30 December 2009

Change Wallpaper In Windows 7 Starter

Yep, you read right. Windows 7 Starter.
Yep, you're right. Bill Gates or I mean whoever it was in Microsoft doesn't want you to change the wallpaper in Windows 7 in attempts to get you pay more for Home Premium above version of their new operating system.
Good thing people haven't stopped using their brilliant brains and refuse to succumb to this foul foul play of marketing strategy - if it could or should be considered as one.

image from downloadsquad.com
You can now change the standard wallpaper Windows 7 Starter forces down your throat via this wonderful app:
Starter Background Changer (the website is in French but it should be easily decipherable even for non French speaking people - here's the direct download link)
And with good added effects to boot! Hows that for a welcome change?

27 December 2009

Photshroom.com Is Down

and I've a feeling it's gonna stay that way forever. My apologies for posts, especially guides, with missing images. It'll take a long while for me to correct each and every post manually.

Quartz Extreme For The Rest Of Us

It's been a while since something happened in the HP Mini OSx86 scene, particularly on the older units - Mini 110 and 1000.

A forumer at myhpmini.com, "thebubzie" has been kind enough to package for us an installer for Intel Graphics Media Accelerator. It's been conceived to work on Mac OS X 10.5.x Leopard and you can download it here to try it on your own MacBook Mini. No more hunting down those different IntelAppleGMA950 and IntelAppleIntegratedFramebuffer kexts.

25 December 2009

Create Recovery Discs For Your HP Mini 311

There are 3 Setup sheets, 3 Mini booklets - English, Thai, and Bahasa Indonesia included with my HP Mini 311 which I recently bought by swiping my credit card, the very act which, by the way, I'd vowed to myself not to do again at least before the year 2009 ended. But I did, and now I spend my Christmas with my beloved Mini 311 that I will pay with my own hard earned dough like I did my other 2 netbooks.

Back to the main point; I was lucky enough to have gotten a slightly better configuration last Monday. The Mini 311, when it first came out in the Philippine market sometime in late October I think sold for Php 28,944 with these specs:

  • 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N280
  • 160 GB SATA 5400 RPM Hard Drive
  • Windows XP SP3 Home
Now, my HP Mini 311-1002TU (I don't know but I seem to get "TU" labelled Mini's - my HP Mini 1000 is technically a 1001TU) I got at Php 29,948 and 0% installment for 12 months @ 2,495.66:

  • 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N280
  • 250 GB SATA 5400 RPM Hard Drive
  • Windows 7 Starter 32-bit
Imagine for just an additional Php 1,004, I get twice the memory, almost 50% increase in storage capacity and license for newer version of Windows.

And speaking of Windows 7, as I've mentioned earlier, the box contains 3 sets of manuals for 3 different languages but to my utter disappointment, HP was lazy enough so they didn't include recovery discs for the HP Mini 311; the consumer would have to burn those discs themselves. My opinion is that even though the unit comes with an external DVD burner (which is nice and spiffed up fancy itself), the recovery discs should've been made readily available starting day 1.

But they are not so here's what you do to create them:

What you need: 3 DVD-R's or DVD+R's or upto 20 CD-R's - though the bundled DVD drive can burn DVD-RW's, DVD-RAM, Dual-Layer DVD, the recovery disc creator program cannot handle these other formats so stick to the aforementioned formats.

All you have to do is, once you've set up your computer for first use and with your external DVD drive plugged in with a blank optical media inside, go to Start (which is actually just a glowing Windows orb where the normal old "Start" button on Win XP below was) > Recovery Manager.

Then progress through the dialogue windows that will appear in the ff. progression below:

In "I'd like to take precautions" column, choose "Recovery Disc Creation"

Click on "Next"

This will take a while, be patient

And if you can only do this procedure ONCE. In case you attempt to create another set (if you're like me who wants to get a proof of concept of sorts, or for just the fun of trying) you'll be shunned immediately and get this message:

But if let's say, for some reason, you weren't able to finish burning the entire set of discs - you ran out of DVD-R's and had to get some more, the application is smart enough to remember that you haven't really finished the last 2 discs so, technically, you haven't burned "one set", it'll automatically resume from when you last stopped.
These discs are what you use to restore your HP Mini 311 back to factory settings. Keep them safe - I suggest creating ISO images of these discs so in case something happens to the ones you've just created (optical media deteriorate over time), you can burn another set using your preferred burner application even if HP's Recovery Manager refuses to accommodate you.

24 December 2009

Happy Holidays!

Time to stuff our tummies full of yummy treats, turkey and gravy or in my case, lechong baboy :D

And also the time for reflection and thanksgiving that our Saviour is come for us all!

Merry Christmas!

23 December 2009

New Toy

So I guess that makes (yet) another New Year's resolution null and void even before the New Year has come. I vowed not to succumb to gadget lusts but the HP mini 311 was just so tempting.
I'll try making an unboxing video or perhaps even just pics but in the meanwhile, here's my new baby's cousin who tempted me and succeeded:

Intel Atom N280 @ 1.66GHz 1.67GHz
2.00 GB DDR3 RAM
11.6" LCD (Glossy) @ 1366 x 768
NVidia Ion LE
WiFi b/g + Bluetooth combo card
Windows 7 Starter Edition
External DVD burner - dual layer support
Now I wonder what to do with it next?

22 December 2009

Foot In Mouth

This makes me a terrible, not to mention incredible, hackintosher noob.
Looks won over functionality or in other words, hackintosh OSx86 compatibility at the end of the day (actually, at the end of a long two-hour wait)

20 December 2009

HP WiFi Whitelist Nitty Gritty

HP imposes a whitelist of hardware that's sanctioned to work on their computers, the Mini's included. Should you happen to be like me who's into the OSx86 hobby and are a Mini owner (other than the 1001TU/1000 models), you've come across wireless network glitch - or nightmare, rather - in Mac OS X Leopard. More so in Snow Leopard. The WiFi module is not supported by Mac OS X. I'm fond of referring to this as Mac OS X's "whitelist" not including your module or, in more creative words, Steve Jobs OS prefers to ignore your non-Apple hardware. Smug. (I often picture I have a duped Snow Leopard inside my MacBook Mini :D).

Now I've come across this whole deal with rebranding Broadcom wifi cards and wondered upto what extent HP's whitelist of wifi cards go for the 100TU. There are mainly two (2) essential information about your wifi card or any hardware for that matter I believe, that Mac OS X uses to decide how to treat that specific hardware. Apple's OS is very judgmental and unforgiving at times, racist to be exact:

(1) Subsystem Product ID
(2) Subsystem Vendor ID

I had a question in my head: given that these two are what OS X cares about, I wonder how specific HP is - would it accept the card as long as the Subsystem Product ID remains intact or does it need both to be matching the information on its whitelist?

The answer is IT NEEDS BOTH PIECES OF INFORMATION TO MATCH. If one of that changes, you'll get this:
"104-Unsupported wireless network device detected. System Halted. Remove device and restart."

I changed the Subsystem Vendor ID from the stock 0x103c into 0x106b to make it Apple like in a way. Result is I've practically bricked my HP Mini 1001TU. I would've used what happened as an excuse to get me a new netbook - one of those 11.6 inchers with NVidia Ion - earlier than planned (which is in January next year after the holiday season's shopping madness here in the Philippines but when promos are still likely to be on). 

However, the MSI Wind is here to save the day and saved the day it did:
(1) I popped open the HP Mini 1001TU to extract the now alienated wifi card. 
(2) Then I put it in the MSI Wind - I took out its Realtek WiFi card of course.
(3) Booted it up with Ubuntu 9.1 and did prasys' procedure to revert the Broadcom sprom to the original ID's:
- Subsystem Product ID : 0x1508
- Subsystem Vendor ID : 0x103c 
*I only had to change the Subsystem Vendor ID as the Product ID wasn't changed before.
(4) I put back the Broadcom card inside the Mini and voilĂ ! My MacBook Mini is its old self again.

Now what's the point of this whole effort? I learned new stuff (or confirmed old stuff) about the HP Mini 1000:
(1) The upper chassis which houses the built-in trackpad has clips and is secured with adhesive on some parts. Careful in prying it off plus careful again when you put it back - make sure the clip near the left side palm rest is secured first.
(2) There's another PCI-e slot inside

(3) The WiFi card, while indeed is a Broadcom, is actually a 4312. To be exact, the label on the actual card reads: Broadcom4312 HMG or BRCM94312 - not sure why there's a "9" in the alternative appellation. All the while, Mac OS X, both Leopard and Snow Leopard, has always seen it as a 4315. I've no idea how that works. I've tried omitting 4315 from the AirPortBRCM4311.kext plugin so that 4312 remained, hoping it would be used. But that only caused the OS reporting that no airport card was installed.
(4) The entire motherboard is housed in the palm rest area. The heatsink and the ram slot's locations contribute a lot why the area feels remarkably toasty. It's an engineering feat alright; fitting an entire netbook system in that confined space but it's still undeniable that the Mini's one hot machine - and that's literally speaking.

Conclusion? I have serious doubts as to whether I'm gonna hackintosh an HP Mini 311 which in turn gives me more doubts as to whether I'm gonna stick with HP when I upgrade to a higher level netbook next year - I can't live without OS X, or rather, I don't reckon I can tolerate a non OSx86-ified netbook among my small collection. Cause come to think of it, there's already this compatibility issue with OS X alone and HP's adding to the equation another compatibility issue with its restrictive, not to mention imbecile, whitelists.

But then HP's netbooks remain on top niche for very good build quality.

P.S. My dear MSI Wind, though I'm extremely grateful to you for salvaging my alienated Broadcom wifi card, the undeniable truth still prevails: your chassis is chancy, your hinges feel flimsy, and your keyboard flexes with keys that are no thicker than an average party plastic cup.

Meanwhile, enjoy the HP Mini 1001TU's porn pics:

18 December 2009

New Project That's Not So New

I can't seem to move on from this little pet project, at least until I arrive at a sufficiently tolerable dsdt.aml for use with my HP Mini 1001TU.
In the past, at the forums, we used to get by with commenting out the entire USB method in the dsdt to get sleep but the problem with device removal at each sleep (when you left a flashdrive or iPod plugged in) still remains.
So we're back from the very very short vacation and back to hackintoshing.
How about this one for a fresh new start?

13 December 2009

Vacay Mode

imagr from www.villamaniboc.com

Will be going on vacation.
See you next week :D

11 December 2009

Proof Of Concept

VoodooHDA.kext is a great kext - it's the reason why I don't have to live with a mute Mini MacBook forever. It solved that one detail that caused my conversion to a believer in the HP Mini 1000 as a hackintosh. It even broke the love spell I was under with the MSI Wind U100. It's the reason why My MacBook Mini came to be.

But wondrous as it may be, there's still one tiny detail it can't quite do for my HP Mini 1001TU: the internal mic is still useless.

Good thing it's Christmas already and so as geeky as I am, electronics wormed its way into my gift shopping list. Thus I ended up swiping my new credit card at the nearby Apple reseller store and got myself in pretext for an early Yuletide present for myself (or one of a number of presents I plan to gift myself with - I could be Ebenezer Scrooge's kin for all I know and for my utter "me, myself and I" lovin'), an Apple iPhone 3G set of earbuds!

I've been reading for a long while in forums that it should work with the HP Mini under Mac OS X but I didn't know for sure but now I know. And I'm a believer. ;-)

Its mic works well with the HP Mini 1001TU; I only have to plug it into the port and voilĂ , I've got mic and am ready to Skype! :D

You'd need to go to System Preferences > Sound > Input tab to set the mic's volume and then you're good to go.

Sound quality is very decent, just as is expected of Apple hardware. As for performance, the current VoodooHDA.kext is sufficient. I don't crank up the mic's volume to max levels, highest I'd recommend would be one notch before the last notch on the slider bar. Anything beyond that creates static which causes buzzes and echoes in your ear as the mic catches sound. Audio file  resulting from recording via QuickTime X doesn't seem to register the aforementioned buzzes and echoes when played later on tho.

Also, upon resuming from sleep, the mic won't work - not really "not work" but you have to go back to Sys Pref > Sound > Input tab > and move the volume slider a bit to get back on track.

The volume (+,-) controller doesn't allow you set volume up or down, of course (it would've been too perfect - even older iPods can't take advantage of this set of controls; only the newer iPods and iPhone can)

Oh and by the way, this is the VoodooHDA.kext that I use - it allows me to adjust volume via volume control on the menubar or the fn+Function toggle keys. Or you may use the official VoodooLabs release of VoodooHDA.kext so you get a prefPane and experiment with more settings to suit your tastes.

Dreaming Of A "Whitelist"less Christmas

Just some thoughts fresh off of the forums:

So we're dealing with 2 whitelists here: (1) HP Mini 110's and (2) Mac OS X's.

Apparently, the 110's WiFi card model is in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard's whitelist that's why it works in that version of OS X. It's not there in Snow Leo's. Obviously this card is in the HP Mini 110's whitelist cause hey, it's stock WiFi.

The 1000's WiFi is both in Leo and Snow Leo, so therefore no problem and again, obviously, it's in the HP 1000's whitelist since it's stock hardware again.

Now, based on prasys' post, there is (3) another checking done on the Mac OS X side; (a) Is this 3rd party hardware or (b) Apple branded. Depending on the result, Mac OS X will choose how the WiFi driver (IO80211Family) runs the card. That's why my 1000's broadcom card is seen as Third Party.

HP seems to have specific whitelists for different laptop and netbook models.

Then if you happen to have a WiFi card that's both in the whitelist for OS X (and Leo & Snow Leo is capable of driving it) and HP (depending on the laptop unit/model and if you've added it to your unit's whitelist), it seems still impossible to have it rebranded as a true blue Apple AirPort. You can perhaps stick that same WiFi card on a different laptop to rebrand it from there.

But moving forward, perhaps the easiest/most practical solution would still be to get a WiFi module that's on OS X's whitelists and which it sees as native AirPort and then just add it to the HP mini's whitelist.

Well, let's take again the 110's wifi as an ex. It seems to be in 10.5 Leo's whitelist of wifi cards - 10.5 Leo knows how to make the card work (right kexts) though it may or may not "know" it's true device id.

10.6 Snow Leo doesn't seem to have the 110's wifi on it's whitelist - it doesn't know how to make it work and I doubt Snow Leo recognizes what device it really is (what specific broadcom model).

The logical solution would be to get the 110's stock wifi card added to 10.6's whitelist and 10.6 must have a driver for it. Now that part, I've no idea how to do or even if it is possible or not.

Now the Atheros AR5B93 b/g/n is in 10.6 Snow Leo's whitelist - it knows how to drive it to make it functional. But it's not in the HP Mini 110's whitelist so it rejects it. We just need to add Atheros AR5B93 b/g/n to the HP Mini's whitelist and everything's okay then.

09 December 2009

Google Chrome For Mac Is Here =)

image borrowed from cultofmac/google

Happy happy day it is! We no longer have to make do with the developer beta version of this miraculous browser!
Google Chrome is what I've been using on my PC at work because it's fast, fast, and fast.
What can I say? It's fast!
(One gets really overwhelmed by its speed in rendering web pages, forgetting everything else)
Grab Google Chrome now!
- Chrome download page -

I excited how this beta version fares cause I’ve downloaded what I presumed was a developer’s version of Google Chrome almost a month ago and it wasn’t bad at all already.
I’ve got my Mini with me at work! Yay, I can test this! :D

06 December 2009

HP Mini 311 MacBook WiFi Still A No Go?


Ethernet After Wake - Ethernet is unusable after resume at the moment with the stock nForce kext (however it will after hibernation resume)

Trackpad Options - We have to look into this in any depth, however every known VoodooPS2 SL compatible kext has been tried by multiple users

Stock HP Wireless - Only third party modules installed in the WWAN slot (or WLAN slot with de-whitelisted firmware) with pin 20 covered are usable right now"

That's from the insanelymac.com project thread 

The sad thing is I haven't found a good source for the exact steps to "de-whitelist" the WLAN firmware - all I know is that it's done in Linux.

"BCM943224 SPROM (Apple branded Broadcom SPROM for flashing to the Wireless-N card current being distributed with the HP Mini 311 once the whitelist has been removed using the above file - SPROM flashing must be done under Linux)

File not created yet and no assistance will be provided in the project forum for this"

And then another ray of hope:

"The full size slot is clear of whitelists so you can do whatever you wish there. The half size slot has a whitelist.
I use the stock BT/WiFI card in the halfsize slot for BT only and the open full sized slot for the actual WiFi that works with SL vanilla."
This is a solid configuration.
I'm actually royally confused about this. So the HP Mini 311 has two slots: (1) 1/2 slot and (2) full sized slot. Both can be used for WiFi. The HP Mini 311 comes with stock WiFi on the 1/2 sized slot. And then we can get a full-sized Snow Leopard compatible WiFi Card to install in the full-sized slot.. . .Gah!! I want an HP Mini 311 now!


05 December 2009

Gadget Lust Not Appeased

This is what I wanna buy:

That's an HP Mini 311 alright. But not just any HP Mini 311. It's gotta be a white HP Mini 311.
The black version already retails here in the Philippines for Php 28,944 (around USD$500+) and it comes with an external DVD writer which you have no other choice but to include in your netbook family :

And now according to zdnet.com, the white version will require an additional $20.
Uh-oh. More trouble. But then only the black version's currently available here in the country.
Guess I'll have to wait for it to get released here. And then...and then....
I'll get one out of my own money or I meant, my own credit card rather.
Oh dear, this isn't the way to start a new year.

Personal Rambling

The blogosphere is a fragile world made up of connections from point to point - a network of bridges that knowledge go through. Once you enter it, either as a passive reader or an active content creator, you're hooked up. Connected. On line.
One lesson learned: Be careful of the connections you make.
Sometimes people get the impression that you're getting money from some place when you're not.
It's crucial to make that clear right from the start or you send out an distorted image of yourself to the rest of the sphere.
And if you already are in that situation, it isn't logical either to take out your angst in the public by posting it.
No, do not burn bridges.
They're your bridges.
And no matter how point A for example can get into your nerves sometimes, they're still points that you've made friends with.
And then there's your offline life which is more important than your online one cause the offline life is God-given. Enjoy it.

02 December 2009

Up Next:

image from mecambiomac.com
A good friend has brilliantly suggested changes to the EFI boot guide; currently in it's latest "revamped" version. The suggestion involves a incorporating the entire EFI setup process into one single script.

We're currently testing how the script works on our separate Mini's to get a picture more or less of how this will fare on other MacBook Mini's out yonder.

Actually I've been using a script I've made myself that configures EFI boot for some time now (ever since I went EFI + Vanilla to be exact) but I just didn't think it was ready for the general others to use as I only had my one MacBook Mini to test it on.

Anyhow, this good friend from the forums has also written a script - a better one than I could ever dream of writing in my lifetime - and we hope to be able to release it together with updated kexts, etc. - the "works", in short, for a new install package and hopefully a new guide as well to get you EFI booting.

If this is successful, then all that needs to be done is to get rid of your terminal-o-phobia and learn how to:
2) "sudo -s"
3) run a script (a file with extension .sh) by dragging and dropping the file icon into a Terminal window and pressing Enter.