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 Less work through Xcode and shell scripts
2011-12-16 @600
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But I like the new Mini...

Chuqi has been collecting lots of negative feedback on the new Intel Mac Mini. I'm just as surprised about all this negativity as he is.

I was actually hoping it would be a Mini. See, ever since I got my iBook "repaired", I was looking for a way to get a cheap replacement Mac to run as a server in our house and be a surfing station for my mother (so I can start lugging around the iBook again). I didn't want to buy a PowerPC Mini because it is no tangible improvement over my expanded G4. Not to mention that PowerPC is on the way out, and I intended my next Mac to be an Intel Mac.

I'm not really happy to buy a first-generation Mac, though, because it's historically taken Apple an iteration or so before all the new ports, buses etc. were in. Had it been an iBook, I would have considered it even less. Laptops are complicated beasts, and are stressed a lot on the road, and even the smallest rough edge in the design can be the difference between the machine becoming unusable in a years' time or working flawlessly.

But a Mini? It's small, it's cheap. It has a dual-core processor and WiFi built in, a line-in port, and I can plug in old screens and keyboards and keep using my USB devices. It has FrontRow, so can double as a very convenient second DVD player, music player, etc. -- all things I've been using my G4 for - but it has a remote and dedicated UI for that. Moreover, it's an Intel Mac, so if I get one I can make sure my stuff runs on Intel even if I give it to my mom for day-to-day use. And being dual-core and Intel it's also a tad faster than our old PowerPC Macs.

Of course, just like on every Mini before, the graphics card is a little underpowered. This time it's not even a 9000, it's an on-board Intel chip... Then again, the two Myst games I still have on my shelf unfinished are PowerPC versions anyway, and by the time the next comes out I may just be on to my next Mac...

So, I think this Mac Mini is a great opportunity. It's certainly simply an incremental update on the previous model, but I'm planning to use up my reduced-rate hardware purchase and get one of those critters.

Now all I have to do is to decide whether mom gets the Mini or the G4 ... :-)

Update: I put in my order yesterday. It's a dual core model with 1GB of RAM (I already have 896MB RAM in the G4, and the graphics card uses some of the on-board RAM in the Mini, so I upped that). The graphics card is actually better than I thought: You can up the GPU memory to 80MB, it does Shader 2.0, and it seems to be highly optimised towards video playback (even in Hi-def). It's only optimised for OpenGL 1.4 with a few extensions, though, so I'll have to see what that means in practice.

The reduced-rate hardware purchase I got with my ADC Student membership) shaved almost 100 Euros off the cost of this system and was easy to pull off: You simply call the Apple store at their toll-free number, navigate through the menu to get to a salesperson (in my case you go to the edu store). There you tell them you wanna buy with your student discount and tell them your ADC Member Number, which you see in your Profile when you log into your ADC account.

Then you surprise them by asking for a Mac Mini, not a MacBook Pro, and they'll ask you a few questions. It helps to have the web site open for that, as they essentially ask the same questions in the same order as the site does. They'll tell you what it costs, you scrape together your last coins and compare it to the store price, and finally, you can pay via wire transfer or credit card.

I've decided to keep the Mini and give my mom the G4. She still uses some Classic apps, and I haven't yet decided whether I'm going to buy her a copy of iLife '06 to replace them (anyone know whether the iLife package that ships with the new Macs is Intel-only? I only need one app out of the whole bunch, so I might just go and give the rest to Mom...). Also, the fan on the G4's CPU upgrade is louder than the Mini, and since I have to sleep in a room with the computer, I've decided to put the louder Mac into the room where nobody sleeps.

What that means is that you'll probably get a post about my first time using the migration assistant soon... we'll see.

Update 2: 2 days later Apple's order status web site tells me the Mini has shipped. How exciting! :-)

Update 3: 5 days after that, the package tracking feature moved for the first time. Supposedly it's in Mannheim now, and about to be delivered. Would be nice if it arrived here today.

Update 4: Looks like Out For Delivery means something else in the delivery company's language. Oh well, they still have all of tomorrow... but geez, I've never been so giddy about a newly-purchased computer. Would it hurt to deliver early? :-)

Update 5: Okay, six days after Apple wrote that it had shipped, there was a postcard in our mailbox and a second "out for delivery" entry on the web site, and my brain finally put two and two together and realised they meant that I was out for delivery. Which is complete nonsense because I'd been home pretty much all of yesterday and all this morning (when the second out for delivery had supposedly happened. So I called the number on the card and TNT said the truck would come by again at 10:00.

Well, it was 11:00 and the TNT delivery guy claimed he couldn't get in through our gate the last two times. Which is ridiculous considering all he'd had to do was pull the handle, which even tourists manage quite easily. When the outer box had a nice hole, I decided to take no chances and open it in front of the delivery guy. Luckily the inner box was undamaged.

Now I'm writing this on the new Mini. More on my experiences in a new entry.

Reader Comments: (RSS Feed)
Ruth Less writes:
Wait. Did you just say you put a G4 that runs Myst into my old room? When's the next birthday party for me to come for a visit? :-D
Or E-Mail Uli privately.

Created: 2006-03-01 @056 Last change: 2024-02-22 @260 | Home | Admin | Edit
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