a bite of the hacker apple
Thursday, December 18 2014
Celeste the kitten (who is really pretty much an adolescent cat at this point) was scratching herself this morning, so Gretchen used the flea comb to see if there were any fleas. I wouldn't have started this entry out had there been none. There were fleas, and lots of them. We'd never actually defeated the infestation she'd arrived with, though we'd tried all the usual tricks (including Frontline between the scapulæ). Since we were out of Frontline, all we could do was comb her repeatedly and dust her usual haunts (some of which I know but don't reveal to Gretchen) with flea powder.
On my continued pursuit of a working Hackintosh running the latest version of OSX, I finally figured out how to fix the failure of my installation to boot to the desktop without the assistance of the installation USB stick. The key was to edit the XML in org.Chameleon.boot.plist and add Timeout=1 and QuietBoot=No. I don't know what those things do, but they made it so the Hackintosh booted successfully. After that, it was relatively easy to get a tiny no-name USB 802.11n WiFi dongle working (all I had to do was install something called BearExtender). And I even got sleep working (something I often can't get working even in Windows 7) by adding a DSDT specific to my motherboard, which (I think) maps Macintosh CMOS requirements onto my non-Macintosh hardware. Then I had to patch the AppleRTC kext to keep it from resetting the CMOS with every boot. By the end of the day, I had a seemingly perfect Macintosh running on reasonably-modern hardware. t's definitely the most "up-to-date" Macintosh I've ever owned, and (remember), I started out as a Macintosh guy. The standout lesson from all of this is that the hardest thing to get working in a Hackintosh is the video, and problems with the video will hold everything else up. Furthermore: it's always best to try different video hardware before reinstalling the OS (or otherwise banging one's head against a wall).
While I was working on these things, I was watching the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day on my main machine. I'd never had any reason to watch it before and had recently been reminded of its existence by my colleage Mike in Los Angeles. All I really wanted from it was to watch the scene that Mike had referenced in an IM, the one where Jeff Goldblum uses a chunky old Macintosh laptop to hack into an alien mothership. Here's a frame from that scene:
(Click to enlarge.)
While I was watching Independence Day, I was surprised by how dated it seems for a film from that time. Could it just be that all the delightful irony, satire, and irreverence embedded in our current culture just didn't exist yet? 1996 wasn't so long ago (I've been posting continuously to this blaag since then), but it was before the Golden Age of Television, in a time when the only comedic content on broadcast television without a laugh track was the Simpsons. Still, the stilted quality of the acting and the script sounded more dated to my ear than films from the 1960s. Don't get me wrong, I fully realize that Independence Day was a cynical ploy targeting mainstream Americans. The idea was clearly to repackage and sell them the primitive reptilian impulses in their brains in the form of a glitzy explosion-filled space movie, but (as I often find myself thinking) couldn't they have sprung a little more for better writing? Perhaps, though, the bad writing and old-fashioned simplicity of the film was part of what sold it; the great American average in this country is a deeply conservative breed, and in 1996 it was even more so. So of course the scientists were depicted as socially-awkward quasi-sociopathic nerds. And of course Will Smith had to have a black girlfriend. Indeed, as old-fashioned as Independence Day was, it's actually a little surprising (spoiler alert!) he survived to the end. For some reason, though, I watched the whole thing.
It's actually fairly easy for me to watch movies at my computer. I can watch little chunks here and there as the mood suits me, and, when I'm bored, I can do other things such as troll Facebook, check my email, or research vexing Hackintosh issues.
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