Dell Vostro A90 hackintosh

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A friend recently commissioned us to install OSX on a netbook. We advised him to purchase the Dell Vostro A90. It’s essentially a rebadged Dell Mini 9, a model that has been discontinued, but is well suited for OSX. It’s only available with a 1.6GHz Atom processor, 1GB RAM, and 16GB SSD. Depending on what deals are available, it’s $250-$300. We also had him purchase a 2GB stick of RAM which is the upper limit supported by the BIOS. [Read more...]

Dell Adamo teardown

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TechRepublic and iFixit partnered to teardown Dell’s flagship notebook, the Adamo. The Adamo is positioned to compete directly with Apple’s MacBook Air. The Dell crams a lot of technology into a very thin frame and they use a clever locking system for the backplate to hide any screws. The built in battery has a longer life than the Air and an SSD comes stock. The team points out that the Windows logo is etched on the backside instead of the standard ugly stickers; apparently this took quite a bit of teeth-pulling to get approved. Check out the full photo gallery which includes the fetish packaging and comparison shots to the Air and Dell Mini 9.

Dell Mini 9 OSX install

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Installing OSX on commodity PC hardware has advanced a lot since the early days of OSx86 when Apple switched to Intel. With the advent of netbooks, a new target platform has emerged; one that doesn’t have an official Apple equivalent. The small subset of models means that it’s easy to find someone else that has the same machine as you, but it still takes some forum walking to bring all the pieces together. Gizmodo has done this and compiled a comprehensive guide for the Dell Mini 9. The Mini 9 is a very nice machine and according to Boing Boing Gadgets’ chart, one of the most compatible with OSX. Earlier this week you could purchase a new one for just $200.

For Gizmodo’s install, they used a Leopard retail DVD with [Type11]‘s bootloader. They’re breaking the EULA, but at least it’s not piracy. They had to use both a DVD drive and a USB hard drive because device recognition was flakey. Despite this, the actual install process doesn’t appear to be too difficult. They say all the hardware works, “The Mini 9 is a beautiful OS X machine.” Check out this Hackit to learn about netbook OSX experiences from other Hack a Day readers.

Hackit: Netbook haters?

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Gadget blogs have been a fluster the last day about TechCrunch stating that netbooks “just aren’t good enough“. Writing a response post hasn’t proven very hard given the number of factual errors in the original. Boing Boing Gadgets points out that the low-end of the spectrum that TC post seems to cover are almost impossible to purchase because they’re so outdated. Liliputing rightly states that comparing the browsing experience to the iPhone isn’t worthwhile since it’s entirely a software problem. Laptop goes so far as to recommend the HP Mini 1000 and Samsung NC10 specifically for their keyboard. TechCrunch isn’t alone in their opinion; this week Intel stated that using the ultra portable devices was “fine for an hour“. TechCrunch is designing a web tablet right now using the collective wisdom of blog commenters. Looks like they’re just reboxing a netbook for the prototype.

We cover the netbook market for different reasons than most: Their low low price makes people much more willing to hack on the device. For the price of a smartphone, you’re getting a fully capable laptop. The low performance doesn’t matter as much since we’re running different flavors of Linux that are much lighter than Windows. People running OSX86 are doing it to address a market that Apple doesn’t.

What’s your experience with netbooks? Do you have one that you adore or are you annoyed by their shortcomings? Models we’ve covered in the past include the Acer Aspire One, Asus Eee PC, Dell Mini 9, and MSI Wind.

[Photo: Onken Bio-pot]

UT Austin’s massive tile display

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The Texas Advanced Computing Center has built one of the largest tiled displays ever. They arranged 75 30inch Dell displays in a 5×15 pattern. The overall the system has 36GB of graphics memory and 108GB of system memory. They intend on using the system to display very large data sets. If you think the size seems arbitrary, it is. They just happened to purchase five more monitors than the University of California San Diego.

[via Engadget]

Aspire One 3G hack

[tnkgrl] is back with part three of her Acer Aspire One hacking. This time she’s adding in 3G. You may look at the picture the above and think, “Cake. She just plugged the card in”. No, the Acer doesn’t ship with the mini-PCIe slot or the SIM card holder. First you have to solder a right angle mini-PCIe connector to the board pads and bridge two others to provide power. The SIM holder was another problem. She wasn’t able to find a pin compatible one. The one she installed is mounted to a riser so she could change the wiring order (let her know if you can find the correct part). This mod definitely requires some good soldering skills and she warns that even she managed to destroy a SIM in the process.

The Dell Mini 9 is another netbook that doesn’t have the appropriate connectors soldered on board, but JKK has a work-around. You need a 3G modem that has the SIM card on board. You plug it into the WiFi slot after taping over a few pins and then use a USB WiFi card instead.

How to: Build your own Gyration Media Center remote

Movea has just released a version of Gyration’s wireless remote control for Windows Media Center computers. Other than the wireless mouse controls that the remote offers, one nice feature of the remote is the ability to control Windows Media Player (WMP) while your display is off.

The remote interacts with WMP, by downloading data to be displayed using it’s built in LCD screen. From here you can view songs by album or artist and even access your playlist. Prices for the remote range from $179.99 to $229.99 with an included keyboard.

After a little searching we found that Gyration had made a similar version of the remote for Dell that was packaged with the Dell XPS M2010 Based on this and a thread by [BENZONATE] on AVS Forum we put together our own remote using the following parts: [Read more...]

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