Thursday, September 30, 2010

Worst laptop ever?

The DV6 3084CA features what must the latest in crotch-scorching, carpel-tunnel inducing technologies to come out of HP's research labs.

On paper, it looks good, perhaps too good. Quad-core AMD with 8GB of ram and a nice graphics card, wrapped in a sturdy light-weight frame. Unfortunately, this machine is a object lesson in which technologies do not go together in a laptop, to whit:

  • Bluray drive and low-res screen
  • Beefy graphics card and poor ventilation
  • Portability and bad battery life
  • Small size and crotch-scorching technology

But wait, there's more! The latest in carpel-tunnel inducing research, combining what seem to be slightly-too-small and hard to press keys in a terrible layout (bonus points, the CA model has a bilingual keyboard, ugh!) with an over sensitive touchpad causing you to adopt the most painful typing position imaginable. Or perhaps your particular preference is for the terrible colour fidelity or perhaps the record setting pre-packaged bloatware (25 minutes to install it all!) or even the always on, always loud, never really accomplishing much fan. Either way, this machine has it all.

Monday, September 13, 2010

OS X Guest on VMWare Player

I’ve been using OS X in a VM under Windows using VirtualBox for some time now. While researching potential workarounds for some of its limitations (e.g. 1440x900 max resolution) I came across the VMsvga2 graphics driver for OS X under VMWare.

I tried this setup with VMWare Player 3.0, without VMsvga2, and was not impressed. However, VMWare Player 3.1.1 is much much better. With VMsvga2 it is a much better setup than VirtualBox. Better yet, rather than installing from scratch, which is a pain with VMware, I converted my VirtualBox image to a VMware one and then used the ISO and VMDK from here.

Not only is VMWare faster (at the moment) for OS X guests, with a couple of tweaks to the vmx file, it is also more stable. Here are the changes I made:

smc.present = "FALSE"
monitor.virtual_exec = "hardware"
monitor.virtual_mmu = "software"
guestOS = "darwin10"