The GAA & – it could be so much better

I’m a GAA fan. Not die-hard, but a what I would describe as a ‘keen supporter’. I’m not the ‘travel the length and breadth of the country following my home county’ type supporter, but I usually go to a dozen or so games each year and I really enjoy that time with family. I’m not particularly affiliated to any club – I’m a county supporter and attend both league and championship games from February through to September, and as many of them as I can possibly get to. The games I don’t see in person, I watch on TV – though I don’t go so far as to subscribe to Sky Sports for the privilege. We won’t go there!

As I’m not a member of a club, I buy all my tickets directly online, on the only site that sells them – I am a registered user of the site and the buying process is pretty straightforward in most cases. Despite some other claims they make, the only real advantage of being registered for the site is that it stores your payment details, making the checkout process a few steps shorter. Other than that, it’s a pretty basic and totally unpersonalised buying experience.

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Installing Mac OSX on a Dell Mini 9

I’ve just completed something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while – installing OSX on a Dell Mini 9. The process is detailed widely across several blogs online already, so I’ll refrain from explaining exactly how it’s done since that’s been done already. Instead I’ll provide links below to the best online resources for more information.

What I will say though, is that if you start off with the right hardware and software and if you follow the steps in the correct order this is a relatively simple install process and the end result is really fantastic. My Dell Mini 9 (16GB SSD option with no webcam, and Ubuntu pre-installed) cost me 380 Eur inc VAT, inc shipping. The machine runs really nicely, seems pretty-much 100% stable and compatible with all the hardware I’ve thrown at it. So the end result is a very usable, very functional Mac(ish) Netbook 🙂

Online resources for step by step instructions and help

This ZDNet blog post details the step by step process on what you need hardware and software wise to make this happen. That post also refers to the older, but slightly harder to read, Gizmodo post on the same process. If you follow both processes, and set aside 3 to 4 hours to complete it you’ll be ok. One thing that isn’t gone into in either post is how to deal with the recent OS X update to version 10.5.7. Both posts were written when the latest version was 10.5.6, and doing a software update to 10.5.7 needs some special attention.

Installing Mac OSX 10.5.7 on a Dell Mini 9
Once you upgrade to 10.5.7 during the install process, the DellEFI installer mentioned in the requirements won’t work. It will install with errors and when you reboot off the SSD, it will fail with a ‘No Operating System found’ error. When I did this, I looked back and realised that maybe by using the ‘Software Update’ method rather than the ‘Combo Update’ I had made a fatal mistake and would have to go back and start again. Not so. What you need to do at this point is reboot again off the Type11 cd, boot into OSX on the SSD with networking (-f option) and download the DellEFI 1.2 alpha 5 ( file here. Unzip this and install it on the machine with OSX 10.5.7 running and all will work well. You will now be able to reboot for the last time without the Type11 boot cd and begin playing with your new Dell/Mac Netbook.

Please note that I will not be answering any detailed questions on this process. If you need help, please refer to the MyDellMini forums here.

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Blu-Ray, HD DVD format war

A classic example of big corporate greed being bad for the consumer is the battle between the new high definition DVD formats, Blu-Ray and HD DVD. This on’e been going on for a while but with both formats now becoming more widely available, the consumer is starting to see the downsides. The consumer is being used by the corporate world, in this case specifically Sony and Toshiba, to decide who wins a monumental fight involving billions of dollars of investment in this new technology. Now that the heat is building up, and one side or the other faces losing, it’s interesting to read that Sony’s CEO wishes that it had never come to this. Naturally, his company will likely go bust if his bet on Blu-Ray and the PS3 doesn’t work out. The PS3 is on shaky ground based on the competition from the Nintendo Wii, and if the console doesn’t start selling in huge numbers in the run up to the holiday season Blu-Ray could be in trouble. Why ? Because the vast majority of Blu-Ray players are, you guessed it, built into the PS3.

It’s an interesting story, one you can read a lot more about on WikiPedia, but in the end it’s going to be a very costly investment in a dead technology and in the meantime, it’s you and I – Joe Schmoe Consumer, that will be in the middle of this massive format war.