entrepreneurship, Mobile, Software, startup

Death to the Cult of Stealth Startups!

Let there be light!

You might already know of my bootstrapped startup Gauss – The People Magnet. What some of you might not know is that I teach entrepreneurial students at universities, young hopeful startups at NEXT, keynoting events and F500* corporates that as a startup entrepreneur you need to:

  • Talk to everybody about everything all of the time
  • Expose yourself and your ideas to as many people (your potential users and customers) as soon as possible
  • Acknowledge and understand that no smart person or company will ever copy you before you have a validated and proven business model

I have come to realize that it is about embarrassingly high time that I start practice what I preach. It’s about time to start eating my own dog food. I’m spontaneously throwing everything out there to see what happens when you shine as much light from as many sources as possible on your ideas and assumptions instead of having them worshipped inside the cult of the stealth startup. I don’t expect much and I have nothing to lose but my vanity, so here we go.

I hereby declare death to the cult of stealth startups and pledge and acknowledge that I will:

  1. Publish and solicit feedback as broadly as possible on any and all prototypes before writing a single line of code (e.g. as features described in text, click-dummies or paper wireframes)
  2. Be ready to face any and all critique in public in any form or way, the more and more brutally honest the better
  3. Risk the embarrassment of being ridiculed and failing spectacularly in public
  4. Risk having my ideas stolen by competitors
  5. Only exercise the option to stop sharing everything in public, if and only if, I have a validated product-market fit or when I have a validated business model

As of now, I’m going to publish all prototypes instead of following the cult of the stealth startup. I LOVE your feedback going forward and you can use this form (so you can remain anonymous) or feel free to leave comments on this post in public. Be brutally honest. I’m ready to take it! :)

Here’s a scrappy video walk-through (and in no way am I apologizing for the poor quality, because I also preach it is better to have something instead of nothing!):

And here are two click dummies for you to test on your iPhone for yourself (they should sort of work on Android too, though).

The main click-dummy with core concepts. (Try this first for basic concepts and tap Robert Scoble to test features as his profile is the only interactive one)

This next click dummy will show you what happens when you get a notification from Gauss. (BTW, profiles are inactive, not tap-able in this version)

Let me know what you think. Is this a great idea or worst ever? Should we all remain loyal followers of the dark cult of the stealth startup or is it about time to let the public sunshine in? I shared this post on HN so feel free to continue the discussion there too.

g2_grab

*Caveat: Obviously, if you’re inside a F500 corporation, sharing within your enterprise is assumed, not necessarily with the public. That would obviously open up a can of whoop-ass from your legal department. Enterprise is funny that way.

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Software, Usability

Quick Thoughts on How to Improve the Download Experience in Internet Browsers

Update: It seems Safari 5.1+ together with OSX Lion’s “All My Files” Finder view implements something similar as I suggested. Funny!

Update 2: It seems Apple added the animation for the downloaded file swooshing down to the download folder with OSX Mountain Lion. Double fun.

After a recent discussion on @twitter with @limi and @philikon on the difference between the Firefox and Chrome Internet browsers, I started thinking about why I still find both browsers lacking in the download experience department.

For an excellent primer on how the different Internet browsers currently handle downloads I highly recommend reading @Limi’s blog post and come back to revisit this post.

I do not know about you, but I hate the Firefox Downloads window like the redheaded stepchild it is. The web-page-in-a-tab solution from Chrome (yeah, yeah, yeah – I know Opera did the tab thing first, but who uses that browser besides you?) doesn’t quite jive with me either.

Thus I decided to do this quick & dirty mockup of how the download experience in the browser could be improved.

Introducing the Browser Downloads Docking Menu

Browser Downloads Docking Menu (quick & dirty mockup)

I would think a slide in/out dock menu for downloads would be a better solution. This way you’ll always know where your downloads are and it enables context (page and download file viewable simultaneously, guaranteed) and visual/ spatial cues (e.g. in an OSX version you should animate the download file flying into the downloads dock menu).

Visual / Spatial Cues

Visual / Spatial Cues (quick & dirty mockup)

I think it’s important to visually show that the user’s intent to download has been registered, where the download can be expected to be found and what you can do next. If the dock menu is not out/showing already, it should slide out first, showing the user how and where.

Filtering & Recovery

Filtering & Recovery (quick & dirty mockup)

Some sort of parameters to adjust list view of downloads should be added, but not visible to the normal user as default. Should be extremely easy to understand and use for normal people. Should change and filter view live/realtime. The big fat “Show all” button is there to secure that the user can feel confident that she’s seeing everything and that all filters are off/reset.

Your Opinion

What do you think? Are you happy about the current download experience in your browser? How would you make it better?

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Software, Usability

How to Improve the List Experience in the TweetMag iPad App

Have you tried out TweetMag yet? It’s an exiting new iPad app that will let you comfortably read an aggregate of your @twitter feeds. The app is not totally unlike Flipboard, but it’s currently and it let’s you consume the content in a more flexible and enjoyable way in my personal opinion. However, the way TweetMag (as of writing) facilitates twitter list management sucks. I’ll suggest a quick and dirty fix to that below, but first, take a look at the sweet TweetMag app in their promo video:

The problem with lists in TweetMag

Right now, the process of adding and managing twitter lists in TweetMag can be a very painful chore especially if you are following many lists from one single user. You have to add each list separately, one at a time, by dragging the icon of a list from the menu bottom right to the top menue bar or rack (up to “TOP STORIES” and “CATEGORIES”). As that was not bad enough, you need to drill your way down the interface to find the same user again and open her lists again for adding the next list. And again. And again. And again. Ouch! And as if that wasn’t enough, you can’t even see which lists you have already added! That’s just silly and poor design if you ask me. Click on the image below to see a screenshot of the current TweetMag app on the iPad in its original size:

My improvement suggestions

It doesn’t have to be this painful. I’ve made a very quick and dirty improvement suggestion illustrated below, adding a simple visual cue and an extra button.

The user should visually be reminded of the lists she’s already added by labeling and/or fading out (ghosting) the already added twitter list’s icon (illustrated). It is not possible to spot which lists the user has already added in the current version of TweetMag, potentially leading to a lot of unnecessary back-and-forth operations to verify if a list has already been added or not.

Currently, to add another list from the same twitter user, the user is forced by the software app to step out of context, remembering (internalising) the previous steps and repeat a multiple step process to get back into the context of continuing to add twitter lists from the same user.

That’s just not nice to the user in my book. I think the software should play by your processes and let you stay in your context. By adding an add/remove list button directly in the list overview, the user would be able to add, remove, manage all list operations in one process without having to leave context or having to remember previous steps and keeping the original goal in mind while working herself back into context repetitively per list management operation.

Adding colour to the add/remove buttons like green and red could further enhance affordance.

Should you be worried that any spatial navigational cue of having the user dragging the icon to the TweetMag rack might be lost for each add/remove operation using simple button operations instead of drag & drop, I suggest looking at how Apple OSX is doing this; You could animate the icons flying up on the rack, flying down out of the rack respectively to retain the visual cues. Take a look at the image below for a quick and dirty mockup of my suggested changes:

Tweetmag iOS App list management improvement suggestion

I also added the suggestion on Get Satisfaction should you be interested in my suggestion to improving list management in the TweetMag app.

Your opinion

What do you think of TweetMag? Do you love it? Hate it? Perhaps you prefer Flipboard? Do you create and manage twitter lists with TweetMag?

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Social, Software

A Brief History of Social Networks

No, I don’t mean a brief history of Old Boy Networks, The Family or other more outlandish and exotic pre-digital era networks.

You see, as I was doing my due diligence for my crazy new venture, I jotted down some notes on the history of digital social networks leading up to the Facebook era and I thought why not share them with you here.

Most of the following is based on to the level of theft in no small part, verbatim quotations from the book “The Facebook Effect” by David Kirkpatric (@davidkirkpatric) and some tidbits from Wikipedia, Google and my own faulty memory.

And, yes – it is heavily biased towards the US and Europe since I did not have much good source material on say, e.g. Chinese, Korean and Japanese social networks. Feel free to fill me in.

I highly recommend the book if you are interested in a different (albeit rosier) perspective of the story behind Mark Zuckerberg‘s (@finkd) Facebook than the book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich and the film version “The Social Network” by David Fincher. Preview the book in Google Books, buy the paper version at Amazon, or as a eBook from the Kindle store or as an audiobook from Audible.

I claim Fair Use, as in the “Please don’t sue. That wouldn’t be fair.” kind. The following content is meant for educational purposes only . If you want to use or republish, please make sure to credit and attribute  David Kirkpatric and Wikipedia. Commercial (re)use would probably be bad for your karma.

Here we go – A Brief History of Social Networks:

1968

J. C. R. Licklider

J. C. R. Licklider Source: Wikimedia Commons License: Public Domain

JCR Licklider & Robert W. Taylor write the essay “The Computer as a communication device” and predicts;

“you will not send a letter or a telegram – you will simply identify the people who’s files should be linked to yours”

1973

Community Memory terminal

The first Community Memory terminal, an ASR-33 teletype, at Leopold’s Records, Berkeley, CA, 1973. Source: Community Memory Project Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5

Community Memory started. A notable precursor to the public Bulletin Board System.

From Wikipedia:

Community Memory was the first public computerized bulletin board system. Established in 1973 in Berkeley, California, it used an SDS 940 timesharing system in San Francisco connected via a 110 baud link to a teletype at a record store in Berkeley to let users enter and retrieve messages.

While initially conceived as an information and resource sharing network linking a variety of counter-cultural economic, educational, and social organizations with each other and the public, Community Memory was soon generalized to be an information flea market . Once the system became available, the users demonstrated that it was a general communications medium that could be used for art, literature, journalism, commerce, and social chatter.

1978

Monochrome BBS - A more recent modern BBS

Monochrome BBS – A more recent modern BBS

The first BBS is launched. (BTW, if you were a part of the BBS scene or want to learn more about it, check out this acclaimed and extensive documentary.)

From Wikipedia:

The first public dial-up Bulletin Board System (BBS) was developed by Ward Christensen (@WardXmodem). According to an early interview, while he was snowed in during the Great Blizzard of 1978 in Chicago, Christensen along with fellow hobbyist Randy Suess, began preliminary work on the Computerized Bulletin Board System, or CBBS. CBBS went online on February 16, 1978

1979

Diagram of usenet, Author: Benjamin D. Esham License: Public Domain

Diagram of usenet, Author: Benjamin D. Esham License: Public Domain

Usenet enables members to post to groups dedicated to specific topics. (Check out the highly interesting book “Netizens” for much more on the history and impact of Usenet and the Internet.)

From Wikipedia:

Usenet is a worldwide distributed Internet discussion system. It developed from the general purpose UUCP architecture of the same name.

Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979 and it was established in 1980. Users read and post messages (called articles or posts, and collectively termed news) to one or more categories, known as newsgroups. Usenet resembles a bulletin board system (BBS) in many respects, and is the precursor to the various Internet forums that are widely used today. Usenet can be superficially regarded as a hybrid between email and web forums. Discussions are threaded, with modern news reader software, as with web forums and BBSes, though posts are stored on the server sequentially.

1982

Minitel built in 1982 Author: Tieum License:  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Minitel built in 1982 Author: Tieum License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The French postal service is the first to bring the concepts of commenting in online groups and chartrooms to a mass consumer audience with the launch of the national online service, Minitel

A side note, from Wikipedia:

The German “Bildschirmtext” (BTX) is almost as old as Minitel and technically very similar, but it was largely unsuccessful because consumers had to buy expensive decoders to use it. The German postal service held a monopoly on the decoders that prevented competition and lower prices. Few people bought the boxes, so there was little incentive for companies to post content, which in turn did nothing to further box sales. When the monopoly was loosened, it was too late because PC-based online services had started to appear.

1985

America Online logo from 1991 to 2006

AOL logo 1991 to 2006 Source: brandsoftheworld.com License: Fair Use

America Online starts (albeit under another name; Quantum Computer Services, Inc.)

The WELL logo

http://www.well.com/

The WELL (The Whole World ELectronic Link) launches in San Francisco by Stuart Brand, Larry Brilliant (@larrybrilliant) et al.

1987

Howard Rheingold

Howard Rheingold (@hrheingold) – a big user of the WELL – publishes an essay in which he coins the term “virtual community” to describe this new experience.

1988

Screenshot of Prodigy

IBM and Sears launches commercial online service called Prodigy.

Anonymous users, pseudonyms were the norm on these online services.

screenshot of IRCII

IRC II

IRC was created by Jarkko Oikarinen in August 1988 to replace a program called MUT (MultiUser Talk) on a BBS called OuluBox in Finland. (Check out “The Book of IRC” for the ultimate guide to IRC).

1991 – 1994

The World Wide Web sees the light of day in 1991 created  by Tim Berners-Lee (@timberners_lee) and Robert Cailliau (robertcailliau.eu).

From Wikipedia:

The World Wide Web, abbreviated as WWW and commonly known as the Web, is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet. With a web browser, one can viewweb pages that may contain text, images, videos, and other multimedia and navigate between them via hyperlinks.

cuseeme logo

CU-SeeMe logo

CU-SeeMe, an Internet videoconferencing client originally written by Tim Dorcey of the Information Technology department at Cornell University launches for Mac in 1992.

Tripod LogoGeoCities Logo

In the early days of the World Wide Web the notion of an online community advanced a little further, enabling users to set up a personal homepage that could in some cases link to pages created by other members.with services like Tripod started in 1992 with two Williams College classmates, Bo Peabody (@bopeabody) and Brett Hershey, along with Dick Sabot, an economics professor at the school, theglobe.com founded in 1994 by Cornell students Stephan Paternot (@stephanpaternot) and Todd Krizelman and GeoCities originally founded by David Bohnett (@dcbohnett) and John Rezner in late 1994.

Check out David Carlson’s Online Timeline for more information about the world coming online 1990 – 1994.

1995

Match Com Screenshot

match.com screenshot anno 2008

match.com started by Gary Kremen as a proof of concept for Electric Classifieds which aimed to provide classified advertising systems for newspapers launches, filled with personal information for a highly specific purpose.

Classmates.com Logo

Classmates.com created by by Randy Conrads launches to help people identified by their real names to find and communicate with former school friends.

The first Internet Forums (or Message Boards) start to emerge.

1996

PlanetAll logo
PlanetAll a social networking, calendaring, and address book site launches in November 1996. It was founded by a group of Harvard Business School and MIT graduates including Warren Adams. (A big thanks to James Currier for pointing out that I had missed PlanetAll!).

From Wikipedia:

PlanetAll was possibly the first social networking site on the Internet. The site had more than 100,000 groups, organized around real-world counterparts such as academic institutions and employers. When the user entered the name of his or her university, the service would list the user’s classmates who were also members of the service. Users could exchange authorization to access the each others’ contacts. Many sites at the time offered web-based address books and calendars, but PlanetAll.com combined the two: when a user entered travel plans into the calendar, the service would cross-reference the destination with the address book, as well as the user’s contacts’ travel plans; the site would then notify users when they would cross paths with their contacts.

1997

Reid Hoffmann

Reid Hoffman

SocialNet.com dating service founded by Reid Hoffman (@quixotic)(Hoffman worked at Apple on eWorld, but perhaps better known for founding LinkedIn and as an Angel Investor).

Sixdegrees Logo

sixdegrees.com founded by Andrew Weinreich launches, takes social networks further. A breakthrough in use of real names. The first Rolodex in the cloud. Invitation only. At the time revolutionary. “Network me” feature for matching you with users that met your quality criteria. Failed due to operating costs, licensing costs, development and maintenance costs and users only having dialup Internet at the time (e.g. the service lacked photos due to bandwidth concerns). Bought out for 120 million. Shut down in late 2000. Weinreich was granted a broad reaching social network patent.

1999

blackplanet.com logo

asianavenue logo

Ethnic focused networks Black Planet founded by Omar Wasow (@owasow) and Asian Avenue co-founded by Benjamin Sun, Peter Chen, Grace Chang, Michael Montero, and Calvin Wong launches with limited social networking functions.

The daily jolt (R.I.P. April 6, 2010) launches as a campus bulletin board for 12 Schools.

tickle logo

tickle.com launched originally as emode.com, with quizzes and tests for both entertainment and self-discovery, by James Currier and Rick Marini. Warren Adams of PlanetAll is an investor.

 

lunarstrom.se logo

Swedish teen community Lunar Storm (R.I.P. August 8th 2010) launches

Ordinary people begins using email. Again, using addresses that typically would not correspond to their real names.

Address books of emails maintained on and within the services. Members did not identify real-life friends or establish regular communication pathways with them. Later in the decade, Instant Messaging (IM) services like ICQ, PowWow and Ubique to hold the same way. People used pseudonyms for themselves, not their real names.

1998

On August 4, 1998, Amazon.com announces that it has agreed to acquire PlanetAll. Under terms of the agreement, Amazon.com acquired 100 percent of PlanetAll in exchange for 800,000 shares.

2000

Amazon.com shuts down PlanetAll.com on July 2, 2000, telling PlanetAll members, “We are pleased to announce that we have completed the integration of the key e-commerce related features of PlanetAll.com into our main site at Amazon.com… Although PlanetAll.com will be going away, you’ll still be able to enjoy some of the tools that help you keep in touch with like-minded folks.”

2001 – 2002 : Social Networking bug hits Silicon Valley and SF

2001

cyworld logo

Cyworld (huge in Korea) adds social networking capabilities

Plaxo logoPlaxo launches by Napster co-founder Sean Parker (FB profile)(and later The Facebook CEO) and two Stanford engineering students, Todd Masonis and Cameron Ring. Has a viral concept; One user leads to more users – It has a Network Effect.

“Network Effect” as explained by Wikipedia (excerpt):

In economics and business, a network effect (also called network externality) is the effect that one user of a good or service has on thevalue of that product to other people. When network effect is present, the value of a product or service increases as more people use it.

The classic example is the telephone. The more people own telephones, the more valuable the telephone is to each owner. This creates a positive externality because a user may purchase their phone without intending to create value for other users, but does so in any case.Online social networks work in the same way, with sites like Twitter and Facebook being more useful the more users join.

The expression “network effect” is applied most commonly to positive network externalities as in the case of the telephone. Negative network externalities can also occur, where more users make a product less valuable, but are more commonly referred to as “congestion” (as in traffic congestion or network congestion).

Over time, positive network effects can create a bandwagon effect as the network becomes more valuable and more people join, in a positive feedback loop.

Ryze launches by Adrian Scott (@adrianscottcom). Explicitly business-only.

2002

friendster logo

Friendster launches March 22nd by Jonathan Abrams (@ABRAMS), Peter Chin and Dave Lee. It gambles to lure users away from match.com. Uses real names and photos on profiles. You could search for friends near locations. Invitation only, befriend if you liked the photo. Cracked the code of the modern social network, defined basic structure. Problems; “Fakesters” – People with fake names, fake photos. Plagued by engineering misjudgments; did not scale, had major outages, performance issues. Mark Pincus (@markpinc)(later founder of Zynga) and Reid Hoffman (@quixotic) are investors.

Club Nexus launches by Stanford students Orkut Buyukkokten (@orkut) and Eytan Adar. Meant to connect Stanford students only. Complicated, too many features. (Bonus material: An analysis of Club Nexus by the founders.)

InCircle launches by Club Nexus founders. Alumni only.

Orkut logo

Orkut Buyukkokten (@orkut) leaves for google. Programs a new social network prototype. Pitches it to google. orkut.com launches.

CourseMatch and Facemash are created by Mark Zuckerberg (@finkd) while at Harvard.

Harvard Connection is founded by the Winkelvoss twins Cameron Winkelvoss and Tyler Winkelvoss with Divya Narendra and some help from Mark Zuckerberg.

2003

linkedin logo

LinkedIn founded by Reid Hoffman (@quixotic).

tribe.net logo

Tribe.net founded by Mark Pincus (@markpinc). A social network around specific interests. Burning Man, Alt Sex and connecting turned out to be what the users are more interested in instead of buying and selling things.

Patent by SixDegrees.com‘s Weinreich put up for sale, Reid Hoffman (@quixotic) and Mark Pincus (@markpinc) buy the patent for $70.000 in front of highest bidder Yahoo!.

myspace logo

MySpace founded by Tom Anderson (@myspacetom) and Chris Dewolfe in frustration of Friendster’s failures and wanted to appeal to the fakesters. Hustled bands, artists and fans in Los Angeles to join. Music + Sex + Anonymity + Chaos seemed to be the recipe.

Collegster.com free usable services by students for students launched at UC Irwine Alumni.

House System launched at Harvard to buy and sell books, review courses. It invited students to upload their photos.

WesMatch at Williams College.

GaleStation at Yale. A dating site.

CUCommunity (or CampusNetwork, SEASCommunity.com) at Columbia University.

hi5 logo

Hi5 created by Ramu Yalamanchi (@ryalaman), big in Spanish speaking countries.

2004

Screenshot of The Facebook login page

The Facebook launches. Limited to elite universities offering a stark contrast of an experience of that of MySpace

From the CrunchBase profile:

When Tagged launched in 2004 as a teen-only social network, security was a top priority. In October 2006 the site made a drastic change and went from being under-18 only, to allowing users of any age to join. This change has helped user registration skyrocket. In fact, Tagged was adding more users per day than MySpace in May of 2007.

2005

YouTube logo

YouTube founded by former PayPal employees Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim

Check out David Carlson’s Online Timeline for more information about the world coming online 2000 – 2004.

2006

twitter logo

twitter launches in July 2006 by Jack Dorsey (@jack), although the founding story behind it is controversial.

YouTube sold to Google in November for $1.65 billion.

2007

Dana Boyd & Nichole Ellison write in a paper:

“The salient features of a true social network”: “A service where a user can construct a public or semi-public profile, articulate a list of other users which whom they share a connection, and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. You establish your position in a complex network of relationships. And your profile positions you in the context of these relationships. Usely in order to discover otherwise hidden points of common interest or connection.”

twitter reaches it’s tipping point at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. During the event Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000.

Orkut.com strangely occupied by nearly over 50% Brazilians and 20% Indians.

2010

Amazon is awarded a social networking system patent based on its previous acquisition of PlanetAll.

twitter has over 190 million users.

Facebook launches Graph APIOpen Graph protocol, an improved Facebook Connect and Social plugins, has over 500 million active users. Mark Zuckerberg is Time’s “Man of the Year”.

Microsoft and Google still haven’t got a real answer to social networks.

[fblike layout_style=’button_count’ show_faces=’true’ verb=’like’ font=’arial’ color_scheme=’light’]

What is your take? Something missing? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

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Hardware, Software

Dell (Inspiron) Mini 9 and 10v Hackintosh – Battery Won’t Charge, Battery Not Identified, LED Lights Blinking [FIX]

As you may already know I use Dell Netbooks with Apple OSX and I previously wrote a post about how you can too.

I recently encountered a problem with the Dell Mini (Inspiron) 9 that I found no real helpful solution to fixing on the intarnets, so I thought I’d just take a moment to share what I did to fix it. Sort of. I’ve later learned that this issue also relates to the Dell (Inspiron) Mini 10 1011, and I have added some bonus material for Dell Inspiron Mini 10 1011 owners who wants to upgrade their hardware at the end of this post.

If want to build a Hackintosh and you can’t find one on eBay you can buy new and refurbished Dell Inspiron Mini 9 on Amazon,  but I’d recommend the better, more usable Dell Inspiron Mini 10 model 1011 (model number 1011 A MUST for 100% OSX compatibility! Check this compatibility chart.) that you can also get new and refurbished on Amazon.

IMPORTANT: Whatever you do, don’t buy a new Dell battery before you’ve tried this. If it doesn’t work, maybe the battery is indeed dead. You could get a new one and try again but remember, you can always use the old Mini 9 Hackintosh connected to the mains in the kitchen, on the night stand, in the bathroom or give it to someone who could need a non-battery operated computer.

If you want to upgrade your Mini (Inspiron) 9, I recommend getting the 2GB RAM upgrade from Crucial and the 32GB or 64GB SSD upgrade from RunCore. If you do decide to get a new battery, you might want to get a more affordable 3rd party battery replacement – or if you want to play it safe – the more expensive original Dell battery. I personally also found the smaller Dell power adaptor more convenient to carry than the bulky brick.

Hackintosh 9 and 10

Problem / Symptoms:

  • Battery not recognized on boot up (“Battery not identified, press F1 to continue”)
  • OSX reports that the battery is 100% charged (although you know it’s not)
  • White power/charging ligt and red low battery warning light blinking, disco style
  • Battery will not charge whatever you (even downgrading BIOS to A00) do and will eventually run out of juice
  • GOTO 10

Possible Causes:

  • BIOS upgraded to A05 or above
  • Something else (I have no idea. You tell me.)

Conditions / Prerequisites:

OSX 10.6.5 on Dell Mini 10v

Recipe / Fix:

  • Boot from said “Dell I910 Mini/Vostro A90 USB Key Drive flashBIOS Utility” on said USB stick
  • Select the Mini/Inspiron A04 BIOS and flash it
  • Wait for the flashing to complete and reboot the Netbook

Et voilà. On boot, there should be no nagging “battery not identified: press F1 to continue”, no more disco blinking of LED lights and the battery will now recharge. I hope. At least it now does for me. For good measures, let the Hackintosh recharge the recommended-from-Dell 12 hours before using it

I’ll mention here that this worked with the original Dell battery that came with the Mini 9 and with my Chinese 8 cell aftermarket battery.

Problems / Still to resolve:

  • If you pull the mains power plug out, the red/white disco style blinking will return
  • If you pull the mains power and re-insert it, OSX reports that the battery is 100% charged (although it’s not)
  • If you pull the mains power and re-insert it, the Hackintosh will not recharge
  • GOTO 10

Kludge to the Fix:

  • Don’t pull the mains when turned on
  • Re-insert mains
  • Reboot
  • Or turn off, turn on, let boot
  • Or keep it turned off, connected to mains, see if the white charging light is on, if the battery is actually charged
  • Or rinse, lathe and repeat the flashing of the BIOS if the battery won’t charge once again

Hey, at least you do not need to buy a new battery or a new Dell Mini 9. I never promised you a rose garden.

Here’s the official Dell response to Mini 9 and 10v battery problems on the Dell support forums, although it did not help me initially. I tried to flash the BIOS back to A00 through each revision up to and including A06 with no positive result. Flashing directly from A06 to A04 with the battery inserted seems to have worked for me.

This has nothing to do with the “Airplane Mode” on Linux issue or the 12 hours charge-up battery issue, mind you. Those are red herrings if you’re using OSX and have the symptoms I described above.

In other personal Hackintosh news, I recently acquired a Dell Mini 10v off of eBay and upgraded it with 2GB RAM, a 60G SSD and OSX 10.6.5. I find the size of the keys more convenient for work use than the Mini 9. My experience so far is that the Mini 10v works flawlessly with OSX 10.6.5 – including sleep. I’d recommend it instead of the Mini 9 if you’d ask for my opinion on the two.

Camera Roll-1000

Bonus Material:

How to change the HD for a SSD in a Dell Mini 10v

How to upgrade the RAM in a Dell Mini 10v (Part 1 of 2)

How to upgrade the RAM in a Dell Mini 10v (Part 2 of 2)

If you’re looking to upgrade your Dell (Inspiron) Mini 10 1011 (the bigger better sibling to the Mini 9) featured in the above videos, I recommend the OCZ 120GB Vertex Plus R2 2.5″ SSD and 2GB Crucial RAM. If you are looking for a replacement battery for the Mini 10, I recommend getting this cheaper 3rd party battery – or if you want to play it safe – get the more expensive original Dell replacement battery. I also find the smaller Dell power adaptor more practical to travel with – and it works with both the Mini 9 and the Mini 10.

If you don’t already own a Dell Mini 10 1011 and you can’t find one on eBay, I’d recommend getting one new or refurbished from Amazon.

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How did it work out for you? Do you use OSX on other non-Apple hardware? Tell me about your experiences.

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