Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Creating a hackintosh from a Dell Inspiron E1505/6400

I had an old Dell Inspiron E1505 laptop so I decided to try my hand at making a hackintosh out of it. Apparently, the motherboard Dell used in these was the same as the first MacBook (2006-era), and many of the components were compatible, so this is one of the easier laptops to convert to the Mac OS.

We're going to install a flavor of Snow Leopard (10.6.3) and make some changes to kexts (like drivers for a Mac) to get everything working nice.

Through quite a bit of trial and error I was able to get it working nearly flawlessly, so I figured I would detail the exact steps it took. If your configuration is different, you're likely to get somewhat different results, but the process is basically the same.

I have also put together a video that takes you through these steps in about ten minutes. You might want to use both the video and the directions below as you work on your computer.

Monday, October 10, 2011

May 2011 Walt Disney World Trip Report - Day 9

Day 9 – 5/29 – Epcot & Departure Day

We took our time packing up and checked out right about 11am. We put our luggage in the back of the SUV and headed over to Epcot. We had late lunch reservations (2pm). We started off with some family photos in front of Spaceship Earth, grabbed some FastPasses for Soarin’ and then headed over to see Captain Eo.

DW and I remember seeing Captain Eo on our honeymoon. Let’s just say, it doesn’t hold up. At all. The 3D technology was horrible, the print was dark, the special effects looked like claymation and story was pretty laughable. Plus we had to wait about 20 minutes for the show to start.

After Captain Eo we rode Figment, and DD spent some time playing with the interactive exhibit at the exit.

From there we used our Soarin’ Fastpasses…

…and headed over to Coral Reef for lunch. It’s hard to get a good photo in there, so this one is super enhanced.

After lunch we still had some time to burn before we needed to leave for the airport, so DD squeezed in another KP mission in France.

She needed some help understanding what she was supposed to be looking for here.

Right in the middle of saving the world, Serveur Amusant came out for his balancing trick. The Chef enlisted my help to get down off the table, which DD thought was hilarious (she accompanied me for moral support).

While DW shopped in China for a thank you present for the people watching our cat while we were gone, DD and I went over to Canada to catch Off Kilter. It’s another one of those things I always wanted to do but had never gotten around to. I managed to catch the second half of their last song, so I guess technically that’s done.

We took one last ride on the Friendship Boats…

…played a little bongo drums…

…and then headed for the airport. I received a text that our flight had been delayed a couple of hours, so we decided to stop at Downtown Disney so DD could pick up a souvenir at World of Disney. The parking lots were jammed full – there was some kind of dance competition going on. It was a pain to try to change shirts in the car with people blinkered hoping to take our space as soon as we were through.

We got to the airport with a little time to kill, and we lucked out to find these chairs unoccupied – they have power and USB hookups so we were able to charge our stuff for the flight home.

Our flight left around 10pm, already about 2 hours past DD’s bedtime, so she was wiped out and fell asleep on the plane.

It was well after 1am by the time we got home, but it was a great trip, and we’re looking forward to getting full use of our Annual Passes with one more trip in October before they expire!

Friday, October 7, 2011

May 2011 Walt Disney World Trip Report - Day 8

Day 8 - 5/28 – Magic Kingdom & Yehaa Bob

This was our “Fantasyland at Rope Drop” day, also known as the “Dumbo Dash.” We arrived at the Magic Kingdom in time for the Welcome Show, counted down with Mickey and quickly headed down Main Street U.S.A., through Cinderella’s Castle and into Fantasyland to the Flying Dumbos. They were completing a test run when we arrived.

We got onto the first cycle. I rode with DD while DW and DGM rode together.

 I like to try to get a good picture of the castle from atop the Dumbos. This one didn’t turn out too badly.

From Dumbo, we headed over to Pooh. The time stamp on this picture is 8:10am (park opened at 8am today) – so you can appreciate just what it’s like, even on a busy weekend like Memorial Day Weekend, to arrive early. I always tell people that we’ll ride more rides in the first hour than we will the rest of the day. I also reassure them that after that first hour, which is a little “purposeful” (rather than “hurried”), we’ll have the whole rest of the day to amble about.

We had ridden Pooh earlier in the week with FastPasses, but going through the standby queue we were able to check out some of the new interactive features.

This is the new Honey Wall that is fun to play with. I tried not to think about how many grubby hands had been touching this thing before me. Oooops, too late.

After Pooh we rode Peter Pan, and coming out we saw Mary Poppins all by herself, so we grabbed a quick photo.

I had never noticed the Sword in the Stone before, even though I knew about it and saw it in so many trip reports. After posing with Mary Poppins, it was right around the corner, so we each gave it a shot. DD rooted DGM on, but alas, no magic for us.

We rode Snow White (soon to be gone to make way for the Fantasyland Expansion) and then headed over to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups. We usually all ride together, and when DD asks to ride again, I bravely take the bullet. This time, with DGM along, all four of us squeezed into a tea cup. There’s always joy and smiling before the ride starts.

…but as we start spinning faster and faster, for people over 10, that joy starts to turn into… something else…

 …and as DD screams to make it go faster, all of the adults start to wonder how much longer this ride goes. DD laughed and laughed when I showed her this picture. She screamed, “Gramma looks seasick!” Gramma confirmed that she did indeed.

From the Tea Cups, it’s on to Tomorrowland to ride Buzz. We can usually ride 3-4 times without any wait at this time of day. And since none of us particularly care for Space Mountain, that’s pretty much it for the first crucial hour. We stopped on the Tomorrowland Bridge to get some family pictures.

For some reason, the PhotoPass photographer asked us all to make muscle arms, so we did. I expected that there would be some sort of enhancement that would make sense of this pose, but there wasn’t. And so 50 years from now our great grandchildren will wonder why their ancestors were making muscle arms at Disney World, and conclude that it was because of the greenhouse gases.

There was one enhancement which came out great. The photographer asked DD to jump, and this was the picture that resulted. It really looks like she’s being lifted up by the balloons, don’t you think?

Our next destination was BTMRR for the rootinest tootinest ride this side of the Pecos, but on our way through the castle hub area we spotted the Dapper Dans who had a very special song for the birthday girl. I missed the very beginning of it…

On to BTMRR. I always try to get this shot with the castle in the background. It doesn’t seem so small in person, but in the pictures it always looks so far away.

DD and I rode a couple of times while DW and DGM waited. After that it was time for an ice cream break, so while we waited for the Pirate Tutorial to begin, we enjoyed Dole Whips and Mickey Bars.

Before the show, Jack Sparrow’s assistant Mac came out and entrusted DD with the important job of standing on the rope so it didn’t move.

Later DD was conscripted into Jack Sparrow’s crew.

After the Pirate Tutorial we rode Pirates of the Carribean and, in keeping with the nautical theme, headed to Columbia Harbor House for lunch. I don’t have it in my notes, but I remember it took a really long time to get our food. It was about noon by the time we were finished so we got on board the Liberty Belle and took a ride.

Sort of like Titanic, but also, not really at all like that.

Having just finished the first three Kingdom Keepers books, we were on the lookout for this area. It figures prominently in a few different parts. I tried to convince DD that those were real people and she almost bought it, but really didn’t believe me.

This is kind of how we all felt about halfway through the ride.

 We were pretty tired by this point, so we headed back to the hotel. We bid a fond farewell to DGM, did some swimming and took a nap.

Dinner plans were at Grand Floridian CafĂ©. I don’t think I’d ever want to stay there, but the lobby at the Grand Floridian is beautiful.

 There was also a jazz band playing – the Grand Floridian Orchestra or something like that. While we waited for our table we listened to the music. Dinner itself was OK. I would have been more disappointed if we had ben paying out of pocket. It wasn’t so much that anything was *wrong*, but the service was really slow (almost indifferent) and the food was just OK.

From the Grand Floridian we drove over to the Port Orleans to catch the Yehaa Bob show. We had heard a lot about it but it had never made our agenda before. It was a real blast! It’s a family-friendly sing-a-long. He gets the kids up on the stage a few times, and also has the adults up there too. I believe this was “The Green Grass Grows All Around.”

We’re planning on going back again in October. After the show Bob poses for pictures with everyone. He autographed a photo for DD.

And then posed for the family picture.

His first set starts at 8:30 and goes until 10. After the show we headed back to the hotel for our final night. Up next, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

May 2011 Walt Disney World Trip Report - Day 7

Day 7 - 5-27 – Animal Kingdom & Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

Our rope drop plan at Animal Kingdom is different from anyone else we’ve heard of. DD has tried Expedition Everest a couple of times, but has firmly decided that she doesn’t like it. Any EE riding that DW and I get to do is usually done Single Rider Line style.

So, while most of the park opening crush is to get to EE or the Safari, we head straight to Kali River Rapids. We poncho it up, get on board, and stay on as long as they’ll allow (or until we see people starting to queue up). We usually ride 3-4 times, but DW and DD set a record of riding five straight times a couple of years ago.

After a couple of times riding, I got off and let DW and DD continue. My mother (DGM) was driving in from Tampa and I went over to meet her near the Safari. Shortly after she arrived, DW and DD came over excited to inform us that they had tied their record of five straight times on Kali.

I grabbed us FastPasses for Safari, and then we boarded the train for Conservation Station/ Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

After the train pulls into the station, you have about a five minute walk to the building where the exhibits are. They were going to be doing a physical on a Golden Tamarin, so while I staked out a spot by the viewing window, DD and DGM were brave enough to pet this snake.

We waited about half an hour for the medical staff to bring the Tamarin out. When they did, there were so many people around the operating table that we couldn’t see anything. We ended up watching on the nearby monitors, which was kind of like traveling to Walt Disney World to watch the most boring and poorly filmed nature documentary ever. It didn’t stop DD from capturing the “excitement” on video.

After the Tamarin encounter, we made our way around the building, with me deftly avoiding anything with eight legs (not a spider fan). There were two characters on hand for greeting – Rafiki and Pocohontas.

There were basically no lines for either of them, so the interaction was great. No PhotoPass photographers, though, so the pictures were not.

There’s a petting zoo out behind the building, and even though I had read (in multiple places) that your local zoo probably has a better petting zoo, I didn’t want to believe it. I should have. There were basically goats. DD kept chasing this guy around.

In the history of goats, there have probably never been as well-brushed goats as these. And goats have been around along time so that’s really saying something.

Seriously, don’t bother going to Conservation Station/Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Lesson learned.

After that we had lunch at Flame Tree BBQ. DW went off script and got the fruit platter with yogurt dip. A week of eating more food than usual, mostly steak and ice cream, will make you do things like that. It was almost instantly regretted – it didn’t look anything like the picture on the menu. DGM’s BBQ Chicken Salad, however, looked awesome.

From there we went to the Festival of the Lion King, and then headed back to Africa to use our FastPasses for the Safari. I realized two things as I was preparing this report:

1.      I always take way too many pictures of the animals on the safari.
2.      They are never of the lions (they’re always hiding).

We did get a really close up encounter with a hippo, so I’ll share that one.

After the Safari and wandering around the Pagani trail to look at the Gorillas, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up before our Chef Mickey’s dinner.

Since DGM was staying with us for the night, we showed her around the place a little. As soon as we looked out onto the savanna, DD saw that there was a bunny eating grass near the watering hole below our balcony. She declared that she needed to draw it, and she got her notebook and colored pencils and went to work.

After a quick change, it was on to Chef Mickey’s. I’m not a huge fan – the food is just OK, the wait to be seated is long, the prices are kind of steep – but on the Dining Plan it’s not the worst value. We arrived a little early, hoping to get seated a little early, but we ended up waiting about half an hour and by the time we sat down we were starving.

Building upon DD’s discovery of clams at Crystal Palace, she tried, and liked New England style Clam Chowder. But she ate way too much food too fast (mac and cheese, pizza, etc.) and got a little stomach ache. We tried walking around the Contemporary to see if she would feel better but it didn’t really help. We still managed to get pictures with the Fab Five…

…as well as twirl napkins in the air to some unintelligible song.

With full (overstuffed) bellies, we headed back to the hotel. DGM brought her twin-size Aerobed which we set up on the floor between the sofa bed and the regular bed. DD slept on that, and was very excited about it, while DGM got the sofa bed. It was certainly cramped, but doable for one night.

Tomorrow, the Dumbo Dash, and "Gramma looks seasick!"