25 February 2010

High Ambitions No More

It is undoubtedly every HP Mini 311 owner wishes to be able to use their stock WiFi cards under Mac OS X. It's a given that Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.5 doesn't have any problems with granting that wish and Leopard could've been a viable and logical option on the Mini 311 as a staple Ion netbook hackintosh if only a bit of development effort from the Snow Leopard endeavor (which chooses to dance around the wifi issue by replacing the stock card with a compatible one) where directed to it.
But as we say in French: Pas de bol, mec. Vraiment pas.
So we're left with no audio, no Quartz Extreme (graphics acceleration) for the Mini 311 under Leo. If you attempted to boot into Leopard on the 311, your only consolation would be to finally see that WiFi icon on the menubar enabled with the proper Leopard system version and/or some added kexts or edits to IO80211Family.kext's info.plist.
Snow Leopard works beautifully as it does in the present times thanks to the wonderful DSDT work. Unfortunately, the hacks on that wouldn't enable even Quartz Extreme when I experimented with Leopard on my Mini 311. Most of the times I was given but pestering and consistent 2 choices: a kernel panic or back to square 1 with no everything-that-makes-a-hackintosh-a-worthwhile-hackintosh.
I tried thebubzie's approach and thought I hit gold. Well, there was once that I was able to log into my Snow Leopard On Top of Leopard installation (with no QE, no sound, no everything else), I checked and saw that both my WiFi cards - remember that I use the stock on the spare full-height pci slot for bluetooth - were merrily a-lit! It should be working. But I couldn't make anything else work so I quit and for the want of usable hackintosh for my everyday needs, I wiped out that Snow Leopard On Top of Leopard install from my hard drive and started anew.
And then some weeks ago, I attempted again to replicate that happy incident only to end up utterly and painfully (sleepless nights wreaked zit havoc on poor face) disappointed and not to mention, ugly. Now I'm seriously thinking that I was only imagining things - which is a perfectly valid premise: it could have been that, since the Snow Leopard compatible BCM94312HMG card from the HP Mini 1001TU was also installed along with the 311's stock combo BCM4312HMGB, it may have muddled up how Network displayed my uh, for lack of better words, network settings.
In summary, there's only one way to get the stock Mini 311 WiFi card to work: Mac OS X Leopard.

23 February 2010

Snow Leopard on the HP Mini 311 (10.6.4)

It's high time that I updated this Installation Guide.
I hope this latest effort, I can make things simpler than ever.
Before You Begin.
For best results/hackintosh experience. Update to HP Mini 311 BIOS - F.15.
You can install the stock HP F.15 BIOS which can be installed in Windows or icelord's de-whitelisted version (which unlocks the PCI slots) by manually flashing the machine.

Installation Method 1 - DVD/Optical media method

What You Need:
  1. BootCD-altPS2.iso - burn this onto a blank CD-R. I recommend using the slowest setting to ensure no write errors occur.
  2. Snow Leoaprd Mac OS X Retail DVD - 10.6 base up to latest, 10.6.4 currently, should work fine. DO NOT use the restore DVD's that are shipped with real Macs (won't work) but get instead the store-bought shrink-wrapped copy from your local Apple Store or Apple Reseller.
  3. Current Project Release - HPM311DP HF6 Installer.pkg as we speak.
  4. External USB DVD drive - there HP Mini 311 models with sales packages including a Light Scribe external DVD writer drive.
  5. Mac OS X 10.6.4 Combo Update

What To Do:
  1. With the DVD drive connected to the Mini 311 (with enough battery of course or plugged directly to an power outlet), load the BootCD-altPS2 disc you've just burned. As you power on the Mini 311, press F9.
  2. You will see a boot menu list. Use the arrow keys to choose your DVD drive and press Enter to boot from it.
  3. When Chameleon has loaded, you'll see list of icons representing drives in your system to boot from. Manually eject the DVD drive and replace BootCD-altPS2 with the Snow Leo Mac OS X Retail DVD. Wait until the drive fully loads the new DVD you've inserted as indicated by the drive's led light and/or until you hear it's finished loading the new DVD (some light mechanical sound and then drive becomes quiet).
  4. Press F5 to refresh the Chameleon boot menu. Normally, the "Mac OS X Install DVD" entry is added at the far right of the horizontal row of drives available. Use arrow keys to select "Mac OS X Install DVD" and press Enter key.
  5. Once you've selected the language, go to Utilities > Disk Utility and format the drive with "GUID Partition Table" and "HFS Journaled (Extended)". I also suggest you name the resulting volume "Macintosh HD", just like in real Macs. After the installation, you will get an error message that the "Installation Failed". This is perfectly normal; OS X only told you that cause it's detected that the hard drive is not bootable which is something we'll deal with later.
  6. Use the same BootCD-altPS2 disc to boot up Mac OS X on your HP Mini 311 for the first time. Just choose the "Macintosh HD" drive icon in the Chameleon boot menu.
  7. Install the Mac OS X 10.6.4 Combo Updater. Do not restart yet. If you do accidentally hit that "Restart" button, you can always use the BootCD-altPS2 disc to boot up your Mini again.
  8. Run the HPM311DP HF6 Installer.pkg to set up EFI on the hard disk, thus letting the Mini 311 boot on its own without the need for the BootCD-altPS2 disc. Restart the computer for changes to be applied.
Congratulations on your Mini MacBook 311!

Other Little Tweaks.
- Disable "Use secure virtual memory". System Preferences > Security > General tab > uncheck "Use secure virtual memory". It would require restarting for the change to be fully applied. We do this to help ensure Sleep function has no problems on our hackintosh.
image from macworld.com

- Replace stock WiFi with a Snow Leopard compatible card - For what is a netbook without wireless connectivity, right? Unfortunately, the HP Mini 311's stock wireless module does NOT work under Snow Leopard. Hit the links below for further details:

22 February 2010

A Figure of Speech

Not sure what this makes, but here's my current desktop (Snow Leopard 10.6.2) on my HP Mini 311:
My mom was requesting me to revert our family PC "back to the way it was" because she's been constantly getting flash freezes in Farmville (she started complaining in Vista, and she still complains about the freeze ups in the current Windows 7 Ultimate). 
With "back to the way it was", she actually meant "back to Snow Leopard" but given that I'm still watching my latest fave Taiwanese drama live via PPLive every Sunday evening and I'm no longer privileged with lots of free time on weekends as before (way way before), I haven't got the time to figure out a dual-boot with Snow Leo and Windows 7. She can complain all she wants about Farmville's flash issues but at least not on the limited amount of time she gets to use the computer and that's because I've bought a wireless router at last - just yesterday in fact.

It's a Belkin G Wireless Router. I'm kinda stumped with the simplicity of the naming convention Belkin has opted for - compare "Belkin G Wireless Router" to "Aztech DSL605E" (our DSL modem's model). And Belkin makes more sense actually - it's named that because it's a G Wireless Router.
Now mommy dearest can harvest, plough, plant all the broccolis she wants, milk all green cows she can milk and fertlize as many other farms she possibly can. While I can watch all the youtube vids and read all blogs I can digest from my room using the HP Mini 311.
But I'm running out of inspiration lately.
I think I've to ask myself: "Time for a hiatus?"

19 February 2010

Good News | Bad News

I should be preparing for my report in my MA class tomorrow but instead of attempting (for the Nth time) to get some organized outline from O. Ducrot's concept of Polyphonie (whose reluctance to drop that elusive "producteur empirique" screws everything for me cause I can't really grasp how that is different from the "locuteur"), I'm updating my blog with a new post.

Good News #1 : U.fl Apple antennas have been delivered at home! 
Finally, after 18 days of waiting!
I've recently ordered U.fl antennas for my HP Mini 311 to fix bluetooth signal. If you remember, I had to transfer the stock BT/WiFi combo card of the 311 to the full height extra PCI slot so I could use my dead Mini 1001TU's Snow Leopard compatible b/g WiFi card on the half height slot and because of that, the stock antenna could not reach the BT/WiFi card where it has resided ever since.
Bluetooth would still work but I had to keep my cellphone in very close proximity (read: on top of the keyboard deck) to transfer stuff and the connection then was not even half decent.
Below are pics of my new setup:
I used glass frost film to secure the card, the length of the antenna coiled and fitted in the remaining free space in the full height pci slot.
I haven't tried experimenting with which port on the card gives better signal for BT but I started with J2, see middle pic above, and I could control the cursor on my Mac OS X 10.6.2 desktop from my desk to my bed and so I stuck with that config.

Good News #2 : My Mini MacBook 311 has its own 11.6" bag from TechAir
The bag supposedly retails for £19.99 but I got mine for only Php 639 (£ 8.98); and it comes with a free TechAir optical mouse too! The laptop bag model doesn't offer TechAir's trademark TechAir Protection technology, which admittedly makes this good deal not really a good one. 
But I was only looking for something with which to carry my Mini 311 tomorrow - I usually just shove it in my A4-sized clear file holder with zipper (something like this, only mine's clear) along with my photocopied reading materials for my MA class. But tomorrow, I'll be attending the christening of a friend's baby boy and I'm tobe godmother, so I need something with some cushioning and can be strapped securely to my body while I jump from church to university.
Here's my 11.6" TechAir baggie:
 Yay! I'm so excited to use it tomorrow!

Now for the bad news: The HP Mini 311 Darwin Project thread has been closed
Links to the project files for installation have been taken out. 
The sad thing is that I didn't back up the latest ISO booter which also contains the HF4 installer :( I'm still thinking how best to reformulate my HP Mini 311 Snow Leopard installation guide to make it adapt to available resources in the HP Mini 311 Level 1 Support thread which, thankfully, is still up and running. Also there's still the google code page.

17 February 2010

Time For A Cool Change?

It's definitely time for change. 
New Snow Leopard 10.6.2 Guides for HP Mini 311 and HP Mini 1000.
Plus some other stuff that need overhauling to keep apace with this changing times.

16 February 2010

Mac OS History In Screenshots

One of the reasons, if not the sole one, that has always left me craving for Mac OS experience is the beautiful desktop that is Aqua. Now back in those days, 1984 to be exact, the Mac OS as we know it today was very different.
Remember this?
from blogof.francescomugnai.com
Probably not. I myself wasn't born yet when this screenshot was taken.
Mac OS System 1.0! 
It's amazing how we've gone from the image above to this image of Snow Leopard:
from geek.com
We've really come so far!

15 February 2010

Not So Random Kernel Panics On Snow Leopard

The kernel panics are not random - cause they happen for a reason and a very disturbing reason at that: memory leaks in the kernel.

I found this issue discussed at a thread in InsanelyWind. Though you may not own an MSI Wind and thus, assume, that this is something entirely unrelated to you and your MacBook Mini, you may well be dead wrong.

Being the noob that I was and continue to be, I've consigned kernel panics I'd experience before on my HP Mini 1001TU running Snow Leopard as "random" and "expected" given the hacked nature of the entire setup.
*the screencap isn't Snow Leopard (Leopard 10.5.7 actually) - but I've experienced the same on Snow Leo on my Mini 1001TU when it was still alive and well. Screencap is Snow Leopard (kernel version 10.0.0)

Though the last part of the above statement - it being hacked and all - is validly true, the "random" part isn't. It's no random phenomenon that the kernel would panic. It's an event that's bound to happen because of at least one thing we're certain about: an ever growing "kernel task" figure.

According to the InsanelyWind thread, if you let your hackintosh running on Snow Leopard 10.6.2 even on idle for let's say 8 - 12 hours, you'd observe that the kernel_task figure blows up alarmingly fast. And then when it reaches beyond what your physical memory can contain - BOOM! Kernel Panic!

I haven't been checking my "kernel task" so I'll start and see if I'm affected on my Mini 311 as well (which I think is probably the case).
Via Activity Monitor > kernel_task, I see that my Mini 311 starts with around 74 MB and then steadily raises to upto about 135 MB but after a while, goes back down to 80 - 90 MB.

09 February 2010

Fake MacBook Air

Only Php 17,900! Very very tempting indeed! Good thing I knew beforehand that its fan can potentially drive you nuts (it's that loud), I got to keep my financial status along the lines of sanity.
I was able to try out the chic-let keyboard and it gave a nice tactile feedback - I wish I had this keyboard on my HP Mini MacBook.

04 February 2010

Apple Short Laptop Wireless U.fl Antenna

Still in pursuit of that perfect MacBook (my Mini 311 is currently camouflaging as a MacBook), I'm gonna try improve bluetooth coverage with these handy dandy Apple short laptop wireless U.fl and bluetooth antennae.

According the ebay seller page:
Apple compact short antenna,  for wireless or bluetooth, the signal gain is no worse than those long type, U.fl plug, suitable for most laptops. only 15cm long, no need to open the chasis of your laptop to install this antenna, just plug in and leave it somewhere around the wifi/bluetooth card, very convinent, a nice choice for those who doesn't have the patiencet to tear their laptop into pieces just to install an antenna.
I got the bundled order; $7.99 for 5 pieces. With shipping (that I'm crossing my fingers to be decent), it rounds the total cost to just $11.98. I'd have extra for when I decide to give back the BCM94312 HMG card to my demised HP Mini 1001TU and get upgraded finally to wireless N to install on my Mini 311 - the stock BCM04312HGMB will stick around for bluetooth.

IntelGMA950 : Rebirth

Intel has updated drivers for its GMA950 graphics chipset which enables netbooks (Atom N270 or Atom N280) to reach resolutions of upto 1152 x 864 pixels under Windows 7. Though technically, the numbers of pixels doesn't miraculously multiply - physically, there are still only 1024 horizontal and 600 vertical pixels. What really happens is that this "higher resolution tricks" which were achieved via non-Intel sanctioned ways and means can now be had officially via the new driver.
Now the question is: How is this beneficial to 9" or 10" netbook owners? You can now use more easily apps requiring resolutions higher than 1024 x 600 run. Adobe Photoshop for example.
The new IntelGMA950 drivers can be found here.

03 February 2010

HacBook Air!

So this netbook is available here in the Philippines and someone has hackintoshed it!
Stock WiFi card doesn't work and needed to be replaced. 
Fan is really really LOUD. Check out the video to hear for yourself.
Only has Intel 950 GMA for graphics over which the HP Mini 311's Ion is superior.
But the Indigo HacBook Air sports multi-touch - albeit nothing in comparison with the real Air but trumps the 311's Alps trackpad which, by the way, isn't even recognized by Mac OS X as a touchpad - it thinks its a PS2 mouse.

Installation cannot be easier - you can use ever reliable NetbookBootMaker which in my opinion has become the Swiss knife of netbook hackintoshers; in that "if it ain't bootable via NetbookBootMaker, it's not hackintoshable (or lick Psystar's arse)" kind of way.
But for Filipinos out there who seriously want an Air ersatz along with the looks not just the OS, the Indigo netbook can be just the ticket for you.

Tech specs:
Indigo RS130:
  • 13.3″ Screen
  • Intel Atom N280 1.66GHz
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 160GB SATA HDD
  • Intel GMA950 Graphics
  • Intel GSE945
  • 1.3 MP webcam
  • WiFi 802.11b/g
  • 10/100Mbps LAN

Retails for Php 17,900 (around $389).
Add Mac OS X Snow Leopard DVD $29.
Replacement WiFi card (Dell 1490) $16.
A HacBook Air for $431 all in all.