10.9 Mavericks on the 1,1 Mac Pro

I have finally acquired a new Mac Pro 1,1 to install 10.9 on.

Tiamo at Macrumors has developed a far better method than my Chameleon method. It involves a boot loader he has written.


Thanks to Friso for pointing me to this…

The method was quit simple but required a real Mac. I simply installed 10.9 on a drive in a usb external enclosure attached to my MacBook Air. Replaced the two boot.efi files found at System/Library/CoreServices/boot.efi and usr/standalone/i386/boot.efi and put the drive in the Mac Pro


I have updated to 10.9.1 with software update and it was fine.

10.9.2 required the boot.efi files to be replaced after the update, I keep a 10.7 install on an old drive for this kind of thing.

10.9.3 update from software update went on fine.

Out with the Mac in with the Hack

I’ve finally sold my Mac Pro after 7 years of faithful service. It outlasted several cars, girlfriends, houses and a career change but I finally decided to let it go to a new (very happy) owner.
The experience of running 10.8 on it with chameleon gave me a lot of confidence in the hackintosh community and the practicality of using a hackintosh as my day-to day desktop. So I began to select the components to build a replacement for my Mac Pro.
Its a much better idea to research your components before purchasing rather than building what would be a good windows PC and then deal with a load of hardware that Mac OS wont play nicely with.

CPU: I chose a Core i7 3770 which is a build to order option in the top of the range iMac.
RAM: 16 GB of DDR3 1333, Nothing special there.
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z77MX-D3H TH. I chose this board because it is micro ATX, so will fit into an old G5 case without major internal alterations. It has two thunderbolt ports, DVI and HDMI, oh and USB3.
SSD: is a Liteon 256GB that was OEM on a Dell PC. Its probably not as fast as a top of the range model you could buy today but I was using it in my Mac Pro and wasn’t going to leave it in there.
HDD: Western Digital Black 1TB. Had it laying about at work.
Graphics card: Nvidia Geforce GT640 Out of the box compatible as it’s very close to the GT640m in the iMac and with some help, audio over HDMI is functioning.
Screen: “refurbished” Dell U2713HM 27″ IPS LED TFT with 4 port USB3.0 hub. £360 1/3 the price of an apple 27″ (and less than I paid for the 20″ I bought with my Mac Pro).

I didn’t need to install OSX on the SSD as I had pulled it from the Mac Pro. I simply installed chameleon on it, deleted appletymce.kext, put it in the Hackintosh and booted. Initially I used a version of voodoohda to get the audio working,but later opted for a modified applehda kext paired with a custom dsdt. This got the hdmi audio working.

The SATA bus on the Mac Pro crippled the performance of the SSD, once it was in the Hack’ on the SATA 6GBS port it was super fast. Boot is so fast you barely see the little spinning thing under the grey apple. Apps like Photoshop and Autocad, which used to take ages now load almost instantly. The CPU benchmarks the same as the BTO iMac so I’ve got a very snappy machine for a fraction of the price of Apple.

I miss the aesthetic of the cinema display and I’m considering fabricating an aluminium bezel for the Dell 27, along with attaching it to an old iMac stand I have.

I have an apple Bluetooth module that I fitted with 5v to 3.3v stepdown required to attach it to a USB header. I also have an old iMac Ir. receiver which I’ve modified to plug into a USB port. Th front panel is all wired up aside from the firewire (Which I have no use for). Th headphone port isnt working at the moment, which is down to the driver/kext but I have a little USB DAC I use with headphones.

Inside the Hackintosh.

I have this running 10.9 now and its very quick.


Data Only SIM for iPads

I recently bought myself an iPad Mini and handed down my iPad2 to my Girlfriend. In the iPad 2 I used a £5 per month data only SIM that I got from Virgin as a perk of being a broadband customer of theirs. Virgin sent me out a nano SIM for my iPad mini and managed to activate it in a few minutes, unlike Tesco, who took over a week with my iPhone 5 and left me with no phone at all for several days.
I decided I needed a SIM for my girlfriend’s iPad so along comes GiffGaff. GiffGaff are a VMNO like Virgin and Tesco. VMNO stands for Virtual Mobile Network Operator. GiiGaff and Tesco simply buy airtime and data in bulk off of O2 and sell it on. Virgin use EE’s network.
GiffGaff’s business model is a stripped to the bones set-up where they employ minimal staff and bribe their customers into advertising for them and providing support to other users.
If a GiffGaff user gives someone a SIM they are both rewarded when that SIM is activated. If a GiffGaff user answes someones support request in the forum, they receive reward points they can use against airtime.
Their data deal is great. If you order a SIM here https://giffgaff.com/orders/affiliate/jabbawok they top it up with £10 we each receive £5 credit. You can use this to buy a £5 “gigabag” of 500MB of data that lasts a month. leaving you £10 for the next two months. if you attach your bank card you can set it to automatically apply the gigabag/goodybag of your choice once a month.
I just gave a SIMs to a colleague and chopped it down to fit his iPad mini. He accidentally applied the £10 voice goodybag, don’t make that mistake if its for an iPad or the like. Also you will need to set the Access Point settings on your iPad as it defaults to O2.
They are APN: giffgaff.com Username: giffgaff Password:password.

Please use my affiliate page and give it a go. https://giffgaff.com/orders/affiliate/jabbawok



Windows 8 & Office 2013

So, I have just installed windows 8 and Office 2013 on my day to day work laptop.
The defining feature for most users is of course the “Start Screen” formerly Metro, which replaces the Start menu we all know and love.
My first reaction to the Start Screen was confusion, but after some experimentation I began to develop some coping mechanisms for my amputated Start Menu. The first trick being to just start typing what I wanted, much like I do on my mac with Spotlight. After a while I began organising my top applications in the initial area of the Start Screen, munch like I do with the dock on my mac.
The first real issue I discovered is the lack of XP Mode. XP mode for those unfamiliar is a ready made virtual machine that can be installed on Windows 7 Pro without having to buy a licence for XP. It integrates apps into Windows 7 so they appear to be running natively. All is not lost though as Microsoft have included the Hyper-V from server in windows 8. This can be added in the Windows features bit of control panel. You will need a Windows XP CD and Licence to create the virtual machine, in my case I have a partner program so had no trouble there.

Not giving people the option to revert to the Start Menu is a mistake that will cost Microsoft a great deal. While the Start Screen is not as bad as I first thought. It’s still a big jump which you can’t ask hundreds of users in a big corporate to make without shelling out on training.
XP mode was an excellent feature that should have stayed for at least one more version of Windows. I can understand why Microsoft lost it. You can’t keep propping up old software forever.. However I develop for Industrial PLCs and most of the software for older PLCs and instruments will either not work in Vista or newer, or if it will it quit an ordeal to get it to..

So far the only feature I have come across in Office 2013 is Outlooks refusal to trust the security certificate on my SBS 2008 exchange proxy. Other than that it feels like a re-skinned office 2010. I haven’t really spent enough time to with the full Office 2013 suite, so it would be unfair to pass judgement just yet.

I recommend giving windows 8 a spin. It’s a steal at £30, or £15 if you recently purchased a windows 7 computer. Office 2013 will have to wait for me to spend some time before a suggest any of you part with some cash.


How I installed Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion on my 2006 MacPro 1,1

There are two things that prevent 10.8 from installing on a MacPro 1,1.

The first is the lack of EFI64. Mountain Lion as has no support for 32bit kernel and extensions so it will not boot. This is true of many early Intel macs.

The other thing is that checks are made by the installer; against a supported machines list. If your mac isn’t on the list, it refuses to install.

It’s important to note that an upgraded graphics card is virtually essential. The stock 7300 GT isn’t supported and will cause Kernel Pannic. I don’t think the X1900-xt is either, my 8800GT did odd things on DP1 but may be OK on newer builds. Ideally Id try and source a HD5770 or other newer card. Some people use PC cards and flash them Look Here for info on that, me personally, I use an official Apple HD5770. There may be fixes for the old cards but they will probably break every time you software update so go get a new card. It’s cheaper than a new Mac

The first issue can be dealt with by using the Chameleon bootloader. Chameleon will emulate EFI64 and therefore load 10.8. Chameleon has to be booted by your Mac as if it were Windows. Apple calls this BIOS emulation “Legacy Boot”. Legacy boot will only boot from internal connectors like the SATA, so no USB or Firewire drives.

My solution requires a spare HDD in addition to the drive that your OS is on, you may be able to do it all with one, but I’m not going to cover that just yet. at the end of the process you will have a dedicated boot/install drive and a dedicated Mac OS drive. This drive and the one OSX resides on cannot be an external or connected to the ODD SATA ports. It must be on the IDE cable or one fo the four SATA sleds.

I am using a cheap 8 Gig SSD that I got from ebay with a SATA to IDE converter on, and its hidden away under the optical drive so you don’t loose any HDD bays

First download 10.8 From the app store. (you will need to do this on a supported mac) and Xcode from Apple. Then grab Chameleon-2.1svn-r1921 (google for it first). or here if you must Chameleon21_r1921 Please try elsewhere first as my bandwidth provider may get stroppy with me if it gets to hammered.

Go into disk utility and partition your spare HDD. Click the options button and chose Master Boot Record. Chose two partitions, the first 1GB (named BOOT) and the second can use the remainder of the disk (named Installer). Both partitions are formatted Mac OS Extended Journaled.










Once you’ve done this you can run the Chameleon installer.








At this point you must click Change Install Location.








Select Your BOOT partition you created earlier, then click continue.








Click customize here and choose Standard under the Chameleon Bootloader package. Nothing else is needed from the installer.








Next you will need to bless the BOOT partition.

In terminal run  sudo bless --folder /Volumes/BOOT --file /Volumes/BOOT/boot --setBoot --legacy

Make sure it goes in as one line, sometimes copying and pasting puts a carriage return in the middle. Also this command can only be performed whilst booted from EFI32 (so in 10.7 or from a 10.7 installer DVD/USB)

Here is my Extra Folder. Download it (place in the root of BOOT). Inside the Extra folder the smbios.plist and org.chameleon.Boot.plist files need editing. Add your serial to the SMBIOS.plist and in org.chamleleon.boot.plist set the <key>default partition</key> to <string>0,2</string> which is the installer partition.

The dsdt.aml file has an addition in it specifically to enable HDMI audio out on the mini displayport of my HD5770. If you search this forum thread there is a few posted you can try. http://forum.netkas.org/index.php/topic,1123.0.html . Edit

Now to the installer.

Locate your 10.8 installer. Right-click and chose ‘show package contents’. Locate InstallESD.DMG in the SharedSupport folder. Double ckick on InstallESD.DMG to mount it. see here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPxjJcNX-xQ

Open terminal and navigate to the Mac OS Install ESD drive. cd /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ ESD/ should do it.

Still in terminal, you need to mount the hidden BaseSystem.DMG type open BaseSystem.DMG and hit enter.

See Here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r95rirXCPAo

Now open Disk utility. Click on BaseSystem.DMG on the left, then click restore, then drag your installer partition into the destination field.












Click Restore. This will put everything but the packages and kernel on the installer partition. (You may need to rename your installer partition back to “installer” as it may now be called MacOS BaseSystem.)

Next job is to copy mach_kernel from MacOSInstallESD to the Installer partition.

In terminal navigate to the Installer ESD with: cd /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ ESD then copy mach_kernel to the installer partition with cp mach_kernel /Volumes/Installer/mach_kernel have a quick look in terminal to see that it’s there with: cd /Volumes/Installer/ then ls . You should see it there.

Or watch this video

Now in your installer partition there is a system folder, and in that is an installation folder, in there is a packages symlink. delete it and the copy the packages folder from the MAC OS Install ESD.

Finally you need to open OSinstall.mpkg with flat package editor which is part of the XCode install.











Drag Distribution to your desktop and open it in text edit.

See This Video make sure you watch it in HD so you can read the text.

Pretty close to the start is a section headed var PlatformSupportValues there is a list of board IDs in speech-marks and separated with commas. like “Mac-F42D88C8″,”Mac-F2218EA9″,”Mac-F42D86A9″ you need to add your mac’s board it to it. This is specified in the smbios.plist in the Extra as Mac-F4208DC8 so if you’re using that smbios.plist then add that value. close text edit and go back to flat package editor. delete distribution from the package and then drag the one you edited from desktop into flat package editor, then save the package. this is mine with my board ID Mac-F4208DC8 and Mac-F4208DA9 OSInstall.mpkg


As an experiment I have removed what I think is the board check from this NoBoardCheckOSInstall.mpkg if you’re brave, give it a go.

Before you continue any further I warn you that this may totally screw your computer. Even if you follow the instuctions to the letter, I may have made a mistake. Back up everything and have a spare Lion install to hand. Good Luck!

Now re-boot and hold down option to bring up the list of drives, choose boot, then franticly tap the up or down arrow key until the Chameleon list of bootable drives appears. Chose installer and you’re off. it should look like a normal mac os install from there on in.
The disk with osx on should be guid partition scheme, if it isn’t installer complains.

When the installer has completed chameleon will keep trying to boot installer so edit org.chamleleon.boot.plist set the <key>default partition <string> to your Mountain Lion partition. It will probably be 1,2 or 2,2.

After install had completed I used nano, in terminal to create an “fstab” file in /etc. This has two entries in it which stop boot and Installer mounting when OSX boots so they dont apper in finder.
The entries look like this for each Partition you want to hide: UUID=39C933A6-E5A4-3CFB-8841-21C89B0EDF77 none hfs rw,noauto change UUID to the appropriate one. The UUID of a partition can be found in system report under Serial ATA.

See this video..

This is my solution for the Chameleon/Installer drive. It’s a cheap 8GB SATA SSD on an SATA to PATA adapter, hidden away under the optival drive.


I’ll keep updating as people ask questions and when Mountain Lion is released I will update further.

There is a fix for messages here http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/topic/285102-imessage-not-working-icloudinternet-etc-working-changed-bootplist-file-and-networkplist-file-help/page__st__260#entry1882700


Here are the files you need messagesfix  Don’t forget to update chameleon first. If you add the module without updating chameleon you will have no boot.


Also I take no credit for working any of this out. Most of it came from posts on http://forum.netkas.org/index.php/topic,1123.0.html
Mac Rumors Forum thread
and the rest I stumbled across on the internet. If any of this is your work, Thanks!


If you’d like to reward me for my time or help cover my hosting costs feel free to donate.

“The New iPad”

So Apple have released “The New iPad”.
In short; a faster quad core GPU, higher resolution “retina” display, better camera, and faster cellular radio.
As a side note the Apple TV was also updated slightly to support full 1080p and have a revised interface.
This event was notable in my eyes for being the first major event following Steve Job’s death.

Tim Cook appeared much more up-beat than at the iPhone 4s launch event. It was clear to anyone watching that low-key event in October 2011 that Tim was fully aware that Steve was in his final hours.
Doubtless Steve was involved in pretty much every detail of “The New iPad” but its still reassuring that it feels like a true Apple product, an evolution without compromise. I kept looking for details that Steve would have vetoed but there were none.
Some time next year Tim Cook and some of the other Apple movers and shakers will launch the iPhone 5 or possibly “The New iPhone”. I will be watching the event like every event since Steve returned to Apple and I will certainly miss the “one more thing” that’s followed by the cheers of the audience and then Steve producing Apple’s latest iThing.
No one but Apple could produce such a frenzy of excitement around a new product that guaranteed it fly off the shelves like a Harry Potter book. If “The New iPad” performs well then it will be clear that, with or without Steve: Apple can still generate this kind of excitement around a product.

The demise of SAAB at the hands of GM

So SAAB are no more.
After 60+ years of quirky, clever cars they have been forced to shut up shop. Despite valiant efforts from Spyker the company has simply run out of money. Suppliers are not shipping parts because they haven’t been paid and the workforce are likewise unpaid. It’s all very sad.

GM bought SAAB some years back and integrated a lot their engineering. Larger SAABs were running in Opel floor pans for example. Now GM are refusing to licence this technology to prospective Chinese buyers because they’re worried a Chinese SAAB would eat into their far east market share.

The FT


iPhone 4s first impressions

So I finally got my hands on an iPhone 4s. Buying a phone sim free is harder than you might think.
The guy in phones4U practically begged me to sign up to a new contract. He even went so far as to produce some magical mathematics to prove it was way cheaper. It’s not!
As for the phone itself; The camera is the first thing that struck me. It’s excellent. Image quality is fantastic (see picture below) and it’s very quick. It’s As good as any point and shoot I’ve used.
Siri is little more than an amusement at the moment, but we’re beginning to bond and I suspect I’ll be quite attached soon.
The reception is a real improvement over the 4, as is call quality.
The vibrator ha a fair bit more power than the 4 and the speaker seems louder and clearer.
As for the battery performance. I can’t say for sure, but it seems fine with iOS 5.0.1.
The upgrade cost £200 allowing for the£300 I sold my iPhone 4 for and so far well worth it.