Thursday, 21 May 2009

Hackintosh Success: OS X on Dell Mini 9

Dell Mini 9 Hackintosh

There’s been lots of chatter about the sub-$300 laptops, dubbed “netbooks” and their ability to run OS X. After reading through the How-To instructions on hacking OS X onto a Dell Mini, my initial thought was:

By Step 5, I’ve already paid for a used MacBook.

I picked up an 8GB Mini 9 for $250 from Dell a few weeks ago and after going through the process – I can confirm that’s the case.

Worst part is, in the end you don’t have a MacBook.

First off, I purchased the Mini without a optical drive (cause it’s 2009 & it’s a netbook). This means I need a Windows box for the installation. Which means, I need to turn on the the only Windows box in the house: a 6 year-old eMac with VirtualPC.

Hours later – after confirming all the hacky bits of software were transferred and configured correctly, I headed back to the Mini for the install.

Nope, 8GB isn’t enough room for even the basic OS X install.

So, I ordered a $120 32GB Runcore SSD upgrade (the Mini won’t boot off it’s SSD slot).

Then, install the hardware upgrade, re-attempt the OS install, do a funny reboot dance (twice for good measure) and….Success.

Time to migrate the account information from the PowerBook….well, what will fit in <32 GB.

A long, complex, ill-documented, technically fragile process and in the end – a Hackintosh….definitely not a Macintosh.

But hey, sometimes the first piece of pie is the hardest to get out. The second always goes much more easily.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Dr. Sheepthrow Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Social Media

A while ago, I heard Someone Influential1 arguing that the problem with social networks like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc, is that they are inherently interpersonal spaces designed and built by asocial people.

Who else happily spends that much time between-chair-and-keyboard rather than out, with, um, people?

As the argument goes, our actual social relationships are like good wine: built over time by an amalgamation of interchanges, contexts, signaling, emotions, subtly, nuance, and complexity.

All of these characteristics are lacking in online social network destinations. It’s almost if the current batch of social network sites has all the nuance and complexity of a junior high home room class:

“Are you my friend?’

“Do you like me?”

“Do you like me like me?”

The argument continues by declaring the risk with model: younger generations could see these social networks as models for actual social relationships – rather than the mediated relationship they are – and we have a generation of sociopaths who require every aspect of every relationship to be explicitly declared to simply feel loved and wanted.

I’m sympathetic to the argument and I’d be all up for grabbing the pitchforks and torches except….

Have you watched a program (drama, comedy, talk, ‘reality’, ‘news’, anything really) on television or watched a movie lately?

Pick anything.

Guilty of the exact same crime.

And so much worse.

At least online – the people have a chance at changing the system to more accurately describe their relationships. They have a chance to use online interactions as a compliment and extension of offline interactions.

In broadcast media – there’s no chance. All the dysfunctional, psychotic, asocial behavior is frozen in. Ready for replaying over and over again. Never changing, learning, or improving.

While it once made me cringe to imagine a generation growing up on throwing sheep at each other in Facebook, it now terrifies me to imagine a generation of people modeling their social relationships off Power Rangers, daytime dramas, ’24’, Oprah, American Idol, and just about anything sold on a DVD.

Bring on the friend requests and thown sheep.

1. I think it was Cory Doctorow, Bruce Sterling, Clay Shirky, or someone similar. I can’t find a link right now, does this sound familiar to you?

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Maybe I’m Searching WolframAlpha Wrong

Admittedly, I haven’t watched any of the WolframAlpha demos. I could have no idea how it’s supposed to be used. Either way, I didn’t find it very helpful with the handful of questions that immediately sprang to mind.




I expect any new service to immediately show a unique characteristic. It doesn’t need to be fully baked. Just there.

"Wolfram|Alpha isn't sure what to do with your input" probably shouldn’t be that.

There’s an “easy” way for me (and I suspect others) to be immediately hooked on a new search find engine, display new, valuable, and unexpected results in a simple vanity search.

Though, the biggest challenge WolframAlpha has isn’t whether or not it is “sure what to do with my input” – its that I keep wanting to call it WolframHart

Maybe I’m doing this wrong.

Have you had success getting answers from WolframAlpha?

UPDATE 18 May 2009
Yes, according to Marisa Taylor at WSJ Blogs, I’m searching all wrong. WolframAlpha is for equations, numbers, calculations, etc.

Things I imagine the computers of mathematicians, physicists might need regularly.

Then again, given how advanced our mathematics is – there must be an equation for finding my keys.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Calling Double-Sputnik on Google

One of my favorite past-times is to dissect competitors within a business sector. Sometimes the pairings are obvious (Barnes & Noble vs. Borders, Honda vs Toyota), other times I’m less confident (Target vs. Wal-Mart3, Facebook vs. Twitter). These pairings (or groupings) point as much at commonality across market offerings as they do project the direction of innovation with a sector.

My interest in these pairings can be traced to this scene in The Right Stuff marking the beginning of the Cold War1.

Reading through Cullect today, I found two people running, Jeff Goldblum-style, into Google proclaiming Sputnik was launched. From two – seemingly unlikely -places.2

“[Google] must compete, with a respectful product, one that is compatible with Twitter, and gives users a benefit of coming from a strong mature company. The time for this product is passing every week, as Twitter stabilizes and delivers a reliable service.” – Dave Winer

“Ad Blocker Plus is on the verge of turning into an open network that (finally) does the same as Google does: massively boost ad relevance, stripping out the useless junk — by factoring in whether or not people find ads useful or not.” – Umair Haque

Twitter and Ad Blocker Plus are far more interesting competitors to Google than the search and productivity offerings of Yahoo, Microsoft. Plus, they lay out 2 very different vectors for innovation.

As intriguing as these 2 potential-competitors are for Google and as tired as Google’s search product is. I’m not ready to declare ‘Sputnik’.

I mean, come-on, re-searchr is still very young. 😉

“The world is big enough for both the paperclip and the staple.” – David S. Cargo

1. It’s taken a reading of both The Forgotten Man and 194X to have an understanding of why the USSR was our partner in the Cold War. It pains me to imagine American democracy as fragile as it appeared to be in the first half of the 20th Century.
2. The “Our Germans are better than their Germans” line cracks me up every time.
3. A more comfortable comparison to me: Wal-Mart vs. USDA Rural Development, Target vs. Minneapolis Parks and Rec.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Secret Project 09Q02A

I dig it when my client’s enthusiasm for the project infects me. And why not – this project has all the qualities of a project I’d really like.

It even has that extra bit – an approach I credit to Chad Fowler – of taking something you don’t like and doing it in a way you can get excited about it (e.g. “we’re going to make this the best waterfall driven project eva!”).

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

How Could the National Pork Board Have Better Responded?

If you listen to Minnesota Public Radio, perhaps you’ve caught the promotional spot from the National Pork Board declaring “cooked pork is safe” from the recent flu outbreak.

I already assumed cooked pork was safe. Now, an organization financed by pork producers is telling me it’s safe – the conflict of interest and dismissive tone makes me doubt it is safe.

I understand the NPB’s desire to say something. Unfortunately, this current spot shows they’re clearly (and unnecessarily) playing defense1

What could the NPB say that wouldn’t set off my pigshit detector?

  1. Acknowledge it as a general health issue.
    “National Pork Board reminds you help prevent the spread of viruses like the H1N1 flu by covering your mouth when coughing and throughly washing your hands.”
  2. Embrace it as an issue and be transparent about your direct actions.
    “National Pork Board invites you to visit for a live updated map as we check our all member farms for signs of the H1N1 virus.”
  3. Nothing.
    This doesn’t impact how people normally interact with their products, why should they comment? Kudos to the comment-free representatives of Tyson Foods & Hormel Foods cited in this AP article.

Any one of these 3 approaches feels better to me.

Are you in PR? I’d love your thoughts on this issue.

1. And that they may not know their target audience. According to this AP article – the $5b/yr of US raised pork is exported – with countries banning the import of pork. I’m neither banning it’s importation nor contributing to that $5b/yr.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Arik Jones on Failbox

I’m please to see Arik Jones keeping the Failbox torch burning – in a post on the need for a smarter email client

” However, it could group todays messages in a “top 25 most important” list. That’s all I’d ever see for an inbox. Talk about getting your email priorities straight.” – Arik Jones

And yes, he mentions Cullect as an example of a successful recommendation system. Guaranteed to catch my attention.

What’s that Sound?

As a kid, I watched The Right Stuff more times than I can count.

It’s a fun story about the beginnings of the NASA space program and test pilots. But mostly it’s about egos.

Lately, the opening’s been stuck in my head.

“There was a demon that lived in the thin air; they said anyone who challenged him would die. Their controls would seize up, their planes would buffet wildly, and they would disintegrate. The demon lived at Mach 1 on the meter.” – Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff.

Monday, 4 May 2009

First Crack 120. Wonderlick’s Tim Quirk on Truth Through Music

I’ve been a fan of Tim Quirk’s music for 20 years – easy. The playful melancholy in throughout his songwriting continually resonates with me. When he announced the new Wonderlick album was in the works and available for ‘name-your-price’ pre-order – I jumped on the opportunity.

When I started hearing about how successful the campaign was – I asked Tim if he’d talk about the album and the campaign for the podcast.

As he mentions in our conversation, the common theme through the 16 tracks is the exploration of an experience he first wrote about in 2002:

“I wondered what she said the next day when friends asked her how the concert was. I wondered whether the crowd had been applauding her breasts or her daring. I wondered if maybe she was a plant and had actually gotten paid for her performance. That last one was just a specific way of asking a more general question, I guess—mostly I was wondering exactly what she got out of it.” – Tim Quirk

In the 16 Topless at the Arco Arena tracks, Tim, with Jay Blumenfield, ask everyone involved what they got out of the experience.

My top 5 Wonderlick – Topless at the Arco Arena tracks:

  1. The Case Against Tattoos
  2. A Different Kind of Love
  3. We Run the World
  4. This Song is a Commerical
  5. Fear of Chicago

Download: Listen to Wonderlick’s Tim Quirk on Truth Through Music [36 minutes]

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