Building a Hackintosh

Last week I did something interesting – I built a computer that runs OS X. In theory, the only way you are meant to be able to get a computer that runs OS X is to buy it from Apple; in practice, Apple’s computers are built mostly using standard parts and if you get the same parts you can build a computer that supports OS X. I took on the challenge for a series of tutorials for Tuts+, the site I do most of my writing for.

I am writing this post right now using my Hackintosh. It runs great. There are a few quirks that still have to be teased out. A quick Google shows that almost no one has a Hackintosh that works perfectly first time. I am working on a series of three tutorials describing the part selection, hardware build and software setup that will appear on Tuts+ in the next few weeks.

The computer I built, while not ridiculously powerful, is still a very capable machine. It is mainly built around a 3.7GHz i5 processor and 16GB of RAM – perfect for photo editing! There’s also a video card with a gig of VRAM, although that’s not going to be used over much. Overall I’m pretty happy with it. It was a fun project and I’m looking forward to sharing the tutorials.

Fixing the “ducking” problem!

A tweet from Andy McKenzie this morning reminded me of a problem I used to have with Apple’s puritan autocorrect – every time I wanted to say “fuck”, “fucking” or “fucked”, my iPhone decided that I obviously meant “duck”, “ducking” or “ducked”. Seriously, unless you work as a duck breeder, I doubt anyone uses the word duck more than the word fuck. Fortunately there is a simple solution that I have been using for a while.

iOS let’s you create AutoCorrect shortcuts. A lot of people, including me, use them to fill in their phone number or email address just by typing two or three characters rather than the full string. You can also use them to solve the “ducking” problem. If you create a shortcut so that “duck” is the shortcut for “fuck”, “ducking” for “fucking” and “ducked” for “fucked” the AutoCorrect problem is switched – now you have to be careful not to invite your nephew to go and feed the fucks.

Creating a new AutoCorrect shortcut is simple:

  • Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts.
  • Click on the + in the top right corner of the screen.
  • Enter the word you want to AutoCorrect to in the top box and the shortcut in the second box and click Save.
  • Problem solved!

May Review

May was a mixed month in terms of a few things. A lot was going on which meant my long term goals took a backseat to dealing with the urgent short term stuff. The flipside of this was that the stress of the urgent things forced me to take time to relax – as a result I read a lot and I’m now 6 books ahead of schedule! My 30 day challenge of meditating also nicely fell into alignment with what was going on around me. I certainly noticed the difference to my focus and it’s something I’m going to keep in my daily routine going forward. Midway through the month I became aware of the guided meditation service Headspace. Not this month, but perhaps next, I will redo meditation for 30 days and work through their program.

Financially things were interesting. While I did not directly earn a lot, I set a few things up that look like they’ll have serious returns in the near future. June on the other hand is going to be a month of big financial returns.

Fitness was mixed. I managed to get in some good training for at the beginning and end of the month but had some situationally induced slack off in the middle. This is gonna get back on track this month.

I finally got around to doing something creative. I managed to get two good photo sessions done. The first was another street shoot in Dublin. I got three photos I was happy with from it. Two portraits and the moped in motion shot below.


I also got a second shoot where I played around with a macro extension cube and my desk cactus. The photos had a really nice abstract quality. You can see one of them in the header image and another below.


Creativity is also something I am going to push this month.

For June’s 30 Day Challenge I was tied between two ideas: 1000 words for publication a day or eight gym sessions a week. In the end I settled for the eight sessions as I will be doing a lot of writing any way but have other things going on that mean I may not be able to write every day. Yes, eight sessions is more than seven days which means I’ll be doubling up weights and jits on some days. This is intentional. Also, eight is a minimum goal rather than a set target. I’m also going to do a monthly challenge, in this case, to push my creativity, I’m going to create a 10 image series of my home town, Howth. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while and I’m excited to do it.

When you read this it will likely be on my new website. This is something I’m going to spend the first week or two of this month designing. This blog post will likely go live with the site.

April Review

April, like March, was another good month. For the most part I aced my sleep goal! I’ve been averaging three to four extra hours of sleep a week and mostly getting 6.5 to 7 hours a night. I can feel the effects and have more energy and focus because of it. Going forward, I want to keep this level of sleep.

Financially April was mediocre. Not bad per se, but I wasn’t able to focus on it and that shows. This month is going to be the same.

Bookwise I again kept on top of things and got through 5 books. Well on track for 52 this year.

Fitness was also great. I’ve been getting four weights sessions a week on top of three or four jits sessions. This is only going to increase coming into the summer. From June on I’m going to be aiming for four weights sessions and six jits sessions a week. That, however, is not this month.

This months challenge is something I’ve been considering for a while: meditation. I’m aiming to count to do 100 breaths – slowly – with a clear mind every day. This should give me around 10 or 12 minutes of meditation. The aim is to simply get to 100 so I can do it in blocks of however many I like throughout the day. On top of this I’m going to keep up with the sleeping and fitness progress I am making.

March Review

March was an interesting month. I managed to get my 20 sets of hill sprints done which kept fitness in check. Financially it was also a great month – to my surprise. I managed to get more work done than I’d thought and had a few new projects crop up.

Bookwise it also was quite good. I managed to get some decent reading done as well as some good time listening to audiobooks. I’ve once again got ahead of schedule!

For April I’m taking a different challenge. I’ve been reading a lot about the benefits of sleep and I think I am probably getting too little: between 4.5 hours and 6 a night. So my 30 day challenge is to try and get 7 hours sleep a night. Quite a pleasant one I think!

The non-work stuff that I mentioned coming due this month is actually far more likely to interfere with April and May so learning, creativity and unfortunately finance are going to take a hit. I start in a new gym though so exercise is finally likely to be on the up!