Category Archive

Posts in hacking

November 17th, 2009

Mac netbook wrap-up, cha cha cha

The rather dark grey legality and tenuous maintainability of netbook hacktintoshes aren’t things I want to blog about incessantly, but enough has happened in the two weeks since the last post to call for a sequel. For good measure, there are also some further impressions regarding the hackintoshed Dell 10v. And for reference, here’s the original Mac netbook post from November 4. For further information, many of the websites linked to in this and the previous post are excellent resources.

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November 4th, 2009

How desperate are you for a Mac netbook?

Ever since the surprise success of the Asus EEE netbooks, Mac users and fans have been hoping and wishing that Apple will ship an ultra-small laptop form factor of their own.

This MacBook Nano, for example, by Mickphoto

This "MacBook Nano", for example. By Mickphoto

Apple hasn’t. So motivated hackers have been busily wedging Mac OS X into other company’s laptops as well as they could. This is not as easy as it might sound; options are limited to those computers with technical specifications closest to what Apple supports in its own products, patching the system to accommodate, compensate for, or ignore the remaining differences.

Enough progress has been made that even people who have no clue how to diagnose BIOS or edit kext files can do a passable job of putting Mac OS X on computers not made by Apple. Some do it purely out of being able to, some do it under the illusion that this will be an easy way to have a Macintosh for a fraction of the price of a real one. (Edit, Nov 4: An addendum about how the Apple taketh away and the Apple giveth back at the end of this post.) (Edit, Nov 17: There is now a second post with more news about Apple vs. hackintoshing, updates, and further impressions.)

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October 19th, 2009

Why can’t we figure out what Google Wave is good for?

Google Wave is… something. What it is, exactly, few people have been able to agree on. Google’s own PR about Google Wave is a frustratingly imbalanced information overload, their publicity effort centering around an 80 minute video of the developer preview at Google I/O, earlier this year, entirely burying their slick, short product demos.

Apple can routinely, in 80 minutes, tout its sales figures, announce three revolutionary consumer products, demo them, preview yet another devastatingly witty TV commercial starring an affable PC and bemused Mac, and have a surprise musical guest run through a number or two. Even Microsoft’s execs can put on a reasonably tight show when announcing new products. So how does Google’s new product announcement compare? It’s thorough and boring. It’s unrehearsed, heavily padded by presentation failures, presenter fumbles, and an excruciatingly long introduction by one of Google’s research unit executives.

The Wave video is a fine tech conference presentation. But it’s a lousy public product demonstration, and it’s the entirety of Google’s sales pitch. Sales pitches, product sheets, whitepapers, short demonstrations of single features are all missing from Wave’s PR. In their place is a long video of people fumbling with their demo equipment. I watched it in 20 minute chunks, because if this is The Future, The Future is awkward.

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March 4th, 2009

Widget Cart needs beta testers

Widget Cart is a WordPress plugin that adds ecommerce to any WordPress website with widgets enabled. You can add a shopping cart to your new or current website as easily as adding any other blog widget. “Add to Cart” buttons can be inserted anywhere in any post or page; the cart sits among your other WordPress widgets where users can change the quantities on the items they order before checking out at PayPal.

It only needs a WordPress- based website, widgets enabled, and your PayPal account to receive and handle orders.

The project is in its final stages and needs testers. The plugin is more or less feature-complete according to my tasklist, which means upgrading it to a final release will (hopefully) not require any more effort by the testers than replacing the plugin files.

Widget Cart will be available for public download and submitted to the WordPress plugin directory when I’m satisfied that it works properly and has sufficent documentation. For now I want to be able to notify anybody affected by updates.

Widget Cart is GPL‘d. I will never require registration or payment for downloads and documentation. It was heavily influenced by QuickShop, which is designed to serve slightly different purposes; if Widget Cart interests you but you’re using a checkout system other than PayPal I encourage you to try it instead.

If you’d like to participate, comment on this post and I’ll contact you by email. Comments are screened and I will withhold publication at your request.

January 7th, 2009

Some steps towards Joompress

JoomPress is a mythical synthesis of  WordPress and Joomla. It combines the beauty and ease of use of WordPress’s admininistration features with the robustness of Joomla’s document/information management model. This ain’t happening for a variety of reasons, not least because you can’t whipstitch two animals together and expect the result to walk, but maybe that’s better investigated another time.

An easier goal is to combine WordPress and Joomla output, because WordPress is pretty weak about content organization and Joomla’s blogging ability is nonexistent. Letting the CMS tool do the CMSing and the blog tool do the blogging is appealing and practical in theory. In corporate websites it would allow a strong firewall between the people doing document management and the people writing the PR releases. Before rerigging cloudiness entirely in WordPress, I tried a JoomPress hybrid, to run a WordPress blog behind a Joomla front-end. The trial got far enough along to convince me that somebody could make it work. If others want to try, the notes are below.

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