Vaio P HSDPA mod

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[tnkgrl] has concluded her Sony Vaio P by adding GSM support. We covered the switch to XP earlier, but this should work on Vista too. The Vaio P is sold in the US with support for Verizon’s EVDO wireless broadband, but it uses the same hardware as the European model that uses GSM. This is possible because of the the Qualcomm Gobi radio module. To get GSM support, you trick the VZAccess Manager into loading a different firmware than the stock EVDO. The difficult part is that the Vaio P doesn’t come with a SIM card slot, so you’ll have to solder in your own. When you’ve got the computer reassembled, just change VZAccess Manager to use your carrier.

UPDATE: Wired has an article on the Gobi chipset.

VAIO P XP install

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Sony recently started to shipping the VAIO P don’t-call-it-a-netbook netbook. It comes stock with 2GB of RAM, which means it’s not eligible for Microsoft’s XP ultra low cost pc licensing. Hackers wanting to exorcise Vista have run into a few issues. After doing her unboxing photoshoot, [tnkgrl] wrote a guide for replacing Vista with XP on the Vaio P. She used the Universal Extractor to pop open the driver downloads and remove the Vista check. This got the WWAN radio and GPS working in XP. The only casualty was the volume and mute buttons are no longer working. You can see an annotated image verifying all the components here.

Hackit: Are you running OSX on your netbook?

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AppleDifferent decided to run some benchmarks on their MSI Wind hackintosh to see how it stacked up to real Apple hardware. It comes in under the MacBook Air in most cases and they conclude that it performs about as well as a four year old G4. Being so small and inexpensive, you can’t really expect much better. As a counterpoint, Obsessable posted a video demoing just how slow a first generation Eee PC can be (embedded below). Boing Boing Gadgets is maintaining an OSX netbook compatibility chart. It shows that the MSI Wind is probably the best case for OSX usability. If we were buying today, we’d probably pick up a Dell Mini 9 even though it requires an SSD upgrade before it will sleep properly.

Are any of you running OSX as the primary OS on your netbooks? What has your experience been?

[Read more...]

External antenna on Panasonic CF-R1

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[Steven] managed to get his hands on a Panasonic CF-R1 for pretty cheap. Though it is a decently powerful machine, it was built in 2002 and didn’t come with an internal wireless card.  It did, however have a mini-PCI slot.  [Steven] promptly installed a wireless card, but found the internal antenna lacking. The solution was to custom mount an external antenna. Mounting it was fairly easy, he removed the phone jack and epoxied the connector in its place. The reception was greatly improved. He says he went from seeing 6 access points to 31 as soon as he installed it. Similar things have been done to the Eee PC 900.

Mario etching

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[revolvingdork] etched his Eeepc with the entire level map of Super Mario Land for Game boy. He set the laser to 70% speed and 40% power to get it to turn out this way. This is a far safer way of expressing your self and playing with laser etching than tattooing yourself with the laser.

Apple forces Wired to take down netbook OSx86 video

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Wired Gadget Lab has taken down a video made by [Brian X. Chen] in which he gives a brief overview and demonstration of how to install OSX on an MSI Wind netbook. This apparently didn’t sit well with Apple, who contacted Wired and complained; Wired agreed and removed the video. Frankly, we’re disappointed with Wired’s response. While they were technically posting content which is questionable at best—in the video, Brian mentions that this is illegal and that it would be a good idea to have a retail copy of OSX on hand, but then goes on to point out that you can also download the hacked operating system off The Pirate Bay, Isohunt, etc—the video in and of itself wasn’t illegal, and thus Wired comes off as susceptible to what amounts to bullying by Apple. We’re all about creativity and innovation, and stifling that innovative spirit has never worked well in the long run.

Fortunately, if you’re feeling like you’ve missed out on the video, don’t despair: Gizmodo has posted the video on their website for you to view and enjoy.

[photo: Brian X. Chen]

Home made Macintosh for under $240

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[Steve] sent in this great step by step writeup on how to load Macintosh OSX onto an MSI wind. The MSI wind can be found pretty cheap, roughly $140. It has a 1.2Ghz Atom processor, SATA, and 6 USB ports. Its a pretty decent system for the price. Add a hard drive, DVD ROM and some RAM and you ‘ve got a complete system. You might have to update the bios to install the new operating system, there are more details about that on in the writeup. The only real drawback is that you have to run the USB in 12mbps mode instead of 480mbps.

There are lots of little tips to keep you from hitting roadblocks, so follow the steps closely or you’ll have to redo it. Since downloading the modified version of OSX is probably illegal, [steve] suggests that you go buy a copy of OSX just to try to balance it out.

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