Apple, Computers, hackintosh, Mac, MBA, Personal

Upgrading my MacBookPro’s hard drive (tweaking some hardware)

Yes, I’ve been busy lately. I know. Building an airport and acting as a globalisation agent is hard sometimes. If you also need to find time to study, things even get trickier. And then your loyal ally tells you that its hard drive is full… well, you get the picture.

Don’t ask me how I managed to fill my 160 gigs hard drive. I just did. And while I was away I realised I wanted a windows emulator at hand because interchanging files between Mac’s Office 2008 and PC’s Office 2004 is not that easy. Sometimes weird things happen (thank-you Microsoft) and you need a bridge inbetween.

Yes, I do need to carry most of my music with me wherever I go. And I like watching StarGate and Yes Minister from the computer while I’m flying somewhere. I am not ashamed of that!

The thing is that I needed a bigger hard drive. And instead of going to the closest Apple center and paying 300€ for the operation I decided to buy a 60€ Fujitsu drive, the same quality that Apple offers of course, and do it myself. The tools: a torque 6 screwdriver, a Philips ++ screwdriver and a sound methodology not to mix and lose the screws.

The first two you can find in any hardware store. The latter at this website:, as well as any accessories you might need.

First of all I made a copy of my hard drive. SuperDuper is the application to use. You can find it here. Encase your new hard drive in an external USB or Firewire unit, format in GUID, copy the whole drive and you are done. After you have an external copy verify it by booting from it holding the “Option” key at boot.

Opening a MacBook Pro to change the hard drive is trickier than one might think. Thanks again to ifixit for this comprehensive foolproof guide. I won’t bother you with the procedure, some highlights may suffice:

Opening the case after removing almost every screw, scary, huh?

The guts of a MacBook Pro. The hard drive is on the left. That’s the moment when you have to detach the wires connecting the keyboard (top center) and hard drive (left). Will they ever work again?

The final moment of glory: when you swap the old 160 gigs Hitachi for the new 320 gigs Fujitsu. In any case the hard drive is still Japanese.

Then I did the same steps in opposite order to put back every single screw in its right place, crossed my fingers and voilà, the thing simply worked. I love my Mac. Even with a virtual PC inside it, that I only needed to copy from my other computer. Right now my virtual PC is upgrading to XP service pack 3… and I’ll need an antivirus…

Apple, Computers, Economics, hackintosh, Mac, Management, MBA, Personal, Thoughts

Apple’s scarcity rent (MacOS X in your PC: the hackintosh is born)

I think there’s little discussion that Apple’s operating systems are much more usable and friendly to the user than the ones created by Microsoft. Given the fact that the first used to precede the latter that could mean also a lack of observation skills by Microsoft, but that’s not the point. The point is that denotes a different strategic positioning for each company:

  • Apple is focused towards customers. No redundant or extra menus, just the basic essential needs. utmost usability. But the trade-off also comes to one price: lack of support to several devices or open platforms. To ensure a controlled experience, controlling the hardware becomes necessary.
  • Microsoft is focused towards providers. They define an open system and they build hundreds of thousands of drivers to be able to include each and every hardware even made. They are backwards compatible, ensuring the incorporation of legacy systems. The downside: too much variety hampers your ability to control the user’s experience.

The focus to providers, to the whole industry, means building a cluster of companies around that are able to freely introduce their products to an interoperable market. That’s quite interesting, isn’t it? Companies are able to build their own standards, to compete, and Microsoft simply supports them.It seems that a user should choose between a system tailored for her or a system thought for interoperability. Tough choice, huh?macpc.jpgSimplified like that one would say “let’s choose a system designed solely for the users”. But that’s not quite true. Both systems have users in mind, only a divergent focus. But a focus towards the industry means being able to access a pool of competing hardware. And that means lower prices… ain’t that nice for the user? Maybe the focus wasn’t the user, but she is directly benefited of having an interoperable and open hardware industry.That’s why the nerds simply won.But history makes strange turns. And Apple has changed a lot through the times. Two important swerves:

  • Intel was PC, Motorola was Mac. Intel was winning in price and product. Mac switched.
  • PC was MSDOS, and always backward compatible. Mac wasn’t, and in a bold move decided to switch to UNIX. Now Mac is more stable.

And the result is that Mac is standardised in its kernel and equipment, dwelling in the well of PC-compatible hardware and leaving behind its own proprietary hardware.There’s no real hardware difference between a PC and a Mac any more. Only slight differences that make them slightly different. That’s all. And, on top of it, a very different OS working in (almost) the same setup.And then Apple made another bold move. Decided to go open source. I could write a lot about open source, but the main point of it is releasing the sources so that developers can make better working programs and the quality of the applications and the user experience can be enhanced.And some hackers just did it. Netkas, ToH, BrazilMac and many more rebuilt the system kernel and adapted a few drivers so Mac OS would work in a standard (and advanced enough) PC setup. And voilà. MacOSX was born. Hackintoshes were born.

picture-1.pngtake a good look, this picture is for real, MacOS in my PCIt works, I promise. I have both systems installed (for educative purposes of course) and MacOS X simply rocks. It makes the most of your hardware. Far more stable, far faster, far more usable.MacOS X version 10.5, also called Leopard, was hackintoshed just one week after its launch. So, if it can be done, why aren’t they?Why keep making software for a minority instead of addressing a big market share? Apple wants to keep selling its hardware… that’s a reason enough. Apple wants to segment its public, that’s another reason too. Is Apple learning from hackintoshers or would prefer them silenced?Let’s say it all loud. PC and Macs are no longer different. Many of us, PC users, could be able to choose between two operating systems tomorrow. Microsoft’s monopoly could be broken, and Dell could be providing alternative hardware to Mac users tomorrow, breaking Apple’s monopoly too. Two monopolies that do their best to help each other, regardless of appearances.Why must we be constricted to only one OS? Why should the OS determine who you buy your hardware from? There’s no objective reason for those market imperfections that are simply hampering consumers.Unless Apple decides to fire first…get-a-mac-1.jpg