30 June 2010

Minimalist Mini MacBook

As someone weaned off of PC hardware (not necessarily Windows), I've had my share of this sticker happy period that's characteristic of PC heads. From desktops to laptops...
image from 1.bp.blogspot.com

So following this tradition, we have a netbook looking like this:
image from eeeuser.com

Pretty? I thought so too. Past tense.
I also had once upon a time went as far slapping additional stickers onto my HP Mini MacBook 1001TU:
Well, I'm using the most elegant OS in the world, at least in my own opinion and yet I live with this monstrosity. So now with my HP Mini 311 MacBook, which looked like this before:
Is cleaner now:
If I couldn't have this:
image from typicalmacuser flickr.com

I'd at least have this:
Sorry for the crap picture quality, it's my Nokia 5530 that I took it with.

27 June 2010

HPM311DP_061810HF6RC3, 10.6.4 and Internal Mic Problem

from gearlive.com
After spending more time to observe and test my Mini MacBook 311, I can verify problems with the external mic no longer working is not caused by 10.6.4.

Apparently, even if VoodooHDA's necessary dependencies were put in EFI /Extra/Extensions and the kext is indeed able to load and provide system sound, it being not in /System/Library/Extensions causes internal mic to not function.

So that means it's my fault. Actually HPM311DP_061810HF6RC3.pkg, on its own, can hardly be blamed cause it only puts a new Extra folder in EFI containing all the kexts with the additional VoodooHDA related stuff. It does NOT run any scripts that touch /System/Library/Extensions. If you remember the experiment I had sought people's help to test, VoodooHDA needed to be manually eliminated in /System/Library/Extensions with the help of Kext Utility to wrap things up nicely. My apologies for making you test but I deeply appreciated the feedback of those who participated and signaled this issue with the internal mic.

I guess this means, VoodooHDA cannot ever be placed outside of /System/Library/Extensions. :(

Now there are other things I've discovered: my shirking from putting kexts in /S/L/E is entirely rooted in my not so good issues with putting PS2 Controller kexts (ApplePS2 and VoodooPS2) in that location. It caused me kernel panics. 

The current HP Mini 311 PS2 Controllers should not be placed in /S/L/E in my opinion.

Sure, VoodooHDA caused its own share of KP's when put in /S/L/E but I've now discovered that removing CHUD resulted in a more stable system.

In short, we'd just have to make sure we have Retail Pack 0.9 kexts.
1. Download Retail Pack 0.9 and unzip it.
2. Mount EFI:
$ mkdir /Volumes/EFI
$ mount_hfs /dev/disk0s1 /Volumes/EFI
Or if you're not comfortable with Terminal, you can use Alter EFI v1.3 to mount EFI. IMPORTANT: Choose the "Edit kexts" option.
3. Copy the (entire) "Extra" folder from Retail Pack 0.9 and paste it inside EFI. To verify, your EFI root volume should contain two things: (1) boot (2) Extra folder
4. Umount EFI;
$ umount -f /dev/disk0s1
$ rm -rf /Volumes/EFI
Or if you used Alter EFI to do the mounting for you, just click on "Done" on Alter EFI to umount EFI.
5. Copy VoodoHDA.kext from Retail Pack 0.9's kexts folder and paste it in /Sytem/Library/Extensions.
6. Run Kext Utility.
7. Restart.

23 June 2010

10.6.4 Update for Mac OS X Snow Leopard

NOTE: VoodooHDA when put anywhere else outside of /System/Library/Extensions will cause problem with internal mic not working. 

Just run MacOSX10.6.4ComboUpdate and before restarting, install package (this package also fixes system if you've done this experiment):

Note: This is for the HP Mini 311. I haven't been able to update my HP Mini 1000 to 10.6.4 yet. Having an "install failed" issue will try over the weekend perhaps
First of all, let me apologize for the confusion I may have spawned in the community. 

10.6.4 does NOT break anything at all.

But, to be on the safe side, if you're updating from a 10.6.2 system, skipped 10.6.3 right on to 10.6.4, you have at least to make sure that you do have meklort's latest SleepEnabler - it's that version that is 10.6.x independent. 

Then let met explain what HPM311DP_061810HF6RC3 actually is:
1. based on MowgliBook's Retail Pack 0.9
2. installs VoodooHDA in EFI - this kext has to be deleted from /System/Library/Extensions and Kext Utility needs to be run to fix things as this particular kext makes its exit from the said location in your system.
3. installs VoodooHDA's dependencies, IOAudioFamily and OSvKernDSPLib - the IOAudioFamily and OSvKernDSPLib that get installed are 10.6.4 version (at least so I think, cause it's after I had update to 10.6.4 that I got these kexts from /S/L/E to add "OSBundleRequired=Root" to their info.plist to enable loading them from outside /S/L/E - same stuff I did with VoodooHDA above)
4. new Extensions.mkext - created via Mkext Tool instead of automatically created via the "kextcache -a i386 -K /mach_kernel -m" which, as I discovered, is the root of my blank screen on wake issues from before.

So why did there have to be a new release?
Technically, HPM311DP_061810HF6RC3 is still not a release in the sense that it is still, well, as the name implies, only a release candidate "RC". That's why I needed testers. If it behaves well enough and it could be an official HF6 release.

Why only now in 10.6.4 (why let an experimental release candidate coincide with 10.6.4)?
It just happened that Apple released 10.6.4 to the greater public (i.e. non developer public who don't have access to the seed release of this point update) just after I got my HP Mini 311-1002TU back from the repair center.

Apple released 10.6.4 and I also got a machine to work with.

So why do we need to get to an HF6 release ?
Because we need to progress and find ways to improve the 311 Mini MacBook experience, (sorry in advance), duh?

I don't about you, but trying new things is what makes me tick. And the "new thing" being moving VoodooHDA to EFI /Extra/Extension does mean a lot to me - one less location to monitor and maintain from now on. Having additional stuff in /S/L/E requires me to create a package installer that not only puts the kext in that location but also to make sure other little details are taken care of accordingly - conflicting kexts that are also in /S/L/E (don't remind me of those PS2Controller that were put in there for testing but didn't quite cut it :-|), permissions, and system caches, etc. 

I refuse to play the hypocrite and say that working out the code to manage all that into a preinstall or postinstall PackageMaker script is not overwhelming at all. 

It's like a puzzle to solve - sometimes it's as trivial as putting in a line of command to mount a hidden partition (*wink wink*), other times, well, most of the times, it involves discovering how to perfectly formulate commands (*-m, -a, i386, -K, ring a bell?), from the kextcache in order to avoid having that nasty blank screen on wake issue, to get that com.apple.kext.caches in /Sytem/Library/Caches sorted. It does require some thinking and using one's brain. Specially that most tools like Mkext Tool sources are closed off - no way to know what it does under the hood but to figure it out on your own.

I thought we could attempt a clean new start, less complex stuff, and which better time to do it than with a point update such as 10.6.4? What it means to you, on the other hand, (ideally) should be a less problematic 311 Mini MacBook user experience.

P.S. This is more of like a monologue actually. Oh yeah, now I also talk to myself too. LOL.

20 June 2010

Need Testers

image from nusmathsociety.com

And yes, this is that post that has something to do with my random hackintosh thought post.

I'm testing if we could possibly have VoodooHDA fully migrated to EFI's /Extra/Extensions/ moving forward with 10.6.4 update.

If you're willing to test, here's what to do: BACK UP YOUR SYSTEM FIRST AND CREATE A BOOTER!

What You Need:
- Download Mac OS X v10.6.4 Combo Update
- Download HPM311DP_061810HF6RC3.pkg.
- Download Kext Utility v2.3
- Booter (10.6.4 compatible): Burn MowgliBook's BootCD-altPS2.iso or put it in a MultiBootISO USB flashdrive.

What To Do:
1) Go to /System/Library/Extensions/ and delete VoodooHDA.kext. Also make sure that you don't have any of the ff. kexts in there:
- VoodooHDA (which you should've already deleted)
- ApplePS2Controller
- ApplePS2Nub
- VoodooPS2Controller
2) Download and run Kext Utility to fix permissions in /System/Library/Extensions. Just double click the app and provide your user password.
3) In Terminal; issue these commands:
- $ sudo -s
- $ pmset -a hibernatemode 0
- $ rm -f /var/vm/sleepimage
4) Use Disk Utility to repair permissions on your installation volume; i.e. Macintosh HD.
5) Install Mac OS X v10.6.4 Combo Update; DO NOT RESTART YET.
6) Install HPM311DP_061810HF6RC3.pkg.
7) Restart your Mini 311.

Tips: I recommend using verbose mode on during the initial restart (after installing HF6RC3 above). The proceeding boots can be left as is; graphical/non-verbose mode.

What to look out for:
- Kernel Panics
- blank screen on wake from sleep
- overall stability

*To help you get out of sticky situations, i.e. system won't boot, use the Booter you created to boot up your Mini.

Should I Be Flattered?


18 June 2010

Random Hackintosh Thoughts : /System/Library/Extensions/

In the history of hackintoshes and real Macs alike, this location inside your OS X installation volume is highly crucial. It's where those kexts, if you still didn't know by now, that make the hardware work with Mac OS X - roughly the equivalent of drivers in the alternate reality that is Windows at least for us Mac-heads and Hack-heads - reside.

Of course, the stock or more popularly called "Vanilla" kexts installed by default by a Mac OS X Retail Install Disc, do not include the special kexts that your PC's hardware needs to work. Now in the early days of OSx86 (ok, maybe not so early since it's hardly 2 years ago from now), the main thing were custom distros like iDeneb, Kalyway, etc., and special kexts like AppleDecrypt.kext, Brcm4315Injector.kext, etc., used to be installed directly to /System/Library/Extensions/ folder

While this is good and works, take for example the AppleIntelGMA950.kext customized to support your graphics was overwritten by an OS update, say 10.6.4 - the customizations are not in the new AppleIntelGMA950.kext installed by the update.

Ok, so how about naming these custom-built hackintosh kexts in way that they don't coincide with the stock ones to avoid over-writing? That does also work. One good example are the Voodoo kexts - VoodooHDA.kext, VoodooPS2Controller.kext etc.

But then again, we do have such a thing as a "kext conflict"; one kext may not bear to live with another and thus cause a Kernel Panic which has become, at one point or another, our BFF. Or perhaps the newer kernel itself is not compatible with the kext; example are previous SleepEnabler.

The only solution to that would be to take out the kexts and get on with life. However, you cannot boot our OS X installation to delete those problematic kexts; they're installed in /System/Library/Extensions are loaded whether you like it or not. We can perhaps extract the physical hard drive and connect it to a working Mac externally via USB and get at those kexts from there - but that's not a luxury that most have  for a troubleshooting option.

Enter a newer era of hackintosh/OSx86: "Extra" folder in the main "/" directory. Where we put all those non-vanilla kexts in isolation so that the main OS X system remains untouched which can still be booted using Boot-132 discs containing a set of "working kexts".

And then people got even more obsessed by this Vanilla system and discovered that the installation can be made even "purer" by moving the "Extra" folder with all those OSx86 kexts, still in the same physical hard drive, but in a different partition - the EFI partition. This is hidden and by default not even mounted and so the possibility of OS updates reaching it is practically zilch. A user must consciously mount EFI before he/she can gain access to the precious files in there that make your hackintosh work - it's something, at least in the beginning, done only via Terminal/command line which can be intimidating. He/she must have know what he/she was doing.

That said, EFI boot method, still is NOT totally immune to updates. The rule of the thumb is to determine beforehand which of your "working kexts" can possibly cause trouble with the update in question. The action plan therefore is to update these set of kexts - delete or add - before restarting the machine after the applying an OS point update.

And so how do you know which kexts will cause trouble and which new kexts to update EFI with? Enter Hackintosh/OSx86 addicts. It can be because they don't have better things to do or they probably just don't have a life at all (*ahem*) but to tinker and so are very much willing to make their systems guinea pigs. And this is where an active community of people who have the same hardware as yours or close enough to yours (and preferably are Hackintosh/OSx86 addicts) is vital. If not, you're still not as hopelessly out of luck as you think you are cause hey, you can always learn. Being a Hackintosh noob is not bad at all - it's a start to wonderful OSx86 things and more.

So what have I been smoking that incited this imaginary dialogue? All that in a post to come.

16 June 2010

Comeback Just In Time!

And this is what's waiting for me:
image from OSXDaily.com
Just wait and see, you crapware-bloated Windows 7 install! Mwahahahaha.

Doesn't seem frightening. But we'll have to see first hand how it goes for the HP Mini 311. Stay tuned.

15 June 2010

Back In Biz

image from www.brianmicklethwait.com

This makes me one very very very happy hackintosher! Has Christmas just arrived early this year?

Though I don't know why the repair tech put me on F.02 BIOS and what's worse, the warranty start date on the bios page was put to 11/20/2009 when it was 12/22/2009 originally (the date I bought my Mini 311)...hmmm....

Anyhow, my serial no., when checked at the HP site returns a good date so that's that. And the most important part is that they didn't suspect I was responsible for this incident at all. :-) My unit was fixed for free. Gratis.

I'm now on F.15, icelord unlocked. I could very well try overclocking again, but for now, I'm still on Windows 7. For as much as I want to "OS X-ify" my adored Mini 311 immediately, I've to remember that there's an 8-5 day job waiting for me and without which I wouldn't be able to fund my tech addiction, so I definitely have to sleep tonight. Plus I'd prefer to get overclocking done and stabilized prior to installing Snow Leo and why you might ask? I don't know either - just my OCD kicking in again.

So, overclocking gurus out there, please help the noob right  here who is in dire need of your wisdom. :-)

P.S. I bricked the Mini 311 the night before the Philippines' 2010 Elections. It took roughly the same amount of time, which is around a month or so, for Noy Noy Aquino to be declared President elect and for HP to repair my Mini 311. Gosh, that was really inspiring customer service from HP, I must say @_@

14 June 2010


No, I didn't get into yet another disaster and ruin one of my darling "Mac Netbooks".

I certainly consider my fingers long enough to be nuisance. There are hardly few disaster-free moments in my life for the sheer reason of not knowing where to put my extremities - I slap people around me accidentally and get parts of me pinned up between the door and the jamb (believe it or not, it's no unusual occurrence for me get that bony part of my hip bumped and bruised with the door knob when I close doors behind me as I pass through).

I am that klutzy. So imagine all 5 foot 7 inches of me hunched over the microscopic HP Mini 1001TU and my spidery hands all a sprawl on the keyboard and that lilliputian trackpad as I write this post.

You're right; not a pretty sight.

And it's also not a comfortable typing experience for me either. I could very well sit up straight on a chair with the Mini on a desk and then squint at the text editor in blogger.com. However, my constantly having to reach for the trackpad is quite cumbersome - I lift my entire hand off the keyboard and then lower it so my index finger would now rest on the trackpad surface. Or anchor my wrist on the Mini's lower chassis' edge and pivot my hand to reach the trackpad.

No wonder I end up feeling like my wrists were run over, mangled by a car on the street after a significant amount of typing on a laptop! It's the trackpad.

Or maybe it's just the way I use the trackpad. Remember how tech people would say netbook ergonomics are mainly for children? Well, that can be true indeed. Look at how my 7 year old nephew positions his hands on my HP Mini 1001TU as he prepares to use it (I had to lure him to want to use the Mini by telling him I got a new game installed).
Notice how he has his thumbs right on the area of the trackpad. Guess what? He actually uses his thumb for tracking! Maybe netbooks are designed so kids are the first to make sense outta the keyboard and trackpad layout? But then I could definitely imagine this working fine on any regular laptop.

Or maybe not.

My latest endeavor is trying to acquire this tracking technique/skills. Not really easy to shrug old habits off. And this is just proof of my having nothing to do but bum around this holiday.

Edit: Doesn't work for me. External USB mouse remains the best option.

12 June 2010

How To Live With 1024x600 Screen Resolution

Although I didn't get my HP Mini 311 back this week, I'm still hoping I'll be getting it back within next week. My target is Tuesday but in the remaining days between now and that fateful day, I still have to live with the 1024x600 screen of my HP Mini 1000.

Computing with a hackintoshed netbook with this screen resolution is bearable, even quite good in fact. Although the netbooks' Intel Atom chip hardly trumps a G4 PowerPC in iBooks, the fact that the former can run Snow Leopard and are lighter, more portable than the latter is enough for me to prefer hackintoshed netbooks than real iBooks.

So using hackintoshed netbooks on a daily basis spells happy days. Err, until you find yourself with lots of open apps and open windows. That 600 vertical real estate has forced me to put my Dock vertically on the left side for more comfortable workspace.

There was this one time that I had activated Spaces to organize my open windows but then they're not that many and I find myself getting confused with where to find each one. This wasn't the solution for me, clearly.

And then I stumbled upon an article in OS X Daily; "Enable Single Application Mode". And before you react violently, NO, this is not anything like Windows XP Starter Edition, but rather it "is a way to force Mac OS X to show only the application that is currently in use, all other open applications and windows will be minimized into the Dock. Selecting another application from the Dock will then minimize the current application, and the new selection becomes the only thing on screen."

Here's what it looks like in action:

It kinda reminds me of Ubuntu Netbook Remix's behavior, which is quite nice. :)

10 June 2010

Mini MacBook 311 Will Be Back With Me Soon!

Update: Too bad, it'll have to be next week that I get back my Mini 311 :(
At 12:50pm today, June 10, 2010, I got a call from the shop where I brought my HP Mini 311 to for repair.
miage from city-data
They just wanted to inform me that my Mini 311's hard drive would have to be reformatted before I could get it back as part of routine procedure for repairs that had required part replacement.

I remember painstakingly extracting my netbook's hard drive, transplanting it temporarily to my MSI Wind so I could install Ubuntu 10.4 Lucid Lynx in there, then shoving it back inside the 311 before going down the local store to claim my 1 year warranty. But when the rep uttered the word "reformat",  I hardly feigned sounding distraught over the news because of sheer relief and excitement at the prospect of having the 311 back in my arms again.

Remember that I had to play the innocent damsel in distress least they discover I was entirely responsible for the damage and charge me for the servicing instead of charging everything against the warranty. In fact, I think I did a very good job of playing that role except that I may have gone too far even for my own taste as I summarized my predicament with the HP Mini 311 as:
I was just playing farmville on Facebook on it last Sunday and then the next morning, Monday, I switched it on and nothing; just blank screen.
FYI, I strongly detest Farmville and have been spending less and less time on Facebook recently but I had to pretend I was 100% "frou frou" and absolutely clueless when it came to computers, much less hold a screw driver to crack a netbook open, thus voiding the warranty. But had I known that strategy alone was enough, that they weren't gonna check what OS was installed in the drive, I should've just skipped the drive transplant part altogether.

But all's well that ends well, I'm relieved. And so after 1 excruciating month of waiting and calling the store periodically for updates - on one occasion, I was told that they were waiting for the part replacement to arrive from Malaysia where they had to order it - I could finally take my HP Mini 311 back home. To be more exact, if the HP service center is able to accomplish the procedural formatting of the hard drive and they get to deliver it at the mall store branch where I checked in my Mini 311 for repair request tomorrow, I should be able to get my netbook back within this week.

I certainly hope I can pick it up tomorrow or else it'll have to be Tuesday next week because Monday is a holiday and I don't plan to go anywhere but catch up with sleep (yes, I'm no longer tinkering that much with OSx86 stuff, but I still find myself staying up late somehow).

Also, I really wish to have my 311 with me over this weekend as this is that last one that I'll have free for another 4-5 months; my MA classes start June 19. I hope to be able to set it up again with Snow Leopard and all. The Mini 311 (hackintoshed of course) will be my primary machine for school. Plus I'm really getting fed up with the agonizingly minuscule 1024x600 screen of the HP Mini 1000.

Would I still want to overclock it? Sure. At least now I already know and have tested that 1.8 GHz works fine, I'll stick with that. :D

09 June 2010

Apple WWDC 2010

Retina technology.
iMovie for iPhone.
Apple A4 chip.
= iDrool.

Well what do you know? WWDC has come and gone once again, hit the image above for the links.

Imagine if there was a WWHC "World Wide Hackintoshers Conference".

I'd like that myself. :D

Ooh and there's also FaceTime. I wonder if Mac OS X/Macs will include this feature.

Bluetooth and the HP Mini 110

I got this question via email.
Since I don't have much to write about OSx86 - I still haven't got my HP Mini 311 back as of date and I'm not as inspired working with my Mini 1001TU - I thought I'd share this email and the response to it.
hey LeMaurien19! i have a technical question and i hope you don't mind...
finally i replaced my hp mini 110's wifi card with the card for the mini 1000.
it's finally working! so now i have wifi on my 110 running snow leopard 10.6.
but, i lost my bluetooth! i have a disabled bluetooth symbol in my control bar and no bluetooth in my system preferences.
why can't i have both? it was the same problem when i was in my 10.5.x hack.
i'd have my bluetooth but once the wifi was running (after installing the necessary kext) the bluetooth would be diabled.
before i got my wifi card, my bluetooth was fine but as soon as i installed the card, my bluetooth was gone.
do you know how i can make it both work?
First off, I'm not really familiar with the HP Mini 110's innards. When it comes to wireless - WiFi and bluetooth -  I'd guess that either the HP Mini 110 uses a card with integrated BT/WiFi or BT module separate from WiFi.

But then he said he'd been able to make BT + WiFi work side by side before so I'm concluding the 110 has the latter config; that is, separate BT and WiFi modules.

It does seem likely that the module was turned off and so, when OS X is started, it does not detect the BT module and the necessary kexts don't get loaded.

So first off, if I were him, I'd try to put a copy of these kexts from /System/Library/Extensions (current Snow Leopard install) into /EFI/Extra/Extensions:

- IOBluetoothFamily.kext
- IOBluetoothHIDDriver.kext

And then rebuild the kextcache.
All this can be done by using UpdateEFI.app from the InsanelyMac Wiki.
I'd toggle the wireless switch to make sure I turn on Bluetooth as I restart the machine.

If that doesn't work, I'd try getting these Bluetooth kexts from Leopard 10.5 DVD disc or from any distro like iDeneb.

If that still doesn't help, I'd use a Linux live CD/USB - Ubuntu on a USB would do the trick. Boot the 110 into Linux and try to power on Bluetooth with it.

In the unlikely event (I say "unlikely" because it appears to me that HP started using integrated WiFi/BT with the HP Mini 311 and later netbooks) that the 110 has in fact an integrated WiFi/BT module, then I'm afraid I'm as clueless as the next non-techie grandma on this side of the planet.

03 June 2010


No, I'm not going off to Malaysia, Truly Asia, no thank you.

It's that local store *******, after about calling them 4 times, one of the staff actually cared to call me back for some update on my bricked Mini 311. The service center is ordering parts from Malaysia.