Category Archives: Apple

Mac hardware after Steve – a sad story

A few weeks ago Apple announced their new MacBook Pro, the one without SD card reader, magsafe power cable, regular USB ports, ESC-button or ethernet port. They also did not announce any updates to any other models, in particular the MacMini and the MacPro.

Over the years I have bought several Apple Mac computers for running Mac OS X, the first one being a PowerMac G4 @ 400MHz that I bought Mac OS X 10.0 for. Apart from having several Macs myself over the years, I have also advised and helped people around me to get Mac computers.

It was long since Apple hardware was such a disappointment and options were so limited.

For years my PC-friends told me Apple hardware was expensive and outdated. That was partly true. Apple, relying on PowerPC and its own ecosystem charged a premium. And when it came to MHz per buck it was not good. But Apple sold computers that got your job done while never being in your way and they lasted long.

Apple have always had reasons for making expensive hardware with non-impressive performance specs.

  • Intel most of the time outperformed the PowerPC manufacturers (at the same MHz PowerPC rarely beat Intel, and Intel was most of the time ahead in MHz)
  • Apple prioritized ergonomics and battery life rather than raw spec (you paid for a really nice display, good keyboard, noiseless experience (well well), rather than pure computing power)
  • With Mac OS X, Apple utilized the GPU for the 2D desktop in a way Windows didn’t, so the user experience was very nice despite a slower CPU and less RAM
  • Apple have been very careful not to make their consumer line cannibalize on their Pro line (look at the MacMini, which is kept simple enough to not challenge a MacPro)
  • Apple have been very careful to make even their cheapest pieces of hardware amazing pieces of technology from a manufacturing and material quality point of view

This has always been annoying for anyone on a budget. But in the end of the day an Apple Mac has had long good life and it got the job done. Also:

  • Hardware was regularly upgraded 1-2 per year with relevant improvements.
  • The hardware lineup was easy to understand and it made sense. All models had their place.

It has been quite like this:

MacBook Pro: 13/15/17 inch. Bigger is more powerful and more expensive.
MacBook: Fewer options, cheaper materials.
MacBook Air: Ultra-portable, few options.
MacPro: Outrageously expensive and very cool, for pro users and external display.
iMac: Standard desktop, display included, options for both value and performance.
MacMini: The budget option for people who want their own display.

The strategically missing models have been:
Desktop Tower: Reasonable price/performance, desktop parts (CPU/GPU/RAM/Storage), external display, flexibility. This would have cannibalized on the MacPro line and possibly broken the “just works” idea (with too many user-replacable parts and so on).
Budget Computers: Steve Jobs simply refused to make cheap hardware that he was not proud of.

What Apple provided was good products for most purposes, but you ended up paying a bit extra for the quality. Where the desktop tower was missing, poeple got MacPros even though is was a much nicer computer than they really needed. And the MacMini was a nice work horse for not too much money after all (and who wants, or needs, a big tower anyway).

So, buying Apple Mac hardware has always been annoying and expensive. But mostly because Apple have been teaching us: don’t just focus on numbers, we sell you a truly good product and you do get value for money!

Since Steve Jobs died something has changed (perhaps not because of his death, but from that time).

First, Apple don’t upgrade their hardware regularly anymore. When Apple sold 10% as many computers and hardly made any money, they pushed out new revisions twice per year (at the same time working with PPC->Intel transition). Right now (November 2016) the entire product line (except maybe the MacBook) is in desperate need for an upgrade, and Apple release a truly disappointing MacBook Pro (its not my opinion, just read the reviews). You can’t sell computers that haven’t been revised since 18 months at the same price as when it was announced! Not even the car industry do that! They used to fix this by revisions like: “slightly bigger harddrive, +200MHz, cheaper RAM upgrade, same price”. That was fair! Then you knew you could get a new computer without getting screwed.

Second, Apple don’t even improve their computers when they release a new revision. The current (2 year old) MacMini is technically worse in most ways than the 4 year old model! The just outdated 2012 MacBook Pro was easily upgraded to 16GB RAM – that is today a ridiculously expensive built-to-order-upgrade only. What the f**k was the decision to get rid of the magsafe charger? That connection was a unique selling point that on its own merit could make people pick an Apple over any other brand.

Third, Apple got obsessed with (small) size. It is really nice to have a maximum portability option (the MacBook Air is my favourite). But the entire line, including the MacPro, MacMini, MacBook and MacBook Pro, dont need to be built for minimum weight! If I can choose between smaller and lighter or larger and heavier, I pick small and light. But if it comes at a cost of features it is a different story! I literally was in the store, considering the MacBook Air 11 (that I knew I wanted) and the MacBook Air 13 (which had an SD slot). I was very close to getting the 13′ just becuase of the SD card slot, and I would never have considered it, if the 11 inch had an SD slot.

Why remove magsafe, ethernet, SD-card and USB-A from ALL MacBook Pro computers, and also discontinuing MacBook Air? Would it be unreasonable to give the users (the pros) those choices? Would it be unreasonable to have one laptop model built for features rather than low weight? Or would it compete with the never-ever-being-upgraded-MacPro then? Apple could have kept and upgraded only the MacBook Air (never released the MacBook and discontinued MacBook Pro), it would have been the same thing.

The options have rarely been so few.

I am fine. I personally don’t need much performance of my computers and I can use Windows or Linux instead. As it is now my only Apple computer is a MacBook Air. I would have had an Apple Desktop for playing (Steam) games, if Apple just sold one. It’s a shame, for many years lack of games (and software in general) was the weakest spot of Apple. Now when there are so many good games on Steam there are no Apple computers to play them on. I tried to play on my MacBook Air: it performs fine, but it gets too warm. Computers used for some purposes need proper cooling, and that requires size and weight.

Apple: with all the money on your pocket… can’t you just make a hi-quality product line, with products for people with different needs? Make a pro laptop with real performance and all the features. I still think my Titanium PowerBook is an incredibly nice piece of hardware (the display is still great compared to what is in the market today) – make a laptop that size. Make a desktop computer with a real GPU. And keep making the nicest ultrabooks too! It would make your product line easier to understand too! Right now it is just confusing – it is like you don’t want to sell computers at all.

Xcode update stuck at waiting

My upgrade of Xcode (v8.0) was stuck at waiting. For days. I restarted the computer. Tried different things in the App Store applications. No success.

Finally I deleted the Xcode application from /Applications (just put it in Trash, not even emptying). That helped.

I found that idea here.

Hackintosh – a first attempt

I really have no love for Windows 10, but I use it for Steam and a few games. For a long long time people did not buy Apple computers because there were no games for them. Now I find there are more games than I can possibly want but there is no Apple computer I want to buy to play games on:

  • MacBook Air: I have this one – it gets warm and noisy with games
  • MacMini: underpowered for games, and so little value, especially if you want more RAM
  • Mac Pro: its perfect, just very much too expensive to replace a Windows 10 machine
  • iMac: I already have a display and KVM connected to a Linux computer, and I dont believe in throwing away the display because a hard drive breaks.

So I sound like my friends did 10-15 years ago: Macs are too expensive to play games!

But then there is Hackintosh: an ordinary PC running OS X.
There is even a Buyer’s guide, and something like this would suit me well.

I decided to try to turn my current Windows 10 PC into a Hackintosh and followed the instructions.

It was a gamble all the time:

  • My ASUS P8H67-M mainboard: some people seem to have had success with it, but it is not exactly a first choice.
  • My Radeon HD 6950 graphics card is not a good Hackintosh card at all. If I remove it I can fall back to the Intel HD 2000 that is integrated in the i5 CPU (or on the mainboard – I dont know). That is also not a good Hackintosh GPU.

Anyway, I disconnected my Windows hard drives and connected a 60GB SSD to install OS X. And for a while it was good. Some BIOS (UEFI) tweaking, and I

  1. got the installer running
  2. installed OS X
  3. started my new OS X (from the install USB-key, since bootloader was yet to be installed)
  4. played around in OS X, bragging about my feat

hackintosh
Audio was not working, and Video performance sucked, but ethernet worked and it was very useable.

I went on trying to install the bootloader and some drivers (using MultiBeast, following the instruction). This is where all my luck ended. MultiBeast reported that it failed.

I never managed to start OS X again. Not the installed system. Not the install USB-key. I tried:

  1. Removing all hard drives
  2. Reset BIOS/UEFI settings, and try many combinations
  3. Recreate the USB-key
  4. Remove my Radeon 6950 and fallback to Intel HD 2000
  5. Remove files from the USB-key that contains “kernel cache” and things like that
  6. Different boot options from Clover – both the standard menu and non standard options that I found in forums
  7. Create a UEFI-USB-key instead of a Legacy-USB-key

No success at all. I basically got this error.

In order to get things working in the first place I changed a few BIOS/UEFI settings:

  • SATA mode: IDE => AHCI
  • Serial: Disable

(I found no other relevant settings on my mainboard).

After changing IDE => AHCI Windows did not boot. That was an expected and common problem, and I fixed it following some simple steps (forcing safe boot). It was after that OS X never started again. I wonder if something happened to my mainboard/UEFI there, that Windows did, that I can not control/undo?

Update 2016-05-18
I found this post to follow. Much better now. I write this post from my Hackintosh.

In order to eliminate all possible old problems i deleted the 10Mb of the USB-key and hard drive using linux and

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=1024 count=10240

Obviously replace sdX with your drive.

About my “working” configuration:

legacy: USB-key is legacy. Clover is installed in Legacy-Root-mode.
MultiBeast: During installation, Step 5 (MultiBeast) fails, and I had to resort to Step 6.
safe mode: my startup arguments are:

dart=0 kext-dev-mode=1 PCIRootUID=0 UseKernelCache=NO -x

I have twice rendered my system unbootable but fixed it with multiple restarts. I think it is the CustoMac Essentials that install some kexts that are are not ok.
Audio is supposed to be ACL892 but it does not work. Probably because CustoMac Essentials fail.
Dual Boot with Windows does not work. This was expected. Clover fails to start Windows (although, there is some limited success, but Windows does not make it all the way).
Clover Configurator: what was not so obvious was the config.plist. It finds 3 different ones on my system. The one that seems to be in use is /EFI/CLOVER/config.plist – so that is the one to edit. But you need to save your changed configuration to a new file, and the copy using the command line and sudo.

Ideas
Well, I have some ideas how to get to a better situation.

  • Install everything NOT in Legacy mode but use UEFI-stuff all the way. Perhaps that just fixes stuff. Or not. I anyway need to get into my UEFI/BIOS to change to booting Windows.
  • Changing graphics adapter: it could be the reason I have to be in safe mode. And the safe mode could be the reason audio does not work. And so on

Update
I tried removing my Radeon 6950 falling back to HD2000. That did not work. I could neither boot from my hard drive nor the install USB-Key. Putting the Radeon back in the computer did not work at first. But after several reboots (also with the USB key) OS X now starts up again (in safe mode).

I tried everything from the beginning with HD 2000: erase drives, disconnect windows drives, upgrade BIOS, reset BIOS, create new USB key (both Legacy and UEFI): never did I manage to boot the installer using HD 2000. So the ill-supported Radeon 6950 (which possibly restricts me from going beyond Safe Mode) works better than the integrated HD 2000.

I do understand the advantage with a “supported” mainboard that has all the recommended UEFI/BIOS settings.

Upgrading to El Capitan deleted pkgsrc

I used to have pkgsrc on my Mac Book Air. Not anymore. I upgraded to El Capitan, and now there are no traces of /usr/pkg anymore.

I guess other package managers for OS X could face the same destiny. And I dont know if this has been a problems with previous upgrades either (my Mac Book Air came with Yosemite).

Build OpenWRT Toolchain on Mac OS X

A very quick guide to building the OpenWRT buildroot or toolchain on Mac OS X (10.10).

1. Install Xcode
Install Xcode from App Store (it is free).

2. Install pkgsrc
I have used fink, macports and homebrew, but now that I have tried pkgsrc I don’t think I will consider any of the others in a while. Install pkgsrc the standard way. Note: there is an x86_64 version for Mac OS X – it is probably what you want – just replace i386 with x86_64 in the download link.

Using pkgsrc, install these packages required by OpenWRT:

$ sudo pkgin install getopt coreutils gawk gtar findutils

3. Case sensitive filesystem
Your root filesystem on your Mac is probably case insensitive, and that is supposed to cause problems to building OpenWRT. Get yourself a USB disk or make a disk image an format it as case sensitive HFS+. If you do it from the command line you can avoid making it journaling:

$ diskutil eraseVolume hfsx OpenWRTdisk /dev/disk3s2

4. Building
This assumes you want the toolchain from that current stable build (14.07):

$ git clone git://git.openwrt.org/14.07/openwrt.git
$ cd openwrt
$ scripts/feeds update -a
$ scripts/feeds install -a
$ make menuconfig

In menuconfig I made just two changes: 1) setting my target platform, 2) asking toolchain to be built. Make all settings you want. I then ran:

$ make toolchain/install

You now find your toolchain is now in staging_dir 🙂
If you instead would have run just “make” the entire OpenWRT firmware would have been built.

Bad OS X performance due to bad blocks

An unfortunate iMac suffered from file system corruption a while ago. It was reinstalled and worked fine for a while, but performance degraded and after weeks the system was unusable. Startup was slow, and when on, it spent most time spinning the colorful wheel.

I realised the problem was that the hard drive (a good old rotating disk) had bad blocks, but this was not obvious to discover or fix within Mac OS X.

However, an Ubuntu live DVD (or USB I suppose) works perfectly with a Mac, and there the badblocks command proved useful. I did:

# badblocks -b 4096 -c 4096 -n -s /dev/sda

You probably want to make a backup of your system before doing this. Also, be aware that this command will take long time (about 9h on my 500GB drive). The command tests both reading and writing to the hard drive. It restores the data, so for a working drive it should be non-destructive. I work with 16MB chunks because reading and writing default 512 bytes is slower.

On my first run, about 250 bad blocks were discovered.
On a second run, 0 bad blocks were discovered.

The theory here is that the hard drive should learn about its bad blocks, and map around them. The computer is now reinstalled and it works very fine. I dont know if it is a matter of days or weeks until the drive completely breaks, or if it will work fine for years now. I will update this article in the future.

Finally, if you have a solid state drive (SSD)… I dont know. I guess you can run this a lot on a rotating drive without issues, but I would expect it to shorten the life of an SSD (but if it has bad blocks causing you problems, what are your options). For a USB-drive or SD-card… I doubt it is a good idea.

Conclusion
To be done…

Xubuntu on Unsupported MacBook

Last week I wrote about installing Mac OS X Mavericks on my MacBook 2007 (MacBook 2,1). That went fine… but… for a computer I mostly use in my lap, in the living room, no decent Internet Video performance (like YouTube) feels disappointing (it was not good before I upgraded to 10.9 either).

So, I decided to install Xubuntu on it. First the conclusions:

  1. Xubuntu runs nicely on the MacBook2,1.
  2. Video works fine, much better than on Mac OS, and also suspend/sleep, audio, WiFi seems perfect. I have not tried the webcam.
  3. I ended up using Xubuntu 14.04.1, the 32-bit i386 edition.
  4. Booting and partitioning is not trivial.
  5. International Apple Keyboards are always a challenge in Linux.

Now to the details.

Xubuntu version
The 32-bit EFI and 64-bit CPU that causes problems for current versions of Mac OS is also an issue for Xubuntu. I downloaded and burnt DVD-isos to try different versions. The 64-bit Xubuntu does not boot easily but the 32-bit versions are just fine. For a computer with 2.5Gb RAM as I have, the practical disadvantages of running it in 32-bit mode instead of 64-bit are insignificant.

A nice thing with Xubuntu is the Live-mode; you can start the DVD and test the full system before deciding to install. Of course performance when starting applications suffer. I first installed 14.10; the Live system worked perfectly, but I had video problems (screen was black after system was completely started) after installation and decided to try 14.04.1 instead, which worked just fine. Since 14.04 is a long-term-release it might just be the better choice anyway.

There used to be x64-Mac-images, that fixed the 32-bit-EFI-64-bit-kernel problem but they are not available anymore.

Finally, I think it is quite safe to assume that you will be fine with Ubuntu, Kubuntu or Lubuntu if you prefer them to Xubuntu.

Keyboard issues
I have a Swedish keyboard on my MacBook, and the AltGr (just named Alt on the Mac) does not work out of the box. This cause problems to type particularly the following characters: @$|[]\{}~.

I found it best to just use Generic 105-key PC keyboard and standard Swedish layout. After that a little xmodmap-hack is required.

Put the following in a file called .Xmodmap in your home directory:

keycode 64 = Mode_switch
keycode 11 = 2 quotedbl at at
keycode 13 = 4 dollar 4 dollar
keycode 16 = 7 slash bar backslash
keycode 17 = 8 parenleft bracketleft braceleft
keycode 18 = 9 parenright bracketright braceright
keycode 35 = dead_diaeresis dead_circumflex dead_tilde dead_caron

The first row maps the left Alt ley of my keyboard to something called Mode_switch. The other rows indicate what happens when pressing the buttons 2,7,8 and 9.

The following information from “man xmodmap” was useful in finding the above solution:
Up to eight keysyms may be attached to a key, however the last four are not used in any major X server implementation. The first keysym is used when no modifier key is pressed in conjunction with this key, the second with Shift, the third when the Mode_switch key is used with this key and the fourth when both the Mode_switch and Shift keys are used.

The internet is full of sources telling to use ISO_Level3_Shift. It did not work for me and the above manpage told me exactly what I needed to know.

There are also sources telling you other names than .Xmodmap (like .xmodmaprc , .xmodmap), that also do not work.

Before you are ready to write your .Xmodmap file you can test one by one:

xmodmap -e "keycode 64 = Mode_switch"
xmodmap -e "keycode 11 = 2 quotedbl at at"
xmodmap -e "keycode 13 = 4 dollar 4 dollar"
xmodmap -e "keycode 16 = 7 slash bar backslash"
xmodmap -e "keycode 17 = 8 parenleft bracketleft braceleft"
xmodmap -e "keycode 18 = 9 parenright bracketright braceright"
xmodmap -e "keycode  35 = dead_diaeresis dead_circumflex dead_tilde dead_caron"

The command xev is very useful to find out what keycode corresponds to a physical key on your keyboard.

Partitioning – The hard way
From the beginning, before ever playing with Xubuntu on the computer, I had the following partitions:

1: EFI (small, hidden in Mac OS)
2: Mac OS 10.9 System
3: Mac OS 10.7 System
4: Apple boot (small, hidden in Mac OS)

When I first installed Xubuntu I deleted partition 3 and replaced it with three partitions:

3: biosboot (small, required by EFI)
5: Linux SWAP (4GB)
6: Linux /

That was ok. But when I later deleted those partitions from Mac OS X because I thought that was more safe, the Apple boot partition (#4) disappeared. If it was this thing then perhaps it is ok. Mac OS still boots.

I always choose manual partitioning, and to install the Linux Bootloader (GRUB) on the Linux root partition (/dev/sda6). I have no idea what happens if it is installed on another partition, and particularly not on /dev/sda itself.

rEFInd – The hard way
The recommended way to boot Xubuntu on a Mac is to use rEFInd. Apples EFI-implementation is not supposed to be very competent at booting other systems. So I installed rEFInd (0.8.4) using the install.sh script from Mac OS X. Very easy, and it worked right away. Problems started later.

My first installation of Xubuntu was 14.10, and as mentioned above it had video problems. So I reinstalled 14.04.1 instead of 14.10, same partitioning, and everything was fine. Except rEFInd displayed TWO linux systems as well as Mac OS to boot. This disturbed me enough to decide to delete all traces of Xubuntu and reinstall.

I ended up in the following situation:

  • I have not managed to get rid of the last Linux-icon in rEFInd.
  • I have ended up with a partly broken rEFInd, it displays the error message:
    Error: Invalid Parameter while scanning the EFI directory
  • rEFInd does not boot Xubuntu.
  • I can not uninstall rEFInd as described in its site, by removing the directory EFI/refind, because it does not exist (there are just some rEFInd config files in the EFI directory).
  • I read that efibootmgr can be used form Linux to clear parts of NVRAM, but it is not supposed to have much effect on a Mac anyways. And I failed to use efibootmgr on Live-Xubuntu.

The rEFInd errors actually disappeared by themselves after I had used (started) Mac OS a few times.

Partitioning and rEFInd – the Easy way
I think you will be safe if you do:

  1. Make empty space on the disk, after the Mac OS partitions.
  2. Install rEFInd from Mac OS
  3. Install Xubuntu 14.04.1 i386 (32-bit), let Xubuntu install side by side and take care of partitioning and boot devices

This finally worked for me. My partition table is now:

Number  Start   End    Size    File system     Name                  Flags
 1      20,5kB  210MB  210MB   fat32           EFI system partition  boot
 2      210MB   120GB  120GB   hfs+            Customer
 3      120GB   120GB  1049kB                                        bios_grub
 4      120GB   317GB  198GB   ext4
 5      317GB   320GB  2651MB  linux-swap(v1)

Conclusion
Xubuntu on a MacBook mid 2007 (MacBook2,1) rocks. Better than Mavericks. But dual booting and rEFInd is not completely predictable. The good thing is that it is not very easy to end up with a complete unbeatable computer at least.

Install Mac OS X 10.9 on unsupported MacBook

I have a MacBook Mid 2007 (more technically named MacBook2,1) that officially can not be upgraded beyond Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion). It is however possible to install Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) on it with quite good success and not too much effort.

System information with Mavericks

System information with Mavericks

I want to first write what does not work:

  1. Sleep mode – not working at all – leave on or shut down
  2. The build-in web camera – “works” but not as it did in 10.7, I think
  3. YouTube-video (etc), works occationally (now worse than in 10.7, my experience)

I suggest you read the user comments to this post. A few helpful readers have shared their experiences.

What you need:

  1. A USB Memory, 8GB or larger
  2. Mac OS X Mavericks (i had the install/upgrade Application that I had myself
    downloaded on another Mac, from App Store, when I upgraded it from 10.8 to
    10.9. I always keep these for possible future use.)
  3. SFOTT: I used version 1.4.4 which is currently the latest stable
  4. Audio/Video-drivers from here. Warning, this is one of
    these horrible download pages where you don’t know where to click to get
    the right thing, and what gives you spyware. You should get the file
    mac-mini-mavericks.7z. Discard anything else without opening.
    The 7z-file can be opened with StuffitExpander, that already comes with
    Maverick

Making a bootable USB-drive
You first need to use SFOTT to create your bootable USB-drive (it is called “key” in SFOTT). You simply double-click on SFOTT on a Mac where you both have your Mavericks Install App and your USB-drive. SFOTT is a self guiding menu-driven application. It will take some time to make all the settings in SFOTT (it took me perhaps 15 minutes), but it was self-explanatory and not very difficult. Use the autorun mode to create the drive.

Recovery Scenario
When you install a Mac OS upgrade there is a risk your Mavericks system will not boot. When upgrading from 10.9.0 to 10.9.5 like I did, it will not boot. My impression (after reading different sources) is that this recovery is needed when upgrading from 10.9.0 (or 10.9.1 / 10.9.2) but not later. Nobody knows about 10.9.6 of course, because it is not out. Minor upgrades to applications or security upgrades should not cause need to recovery.

When Mavericks fails to start you need to “re-Patch” using SFOTT. I installed Mavericks on a separate partition, side-by-side with Lion, so when Mavericks failed to start my computer automatically started Lion instead and I could run SFOTT in Lion to re-Patch my Mavericks system.

If you can not do side-by-side you can start from your SFOTT-key (which you still have) and instead of installing Maverick you start the Terminal application. Find the SFOTT.app on the key, and find SFOTT.sh inside SFOTT.app. Run SFOTT.sh and you can re-Patch your broken Mavericks system. I did the entire procedure on my working Mavericks just to test it, and it seems fine.

There is if course no true guarantee that a future Apple upgrade will not break everything completely.

Installing Mavericks
Installation of Mavericks from the USB-drive is very standard. To start the computer from the USB-drive, hold down the “alt”-key (not Apple-key, not ctrl-key) while starting the computer. Choose SFOTT and proceed normally. After about an hour you should have a clean 10.9.0 Mavericks with network/wifi working. Video will work, but with problems (try Safari, and you will see), and Audio will not work.

Upgrade Mavericks
I used App Store to upgrade Mavericks to 10.9.5. That works just fine, until Mavericks fails to start (I ended up in my old Lion system on a reboot, if you have no other system installed your computer with probably just not start). This is where you need to recover your system using SFOTT.

Fixing Audio and Video
The 7z-file I referred to above contains Audio and Video drivers. You run the application “Kext Utility” and the you drag the contents of the folder Extensions into the Kext Utility, and it will install the drivers. There is a folder with “optional wifi drivers”, I have not installed those because wifi has been fine all the time for me.

The MacBook2,1 has Intel GMA950 Video, and there are no supported 64-bit-drivers for Mavericks. The drivers I suggest you to install are supposed to be drivers from a public beta of 10.6 (Snow Leopard) that Apple once released. They seem to work quite fine for me though. And not installing them is worse.

I suggest you upgrade to 10.9.5 before fixing Audio and Video. I guess a later Apple-upgrade could break Audio and Video and require you to reinstall drivers.

Problems booting the SFOTT key
I first created the SFOTT key using the SFOTT beta (that is also supposed to work with Yosemite), and I used System Preferences/Startup Disk (in Lion) to start the installion. This failed and my computer just started up in Lion.

I then created the SFOTT key using 1.4.4, AND i restarted the computer holding down the alt-key. This worked. This key also later worked when I used System Preferences/Startup Disk (in Mavericks) to choose startup drive.

Driver Problems
There are open source Audio drivers called VoodooHDA. I installed those ones with success, but audio volume was low. I tried to fix with no success. Later I found the drivers I referred to above and that I recommend.

I found another download for what was supposed to be the same Video Drivers. But the Kext-utility did not work, and I installed the drivers by copying them directly into /System/Library/Extensions and this gave me a broken unbootable system. I don’t know what went wrong, but I recommend the drivers I linked to.

Video/YouTube Performance
Some videos seem to play perfectly, others dont. I had problems with 10.7 too.

Background and about SFOTT
There are several Apple computers that can run 10.7, that have a 64-bit processor, but that can not officially run 10.8 or later. There are a few issues:

  1. Video Drivers – and in the case of my MacBook2,1 the unofficial ones mentioned
    above may be good enough
  2. 32 bit EFI. Even though the computer has a 64 bit processor, the EFI, the
    software that runs before the Installer/Operating system, is 32 bit, and not
    capable of starting a 64-bit system.
  3. Mavericks does not believe it can run on this hardware.

As I understand it SFOTT installs a little program that 32 bit EFI is capable of starting, and that in turn is capable of staring a 64 bit system. Also, SFOTT patches a few files so Mavericks feels comfortable running on the unsupported hardware.

You can do all of this on your own without SFOTT. SFOTT “just” makes this reasonably easy.

There are plenty of forums, tools and information about running Mac OS X on unsupported hardware (also non-Apple-hardware: a Hackintosh). Those forums of course focus a lot on problems people have.

Yosemite
It is supposed to be possible to install Yosemite in a similar way. SFOTT has a beta release for Yosemite. For my purposes going to Mavericks gave me virtually all advantages of an upgrade (supported version of OS X, able to install latest Xcode, etc).

Conclusion
In the beginning of 2015, it is not that hard to install Mavericks on a MacBook Mid 2007, with a quite good result. I have pointed out the tools and downloads you need and that will work.

Streaming media on the Mac : Ace Player HD

There are many great reasons to use a Mac. Easy access to propriatory Windows software isn’t one of them. Watching sports online usually include one of a few technologies:

  • Flash: Works fine on a Mac
  • Sopcast: There is a native Mac client these days
  • Acestream: No native client available

As more and more events are being streamed using acestream (free as in beer for windows), being able to take part in these streams would be great. And using bootcamp and reboot isn’t really a viable option…

I was able to follow instructions on this web page to wrap Ace Player HD (itself wrapping VLC) using Winebottler to get it all to work. All the information is in the thread, but as it is spanning over many months, it isn’t quite clear what hints work and what hints did not. Below is a little summary of what I did to make it work on Mac OS X 10.9.1:

Follow this instruction post: http://forum.wiziwig.eu/threads/87110-MAC-OSX-Acestream-2-1-5-3?p=1664117#post1664117

Winetricks were critical.

What you need:

  • Ace_Stream_Media (Ace Player HD 2.1.9 (VLC 2.0.5)) As pointed out in some posts, more recent versions DONT work. Perhaps they will now, but these combos did at least work fine.
  • WineBottlerCombo_1.7.11.dmg (post suggest 1.7.9, i used 1.7.11 with no problems)

What you don’t need:

  • Registry hacks

Where I got stuck (and how I solve it)

  • Streams working fine, but picture is very choppy (a few fps). Fixed by switching to OpenGL in VLC config: http://i42.tinypic.com/20q10ew.jpg
  • Engine fails to start with some strange error: Reboot (yes…)

 

Final notes

When shutting down the app, you also need to exit the engine. You do this by right clicking the little “Windowsy” icon in your Menu bar, and choosing Quit. It will take 20 or so seconds before they all shut down (wine, wineserver processes).

16 GB Max RAM in 13″ MacBook Pro (Early 2011)

I can confirm that it was possible to upgrade a Mac Book Pro (Early 2011) to 16GB of RAM (2x8GB DDR3 PC10600 SODIMM).

According to Apple this model only supports 8GB of RAM.

My model is the one with a 2.3GHz i5 CPU.