A few new terms and why

July 12, 2011 on 6:17 am | In Hacks, Uncategorized | No Comments

Hackintosh: noun, a generic term used to describe a non apple computer running Macintosh Operating system.

Hack: verb, in computer vernacular (geek speak) it means to change or alter hardware, software, or both to reach a desired function.

I know it has been a while since I wrote my last blog and frankly writing about 30 year old computers at best bores most people.  Second I would like to welcome any new reader, specially those from Alapaha.   Yes, your pastor is a card carrying geek.

For this past week I have been working on installing Mac OS 10.6 on my HP Mini 311 netbook.   Today in class was it’s first real world trial.   For the two who are really curious I am stable at 10.6.6 anything past that I get kernel panic no matter what patches or kext I use or alter.

Why?  This is the question many will ask.   And there are several reasons.

  1. As a student (and student of theology) I find many resources are available or better run on Mac’s.
  2. I have grown tired of Windows and the giant target it draws on ones back for malware and Trojan horses.  It is an arms race between protection utilities and malware developers.
  3. Cost.   See money has reared its ugly head once more.   Ever since Santa brought me a bare bones computer system (a computer kit ) for Christmas in high school, building what I wanted or needed has not been an obstacle.  A new Macbook Air cost well over $1200.  My HP Mini 311 has similar hardware specs (and I had already put in a 64gb ssd).   The best part it was almost given to me by Verzion when I renewed my wireless broadband contract.

How?  Well it was quite simple with very few complications.   First I purchased a copy of Mac OS 10.6 at an apple store (pay for software, don’t steal 8th commandment everyone).   I searched and found others who have done the same project on the same hardware and read their methods and notes.  I downloaded used a bootloading program (helps the computer to use the Mac OS set up disk, and has nothing to do with boot legging).   I found the appropriate software patches to deal with the computer not being a real Mac.   I will not bore you with the details but I was able after a bit of trail and error to install every  and have a computer that is stable and runs well.

What about open source?   I like Ubuntu Linux.   I really do.   And yes I do realize that OSX is based off of BSD.  The truth is that many things that I use or want to use need a well developed and supported operating system.   Linux is not there just yet.   I also don’t want to run every program in emulation.   There are a few GNU/GPL programs I use (such as gimp, a photo editing software) even in windows.  If I need a printer 90% of the time it will have mac drivers but linux I find it is more like 30% of the time.  Yes there is an issue of practicality here.

So there you have it everyone.   I hope you have enjoyed this blog.

Good night,


Homemade Model T Null Modem adapter

November 11, 2010 on 6:28 am | In Hacks | No Comments

It is me again, on of my biggest issues in data transfer is the issue it null modem adapter, the large variety and difficulty finding the right one so I decided to make one.  I used the diagram from the Club 100 website to make mine.  http://www.club100.org/library/doc/cables.html and it works well.  So here is what you need.

Materials: (all from radio shack)

Male 25 Pin D-sub connector crimp style (276-1429)

(connects to your Model T)

Female 9 Pin D-sub connector crimp style (276-1428)

(connects to you 9 pin serial port or to an usb serial port adapter)

D-Sum pin Inserter/ Extractor (276-1426)

(make fixing mistakes much easier when you put the wrong pin in the wrong place or a if a wire pulls out)

I also purchased a 25 pin D-sub hood and a 9 pin D-sub hood to hold it.  next time I might just use some epoxy or shrink wrap.

Wire, I use 22 gauge wire of 3 colors to make life easier.

How it works:

A null modem cable crosses over some pins between computers and with in the computer’s serial port.  Different computers, devices, and programs requite different wires and pins to be crossed and jumped.   So make sure you have the right diagram http://www.club100.org/library/doc/cables.html.

To get started read the diagram one more time  Then cut your wires to the right length and crimp on the pin connectors.   If you look closely you can see the numbers cast into the connector plastic.  Push the pin in until it clicks.

Notice how some wires go to the other connector and how some loop back to the computer.

The Female adapter has a different looking pin to accept the male fitting from the usb adapter.  Crimp those on and gently push them in to the right place.  When you are done both connectors will be connected by 3 wires.

Time to test.   Go in to hyper terminal on your desktop and go to telecom on your Model T and test the adapter.  This is a great tutorial on how to just that.  http://bitchin100.com/wiki/index.php?title=Text_File_Transfer_using_Hyperterminal

This is the very netbook, that I became tired of in class, too much device or fighting for a power outlet just to take notes.  If you can look on the screen you will see test that I transferred from the 102 thru Hypertemial.  The process does work in reverse.

Now finish and protect your cable.  That is what I am using the D-sub Hoods are for.   Put them on and use the included hardware to secure.

Tada.. you are done.   Now use this to assist you in your file and text transfer needs.   Remember to be patient.  The transfer might be going at 19.2kps but the Tandy had a processor running at 2.4mhz (your computer is probably in the 2.4 ghz range which is 1000x faster) downloading to it may take a few minutes for the file or text to be processed.

check back soon for my next project and blog

The First Hack

November 11, 2010 on 3:13 am | In Hacks | No Comments

Right now, I am just taking notes in class with the 102 and using a null modem cable and hyper-terminal to transfer notes from the Tandy to my netbook and put it into a master set of notes.  The big problem is the viewing angle, the desk in class slanst away from the sitter and being on the tall side… well the mix just makes it hard to see the screen.  I needed to be able to change the view angle so…. after looking for a small and consolable “cooling stand” to prop things up….

I found this at Radio Shack for about $8

It has 3 levels of rise, less that $8, light weight and easy to install.

Out of the Package

Clean and prep your surface well.

What’s that you see,  a maple leaf?   Yes this 102 did start off in Canada.. now if I can only find that Zed key.

Done, I just peel and stick, i put mine just bellow the cassette and modem ports and on the battery compartment.

It was simple and easy.  Your can do it too.   Next project will be making a proper full modem cable adapter.

A personal 32k Bootstraping

November 11, 2010 on 2:22 am | In Tech Theology | No Comments


A few weeks ago I got feed up with my netbook while I was in class.   It did not crash, or lock up, or loose a paper, it was just too much for what I needed.  Having everything there has encouraged a bit of laziness in my work so I went home and dug out my Tandy WP-2 word processor and started to use it in class, I got out my null modem adapters and was able to use less to do the same work.    After that I knew what I needed to do: Get a Tandy Model 102.  So I did now I am having to relearning computing skill I had 20 years ago.  This is that journey.

Here it is the Tandy Model 102 Laptop.

Little more than a BASIC Interpret, Text Editor, and a Telecom Program, 32k of ram, not much running at 2.4mhz.

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