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?

It's taken me almost a year since I got my HP Mini 1000 to secure this VGA Adapter and the sad part is it's not because I didn't have the moolah (well, that was partly the reason) but more so because there was nowhere to get it from.
It's only HP's US site that sells the cable regularly (ok, sometimes they were also out of stock) online and they don't ship to the Philippines. What's even detestable is that their "resellers" here in the country are even more clueless as to which %@$&* cable I've been bugging them about for months.
The point of the matter is, HP should've included the cable in the box with the HP Mini 1000's or perhaps made it available on purchase at regular brick-and-mortar stores to the customer as a readily available optional accessory for an additional price of course. That moot point aside, I now wonder why a LiteScribe external DVD writer is bundled with, or dare I say "shackled" to, the HP Mini 311's on sale in this archipelago? (shackled since, as of date, there's no way one can opt out of that bundling scheme - can't chuck out the DVD writer to lower the main unit's price, nah-ah, no, no, nope.)
But this isn't any of your concerns so on we go to more useful and relevant stuff about the VGA adapter.
It works well with OS X - plug 'n play.
Plug the adapter, silver HP logo up, into the expansion port of the Mini at the left side - it's the thin slot beside  which resides the mic and headphone uni-jack.
Plug in your monitor's cable to the other end of the HP VGA adapter.
Go to System Preference > Display > Detect displays
Your monitor should, in most cases, be automatically recognized and OS X will display its available resolutions.

In most cases, if your external monitor's available resolutions are common ones like 1280 x 1024 and the likes, you probably would only need to click on Detect Displays button and OS X will list your external displays option on the Resolutions list.
But, if like, you bought one of those slightly unruly LCD monitors like the 16" View Sonic with 1366 x 768 resolution, you'd have to use an app like SwitchResX to manage it. Although, sticking the driver CD (supposing that your external display is certified Mac compatible; look at the label on the box) into an external optical drive and installing the appropriate Mac drivers is also one viable option. (On my case, it wasn't because the MacroMedia flash based installer program was sluggish and knowing how low my emotional quotient is, I'd rather save my poor MacBook Mini from being chucked off the table in the impulse of the moment).

After installation, SwitchResX will be accessible from System Preference > Others > SwitchResX. On the Resolutions tab, select your external monitor from the drop down menu marked by "Settings for:" (Your external display should be plugged into the VGA adapter of course).
Once you've set the correct resolution for the external display, a new tab will appear under Display in System Preferences > Hardware; you'll now have (1) Display, (2) Arrangment, and (3) Color. Note, however, that this additional "Arrangement" tab only appears when an external display is connected to the Mini. It won't appear if only the VGA adapter is plugged in.
To set your main display; just the drag the menubar to the display of choice under Arrangement tab:

*image from http://davidhayden.com
Mirroring, I'm afraid, is not working. I've tried several different kexts and I only end up with vertical stripes on both the Mini and the external display's screen - it's like I've been transported to Rainbow Bright landia and boy, it isn't fun. At all.
There's someone from insanelywind.com who's planning to create an AppleIntelIntegratedFramebuffer.kext capable of mirroring in Snow Leopard. Hopefully he gets round to it. But for the meantime, if you've been stubborn and clicked on that "Mirror Displays" checkbox, here's fix:
1) Unplug your external display from the Mini.
2) Restart.
3) Delete these files:
/Users/(your user)/Library/Preferences/ByHost/com.apple.windowserver.(bunch of zeros).plist
4) If you want to use your external display as main screen, or extend (not mirror) you Mini's desktop to it, then restart again your machine and go back to System Preference > Display to configure your displays.


Peter said...

Hey ,how much did the cable cost,i live in Austria and i still cannot believe that HP did this to customers..i refuse to pay 35euros for a cable..maybe when it's cheaper.

LeMaurien19 said...

It's Php 2,500 - that's around USD$53.
You're right, it's about my only gripe towards HP. Proprietary ports, oh kill me.