Welp, I bit the bullet. I didn’t want to do it, but that stupid little icon just kept taunting me to upgrade. Fully aware that this would re-secure root access and dash any hopes of running Android Market (which makes it sooo easy to get apps), I decided to take a leap and hope* that someone would crack it again someday. So far I’m okay with my decision. Mind you, I hardly think this will change how I feel about RIM right now, but I’d be remiss not to acknowledge a positive step forward.

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Oh RIM, ever since I jumped on the smartphone bandwagon four years ago I reveled in this wonderful new ability to get things done on-the-go. I still remember the feeling as I took my Curve 8900 home for the first time. Coming from a RAZR, it felt like I had magic at my fingertips. I mean, it had a qwerty keyboard for crying out loud. Ever the frugalist, I entrusted RIM with the task of being my sole internet provider as wi-fi wasn’t abundant (or rather I was too cheap for a faster ISP). In a pinch I could tether my Curve to Silvia for a quick email, or a light web browsing session. Sure it was slow, but I was “mobile”. Yup, Silvia and “Odie” (yes I name everything) made a great team. Then something happened.

As a tinkerer, and someone who generally likes to unlock new potential in older things, I became wrapped up in the world of beta software. Every now and then they’d add something new to appease my boredom, but nothing really wowed me. By this time I’m sure the iPhone debuted, and I found my phone spinning its wheels trying run all these newfangled apps RIM was trying to catch up with (hourglass reference). I even found myself under attack because of what phone I was wielding. Which was odd to me, I never thought of a tool as an outward expression of self. After installing beta OS after beta OS, it became clear that BlackBerry wasn’t gonna rule. At first I tried to deny it, focusing on the utilitarian and even minimalist qualities in the experience. Less is more. Less distraction, more productivity. Once I got a taste of broadband, I needed more speed. And I had hoped I could get it from RIM.

“Hope is the denial of reality” —Margaret Weis

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After making such a killing sniping great prices for parts, I was understandably eager to rip the cellophane and get to work. But actually, I was holding off because I intended to do the build with my little nephew. He… had other plans so I was on my own. As I mentioned previously, I was pretty much following the parts list provided in tonymacx86’s CustoMac Mini 2011 post with one small exception, the case.

He listed the Apex MI-008, but I chose the MI-100 instead. I stuck with the same manufacturer because I didn’t want any unforeseen fitting issues and their frames were pretty much identical. I really just found the face of the MI-100 to be more pleasing. The directions that came with the case weren’t exactly crystal clear, but after some trial and error I managed to put the right screws in the right places. I have to say, making all the connections to the motherboard was a little intimidating. Most of my experience so far was with laptops. But I knew enough to ground myself and avoid bending any of the pins on the processor (It seems now they have they pins on the motherboard instead). I also had Gigabyte’s instructions, which where a little easier to follow. The first thing I noticed

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Drawing upon what I learned with Silvia, I was beginning to think about building my own computer. Didn’t look that hard to build, the real hard part seemed to be finding the right parts for a good price with an upgrade path. I read a few posts over on lifehacker but the price just wasn’t right, not if wanted to use new components. So I put it off until I could either find a good deal, or maybe a decent bare bones kit that met my needs right now and could be upgraded later.

Around this time I had also read a few lifehacker posts on building a hackintosh. They referenced tonymacx86, so I started reading his blog as well. I was always curious about macs. We had a Mac lab in one of my high schools, and since I grew up mainly on PCs, they just seemed odd with their single button mouse and multicolored plastic. Obviously since then Apple has blossomed quite a bit (if only I bought stock). Now macs are in vogue or some sort of personal brand statement. I was always too counter culture to buy in, and as a tinkerer, I hate when companies put measures in place to prevent me from taking a look inside or tell me to leave such things to “professionals”. How insulting. I hate that almost as much as I hate the RadioShack guy suggesting I purchase $50+ HDMI cables. Enter the CustoMac Mini 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

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