3G (1) 8600GT (1) AI (4) amazon (1) API (1) apple (3) apple mail (1) atlassian (1) audio (1) bambo (1) Bamboo (1) bloat (1) boost (1) bugbear (1) C++ (5) calling conventions (1) cdecl (1) chromecast (1) CI (1) compiler (1) continuous integration (1) coursera (1) custom domain (1) debugging (1) deltanine (1) diagnosis (1) diy (5) DLL (1) dns (1) don't be evil (1) ec2 (1) education (1) electronics (1) express checkout (1) fail (6) fink (1) firewire (1) free hosting (1) GAE (1) google (1) Google App Engine (4) H170 (1) hackerx (1) hackintosh (1) Haskell (3) homebrew (2) i1394 (1) icloud (2) iOS 9 (1) ipad2 (2) jobhunting (2) lag (1) letsencrypt (2) libjpeg (1) linux (1) mac (2) mbcs (1) mechanic (1) memory (1) MFC (3) Microsoft (1) migration (1) ML (1) mobile (1) movi (1) MSBuild (1) music (1) naked domain (1) NLP (2) o2 sensor (1) obd (1) Optiplex960 (1) osx (1) outlook express (1) payments (1) paypal (1) photos (2) PIL (1) Project Euler (1) projectmix (1) python (2) raspberrypi (3) recruitment (1) renwal (1) skylake (1) soundcloud (1) ssl (2) stdcall (1) stripe (1) subaru (2) supermemo (1) supermemo anki java (1) sync (2) Telstra (1) tests (1) thunderbird (1) udacity (1) unicode (1) Uniform Cost Search (1) university (1) upgrade (2) vodafail (1) vodafone (1) VS2010 (1) vs2013 (1) VS6.0 (1) weather (1) win (1) Win32 (1) Z170 (1)

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Hackintosh on Dell Optiplex 960 with Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT

Recently, I bought a GoPro Hero HD2 camera which I have used to gather some 1080 footage... unfortunately the extremely long in the tooth early 2008 MacBook Pro I'm typing this on struggles to edit it. I really need to upgrade it - only only one USB works, and intermittently at that - and the audio has its good and bad days - however I can work around those issues with the odd NVRAM reset to fix the USB ( hold down the power button for 5 seconds when the machine is off and the battery removed) and some bluetooth headphones solves the audio issues - so no need to upgrade just yet.

I tried Windows Live Movie Maker on a fairly grunty Dell optiplex 960 with 8 Gig RAM- but that POS software kept crashing every time I rendered my video, and anyway it only supports Microsofts proprietary WMV format.

Since I know how to use iMovie and I didn't want to learn anything else, I thought I would see if I could install OSX lion 10.7.3. I had already managed to run it in a VM, but the video driver for the VM didn't support Quartz Extreme, which is required to run iMovie.

Anyway, after several days I managed to get it all working for the following configuration with my Nvidia GeForce 8600GT card, so if anyone else wants to give it a try here a few tips that might save you the several days of pain I went through.

* Make sure your bios is in AHCI mode

* I used the iATKOS L2 installer DVD - which hangs during boot on an Optiplex 960. So I removed my HDD, put it in an Optiplex 755 which managed to boot and install the OS. I then swapped the disk back into my Optiplex 960 which successfully booted. I then ran software update, and downloaded the 10.7.3 Combo update standalone to bring the machine up to 10.7.3. There are other ways to install OSX, which involve using a USB key to boot the machine and a retail copy of the OSX lion DVD

* I now had OSX with no network, sound and only basic graphics

* using MultiBeast I was able to install the kernel extensions (kexts) to get the network card working. I used the AppleIntelE1000e network driver, which is packaged with Multibeast.

* I couldn't find any drivers to support the onboard sound hardware ADI 198x Integrated HD Audio.
Luckily I had an old soundblaster live card lying around and was able to install the awesome kx project audio drivers by Eugene Garilov. Unfortunately the audio inputs don't work, but I was pretty stoked that my 12 year old soundcard has a new lease on life in my hackintosh!

Getting the video working was the biggest pain.

Some suggestions I found by trawling the forums such as adding the GraphicsEnabler=Yes setting in the org.chameleon.boot.plist file that is used by the boot loader did NOT work. Neither did hardcoding some magic EFI string distilled from the video cards ROM.

What finally worked was installing NVEnabler64.kext. All the forum posts seem to assume you know how to install kexts... kext utility is what you need to do this. Just drag the kext file onto kext utility and it does all the magic, copying the files and repairing permissions. I found it only worked if it was in System/Libaries/Extensions... not Extras/Extensions as mentioned in a few forum posts.

And voila... you now have a working Hackintosh.

If you are thinking of trying this then and or are great resources. Good luck!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Awesome free online university level classes.

I just finished the inaugural offering of CS373 - Programming a robotic car at It was a really interesting course taught by the world leader in self driving cars and winner of the 2005 DARPA grand challenge, Prof Sebastian Thrun. I really enjoyed his teaching style last year when I did the Stanford Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course that was made available online. The other teacher of that class, Peter Norvig, also has a new class he's teaching at udacity - CS212 - The design of computer programs, which I'm enjoying as well.

Udacity have really done a good job adapting their content to the web - the lectures are made up of short, easily digestible videos for each topic with plenty of interactive quizzes and programming assignments along the way, which make it much more engaging than your traditional university lecture. Best of all, they are free and taught by experts in their fields.

There are also a lot of new courses from bricks and mortar universities coming online at Coursera too.
I just enrolled in Stanford's highly regarded  Machine Learning course which starts this week.