Apple Mac Mini Misc. Technology

Apple’s Mac Mini Grab Bag

CNET recently posted an article about Apple’s decision to, in some cases, provide hardware on their fabulous Mac Mini that performs beyond the published specs, i.e. more video memory, faster hard drive, or better bluetooth is an unfortunate decision.

Apple should clearly define what hardware is included for what the customer is paying for. I wouldn’t be too happy if I bought a Mac Mini and the guy next door paid the same amount and got a better machine.

Apple should either charge more for the better machines, or discount the older hardware machines to $399. At that price, I am sure a lot more of the Minis will be flying off the shelves.

Apple Mac Mini Misc. Technology

Apple’s Move to Intel

Apple’s recent announcement to move to Intel chips isn’t very surprising. However, it will create significant challenges for Linux companies like Novell and RedHat. As Apple makes the transition, more and more Linux users and more and more Windows users will be likely to pick up a $499 Mac Mini than they will be to pick up a Dell and install Linux on it. Having been a Redhat/Fedora user for about eight years ( five of which have been Linux as my ONLY desktop ), I recently delved into the Mac Mini. It’s a great machine, runs great, stable software, the software and applications are all integrated, and most importantly, IT ALL WORKS .. WELL! In the six months I’ve had the Mini, I’ve probably rebooted it five times ( one of those times was because I upgraded the RAM ). With the power of BSD behind OS X and Apple’s traditional ease of use, more and more Linux folks will opt to run OS X as their primary desktop environment and Linux as their server environment. I don’t think Microsoft will have anything to worry about in terms of losing market share to Apple. Business users and the general, non-technical user will need to be assured that all their normal business applications run on the Mac, something that will be very difficult to do in the short run.

Apple Mac Mini Misc. Technology

The Mac Saga Continues …

I’ve been using the Mac for roughly a month now and I love the machine but I just finished ordering a 1GB memory upgrae for the Mini. OSX desperately needs more memory.

I’ve used Fink to install Gnome on OSX, not because I think it’s better or worse than Aqua, but more to see if it can be done and how it works. So far, I haven’t been able to get it to run. I’m probably missing a few pieces somewhere …

I still haven’t been able to get X applications from a remote Linux box to display on the Mini. I honestly haven’t spent much time trying to figure out why but it’s on the To Do list.

One of the really nice things is that I’ve continued to use iSync to keep all my contacts and calendars updated on my Sony Ericsson T610 and my 3G iPod. More or less making my Palm Tungsten T useless. Now to find out a good little project to mak the Tungsten T useful again ….

I also need to get Apache and Postfix configured on the Mini and install MySQL, Postgresql, Metadot, and various Perl modules. I’m not yet sure if I will need to compile and install my own version of Perl rather than using the OSX compiled Perl 5.8.1

I almost wish I had a Powerbook so that I can play with Mac OSX when I’m not at home …

Apple Mac Mini Misc. Technology

The Mac Mini II

Well, I’ve been playing with the Mini for just over a week now. Everything’s been pretty smooth other than needing lots of memory and being close to filling up the hard drive.

Now, the fun part has been ssh’ing to my Linux box and trying to run Novell Evolution. So far, I’ve had no luck at being able to run X window apps across the network.

  • On the Mini I ran xhost +
  • On the Linux PC, I ran “setenv DISPLAY mini:0.0;evolution”

The application just sits there, no core file gets created, no response, nothing. Not sure why. More to look into….

I found Aqua to be a nice little interface but I found the menu bars at the top of the desktop to be rather weird. It takes some getting used to but it’s not horrible.

Eventhough Apple ships its mice with one button, I found that Aqua actually supports two button mice well and it even supports the mouse wheel without problem. This was nice as I can’t imagine using one mouse button for everything.

Overall, after eight days of using a Mac Mini, the only thing I’m disappointed with is the performance with 256MB of RAM. One of these days, I’ll have to take the machine into an Apple store and get it upgraded to at least 512 MB, most likely 1GB.

I don’t think I’ll be giving up my Thinkpad T40 running Fedora Core 3, but I do think that instead of setting up a Linux based machine for my mother, the Mac Mini might be a great alternative in the kitchen but definitely not a replacement for my Fedora Core 3 desktop, just yet. Much more horsepower than the Mini would be needed … however, it is possible … some day.

Apple Mac Mini Misc. Technology

The Mac Mini

I’ve been watching Macs for about 3 years now with a bit of envy. Apple, a few weeks ago, released the Mac Mini – “The most affordable Mac ever”. Within the first two weeks, Apple dropped the price of the memory, bluetooth, and wireless options. This made the Mac Mini even more enticing.

I began looking into picking one up as a toy. I’ve never used a Mac in my life. I’ve absolved myself of Windows about 3 years ago 100%, even at work. The only Windows applications I use are Quicken 2004 and the occasional Visio diagram that I get emailed to me.

Well, last Saturday, I went out and bought a Mac Mini. I bought the standard $499 model as a little box to just get started on. I had heard that the Minis were a bit under powered but I figured, it won’t be my primary machine, just a play-thing for my “Digital Lifestyle”, i.e. digital pictures, digital music, and digital video.

Well, the $499 Mini comes with 1 Firewire, 2 USB, 1 DVI ( with VGA adapter ), 56K modem, audio output, 10/100 ethernet, 40GB HD, 256MB RAM, DVD-ROM/CDRW, and a security slot so no one walks away with this sleek little Mac. the Mini also doesn’t come with a mouse or keyboard. This was perfectly ok with me as I prefer to use my ergonomic keyboard and mouse rather than the Mac Keyboard and Mouse. I opted not to get the 80GB HD, Bluetooth, or the DVD Rewriteable as I already have one on my Fedora Core 3 PC.

I spent the first three or four days configuring and just getting comfortable with the Mac. Being a Linux user, the first place I concentrated was getting familiar with all the keyboard shortcuts. I also had to install Firefox. Safari isn’t bad but I found it to be a little slow in rendering pages as compared to FireFox (I’m not too crazy about the fact that I can’t synchronize my Firefox bookmarks to the .Mac service with isync).

I also needed to install OpenOffice. To do this, I had to first download and install the Mac OS X 11 Kit ( ). After installing the X11 kit, running OpenOffice was a no brainer.

I then went about installing Fink. The goial of Fink is to modify existing Unix software to work on Darwin/OS X. Another no brainer. Once Fink was installed, I had to manually run the configuration script. Upon completion, I ran apt-get to get the MySQL and Postgres client applications installed. I had to be able to SQL to my Linux from my Mini. No problems at all!

More to come …