Acer Aspire One & Snow Leopard problems

On Friday I used the .dmg from Apple to upgrade my Mac Os X to 10.6.3.   This left me with a none booting computer.  To be honest, I was aware that this would happen (probably), since Intel Atom support for Mac OS X is broken in the upgrades.  So I hunted around for the patched kernel on the web. I used the USB drive that has the installation disc on it to boot into the Mac OS installer.  In the utilities menu there is a Terminal, and I could use this to copy the new patched ‘mach_kernel’ (10.3.0) over the top of the Apple kernel 10.6.3 in /Volumes/<volumename>/.

Great – reboot and we were back to normal.

Second thing I tried to do was patch my video drivers so that I could have something other than 800×600 resolution screen.  I did this on the original 10.6.0 Snow Leopard but the same patch doesn’t work with the new OS.  I managed to cause my machine to freeze up by using the ‘gma_patch’ in ‘aa1.zip’ .  Again, I used the Terminal via my Installation USB to delete the two kext files that begin ‘ea27’ from /Volumes/<volumename>/System/Library/Extensions.

rm -r /Volumes/<volumename>/System/Library/Extensions/27aeAppleIntelIntegratedFramebuffer.kext
rm -r /Volumes/<volumename>/System/Library/Extensions/27aeAppleIntelGMA950.kext
I still need to work out how to get the patch to fix my screen resolution but that’ll come.
Sleep isn’t fixed but it is disabled with this kernel, it appears. I’ve not tried the SD card slots but
I guess they don’t work, nor the internal microphone but everything else appears to work.

UPDATE: just spotted this sleep enabler but not had chance to try it out.

Snow Leopard Pt 3

So, here I am writing this from my Acer Aspire Laptop using Safari on Mac OS 10.6. The wireless doesn’t work but I’ve hooked the netbook up to my ethernet.

The installation took roughly 1h 30m from my slow USB and then failed because it couldn’t set the Startup Disc. I just restarted and used Chameleon on the USB to startup the HD and that worked. I followed the instructions for making the netbook boot without the USB and this is working fine.

Too late to play now but I will continue tomorrow and also order a replacement wifi card.

All in all; 8.15pm to 12.30am to install 1GB RAM, reformat my hard drive, install Mac OS X and fixup for my acer; while reading documents, watching David Cameron take over at No.10 and then watching comedy on Dave for a bit.

UPDATE: also installed a DW1390 wireless network card (£9.99 delivered from eBay) to replace the standard Acer Aspire One card.  Works better than trying to find a dodgy software solution.

Acer Aspire One memory upgrade and Snow Leopard pt 2.

The memory upgrade was actually simple. Scary but simple. Basically remove all the screws, disconnect a couple of ribbon cables. Slide out the mother board, insert RAM, put it all together again and job done. I had all the screwdrivers I needed and a bit of plasticine rest my screws on!

The harder task was (still is) installing the OS. It hasn’t finished yet so I’m writing this while waiting. Booting Snow Leopard from my USB drive took about 4 minutes, then I had to completely reformat my hard drive (I was hoping to keep some old partitions) so that it could use a GUID partition scheme. I set it up with 4 partitions for future expansion, one MacHD, one Windows, one Linux and one Linux Swap. The last three were all MS-DOS formatted but it won’t matter in the long run.

Then I clicked on install and I’m still waiting. It has said 29 minutes remaining for just over an hour now. It is copying stuff because I can watch the log messages but I think the USB drive is really, ‘really’, slow. It has gone down to 18 minutes in the last 10 minutes or so.

While reading up on the installation, I’ve realised my Acer Aspire One doesn’t have a compatible WiFi card. There appears to be 2 options. Firstly, replace the wi-fi card with a Broadcom Mini PCI-E card (BCM4311KFBG) used in Dell DW1390. This isn’t too hard since I now know how the innards of the machine are organised. Second, install KisMac which is normally for discovering wifi access (sniffing) but it has drivers for the Athelon WiFi card.  Other options include rebranding the Athelon card to think it is an Apple card but these are getting much riskier options.

Mac OS X (that’s 10) on the Acer Aspire One

Mac OS X Snow Leopard Box

I’m going to try out Mac OS X (The world’s most advanced OS) on my Acer Aspire One (A150). I’ve been trying to get hold of a DVD with the OS for a few weeks but now I have it. Over the weekend I followed these steps to make a USB stick. This took about an hour to create the image and then transfer that image to the USB. It took about 5-10 minutes to put Chameleon onto it along with the other files from aa1.zip

After inserting the USB I rediscovered that my Acer only has 512Mb RAM. Mac OS X requires 1Gb minimum.

So, I’ve got some more memory today and that will be installed tonight and I’ll try again.  Installing memory to an Acer Aspire One is not trivial unfortunately.

Reinstall Linpus Lite…Success Install Ubuntu Remix..Fail..then Success

I’ve been happy with my Acer Aspire One and Linpus Lite for the last 6 weeks or so; apart from the failure to get VPN to work.  But I want to do more with it; so I decided to repartion and install Ubuntu NetBook Remix.

But before doing the repartition I made a backup of my setup then reinstalled Linpus Lite from a recovery USB.  I made this with instruction from macles* .  I updated the system and installed Firefox 3 for no reason other than it ‘needs’ to be done.

I then downloaded the Ubuntu Netbook Remix image from Ubuntu; wrote it to a USB using ‘dd’ and rebooted.  This part failed spectacularly because of “ERROR 17”.  I don’t know what the error was but the machine halted and then when I turned it off and on again, it wouldn’t even boot to the BIOS!  The power button failed to work and I had to take the battery off to turn it off.  Luckily the BIOS can be reflashed from a USB stick so I did this using some instructions again from macles*.  This worked very quickly.

Once my machine was up and running again I installed the image to the USB stick using UNETBOOTIN instead.  It has a couple of dependencies, namely;

sudo yum install mtools p7zip-plugins

UNetBootIn wrote the ‘Floppy’ img to the mounted USB and a reboot actually worked and booted the Ubuntu Installer.  I should point out that I used a different USB stick formatted to FAT32.  I think the other stick that failed was formatted for the old Linpus Recovery that I’d just done before I used ‘dd’ so that might have been the problem.

Best Python IDE … found :)

I’ve looked around at a few IDE’s for Python and I think I’ve settled on one.  Initially I considered Eclipse but I’ve now decided that NetBeans 6.5.1 is a much better solution for Linux (or Windows) Python development.

Installing it was easy.  I downloaded the C/C++ version of the IDE (since I didn’t plan to do any Java based stuff).  It is just over 20Mb at the NetBeans website.  Note: I did C/C++ then Python but you can simply download the IDE with Python from the Python EA (Easy Access) page.

In Thunar (on the Linpus) right-click on the Netbeans ‘.sh’ file, select properties and then permissions and chose to ‘allow file to run as a program’. Double click on the file to run it and the installation process begins.  Just click ‘Next’ in most cases.

After installing it; use the right-click menu (assuming you have it active) to run the IDE from the development area.  Once started, mine started to upgrade some modules for CVS, and so on (which is okay).  After the obligatory restart of the IDE, I simply used the Plugins menu in Tools to add Python support.  This is a Beta state module.

All is well? Unfortunately not; I tried to create a new project and this hung the IDE part way through creating files.  I tried NetBeans 6.5 Python EA on Windows Vista also and this worked a little better.  However, it wouldn’t pick up the gtk module in the debugger, even though IDLE did.  So still some problems but maybe you will have better luck.

Update: I did a fress install of the Netbeans Python EA after installing Python, GTK, Cairo & GObject and this appears to work in the debugger.

Nevertheless, there is a really useful tutorial on the NetBeans site.

I’ve also stumbled upon this amazing selection of programming tutorials!  In particular using Python development in NetBeans.   Replace ‘import glib’ in these tutorials with ‘import gobject’ throughout these tutorials.

Another alternative is the ActivePython IDE

Dual Booting Acer Aspire One

I’ve been wanting to try out a variety of O.S. choices on my Acer Aspire One.  The best way to do this without removing your original instalation is repartitioning.  Although I don’t intend to put XP on my Acer, the dual booting instructions on the JargonGeneration website are roughly the same.

In particular I fancy installing ‘Moblin 2.0‘ when it is finally released.  I’ve got the BETA on a USB stick and it is pretty nice if missing a couple of features (I couldn’t find suspend and/or shutdown!)

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