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!

Bulk Adding Words to OS X’s Dictionary

I had another tutorial released on computers.tuts+ at the end of last week. This one’s on bulk adding words to OS X’s spell check. Blurb and link below:

The OS X built-in spell check is great, but it is not complete. It often does not include technical terms or brand names. If you routinely use words that your Mac’s dictionary doesn’t contain, and don’t want the hassle of adding them one at a time, it might be worth your while bulk adding a list of words. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to do just that.

Check it out on computers.tuts+.

Two New Tutorials Online

I have two new tutorials up with the tuts+ network. The first, on computers.tuts+, is about Finder replacements on OS X. The second, on photography.tuts+, is about dodging and burning. Here are their blurbs:

Until OS X Mavericks, a replacement Finder application was a must for most power users. Basic features like tabs were missing from OS X’s default application, so to get an improved Finder experience you had to turn to third parties. With Mavericks, however, Apple has finally brought tabs to Finder. In this tutorial I’ll show you what replacement Finder applications are out there, what they can still add to your workflow and why they’re still worth getting.

and on photography.tuts+…

Dodging and burning, the selective brightening and darkening of areas of an image, is one of the oldest forms of image manipulation. While analogue photographers would have to carefully spend hours printing and reprinting each photograph to get the effect they desired, Adobe Photoshop allows us to use the same effect quickly and easily. In this tutorial, I’ll show you three ways to dodge and burn in Photoshop.

Go have a read!

Improve Productivity With Virtual Desktops From TotalSpaces2

I’ve yet another tutorial out with This one focuses on improving your productivity using TotalSpaces2. Here’s the blurb:

TotalSpaces2 from BinaryAge is the, self-described, “ultimate grid spaces manager”. It is built on top of OS X’s Mission Control and provides a great deal of control over your Mac’s work environment. In an earlier tutorial, I taught you about Speeding Up Your Life With Launchbar.

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to use a grid of spaces to efficiently swap between applications to improve your productivity.

It’s live now so go have a look!