Apple Magsafe 1 to Magsafe 2 WITHOUT adaptor

I recently bought home a thunderbolt display so I could use it as a power adaptor to reimage an old Macbook Air.

The first hurdle was for some reason internet recovery – the option and R on boot method just booted saying startup disk not available so I had to get an image of Catalina so I could start the image process without relying on that option. Thanks to this tutorial I was able to make a bootable USB.

So I fired it up and realised I only had 21% battery life left

No big deal I thought, I’ll just plug the thunderbolt displays power on to it and we’ll be right to go…. WRONG….. the Thunderbolt display uses Magsafe 1 whereas the Macbook Air I was imaging uses Magsafe 2…

So as any normal person does I went to the almighty Google and searched for ways of resolving that issue and stumbled across this,a%20later%20MagSafe%202%20port

Instead of using a dremel I used pliers to break the outer shroud off the Magsafe 1 connector from the display and got out my trusty file.

I placed the small shroud in my vice and then slowly worked at grinding down the long sides of the Magsafe 1 shroud.

It surprisingly didn’t take all that long to do, I ground down one side and then turned and worked the other side and each time test fit the connector into the Macbook air. Once it did I then placed the shroud back around the magsafe pins and pressed back on carefully with pliers.

The result….

It actually works!

Hopefully this will help someone that may be in the same predicament.

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Mac Equivalents of PC Programs

I get asked a lot by people “where is this thing I used to have” when people have switched from a Windows computer to an Apple. This article is just a quick write up to show people the equivalent or similar software between the two systems.

  1. Task Manager: In windows this is the program you go to when you need to end a task when its no longer responding. In windows you can access it by pressing ctrl + alt + delete on your keyboard or right clicking on the task bar and clicking on “Task Manager”. On a Mac you’ve got basically the same tool its just called something different – “Activity Monitor” you can access it by going to Finder > Applications > Utilities >Activity Monitor. If you just need to force close an app and don’t need the other features of activity monitor you can simply press Command + Option + Escape
  2. The “Start Menu” & Search: From Windows Vista onwards we’ve had search available in the start menu. On a Mac we have a magnifying glass in the top right of the screen known as “Spotlight” to use it, simply click on the magnifying glass then type in whatever you are searching for. As for the start menu, on a Mac you don’t really have a menu you’ve got the dock – the colourful pictures along the bottom of your screen. If you still can’t find a certain app you think you have you’ll need to go into Mac’s equivalent of Windows Explorer. More on that next
  3. Windows Explorer: This one tends to confuse a lot of people for some reason, probably because everyone got so used to clicking “Computer” or “My Computer” – on a Mac your file explorer is referred to as “Finder” it’s the first application in your dock that looks like a strange smiling face. If you click on this you’ll notice you can now navigate your files. Here’s another trick though if you want to go to a specific path where you know a file exists press command + shift + g and you can specify the folder you would like to open.
  4. Control Panel: On a Mac your equivalent of  “Control Panel” is System Preferences. You can access it via the Utilities folder in Applications, you can use spotlight to find it – or you can press the option key and certain function keys to bring up specific System Preference windows (for example try Option + F2 (Increase Brightness) – another thing that confuses people here is the lack of an “Apply” button – once you change settings they apply. The only time they won’t is if you haven’t clicked the padlock to allow changes first (this is in the bottom left of certain preference windows in case you haven’t noticed it)
  5. Command Prompt: Some people, especially computer technicians still like to have access to a command based or terminal system for running certain commands. On a Mac this program is called “Terminal” again you can find this in the Utilities folder or use spotlight to find it. Keep in mind though that commands you may have been used to in Windows command prompt don’t necessarily translate to Mac Terminal. For example, if you want a directory listing you’ll have to type “ls” instead of “dir”. If you’re familiar with Linux commands you’ll probably recognise that terminal responds to nearly all linux commands.

This is really just scratching the surface an mainly focused on things that are installed out of the box on each system. If you have a question about an equivalent app for either system leave a comment below!


Using an AUSKEY in OSX

If you work in accounting, or if you have a small business it is likely that you’ve had to use an AUSKEY for authenticating with the ATO.

You’ve probably also noticed that  it is not the most reliable thing to use – this blog will cover off some of the things to be aware of to get it working on a Mac.

The first thing to be aware of is that Chrome in OSX no longer supports Java, so you can’t use the Chrome Browser with to access the ATO portals any more. You can however use Safari or Firefox.

In my testing I’ve always used Safari and will be covering off what to be aware of for Safari.

  1. Make sure you’ve installed your AUSKEY or transferred it from another computer. By default AUSKEY is stored in the following location: /Users/yourusername/Library/Application Support/AUSKey – and in this folder you will generally have a keystore.xml file. This is the file you need for authenticating. If you are moving the AUSKey from another computer make sure you put it into this folder. If you install it via the ATO provided links it will install here by default.  To access the folder open finder and press Comand + Shift + G then type in the path listed above.
  2. Make sure you’ve downloaded and installed the latest version of java from
  3. Once you’ve downloaded try and access one of the portals such as – more than likely you’ll get a message saying that AUSKey is not installed. Most of the time this is due to the Java plugin not running. As of OSX Sierra Java is disabled by default in Safari. To turn it back on Go to Safari Preferences > Plugin Settings > Java then turn on the plugin for the ATO sites. SPECIAL Note: You need to hold down alt on your keyboard then press the menu and select “Run in Unsafe Mode” – in the picture below I’ve already done it and you will see it the menu now says “Run in Safe Mode” that is what you want yours to look like as well. Simply turning the plugin to “On” is not enough for it to work.



4. If you receive the error below when you try to login it means that you have not enabled                     unsafe mode. Go back to Step 3 and make sure you enable it


That is all you should need to do, now if you go and try to access the ATO portal you should be able to login as you normally would.

We have found that quite often after a java update the AUSKey system fails to work. Most times it is due to the plugin no longer being enabled. One of the easiest ways to re-enable it is go to and click the verify Java button. This will then prompt you to enable the plugin again. Once you have done that you should be able to access the portals as you normally would again.

The instructions above really apply to OSX Sierra but you will find it is a similar process for all versions of Mac OSX.

Repeating Wireless Signals

We get asked this a lot and I think there is a lot of confusion between repeating a wireless network and “extending” it.

Netgear had a few products a while back that did the extending trick, but the issue with them is that they create a second SSID for devices to connect to. Devices that can properly repeat networks will maintain the same SSID and devices that do this particularly well will prevent your device from dropping a connection as they move between the repeating points.

The problem with using range extenders – as listed above is that your device will drop connection from the first network, then reconnect to the new SSID – this works OK, until your device realises the other network and then can’t quite figure out whether it should connect to the first SSID or the extended one then drops out.

There are two manufacturers that we have used for doing repeating wireless networks (there are a lot more than two manufacturers that are capable of this though).

The first is Apple – using an Apple Airport Extreme and an Apple Airport Express. The extreme provides the network that the Airport Express can then connect to and repeat. They are relatively simple to set up using the Airport Utility Tool – however, if you don’t have that they can not really be configured. This setup also allows some other nifty features such as Airplay and USB sharing.

The second is TP-Link. If you have any TP-Link Modems or routers you should be able to repeat them with one of these – a TP-Link WR702N – this nifty device can repeat your existing network and once its configure you can just go and plug it in somewhere that has signal and it will repeat happily. Another advantage of this device and the Airport Express is making connection to a wired device without running a cable to it. Both devices have LAN ports for connecting cabled devices, which can be very useful in apartment buildings or sites where you can’t really knock holes in walls.

We’ve found it best practice to have the main router doing DHCP then assigning the wireless repeaters outside of the DHCP range so that everything can continue talking over the network even back through the repeating points. Be aware though that the TP-LINK WR702N should have its firmware updated before you deploy it, as some of the older firmware versions had issues that caused settings to be wiped or reset.

ATO Portals TAP & BP Portal on a Mac (OSX Mountain Lion and 10.8)

***SPECIAL NOTE: This will only work with the SAFARI browser, it may work in firefox but I have not tested it. It WILL NOT work in Chrome****

If you work in an accounting firm you will probably unfortunately have to use the ATO’s incredibly flakey Tax Agent Portal and Business Portal.

If you are moving from a windows computer to a mac you will need to copy your AUSKey from your existing system to the new Mac.

To do this goto your AUSKey directory:


In this directory there is a file called keystore.xml copy it to a USB device.

Now, that you have got the key store file saved you need to install the Auskey software and Java.

AUSKey for mac can be downloaded here:

Download and install the software.

Now that AUSKey is installed on the Mac, you will now have to plug your USB Key into your mac to copy the keystore.xml file to the AUSKey folder on the mac.

The AUSKey folder is stored in Library\Application Support\AUSKey

To open your library folder, open finder then click “Go” in the menu bar then press alt (option) this will bring up the shortcut for library.

Once in the library open Application Support folder, then open AUSKey folder.

Now drag and drop the keystore.xml file from your flash drive (or wherever you stashed it) to the AUSKey folder.

At this point you have the files that are required for accessing the portals set up but now you will need to install Java and edit it slightly:

Please refer to the first post here for the instructions on how to correctly install Java and the Java patch – However DO NOT try to access the portal like it says at the bottom.

Prior to accessing the portal goto:

One of two things will happen – you will either get a nice little java logo displayed or you will get text that says “Inactive Plugin” – if you see the Java logo go ahead and you should be able to access the portal (providing that the ATO have not broken it themselves).

If you see the text that says Inactive Plugin simply click the Inactive Plugin text and it should activate Java – run any of the applications and allow anything that pops up related to Java until you can see a Java logo where Inactive Plugin was.


Can not install .pkg files on Mac OSX

Recently I was called out to an onsite where the user could not install Adobe Lightroom.

After investigating further I found that the disk image for the application (the .dmg file) was mounting perfectly fine but the pkg file would come up with an error saying there is no file associated with file type .pkg.

This is because OSX uses the Disk Image Mounting utility for dmg files but it uses to unpack/install .pkg files.

It is important to first check the CoreServices folder under /System/Library/CoreServices and make sure that is in this folder. If it is, all you need to do is right click the package file, click get info then change open with to be the program

If the file does not exist, you can copy it from another Mac into your CoreServices directory and then you should be able to install the package file. Before doing this make sure that your Mac OSX Version matches the other Mac that you are getting the file from or it may not work.

It should also be possible to extract the file from your OSX installer disks if you still have access to them.

iPhone 3GS Carrier Lock and how to Unlock it.

Last week a friend of mine called me saying he knew someone who had just moved to Australia from the UK and just wanted to use her iPhone on an Australian carrier.

Normally the original carrier has to remove the carrier restriction from the phone – this person was having immense trouble getting her original carrier to do this though so I sought an alternative way of addressing the problem.

What does a carrier lock do?
A carrier lock prevents a phone from connecting to another mobile network i.e. another carrier. Most carriers today now offer the ability to remove the lock for either a small charge or for free. Unfortunately not all carriers are leniant, or easy to get in contact with.

How to remove it on an iPhone 3GS and iOS variants
To remove the carrier lock we first need to Jailbreak the iPhone so that we can install a package manger called Cydia. To jailbreak you will need to download redsn0w from here. You will also need an iDevice USB cable.

Upon opening redsn0w you will see a button that says Jailbreak. Read all the prompts after you click this button or things simply wont work (e.g. plug phone in whilst switched off…). Make sure you click “Install Cydia” on the list of options. Redsn0w will guide you through placing the phone into DFU mode and will begin the jailbreak process. At the time of writing this post redsn0w is working for iOS versions 4.3.3 and above – on the release of iOS6 it may no longer be functional.

Once the phone has rebooted an App called Cydia will be available to open. Open the app and click the manage button at the bottom. Make sure you are connected to a working Wifi network or you wont be able to do much at all.

Once in the manage section you now have the ability to add Sources by clicking on sources then pressing add. You need to add the respository otherwise you will not be able to download the application that unlocks the carrier restriction.

Once you have added the repository you can press the search button in Cydia and type in ultrasn0w. This is the app that you need to install, so if you can find it click on it then press install. If you cant – you may have typed the repo in wrong.

Please note if you are using iOS 5.1 or above you will also need to search for and install ultrasn0w fixer for whatever iOS version you are running.

Once the app is installed, reboot the iPhone – insert your sim card and see if you get a message saying Searching or if you get service. If you have service, congratualations you are done.

If you dont have service – dont worry this happened to me, you will need to use redsn0w again. One of the options you get upon Jailbreaking is “Install iPad baseband” – you will need to follow the process in redsn0w again however make sure that this option is ticked. Again – Read carefully the messages in redsn0w, if you dont you can severely damage your iPhone.

If you had already installed ultrasn0w and ultrasn0w fixer you should have service as soon as the phone boots up.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All iOS Jailbreaks are very dependent on the iOS version they were designed for. If you want your carrier unlock to continue to work DO NOT update your phone in iTunes. Why? – the jailbreak you are using may no longer apply to a newer iOS version which means there will be no way to unlock the phone. If you really want to try out that new iOS version make sure you have saved your SHSH blobs with Tiny Umbrella so you can downgrade to your original iOS version.


Firecore – Enhance your Apple TV 2

Last year, I had no idea what to purchase for my partner for christmas – so because she is a avid user of Apple products I thought I would purchase and Apple TV for her.

The device itself I found to be quite a good form factor, very small so it wont take up a lot of room.

Upon opening the present she was surprised and full of joy, then she asked can we use this instead of what we have now?

At that point in time we were using an old laptop connected to a TV and amplifier to stream things that we had downloaded – I thought to myself of course we can, and we can get rid of that eyesore of a laptop.

Then I began to think more of it and recalled that Apple tend to only support a limited number of playback formats, the majority of the files that we were currently downloading or had downloaded were not part of this list.

This was an issue, because it meant we would have this new device that basically wouldnt do what our old Dell laptop could.

However, after some google searches I happened to find

Firecore really opens up the capabilities of the Apple TV whilst still leaving intact Apples own software. So you can still use Airplay, iTunes and everything you would normally expect of an Apple TV 1 or 2.

Firecore is not free, although depending on the software version of your Apple TV the jailbreak is.This will allow you to SSH into your ATV and start using things such as wget to obtain packages. Initially when I set my first device up, I used Seas0nPass to jailbreak, then SSH to gain command line access to download the packages required to install XBMC – if your ATV 2 is version 4.4.4 or 4.4.3 this is still possible. If you like me, unfortunately upgraded to iOS 5 without saving the SHSH blobs from your old software version, paying for firecore is the best option as XBMC for iOS5 is currently slow and buggy.

What about the Apple TV 3? – Firecore are working quite hard at implementing there system on the ATV3 but the ability to access the underlying system is proving to be a very daunting task.

So at this point in time, if you want to improve your playback capabilities and functionality of your AppleTV 1 or 2 check out firecore, and possibly in the future they could even have software for the ATV 3.