02 June 2009

PC Snood vs. Mac Snood


My mom, although she might not be aware of it, is a PC person and has always been one until I learned how to hackintosh. My ultimate dream actually was to get my dad to use computers and we've gone through some iterations of Windows: 98 (we're in a third world country so being dépassé tech-wise is pretty much the norm), Win Me, and finally, Win XP. However, my dad always would end up not using the computer at all.

Maybe having a decent net connection (at long last!) plays a huge part in the current situation but the Mac is also to be credited -- I mean the Hackintosh MSI Wind ;). I was surprised one day when, upon logging into yahoo messenger as I sipped my morning coffee at the office, I saw my dad was online! All on his own! So I popped him a message and he replied he was chatting with my uncle up north. What got him going is mainly the dock which I've customized especially for him, putting there all the apps he's fond of and knows how to use.

How do I teach using a computer to someone who doesn't like them very much, and by using OS X at that? It was quite easy - easier than I expected. One of the biggest surprise I'll mention here is about the fact that in OS X, closing a window (clicking on the red button marked x) doesn't close an app - well most of the time, that's the case - but that one has gotta quit the app. Being a windows person, I'd have to get through this learning curve and this little difference still gets to me sometimes. Now, my dad remembers to quit an app like it's second nature to him!

Last week, I reconfigured the MSI Wind to dual-boot again: WinXP and Mac OS X. When I was installing the usual anti-virus stuff, my mom, who usually hovers around whenever I use the computer, told me she wanted to play Snood. I told her she'd have to wait coz I'd have to download Snood again to reinstall (she's got Snood on her Mac OS X account). But when she asked me why I needed to download it again when it was supposed to be already installed, I didn't tell her it was because I reformatted the Wind and the Win XP part of it still isn't done being configured yet.

"I'm gonna download a newer version of Snood" was my reply. If she knew I reformatted the Wind and stuff, she'd go ballistic, worrying over her files, supposing me a person who doesn't back up her stuff. I could explain to her that everything's under control and that I'd put back everything on the Mac side just as they were but then she'll get the impression that I'm making the Wind an experiment workhorse for my "endless tinkering", so she'd probably stop using the machine, so I decided not to be totally honest with her.

With Snood installed on Win XP, my mom sat down to it and started playing. Ok, maybe I was totally wrong in calling her a PC person but the point is that she didn't realize she was on a different OS then and still thought the desktop looked weird just because she was logged into my account and she'd always thought I did weird stuff in my account anyway, like making OS X look Windows like.

Her impression?

"I don't like this 'new' version of Snood much. I prefer the feel of the older version when I play it." and by "older" version, she's referring to the one she used to play on OS X.

29 May 2009

Back to the Dark Ages

I'm back to dual-booting the MSI Wind - Mac OS X Leopard & Windows XP Professional. Though with an almost perfect setup (don't forget about the internal mic that still doesn't work what with VoodooHDA already installed), I've found out that there are things that only Windows XP can give me.

Mainly two things: (1) torrenting and (2) video streaming

Okay, there's a ton of fairly good torrent clients for Mac but based from experience, uTorrent is sluggish. I've changed to Transmission and then also, I've scourged the net high and low to research on speeding up the download speed. But the results only pointed to one thing: torrenting, or to be more specific, ways to speed up torrenting remain Windows-centric.

As for streaming; I'm a fan of asian drama's and youtube. What has always puzzled me is that I seem to always have "connection problems". I've been blaming it all on my broadband provider when all this time, it s simply because Flash has a notorious reputation in Mac OS X. Though only blessed with hackintoshes and not real Macs, I've become an OS X fan-girl in that I now know where my loyalties lie operating system-wise. So I even did what I could: update Safari, Firefox and install the lates Adobe Flash player, version 10 as of this writing. I even told myself that I was just too impatient by not letting the vid load first before hitting the play button, so I waited for the vid to fully load first but what do I get? Laggy video. Yep.

I first tried to install XP on my HP Mini since it didn't contain any important file of mine - it's currently my experiment workhorse - and plugged in the ethernet cable, fired up IE, installed Flash player went to my fave video streaming site and...

Epiphany. Succint enlightment.

I discovered that videos uploaded on streaming sites weren't cursed with a spell that I call "slow-motion-syndrome" -- not at all.

As for torrenting; I downloaded uTorrent and did some tweaking, fetched a torrent and left it downloading overnight. Guess what; the following morning when I woke up, the 1.5 GB file I wanted to DL was sitting there in my folder alright. It was done in just that span of time. Whereas back when I was torrenting in Mac OS X, uTorrent and Transmission alike, overnight would be equal to about 500 MB worth of downloaded data. And I was being graceful at that since I've rounded it up.

To make a long story with lots of boring installation parts short; I've made room for Win XP on the MSI Wind. For an OS that I've sworn to despise, I've given half of the Wind's hard disk real estate to it.

There was some snag on which I got caught while setting up my dual boot. I learned something new:

"chain0". Yep.

PC_EFI Chameleon v12 wouldn't boot up my Win XP installation so this was what I resorted to.

Click here for the details.

26 May 2009

Rekindle An Old Flame

I and MacBook Mini have been together now for three months and though there've been rough patches here and there, the relationship is rather going strong - with lots of reinstallation and hard disk wipe out in my attempts to get to know him; really and truly get to know his heart.

As a consequence, MacBook Wind has been left to gather dust and gunk especially (and literally) under its keyboard while it continues to sit on the work desk in the living. Aside from the VoodooHDA makeover it got, nothing else much has happened to him in the last few months. It's been on 10.5.6 for so long and now I think it's time to spend some quality time with MacBook wind.

Updating to 10.5.7 was a breeze. A quick trip to msiwind.net, bringing back goodies such as Cybergreg's Update Pack v1.5 in a baggie and taking care to move RealTek1000.kext from MacBook Wind's /System/Library/Extensions folder to a second partition, I was ready to run the Combo Updater for 10.5.7.

According the forums, the 10.5.7 would mean native support for the ethernet port on the Wind, so therefore no more need for the Realtek1000.kext. SoI tested that, without putting back the Realtek1000.kext, I tried to open up Safari and got an error message, telling me that I'm not connected to the internet. I even restarted several times after that just to make sure but apparently, my ethernet port wasn't working.

So, crossing my fingers that the Realtek1000 won't cause any video problems - i.e. getting stuck at a blue screen like what people have reported over at the forums - I reinstalled the Realtek1000 to its righteous place and restarted. I was dreading that the spinning wheel under that all too familiar by now squahsed grey Apple logo would suddenly freeze. But thankfully and to my utter relief, I was brought back to my desktop. Clicking on Safari on the dock opened up the Apple startup page this time.

What's different in 10.5.7? Though some have reported increased battery life for the Wind, I'd no chance to test since I'm using the Wind hooked up to an LCD monitor as a dekstop replacement, for when I wanna go mobile and still be connected, it's MacBook Mini that I lug around now.

Perhaps that's because between me and MacBook Wind, there isn't any sparks anymore for me to notice anything else but that the System Preferences panel has undergone a minor change in 10.5.7;

10.5.6 SysPref-EnergySaver

Now, below, notive the new look of the Energy Saver prefpane. Twisted!

10.5.7 sys pref
That's just it I guess, no more way of rekindling an old flame. Period.