Saturday, October 4, 2014

Almost Flawless OSX 10.9 Mavericks Install

     The last time I updated my Hackintosh system, it was Lion 10.7.3.  Back then, there was no Unibeast and I had to utilize a different bootloader instead of Chameleon due to some of the "unrecommended" or non-OSX86-tested hardware I have.  Also, instead of the popular iBoot boot disk, I had to do extra research to discover Hackboot.  It took many weekends and numerous hours to perform the install, and most of the hours I recall were devoted to injecting kexts (hardware driver scripts that are used by Mac OSX to recognize and run, you guessed it, hardware) into standard drivers, specifically for the GPU, WiFi and LAN functionality.  While I maintained the same kernel flags in (GraphicsEnabler=Yes, npci=0x2000), I had to add hex data to enable QE/CI with my specific GPU using EFIStudio.  

     It was substantial work, but ultimately, I did get almost full functionality with my system. I say almost, because there were two things that still had kinks:  sleep/wake using the Magic Mouse via Bluetooth (using a DIY Bluetooth chip I got from an old Macbook and soldering the wires to an internal USB header) would allow for manually putting the system to sleep or using hotkeys but it never would power down on its own, and whenever the system wakes from sleep, the CPU temps would go up from 39 degrees Celsius at idle to 45-51 degrees Celsius.  I tried to fix these by looking up scripts to repair Intel Speedstep which I read was the root of the sleep problems.  All my efforts were to no avail, so I decided to just let these issues be and still use the system.  Due to this rigorous process, I felt no desire to iterate my efforts when another update was available from Apple.  I did not even bother when Mountain Lion came out.  I always keep in mind that an actual Applestore-bought Mac Pro with equal specifications as this machine would have set me back around $2800 whereas this one cost a fifth of that amount to build.  As long as I can use my image editing software on this system and benefit from the power of its Xeon processor, I still get my money's worth no matter what.

     Fast forward two years.  Steve Jobs has already moved on to the Great Beyond.  Apple has a new captain steering the ship.  With these changes, a multitude of unexpected developments occurred - a 7-inch iPad Mini that Jobs was so resistive in producing while he was still around, aesthetic changes to iOS and Mac OSX, and the production of the first "low-cost" Apple product ("Gasp!" reacted the Apple fanboys) which became the iPhone 5c.  And for the first time in company history (as far as I know, although I could be wrong), Apple released a free Mac OSX version - 10.9 Mavericks.

     Free, posted Apple all over their website and on the App store.  Free, posted all the forums and groups online.  And so, having gotten over my arduous experience of two years ago (and dammit, did I mention it is free?), I decided to don my computer glasses once again to subject myself to another hair-pulling, head-banging, eye-reddening, all-nighter exploit - one abundant with cursing, sighing, groaning and ultimately, screaming at this inanimate yet animate object that is the cause of both joy and sorrow and delight and disdain (but the new software is, again, FREE, so...).

     After downloading the approximately 5 GB file from the App store, I logged in to my favorite forum -, so I can apprise myself of the latest software tools and most importantly, the most recent experiences of other Hackintosh hobbyists from all over the world with this newest incarnation of OSX.  I immediately noticed several developments after spending a few minutes reading the forum posts and administrators' guides:  

- the installation process has become so much more streamlined since I last performed one and this is certainly good news as far as convenience and time are concerned.  Gone are the days when I had to switch between loader disks and OSX installers and installing the installer on an installer partition and etc, etc.  Gone are the days when I had to run Kext Utility numerous times to install kexts of different OSX versions to get functionality from different pieces of hardware.  And gone are the days when I had to run so many different pieces of other support software so other background functions work as they should.  Nowadays, there are only two things one will need: UniBeast and MultiBeast.  Everything else is icing.

- the Hackintosh community has gotten so much bigger, and so much more popular.  This is good.  And this is bad.  When something becomes too popular, it invites idiots and half-assed, mine-is-bigger-than-yours jerks.  One thing I can relate to this is I have a cousin who was always into cycling even when we were barely teenagers.  His dad, my uncle, has always been into road bikes as far as I can remember.  From then until now, they still clock hundreds of miles a week every single week.  They tell me that in those pre-Armstrong days,  not a lot of people really enjoyed bikes as much as some claim now.  Back then, when you hear somebody is into cycling, it was usually the newspaper delivery guy who races on weekends, a real hobbyist and fan, or the local bike shop owner.  Then Li(v)e Strong happened.  Suddenly, every person going through a midlife crisis is pedaling along the sidewalk, bedecked in cycling jerseys screaming brand names I can barely read let alone pronounce.  Now every other rich person in the community belongs to a "cycling club" but sometimes all they really do is assemble at a local park or shopping mall parking lot, their fat, guts, butts and balls squished into their hypertight custom-made outfits (they remind me of tubes of toothpaste) standing next to their hyper-expensive, hyper-high-end, custom-made bikes.  They would probably pedal a few laps around their cars just to go through the motions, and I would see some falling down doing the boogie woogie trying to disengage their shoe clips from the pedals.  You will see the same phenomenon happen to any fad.  Counter-strike.  Photography (or rather, the obsession with DLSRs - does not matter if one really knew how to satisfactorily use them or understand what DoF or Circle of Confusion mean).  Marathons.  Badminton.  Cars (especially after the first "The Fast and the Furious" movie came out).  Breakdancing.  Even DoTA.  So while growth is good, a good thing can attract a substantial number of witless wonders, too.  But as with all things, no one can really do anything about it.  One can rant like I just did, and it feels good.  Time to return to the main topic.  I entered the motherboard BIOS and removed all overclocked settings on the CPU and RAM.

    While the process is so easy now, it actually felt anti-climactic that all I had to to do this time was install UniBeast on an 8 GB USB drive and copy Multibeast into the same drive, plugged it in and booted into Chameleon, typed in the usual kernel flags (in this case, -x, PCIRootUID=1, and GraphicsEnabler=Yes), and let Mavericks install.  It almost felt uneventful.  Like listening to microwave popcorn pop.  For some reason, I miss the pursuit that was involved in my last install - the pursuit of functionality and perfection through problem-solving, planning, logic and research.  Or maybe I am just a masochist.  I have older hardware than most hobbyists have on the forum, plus a not-so-popular motherboard to boot.  I always had to extract EFI strings using EFIStudio and OSX86Tools into XML files and produce hex codes I can use to run my GPU and ethernet - versions of hardware that were never fully supported by popular tools out there, and as both are end-of-life, almost obsolete models, I do not think anyone would bother taking the time to perform legacy fixes.  I miss the thrill of hunting down solutions and sharing ideas in the forums, instead of downloading automated bootloaders and driver/fix all-in-one installers.

     Once Mavericks finished installing, I ran MultiBeast (before rebooting) with the following options:

Drivers -> Disk -> 3rd Party SATA
Drivers -> Misc -> ElliottForceLegacyRTC
Drivers -> Misc -> EvOreboot
Drivers -> Misc -> FakeSMC v5.3.820
Drivers -> Misc -> NullCPUPowerManagement
Drivers -> System -> AppleRTC Patch for CMOS Reset
Bootloaders -> Chimera v2.2.1
Customize -> Boot Options -> Basic Boot Options
Customize -> Boot Options -> Use KernelCache
Customize -> System Definition -> Mac Pro -> Mac Pro 3,1
Customize -> Themes -> tonymacx86 Black

Realtek ALCxxx Without DSDT ALC887/888b Current v100302
Realtek Lnx2Mac's RealtekRTL81xx v0.0.90

Boot Options: Generate CPU States
                     PCI Root ID Fix (or PCIRootUID=1)
                     Use KernelCache
                     1080p Display Mode

System Definition : Mac 3,1 (Mac Pro)

     When MultiBeast declared success in installing the above options, I removed the Unibeast drive and rebooted the system.  I accessed the BIOS again so I can reset the overclocked values (the Xeon processor runs 2.53 GHz at stock but I have it running at 3.40 GHz with a Hyper 212 Coolermaster fan, and the 8 GB of 1333 MHz RAM is running at 1432 MHz), then proceeded to booting into OSX.

     The boot process went without incident and the usual setup question screens popped up before I can access the desktop.  There were no requirements for additional boot flags such as -v or -x, and certainly no diving into the /Extra folder to fix resolution or sound.  

     The first feature I wanted to evaluate is QE/CI of the GPU.  In other words, I found a good excuse to play Starcraft II and DoTA 2, and both played wonderfully as I enjoyed the next hour.  From time to time, I would check the temperatures on the 8 cores of the CPU, and what do you know, they all stayed between 34-36 degrees Celsius.  

     I could not believe the temps at first so I decided to let the system power itself down.  This provides me the opportunity to test wake-sleep cycles and as I have shared above, increase in temperatures after wake.  After 5 minutes, the monitor dimmed.  Then another miracle happened.  After 10 minutes, the CPU slept by itself.  I could never get that to work before - I had to manually click sleep or hold Command-Option-Eject together for sleep.  I let another 10 minutes pass by before I woke the system then assessed everything - Bluetooth, mouse, keyboard and WiFI all work.  And most notably, the core temperatures stayed where they were pre-sleep.  Finally, after all those long hours of trying to repair Speedstep, Apple decided to fix the damn thing themselves.

     One last small problem I discovered was logging in to iMessage.  Every other account worked - iBooks, iCloud, iTunes, Appstore.  I could not get my messages to sync via iCloud but in no time I found this fix courtesy of [jaymonkey] at the tonymacx86 forums:

<a><font color=#339999>How to Fix iMessage</font></a>

     Subsequently, everything was smooth sailing.  I returned my files from my Time Machine backups and from the NAS drives and this took another 45 minutes due to the large NEFs from various jobs.  I also reinstalled important software involved in monitoring and benchmarking, support apps for image editing and, of course, more games.  Overall, the whole process took two hours tops, not counting the extra hour playing DoTA 2 and Starcraft II.  I actually had more problems making the Unibeast drive (due to older USB drive issues fixed with the easiest fix of all - buying a new drive now that they are all a third of the price at same capacity) than performing the OSX installation.

     Overall, I rate my Mavericks installation experience as excellent.  Although I tried to find more information about this and I do not think Apple will ever admit it publicly, I believe they have relaxed some restrictions on their beloved OSX when it comes to supporting third-party hardware as evidenced by the ease of the install. That, plus due to the excellent work of Hackintoshers everywhere we can finally install OSX on third-party hardware without a ton of the previous headaches. I gratefully applaud the work and dedication of this amazing community.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How Do You Like Them Apples?

     Someone I know asked me "Why are you posting all these things about your Mac?" , and it dawned on me that not all people know what it is that I, along with the rest of the OSX86 community, are doing or are showing (by means of this blog or by means of a few forums on the Internet).  I realized that only a very few among the population probably know what the big deal is about why we get so giddy and euphoric when we get successful system updates, or when we finally have the sound card functioning, or when we attain full resolution with our graphics cards, when every one and their uncle can update their Macs with a few mouse clicks.

     The fact of the matter is:  I don't have a Mac.  I have a Hac(k).

   A Hac(k) is when you assemble your own system "almost entirely" (more on this later) out of non-Apple branded parts.  You buy a regular motherboard (from Fry's or Newegg or wherever you get your electronic jollies) and buy a standard hard drive, and a standard DVD-RW drive, and a standard graphics card, and whatever else you need to assemble a functioning computer system.  The one thing (not the only thing, though) that you should buy from Apple is Mac OSX.  You should not download from some torrent site, nor should you get some copy from someone else.  Once you get all these, that's when the magic begins.  It is like putting a Maserati engine inside a Japanese car.  You tweak it, you curse it, you love it, you spend too much time on it - until it works just like the way you want it to.

     A little backgrounder: Mac OSX is designed and supposed to work only on things made by Apple.  But.... when one can make it work without modifications (Vanilla install) on other systems, it makes for a very enjoyable hobby (if you are into this sort of thing, but if you're the type who thinks being a geek means just being able to play DoTA, or that you watch Anime, then save yourself from the headaches that follow).  

     Don't get me wrong, I do like Apple products, and I do own quite a few of them. But the thing is, an Apple product is like a steel vault - it functions the way it should almost without failing and will last for a long, long time, and it almost never fails you and your high expectations, but in the end, it is all it is, a steel vault.  You can tweak it a little bit, and modify it here and there somewhat.  But when it does fail, and you have to talk to some half-wit kid in a blue t-shirt who thinks he is your personal conduit to Palo Alto and who does not have any idea what a Boolean or an EFI string is and he tells you that you need to buy a $400 graphics processing card to replace the one that died on you (and you can only get it from Apple, of course), you might be happy accepting your fate in your little corner of the world.

     This is the reason why there are OSX86 or Hackintosh forums.  When you take a look at Hackintosh forums, you see all these people from every country in the world doing some kind of show-and-tell, doing whatever marvels or miracles they're accomplishing with their systems. And the best thing is, they are all excited to share their solutions (like this blog) to anyone and everyone in the Hackintosh community who might be interested, and help anyone who are in need of solutions in running their systems.  Most, if not all, of these people own real Apple and Mac products, but they would like to go beyond the buying, the fad-surfing and the posing. They don't feel the need to be proud of what they can buy ready-made from a store (like some people you, or I, may know or are acquainted with).   There's no fun in that, as anyone can buy anything these days no matter what, because this is the new way of the world.  Buy now, think of the consequences tomorrow.

     What most people in the OSX86 community like is the challenge, and the challenge is in the what-does-not-work, not in what works.  "What works" is boring, you can buy "what works", and "what works" comes to you gift-wrapped in a box.      

     You have to realize that we do this because we are proud of the possibility to bend (not break) programming and system rules, to have fun, and to be involved in intellectual interaction along the process.  So for those who did not know before, well, now you do.  So now, how do you like them Apples?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

10.7.1 Success

I updated my system using the combo update.  There are two ways to fix sound (for this particular motherboard - a Gigabyte H55M-S2V F3):

1) If using VoodooHDA, the 10.7.1 update will cause a kernel panic after reboot.  Don't panic. Boot with Hackboot, reinstall Voodoo kexts using Multibeast 3.8.0 and everything will be ok after the next reboot.

2) If using GigabyteALC888bautoHP.kext, then reinstall AppleHDA.kext from 10.6.4 and HDAEnabler.kext into Lion/Library/Extensions using Kext Utility or Kext Helper B7, run System Utilities from Multibeast to rebuild cache and permissions, and you're good to go.
         Everything else works, and I noticed a faster boot up sequence after the update.  I had my Xeon X3440 running at 3.55 GHz before, but decided that I did not need that much horsepower.  I toggled it down to 3.4 GHz instead, and the idle temps are running at a cool and steady 35-37 degrees Celsius for all 4 cores (maxing out at around 54-58 degrees Celsius at full load).

    Now Running (With The) Lion

         Finally, I've had success with my Lion install. I have tried several paths for a good week and a half before determining the best way to do it (in my situation and with my hardware).  I first followed Tonymacx86's guide to the letter by upgrading my fully working 10.6.8 system to 10.7, but I could not get past [PCI Configuration Begin].  

         I learned of two ways that I could boot into Lion when I got this error: either delete GeForce.kext (which allowed me all resolutions from my graphics card, with all functionally in the system EXCEPT QE/CI, which prevented me from playing Starcraft 2, or use Aperture/iMovie/Frontrow/etc) OR replace AppleACPIPlatform.kext and IOPCIFamily.kext to their Snow Leopard 10.6.7 counterparts, but also blitzed my video card and only allowed for 1280x1080 resolution. 

         I've tried all kinds of fixes, from replacing all the GeForce and GL kexts to the previous versions, to booting with npci=0x2000, PCIRootUID=1, -v, -x and all kinds of flags, but all to no avail. Good thing I made working clones of my 10.6.8 system, as well as all my installs with close to full functionality including the xMove installer partition, which really came in handy later in the process.

         After trying several ways and reading various forum topics, I was able to come upon Hackboot, which in function is just like iBoot except it allows you to boot into Lion and the xMove Lion installer.  I decided it was better to go ahead and do a clean install of Lion after acquiring a copy of Hackboot. I was disappointed that even after doing a clean install, I still came upon the same errors, and still could not get QE/CI from my video card even with a fresh Lion partition. I still had to delete GeForce.kext to fully boot the system, get all resolutions but no Quartz extreme at all. 

         I played around with this new clean install for a couple of days albeit sans QE/CI, just so can  look under the hood and play around with it as I was able to get on the internet.  After a while, I decided to do another clean install on a separate partition.  I wanted to just gut out whatever kexts were not functional without having to worry since I already had that other partially functioning partition to go back to in case.  At this point I was already strongly contemplating buying new hardware due to frustration, and I was already looking at new graphics cards and mobo/processor combinations, while checking the forums to see which ones are most functional.

         A funny thing happened on this new partition/install, as I noticed that during Lion installation I was able to boot into the installer with full 1920x1080 resolution.  When it finished installing, I had full QE/CI on this new installation BUT no WiFi or bluetooth detection and NO WRITE permissions (so I could not run Multibeast, can't get into the S/L/E folders, no write access at all). It dawned on me that I just had to keep on trying new ways of getting functionality, and realized that my hardware was not at fault.  

         I tried to re-install on this new partition, but still I can't get any WRITE access at all, even if I created a separate partition and do yet another fresh install. I then decided to fully erase my hard drive (I had the partition images saved to external drives anyway) after I read somewhere online that my MBR might be corrupt from all the many re-installs and re-partitioning. 

         I tried the regular erase method  but it did not work (still had NO WRITE permissions) and so I used the 7-pass method in the Mac OSX installer Disk Utility. After this, I made the necessary partitions (three in my case, Lion, Installer, and Storage) including the 8 GB Lion Installer partition, and restored the image I created before on it.  Finally, here are my steps to getting a fully functional Lion Hackie:

    1) Inserted Hackboot CD and booted from it.

    2) Chose Installer from the partition choices. Hackboot always boots in verbose so it takes a little while. Once in the Mac OSX installer environment, I installed Lion.

    3) Still using Hackboot, I booted into my new Lion install.

    4) I used Multibeast 3.7.2 in order to use Chameleon loader instead of Chimera (Chimera was buggy for me in my first few tries, and Chameleon was very stable), and at first, I could not run System Utilities (results in an error with Multibeast).

    5) Installed GA-H55M-S2V f3 DSDT first, then installed Voodoo kexts for sound. Only after installing these two did I run System Utilities but ONE at a time (for some reason, this method works, I did this on a hunch) - repair permissions first, then rebuild caches after. This did not result in the previous error.

    6) Installed AppleACPIPlatform.kext and IOPCIFamily.kext from Snow Leopard 10.6.7 (10.6.8 results in [DSMOS has arrived] and [PCI Config error]) using Kext Utility. Ran System Utilities again (can run them together now instead of one at a time).

    7) Installed Chameleon bootloader, Mac 3,1 definition, JMicron36xSATA and IOAHCIBlockStorageInjector with System Utilities.

    8) Edited with npci=0x2000 kernel flag, GraphicsEnabler=Yes, Graphics Mode = 1920x1080x32 (for boot screen), Timeout=1.

    9) Edited smbios.plist for Xeon recognition (About This Mac showed Intel i7) with SMcputype=1281. Ran System Utilities.

    10) Rebooted to see if I don't get any errors at boot time.

    11) Boot was okay with no errors but NO QE/CI yet, and no resolution choices at this time. The older IOPCIFamily.kext and AppleACPIPlatform.kext knocked out my WiFi functionality (no WiFi card detected even though I had a DIY BCM94321MC Apple card stuck into a PCI-E x1 adapter, go figure).

    12) Instead of installing NVIDIA drivers (the NVIDIA drivers was what got me into that having-to-delete-Geforce.kext mess so I decided to go on a different route), I ran OSX86Tools and got the custom hex data for my PNY Verto 9600 GT 512 mb 256-bit.

    13) Edited again, this time to add device-properties=[9600 hex data].
    After running System Utilities for the Nth time, I rebooted, and finally got full QE/CI with my 9600 GT.  I also used EFIStudio to grab the EFI string for my ethernet device to prevent "This computer or device could not be verified" error in App Store.  I spliced the ethernet and video card EFI strings together, and inserted it into

    14) For the WiFi solution, I have junglistmassive and Gravewyrm to thank []. I downloaded the Broadcom43XXFamilyrev2.kext and installed it using Kext utility. At first, it was a no-go. After reading down the topic, I came upon Gravewyrm's post, which instructed deleting IO80211Family.kext, then installing the Broadcom next. This gave me WiFi after reboot.

    15) Edited for one last time to add Quiet Boot=Yes.  I also edited smbios.plist to make sure About This Mac identified processor as Xeon instead of Core i7.  Rebooted.

    16) Fully functioning Lion at last.

    17) I was getting the CMOS reset error, and even when I used ElliotForceLegacyRTC.kext, I was still getting a BIOS reset after restart whenever I let the machine sleep. I replaced AppleRTC.kext with the version from 10.6.7, and that fixed it.

         Hope this helps anyone out there. All I could advise people is make clones and images, and copies of all the things important (especially the ones that work) before doing anything, and keep at it. There are so many people with great ideas out there. Thank you to Tony, Macman, Insanelymac, junglistmassive, Gravewyrm, netkas,, and all the other contributors to the Hackintosh community.

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Whatever The Brand Of Choice, There Will Always Be A$$h0<#$

         Pardon me for deviating from this blog's usual content, which is the making and tweaking of Hackintoshes.  For the longest time, I have strongly felt the need to address an issue that has been around for as long as I can remember playing with cameras.  People closest to me know I have three interests in life: computers, photography and eating out with the missus (actually, four interests if you count a certain civic group that I belong to).    

         For some people, the world revolves around two brands: Nikon or Canon.  I've played with either brand at the start, then made a decision based on my personal needs.  The key word here is "personal", and in no way related to image quality or speed or strap length or what-not from either company's offerings.  I settled for Nikon, and have stuck with it ever since because as one gets deeper into the hobby, one makes a substantial investment into lenses and other equipment that is only compatible with either brand.  Such is the law of brand management for if one can hybridize everything, then I'd probably drive an Infiniti G37 with a Prius' engine, the chassis of a Mercedes and the interior of one of the newer Cadillacs.  We will never have this luxury.  And so, in turn, we get to have "brand loyalty" dumped on our laps.  

         When I first started shooting pictures years ago, I remember being asked by a Canon-using friend "Why Nikon?" then proceeded to lecture me about the advantages of his brand of choice.  I can understand brand loyalty, but what I can't understand is why focus so much energy on it?  A monkey with a 5D Mark II (or a Nikon D3x) is, in the end, still a monkey.  In a lot of ways, the monkey has better insight because it knows it is still a monkey, and knows it has no use for the camera (or the camera has no use for him).  I can think of a lot of people who should stay farther from cameras than this monkey.  I have seen amazing pictures taken by someone with an old XT, and have seen horrible pictures taken by another with a state-of-the-art 1D Mark IV.  I'll give a dollar to anyone who can tell me which one is the photographer and which one is the monkey.

         The incendiary that ignited me to write about this, though, is that whenever we have competing brands, it is always a given that we have to have brand-bashing from either side.  And what is additionally irritating is that the loudest voices from either side always come from the ones who are the most ignorant.  Canon is this, Nikon is that, Canon is white, Nikon is black, etc etc.  Who actually gives a rat's ass about expeed and throughput and digic?  Why can't we let these two companies worry about the specs and let them one-up each other to our benefit?  Why can't we let the images we create tell the story?  

         The simple answer is: because culturally we can't.  Bet you did not see this answer coming.

         Why cultural?  What does camera brand have to do with anything about Filipino culture?  Let me give you the "Good Will Hunting" abbreviated version of the answer to this question: because the 300-year Spanish conquest really did a very good stomping on our self-esteem, our pride and our self-worth.  Now comes the long version, so read carefully.

         We have always been a culture of short-lived fads (remember jetskis and waverunners, badminton, bowling, cycling? Remember Guns N' Roses? or Milli 'effin Vanilli? ).  Then again, most fads are short-lived, but we Filipinos really take it to the extreme.  We actually invented the "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" doctrine.  We seize the day, live for the day, plan only for the day.  It does not matter if the new goddamn D7000 is PHP60,000 and Juan only earns PHP12,000 a month, he has gotta have it, right?  

         Please don't get me wrong as I'm all for getting the most out of life, and one must do what makes one happy, but really, didn't you say that too when you purchased that PHP50,000 road bike not too long ago because it was the new thing, or when you invested in bowling shoes and a bowling bag and a bowling ball that is now collecting dust in your closet?  Remember that high end computer you bought because you thought you could make a career out of playing Ragnarok and World of Warcraft?  If one can afford it, by all means, be my guest, but in our country, most ONEs can't afford it.  Yet they force themselves to, because what if your friends post a picture on Facebook and you're the only one without a DSLR hanging around your neck (or a road bike hanging around your neck?)  What if you're running a marathon and you're the only one with the old pair of Asics from your older brother while the rest of the guys have their Vibram Fivefingers on?   You shudder at the thought.  It is also sad that a lot of the ones who can afford it get into the hobby for the wrong reasons.  All of a sudden, people I know from way back when who can't even draw a goddamn circle or can't hold a 2B and HB pencil right (or can't tell one from the other) are now into photography.  Please don't tell me you found your calling, because until further notice, you are still supposed to use a camera for taking artistic images and not use it as a fashion accessory.

         Now, Juan with DSLR in hand (thinking of what interesting things he can take snapshots of at work, although to be honest, all he wants to do is show it off), goes to work and coworker Juana sees the shiny new camera that Juan flaunts around with shameless bravado.  Now Juana has to have one, too.  Now, it is at this exact moment where "Spanish conquest" wiggles into the socio-genetic psyche that Juana has inherited from the many generations of Juanas before her.  When we were slaves (oops, I shouldn't say "slaves", I should say "conquered natives") from the 1500s on to the late 1800s, we can only dream of what the Spanish can own and do.  

         For three hundred years, Juan's and Juana's ancestors can only salivate at the material things their Spanish masters flaunt around in their vast haciendas.  They can only dream of marrying someone as beautiful as Dona Narcisa or Don Felipe, as they have been told and indoctrinated every single day of their lives that the ideal beauty is what the Spanish look like: aquiline noses, small faces, broad shoulders and fair skin.  One can never take a second look at Procopio, no, Procopio is ugly, he is short, has a flat nose, dark skin and a wide forehead that even the latest widest Asian fit Oakley Half-Jacket can't fit right!  From that moment on, it was all about the Christmas wrapper for the rest of us, because Juan's ancestors got brainwashed.

         And so we've been made to believe every single day for 300 years (that's 109,500 days, give or take) that we were second class animals, and we can only own what the Spanish allowed us to.  We can only get in their good graces, get promoted, serve them dinner or attend their parties and galas if we kissed starting from the gravel underneath their feet, right along their fair-skinned long legs, and all the way up to the glorious and Friar-blessed crack of their aquiline asses.  The same thing happened with employment, with government, with social standing, with attending church.  I remember a history professor of mine who mentioned that even how hot chocolate was served to Spanish guests was different from that of "indios" (Filipinos).  So, we got our first taste of crab mentality and never looked back since, as every single one of our ancestors tried to one up every one else by being favored by the master, by trying to get in the master's good graces, by conforming to what he deemed (and what the church at the time deemed) was right.  Sadly, our ancestors did not realize at the time that at the end of the day, they were all still dogs.

         And then, we were suddenly free after 109,500 days, give or take.  But the stigma of the mindjob they did on us is as damning as genetics.  Scarred for eternity as a people and as a culture.  Our view of beauty, our restraint for emotion (say or portray something emotional and people will immediately say "That's corny!"), our reluctance to express ourselves artistically (write poetry and you will hear snickers immediately) - every single nuance that resembles humanity has been mutilated to this mutated culture that we have right now.  And from the carcass of all that is supposed to be beautifully Filipino comes the stench of crab mentality, nepotism, corruption and greed.  I have to disagree when people say one of our traits is "hiya".  It is actually "walang hiya", when we laud politicians for having mistresses and for holding office for several generations and for building palaces out of the people's hard earned money.  It is "walang hiya" when we pay to be served first in front of people who have been lining up to get services from government offices since 3 in the morning.  It is "walang hiya" when we are the only Air Force in the world without a single jet fighter acquired which was produced within the last four decades, and yet, we still have an Air Force!  

         Our ancestors have been in awe for so long at the special treatment the Spanish received for 300 years, that they can not wait to be in their shoes and do the same. They yearned for that special treatment.  They yearned for that recognition that when they enter an establishment, people had to show them false respect.  They yearned to be special.  And very sadly, they handed all the yearning to the rest of us.  The yearning to be regarded in high esteem no matter how false, and the yearning to be special, no matter how shallow.  We are all consumed the yearning to look rich, no matter how material.

         I could ramble on and on, I mean this is a personal blog, for chrissakes.  But I can't stray too far from my opener.  So by now, Juana is itching and raring to get the Nikon D7000.  But she has a problem.  She can only get a Canon, since all her friends have Canons, and she can get one a little cheaper from someone she knows (possibly from's forums where she can twist someone's arm into letting her pay in installments, or possibly trade in her pre-loved Chanel purse and an Asus netbook that she rarely uses as she can't figure out Linux), and she can borrow lenses from her friends.  

         Well, human nature tells us that when Juan and Juana meet in the pantry and have their cameras side by side, they will discuss the differences.  And when they do, they will discuss why they like their cameras.  And when they disagree as to which features are there and which ones are not, then they will discuss (and argue as to) which is better, and when this happens, the proverbial crack becomes wider.  And wider.  Juan creates a Nikon users group, Juana makes a Canon users group.  Juan starts an online forum, Juana starts an online forum.  Juan puts up an exhibit featuring Nikon users, Juana puts up an exhibit featuring Canon users.  They go at it for the longest time, flaunting lenses, jeering at each other during events, etc etc.  This is crab mentality at its finest.  They get so busy focusing on their differences that they forget to do what matters most - TAKING PICTURES.

         I can't for the life of me remember a single instance when any single person I stood next to in any photographic exhibit (REAL photography exhibits, not after-workshop ones, or one that is organized by your own rotary or personal friend, I'm talking big budget ones in LA or Nevada) has said "Oh, look at this, he must be using Nikon as the skin color is yellowish and not natural-looking and the reds are exaggerated."  Not ONE single instance.  There was one time when I did hear a rather over-enthusiastic gearhead-seeming individual ask a curator IF a Canon was used, and the curator smiled in a sad sort of way, "No, the artist used a Linhof-Teknika."  The guy looked at the curator rather puzzled and walked away without additional questions.  Such is the sad world of Nikon/Canon bashers - that they don't realize that the big photographic ocean is populated by other wonderful, if not better, species, such as Hasselblads, Linhofs, Mamiyas, Pentax(s), Leicas, Holgas, Tachiharas, Sony(s), Voigtlanders, Arca-Swiss(s), Horsemans, Wistas, Zeiss, and Phase Ones to name a few.

         By this time, it is the Sinulog festival, and Juan and Juana are in the middle of the Ayala Business Park trying to hold back their respective sides from killing each other.  Rumble time!  Suddenly, out of nowhere, a Nano-coated 24-70 flew out of nowhere just as a Canon 1Ds Mark III flew off from somewhere among the throng of Canon masses, both projectiles hitting their respective targets.  There was no stopping both sides now.  It took the local police 8 hours to sort through the wreckage and separate the two rival factions (this is still record time as the police can take 8 hours just drinking one cup of coffee), and reported that although there were several minor injuries (a lens stuck here, a tripod stabbed there), there was sadly one fatality.  Upon close inspection, they saw that the person lying dead between the two hordes was, in fact, a Sony A900 user.  The story was that he was trying to catch the parade as it passed through the park, got caught in the fray, and was an innocent casualty of war.  He was the only one there who had the right purpose with the right tool, and died because of it.  When they viewed the pictures in the memory stick of his camera, they saw that he had actually taken excellent pictures.  So the story goes that they put up an exhibit of his images and posthumously honored him to be a Sony endorser.  They named a school of photography after him, and declared his birthday a national holiday.  Now everyone in Cebu wants to use Sony, hooray!

         So, this is why culturally, we have to have brand-bashing.  We can't allow other people to be potentially better than us, and we can't allow other people to have better things than what we have, no!  We believe that we have to have the best no matter what the cost, and other people have to see that we have the best.  You would be surprised as to how many people I know who feel the need purchase a whole new wardrobe everytime they go back to the Philippines just so when they get home, and people see them, everyone says, "Sweet Jeeeezus, you are a balikbayan, aren't you?"  Camera user groups back home consist of people with insane gear lust who get together, and everyone always wants to be friends with the guy with the ridiculously expensive camera equipment.  Never mind whether said guy has any remote idea about what a DOF scale is or how to use it on his PHP300,000 lens, everybody still loves him - and everybody loves to BE him.  There is almost always nothing mentioned about artistry, or technique, or even a subtle hint about DOF and the effect of filters.

         This is basically the essence of what our Spanish masters wanted each and every one of our ancestors to do in the past - start stepping on each other's heads so they can get to the top and sit right next to the master so they can be patted for a good job of pushing every one else down.  That was the best way to quell an uprising by the indios, right? Our ancestors wanted what the Spanish had for so long, that they even hated to be Filipinos.  How many times have you met someone and talked about ancestry, and they always have to plug it in there that they have Spanish or Chinese blood even if their looks are a far cry from it?  Nowadays, we all love to be Filipinos, and I see a lot of Filipinos wearing those shirts with the flags on the their chests as they are so en vogue, yet we hate each other's guts to kingdom come.

         I think that the time most people in our culture start feeling they don't have the best equipment is the time when somebody else has something more expensive.  Which should not be so.  I, for one, believe that I always have the best equipment.  These are not the most expensive, nor are these the most unique, nor are these the brand that all of my friends use.  I have the best equipment because I know how to use them.  I have the best equipment because I spend time learning how to use them.  I have the best equipment because I make the most out of them in any situation.  I have the best equipment because I use them for their intended purpose.  I don't bring my 200mm f/2.8 to parties so people can see how big it is.  I actually don't bring a DSLR to parties as it is cumbersome and heavy.  I use the camera on my phone.  That's how much quality I need for that situation.  I love taking pictures no matter what medium, no matter what sensor size.  I take pictures during my lunch break with my phone's camera.  I take pictures for this blog with an old, antiquated point and shoot.  I take panoramas with a 12-24mm lens.  I take macros and portraits with a bargain basement manual lens.  I take long hikes to nowhere in pursuit of something beautiful, even if it turns out to be nothing at the end of the walk.  I practice photography, and live photography.  The point in time I will stop is the minute I start thinking too much and worrying about what brand I'm using.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Pushed To 3.52 GHz

    I decided to push the envelope a little further even though I mentioned in my previous entry that I might not go beyond 3.21 GHz my system.  I noticed that at 3.21 GHz, everything seemed very stable, and the temps hovered at around 38-49 degrees Celsius.  When I pushed it to 3.3 GHz, I was still getting the same idle and loaded temps, so I thought why not push to a 1 GHz gain (stock is 2.53 GHz on my Xeon X3440).  After benchmarking, I received the above score of 10504.  I posted my score together with another but more costly and supposed to be faster (spec-wise system) - an i7-950 with 12 gigs of RAM - for comparison.   I left my 8 gigs of 1333 RAM at the 8x multiplier, and got it up to 1480 after OC.  There was another system posted on the benchmarking website - one with an i7 2600K - that score 10310.  I am still getting the same temps at 3.52 GHz (both idle and loaded) as I was with 3.21 GHz.  Not bad for a processor that costs about $70-100 less than the other two i7 processors I have mentioned above.

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    3.21 GHz Reached

    After much testing and benchmarking, I have reached my overclocking goal for this system.  I am going no further (unless the OC bug bites me again although not likely with this system anymore as I need it stable) as this is much more than I have originally planned.  Prime95 torture for 12 hours yielded average temps of ~65 degrees Celsius for all 4 cores/8 threads with no errors or KPs.  With Cinebench, this system scored higher than the sample i7-960 (also with 4 cores/8 threads), so for about $100 less in cost of a Core i7, I have achieved the same if not better performance than the more expensive processor.  This affirms my decision at the start of this project to get a Xeon instead of a Core i5 of the same price.  True that you can overclock the hell out of the Core i5 as well, but you get 4 threads instead of 8, plus of course the stability and quality of Xeons.

    At this point, I am waiting for HD 2000/3000 QE/CI functionality to be achieved in iBoot and Multibeast, as this is the final ingredient in my next project.  Once again, I would like to show my gratitude to the Hackintosh community, iBoot and Multibeast god Tonymacx86 and his legion of geniuses, and Apple for deciding to use Intel processors and for creating such wonderful software.