31 August 2010

Make a Mac OS X Installer USB

It's raining hard (typhoon Glenda is raging outside, I can see it through the office windows) and we all can't go out into the streets and commute home. I'll use this time to update this How-To Guide. Good thing I still have the screenshots available.

What You Need:
  1. External USB hard drive/flashdrive "USB drive" - 8 gigs or more
  2. Lizard application
  3. Latest Retail Pack for the HP Mini 311 - currently Retail Pack 0.9
  4. Image of Snow Leopard Mac OS X Retail DVD
  5. A working Mac or hackintosh
What To Do: 

  1. Launch Disk Utility and format your USB drive - my personal preference is GPT/HFS Extended Journaled
  2. Use the "Restore" function of Disk Utility to restore the Snow Leo Retail DVD onto your USB drive - make sure you have previously scanned the image (.dmg or .ISO file) for restore, just locate the image file at the list on the left panel and access Disk Utility's File > "Scan image for restore" function.                                                      
  3. Or, use Carbon Copy Cloner. Be sure your Mac OS X DVD image is mounted first. (replace that "DanPro" with the DVD image and "DanProMirror" with your USB drive -I  forgot the screenshot)                                                     
  4. Once the restore or cloning is completed, launch Lizard. Click on "Install and Update".
  5. Choose your USB drive from the list of drives - I suggest that you limit the mounted drives to 2 or 3 so you won't get confused. I named my USB "SnowDVD" as you can see: 
  6. Then at the bottom part of the window, click on "Select folder" button. Point Lizard to the "Bootloader" folder inside Retail Pack 0.9. Click on "Install" button. 
  7. Once that's done, copy the entire "Extra" folder from Retail Pack 0.9 onto the root of your USB drive. 
And it's ready for use with your Mini 311. This can be used to:

A. Install Mac OS X on the Mini 311 (fresh installation)
  1. Use the Installer USB to boot up your HP Mini 311. It will automatically boot into the OS X Installer program. 
  2. Format you drive as GPT > HFS + Journaled. Name your drive for ex. "Macintosh HD". OS X Installer may say that Installation has failed. Don't worry; this is normal. Restart your computer.
  3. Boot up your Mini 311 again with the same USB Installer and as Chameleon loads, press F8 and you'll be presented with a list of bootable volumes.
  4. Just choose the "Macintosh HD" drive icon in the Chameleon boot menu via arrow keys. Press Enter key to boot your selection.
  5. Configure your User Account and once you're in your Desktop, 
  6. Install the Mac OS X 10.6.4 Combo Updater. Do not restart yet.
  7. Install 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 USB Installer. 
  8. Restart the computer for changes to be applied.
B. Boot an existing Mac OS X install on the Mini 311 (if and when you sabotaged your EFI setup)
*Just do steps 3 - 8 (skipping step 6, of course, if you've already updated) of letter A above.
    And, in theory, it should work with Snow Leo Retail DVD's upto 10.6.4 10.6.6 just fine (Retail Pack 0.9 on a Mac OS X USB Installer). It's practically the same stuff (kexts and all) in the Extra folder.

    Well what do you know? It stopped raining! I can go home now, bye!!

    29 August 2010

    Printer Sharing in Mac OS X

    I discovered that this is yet another thing that's very easy to do in OS X.

    At home, we use the HP Deskjet F4280 All-in-One Printer; it's a printer, scanner, and photocopier. Though not the best printer and doesn't give the cheapest printing per page cost, it's decent enough to get us through.

    I've already set it up with the MSI Wind hackintosh; I use the HP Printer Drivers v.2.4.1 for Mac instead of installing the software suite from the CD that came with our printer. Now we scan using Preview app's import from scanner feature and I'd say it gives a more OS X integrated experience this way. I never really liked the bundle of HP apps; they were not very easy to use specially when scanning.
    HP Scan Pro, besides the fact that it won't let me scan in Snow Leopard now (it reports an error), would save the original scanned imaged in new folder it created somewhere in my user directory. With Preview, it automatically saves the image in Pictures. This simple gesture of keeping my files neat and tidy is something I really appreciate.

    And so now let's get to the juicier part:

    How To Setup Printer Sharing Between Two Macs/Hackintoshes
    - Make sure both computers are connected to the local network

    1. On my main hackintosh, in my case it's the MSI Wind that the printer is physically connected to, I go to System Preferences > Sharing and enable the option "Printer Sharing":                   
    2. On my other hackintosh, the HP Mini 311, I go to System Preferences > Sharing and enable the same option "Printer Sharing".
    3. Still at the same window, at the right portion of the Sharing preference pane, under the pair of boxes "Printers" and "Users", I click on the plus (+) sign.
    4. This will bring me to the Add Printer pane which automatically retrieves the printer name and settings:                                                       
    5. After clicking on the "Add" button, the printer is set up for my HP Mini 311: 
    And I'm done!

    Now when I want to print a document from my room on the HP Mini 311, as long as the wifi router is on and the MSI Wind and the printer is on, I can do so just as if the printer was physically connected to my Mini 311.

    28 August 2010

    4th International Silent Film Festival at the Shangri-La

    This totally deviates from my usual hackintosh, Mac, and in general tech-centric posts. I shouldn't even be posting this on My MacBook Mini. But, because a separate blog in which I can talk about errant topics such as this just does not exist, please bear with me.

    I went with a friend to attend the 4th International Silent Film Festival which opened at the Shangri-La earlier today, in the afternoon to be more specific. My MA class ended at around 5:00 PM and after getting my copy of the new article we were asked to translate as an assignment, about 45 minutes later, there I was inside the taped perimeters of Shang's ground floor, one hand holding a glass of white wine, the other holding a piece of succulent cream-tart-of-sorts courtesy of Cibo. (Unfortunately, I do not posses the sufficient amount of culture and breeding required to be able to identify that "tart" by name).

    Oh and since I came straight from school and fresh from delivering the introduction portion of my report on the chapter "L'Investigation psychologique ou le culte de la sincérité", I had my HP Mini 311 inside its Tech Air baggie slung on on one shoulder. (There, I mentioned a netbook. I declare this post to be fit for this blog's reader's consumption)

    On another shoulder I carried my, well, shoulder bag (my trusty old Liz Claiborne bag, that will forever contain a "payong") I'm not quite sure how I managed to sip wine, munch on the hors-d'œuvres, snap some quick pics with my ancient Casio digicam, and chat with my group all at the same time.

    But moving on, it wasn't my first taste of silent films. To be exact, it wasn't my first time at the Silent Film Festival, and I mean this very International Silent Film Festival. And such is the reason why I feel compelled to write this post.

    Thus taking cue from Venus Raj again - and my reason for implicating the beauty queen's name in this is valid, you'll see - I'd like to "make right a major mistake I made" while at the cocktail at the 4th International Silent Film Festival.
    above is the ground floor on normal days

    You see, I got introduced to a writer for an online magazine. She was covering the event and was interviewing people. In short, I got interviewed.

    And it was precisely this little snippet of my being not a first-timer at this film fest that became my major mistake. Or to be strictly clear, it was a mistake made up of a couple of component mistakes.

    1. I thought that it was at last year's, 2009, Silent Film Fest that I first went - and that's what I said during the interview but actually, now that I've thought hard about it, it was in fact the 2nd International Silent Film Festival that I first attended! I skipped 2009 and did not even notice it.
    2. I thought the title of the film I watched then was "Calibria" - it was "Cabiria" actually.
    And being the humain being that I am (wow, I just had the verb "to be" in 3 forms in that single construct! 2 in conjugated form and 1 in noun form), I'll defend myself by saying that it is not at all hard to get the details muddled up:
    1. It was the same venue - Shangri-La
    2. Same exact country whose film I watched - Italy
    3. Same exact people who invited me (or whom I asked to get myself invited :-P)
    4. Same exact musicians who performed live for the film's score (Caliph8)
    It was really déjà vu.

    Except of course, I enjoyed "Assunta Spina" way better than "Calibria".

    Err, sorry, I meant "Cabiria".

    On a more serious note though, I sincerely apologize to the kind and gentle Ms. Joyce (I didn't even manage to get her last name) for that major major confusion of details. I'd understand if she won't believe anymore that this really is not my first Silent Film Fest; I won't believe myself either after this mishap.

    So there. I don't know if William Baldwin would be satisfied with this, but to the unfortunate writer who met me that night, please do not be afraid to continually trust my stated appreciation of the live music performance at the Silent Film Fest, both in the 2nd and now in the 4th. It was the music that saved me from boredom rooted self-destruction induced by Cabiria, the agonizingly long silent film.

    26 August 2010

    It's 4 o'clock the afternoon on a Thursday and here I am blogging. Shouldn't I be working?
    Yes, I should but how does one work when there's, well, no work to be done?
    And that's how lucky I am, you would say, but really, when you've tried staring at your LCD monitor for hours on end in your cube, your head an impressive blank, you won't call me as fortunate anymore.

    Because I ran out again of websites to check, blogs to peruse (pardon me for the blatant narcissistic desire to use the word "peruse" en risqué of redundancy), I'm writing in response to Laptopmag.com's interesting article about netbooks.
    image from itmanagement.com

    I won't talk much about the article's content here, so go read it directly from the source linked above, but I'll attempt to answer the question:

    "What did I win from the Netbook Revolution?"

    A lot.

    That is, excluding the amount of Philippine peso which I, technically and validly, lost as I acquired my several netbooks that didn't make it with me through the years: EeePC 701, EeePC 900, and HP Mini 1001TU. These gadgets were disposed off either by bequeathal to a kin (there, I'm overdoing this old English tone ;-) ) or by selling at a local used gagdets forum. Either way, to put it simply, it can be called charity as I never was able to sell them for what they could potentially be worth.

    The MSI Wind U100 and HP Mini 311 are spared because the former I use as a desktop replacement at home and the latter as my main portable computer. Suffice it to say, I've exacted and continue to exact the capital I invested in the acquisition of these machines through realiable use.

    True, netbooks, in their dawn, were supposed to be different from laptops which were still considered as the "real deal" back in late 2007 to early 2008 when Asus' EeePC 700 first saw the light. In fact, it was not even called a netbook for the term "netbook" itself wasn't coined yet. (I won't go into the controversies of that appellation). But from then to now, netbooks have evolved; so much so that techjournalists and the general public alike got confused with what to call a mere netbook and what to call an ultraportable notebook/laptop.

    I think this blurring of boundaries is precisely why Avram Piltch says in his article that the "Netbook Revolution is over". I myself think that the "netbook specie" might even be completely extinct next year but this statement in itself speaks of vagueness: I bought my HP Mini 311 December last year (it was introduced earlier in October same year, 2009) but I no longer look at it as a netbook.

    Actually, the more I think of it, it was never one in the first place - I never intended to use it as a netbook from the get-go.If, following the classic descriptions that the category is or used to be bounded by, netbooks are meant only for casual internet surfing, e-mailing, light document editing, then I have not indeed used my HP Mini 311 as one. Nor my MSI Wind U100 for that matter.

    The activities previously cited can be summarized into a single phrase and that is: "nothing major" or à la Venus Raj "nothing major, major". However, I have been using the MSI Wind as our main desktop computer at home (its modest hardware more than suffices for what my whole family do with it: access the internet) and the HP Mini 311 as my main portable computer for school and, in general, for all personal stuff. I have always used the Mini 311 as laptop, not a netbook.

    So if my mom's addiction to Farmville, our family's dependency on torrent for movies, and my master's degree were to be described, then they can only be concluded as anything but not "nothing major" they are major needs - or again, as Venus Raj would have it: "major, major" activities.

    Perhaps the main attraction for me from "netbooks" is that, albeit contrary to what some tech analysts would say, they do not impose limits on what I should be using them for. Netbooks, as Brad Linder's comment on the article states clearly:
    "...they were small, light, cheap devices that were at the core fully functional computers."
    And this is, in my opinion, a form of freedom in itself which I am more than willing to embrace.

    What this so-called "Netbook Revolution" has done that impacted me in a most significant way is that it democratized portable computing.

    You all know, or I'd like to fool myself to think that you would care to know, about my computing history - I spent my college years thinking that laptops were only for kids whose moms were ex-consuls, attachés, or whose dads sold Xtreme Magic Sing mic* by the metric-ton bulk.

    Now, to be able to compete with "mere" netbooks, ultraportables are getting more affordable or as I prefer it, "more reasonable in price". It took a tiny little machine with a 7" screen and barely serviceable keyboard for a lot of people, to awaken both consumers and the market to an epiphany:

    Computer users don't always need the meanest, fastest, baddest machines which come at incredulous price marks.

    I don't forcibly need a Php 85,990 MacBook Air for the mobile Mac experience for which I have my HP Mini 311 and the InsanelyMac community to credit.

    And there goes my little rambling - instead of enduring yet another near-comatose episode, and in the animé/manga world, a "stand-still", I wrote this.

    *Nope, not a paid advertisement - I just link stuff cause I think they might be fun as introduction to my Filipino culture :D

    25 August 2010

    8th of 12

    Not my birthday and neither is it my anniversary with my imaginary boyfriend.

    So I checked my e-statement just now and I was a bit surprised that this was already the 8th installment payment for my HP Mini 311.

    Yeah, yeah, I can't afford to pay for my stuff in cold cash. The last gadget or (oh, alright, I'll be honest) netbook that I bought cash at a brick-and-mortar store was my MSI Wind. Well, if you count in the HP Mini 1001TU which I got pre-owned from a local forum, then it's the Mini that's the last netbook I bought cash.

    The point is, or rather my poor justification of preferring installment payment method for gadgets, err, netbooks is that I think of it as if I were just renting the gadget monthly; I pay as I wear (hopefully not "tear") out the machine in daily use. Not that I'm someone who'd drive the hell out of her gadgets of course. Quite the contrary, I tend to be meticulous about the care I give my stuff :D

    I hope my HP Mini 311 lasts. Which seems to be a viable aspiration if based only on the results of my little poll :D
    I've just wired my payment just now and there's only 4 more payments to go then it's time to replace my Mini 311 with a new netbook!



    *This is in Philippine peso, not US dollars so my Mini 311 is not one that's encrusted with diamonds and plated in genuine gold. Nor is it reason for you suspect this as the reason why my hackintosh setup runs fine.

    Keep Your Mini MacBook 311 Secure

    A new Security Update has been released for Mac OS X Snow Leopard named:

    According to the OSXDaily article, the update patches "several potential exploits" and that one of the said exploits is similar to the PDF exploit seen in iOS - it's that security hole which allowed easy jailbreaking via jailbreakme.com

    iOS has been patched recently via iOS 4.0.2 and that makes it patched earlier than Mac OS X. It looks indeed like iOS and Mac OS X share a lot more than we've come to expect and that includes security holes...

    So it's time to click on that juicy little Apple icon on the menubar, then run Software Update. Or alternatively, you can download the update in .dmg format through the link provided above.

    21 August 2010

    Farewell, My 1st Mini MacBook

    No, that's not my HP Mini 1001TU in the picture above, neither is the girl holding the 1001TU moi. I wouldn't be a geek if I looked anything like that.

    But enough of murdering my own self-esteem in terms of physical appearance and get on with the main point of this post: Today is the day I said goodbye to my very first "Mini MacBook" or "MacBook Mini". 

    Well, in the course of months, I've come to prefer the the term "Mini MacBook" over "MacBook Mini". There's been a confusion with MyMacBookMini.com with MyMacBookMini.blogspot.com - they're not one and the same - for a time they were related, but not anymore now, here is where "My MacBook Mini" started, just to make things clear. :D

    So anyway, I decided to sell my HP Mini 1001TU shortly after I'd gotten my new Atheros AR9280 b/g/n WiFi card and restored the BCM94312HMG card where it really belonged. The whole package, accessories and all went and was gone for around $ 200 or maybe even less.

    I know that this is hardly worth posting about but I felt I just had to mark this event in my experience as a hackintosher.

    Things I learned with the HP Mini 1001TU:
    • How to do a Retail Install
    • How to do a Vanilla Install
    • How to replace a netbook keyboard after accidentally destroying it with a hairdryer
    • How to destroy an SDHC card slot with a Sony Memory Stick from my nephew's PSP
    • And other absurdities. XD
    About half of the posts here in "MyMacBookMini" is about the HP Mini 1001TU - from March to December 2009 plus some more even after I've got an HP Mini 311.

    So to my dear little 1001TU, mommy loves you still. I hope your new family loves you more than I did. No, they may not crack your shell open as often as I did, exposing your innards, with the final goal of extricating that precious Snow Leo compatible WiFi card of yours to feed to your newer, meaner, brother. 
    But bear in mind that love can be expressed in many ways; the screw driver is just one. Please try to appreciate the other ways.

    20 August 2010


    Couldn't resist it.

    Got myself a new, dirt cheap, Cherry Mobile P1.

    It's your most basic of cellphones - SMS and call features only. Ok, if we count the "alarm" as "organizer", 3 features then. D'oh! 

    I love the small form factor. It's hardly bigger than the square area of a regular credit card, or as seen in the pic below, an MRT stored value card.

    I would've wanted a more colorful unit but they only had black remaining when I checked out their booth at a nearby mall.
    the red one looks decent enough

    Apparently these babies are selling like hot cakes!

    Haven't we heard netbooks described that way too - "selling like hot cakes" - before?

    If it's worth its Php 999 ($ 22) price tag, that I'll see as I use it as a secondary cellphone mainly for dealing on line for sourcing my PC stuff :D

    The HP Mini 311 Is A Sad Mac* After All?

    *or a PC, if you didn't hackintosh it.

    It's no secret that my HP Mini 311 died on me a few months ago and before that, my HP Mini 1000 did too at about a month before its 1 year international warranty expired. But then it's also no secret how "intimate" I've been getting with these two machines -- and before you color me perverted, that is, a perverted geek-wannabe to be exact -- the "intimacy" described here deals with logic boards (Apple parlance, hello!), PCI slots, U.fl antenna connectors, 2.5" hard drive bracket mounts, and DIMM slot clips.

    To cut the story short, the HP Mini 311 died because I fried its bios chip with the wrong bus speeds while learning how to over-clock hands-on. That the HP Mini 1000 still lives is a miracle given the many times I've cracked its shell open to extract and restore its infamous BCM94312HMG WiFi card. In my case, the less than stellar user experience has been self-inflicted.

    We are also aware of the controversy claiming that netbooks are not at all made to last. It's something that's been circulating on the web for quite some time now, since the advent of this new machine category and I bet Timmy C. and Stevie J. have been effervescently delighted with that, but most of us "netbookers" trudged on happily with our little wonder gadgets to our fave cafés.

    But now, after reading a post at blogeee.net, I feel imminently disturbed: HP netbooks have been pointed (again) in particular to have the shortest life span of them all!

    The thought of my Mini 311 deteriorating within 12 months - that's before I can even complete the installment payment plan - is just troubling.

    You, how's your HP experience so far?

    17 August 2010


    Or Windows 7 disguising as Snow Leopard.

    As I've mentioned before, I really don't know why I ever chose to dual-boot my HP Mini 311. Is it to avoid being left out by a trend that somehow marks belongingness to geekdom?  Maybe. Or perhaps I'm just tired of reading questions in comments regarding Snow Leopard Windows 7 dual-boot that to contain the issue once and for all, I succumbed to be able to say that I do know what goes under the hood in a dual-boot.

    So I don't really completely regret having Redmond stuff inside my beloved HP Mini 311 but the fact remains that the most opportune moment to find Windows 7 useful is yet to come. It's a 30 GB worth of little used space on the 311's 250 GB Seagate hard drive. What to do to brighten up things a bit?

    On a particularly "paresseux" afternoon, I stumbled upon this on Cult Of Mac: Snow Leopard Transformation Pack.

    Ok, now you probably want to throw up and reach for that X button to close your browser window on this decidedly disgusting post, but please not before you see these screen caps:
    Internet Explorer 8 trying to pass off as Safari sends shivers up my very spine

    Oooh. It's got Stacks too. Nice graphics.

    Now this here is what I'd like to talk more about.

    It's always struck me that managing my files in Windows 7 is now more pleasant than it ever was in previous versions of the OS. Isn't it the same Windows Explorer app that has always been long in the tooth??!?

    I adore Mac OS X Finder a lot. But I never realized to what extent until I played with this Snow Leopard Transformation Pack and now, it's ever more obvious; it's Sidebar!

    My first cross over to Mac OS X was from Windows XP and going back to my office PC, which at that time still had Win XP installed, I felt it was going back to an Auberge de jeunesse after spending a weekend at the Ritz! Right, that may be an exaggeration but I needed to drive the point home and I'm sure I couldn't do better than that, not because I believe it to be the best rhetorical device but simply because my imagination is limited.

    The Sidebar has always been a feature of OS X Finder, even traces back to the older big cats. So I think it's fair to say that Microsoft copied the concept in Windows 7. And unlike most Apple fans like me with the same reality distortion ailing them as does Stevie J, I'd say thumbs up to MS for the copy-cat effort; it's made their OS better.

    After a couple or so of restarts (wow, I really am in Windows!) and after 5 minutes of taking screenies, I uninstalled the Snow Leopard Transformation Pack. The reason? It just felt disturbing to discover myself responding with my Mac OS X reflexes inside Windows 7 and being frustrated in the end because the reflexes didn't quite give me the results expected. Imagine me reaching for the Alt button (location of OS X Command key equivalent in a PC keyboard like that of the Mini 311's) instead of Ctrl.


    15 August 2010

    "Souped Up"

    image from clickz.com

    Did I use that expression right? It's what I normally see in tech-centric Filipino forums to describe a machine that's been improved, upgraded. I thought I'd hop in the band-wagon and sing the campfire song as well.

    When I came home this Friday, fresh from Google's exposing me to the world's "derision for disappointed hopes" as it disabled my AdSense account, and with all the Jane Austen melodrama ringing in my head, upon putting down my backpack on the dining table and seeing the oh so familiar yellow bubble pack envelope, I ended up still not quite involved "in the misery of the acutest kind".

    At long last! The Atheros AR9280 b/g/n half-height WiFi card I ordered from e-bay last July 16th finally came through the post.

    Not only did I have a new 2GB stick of fresh DDR3 1066 MHz PC-8500 (don't I just relish that long geeky appellation? Wihihihi) but I also have a new AirPort Extreme card! I mean the Atheros should be recognized by Mac OS X Snow Leo as a true blue Apple AirPort Extreme wireless module....it just should....

    But I prevailed and arrested myself from having tantrums and managed to, here goes that expression I sometimes disdain, "soup up" my darling-little-brat-of-an-almost-baby-boyfriend (dear me, is that a sign of unhealthy romantic preferences? Haha).
    Half-height PCI slot cause I didn't wanna have to re-route the U.fl antenna

    Kinda dig the Kingston logo actually ^_^

    And Snowy indeed thought the Atheros an AirPort Extreme card :D
    3GB DDR3 - yummy :D
    And I knew better than to destroy my new Atheros card and refrained from attacking that infamous PIN20. 

    Oh and by the way, I can no longer use the wireless switch to turn bluetooth on/off. It did work before with when the Broadcom 4312hmg. A bummer; it's the same PCI slot - half-height...

    13 August 2010


    In the course of time between my switching to Blogger from Wordpress and now, I've been running AdSense adds on this site. They're supposed to be a source of revenue but in my case, they've been more of visual ornaments or perhaps nuisance rather than income. I am clearly not "raking it in big time". No, sir.

    And now Google has decided to disable my AdSense account. Because of "Invalid activity".
    I am eternally grateful for the thought of wanting me to earn a bit from my sometimes fun, sometimes informative, sometimes just plain nonsensical yapping. And for that, to those who have clicked on the ads here, I do not know you personally but you may stop clicking now and with all my heart I thank you for your effort to help even though what little earning I may have made in more than a year of blogging here at Blogger will probably never get to my hands.

    Anyway, this can't stop me from posting and sharing what I can with you all, AdSense or no AdSense.

    Yours truly,

    12 August 2010

    My Office PC Gets the Windows 7 Treatment

    This morning a guy kept the elevator door open for me as I got off at the 10th. It was nice of him and I thought I'd seen him somewhere before but it was useless putting effort to figure out because I'm just like that in real life; unable to relate to people around me - the classic, true-blue anti-social.

    I reached my cube and as I waited for my old PC to boot up, I noticed that my IP phone had one of those buttons arranged neatly in column lit up red. A missed call. When I checked the list, I saw a L** B**** register. He was the guy at the elevator - the IT dep't guy. No wonder he was familiar! He's one of them guys who take care of our PC quagmires here at work, coming up to the 10th occasionally.

    And I needed him this morning, I finally remembered. He was supposed to upgrade my PC to Windows 7. There's this Windows 7 "campaign" at the office and I volunteered to be one of the first ones to upgrade because I was model employee.

    That's a lie. I had actually thought I was gonna be given a shiny new CPU unit but to my utter disappointment, he just told me to back-up my stuff (they weren't much, just a bunch of Word files) in the USB flashdrive he lent me and then asked me, quite threateningly so at that, for the last time if I really was sure I got everything I needed because there was no turning back. I said yes. Well, condescendingly. Were we upgrading my OS or jumping off a cliff?

    Anyhow, the next thing he did got me really frustrated. He just restarted my PC and booted off from the same USB flashdrive where I backed up my files in. 

    He's simply restoring an image of a standard Windows 7 Enterprise installation on my PC. Yes, that same, old, bloody PC who BSOD'd on me some time ago.
    No new PC.

    I had to grab a cup of paltry unsweetened café latte from the pantry's Nescafé dispenser to help me accept the fact. After about 40 minutes plus the time I spent pigging out for lunch with officemates, I came back to Windows 7 login screen.

    Nothing new. At home we've been using Windows 7 since it came it out in Beta. But and idea struck me:
    Why not check the Windows Experience Index?

    My PC (which I'm gonna live with as long as I continue working where I work now) specs:
    Intel Core 2
    2 GB RAM (not sure but it's most probably DDR2)
    80 GB HDD
    Intel Q965/Q963 graphics chip

    Here's its score:
    Ok, it's unfair to say this, given that my HP Mini 311 runs Ion (which is same old Romeo that is NVidia 9400M, just by "any another name") and my office PC runs an Intel Q965 chip. But my HP Mini 311 is able to hold up its own with 2.3.

    Not too shabby, I dare say.

    11 August 2010

    Fueling Geeky Aspiration

    Geeks will always be geeks. I'm no Alfred Nobel Prize winner nor a beauty queen but I do console myself with claiming geek-hood or that have forced myself into that demographic, at least, though real members of it may protest. But do let's move on, bear with me and just accept that, in fact, I am a geek; I have something to feel excited about today.

    Yes, new stuff!

    Today, I just got me this:

    2GB Kingston DDR3 1066 /PC-8500 SoDIMM

    Actually it's the same memory module sold at a local PC/electronic store, Villman and I quote:
    JEDEC standard 1.5V ± 0.075V Power Supply
    VDDQ = 1.5V ± 0.075V
    533MHz fCK for 1066Mb/sec/pin
    8 independent internal bank
    Programmable CAS Latency: 6,7,8,9
    Posted CAS
    Programmable Additive Latency: 0, CL - 2, or CL - 1 clock
    Programmable CAS Write Latency(CWL) = 7(DDR3-1066)
    8-bit pre-fetch
    Burst Length: 8 (Interleave without any limit, sequential with starting address “000” only), 4 with tCCD = 4
    which does not allow seamless read or write [either on the fly using A12 or MRS]
    Bi-directional Differential Data Strobe
    Internal(self) calibration : Internal self calibration through ZQ pin (RZQ : 240 ohm ± 1%)
    On Die Termination using ODT pin
    Average Refresh Period 7.8us at lower then TCASE 85°C, 3.9us at 85°C < TCASE . 95°C
    Asynchronous Reset
    PCB : Height 1.180” (30.00mm), double sided component
    CL(IDD) 7 cycles
    Row Cycle Time (tRCmin) 50.63ns (min.)
    Refresh to Active/Refresh Command Time (tRFCmin) 110ns
    Row Active Time (tRASmin) 37.5ns (min.)
    Power 1.560 W (operating)
    UL Rating 94 V - 0
    Normal Operating Temperature 0o C to 85o C
    Storage Temperature -55o C to +100o C
    To be perfectly honest, much of the details above I don't understand; just "blahs" ya know, and before you ask, nope, they didn't pay me for advertising. In fact I think I'm gonna ruin their good name with this post rather than promote the well-fare of their sales figures this quarter.
    As you can see, the same module sells for Php 2,999 (around USD$ 66.31 - exorbitant, I know, but that's reality).
    But it's not from Villman I got my new stick of 2GB DDR3 goodness: I got it from a nice lady who has got a small business in selling PC parts on-line and I only needed to shell out: Php 1,700 for an authentic Kingston.

    Too bad for Villman who ain't gonna pocket that extra Php 1,200 on my expense, no sireee!

    I'm excited to test it. Will post how it goes.

    09 August 2010

    Proof of Concept: Microsoft Exchange

    I think I'm brewing a flu right now so I went MIA from the office today.

    But being the paranoid that I am, I just gotta check my e-mail. Usually I do this via OWA or Outlook Web App. Our company has recently moved to Outlook, leaving Lotus Notes behind. I say rightly so, I used to hate Lotus Notes and over the years, have found myself missing it. Yes, that's how bad things have gotten; I've come to love a horrendous app. 

    So I answered some fresh e-mails that just came in my OWA inbox while I watched, or rather listened to, Bertrand Serlet's introduction of Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Yeah, that's how much of an Apple fangirl I am, thank you, my equally Apple fanboy of an older cousin, my kuya Jay, will be proud. 

    And then I came to this point of the keynote where Microsoft Exchange support in Snow Leopard was discussed. I already know this to be a fact but hadn't quite tried it. So I did.

    And it works! Good thing that we're using Exchange 2007 at work.

    Proof of Concept of MS Exchange working on Snow Leopard:
    Setting up my account in Mail was a breeze
    Now that meeting last Friday is haunting me indeed...
    Contacts in Address Book are loading. or so it seems...

    This is one very sexy-looking office work environment, I'd say. Although I don't count on Address Book to be able to load the bajillion contacts our Exchange server has.

    08 August 2010

    Blank Screen On Wake

    The HP Mini 311 Darwin Project user experience, as of this point in time, is anything but uniform across users and HP Mini 311 models.

    The cause of the problem remains unknown; there've been a healthy doze of speculations circulating ranging from the amount of RAM installed, DSDT.aml hacks, and some hocus-pocus voodoo thing I may have incorporated into the HPM311DP_063010HF6RC4.pkg installer. 

    Yeah, right. Go figure. 

    For the last time, let me say that I did NOT incorporate any hocus-pocus voodoo thingy and I also suggest we go forward with this issue. There's a workaround - rebuild Extensions.mkext. And this can be done in 2 ways:
    1. Mkext Tool
    2. Alter EFI v1.4's "Edit Kexts" option
    Here's a short screen cap/video (sorry for the crappy quality - I had this recorded via Quick Time X using mic from the iPhone 3G earbuds, processed with iMovie and it churned it out like this):
    Personally, I'd say it's Mkext Tool that's dealing with the dark arts here as I do not have the slightest inkling of how it builds the mkext. Sure it's the same set of kexts in /Extra/Extensions - the same ones we have packed in Retail Pack 0.9 Extensions.mkext, but for some reason, it has solved the blank screen on wake issue for some.

    Alter EFI v1.4's "Edit Kexts", on the other hand, builds the mkext from /Extra/Extensions AND /System/Library/Extensions and as a matter of fact, poofyhairguy and I ended up calling it a "super mkext". Solves the blankscreen issue for him, this one, but not Mkext Tool.

    So I leave it up to you to try both and see which one works for you.

    Or maybe none would - that, I'm afraid, is beyond my understanding as the standard Retail Pack 0.9 or HPM311DP_063010HF6RC4.pkg works brilliantly for my setup.

    Living with Snow Leopard + Windows 7 Dual-boot on my Mini MacBook 311

    I've posted a new guide and yep, it's a dual-boot guide. Yipee, err, "youpi" I should say cause I'm supposed to be French - a fake "française" rather.

    It's been around 2 weeks since I've re-set up my HP Mini 311 to get Windows 7 professional shoved in alongside Snow Leopard. The decision to let Windows 7 occupy the "first" OS volume was not easy for my inner Apple fangirl but for lack of other solution to make Chameleon see an NTFS formatted volume, I hardly gave my consent.

    And in the span of 2 weeks, my detestation for the partition scheme mentioned above has been slowly waning down to the point of normalcy. I still sometimes find myself wince as I see Disk Utility list "Win7" volume over "Macintosh HD". But I'm continually learning just to breathe in calmly and click on that red X button at the top left corner of app's window.

    But the annoyance does not stop there, I'm afraid, for I also have to deal with bluetooth becoming unavailable, never to be roused again from the land of the dead so it seemed, after booting into the dark, err, Windows 7 side. Further investigation has revealed that Windows 7 didn't particularly like the fact that there are actually 2 WiFi cards installed. But the blame, I do not entirely put on Windows 7 because HP has some doing with it itself: PCI slot/bus management.

    If you've been reading this blog for quite a while, you know that I've transferred the HP Mini 311's stock WiFi + BT combo card to the full height slot and installed the BCM94312HM(anything not exactly reflecting this Broadcom model won't work on the 311, so don't try to hi-jack this post with comments asking that, consider yourself informed in advance) on the half-height slot. This I was able to do because I'm using icelord's dewhitelisting F.15 bios.

    Well, it seems that the stock WiFi + BT combo card has a super hard time thriving in the full-height slot under Windows. I tried to run the driver provided by HP but it won't install properly. The fact that Windows 7 will always attempt to install the device drivers it has for the card wreaks further havoc, resulting to one catastrophe that particularly ticks me: the stock WiFi + BT combo on the full-height slot gets shut down somehow and when I log into OS X, it shows as "Bluetooth: Not Available":
    And no amount of coaxing, in the form of combined efforts of pressing the wireless button and restarting the machine, would resolve the problem in OS X. Plus it's no better on the Windows 7 side as the appropriate driver wouldn't even install.

    What I Did To Restore Bluetooth on OS X side:
    1. While booted in Windows 7, I went to Computer > System Properties > Device Manager > Network Adapters.
    2. Uninstalled Broadcom 802.11g Network Adapter. In my case, as the WiFi card I'm using under Snow Leopard is also a Broadcom, I have Broadcom 802.11g Network Adapter #2. So I need to verify that this is indeed the correct card I want to have uninstalled by checking its Device ID via Properties:
    3. Uninstall all other devices showing in the Device Manager tree that's related to Bluetooth. Also uninstall Coprocessor under Other Devices:
    4. We've just uninstalled some device drivers that were automatically installed by Windows 7. At this point, Windows 7 has automatically installed drivers for the additional WiFi card that I intend to use both in Win 7 and OS X. Thus, I can now stop Windows 7 from auto-installing drivers from now on. I do that by launching gpedit.msc. Just click on the Win Orb, equivalent of "Start" and type "gpedit.msc" (without the quotes of course) in the run box and press Enter.
    5. In gpedit.msc, go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Device Installation > Device Installation Restrictions. At the right side panel, right click on "Prevent installation of devices not described by other policy" > Edit
    6. This brings up a new window. Click on the radio button "Enabled" and click on "Apply".
    7. Restart the computer and boot again into Windows 7 for the changes to be implemented and to verify that Windows no longer automatically installs device drivers.
    8. Restart again and boot this time to OS X and verify that Bluetooth is now available once more. Should Bluetooth be still unavailable even though you've verified that Windows 7 no longer automatically installs device drivers, try to shutdown the machine completely and then turn it on again and boot into OS X. Bluetooth should become available.

    NOTE: This means that you don't have Bluetooth in Windows 7. I chose to go with this option as I'm pretty happy with OS X, doing all of my computing in there, and Windows 7 still has WiFi connection. 

    To be honest, I'm still waiting for that scintillating moment, that most opportune incident that will make me thank the heavens above for setting up this dual-boot configuration. Will that day come before my inner Apple fangirl prevails and push me to purge my Mini MacBook pure, devoid of anything Windows again?

    07 August 2010

    Windows 7 & Snow Leopard (10.6.4) on the HP Mini 311

    Today is UPCAT day as well as tomorrow, so even Saturday classes (my 2 MA classes included) had a holiday. I've time to post a dual-boot guide.
    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.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 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
    6. Windows 7 DVD Installer.

    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 > Partition. Create 2 partitions - the 1st partition for Windows, the 2nd for Mac OS X. For now, you can format both of the drives as "GUID Partition Table" and "HFS Journaled (Extended)". I also suggest you name the resulting volume "Macintosh HD", just like in real Macs. 
    6. Proceed with installation of Mac OS X on the 2nd partition. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Configure your User Account and Install the Mac OS X 10.6.4 Combo Updater. Restart.
    9. Boot up the Mini 311 with the Windows 7 DVD. After choosing the language and clicking  "Next", once you get to the "Where do you want to install Windows?" dialog box, format the partition you allotted to Windows 7 (partition 2) since EFI is your partition 1. If you want the partitions to be absolutely clean - as in no "Unallocated Space" between partitions 1 and 3 or between Win 7 and Snow Leo - you can opt to delete partition 2 then create a new one in replacement. Windows 7 will create 2 partitions (100 MB system reserved and main Win 7) but we don't want that. So delete the main Win 7 partition and choose "Extend" option to, well, extend the 100 MB System Reserved partition to the now "Unallocated Space". Proceed with installing Windows 7.
    10. The HP Mini 311 will restart and you'll notice that the default OS that it boots up is Windows 7. Just boot into Windows 7 to configure your User Account and login to your Desktop for the 1st time.
    11. Boot into Mac OS X. You do this using the BootCD-altPS2.iso and choosing "Macintosh HD". Once you're inside the Desktop, install the HPM311DP HF6 Installer.pkg. Installing HF6RC4 will configure and make OS X the default OS for the HP Mini 311.
    12. Boot the Mini 311 again using the Windows 7 DVD installer and press Shift + F10 to bring up the Command line. Activate the Windows 7 partition (partition 2) using diskpart, press "Enter" after each line:
      1. diskpart
      2. select disk 0
      3. select partition 2
      4. active
      5. exit
    13. Once back in the main Windows 7 installer dialog screen, choose "Repair Computer" option. Follow the on screen guide to repair boot for Windows 7. Restart the Mini 311.
    14. Once again, boot with the Windows 7 DVD installer and press Shift + F10 again. This time, we will activate EFI partition (partition 1):
      1. diskpart
      2. select disk 0
      3. select partition 1
      4. active
      5. exit
    15. Quit the Windows 7 installer and restart the HP Mini 311. As the the machine starts up, press and hold F8 key. This will bring up the Chameleon boot menu. You should be able to see 2 bootable volumes: "Untitled" (NTFS) and "Macintosh HD" (HFS).
    Congratulations on your Mini MacBook 311 Snow Leopard & Windows 7 dual-boot!

    Other Little Tweaks.
    Disable "Use secure virtual memory". In Mac OS X, go to 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:

    - Prevent Windows 7 from installing drivers for the stock WiFi + BT combo card. I recommend using the additional WiFi card in Windows 7 for connecting to the internet instead of the stock WiFi + BT combo card. Caution: this will disable Bluetooth under Windows but it will be functional in Mac OS X. Click here for the How-To-Guide.

    06 August 2010

    It's Alive!

    image from micgadget.com

    So the Apple Peel 520, ya know, that iPod case that promised to turn the humble iPod (all 3 generations of it) into a iPhone.
    image from micgadget.com
    Or not completely as the implementation, at least from the first review, is not that complete:
    Here are some minor problems with the Apple Peel 520 for making calls:
    • iPod touch shows “Calling” even though the call is picked up.
    • Incoming phone numbers and contacts may not appear.
    • If there’s missed calls, you may receive “blank” messages for reminder.
    • Ringtones could not be set up for incoming messages and calls, the device will vibrate and rings by default. The default ringing sound can be disabled.
    • You can adjust the call volume, but there’s no difference after adjusting.
    • When there’s incoming calls, the display of the iPod touch will not light up, and the accepted call could only be hung up by the other party.
    And a few problems for the SMS function:
    • The SMS text is smaller than the text on iPhone.
    • Deleting and forwarding a single message is not available.
    • The draft will still appear in creating new message even though the message is sent.
    • Adding multiple recipients at the same time is not allowed
     - from micgadget.com

    Hit the link below for the video:

    05 August 2010

    Intimidatingly Exclusive

    I might perhaps be risking banishment from the Philippine cyber society but I do consider myself anti-social and for the freedom of self-expression, I'm afraid I feel compelled to post this to voice out my personal sentiment.

    I find this site a bit intimidating. Feels really exclusive - no ignoramus poor filthy little hacker who can't afford a real Mac. That's what I'm getting for vibes...

    How I wish there was a Philippine Hackintosh Users Group also.

    And what do you know? That would be "PhilHUG"! ;-)

    Give me some lovin'! I totally like!

    03 August 2010

    Geekbench Results (or Another Reason Why the HP Mini 311 Should Never Be a MacBook Air 2,1)

    The image above shows the HP Mini 311's Geekbench results while it camouflages as a MacBook5,1. As you well know, I've been experimenting with various MacBook models to see which ones work with vanilla AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement.kext + HPET + P-States in DSDT; in short what the current HP Mini 311 Darwin Project uses. It has been reported that MacBookAir1,1 just won't work with this setup and MacBookPro5,1 (current HPM311DP default) and MacBook6,1 (theproto HPM311DP default - before vanilla AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement).

    MacBookAir2,1 as I've mentioned works, albeit with a noticeable limitation - no SpeedStep, but works nevertheless compared to its sibling the MacBookAir1,1 which won't even boot up the system; i.e. Kernel Panic galore.

    However, by running Geekbench on some MacBook models I've been testing, another "anomalie" as the French would call it, appears to be distinctive to the MacBookAir2,1.

    It gives a much lower Geekbench result than any other MacBook model. Almost cuts the score in half! All the other models could easily surpass the 1000 score mark, but the Air2,1 tops at 666 and hitting its lowest at 613 (it's one devilishly poor score alright)

    See my Geekbench results page for more details. And P.S, I think I do have the sense to make sure Geekbench was the only app running during the tests. :-)