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



“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.