Friday, November 18, 2011

Disk backup with dd

This post describes how to create an image of a whole disk with dd. I use this to backup my Mac OS X system disk before a major change, for example upgrading from Snow Leopard to Lion. Since I see such operations as risky (not running on Apple hardware), I want to be able to go back to a working state easily.

This process is not limited to Mac OS X, you can follow this guide to create a disk image of whatever disk you want: your windows OS disk, your data, anything.

Here are the steps I am going to go through in this post:
  • start up in linux,
  • find the device name of the disk to backup,
  • find the mounted name of the disk where to save the backup,
  • run the dd command with the appropriate attributes,
  • test that the backup worked.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Installing Mac OS X

Installing OS X on a non-apple hardware is easier than it sounds, as long as the hardware is compatible.

Method at tonymacx86

Tonymacx86 provides a standard method for installing Mac OS X on a Sandy Bridge system. This method worked fine for basic funtionality, and only a few more tweaks were needed for sound and network to work.
What you need besides the computer is:
  •  a blank CD, for iBoot and Multibeast
  •  an OS disk purchased from Apple

The method makes it very important not to restart after updating to 10.6.8. That is precisely where my computer crashed, so I had no choice but to restart anyway. That did not seem to cause any problem, though.

From the Multibeast installer, you are presented with two options: EasyBeast and UserDSDT.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My hackintosh build

I finally decided that Apple was missing to my culture and that it needed to be fixed.

What is a hackintosh?

In short, a hackintosh is a regular PC on which you install Mac OS X. The challenge is that not all hardware is supported, so there is some research to do ahead. You do not want to pay for a fancy graphics card that doesn't work with the OS.


The "it just works" concept did not appeal to me very much. The main idea was to learn, and there is no better way for that than doing it yourself. (To be honest, the price of Apple's hardware helped me make that decision as well.)

Add that I enjoy doing the research and learning about all the new hardware finesses since the last time I built a computer (2005), plus that I appreciate to tackle a challenge.

My old computer was getting crippled and too loud to my taste. These are just further excuses for having fun building a new computer.

As for many decisions people make, I think that my guts just decided to do it, then found or invented seemingly rational reasons.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

One new blog to the Internet!

This is a new blog. As if there were not enough of them.

The reason why I start this is mainly egoistic, naturally. I have been frustrated with myself lately: I get inspired, I get ambitions, sometimes I even have my own novel ideas (this is rare), but it goes past that point too seldom to my taste.

I am currently reading Professor Richard Wiseman's book 59 seconds. While I am usually sceptical to self-help books, this one is interestingly backing up its claims with actual references to research papers. In the book, Professor Wiseman points out that making your goals public helps you reaching them, referring to [1]:

Two studies were conducted to identify mechanisms responsible for observed "self-reinforcement" effects. In Experiment 1, using a studying task, self-reinforcement procedures did not work when they were private (i.e., when others are not aware of the goals or contingencies), but did work when they were public. Self-delivery of consequences added nothing to the effectiveness of the procedure. The data suggested that public goal setting was the critical element in the procedure's effectiveness.
So maybe if I start reporting about the projects I dream about working on, I would actually make them happen? My main focus will be on technical stuff, computer or electronics related. I will probably start writing on the hackintosh I just built, and hopefully report on future hardware projects.

I sure hope that once I publish my future results, I can get feedback from which I can learn! This is a second reason for starting this blog.

I might also post on something different every now and then. I’ll try and find a practical way to sort posts in categories or with tags, so that you can setup your RSS readers to follow only the part you are interested in.


[1] S.C.Hayes, I. Rosenfarb, E. Wolfert, E. Munt, Z. Korn and R. D. Zettle (1985). "Self-Reinforcement Effects: An Artifact of Social Standard Setting?", Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 18 (3), pages 201-214.