Convert a MiniSIM (used in an iPhone 4s) to a NanoSIM (used in an iPhone 5s)

December 25, 2013

Recently bought an iPhone 5s as a replacement for my ageing iPhone 4 and was shocked to discover that I needed to fork out 40 swiss for a new SIM. The new phones use what is called a NanoSIM whereas the iPhone 4 use a MiniSIM. The only difference between the two is the size. I knew there had to be a better way and a little Google got me there :

This is a template I printed on an A4 paper at 100%. I put my MiniSim on there, taped it using scotch tape and drew the corresponding lines with a permanent pen. I then used a cutter and finished the job using a pair of scissors. Et voilà : a NanoSIM homemade ! I could then activate my new phone without having to wait for the new SIM to arrive (and saved a little in the process).


Upgrade a Mac Mini PPC

April 24, 2011

Recently had to upgrade my (very old) Mac Mini. I changed the RAM (went to 1 GB) and the hard drive (went from 80GB to 120GB).

Here’s what I bought :

  • Harddisk  : 2.5″ 120GB – 5400 WESTERN Scorpio Blue 8 MB (available from Prodimex)
  • Memory : DDR 1GB DDR333 (PC2700) – CORSAIR (also available from Prodimex)

I followed the very precise instructions from these 2 great websites : Remplacement du disque dur d’un Mac Mini  and  How to Upgrade the RAM in an Apple Mac Mini.

After 1 hour of “hard” labor, my Mac Mini seemed brand new !

How to install Mac OSx from USB on a PowerPC Powerbook G4

April 3, 2011

I recently had to install Leopard on a friend’s Powerbook G4 using only a USB drive because the internal DVD was busted. I thought it would be very easy but in the end it took me an evening and the better part of the morning. You see, the Powerbook G4 does NOT allow booting from a USB thumbdrive (only from external firewire disks or DVDs) and I am not really an expert of the internal workings of MacOSx.

It is possible though and one does not need to solder anything this time 😉

You need a big enough thumbdrive (at least 8GB) on which you’ll restore the Mac OS you want to install using the procedure outlined here : And you can  follow Ruth Gaudi’s excellent explanation here :

Procedure that worked for me

  1. Using Disk Utility, prepare a USB disk by deleting everything on it and create an “Apple Partition Map”
  2. Restore the MacOSX image onto the USB thumbdrive
  3. Using Disk Utility, find out the partition on the USB key that holds the OS you want to restore (in my case : it was called disk1s3, the last figure holds the partition number thus : 3 )
  4. Then you boot in the PowerBook OpenFirmware (the bootstrap that loads before MacOSX) by pressing the “Apple / Alt / O / F” keys at the same time right after you switch on the machine (before the chime sound)
  5. Type dev / ls and try to find something like “/disk@1” next to an entry named USB (in my case usb@1b,1)
  6. Type DEVALIAS in the command prompt and locate the short name of the USB entry you just found using dev / ls (in my case usb0)
  7. Make sure your USB key holds a file called “BootX”  with the tbxi attribute by listing the directory. In the following command, disk@1 should be replaced by what you found in Step 5, also every character is important (this includes colon, forward slash, etc.). Type dir shortname_found_in_step_6/disk@1:partition_number_found_in_step_3,\System\Library\CoreServices (in my case dir usb0/disk@1:3,\System\Library\CoreServices)
  8. If BootX is found with an attribute called tbxi then you’re all set and you can instruct OpenFirmware to boot from the USB drive : boot usb0/disk@1:3,\System\Library\CoreServices\BootX
  9. Hit enter and you should be booting from the USB drive. You can then install MacOSX as you would with a DVD.

Other (possibly useful) tidbits

  • The DEVALIAS command lists aliases to otherwise complicated paths to hardware (harddisk, USB, Soundcard, etc.) or software places (bootstrap). It is the equivalent of the Environmental Variables in Windows
  • tbxi is an alias to the binary boot loader. This very interesting articles is a good primer on the Open Firmware :
  • The default keyboard in Open Firmware is US so if using a swiss-french keyboard, remember that @ is shift-2, \ is the $ sign, / is the – key next to right shift, : is the é key
  • This should also work for other PowerPC machines (Mac Mini for example)
  • In case you wonder what OpenFirmware looks like, here’s a screenshot

Skipping songs, scratching and hissing noise in iPod nano / iPod Touch or iPhone

March 27, 2011

A couple of months ago the songs transferred from  iTunes (I use Windows 7)  to my various Apple devices started skipping, scratching when I listened to them.  I knew  the songs themselves were ok as I could play them fine through iTunes. The symptoms were : songs would skip entire parts, a hissing noise would be heard when the cut occured. The skip would happen at random and would affect some songs but not others. This happened with my iPod nano, my iPod Touch and my iPhone.

At first I thought it was because I stored my library onto my NAS and it somehow became corrupted. So I recreated it. But the problem remained. I wiped out all my devices and retransferred my songs. But the problem remained….

Turned out to be a conflict between ZoneAlarm Extreme Security and iTunes ! As soon as I disabled ZoneAlarm I could transfer the songs and no more hissing/skipping. No need to desinstall ZoneAlarm, just disable it during the transfer and you should be ok. My version of ZoneAlarm Extreme Security is

How to batch clean up iTunes for Windows and remove the songs “not found” (shown with an exclamation mark)

January 8, 2011

There are a lot of scripts available on a Mac to automate iTunes. One of the best resource is Doug’s Applescripts for iTunes web page: but what if you are on Windows ?

There ain’t much but I found this page that contains the cleanup tool I was looking for :

Download the script-package and run the itunes_remove_notfound exe script. This will open a command-line window and will perform the clean up. On my NAS there were 3’ooo songs to remove and it took 15 mn.

Jailbreak and Unlock iphone 3G

January 1, 2011
  1. Download itunes 9.x (I tried with version 10.x but it didn’t work) from oldapps web site :
  2. Wipe it clean and restore firmware 5.11.07 (version 3.1.2 7D11) from here : or here :
  3. Put iPhone in DFU mode, Open iTunes, selecting your iPhone from the list of devices on the left, then hold down the Shift key and click Restore and select firmware downloaded in 2.
  4. Insert a valid SIM just to activate the iPhone and then Jailbreak it by going to :  (Tutorial here :
  5. Once done, unlock it using BlackSnow : iClarified – iPhone – How to Unlock the iPhone 3G, 3GS Using BlackSn0w Comments
  6. Change Password for  both Root and Mobile users (see here :
  7. Start using..

One-click jailbreak for iphone and ipod touch

July 12, 2010

By visiting this site : using the safari browser on the iphone and/or ipod touch, they will be jailbroken painlessly