One thing that really started to annoy me in the new Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard was how quickly my computer would lock after the screensaver kicked in. There appeared to be no delay as there had been in Mac OSX 10.5 Leopard. The experience was consistent across my two work computers – a Macbook Pro and a Mac Pro, and my Mac Pro at home. In my previous world running 10.5 I had been able to move my mouse really quickly once I noticed the screensaver kicking in and the process of the OS locking would stop. Under the new OS 10.6 this didn’t seem to be the case – the very second the screensaver was enabled, the OS would lock and I would have to enter my password to unlock it.
Thankfully it turns out that this is configurable. Under System Preferences -> Security, there is a setting which allows you to cause a delay before the password lock happens. Watch this very short video below to see how you can configure this delay and hopefully improve your Snow Leopard experience even more. This video was recorded using the new Quicktime Player screen recording function, and cut, cropped and uploaded to YouTube using iMove ’09.
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 (DellEFI1.2a5.zip) 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.