How the $300 Mini Hackintosh turned into a $750 beast

I was in New York City for a Samsung event focused on SSDs and gaming on PCs last month.  There wasn’t much in the way of new information, but Samsung gave me one of their SATA III 256GB 830 SSDs to try out.  These are within a few bytes per second of the fastest SATA3 SSDs money can buy, so I was pretty excited to get home and throw it in a Mac.

The problem is that I don’t have a worthy Mac to test it out on.  I’ve been using an Air as my exclusive machine for a year and my wife is tired of me testing stuff on her MacBook Pro.  We have a bunch of old Macs laying around the house but nothing with a SATA III connection.

Luckily, I’ve been in the market for a new Mac desktop since I replaced my MacBook Pro with an Air  last year, but to my surprise, I haven’t really found myself in need of one.  The Air drives my 30-inch display pretty well and most of my media has been offloaded to a Gigabit NAS.  Since I already have a 30-inch display, an iMac doesn’t really appeal to me.  Apple’s headless desktops don’t make sense in my situation either. A Mac Mini isn’t going to be much faster than my Air and the Mac Pro hasn’t been updated in over a year and doesn’t even have SATA 3 on board.

I also have some USB3 and eSATA peripherals that I get for testing and can’t use these products on standard Mac hardware.

I decided to give into temptation and build a Hackintosh… Read more

Gassée: Thank God Apple chose Steve Jobs’s NeXT over my BeOS

Jean-Louis Gassée, Apple’s former head of Macintosh product development between 1981-1990, has commented on Apple’s crucial choice of Steve Jobs’s NeXTSTEP as their operating system back in 1996 instead of BeOS, his own creation. Much of NeXTSTEP code would make possible Mac OS X, later adapted for Apple’s mobile devices.

Speaking at a Churchill Club “Steve Jobs’ Legacy” talk event (which is fantastic the whole way through – above) in San Jose yesterday, Gassée remarked (at about an hour in):

Thank god that didn’t happen, because I hated Apple’s management.

BeOS was pretty good, mind you. Positioned as a multimedia platform, BeOS benefited from symmetric multiprocessing, pervasive multithreading, preemptive multitasking and BFS, a custom 64-bit journaling file system known as BFS. It too was developed on the principles of clarity and an uncluttered design.

So why did Apple side with NeXT and acquired the company on February 4, 1997 for  $429 million? In hindsight, even though beOS was pretty good, it was the aquisition of Jobs that was worth to Apple more than the NeXTSTEP software. Or, as Gassée put it, “Jobs’s acquisition of Apple”.

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Mac OS 10.8 users already doing external testing

Mac OS 10.8 testers both inside Apple’s HQ and in the surrounding area of Silicon Valley have been spotted in Web Logs by MacRumors. Indeed, looking at our own logs (above), 10.8 users have been hitting our servers since mid-August, though only in numbers that probably could have been faked.

More recently, however, 10.8 testing has grown more abundant, with testers hitting our site every day including on weekends from non-Apple IP addresses throughout October.

Similar patterns emerged in testing OS 10.7 which leads us to conclude that this is still very early testing and it is likely more than a year before we’ll see even public betas of the OS.

Still, very nice to see Apple’s already working on the next big cat.

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Apple looking to bring AirPlay Mirroring, iMessage application to Mac OS X

AirPlay Mirroring shown with an iPad 2 and an Apple TV

Sources familiar with the future of Mac OS X say that AirPlay Mirroring and an iMessage application are currently in development. Although neither project may see the light of day, they are definitely on the table for release in future versions of OS X Lion. AirPlay Mirroring for the Mac will allow a user to wirelessly mirror exactly what is shown on their Mac’s display to an Apple TV connected to a projector, television, or external monitor. AirPlay video streaming is also being integrated into QuickTime X.

This would be a fantastic addition to the conference room for corporate presentations and would sell a few more Apple TVs we would imagine.

iMessage for Mac info after the break:

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Two of your favorites come together: Skype and Facebook

Announced on the Skype Blog, Microsoft-owned Skype now integrates with (5% Microsoft-owned) Facebook on Mac.  With the update, your Facebook friends will be able to see your online status and Skype you without leaving the Skype application.  As per usual with Microsoft applications, the Mac version trails behind the Windows version…and as a bonus, non-paying Skype users will now see ads.

Today we’re launching Skype 5.4 for Mac Beta. The launch introduces the same Facebook integration found in Skype 5.5 for Windows. We are excited to finally deliver Facebook integration to our Mac users.

Just like in our Windows client, you will now be able to IM and connect with your Facebook friends without leaving Skype. You will also be able to read and update your News Feed, as well as comment and ‘Like’ your Facebook friends’ posts – all within Skype for Mac. To connect to Facebook, simply sign into Skype, click on the Connect to Facebook tab and enter your Facebook sign in details.

Skype 5.4 for Mac Beta.jpg

We are also introducing an advertising platform in this new release, but if you are a paying Skype consumer or have Skype Credit, you won’t see any display ads; similar to the model that is currently being used in our Skype for Windows client.

Download Skype 5.4 for Mac OS X Beta.  We’re sticking to 2.8, in case the snarkiness didn’t tip you off. Read more

VMware Fusion 4 hits, touts improved speed and Lion features

VMware Fusion was upgraded to version 4 today with “over 90 new features” and low introductory $49.99 price. That follows the release two weeks ago of main competitor Parallels with many of the same Lion and speed improvements but heftier $79.99 price tag.

VMware touts three major areas of improvement:

  1. Bring the Magic of OS X Lion to Your Windows Programs. Optimized for OS X Lion including Launchpad, Mission Control, and Spotlight to give the best Windows on Mac experience.
  2. Even More Mac-like. From the installation experience to the redesigned user interface, everything has been refined for the most Mac-like experience when running Windows programs on a Mac.
  3. Better Performance. Faster Graphics. Outstanding Reliability. Turbocharged for today’s multi-core Macs and delivering up to 2.5x faster 3D graphics, VMware Fusion 4 is faster than ever.

Release below:

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Apple seeds OS X Lion 10.7.2 beta build 11C55 with iCloud to developers

Apple has seeded OS X Lion 10.7.2 build 11C55 to developers today, and it is the first OS X Lion 10.7.2 build to include iCloud for Mac built-in. Previously, developers had to download a separate iCloud for Mac package.

OS X Lion Software Update 10.7.2 is an update to OS X Lion 10.7 and includes support for iCloud beta. Please refer to the seed note for more details and installation instructions. (Mac Developer Program membership is required)

OS X Lion 10.7.2 includes the ability for users to easily enable iCloud Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Find my Mac on their computers. The software release will most likely ship alongside iCloud sometime this fall. Apple’s iCloud service is seemingly almost ready to launch with both Apple and carriers (for the iOS 5 integration) already being trained on the matter.

Let us know if you find anything; tips@9to5mac.com. Thanks Nicholas!

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Mac OS 10.7.1 is ready for your downloading…(Update: More fixes for new Minis and Airs)

The update addresses a few issues including the Wifi issues we’ve been hearing much about.  It also appears to incorporate the recent Migration Assistant update.  It is available via Software Update and weighs in at a paltry 17.4MB on our rig.

The 10.7.1 update is recommended for all users running OS X Lion and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability and compatibility of your Mac, including fixes that:

– Address an issue that may cause the system to become unresponsive when playing a video in Safari
– Resolve an issue that may cause system audio to stop working when using HDMI or optical audio out
– Improve the reliability of Wi-Fi connections
– Resolve an issue that prevents transfer of your data, settings, and compatible applications to a new Mac running OS X Lion

For detailed information on this update, please visit this website:http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4764.

The Mac App store still lists Lion at 10.7 so it isn’t clear if new updaters will always have to do additional updates.  We’re also left wondering if this update fixes the “video performance after a sleep” that new Lion Mac users have been reporting.

Update: Interesting there is a direct link (here) for New Mac Mini and MacBook Air users (68MB) which updates a few more issues (below):

OSX Server hits the App Store but XCode disappears (Update: XCode back, free)

In addition to Lion now being available at the App Store (had you heard?) and some new Mac Hardware, today you can also download OSX Lion Server from the App Store for an additional $49.99.  Full description below…

Interestingly, Xcode has disappeared and isn’t even available by search.  We’ll likely see an update to that in the semi-near future.

Update (Noon EST): Xcode is back (free).

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Google Analytics: Windows loses >5% market share this year, Mac gains. Post PC era fast approaching

Google Analytics, which is used on millions of sites worldwide to show web publishers who is visiting their sites, today published its first report on Web traffic. Among other interesting tidbits was the above chart showing Windows losing a staggering 5.1% of its market year over year.

At the same time, the Mac OS actually gained almost a percentage point of the market.  But the groundswell was in the “Other” category which includes iPads, iPhones, Android and other non-Mac/Windows/Linux machines.  That category was up almost 5 %.

The “Post PC Era” seems to be fast approaching.

Google conveniently also found a 1% gain in Search Engine  referral traffic, below:

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Mac OS X 10.7 Lion GM Torrent hits Pirate Bay

As one might expect, the GM Seed of Lion looks like it is making the rounds in the Torrent sites.  This is interesting this time around because Apple is distributing the install via the App Store (for a very reasonable $30) which has tracking codes embedded in the download.  That means whoever leaked this is probably going to get in some trouble.  We’re assuming most people who choose to download this version will be doing so for the two week head start rather than trying to save $30.

Might be better to just plunk $99 down for a developer account?