to the one below.

iPhone SDK Installer Progress Screen

iPhone SDK Installer Progress Screen

Depending on the SDK you are installing this part can take up to 5 minutes to complete. When the installation is done you will be presented with a screen similar to the one below.

iPhone SDK Install Complete

iPhone SDK Install Complete

Click on close. At this time your installation of the SDK is complete. You can verify that the SDK installed successfully by launching Xcode. Once Xcode is launched open an existing project or start a new one and go to Project -> Project Settings. You should see a screen similar to the below screen shot.

Xcode Project Settings - General

Xcode Project Settings - General

Click on the drop down towards the bottom where you can choose your base SDK and if all went well you should see a screen similar to the below depending on which SDK you installed.

iPhone SDK's

iPhone SDK's

Pick your SDK of choice and enjoy. Hopefully this tutorial has helped someone with their project. I spent many hours the other night researching how I could install older version SDK’s and once I found an easy method I thought I would share it with the rest of the world. If for some reason you don’t see your SDK listed here then it may have been installed in the wrong folder. If you can’t get it working feel free to ask me for help. I’m always willing to help out a fellow developer.

Now I’m sure everyone has been having fun making their own DVD covers, with the help of  a tutorial we added a while back, but now Blu-rays have taken over, and DVD’s are slowly becoming something your grandparents just found out about.

So what am I doing about it? Creating this NEW tutorial that will show you how to make your own Blu-ray covers too. This way you don’t have to look at the one’s you get from the store all the time. Or you can just make covers for your own movies.

To get started you’ll need to download this Blu-ray cover template :

Now unzip the file you just downloaded and open bluRayCover.psd in Photoshop. Once it’s open your document should look something like this :

Template Preview

The first thing you’ll notice is the red and blue guide lines. These are just here to help you for now, and will not be visible when you are finished.

  • The red lines give you the recommended boundary for your content. The background of your cover should fill the entire document, while your other contents stay within the red lines.
  • The blue lines tell you where the spine of the Blu-ray is.

You’ll notice that this document has six layers. If you can’t see the layers, you should click on ‘Window’ at the top of Photoshop. This will bring down a drop-down list. From the list click on ‘Layers’. Once that’s selected, your layers window should be visible in the lower right corner :

All The Layers

  • The first layer you’ll see is a folder. This contains all the guide lines you see on the document. You’ll want to hide this layer once you’re done.
  • The next three layers are also folders. Each containing common images you’d find on a Blu-ray cover, like the Blu-ray logo, or country codes. These can make your cover look more convincing.
  • Next is a layer titled, ‘Keep This Layer’, which you’ll want to keep to put your own images and content on.
  • The last layer is the background. On this layer you’ll want to put whatever image or color you’ll be using for the background of your cover.

Now lets begin making our cover. The first thing you’ll want to do is select the ‘Keep This Layer’ layer by clicking on it.  I’m going to add some text on this layer, which you can do by selecting the text tool – from Photoshop’s tools, usually located on the far left. After selecting the text tool, click anywhere on the document where you’d like to add text and start typing.

If you want to edit basic attributes of your text such as size, color, and font, you can do so in this window :

Editing Text Attributes

From here on you can add as much content as you’d like to your cover, though I stopped at just using text. Here is my finished product :

Blu-ray cover finished

To show or hide any specific layer such as the Blu-ray logos, or the country codes, just click the small eye next to the layer you want to hide. If there is no eye then the layer is hidden, and clicking the blank spot will cause an eye to appear, making the layer visible.

One layer you’ll want to hide when your done is the layer titled, ‘Hide This Folder’. So just click the eye next to it when you’re finished with your cover. This will hide those ugly red and blue guides.

So once you’re done we can save it.

  1. File -> Save For Web & Devices
  2. Preset on the top right, select JPEG High
  3. Click Save and choose a filename and location.
  4. Click Save

Save For Web & Devices

After the Save has completed you can close Photoshop. It will ask you to Save the file, be sure to NOT save the template so that you can use it again for future covers. Now all you need to do is open the JPEG file you did save and print it. You’ve just made your first Blu-ray cover.

If you have any questions, or if I’ve left out an entire section of the tutorial because I’m so tired right now, feel free to comment and let me know.

UPDATE: I just released A Geek Clock on the App Store, you can check out more info in this post A Geek Clock

So I decided that I would write up a quick tutorial on how to read a binary watch. It’s actually pretty simple after you learn how to convert binary to decimal. Not to worry converting from binary to decimal is easy. I’ll give you a quick example of how this can be done, quickly and easily.

Let’s say you have an 8 bit binary ( base 2 ) number 00010011 and you want to know how to convert it to a decimal ( base 10 ) number. You can write it out similar to the example below.

128 64 32 16 8 4 2 1
0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1

All you have to do her is for every number that has a one in the bottom field add the top numbers together. So in this example we have 16 + 2 + 1 which equals 19. So our binary number 00010011 becomes 19 in its decimal form. This is as much information as you’ll need to know about converting binary to decimal in order to read a binary watch, therefore I will not go much further into converting binary to decimal or decimal to binary.

Most binary watches have 2 rows of lights, the lights indicate a 1 or 0. If the light is on, it represents a 1 if the light is off it represents a 0. I’m going to use the image below as an example:

Example Binary Watch

Example Binary Watch

In this example, there are 2 rows. The first row reads 1011 and the second row reads 110100. See if you can figure that out on your own by looking at the watch. Notice that I’ve substituted the lights that are on with 1′s and the lights that are off represent 0′s.

You’ll also notice that these watches don’t represent 8 bit binary numbers. This is o.k. and doesn’t pose a problem whatsoever. Either you can read from right to left or you can add leading 0′s. For example:

The top row being 1011 would actually be 00001011 and the bottom row of 110100 would be 00110100. Not too bad but it does waste time doing it this way. If you can remember the numbers: 1,2,4,8,16,32 then you’re all set, each number is just a multiple of the previous one. So knowing these numbers, we would read the lights from right to left. Starting with the top row, the light is on so it has a value of 1, the 2nd light is on so it has a value of 2 and the 4th light is on, so it has a value of 8. If we add these numbers together we get 11 and that would be the hour of the time. Now for the bottom row, The first and second light are off so they don’t get a value the third light is on so it has a value of 4. The fifth light is on and thus has a value of 16 and the sixth light is on giving it a value of 32 if we add all of these number together: 4 + 16 + 32 we get 52 which is the minutes. So the time that this binary watch is displaying is 11:52

It may seem like a difficult task at first but the more you use it, the easier it will get. Just think about it this way, we were all raised on base 10 system growing up. So for all the years in our life we’ve been using this base 10 system, trying to get used to a base 2 system for every day use is not simple but can be achieved with patience and practice.

On a side note, as I was writing this post, I thought it would be cool to make a dashboard widget of a Binary Watch for Mac OS X. I’ve actually finished developing it before I finished writing this post. You can download the widget from my Projects Page. Let me know what you guys think. If you like this widget, then you should definitely check out the real thing. How cool would it be to wear this widget on your wrist. Well if you check out thinkgeek.com, you’ll find that they are selling a binary watch that you can wear on your wrist. In fact their design is what inspired this widget. Here is a link to the watch http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/watches/6a17/

In this screen cast tutorial I cover how to change a persons eye color using Photoshop CS4. The tutorial was creating using Photoshop CS4 for Mac but you should be able to follow along on a Windows version of Photoshop as well, without issues.

Below is the before and after of what we will be doing in Photoshop

 

Before and After Shot of Changing Green Eyes to Blue Eyes

Before and After Shot of Changing Green Eyes to Blue Eyes

For your reference I also have the original image I was working with below, all you have to do is right click and save the image to your desktop, if you want to follow along with the tutorial using the same image.

 

Original Face - Green Eyes

Original Face - Green Eyes

Now for the tutorial, I have uploaded this tutorial to youtube and linked to it here. Please let me know if you have any questions in regards to the tutorial. I’d also like to add that if anyone has any particular requests for tutorials, just leave a comment with your suggestion. Feedback is always appreciated

YouTube Preview Image

I was going to do a video tutorial on this at first but after checking out WordPress 2.8 and discovering how easy it is to add themes now, I decided to just write up a quick how to.

So back on WordPress 2.7 we used to have to download a zip file with all of the theme files archived and then extract the zip file, upload it to the themes folder and then go to wordpress and enable the theme, that’s the short version.

Now on Worpdress 2.8 it is much simpler to add / change your themes. Let’s take a quick look at how simple it is to install a theme.

 

  1. Begin by logging into your WordPress Admin Area
  2. Once logged in, find the appearance panel on the left hand side.Appearance Panel  
     
  3. Click on Add New Themes and you should be presented with a screen similar to the one belowWordpress 2.8 - Add New Themes  
     
  4. From here you can choose to either upload your own theme or search for one on WordPress. I’ve tried out this new search feature and I have to say, I like it. So lets go ahead and search for a theme on WordPress. I’m going to put a check mark in 3-column since I want a 3 column theme and then click on Find Themes
  5. When the search result display’s you’ll have 3 different links you can click on, Preview, Details, and Install
  6. When you find the one you like simply click on Install
  7. You’ll get another pop up window, click on Install Now
  8. If you haven’t entered the information in already, WordPress will ask you for your FTP account information. Go ahead and fill this out and click on proceed.
  9. Now you have 3 options, Preview, Activate, or Return to Theme Installer, if you’d like to see what your blog will look like with the new theme, then go ahead and click on preview, otherwise click Activate to activate the new theme.
  10. Your new theme is now Activated

I think that the WordPress team has done a wonderful job adding this feature into the admin area. It really does make for a seamless theme installation and leaves no room for error. I am still exploring the new version of WordPress, but so far I think this is the coolest new feature for WordPress.

Just a quick note, if you’ve downloaded a theme somewhere else and you’d like to install it on your WordPress 2.8 blog then all you have to do is follow the same steps as above but click on Upload Theme instead and browse to the zip file you’ve downloaded.

In this tutorial we will cover the process for installing WordPress 2.8 on Plesk. There is a 2 part screen cast as well as some text you’ll need to read in order to accomplish this. So lets go ahead and get started. Read more

Here’s a quick Photoshop Tutorial on how to make a gradient from A to Z, screen cast style :)

Hope you guys enjoy it, its my very first screen cast. I’m hoping to make a lot of these little tutorials, what I would like is for all the readers to submit requests for tutorials and once a week I’ll pick a suggestion and we’ll call it the tutorial of the week. What do you guys think ? Read more

This was giving me a problem some days ago so I thought I’d write up a quick tutorial on how to shrink dmg files on a mac. Why would you want to do this ? Well lets say you are creating an application and you want to package it in a DMG so you open up Disk Utility and create a blank image. Well you can only choose certain sizes. Most of us would choose a 40MB image so we have plenty of initial space to work with.

As far as I know there are 2 methods for shrinking the dmg down to the size of its contents, they are listed below.

Method – 1:

  • Right Click on the DMG
  • Click Compress

This will generate a zip file down to the actual size of the content of the DMG since free space has 100% compression ratio.

Method – 2:

This method involves the use of the Terminal App which can be found under Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal

  • Launch Terminal
  • Type the following hdiutil resize -size 10M /Path/To/DMG/DMG_Name.dmg

Code Breakdown:

  • hdiutil – A utility that comes preinstalled with Mac OS X, that manipulates disk images, etc…
  • -size – An argument passed to hdiutil, indicating that you want to change the size of an image.
  • 10M – means I am changing the dmg size to 10 Megabytes, insert your own value here.
  • The rest should be self explanitory

So there you have it, 2 methods to resize your dmg in Mac OS X. Thanks for reading.

If anyone would benefit from having a little GUI App that resizes DMG’s let me know, if I receive enough requests, I might make one and post it here.

Requirements:
- Mac OS X 10.4 or later
- Intel Processor
- Dual Layer DVD Burner

Installation:

So today I have decided to release the an Alpha Version of ISOx360. You can download it from my projects page.

ISOx360 makes burning XBOX 360 games on your Mac just about as simple as it can get. Simply download ISOx360 and extract the .dmg then open the .dmg and drag ISOx360 to your Applications folder to install. Once installed you can launch ISOx360 and you should be presented with a screen similar to the illustration to the left.

Read more