Alternative OS: MeeGo + Jolicloud

I spent the weekend doing a bit of searching around the web on alternative OS’s. Now that my little Hackintosh has been superceded by my mighty MacBook Pro, the poor thing sits unused in my home office just colleting dust. It was never a mighty machine, an Atom-based N450 in the Dell Mini 9 shell. The keyboard is cramped; function keys are mapped funny, and it wasn’t terribly large. At 9 inches everything was just a little bit different and frustrating to use on it. Bonus points were its 16-gig SSD that Dell later stopped offering as an option, an SD card reader, and it’s price: $299 on a one day sale.

I spent some time digging into two OS’s, with somewhat of the same aims: MeeGo and JoliCloud. I should mention that I installed both only in the USB key scenario, not actually loading a full installation.

Jolicloud promised to be the OS with the most initial satistfaction for me. It supports the vast majority of “netbook” systems already out there, and aside from needing to jury-rig my Wireless the first time worked quite well. The entire system promises a bevy of new, recommended, and lightweight cloud-based apps to help you get everything done.

Jolicloud App Directory

Jolicloud App Directory

The staples are there: Chrome, Gmail, VLC, Twitter, and other social networking toolsets. Generally it was was snappy, colorful and seemed well designed. It fit well with my small 9″ screen.

MeeGo also promised a cloud-based experience. The UI interface reminds me a bit of TweetDeck’s– things are running in a 3-column layout and are mostly very easy to read.

Meego Desktop

Meego Desktop

Apps are launched from category buckets and that’s how your “installed” programs are organized and sought out. I ran MeeGo in the same USB-boot key method as Jolicloud, but drivers for my device weren’t readily apparent. Video and audio worked; WLAN did not. Apparently I’m not alone in this. My entire trial was based upon being in a hard LAN environment which may have tainted my final review of the OS. What’s really promising about MeeGo is the variety of devices it wants to run on: mainly in-car devices, and connected TV embedded OS opportunities. They’ve got some substantial backing from Nokia (which I can only assume means there’s a Tablet-like device somewhere in the wings), and today Acer announced they will have MeeGo running on their future devices as well.

That seems to be a substantial alliance going against Google’s Chrome OS— I’m not sure what the ramifications of that are yet because the Chrome OS still isn’t out. I’m going to keep scouting for alternative OS’s, but for right now I think I’ll wipe the ol MacOS and load up Jolicloud for a bit. If I hate it, I can always continue my tour.

Bought a new 17″ MacBook Pro!

I took the plunge after Apple finally updated their (300 day old!) MacBook Pro line. I’m excited on many levels: this is the first laptop I’ve ever bought for myself first off. I’ve always had access to desktops that I built myself or with my dad as a kid. My most recent machine is the 4-core i7 from last year with HT, 8 processors showing up in Win7. Its been my beast but I haven’t had a whole lot to use it for. I packed it with an insane (at the time) amount of RAM, and a high-end video card to play games with. To my astonishment I ended up playing games from yester-year via Steam; Unreal Tournament, Descent 3 or games that didn’t require a whole lot of graphics complexity. Soon after my attention began to shift.

In March I picked up a Dell Mini 9 on a one-day sale for super-cheap. I’d become interested in iPhone AppDev and needed a machine at home to do it on. The Mini9 became the perfect Hackintosh for me to learn, love and eventually decide I wanted to try this for real. Everything was good until the pre-release SDK of the iPad which ran in a simulator that was larger than my entire display. So, I began waiting for Apple to refresh their line. In early January I made some predictions about what chips would actually be used. Let’s take a look shall we?

Most of the geeks I know and around the web seem to think that the Arrandale chips are destined to be in the next MBP’s. Based on what I’ve seen so far of package sizing, I’m projecting the following:
17? MacBook Pro Core i7-620M (2.66 Ghz -> 3.33 Ghz Burst) @ 35 watts in the rPGA pack
15? MacBook Pro Core i5-520M/540M (2.4/2.53 Ghz -> 2.93/3.06 Ghz Burst) @ 35 watts in the rPGA pack
13? MacBook Pro Core i3-350M (2.26 Ghz No Burst) @ 35 watts in the rPGA pack

I was definitely right about the 17″ and 15″s and power consumption requirements. The 13″ sadly did not see an upgrade, but I’m surmising that’s due to the high power consumption with the i3 chips and maybe even no real reason to go further. I also have this hunch that we’ll see the end of the 13″ MBP; it should have remained just a standard MacBook.

So back to my config:

2.66GHz Intel Core i7
500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400
SuperDrive 8X DL
MBP 17″ HR Glossy WS Display

I figure once I get Logic Pro installed I’ll be using an eSATA card on the EC slot and dumping my media there. I’m really excited; I can’t wait to see this thing on Wednesday!

The Roundup

First off, my grandmother passed away on Saturday morning. She was in her 70’s but had been in hospice for the past…almost two years I guess. Unfortunately I had to fly out to LA to do a gig at Microsoft’s PDC. I’m not sure what else I should be feeling or saying about her. I’ll miss her, but I’m just not sure what to do with it yet.

Anyways, I’m down here on the floor with a Hackintosh. This is how nerdy I am: I actually flew down with an external USB keyboard for my Hackintosh, but I figured out a way to get VNC and Internet Connection Sharing working from my primary laptop so I can at least use a full size keyboard.

My grand plan was to catch up with my Stanford U ObjC/iPhone dev program, but I don’t even know what happened to my day yesterday. I really want to keep up with auditing the class, but I’m sooo far behind… I think its the first time in a long while that is actually something I’m genuinely interested in: I actually wish I know had some disposable income to just pick a school and spend the time learning. I want to keep going with it to figure out if I want to spend $40k+ on an education, but life seems to get in the way.

This wasnt what this post was supposed to be about but whatever…

Apple to squash the Hackintosh…

…which is totally within their right, btw. According to many Net sources (but here I reference the article on my fave site, Slashdot) Apple is apparently killing installation within the Intel Atom CPU chipsets that power many netbooks currently. I’ll be the first to admit that the only way I got started with ObjC and the iPhone SDK is by taking a Dell Mini 9 ($299) and turning it into a Hackintosh to see if I could even figure out the SDK.

I was fairly successful at it, and my little Hackintosh is my learning and dev machine right now. However, I fully plan to by a fully-loaded MacBook Pro 17″ here in January when they update the line again. Hear that Apple? I hacked, but I’m buying your most expensive product because it actually worked out well for me. Can we ease up off the other hackers for a bit?

True, I did legally acquire my copy of the OS, but I know I’m actively violating EULA– this is also why I haven’t submitted any apps to the App Store; I didn’t wanna feel dirty about it. I can’t say I’m thrilled about Apple disallowing this install method, but at least its not retroactive. You can still do Hackintosh with Snow Leopard, you just won’t get any further updates. And isn’t that the point? Just to try it all out anyway and give someone proper funding when you can?