Notes on creating a i7 based Hackintosh

Recently I decided to try shuffling around my hardware and try a hackintosh setup on my recently acquired i7 box. I last dabbled in this stuff many years back with a P4 box. Suffice to say, my beloved 2008 era Mac Pro is starting to show some age and while I could upgrade it, Apple’s dragged ass in updating the Mac Pro line. So, here are my notes.

Read on to see what steps should work for you, should you use similar hardware.
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Getting Synergy (or whatever) to run automatically in Snow Leopard

Getting Synergy to Autorun on OSX
Here you see the "synergys" I describe creation of. It's available for selection in the Login Items selection list.

If you’re geeky like me, then you may be a lover of Synergy..

Well, many of us have long since used some of the old funky tricks for getting Synergy to start up automatically (like the ol LoginWindow trick). But that seems to not be so helpful (for me anyway), as of upgrading to Apple’s Mac OSX Snow Leopard (10.5).

Here’s what I did to get this going..

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Snow Leopard Upgrade on a Triple Booting Macbook

SnowLeopardHowdy World, so last friday was release day for Snow Leopard, woot! I went out and grabbed a copy and rushed home to upgrade my macbook… Here’s the tale of a bit of resistance I met and how I resolved it.

Yellow Triangle of Rejection

So the problem I quickly encountered was that my “Macintosh HD” partition had an ugly little yellow symbol over it rejecting me from updating my OS X install. I forget (unfortunately), the particular error message. Nevertheless the short version was that regardless of how I launched the installer or a number of other things I tried, it wouldn’t let me run the upgrade.

Quest Accepted

Well, I wasn’t about to settle for reformatting – though that is a decent option. I decided to ‘be a man’ and directly address my challenger.

I tried calling Apple support, but they were closed, as was it was late at night. I googled around and found someone’s suggestion that for those who had changed their partitioning scheme around could just get Disk Utility to resize their target partition. The idea here was that when using a tool like gparted (which I adore) to change around your partition scheme, it’s easy to emerge with a working structure that’ll cause the OS X installer to consider an otherwise perfectly healthly partitioning scheme unusable for installation.

“Fixing” my OS X partition

So the best help I found online was suggesting to resize partitions with the Disk Utility (which as of Snow Leopard has an option for doing that). But for me, that didn’t work, I got some lame error messages that I can’t recall.

The way I did the resize was with the command-line version of Disk Utility – ‘diskutil’.


In my caption there, you can see me make a call to diskutil list to show my partitions. As you can see, I’ve got 6 partitions on my drive. You can see on the second line a call to resize my OS X partition. All I did to get the Snow Leopard installer to play nice was decrease the size of that partition slightly. I’m sure after the install I could just as easily increase the size too.

After this it was smooth sailing. The upgrade went as expected, my data was all there and happy and so on.

Upgrading my Mac Pro

Several days later, I decided to upgrade my Mac Pro as well. What concerned me about this is that on that machine I setup Leopard to live across a 3 hard drive RAID. I wasn’t sure if the upgrade would have been able to accomodate that configuration.

Well, I did the upgrade and it went well, only thing to report there was that when I tried to run the installer from inside Leopard, it didn’t list my RAID volume. It only showed it when I rebooted off of the Snow Leopard DVD. Other than that, it was very simple.


So far I’m really liking Snow Leopard. As Apple has said, it’s not a redesign. So the learning curve isn’t really present, especially if you’re a Leopard user. This is in my mind a massive set of regular improvements bundled with some minor changes to the UI workflow and the introduction of some new libraries that I suspect won’t really matter for awhile yet. I love the $30 price tag and we’ll see if the 8 cores in my Mac Pro show better overall use, though I think that’ll probably require some additional application side support.

If you’re thinking of upgrading, go for it. It’s inexpensive and gives you access to some sweet new features. If you want a glossy list of the details, go look at Apple’s page on Snow Leopard here.

STP Replugged – Who would you call?

I think it’s time again that I re-plug my free little “Shit Talker Phoenix” program I’ve written for OSX.

As you can see from the screenshot, it’s a window saturated with a mess of buttons. Each of these buttons are linked in to a speech synthesis engine, so when you press a button, the computer speaks whatever’s on the button.

I based this entirely off of the old Shit Talker by Jaundice, a well known, ancient but hilarious little program for making “prank” phone calls. I used this program back in the days of Windows 98 and if you try to run it now you’ll be met with general instability and ugliness (though you could run it inside a virtual machine). I was motivated to re-write it for OSX simply because that’s what I was using at the time and I wanted something I could run natively to do the same thing.

I actually had written a Java version of STP prior to this, but I had so many headaches in trying to bundle it in to something people would find easy to run that I eventually gave up on that version of it. Though I have goofed with the idea of resurrecting that project, but distributing it as a Java Applet and thus give people a web address they could go to in order to just run it out of their browser.

So what you think? Maybe you’ll have fun using this to call your mom and pretend you’ve become a robot? It’s always a good bet to use this when dealing with telemarketers too. What would you use STP for?

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Posted via email from Doc Dawning