Windows 7 Drivers for Apple’s USB Ethernet Adapter

Listen up, all you Boot Camp’in Mac users … Can’t find Windows drivers for the Apple USB Ethernet adapter? Want to use use the adapter on another Windows machine? Are you crazy?  Well, it turns out it CAN be done, with a little bit of trickery.

There is a lot to be said for Apple’s simplicity of design.  Even their adapters and cables look as if they were pain stakingly and lovingly hand crafted by an eccentric, gay, Swedish man. Everything just looks better.

Recently, after the onboard NIC died in my Acer Aspire L3600 (which runs Windows 7 x64, and I use as a dedicated Windows Media Centre).  After flashing the BIOS and jumping through several hoops with no avail, I needed to go looking for another way to get a wired >=100Mbit/s network interface into the machine.  Since its ultra-compact form factor makes an internal PCI option impossible, I needed to go looking for an external (USB) option.  It didn’t take long to realise that my options were going to be extremely limited and after checking out my nearby computer retailers, I had only two options.  A reasonably generic SWANN adapter, or Apple’s USB Ethernet Adapter – both were in stock at my local Dick Smith Powerhouse.  The problem with the SWANN adapter, is that its a single solid block, and since my Media Centre lives very close to the wall, it wasn’t desirable, while The Apple adapter can be flexed to a right angle.

Problem is, the Apple adapter says (on the back) that it can ONLY be used with an Apple MacBook.  But the adapter’s drivers ARE included as part of BootCamp, which means it can function when running Windows on a MacBook. So with a little trickery, you can get it working on any old Windows 7 or Vista PC (32 or 64bit editions).

  1. First, you need to download the driver for the adapter, either the 32bit or 64bit version.
  2. Next, extract the zip file and locate the file Ax88722.inf.  It needs to be altered in order to get the device drivers to be installed.  In order to simplify the process, I’ve simply got the tweaked version here, for you to download. Just replace the original Ax88722.inf file with this one inside this zip file.
  3. Next, attach your USB ethernet if you have not done so. Launch device manager (right-click on “computer” and select “Manage”). Locate the lonely unknown device “Apple USB Ethernet” and right-click it to select “Update Driver Software”.
  4. Select “Browse my computer for driver software” and in the file browser dialog select the folder of your recently modified .INI file and continue the wizard. This should bring your Apple USB ethernet to life!

Apparently there are drivers for 32bit versions of Windows XP, put together by the BootCamp community, if you’re an XP user and feeling lucky you can try your luck with this link (but like the rest of this post, use it at your own risk).

Download Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 Standalone Full Redistributable Setup Installer

Many applications uses Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 as development platform, and thus requires .NET Framework to be installed beforehand, else the installation will request to download and install .NET Framework from Internet. On offline system without Internet access or online server with slow downloading speed, the requirement to download setup files through web may hit the wall – a no go.

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Microsoft initially just provides a minimal size dotnetfx35setup.exe download which is a bootstrapper that will still need to download more files via Internet. For users who prefer to perform offline installation or install .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 without waiting for download to complete will have to download and save a copy of full complete standalone or redistributable Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 setup installer, which is finally published by Microsoft.

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (Service Pack 1) is a full cumulative update that contains many new features building incrementally upon .NET Framework 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, and includes cumulative servicing updates to the .NET Framework 2.0 and .NET Framework 3.0 subcomponents. See KB951847 for list of changes and fixed issues in the .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1.

Download full package of Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1: dotnetfx35.exe (231 MB)

For known issues and release notes, refer to Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 Readme.

Native UML Module for NetBeans

UPDATE: There is a more recent post regarding the Native UML module for NetBeans here.

I have been a long time user of NetBeans IDE. I really like the simplicity and how it is almost an all-purpose IDE for virtually any language you can think of.

However, I was horrified recently when I upgraded to version 6.8, to discover that the UML module was gone, and instead NetBeans insisting I use a third-party UML generator.  So I tried it, and hated it immediately.  I considered rolling back to an earlier version, but first I thought I would try a little voodoo.

I noticed that version 6.9 was released and so I downloaded it, and installed as per normal.  I then found this page (the 6.9 release candidate zip download page) which listed a file called ‘netbeans-6.9-201005312001-ml-uml.zip’.  Ah ha.  Since I am on OSX, I opened the package contents up from Applications, unzipped the uml.zip file and dropped the new UML directory into the installation directory.  I started up NetBeans and voila:

I tested the new project, and it worked like a treat (some people who tried various other hacks reported that even though the project appeared, there was issues saving/opening them).

I hope this works for you too, and of course make sure you backup any existing projects – dont come crying to me if you destroy your work trying to implement this!

WTF is HTML5 and Why We Should All Care

I saw this tweet today:

#IRONY RT @kevinmarks: I like this ‘what is HTML5’ Infographic: should b a webpage not a bitmap

Now I repost here, in the event it should disappear because I think this is a really good info-graphic and it deserves more exposure…I hence present “WTF is HTML5 and why we should all care”.

The original link can be found here.

Limiting Steam for Mac to Specific (Free) Content Servers

I have had iiNet ADSL for a very long time, and as a result of one of their acquisitions, the 3FL game servers now count as “freezone” for all iiNet customers. Whats really great about this, is that 3FL has official steam content servers; so steam downloads from 3FL are “freezone” too! This is great, if like me you are a die-hard valve/steam fan boi.

The problem is that Steam uses a “BitTorrentesque” download technique and despite any settings you make inside Steam, it will not guarantee that it will limit its downloading from that server. Windows users for a while now have had an app called SteamWatch which monitors Steam, and when it trys to download from another server, forcibly closes the connection on Steam. Sadly, mac users dont have anything so easy, yet. However, here is a shell script which adds a number of rules to the OSX firewall to stop steam from downloading from non-free servers:

/sbin/IPFW -f flush
/sbin/IPFW -f add 3000 allow tcp from any to 203.59.140.194 27030 out
/sbin/IPFW -f add 3001 allow tcp from any to 202.173.128.178 27030 out
/sbin/IPFW -f add 3020 deny tcp from any to any 27030 out

Just save these lines into a text file (mine is called ‘rules.sh’) and then in the terminal (and from the directory you saved the file) execute:

sudo bash rules.sh

In this case, I have setup the rules for 2 servers, 203.59.140.194 and 202.173.128.178 which are the 2 servers which correspond to free content servers for iiNet. If you are not iiNet, and can find out the IPs of your free Steam servers, just remove those lines and add/edit accordingly.

Now, this is not a silver bullet. When these rules are on, it may restrict or otherwise affect online gaming and some Steam games may not download at all (because not every Steam content server has 100% of the steam catalogue on it!). However, when you reboot, its reset, or you can run this command at a terminal prompt:

sudo /sbin/IPFW -f flush

…and the rules will be reset.  Happy free downloading!

Only 11 More Sleeps…

Words cannot describe how much this excites me.  Only in my wildest dreams did I think Steam (my absolute favorite gaming platform) would ever come to Mac OSX.  Then I saw this news, which made me giddier than a school-girl.

I watched April come and go, and still no Steam for Mac.

But then my patience was rewarded when Valve gave a hard date of May 12, 2010 as the official release date.  Now obviously we Mac peeps wont get the entire Steam catalog, but Valve has more-or-less promised their library and any future games to be simultaneously released on PC, Mac and XBox360.

Valve also has a nasty habit of pushing back release dates again, and again – but I am hopeful that this time, they’ll do us proud.

A Weakened Liberal Party

Despite Kevin Rudd’s policy flaw’s, no-one (well 80% in any case) can say that the Liberal Party has been incredibly (and possibly irreparably) damaged and weakened by it’s own “inner circle”. I think that Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey are all that remain of the parties integrity and dignity as this John Clarke and Bryan Dawe clip shows.

High-Res Versions of Steam for Mac Teaser Images

Someone over at the Steam forums, made some wicked high-resolution (high-definition) versions of the new Steam for Mac teaser image Valve released a few weeks ago.  I thought I would post them here in case the root link goes missing for whatever reason.  “…and I’m a PC” and “iSandwich”.

Reign Supreme

Sometimes I wish I was a super-hero with the ultimate power of persuasion.  Because then I could call up world leaders and convince them to do things my way (because clearly my way is better)!

On a less narcissistic note, I was thinking about the things I would do to shape the world in my own image – and realised that you can tell a lot about a person about the things they don’t like about the world (or the lack thereof).  To that end, I’ve created a list of the top 10 things I would change:

  1. Make it illegal to charge ANYONE (parents, insurance companies, anyone) for medical care given to children (people under 18).
  2. Rename “marriages” to “civil unions” for everyone (gays, hetros, lesbians) – and make the churches responsible for the “marriages”.  If you want to be joined by law – get a civil union, if you want a marriage, goto a church.
  3. Allow stem-cell research, but with strict oversight.
  4. Roll-out fibre to the home for all residences in Australia.
  5. Tax high-pollution industries and use that Tax to give a rebate for deploying solar power to every household in Australia.
  6. Revoke Scientology’s tax free status.
  7. Pass laws to give woman the right to choose what happens to their own bodies (surrogacy, abortion etc).
  8. Pass laws to protect Doctors and create a proper due-process for people to choose to end their own  lives.
  9. Eliminate years 11 and 12 – either pick a trade and work as an apprentice for 5 years, or study in academia for an additional 2 years in your chosen field.
  10. Create a “guild” system of government.  Several elected officials, with the cabinet of the elected party made up of the people chosen to best represent that industry or sector – so instead of “climate change minister” in cabinet (for example) – it would be a person considered by his peers to be the best climatologist in science – and for these leaders to be separate from political affiliation (too many times we’ve had ministers filling port-folio’s they didn’t have the knowledge or skills to manage).

Political Satire

This is an old political comic I found in a news paper early in 2007, and I just wanted to share it (and store it in the cloud).  While the issues is not really relevant any longer, and despite your personal political views, I do think it accurate encapsulated a major factor as to why Howard lost the 2007 election.

Political Comic - Rudd vs Howard
I’m Kevin, and I’m here to help.