• Modifying your PAL MegaDrive is the best

    If you live in Europe and played video games during the 90’s, prepare to be shocked: you’ve been playing inferior versions of each and every game you played. 😱

    Back when PAL and NTSC were still things you had to worry about, most video games weren’t actually designed to run on PAL systems. They were optimized for NTSC. The primary difference between the two being the rate at which the picture is displayed: 30 frames per second for NTSC and 25 on PAL. The electrical power system behind the two standards is to blame. NTSC relies on a system running at 60 hertz, PAL runs at 50 hertz.

    Video game consoles pre 2000 didn’t compensate for the difference in frame rate, which causes most PAL video games to run 16% slower than their NTSC counterparts. The effect is very noticeable. Check out this video of the intro to Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega MegaDrive. Pay special attention to the music.

    To make matters worse PAL actually uses a higher resolution than NTSC, 625 lines for PAL versus 525 lines for NTSC. Because most games are optimized for NTSC, they display big bars at the top and bottom of the screen when running on PAL systems.

    Luckily there’s a fix. A very easy one of you own a model 1 PAL Sega MegaDrive. Just three wires and six solder points. Just make sure you buy a three way on/off/on switch. I got an on/off switch first. 😅

    Region switch in my Sega MegaDrive

    After applying the fix you’ll be able to switch your MegaDrive between Europe (PAL, 50Hz), US (NTSC, 60Hz) and Japanese (NTSC, 60Hz). Changing the region on the fly feels almost magical as the PAL bars disappear and the music speeds up.

    Trust me, you’ll want to redo your 50Hz childhood in 60Hz. It’s that good.

  • You can run Android on your Mac/PC

    Remix OS is Jide’s effort to bring a ‘PC experience’ to Android and it just released a version you can actually install.

    I’ve downloaded the latest release and ran it in VMWare Fusion.

    Remix OS running in VMWare Fusion

    In VMWare Fusion, only the ‘Guest’ option seems to work and only if you press TAB in Grub and append vga=791 to the boot options.

  • Moved to Typed

    Trying something new all together. I’m posting all the stuff I learn (and know) on Typed.

  • You want to hold Option after switching apps with CMD + Tab

    I’ve set my Dock to hide automatically, which means I rely on the App Switcher to (shocker, I know) switch between apps. A lot.

    Annoyingly, if I switch to an app that has no visible windows, I still need to press ⌘ + N or whatever to make it pop up. I’ve just learned there’s a fix for that. 🎉

    Press and hold ⌥ after activating the App Switcher. It will hurt your fingers, but pressing option will ensure something pops up after switching between apps.

    Now I need to find a way to make this the default behaviour. Anyone?

  • BeOS survived and is now called Haiku

    In a time where I created boot floppy disks and compiled kernels to get my Sound Blaster 16 to work, BeOS was a new operating system.

    It looked slick and promised much lets compiling and more productivity from your computer. Plus it had this awesome 3D teapot. Just look at it. Irresistible.

    Teapot, just look at it

    BeOS ceased to exist almost 15 years ago, but spawned an open-source spin-off, called Haiku, which easily runs on a virtual machine.

    Just get one of the nightlies and run the installer. It literally took less than 10 seconds to complete on my MacBook running VMWare Fusion.

    Looks the same as when I ran BeOS on my Pentium 2.


    Haiku’s last official release came out in 2012, but the nightly I downloaded was (probably automatically) generated two days ago.

    Quite a few apps come pre-installed and more can be added through the package manager. Even old BeOS apps are supposed to work out of the box.

    The most interesting application is WebPositive, a WebKit based browser, which works pretty great.

    WebPositive showing

    You won’t throw out Windows or OS X just yet, but I’ll probably do what @milend does:

    I install Haiku once a year to see how they’ve progressed :)

    By the way, remember when I installed OpenStep in Virtualbox?