Five Ways “Hackintoshing” A PC Is Like Writing

randomlychad  —  April 12, 2012 — 11 Comments

For the uninitiated, the practice of “hackintoshing” involves installing Apple’s Mac OS X onto unsupported hardware (i.e. non-Apple branded equipment, otherwise known as “PCs”).

I’ve heard the deeper you delve into hackintoshing, the more it dawns on you that it’s very much akin to writing.

What do I mean?

1) It’s not for the faint of heart. Seriously–this is no regular install. It is a process fraught with trial and error, and altogether too easily bungled. Just when you think you have all your ducks in a row, things take an unexpected turn.

2) When those unexpected turns happen, it’s back to the drawing board. Which in the case of hackintoshing means starting over; similarly for writing, it means junking months–or perhaps years–of work, when the story isn’t working. Or when it goes to an unforeseen place (because it needs to) that’s better than what we planned.

3) Despite the best laid plans, things will go awry. Despite having all the tools in place, sometimes we just need to walk away–move onto something new. Sometimes things just don’t work out.

4) Other times, persistence pays. Just when we’re about ready to pull the plug, that A-ha! moment arrives. And things fall into place. This is just as true of writing as it is of hackintoshing.

5) When inspiration is lacking, we are often driven to the furthest corners of the Internet in search of that one right thing that makes the difference. Just as there are thousands of different makes and models of PCs, there are all manner of guides for the hackintosher. Likewise with writing, what inspires you may not inspire me. But you’ll know it when you see it. And it will make all the difference.

I know the title indicates five similarities, but I would be derelict without adding another:

6) As with writing, hackintoshing isn’t done in a vacuum. Oh, certainly on the surface both appear to be be solo activities, but nothing is further from the truth: we stand on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before us, gleaning their wisdom, inspired by their example. We press on because our forebears pressed on. We know we can because they could, and did.

Just as those who come after us will be inspired by our example.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14, ESV).

Talk about your writing failures, and success, in the comments, please. How have you had to restart? What did it feel like when that breakthrough came?

A note on this post: This is not a technology blog, and as such it’s not my purpose to encourage hackintoshing. My purpose was simply to take two difficult, though seemingly disparate, things, and show the similarities. The general principles here apply across the broad spectrum we call “life.” We can do hard things, but we’re never really doing them alone.




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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers.

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  • I know this wasn’t the actual point of your post, but I’m super interested in hackintoshing. I’ve heard of it, but never seriously pursued it. My wife’s old MacBook is about to kick the bucket (after 12 strong years) and she’s begging for a new computer. She wants a Mac, but there’s no way we can afford that right now. I’m wondering if maybe I could follow in your footsteps and try and rig her a hackintoshed pc notebook. I’d love to get your notes when you’re done with the project.

    • Dude, it took me days! And my notes wouldn’t necessarily help because of system differences.

      I can point you to some websites, but be warned: this process is not for the faint of heart.

  • The really important part here, to me, is the fact that we don’t write, live, or do much of anything in a vacuum. Because our culture is so individualistic, we often forget to rely on others when we most need to out of some misguided sense of autonomy and independence.

    • Exactly!

      That’s it!

      It’s not about hackintoshing, or even writing, per se, but rather community.

  • This was a great analogy for a completely IT illiterate guy like me -- I actually understood this (sort of). Awesome!

    • Thanks, Tor!

      I admit--it is obscure, but the frustrations, and pitfalls, are the same.
      And the glorious elation that comes--after ages of hard work--when things finally just work.


  • I have to admit that this is the first time I’ve heard of hackintoshing, but I could apply the principles you pulled out of it to a lot of areas in my life. Definitely applies to homeschool, to being a missionary, to being married, to parenting, I could go on… Good post. By the way, I hopped over here from Rambling with the Barba, after seeing you’d won the leather stuff. CONGRATS! And I like your blog. 🙂

    • Awesome! Thanks much for reading! That was the general idea--that there are principles that apply, and are useful in all areas of life.

      And, I did? For serious? Now way!

  • Chelle

    I don’t write, but my hubby built a Hackintosh! Which worked fine for a while, but then we think the dongle thingy died, and it’s too hard to send it back to the US because where we got if from has no real customer service. 🙁

    Don’t give up writing if it dies! Keep writing and looking, and trying different angles….

    • It can be hard--very hard--even if you know what you’re doing. It’s an often frustrating, challenging experience (both writing & hackintoshing) that sometimes end in the flush of success, and others in abject failure. But even the failures are good, because (hopefully) we’ve learned something in the process.

      Chelle: everyone has a story to tell. Maybe you should tell yours--even if, especially if, you’re afraid to. Whether that’s in written, or some other, form: dive into the “pool.” You’ll be glad you did. Ok, I’m stepping off my soapbox now. 🙂

      • Chelle

        I have, thankfully, gone past the being afraid to tell my story. I find God places people in my journey that I recognise a behaviour, or a fear, or a …… and God prompts me to share a little of where I was at, and the HOPE there is in not giving up, even though we may feel like it.