Combating OS discrimination with OS X on the MSI Wind


Wind_os_xI faced the worst case of “OS discrimination” ever last week. Yup, it was at our Mobilize conference and it didn’t take long. I walked into the room where the entire GigaOM team set up shop and looked around at Mac after Mac after Mac. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Om walked in and took his seat next to me and that’s when it really started. “What are you doing with Windows on that little computer?” he asked. At one point it got so bad that at the main office James and I were seated at a table with our Windows machines and we realized nobody would join us at our workspace. I knew we had showered, so it was a clear case of OS discrimination.While I have an inquiry in with the HR folks about the situation, I don’t expect to find a corporate resolution anytime soon, so I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. It doesn’t hurt that there’s an MSI Wind-specific build of the operating system; in fact, that just makes it easier to drop the complaints with HR.In all seriousness, Windows XP on the MSI Wind has met all of my needs quite handily. And honestly, I can handle the good-natured ribbing from the rest of our team. But I’m not one to sit still, accept, use and work with the status quo. That’s not how you expand horizons and learn about current and future options. Mobile technology is an entity that’s constantly in motion, so for a week or two, I’ll march to the beat of a different drum on my netbook and see how it pans out. The last time I went down this road, I found out how little OS X is optimized for touchscreens, so what can be learned from OS X on a small, portable computer? Perhaps a 10-inch display isn’t optimal or the current Intel Atom with one Gigabyte of RAM just won’t suffice. Either way, I still believe that we’ll see a netbook-like product from Cupertino, but I’m convinced that it would have to perform very well and be higher priced for bigger margins before we see it.



Has anyone done video editing on a netbook running OS X? Does it work? I tried installing OS X onto a generic Intel desktop and couldn’t get iMovie to work properly. I’d love a 2 lb netbook I could use for simple video edits at trade shows, etc.

Eve N

You have to admit, it is kind of funny if you show up with a 7 years old OS.


I saw this post on my Wind in a Starbuck. Have to reply I guess LOL.

Right now I have OS/OSX set up in my Wind. Hasn’t install the mac competible wifi card yet but I have the part already.

Frankly surfing without a mouse is still slightly better on the PX side. I have Firefox3 setup 90% identical thanks to keyconfig and various extensions. However going “true” full screen is possible on the PC side. And remapping key with keyTweak is alot easier than the counterparts on the Mac side. I bind pageup key to the right shift and pagedown to the context menu. It’s just easier to twesk with XP. And frankly I prefer running photoshop on XP than on Mac. Maybe its just old habby.

Of course when it comes to video editing, OSX is just better. In any case I am glad I get both weapons at my desposal. It’s the best of both worlds.


It’s pretty normal to see a sea of Macs and iPhones at a tech conferences here in SF… Welcome to the bubble!



Thank you. I was getting nothing from google trying to locate this.

I’ve activated it on my Wind and I’m typing this at the suggested .85 setting. Not too bad really although it does mess badly with FF.

I was hoping the widget would make it easier to administer different magnification levels on an application basis. Maybe in the next version. But goodness does that screen feel roomy all of a sudden. It’ll be hard going back :)


I recently purchased an Asus Eee PC 1000H and I’m going to stick with XP.
Everytime I’ve tried dual-booting, the ‘other’ OS was never used. There’s always some piece of hardware that doesn’t work. In terms of the 1000H, the sound and hardware keys aren’t working.
Plus, using a 1024×600 screen for OSX may cause some issues with apps not made to run at that resolution.
I’ll stick with a lean version of XP and drivers that work.
I honestly don’t see Apple making a netbook soon. If they would make one, it would probably be a 12″ with 1280×800 resolution, running a Core2Duo. Not exactly cheap and tiny.



Could you provide a link for that widget? Sounds just like what I need for my wind :)


I currently own a white Macbook, in addition to a slew of XP / 2000 notebooks. And I don’t like the way their respective OSs works on ANY of them particularly.

XP is too big and crazy for tiny notebooks. There’s too much fiddling, too much unnecessary clicking. Too many ways for things not to work.

And the Macbook is too huge for OSX — it’s a light, easy OS packed into a 5.5 pound plastic behemoth that only gets bigger and heavier as you move up the price list.

The perfect marriage of OS and form factor, for me, has been OSX on a little Lenovo I had laying around. It’s small, light, and runs the streamlined, user-friendly OSX beautifully. Best of all, it’s cheap.

I wonder — does Apple realize it could dominate this market JUST by putting out a netbook or subnotebook that had its trademark high-concept design at a competitive price?

Neither the Air or the 13″ Macbook are portable machines, comparatively. Come up with something better, Apple.


“The last time I went down this road, I found out how little OS X is optimized for touchscreens, so what can be learned from OS X on a small, portable computer?”

It seems odd that some people long for multi-touch on their notebook computers. Currently there are no notebooks with multitouch (except for some with multitouch trackpads) for good reason. Multitouch only becomes a useful UI for small, pocket-sized tablet computers. On any computer larger that has it’s own keyboard & trackpad, it’s easier and faster to use those input devices than running your fingers over the screen.

This makes sense because pocket computers give up physical keyboards (or make them too tiny to use) in order to fit a larger screen into a small device. Also, we don’t run complex applications like graphics apps or office apps on pocket computers, so using your fingers on the screen can accomplish what you need to do.

On the other hand, we do use notebooks and desktop computers to do more complex work. I makes sense to use the keyboard and a trackpad or mouse to work in Illustrator, Dreamweaver, or MS Word, and no sense at all to try to run these applications using your fingers on the screen.

Although multitouch is perfect for some larger single-purpose screens (e.g. Hotel directory in an airport), it’s doubtful that we’ll every see multitouch used on notebooke or desktop PCs.

Personally, I’m holding out for mind-control ;-)


I’m a die-hard OS X fan, but recently I’ve been a little underwhelmed with Apple’s non phone-related offerings. It seems like their computers are just put on cruise control at the moment and no real innovation is going on there. As everyone else I’m hoping that they release something truly groundbreaking in that rumoured October event, but I’m not holding my breath.

The Wind for me is tiding me over till Apple hopefully realizes that 13″ laptops can’t be their only portable offering. /rant

I’m really happy with OS X on my Wind. It’s 90% of the OS X experience on a computer that has the size and footprint of a true ultraportable. You get the added benefit of 3rd party high capacity batteries (Mugen are working on a 9-cell one) something that Apple will probably never acknowledge as being relevant to their users (who needs more than 5 hours of battery right?). Only gripe so far: 1280×800 would be much better than 1024×600 for OS X. There are dialog boxes that are too big for the screen on the Wind. Minor annoyance though.

I’d buy a 10-12″ Apple portable in a heartbeat, but until that materializes this is ok.


Been a regular Mac user since 1993; currently own a black MacBook. But recently I switched to Vista as my main OS (not many reverse switchers). It’s not perfect but works very well and I’m happy with it.


I’ve got OSX running on my Aspire One and love it. There’s not a custom spin, but there are very clear instructions and it was an easy process. I’ve got 1.5G of RAM and I’m booting from an external hard drive and the performance is great from what I’ve tried to do with it. There is also a great little widget that will scale the gui down so bigger windows will fit. It works program by program, so mail can run 100% next to System Prefs running 85%. It allows the buttons at the bottom of bigger System Preference panes to be on screen and clickable.

Kevin C. Tofel

Yup Scotty, I’m well aware that the iPhone uses a variant of Mac OS X. Given that the context of my article is unambiguous about OS X as it pertains to notebooks, netbooks and UMPCs (read: not handhelds), I stand by my statement in the context given. Do you believe that OS X on a touchscreen notebook is optimized for a positive touch experience? I don’t and that’s what I said above.



funny that. I always feel so sorry for the Mac users locked in to the Apple way of doing things and the limited choice of hardware or upgrade possiblities. The only legal netbook from Apple being the Macbook air which no one would think of as being cheap. Stand up for your PC …remember you can do more with it than they can with their Mac.

Have fun



Kevin, you realize the iPhone is running Mac OS X right? Probably the premier touch environment on the planet but you can say Mac OS X isn’t optimized for touch environments?


I have the wind dual booting. there is a great wind-specific kalyway setup, but you still need to replace the internal wi-fi with a macbook card ($20 or so) but it works wonderfully. But as you do. I use xp for the most part, at work, I like theme-ing and like to customize the os to my liking. Get to play on chrome, run the alpha of trillian, and keep up with the zune updates. My only complaint is the mouse buttons. The only complaint. I do need to look into the 6 cell though..

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