Thursday, October 23, 2014

Your Own Cloud Server - Owncloud on a Low Power Server

Modern everyday "computing" (referring to computer usage) is done on low power devices, such as smartphones and tablet PCs.
 Many of such devices and their applications (aka apps) depend on the availability of "the cloud".
"The cloud" brings its very own challenges and difficulties. Many cloud service, in particular the gratis ones, claim ownership of the data given to them. In addition to that kind of problem, the space offered by such services is usually rather limited. Of course ... one can get more, when paying some sort of subscription fee. Fair enough...

However, there is an alternative: running your very own cloud service.

Let's take some considerations to design a system for a private cloud service:
  1. low energy consumption
  2. high capacity
  3. availability
  4. data safety
  5. low cost
  6. available clients
With the present technology, I figure one cannot obtain all the wishes with using just a single computer. However, I believe that a simple system can be set up to fulfill all the requirements of the considerations. Actually, I did just that, for my very own personal cloud.

And here is how I did it, and what I used.

The Cloud Server Hardware
For serving the personal cloud, a computer is needed that runs essentially 24/7. The power consumption of which will finally dominate the energy bill for the system. Also, I wanted this particular server to be really silent, since I do not have the space for a dedicated server room.
My decision was to go for an GigaByte BRIX with a Celeron N2807. This device is passively cooled, very cheap and takes 2.5" HDDs. I decided to give the BRIX 4GB of RAM and a 500GB TOSHIBA HDD, making it a very quiet little box with a decent capacity.

The Cloud Server OS & Software
For the OS I decided to go with ubuntu server 14.04.1 LTS. Ubuntu is not my first choice when it comes to operation systems, in particular due to the built-in spyware (e.g. Zeitgeist), however, when it comes to hardware compatibility, ubuntu is the leader of the pack. Using a contemporary device as the BRIX therefore urges for the decision to use ubuntu. Also, I think that stuff like Zeitgeist is not present on the server edition of ubuntu (not sure though). To make life easy, I use webmin on the headless server,
Turning towards the cloud server. I am aware of only one server for which cloud clients exist for essentially every system available: owncloud.
The documentation available for ubuntu server and owncloud is good enough, so that I wont comment any further.

That's a topic that splits in 2 easily.
  1. the server needs to run 24/7, we already had that topic....
  2. the server needs to be reachable from anywhere
For the second point I would like to point towards dynamic DNS.  Should you have your very own domain, this will of course not affect you. I use a dynDNS called noip, which is for free under certain circumstances.

Data Safety
Now we are touching a topic that is not as easy as it sound. How safe do you want your data to be? How much of your data do you need to be really safe?
Since I can't answer any of questions alike for anyone else but me, I would like to share my very own approach to the problem.
In my home, a file-server backs up all data on a RAIDZ (Zetabyte FS RAID). For the purpose I run a 6 core AMD FX6100 based, 4 x 1TB HDD machine. This particular machine, running FreeNAS, was originally housing my cloud-server. However, AMD processors are known for being somewhat power hungry, hence, this server runs a few hours a week only.
For data safety, I backup of all my computers, including the BRIX, on this file-server. Such backups can be easily configured for the cloud-server, using webmin (NFS is your friend!).

The Costs
Finally, the last topic. The BRIX is the cheapest computer I ever bought... I believe. In average this thing runs on 5 to 8 Watts.

Clients offers clients for Windows, OS-X and Linux for free.  Further, paid apps are available to connect Android and IOS devices to owncloud severs. There are some 3rd party Android apps available for free...

Running your own cloud service is an easy thing, which comes essentially for free. Volume is not an issue any longer, add as much space as you need! The BRIX comes with a USB3 port, hence you can plug as much storage as your heart desires into the device...

BIOS photos (BRIX)
on demand, I shot some photos (literally) of the BIOS settings I believe being relevant (no particular order):

I hope, those help...

Wolfram Webers found that his BRIXs wont boot using ubuntu. However, Wolfram made a successful attempt installing CentOS7. Actually, I might just give that a try too! Thanks Wolfram!

Wolfram Webers wrote on google+:
It was grub, of course. And here's my solution that works at least for Debian 7.8:

GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="crashkernel=auto vconsole.keymap=de vconsole.font=latarcyrh eb-sun16 rhgb quiet"

Again, thank you very Wolfram! I am sure that this help other who wish to build such a little own-cloud server.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Yosemite or not?

Having had my share of failures in my experiments, I would like to add another one: OS-X Yosemite!

I tested the new OS-X on 2 of my Hackintoshs:
  1. a Z77 i3 - which installed fine 
  2. a Z87 xeon - the install failed
Let's start with the 2nd ... my Z87 Xeon E3 runs Mavericks perfectly!
When trying to install Yosemite, the entire thing fails. Yosemite was written half way, so I had to recover Mavericks from backups. No problem here...

The Z77 i3 did not object to the installation of OS-X Yosemite. However... The BIG deal about OS-X-10.10 was that any modern IOS device can connect to the OS-X computer.
Well, my iPad-mini could actually _not_ connect to the i3 running Yosemite. Neither through WiFi, not through Bluetooth.

So... what's the point?!

Yosemite does not install properly on hardware running Mavericks.
Even if Yosemite is installed, the functionality does not match the promises...

What's the point?!

I'll be running Mavericks for the time being.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

NAS4Free Observation

Presently I am duplicating the data residing on my NAS4Free server (Acer EasyStore H340) to my somewhat more potent AMD FX6100 based FreeNAS server.

Copying data by means of NFS is not that exciting...
However, what can be observed is.
My NAS4Free is usually set to the "Powermode" "adaptive" (low power consumption). For events like copying TBs of data, I might set it to "highadaptive" (high performance - using more power).
Since my Intel ATOM 230 seems to be the bottleneck, I opened the gates and set it to "maximum" (highest performance).

Watching the sever performance, the following was observed:
  • adaptive produced a solid outbound data stream of about 30Mbps with a CPU load of about 10%
  • lowadaptive produce the same outbound data stream of about 30Mbps with slightlt higher CPU load of 12%
  • maximum actually resulted in a lower outbound data stream of about 25Mbps ....
Not sure why that is. However, my conclusion is to always run this particular server at "lowadaptive".

Friday, August 29, 2014

Changing from NAS4free to FreeNAS

I am a great fan of NAS4Free. It houses my most precious data for a long time by now.
However, there is a problem with using TimeMachine with NAS4Free. Actually, I have no clue why...

Incidentally, I was playing with another distribution, quite similar to NAS4Free: FreeNAS. FreeNAS is a bit heavier than NAS4Free, although they share the same origin.
Unfortunately, FreeNAS is a tad to big to fit on the internal SSD of my Acer Easystore (Intel Atom based), which actually houses my precious data.

From another project, I had a box with an AMD FX-6100 processor, which was not doing a lot. So I decided to give it a shot, installed 4 HDDs and NAS4Free on a stick. To that time, I thought that my TimeMachine problem was originated in the lack of compute power of the humble Intel Atom. Well, I was wrong. Even 6 cores and 8GB RAM could not solve those problems.
However, the NAS with the AMD FX-6100 served perfectly in all other services.

My TM-backups were done, you will find that post on this blog, on a FreeNAS-based AMD-APU machine, which I called TimeVault. To the present day, this is a very reliable TimaCapsule subsitute.

However, I decided to give my bad-ass 6 core NAS a second chance concerning TimeMachine. So, I got myself an external 3TB HDD, to temporarily backup the data. It took for ages, with many failures, doing it via AFP and a regular Hackintosh. I discovered that using the Hackintosh, this backup was much faster, not failing at any stage, using NFS (which I had set up for my UNIX machines anyway). Lesson #1: use NFS even on a Mac/Hack!

Now, finally, today, I did the migration from NAS4Free to FreeNAS on the 6 core machine.
And this is was this post is all about!
Buying an HDD, backing up data and all that for just for the bin!
I booted a 1 year old CD version of FreeNAS and installed it.
As soon as the box was up, I could just use WebGui with "Storage" => "Auto Import Volume" to import my 4 ZFS formatted data disks. Everything was done automatically... the process even recognized my ZFS data pool settings! And of course, all my data was fine!

Finally I installed the most recent stable upgrade of FreeNAS.

Presently running it, TM finally seems to be happy backing up to the 6 core box.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Quick Tip: Calibrate Your Monitor!

If you are using your Hacktintosh to just check email once in a while, this post is not further importance to you. However, if the computer is used for any sort of visual work, such as processing of video or still photography, artwork or design, you may want to consider calibrating you screen.

Of course there is the relatively pricy option of screen calibrators which you connect via USB and all the magic happens.

As to Apple's OS-X, there is a calibration mode provided for free, which uses even more precious sensors, namely your very own eyes.
For using this tool, you want to open the "Displays" option in "System Preferences". Go to the "Color"-tab. Now you want to click on "Calibrate...", which will open another window. Be sure to check the "Expert mode" box! As of now, lean back (as the instructions will tell you) and follow the instructions!
My experience told me to do this exercise a couple of times in order to get the hang of the tool and a  precise calibration. Mind you, you are using parts of your very own body to calibrate an electronic device. Using your senses always involves learning.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Ultimate Touchpad(s)

Not that I did so much myself concerning IT lately. However, there is always stuff to discover.

Lately, I bought a Wacom Bamboo Pad (the wireless version). The initial plan was to have a graphics tablet to go along with the HP ProBook 4540s (the one with OS-X on it) for photo editing, i.e. retouching.

The Bamboo comes at a price comparable to Apple's Magic Trackpad. The Bamboo, however, has a huge bonus over the Magic Trackpad, it comes with a stylus, which is really helpful for retouching photos.

The silver-ish design of the Bamboo nearly matches the ProBook's looks.

Hooking the thing up to the computer leads to instant functioning as tablet w/ a stylus. Don't stop here! Install the latest driver from Wacom, your tablet will now function as a touch-pad.

The interesting bit about the Bamboo is that it functions in two different modes.
  1. When using it with fingers (touch) it reacts relative to the input, just like expected from a touch pad.
  2. As soon as the stylus is used for input, the tablet reacts in absolute mode, i.e. the position of the stylus determines the position of the cursor on the screen.
Having used the Bamboo for a while and really enjoyed it when working on photos, I decided to also buy the Wacom Intuos, to pair up with my workstation. Although I have not yet done a lot with it, I love the eraser option on the far end of the stylus! Really cool when working on masks in GIMP.
The Intuos does not seem to work a priori at all. Installing the proper driver is mandatory. However, with the driver installed, an entirely new world for controlling a Hackintosh arises!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Disable or Not Swap on Your M(H)ac(k)intosh

Why would you want to do that?! Well, simple, today, RAM does not cost a thing, 8GB or 16GB are plenty for most applications, and there still is the option to go to 32GB. Virtual memory, it seems, is not that important any longer.

Most of the recent Macintosh, or Hackintoshs respectively, have the operating system on an SSD, for quick boot-up times. I believe real Macintosh computers employ SSDs only nowadays, but I am not sure...
We all know, that the easiest way to wear down your SSD is, to use it as a swap (virtual memory) device.

Given that your computer is supplied with sufficient RAM for your tasks, you may want to try this:
and disable swap all together.
Presently, with my most recent build (16GB), I am actually trying this.

Hackintosh computers usually employ a regular HDD for mass-storage (or scratch), next to the SSD boot drive. For those boxes, one may consider using the magnetic HDD for swapping. This is a bit more complicated, but still doable:
  • boot your Hackintosh into Single user mode using "-s" (no quotation marks)
  • mount your HDD, using something like (depending on your setup, disk1s2 is my HDD, mounted on the mount point /Volumes/HOME/):
    mount -t hfs /dev/disk1s2 /Volumes/HOME
  • now lets make a hidden "vm"-directory:
    mkdir /Volumes/HOME/.vm
  • link the new "vm" directory to the expected place:
    ln -s /var/vm /Volumes/HOME/.vm
    you may also link "/private" if you want:
    ln -s /private/var/vm /Volumes/HOME/.vm
  • for good measures it created empty files (probably not necessary):
    touch /Volumes/HOME/.vm/swapfile0
    touch /Volumes/HOME/.vm/swapfile1since those were the files found first...
  • to enable swap, I entered:
    launchctl load -F /System/Library/LaunchDeamons/
When you're done with that, you just want to make sure all data are written using the command sync. Now, just type reboot.

A from now, my system uses swap (virtual memory) on the magnetic disk, leaving the SSD alone.

Of course, running swap of the HDD might be possible w/o switching off swap in the first place. I have not tried this, but I am certain that (in Single User mode) creating the hidden directory first, copying the swapfiles to it, deleting the previous /var/vm location and finally linking the hidden directory to /var/vm will do the exact same thing.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


For good measures, and luck, Apple published the OS-X 10.9.2 update lately. Since I was installing the new machine, I did the update right away, no backups done.
A simple manual edit (vi is my friend) changed a line in
and resulted in the fact that "about this Mac" => "more info..." shows a black trash can.
Actually, I am happy with a result of this nature, although I still appreciate the option to add more hardware to my trash can.

A Whole New Dimension

So, the build is done, and I am actually quite happy with it!

Parts that made it into my new workstation so far:
  • Gigabyte GA-Z87-HD3
  • Intel Xeon E3-1240v3
  • Noctua NH-D14
  • 2 x 8GB Mushkin Stealth DDR3 (1600MHz)
  • Crucial M500 240GB SSD
  • Asus GT640 silent
  • Fractal Design Define R4
  • BeQuiet Pure Power L8 630W
  • Seagate Barracuda 1TB
  • TP-LINK WDN-4800
  • Logitech K400r
The board allows me to add 2 more modules of RAM, with 16GB, I got plenty for the time being.
This is my first ever build using an SSD as a boot drive. And yes, this adds a new dimension, however, I expected a shorter boot time. When the system is up, starting applications from the SSD is quick and deserves 5 stars.

Home directories are on a regular hard drive. For convenience and the low price, I went for an SG Barracuda 1TB, nothing special though. I consider adding a Western Digital black drive to replace the SG 1TB, so that the SG will be available for internal backups/mirroring.

If it is not speed, what is the new dimension, you may want to ask... It is noise, in particular the lack thereof!
The entire build was focused on the lowest noise parts possible, not compromising at performance too much.
And so far, the result is very pleasing. A really silent system showing good performance.

Although I am happy with the performance of the passively cooled Asus GT640, I regret to not have invested additional €10 for getting the Intel Xeon E3-1245v3 with internal graphics.

OS-X 10.9.1 runs like a charm. The system boots right away, using "GraphicsEnabler=No".

Wanna build a Hackintosh yourself? I can only recommend the components mentioned above, with the consideration of the alternative CPU having the iGPU enabled.

Update May 9th 2015:
The system runs on Yosemite for quite a while now. Up to 10.10.2, the GT640 did a great job. No problems fooling 10.10.2 the computer was a MacPro6,1.

However, the card failed when I tried to update to 10.10.3.
So, I took the plunge and got myself a new graphics card, actively cooled actually:
  • MSI GT740 (2GB)
To my surprise, this card is actually really quiet, something I was not expecting.
However, under 10.10.3, is seems that the MacPro6,1 identity does not work any longer. I changed the definition to iMac13,1, which works fine so far.

Update May 10th 2015:
Although the MSI was not as noisy as I feared, I gave the ASUS GT640 quiet another go. And, fair enough, with the right identity, i.e. iMac 13,1, it works perfectly.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stuff Dropped In

Yep, I did it, I ordered some parts to build my new "production" rig with.
The Fractal Design R4 looks awesome!  It seem so big, but yet it is not...
Not much to say about the motherboard, CPU (E3-1240v3) or memory. Will pick up an after-market cooler tomorrow. Potentially the Noctua I was writing about earlier. Total overkill, however, quiet is king in this build.
Already I removed the optical drive from my present main rig (i5-3570K)... it will be more useful in the future build.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Small Change of the Plan

Building a higher end workstation, why actually not using an ATX-mobo in place of an mATX?
Right, the case would be a little larger.

So, the decision, concerning the mobo, is to go for a GA-Z87-HD3. The advantage, very obviously, is having a lot of expansion possibilities.

The idea of using Fractal Design's DEFINE mini hast to be ditched consequently. However, the "DEFINE mini" is just the smallest of the "DEFINE" silent computing cases. Here, the decision is to obtain a DEFINE R4. Since Apple decided "black" was the new "white" (cf. new Mac pro), the choice is obvious, in particular since the black DEFINE R4 looks the best of the bunch.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Plans for a new Build

note to myself: you want to keep those parts in mind for the next build
  • Intel Xeon E3-1240 v3
  • NVidia GT 640 (ASUS passive?)
  • fractal design - DEFINE mini
  • Noctua NH-D14
  • Gigabyte GA-H87M-D3H
It should be a quiet PC able to run as a Hackintosh. More powerful than an i7-4770.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pimping the Wimp a Mite

Yeah well, onboard HD2500 graphics did not really do it for me. Even with the tricks mentioned before, i.e. to watch youtube using Chrome, all together, it was a little sluggish at the end.

So, I decided to put the Wimp in another case, in order to allow for a graphics card to be installed.

A Linux PC, based on an AMD E350 APU, which I used rarely, lived in a Thermaltake Element Q case. Although this PC actually needed the PCI-E slot for a network card, I decided to take it apart anyways.

Now, the HackWimp lives in an Element Q.

Looking you a graphics card, I found a passively cooled ASUS GeForce 8400. This card, which worked for Mountain Lion, refused to work with Mavericks... something I observed with other versions of OS-X.

Next trial: an original NVIDIA GeForce 8400, which always did a great job. And yes, it did! But this card has got very noisy active cooling.

Last try, a GeForce 8400 of a different brand, which I recently used for other purposes. Actively cooled, somewhat noisy, but not too bad. This card played plain dead!

The decision was to exchange the cooling setups of the two actively cooled cards.

Now I am running a genuine NVIDIA GeForce 8400 with 256MB RAM and tolerable active cooling.
This card allow for 1080p video to be displayed full-screen, which the HackWimp was not able to do before.
The choice of browser stopped playing a role, I am hence back to firefox...

Added bonus: the Wimp can now be hooked up via VGA, allowing for monitors w/o HDMI or DVI.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

YouTube on the Wimp

You can imagine that playing streaming video on a computer having a weak CPU, which also serves as a GPU, can create some head-scratch. And of course it did to me.

Here is what I could collect by doing some research on search engines and fora.

Add some support to the HD2500 (the GPU inside the G1610):
That's the hard part.

However, with this working, youtube still wont play video on neither Safari nor Firefox, which both make use of Adobe's Flashplayer.

And here is the solution to the problem: Google's Chrome Browser. Chrome has got builtin support for streaming video. And indeed, with Chrome, the Wimp (G1610 Hackintosh) is able to play youtube content.
And yes, also in full-screen, but forget about full-screen again... not enough compute power in this computer!

Wi-Fi for the Wimp

In the last post, I wrote about a Hackintosh running on an upper end motherboard (Gigabyte Z77N-WiFi) with a lower end CPU (Intel Celeron G1610). To my surprise, despite a relatively long boot-time, the system is really usable.

However, the intention to set this computer up in a place rather remote from my ethernet, some option for wireless-LAN needed to be considered.

Of course, the Z77N-WiFi offers a MiniPCI Express slot, in which, conveniently enough, a WiFi/Bluetooth card is placed, hence the name of the board. Interestingly, only half the WiFi-card is natively supported by OS-X, namely the Bluetooth part.
There are a some MiniPCI-E modules available, which enjoy full native support, however, those don't offer BT!

In my i5-3570k box, I actually replaced the MiniPCI-E card, in order to arrive at native support. For Bluetooth on the other hand, I had to resort to a USB-device, which I had laying around anyway.

Now it fell all down to the question if I would order another MiniPCI-E WiFi card and a BT device, or, if I should hang on to the module supplied with the mobo and find a USB-solution for WiFi.

You feel it coming, I guess, yes, I had a USB-WiFi device in one of my drawers. The device is somewhat older, a Sweex LW303. And of course, there is not OS-X support for this adapter.
Or is there?

The LW303 employs a Ralink RT2870 chipset, which is good news! Some quick searching reveals that there is a OS-X 10.9 driver available for this particular chipset.
Have a look:
And yes, the Beartender looks very promising itself!

The driver worked OOB with the LW303. Not sure if the numbers match up in terms of bandwidth, but this is what Mavericks believes to see:

802.11 n WLAN:

  Product ID:    0x0302
  Vendor ID:    0x177f
  Version:     1.01
  Serial Number:    1.0
  Speed:    Up to 480 Mb/sec
  Manufacturer:    Ralink
  Location ID:    0x14400000 / 1
  Current Available (mA):    500
  Current Required (mA):    450
  BSD Name:    en3

480 Mb/sec seems a bit fast for a device of which the manufacturer thinks it able to operate at 300 Mb/sec.

A minor detail to note: I put the adapter in a USB3 port, the one just below the PS2-port.

Independently of that mismatch, the USB WiFi-adapter works fine in this ultra low power PC!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

MacWimp - Low Power Hackintosh

The cheapest Hackintosh I ever built!

Running Zentyal for my small private network was a great deal for some time. Nothing to be said against Zentyal, however, I might a used a different platform for running it on.
What platform? Well, that was a GA-Z77N-WiFi running an Intel Celeron G1610 dual core processor. The MoBo is a total overkill to a G1610, which cannot be overclocked, and so is a G1610 to a very small network "enterprise" server. Actually, the CPU was bored most of the time anyway.

So, is there any better use for the CPU and the MoBo?

Yep! It seems that folks have successfully installed OS-X on that particular platform. Although I never built the system for OS-X, now that it was unemployed for some time, it might as well serve as a simple Hackintosh workstation!

The hardware involved:
  • Intel Celeron G1610
  • GigaByte Z77N-WiFi
  • Corsair 2x4GB DDR3 (1333MHz)
  • Seagate Momentus 2.5" 160GB
  • Cool Master Elite 100 
  • Logitech K400r
  • Philips 236V4
Actually, I had the HDD wafting about in my "junk box", it came from some computer, I can't even remember (honestly!).
The RAM I got for cheap from a superstore...

  • You may see that the case actually wont allow for a graphics card, hence, the internal HD2500 GPU has to be used.

Not playing, I went using OS-X 10.9.1 straight away. Booting it, using "fail safe" (-x) worked OOB. However, after running MultiBeast 6.1, things were not working out so well. The system booted, but only with the "-x" option.
At the end, I got this weakling to run with information you can find on google searching for "G1610 HD2500 GraphicsEnabler IGPEnabler Hackintosh".

Finally, I got the whole thing booting regularly with
  • Internal Graphics Memory set to 32MB (bios)
  • inserted a device properties entry into /Extra/org.Chameleon.boot.plist
  • removed AppleIntelHD4000Graphics.kext from /System/Libraby/Extensions
  • computer type set to MacMini6,2
Since I had to play a little to get thing running, there may be some more parameters, which I lost track of, to get the things flowing.

To make live easy to you, this is the content of my /Extra/org.chameleon.Boot.plist:
        <key>Kernel Flags</key>
        <string> -v</string>
        <key>Legacy Logo</key>
        <key>Graphics Mode</key>
        <key>device-properties</key>  <string>7f0000000100000001000000730000000200000002010c00d041030a000000000101060000027fff04002c0000004100410050004c002c00690067002d0070006c006100740066006f0072006d002d00690064000000080000000b006601140000006800640061002d0067006600780000000d0000006f6e626f6172642d31</string>

So far, I am happy with the behavior of the box. Actually, TM backup to my server just went through fine.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

HP ProBook 4540s

Guess why I bought this particular model?

Of course I like keyboard, very Apple-like, and the mat screen and further the ease of accessing the HDD and other stuff. However, the main motivator was, that it was the successor of the ProBook 4530s, which, allegedly, is the best laptop computer to be OS-Xed.
I tried the traditional route, i.e. SnowLeopard DVD, and the further steps. I got as far as Lion, and than things stopped working out. Finally, I sort of gave up, installed a linux on the laptop and was happy!

Just lately, something told me go give it a try again. Potentially it was the availability of the latest Probook installer 6.1.11, which motivated the second attempt.
All data securely put on an external disk, I tried my luck. Now, my HP Probook 4540s (Sandy Bridge) is happily running OS-X 10.8.5. Even the dared first TM-backup went straight through.

You may ask, why I am not trying to install Mavericks (OS-X 10.9.1) on the laptop. Well, first of all, I like Mountain Lion in a way. And yes, I was tempted by the fact that 10.9.x seems to incorporate power-handling more deeply. Hence, I tried to boot 10.9.1, but it failed in the first attempt... so I just decided to leave things as they were.

We'll see what the future has in house for the last laptop member of the Sandy Bridge family.

BTW, in order to get WiFi, I exchanged the laptops WiFi-card to one that is supported by OS-X genuinely. This set me back by about €8.-

When I bought it, the ProBook 4540s cost me about €600,- and came with MS Virus7. I replaced the 320GB HDD with a 1TB WD blue (which was about another €100.- at the time).

All in all, I am really glad to have bought this computer. It served me fine under Linux and it seems to be doing a great job with OS-X right now.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tablet on a Hackintosh

The good old times, where it was clear what was a tablet, when speaking about computers. Today, there is a good confusion of what a tablet is. Well, this post is not about iOS or Android devices, this is about the input device called a tablet, or graphics tablet to be precise.

There was a certain hype, well before touch-screens, to use tablets in particular in drawing applications and CAD. There was a time, when those things were really cheap. On a windows PC, or Linux respectively, the cheap tablets work just fine OOB, w/o any additional worries.

However, the world is different on a Mac. Those things are not just working on a Mac at all. Still, there is hope!
Have a look at hyperpen-for-apple. This solved it all for me.

There are some issues however...
- First of all, the zip-file would not be unzipped by the Archive-tool. "unzip" (in a terminal window) works fine, however it spills the content in the directory you are calling unzip from.
- Secondly, whenever you want to use you tablet, you have to call the "hyperpenDaemon" manually; remember to execute this program indicating your very own screen resolution. I wrote a tiny shell script, so that I do not have to remember the parameters.

Up to now, I have not yet started using my tablet. The idea was to use it with the GIMP, post-processing my photos (cf. my photo-blog).