14 October 2009

Of Trackpads and Other Quirks

It's no secret that I've had problems with my trackpad - I'd broadcast that little snippet practically in all corners of my cyber existence. Well the good news is make that "I used to have problems with my trackpad". It's up and running like its old self again which makes me one happy hackintosher.

Now how did that happen???

I couldn't even begin to make a logical summary of what happened so just I'll just provide a timeline to better illustrate things.
Lots of stuff happened so I tried to group them with some color coding.

Aug. 9: Updated from BIOS version F.13 to F.14 using Bart_PE. I was on OS X 10.5.7 via iDeneb.

Aug. 31: The infamous hair blow-dryer incident that cost me several of my keyboard keys.

Sept. 5: Started tinkering with Snow Leopard.

Sept. 13: Got Snow Leopard installed but not in a "direct way". I had to use my MSI Wind hackintosh to get it going.

Sept. 19: Discovered NetbookBootMaker 0.82 and finally was able to install Snow directly on my MacBook Mini. I also began noticing the weird trackpad problems - sometimes it worked, sometimes not. Had to reboot over and over again until it worked. In verbose mode, sometimes the Mini would think it's got an "ALPS GlidePoint" trackpad and trackpad won't work, sometimes it displayed VoodooPS2 is loaded but trackpad still didn't work. When it displayed "VoodooPS2Trackpad: Synaptics Touchpad v7", I'd know I was gonna get trackpad working during that specific boot session.

Sept. 26: Finally nailed down EFI booting. Posted how-to guide afterwards. Trackpad continued acting up. I thought it needed for the Mini to "warm up" before it would work.

Oct. 1: Updated BIOS version from F.14 to F.15 via Bart_PE again and even reinstalled Win XP Synaptics drivers for the HP Mini 1000 in Bart_PE but nothing still. Received my replacement keyboard from Hong Kong. Trackpad problem by then became a bit depressing.

Oct. 2: Replaced my Mini's keyboard with the new one and thought of checking the trackpad but got cold feet. Trackpad problem was already killing me. I was planning to take it to an HP Service Center.

Oct. 10: Reinstalled Windows XP Home. Trackpad worked during setup/installation - I'd expected that so I prepared mentally to live with Windows for a whole weekend to observe. I'd have to be sure before I presented myself for open ridicule in front of the tech support over at the HP Service Center.

Oct. 12 (AM): Still on Windows and trackpad consistently worked fine. I thought maybe it was the 2 gb ram upgrade that I did that caused the glitch; HP Mini heats up a lot. I'd tried different boot up scenarios:
- only on battery
- battery and plugged to power source
- without batter but plugged to power source
- plus a combination of an already "warmed-up-been-running-for-some-time" Mini vs. a room-temperature-shutdown-for-some-time" Mini.

I also noticed that in Windows XP, the trackpad indicator light is never automatically turned off and then back on again. Then I decided to look for some clue in the BIOS via F10 during boot up. My HP Mini's Product no. and Serial No. were changed! And it's no longer an HP Mini 1001TU but a HP Mini 1109TU PC as I confirmed via HP's website.

Oct. 12 (PM)Trackpad still behaved fine. Thought it was safe to go OS X again. This time I installed using NetbookBootMaker 0.83. Installation still stalled at 7 minutes something but I ploughed through and just quit and restart when it hit that "cannot locate dsd.dsl" stuff as I checked the Install log. It boot up fine and I applied NetbookBootMaker on my internal hdd installation. Decided to stick around with ApplePS2Controller because I wanted the tap drag functionality. My preferences saved fine when I restarted; wow!

I installed iLife 09 and my usual apps since I thought I'd like to live with this setup very much from now on. My trackpad is still working fine although OS X or Chameleon is still turning it off and then on at boot up, but verbose mode constantly returned "Synaptics Touchpad v7" each and every time.

Here's that automatic off/on for the trackpad during Chameleon boot up:

Then I decided to repair disk permissions but found I could not. I remembered I'd deleted "Mac OS X Install-something" folder in /, which I'd suspected was the remnant of that stalled installation. So I got OSInstall.mpkg and OSInstall.pkg from my Snow Leo retail DVD and restored them on my external hdd installer. I noticed an "OSInstall.pkg.orig"; NetbookBootMaker 0.83 had touched it. I remember seeing an "OSInstall.mpkg.orig" instead with version 0.82. 

In short, I reinstalled again and started from scratch. Trackpad continued to work great and I chose to stick with ApplePS2Controller but discovered that with my setup now, it no longer saved my preferences after hutdown/restart. I used VoodooPS2 instead and its funny behavior - with "dragging" enabled, tap clicking once on the Dock items functions as a second click (Ctrl+click), bringing up a Context menu instead of launching the app or opening the Trash straight up.

I'm no longer sending my HP Mini back to the Service Center but I want to be able to use ApplePS2Controller instead of VoodooPS2.

There's something brewing up in my head this instant and I'm excited to try it. No prize for guessing right tho ;)

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