[Vikash] was having trouble using his netbook in the dark so he added a keyboard light. He’s got a Dell Vostro A90 which is the same hardware as the popular Dell Mini 9. We agree that the condensed keyboard layout makes it hard to type without looking; just try to find the quotation mark, brackets, and tilde keys! He added an LED to the bezel around the LCD screen in order to shed light on the situation. Now the LED can be turned on using CTRL. An ATtiny13 microcontroller monitors pins 1 and 11 of the keyboard, waiting for the CTRL keypress, then turns on the light when it receives it. This hardware solution means it doesn’t matter if you’re running a Hackintosh (like he is), Ubuntu (like we are), or that other OS.
This impressive little mod is quite fantastic really. [pakkei] has constructed the Harlequin, a home-made version of the Microsoft courier. This was a stock Dell mini9. Now, coupled with a display link touch screen monitor that happens to be identical in size and resolution to the original, it has become a new device. He has loaded Windows7 and is currently working on a case that can hold all the bits a little more organized than what you see above. We can’t wait to see this finished.
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. Continue reading “Dell Vostro A90 Hackintosh”
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.
One of the things that made the original Asus Eee PC such a big success was the ability to add almost anything you wanted to it. While this might not have anything to do with Dell releasing a service manual showing you how to disassemble your brand new Mini 9, we’re not gonna fault them for making one available.
The service manuals show the proper way to gain access to the various parts of the Mini 9 right down to the motherboard itself. It’s nice to know that the Mini 9 isn’t locked down where simple things like replacing the RAM or upgrading to a larger SSD won’t void your warranty.