The most popular computer ever was the Commodore 64 with its computer-in-a-keyboard form factor. If you have a longing for a keyboard computer with more modern internals, one of the easiest solutions today is to pull the screen off a laptop.
[Umar Shakir] wanted to see what the fuss was about regarding a recent Apple patent and took the top lid off of his M1 Macbook Air and turned it into a “slabtop.” The computer works great wired to a monitor but can also be used wirelessly via AirPlay. The approach doesn’t come without its downsides, of course. Newer MacBooks can’t access recovery mode without the built-in screen, and some older models had their WiFi antennas in the top lid, so making one into a slabtop will leave you desk-bound.
While [Shakir] focuses on MacBooks, this approach should work with any laptop. Apparently, it’s a cottage industry in China already. Back in the day, my own daily driver was a Pentium-powered laptop with its broken LCD (and lid) removed. It worked great with whatever CRT was nearby.
If you’re looking for an off-the-shelf keyboard computer of your own, you might want to check out the Raspberry Pi 400.
With some time to kill and an array of old Apple computers on hand, [Pierre Dandumont] wondered if he could continuously upgrade a single OS drive from the oldest system he had, System 7.1 on a Performa 630, to the latest version of MacOS on a MacBook Air. He recalled watching an old video which demonstrated a continuous upgrade from DOS to Windows 10 (we think this video from 2016 may be the one), which gave him the inspiration for this journey. [Pierre] documents his efforts on his blog (in French; English translated link is here).
Along the way, he installed 24 different operating systems
- System 7.1.2, 7.5
- Mac OS 7.6
- Mac OS 8.0, 8.1, 8.5, 8.6
- Mac OS 9.0, 9.1, 9.2
- Mac OS X 10.0 – 10.11
- macOS 10.12, 10.13
on seven Mac computers
- Performa 630 (ca. 1994, Motorola 68040)
- Power Mac G3 Beige (ca. 1997, Motorola PowerPC 730)
- Power Mac G3 Blue (ca. 1999, Motorola PowerPC 730)
- Power Mac G4 Digital Audio (ca. 2001, Motorola PowerPC 7400)
- Mac mini G4 (ca. 2005, Motorola PowerPC 7447)
- Mac mini 2009 (Intel Core 2 Duo Penryn)
- MacBook Air 2012 (Intel Core i5/i7)
across three of the four processor families spanned by the Macintosh line of computers since their introduction in 1984. You can see in the lead photo the success, where the Mac OS 8 search tool Sherlock is shown in the dock of a MacBook Air running High Sierra.
Continue reading “A Single SSD’s Journey From System 7 To High Sierra”
When Intel and Apple released Thunderbolt, hallelujahs from the Apple choir were heard. Since very little in any of Apple’s hardware lineup is upgradeable, an external video card is the best of all possible world. Unfortunately, Intel doesn’t seem to be taking kindly to the idea of external GPUs. That hasn’t stopped a few creative people like [Larry Gadea] from figuring it out on their own. Right now he’s running a GTX 570 through the Thunderbolt port of his MacBook Air, and displaying everything on the internal LCD. A dream come true.
[Larry] is doing this with a few fairly specialized bits of hardware. The first is a Thunderbolt to ExpressCard/34 adapter, after that an ExpressCard to PCI-E adapter. Couple that with a power supply, GPU, and a whole lot of software configuration, and [Larry] had a real Thunderbolt GPU on his hands.
There are, of course, a few downsides to running a GPU through a Thunderbolt port. The current Thunderbolt spec is equivalent to a PCI-E 4X slot, a quarter of what is needed to get all the horsepower out of high-end GPUs. That being said, it is an elegant-yet-kludgy way for better graphics performance on the MBA,
Demo video below.
Continue reading “A Macbook Air And A Thunderbolt GPU”
[Josh Wright] wrote in with a handy little hack just in time for today’s release of Mac OSX Lion. If you’re not familiar with the new version of the OS, Apple has decided to change things up this time around, completely eliminating physical distribution media.
In the event that you need to run a factory restore, this becomes an issue for some users. Computers with DVD drives can run a burned copy of the previously downloaded Lion installer, but MacBook Air owners are left hanging. Their restoration process is more time consuming, requiring a system restore and the download of OSX Lion, followed by the subsequent upgrade process. [Josh] thought it would be great if you skip the initial restore step and jump straight to installing Lion, so he hacked his USB restore media to do just that.
While copying the OS to a USB drive might sound trivial, the process is not as straightforward as it sounds – not surprisingly, Apple has put measures in place to prevent mere mortals from altering the contents of the drive. [Josh] put together an easy to follow tutorial that walks you through removing the drive’s protection and copying your brand new OSX Lion restore image to it.
While you might be asking, “Why jump through all these hoops when a normal flash drive would suffice?”, we think that his writeup is quite helpful. We see no reason to tie up a usable flash drive to store your restoration disc when you already have a perfectly good (albeit locked) drive at your disposal.
♦The only caveat to the process is that you need a Windows machine, virtual or otherwise, to complete the first step – a requirement that elicited a hearty chuckle from us.
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.
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?
Continue reading “Hackit: Are You Running OSX On Your Netbook?”