29 November 2009

What To Do When You Got Kernel Panics

Chances are you've seen this a lot of times in your hackintoshing journey:

Chances are, you've raked the hair on your head a dozen or more painful times in frustration and with the key to the enigma remainin unbeknownst to you; you resort to wiping out your hard drive and reinstall OSx86 - you start from scratch; back to square one.
No, this post does not promise to put an end to all your hackintoshing woes caused by kernel panics but suggests what can constitute a logical way to start troubleshooting your OSx86 system gone berserk.

1) Boot in verbose mode - as if this bit hasn't been the subject of many a noob inquiry, let's explain how does one "boot in verbose mode" exactly?
 You have a bootloader with which you boot into your hackintosh Leopard/Snow Leopard. It can be PC EFI or Chameleon, or Boot Think, or whatever other bootloader iteration you've got. Even if you installed using a custom distro like iDeneb or iAtkos or iPC, etc. and hence cannot remember "installing or configuring any d@mn bootloader" on your machine, you still have a bootloader.

The main point? Know that you can interrupt the bootloader before it, well, loads Mac OS X, by pressing any key on your keyboard before the countdown (set by default to 5) is over. And then, depending on whether you have graphical bootloader enabled or just plain text, (a) you use left and right arrow keys to choose which partition to boot (in case of multiple bootable partitions) and up and down keys to choose "verbose mode"  or (b) you type "-v" at the "boot:" prompt. And press Enter. 

2) Take note of what it says - of course you're not supposed to do an impromptu deciphering of cryptic lines like "MAC Framework successfully initialized using 10485 buffer". This is when the most important hackintosh technique comes in: Patient and intelligent researching. Alright, that was admittedly, putting uncalled for fanfare so "Patient and intelligent googling" then - we didn't drop the word "intelligent"; if you hardly think what you're googling is logical in relation to the issue you're trying to solve, endeavor to be intelligent by being open to bits and pieces of information that fall you way as you research, or google, rather. They're bound to be relevant in your OSx86 life at some point or another.

If things are still awry, try booting with "ignore caches" option or "-x" flag.

Actually, most of the times, a kernel panic is caused by unruly and incompatible kexts that wreak havoc on your system. In which case, you'd intelligently surmise that you need to uninstall those pain in the arse kexts and also, you'd intelligently surmise that you can boot up your vanilla system with an alternative way in form of a USB flashdrive booter which, because it implements a different set of kexts and other configuration files that you've proven to work on your OS X version + machine model, will enable you to get inside your Mac OS X account again.

Finally, you'd intelligently surmise again that you will be taking care of those problematic kexts or config files, like an incomptable dsdt.aml file (whoever promised that an HP Mini 311 dsdt.aml will play 100% well with your 1000 anyway?) while you're logged into your user account. The goal is make your machine able to boot into OSx86 by itself like it used to in the golden days. And for the love of goodness, you'd take at least a mental note of those kexts which cause your OSx86 installation to misbehave. Responsible hackintoshing.

In my case, I still get kernel panics from time to time, even when I didn't do any tinkering with my boot files or kexts. 95% percent of the time, booting in verbose mode sufficed - I am transported to my OSx86 desktop without any problem and the origin of that random "kink" is forever chucked out into obscurity; that is until, perhaps, I dig inside Console.

I find myself unable to complain about kernel panics. Eeven real Macs experience them once in a while.

27 November 2009

X Ray Folders : Quick Look Can!

I was meaning to post this weeks ago but forgotten about it entirely.
I remember liking one feature in Vista's user interface - the sole one perhaps (I'm not sure about you, but Vista's aero effects and colors are a bit vulgar for my taste):

So when I open a window and thumbnail view is enabled, I could actually see what was inside those folders - icons peeping out like in the pic above. I missed this in Leopard and Snow Leopard and thought (secretly) that it was one thing Vista and Windows 7 had that trumped over Mac OS X.
Now it turns out I was entirely mistaken.
X-ray folders!
(You can see this feature in action via Quick Look and Get info)

This feature isn't enabled by default so you gotta coax Mac OS X to exhibit this. All you need to do is launch Terminal and input this command:

defaults write com.apple.finder QLEnableXRayFolders 1

HP Mini 311 Selling in eBay with Snow Leo Pre-installed

Because I've been ever so wanting to get myself an HP Mini 311, for the last few weeks since the 311 has been made available where I am, it's been my morning habit to browse eBay for 311 deals. This morning, at exactly 7:58am (GMT+8 - Taipei time) I came across this add on eBay:

Now that picture is very familiar. Very familiar indeed! I thought I might recognize that image of the 311 that I created for My MacBook Mini :D But it's been claimed by that "www.518deals.com" there.
Would this be a good deal to save you from having to buy and then tinker for hours and hours on end to get a pseudo MacBook Air?
Anyway, here's that old image I created in it's not-yet-defiled state:

Oh, and by the way, I took the screen cap from my 16" ViewSonic LCD monitor which displays 1366 x 768  - exactly what the 311 displays. And the wallpaper is from Vlad Studio ; "Carte de Paris" (if my memory serves me right). Anyhow, the website shown on both the iPhone emulator and Safari (or was that FireFox? It was long ago, really) is My MacBook Mini - still on the old wordpress site though, but still My MacBook Mini.

25 November 2009

FakeSMC : MacBook Air Me Too

In attempts to get closer to the real thing - and by "real thing" we pertain to MacBooks and in particular to the MacBook Air, I'm yet in another tinkering stage. I was reading prasys.co.cc and with his newest post being about editing FakeSMC to reflect "real" SMC versions for the MacBook Air, I decided to check my About This Mac > More info and saw an SMC version that was not a MacBook Air - it was an iMac I believe with 1.30f3 SMC version. I have my MacBook Mini showing as a MacBook Air and having the correct SMC version displayed won't hurt.

I decided to skip SMC version 1.23f20 and checked Apple's website for the latest available SMC Firmware update and here's what I found:

The latest SMC version for the MBA is 1.34f8.

So off I go to edit fakesmc.kext's Info.plist (right click on the kext file to show "Package contents" then dig inside the "Contents" folder in the resulting window). I used Plist Edit Pro as suggested by prasys. 
Why use Plist Edit Pro when we've been editing plists in regular TextEdit or Apple's own Plist Editor app that you get when you install the Mac OS X Developer Tools?

Well, it appears that we can't just type in 1.334f8 as value for the data string for the REV key; it needs to be converted to an alpha value (I don't know what it's called really). To better illustrate, see image below:

Actually, there are two conversions going on here:
(1) "1.34f8" is input as "01340F00<space>0008"
(2) and "01340F00<space>0008" is converted finally to "ATQPAAAI"

If you don't wanna edit your own fakesmc.kext, you can download mine here. It's based from FakeSMC version 2.5 by netkas. 

Also, notice that I put the bolean value to "NO" for debug mode. Some say it contributes to better start up times but in my case, I didn't experience any drastic improvements in start up excepting for not seeing anymore the error message "key not found"which is a welcome change in verbose mode.

Install to /Extra/GeneralExtensions or /Extra/Extensions (which ever you have) and after restarting, you should be able to verify that the correct SMC version is shown in System Profiler:

Ergo imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Also I didn't realize how important FakeSMC.kext is for hackintoshes or plain SMC for real Macs:
"As we all do know that netkas has released the latest version of FakeSMC which adds temperature sensors , that allows applications such as iStat to get CPU temperature and to do display it. It kinda makes it one step to the real thing."

OSXRestart.kext! OMG! OMG!!!

Update: You'd still need OpenHaltRestart.kext cause OSXRestart.kext is not capable of shutting down the machine. Some may experience kernel panics with the combination of these two kexts but some may not. For more details, visit this thread at MyHPMini. It's only for Snow Leopard.

EDIT: It's actually EvOReboot.kext that I'm loading with OSXRestart.kext, nice cause I've not experienced a kernel panic so far.

You've tried all sorts of remedy for it. It's like Acne problem which you've tried to solve via dozens of tons of creams, soaps and what-not.

You know you've got that restart issue with your MacBook Mini wherein once you put it to sleep, wake it up, and then attempt to restart, it doesn't complete the cycle and gets stuck in the middle of dreamland and you're forced to force the Mini to shut down and cold boot it again.

And you've tried kexts like OpenHaltRestart and EvOReboot but they're only empty promises. Well now, thanks to Master Chief from the insanelymac forums, my MacBook Mini restarts even after it's been put to sleep!! (You can also download OSXRestart.kext from here in case you're not registered at insanelymac - which you should be)

It's obvious how jubilant I'm feeling right now - it's already 1 o'clock in the morning and I've got work tomorrow but I've decided to post this news complete with a video à la sh!tty-must-be-under-the-influence-of-either-drugs-or-at-least-alcohol narration. Enjoy!

Oh and one more thing; it isn't from Psystar :D

24 November 2009

Flash Player 10.1 Beta Release

I've always complained about how youtube videos never play quite as nicely in Mac OS X as they do in Windows. In a brief summary, it's always been like watching my fave asian drama uploads in a slow motion of sorts. Unsmooth - if there was ever such a word. Such has been the Mac Snow Leopard experience with Flash Player in Safari 4.

But that's changed. I read an article in Tuaw about the improvements on video playback quality on meager netbook IntelGMA950 (or 945) chips, And what's even more delightful is it brings HD quality video playback on web browsers accessible to the netbook masses. Now I didn't care for HD then since I was already having trouble with the normal video - it'd only mean a more exasperating experience so why bother, anyhow?
Then came this Flash Player 10.1 promise which urged me to try.
First off:

23 November 2009

Sleepless (in Seattle)...

image from photographers.com

Okay, so finally we have an authoritative source for why sleep is a problem for many OSx86 - in other words, Hackintosh - boxes and books alike. This is how one well-known and well-respected hackintosher puts it:

Definition of S3 sleep state - S3: Commonly referred to as StandbySleep, or Suspend to RAMRAM is still powered. The fans on your desktop/notebook will be remain off until the system is woken by pressing the power button or using a USB input device (mouse, keyboard).
  1. Overclocking - To make sure this isn’t a variable set your CPU, memory, etc to the stock settings.
  2. Ram - If you’ve got a bad stick of ram or a different speed of ram in your system this can potentially keep your system from sleeping
  3. DSDT - An incorrect edit or using another motherboard’s DSDT can affect sleep functionality among other odd characteristics as well.
  4. NVCAP (Nvidia gfx) - Having an incorrect NVCAP set for your NVIDIA card can cause sleep issues, black screens and blue screens.
  5. ATI GFX cards - Using an ATI card with or without the proper edits can be the cause of your system not sleeping. I still consider ATI for OSx86 to be a work-in-progress.
  6. PCI Cards - Sometimes a PCI device such as a firewire card can keep the system from entering sleep mode.
  7. Bios - Adjust power settings. Trial and error. Test and repeat.
  8. Hibernation mode enabled - Make sure your OS isn’t using Hibernation mode by typing ‘pmset -g | grep hibernatemode’ in Terminal. If it returns with ‘hibernatemode 0’ you’re golden.

Source from stellarola.

22 November 2009

Google's Chrome OS On Your Mac or Hackintosh

Wanna try Google's intriguing new little OS? 
You can try Chrome OS without thinking about partitions and other problematic issues by downloading the OS installer - visit your local torrent site of course - and Sun's Virtual Box which is free as beer.

Screen cap and news via OS X Daily

20 November 2009

Chrome OS

So what's a blog that's centered on Mac OS X and  netbooks going over the other side, caught red-handed oggling at this OS?

It looks interesting. And I'm a sucker for, interesting things? No, I'm a sucker for OSes. (That right? "OSes"?)

Take a peek at the interesting Chrome OS:

Should be wonderful to have on my MacBook Mini - dual-boot with Snow Leo of course. Would Snow like this OS, which is not an OS but is? Reminds of Elphaba really.

All About DSDT and the HP Mini

Note: You should run your Mini without any dsdt.aml loaded first before running DSDT Patcher to get your "real" acpi table. 
Also, I'm no expert on this topic as I'm only beginning to learn myself but this is of potential interest to us all Mini hackintoshers - or all hackintoshers in general. :) > Source of inspiration <
Patch your DSDT:
1) Run "DSDT Patcher". Just double click the file. It'll create a dsdt.aml and a Debug folder in that same location as DSDT Patcher
2) Then copy "iasl" from the Tools folder included in DSDTPatcher_1.0.1e to /usr/bin. 
3) Then you can proceed with editing your dsdt.

Open your dsdt.dsl for editing/modding:
1) Look in the "Debug" folder that will be created when you first patched your dsdt in the same DSDT folder along with DSDT Patcher itself. Save a back up copy of this original dsdt.dsl for reference.
2) Open the file "dsdt.dsl" which TextEdit or better yet open it using Text Wrangler


19 November 2009

Rearing Big Cats

Plans for My MacBook Mini?
I think I've done a good job with Snow Kitty on the HP Mini 1000.

Aren't those baby blues, I mean, baby greys, just divine? (Nope, that isn't me holding the cub in the picture)
Soon I'll get another installation guide running, again easier than ever. It can possibly mean giving up EFI all together but I'll find a way to get both Netbook BootMaker and EFI relevant in My MacBook Mini at the same time. The new guide should include new 10.6.2 kexts and other stuff, packed into one convenient bundle for easier reference.

Now the more enigmatic Leopard. Would it shock you to know that I've never quite successfully installed retail 100% Vanilla Leopard on the HP Mini 1000? And by "successful" I mean everything running as smoothly as via iDeneb. I'd very much love to do try that, so far the only hurdle remaining is getting Quartz Extreme enabled. No luck via EFI, I'll see how things fare with Netbook BootMaker / NetbookInstaller. It'd be nice to have a reference for Leopard Retail/100% Vanilla even if people didn't care anymore because they've moved on with Snow Leopard. 
Personally I think this would be a worthwhile exercise as I'm considering getting the HP Mini 311 and then while I decide whether to loot my current 1000 for its wonderfully Snow Leo compliant WiFi card or order a separate one from ebay since Leopard works nicely on the 110's and the 311 has the same WiFi card as the 110.
(This isn't a cheap hobby; in fact I'm still trying gather funds for want of swiping my credit card yet another time. Maybe in 3 years time AdSense revenue from this site would be enough to buy a replacement WiFi card.) 


Isn't that baby Leopard a curious little thing?

18 November 2009

HP Mini VGA Adapter

So now I'm a whiny HP customer. What happened to the "laude ad astra" blab I've been showering all over HP's brand (without even being asked, let alone paid for the relentless plugging) like some anointing oil.

Right. That's the HP VGA Adapter cable for the Mini 1000 and Vivian Tam series. Don't get me wrong; it's a beautiful piece of hardware or computer accessory. From the rubber finish, to the silver printed HP logo it shows the company accords ample attention to detail and customer satisfaction. In the spirit of Hackintoshing and aspiring to be Apple-like, I can even say the cable reminds me of my Apple iPod's cable - sans the fancy plastic pin cap and stark white coloring of course. In short, it seems to be a sturdy piece of accessory that'll last or perhaps even outlast, your HP Mini 1000's life cycle.

But what's the whining all about?

15 November 2009

Once And For All

Mac OS X v10.6.2 Update has wreaked, if not full-blown havoc, a ripple whose effect is considerably big enough to warrant worrying among OSx86 fans, me included. In the course of the week, since the update was officially released for public consumption by Apple and before that, during the update's beta seeding among Apple developers, lots of workarounds have been circulated and posted here and there in the web.

As a hackintosh owner myself, I'm drawn into this mild frenzy in pursuit of bleeding-edge nirvana; being always up to date. And so without further drama, I give you a recounting of how I updated my MacBook Mini (an HP Mini 1000 with 2 gb ram) from 10.6.1 to 10.6.2.
This guide assumes you used the EFI guide in this site to install Snow Leopard on your Mini (presumably a 1000 like mine)

14 November 2009

10.6.2 ≠ WiFi Woes (WiFi is back!!)

^Got it! I've got WiFi back :D It does seem that the IO80211Family.kext I've been using (from way back Leo 10.5 is not loading no matter what I do) and this is EFI boot btw.

10.6.2 = WiFi Woes

I got through the 10.6.2 update unscathed. Or so I thought.
While it was relatively easy to update from 10.6.1:
1) Get Tea's patched 10.6.2 kernel and rename it as "mach_kernel_tea" and then put it in "/"
2) Edit my com.apple.Boot.plist in /SnowLeoHPMini_101709/bootplist_update to specify "mach_kernel_tea" as my default kernel. Should be easy to do this using Property List Editor.app (which you get when you install OS X Developper).
3) Unload my old SleepEnabler.kext from EFI and replace with newer 10.6.2 compatible SleepEnabler.kext from netkas.
4) Run the 10.6.2 update and restarted.
*Video resolution was crappy - 1024x576 instead of 1024x600 and Quartz Extreme wasn't working so I repatched my 27aeAppleIntelGMA950 and 27aeAppleIntelIntegratedFramebuffer kexts and updated EFI's via the update script. (If you used my guide for your Snow Leo install, you know what I'm talking about)
But, look ma, no WiFi!
When I click on the AirPort icon sitting on the menubar, I get this:

Wonderful. Truly succint. I'm still trying to resolve this. I hope my research abilities ("googling abilities" ahem) don't fail me this time.
If all else fails, I'd have to revert to 10.6 kernel + System.kext + seatbelt.kext.

12 November 2009

On 10.6.2 Again

A hackintosher who goes by the name "teateam" from insanelymac has posted a patched 10.2 kernel - Snow Leopard 10.6.2 - which reportedly restores support for the Atom processor that netbooks have under the hood.

image from teateam's post
This certainly looks promising as a fairly good number of users from insanelymac have confirmed it to work beautifully on their hackbooks.

Again, I haven't tried this one for my own self as my MacBook Mini's not with me right now, it's at my folks' home and I won't be having access to it until weekend when I go home. (Seriously, can I still consider myself a hackintosher? Rule #1 of the Hackintoshing Code "Always bring your hackintosh with you" joke!).

Anyhow, this little impediment doesn't stop my newbie hackintoshing sense to think about workarounds using great stuff from the real, great hardcore hackintoshers in the OSx86 realm.

This is what I'm thinking of doing this weekend, or to be more exact, this coming Friday night :

11 November 2009

10.6.2 Is Here

Disclaimer: I haven't tested this myself, but in theory, this could work. So try this at your own risk. I'll be testing this weekend, but if you do this and already have results, kindly post them as feedback as comments below for the benefit of others.

Be afraid.

Be very afraid.

Or not.

True, support for Atom is indeed dropped from the official 10.6.2 update release but there's hope. As has been pointed out before, one option is to stick with 10.6.1 kernel. (Actually, 10.6.1 is only a security patch and doesn't bring major changes in the system; in fact it uses the same kernel as 10.6). It's 10.6.2 that we see major system-wide changes, and one of which, is a new kernel that brings woe to our dear little Atoms.

Before you run that updater, either via download (combo vs. delta or software update), back up your current kernel. You can use apps to make invisible files visible in Mac OS X first and then using Finder to copy the file to a USB flash drive for safekeeping. However, I prefer just using the Terminal to do the backup as it's fairly very easy to do and without having to download anything first.

09 November 2009

Toshiba Saves the Mini 1000

November 4: Toshiba announced that the company will release a new line of product in its hard drive category. So what? Tons of 2.5" drives exist out there storage capacity size you'd probably spend a good while thinking how to fill up. 

Sure. Nothing we haven't heard of or seen.

Not really. Take a look again:

07 November 2009

Marriage of Convenience: Snow Leopard + Windows XP

EDIT: Use a USB installer with Snow Leo Install DVD restored on it and with NetbookBootMaker applied to be bootable for this to work. Explanation found here.

Though I haven't tried it to see for my own self, it's common knowledge that Snow Leopard and Windows XP dual-boot is not exactly without some challenges - piece of cake for the common hackintosher with some experience under his/her sleeve or the great seasoned ones but not exactly that easy for noobs.

First off, Snow Leopard by default will only install on disks which use GUID as their partition scheme; Windows XP doesn't like that, cause being an older OS it wants to play only with MBR.

One solution is to just install Windows 7 instead of Windows XP. But people want to dual boot with Win XP for reasons they only know and that we should respect. It's their choice anyhow.

Ok, so it's gotta be Win XP, another solution is to hack the Snow Leopard installer to make it accept an MBR formatted hard disk as installation destination. It's doable, yes, but still requires work. I myself did not attempt this cause although there are good resources out yonder in the world wide web, there wasn't a thrust compelling enough for me to go down this particular path. Snow Leopard's happily running on the Mini. I didn't care enough to sweat it. Period.

So what do we do now? Look enviously at real Mac heads who can effortlessly configure Windows on their Macs to dual-boot with Apple's big cats? Not anymore.

Who says it's only them who can have the pleasure of using Boot Camp Assistant? Yep, a hackintosher by the name of "modbin" has graciously shared his talent with the community and brought us Boot Camp Assistant that will work on hackintoshes.

In a nutshell, Boot Camp Assistant is just a friendlier front end for the same old Disk Utility we've come to love (and hate at times). We obtain a partition on a GUID hard disk that Windows XP will want to install on.

So, here we go:

Chameleon On A Stick

Note: This guide was created with the HP Mini 1000 in mind.
I mean this kind of stick:
Actually it doesn't matter what the capacity is, even as little as 256 MB would do the job wonderfully. If you're like me who's accumulated USB flash drives in all sizes and capacities* over the years, you're bound to look at those old ones with storage capacity mentioned above and sigh - you can't use them to restore a Mac OS X retail DVD. Nope, they can't be made into installers.

05 November 2009

Atom Processor Support Comes Back

Stell has updated his blog post on 10.6.2 update and adds that in the latest 10.6.2 developer seed, the Atom processors that we all adore is supported again.

A happy mac? Well, I hope this remains the situation come public release:

Ten Things I Hate (or Love) About Kexts

My HP Mini 1001TU, though still covered by HP's warranty until February 2010 (I just recently found out by submitting my unit's serial no. on HP's warranty information site - it may take a while to load; just choose your Mini version from the list and don't forget to register with HP), is already a pretty dated piece of hardware - No, Apple, I refuse to call my netbook "a piece of junk" though it's definitely less than $500 dollars.

The first time it ever became a hackintosh was April this year - I got the unit last February but I hadn't a decent DSL connection then so didn't have access to tools and files needed - and since then, it's undergone lots of reinstalls, tasted lots of kexts (nope, not the Swedish "Kex") and different boot loaders. It's the kexts part that I'm gonna be reviewing in this post.

What have I learned in the past 6 months or actually 11 months (if we count in the MSI MacBook Wind encounter) that I've been living with a hackintosh?

I'd call it Kext Symbiosis.

In pretense of being structured in my approach of the subject, what is a kext ?

04 November 2009

Happy Stuff To Get Excited About

Who says Bootcamp and all that jazz are exclusive to macheads who can afford the real stuff? And to quote prasys' on his post about this, it's an example of "how far human brains can go". Indeed, Modbin, the one who's giving us a taste of Bootcamp has gone and pushed the distance a league forward for the OSx86 community.
I'm gonna try this one once I have free time for now, I mean, tomorrow, it's back to my 8 to 5 job after my too short vacay.
Read Prasys' post about Bootcamp and how-to do the experiment here

01 November 2009

Sticker Happy

Nope, that's not a touch screen Mini 1000 there - though I wish it were.

With my trackpad back to its senses (it's no longer annoying me by randomly refusing to work) and Snow Leopard as stable as it can get (no more enigmatic kernel panics since I opted to just give up on Leo + Snow Leo dual-boot and erased the 30 gb partition I installed it on), I'm left with not much to do with MacBook Mini.

So I tap my inner Obsessive-Compulsive self and go sticker happy once again.

In homage to the MacBook Air's keyboard, I created some stickers for Command and Option keys of the Mini 1000.