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Happy with Mac Mini....

Post in 'The Gear' started by webbie, Nov 10, 2007.

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  1. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, I guess it is gear" cause we need it to visit hearth.com

    As I said here earlier, my 4+ year old Mac tower died......and although repair was possible, I was able to get $200 for the hulk (with the drives out of it.)

    I had it in the budget to get a new one this year, but I didn't want to buy the "pro" models since according to normal upgrade cycles, Apple will probably have a newer "pro" within 90 days. So I decided to buy an Intel Mac Mini (Core 2 Duo 1.83) - about $550. It came with one gig of RAM and I just added another ($50). The idea is that this one will hold me over for a couple months and I will end up saving more than the difference when the new models come out. Then I will pass this down the line to my son.

    I'm impressed with this little thing - for anything except professional graphics and video work it is more than fast enough. The Core 2 Duo is fast enough that it is not the bottleneck (probably the hard drive, RAM, and other stuff is) because as I write this it is showing that the CPU is over 90% idle.

    Apple also has some refurb models that are a little slower on their web site as low as $429. That's a good price for a Mac - which includes all kinds of "stock" video, photo and other programs.

    I did get the new 10.5 system on a separately packed DVD, but I am not going to install it for awhile. The existing system is not missing anything that I can see.

    Anyway, take it for what it is worth. If you already have a monitor, keyboard and mouse.....or if you want a 2nd computer, or even if you are a windows person who wants to see what all the fuss is about, you can't beat this little thing. Also, it is very quiet and uses very little wattage compared to most other machines.

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  2. stonehouse

    stonehouse New Member

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    Go Mac!
    I'll bet it's fast enough to do graphics and video.
    I run a 2.16 Ghz Core Duo, 17 inch mac book pro. Is the core 2 Duo a different chip? I bet it is.
    I use Aftereffects, Final Cut Pro, and DVD Studio Pro all day long with much better results than the Power PC machines.
    I'd wait to install the new OS until they have a couple downloadable updates but you'll want to run that system for sure, and the sooner the better as System updates can be dangerous. Best to do it when no files are on the machine.
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Core Duo 2 is next generation, but no big deal.

    Neither notebooks nor mini are idea for FCP and heavy video, because the hard drives are relatively slow - both would work much better with an external FW drive for that part. But having ran FCP on old emacs with single 1.2 G4's (they worked fine), I can only imagine that a version optimized for intel would work OK. Also, both notebooks and mini are somewhat challenged as far as the graphics "card" or equiv....again, because they are tiny form factor.

    Well, we have Blackberry posters here, wonder when we get the first iPhone poster?
  4. stonehouse

    stonehouse New Member

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    iPhone will be here soon.
    I'll disagree with you about the notebooks though. For FCP they're awesome.
    For heavy video, They're not ideal, I suppose, but people who shoot betacam and HD are still using SCSI arrays for drives on 80k+ mac systems. It's crazy and it ain't the graphics boards enabling these systems.
    For post production, the notebooks are fantastic. I bet the one you have would be too. I love the flexibility and high resolutions on the notebooks.

    You're the webmaster, I like this forum, but I hate having to unclick the "Notify me via email when someone posts in this thread."
    How about making the default no notification?
    That's be better for me.
  5. WILDSOURDOUGH

    WILDSOURDOUGH New Member

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    I would love to get a new book- but my ibook g3, running 10.4 just keeps going and going.
    Only problem is the hard disk is close to maxing out- down to 6 GB or so... got to keep dumping stuff off to external.
    Keep us informed as to 10.5... I didn't see all that much that would make me upgrade now.
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Stone, I think you can do this in your own control panel - go there and look at Email settings!
    Hey, if FCP runs and does not drop frames, the proof is in the pudding. I know the notebooks and the min have 4200 rpm drives, which are substantially slower than the 7200's.

    Wild, I was using a blueberry(clamshell) iBook running 10.2 for the last couple weeks here...it actually did web browing pretty good! I think that is a 1999 model, or maybe 2000....and with 128M Ram.

    I am lucky in that I usually have a child college student that I can pass my stuff down to. So my daughter has my G3 ibook while I have a G4 Powerbook....as my upstairs unit! The mini (and probably a Pro later) is in my basement office.
  7. stonehouse

    stonehouse New Member

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    Thanks for the tip. I didn't know I could disable that. Every forum is a little different.
    My drive is a 7200. ST910021AS
    That was probably an upgrade. I upgraded everything on this machine. It cost around nearly 4k. Stupid macs.
    I just gave a g4 tower to a musician friend loaded with garage band and some other pro audio stuff.
    I don't know if she'll ever learn it but I feel better than selling it for 400.
  8. TedNH

    TedNH Member

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    iPhone user checking in.. =D

    My wife has an intel iMac and I have an iBook.
    I listen to my friends sit around and complain about Vista and I just shake my head and laugh.
  9. slowzuki

    slowzuki Feeling the Heat

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    I've got an Ibook G4 thats 3 years old now. Just shy of its first birthday I drove over it and my digicam in our suzuki sidekick, long story.. I used it with an external screen for a while then found a screen on ebay and popped it in. The DVD combo drive got squished so it will only read cd's when it is cold, and definately none with labels but it still works. The frame of the machine it 1/2" bowed when you set a straight edge on it.

    Its runs 8-10 hours a day and it still good knock on wood.
  10. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Gee, and I find that my 32-bit Athlon w/ 512 mb does it all for me... Of course I don't use anything proprietary that I can avoid, so my system runs nicely, doesn't get 0WN3d, and only gets rebooted if I update the kernel, or have a power failure that lasts longer than the UPS is good for...

    I do try not to let all my software get more than a couple months out of date, but that's no big deal, just takes a little while to start the process that checks for updates then downloads the source and compiles all my stuff... (I like my Gentoo box :coolsmile: )

    Gooserider
  11. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    I'm a long-time Linux user - desktop and server. I like things that work. I probably would be a Mac user if Apple had decided they were a software company instead of a hardware company. I really like the Linux-based controller that runs my heating system and produces the data for the graphs that I annoy everyone with. The computer is about 4x6 inches and uses less than 5 watts. Boots in seconds, and includes a built-in web server.

    There's a lot of great equipment that doesn't owe anything to Redmond.
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that is the very definition of "great equipment".......

    and the inverse, although the Xbox and MS split keyboard seem to be well liked.

    You Linux and UNIX folks will just DIE when you get a mac sitting on the side of the desk and can see all those familiar screens like this one:
    ------------

    Attached Files:

  13. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Haven't died yet - you're trying to impress the wrong guy ;-)

    Now it's my turn to show off.

    I love the Mac, but I was using windowing GUIs with Un*x variants and VMS in 1986. The co-existence of command line and GUI has been my world for over 20 years at this point. In fact, I bought the very first Vax systems with Xwindows - we had to print the documentation ourselves off of tape.

    I have a screenshot of my desktop as I'm composing this. I had to scale it in order to attach it, but here's a link to the full-sized image.

    You'll notice a virtual machine on the right side running Wind*ws - still have a small number of applications that require it. Lotus Notes is running full-screen at the moment. Not my favorite, but my work requires it.

    You'll also note a console window with multiple tabs. In the currently open tab, I've been cross-compiling one of the C programs that runs on the Arm-based controller that runs my heating system. Another tab is the heating system controller itself. Other tabs are other computers here and around the Northeast.

    The desktop on this machine is KDE, but I have several other choices. I really wish that Apple had chosen to use Linux as the foundation for OS-X rather than BSD. I would love to have the OS-X GUI as another choice, and it would bring some great applications out into the world in a big way.

    As I said in another thread, keep up the good fight!

    Attached Files:

  14. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Cool, I was never involved with computers since they didn't have them when I was in school.....all we heard about them was that they were going to upset society by getting workers laid off. You could replace "illegal immigrants" and chinese goods with "computers" and that was what we heard in our school...bad, bad , bad.

    What I like about that "shell" stuff is how well you can control remote computers - exactly as if you were sitting at them. For instance I can watch the logs in real time as people come onto Hearth.com and grab documents. There is something fascinating about watching people come and go......

    The new Hearth.com server runs Linux and after having run FreeBSD for 10 years, I find it almost identical as far as working with it.

    picture of log enclosed - shows IP number of visitor, time, and other info such as what they might be searching for, their OS, etc.

    Attached Files:

  15. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Some people seem to be conditioned to see the worst in everything. I prefer to be an optimist.

    What drove me away from the Mac in the early days was the lack of a command line. There are lots of things that are far easier, faster, or just plain possible with a command line than with a GUI. I'm a big GUI fan but they are not the answer to everything, and Apple didn't seem to figure that out for years.

    Other things I've used for years that are 'big news' when M*sft finally gets around to it:

    - Displaying the graphical interface to a program on a different computer than the one running the program. Trivial in Xwindows, and part of the design from the beginning. Still not really working in Redmond-land.
    - Multi-head displays
    - Virtual machines
    - Network-based file systems
    - Remote console-based systems administration

    I routinely have shell sessions open on six or eight different computers - the tabs on my console window above. It's absolutely amazing what you can do with a few keystrokes.

    Try this - ask a GUI user to find all files with a certain group of characters in the filename ('heat', for instance). Then type 'locate *heat*' and ask which was easier.

    Then, to rub salt in the wounds, suggest this scenario: Your disk is getting full, but you don't know where the space-hogging files are. Find the three biggest subdirectories. M*sft users will be stuck. Then type 'du -k | sort -nr | more' and ask them why command lines are bad.
  16. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    As you might have guessed, I'm in the same boat. My formal computer education is seven weeks of college freshman Fortran on punch cards. I thought 'interesting, but not for me' and didn't touch them until I was well out of school. Then I bought a Z80 based microcomputer that used external cassette tape for program storage, It had the newest thing - a language called 'BASIC' in ROM on the computer. It was written by some little company called 'Microsoft'. I was hooked, and it's been downhill ever since.
  17. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Ha, I can imagine us on our deathbeds.....still sitting there typing with a bunch of shell windows open. Controlling the world til the last breath. Maybe we can even leave a script somewhere so that we continue typing after we expire!

    Virtual webmaster.........
  18. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    In the early eighties, I wrote a script that would send emails on my behalf to co-workers after I had left for the day. Since they didn't know such a thing was possible, they thought I was dedicated and putting in long hours. For me at that time, all emails were internal network documents, as our company was not connected to the outside world.
  19. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    One of the early businesses I thought of for the web involved the sending of email to folks after you "leave for work" from this world! Now I see that this and much more has been done......although according to "The Ethicist", sending messages from the grave may not be a good overall idea for society!

    Getting OT now (one thing leads to another) - but one of the biggest missing links in the internet and multimedia world (today), is the ability of the average person to inexpensively archive their videos, pics, docs and web sites. That was another business I thought about going into. When I say "archive", I mean REALLY, similar to the way Iron Mountain and other companies do this for business and government. Making multiple copies, storing them in various forms and in various countries (inside a Swiss vault, etc.) and giving instructions on who to release them to in the future (easily done using DNA matches, which will be cheap)....

    As it stands now, as much or more of our digital lives will disappear as have the "print" lives of former generations. At least the pictures could be found in the attic. The bits will go down with the crashed hard drive!

    Such a business would be relatively easy to do these days (digitally), although the cost of bandwidth would still get in the way for extensive video. But the other parts could be done through Amazon (they will "rent" you space in their giant internet cloud", and then downloaded and indexed to hard drives and DVD's - which could then be stored in multiple places. This would have to be done with the reliability of an insurance company, etc......like they can still look up policies from hundreds of years ago.
  20. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    That is part of the entire drive behind much of the Free / Libre / Open Source Software movement (AKA "FLOSS) - we are acutely aware of the tremendous amount of data that has been, and continues to be lost due to the combination of hardware obsolesence and more critically loss of information about data formats and structures.

    One of the most dramatic examples is from England - way back in the 1400's, one of the first 'modern' style censuses was done in England, known to this day as the "Domesday Book" - In the early 1960's to honor the 500th anniversary, the BBC did a repeat of the project, with the results recorded on computer. Then around 2000 or so, they went to do a documentary and wanted to compare the two studies. They found that the original Domesday book on paper hardcopy was still quite readily accessible in regularly reprinted versions, and I believe they even found a still readable original. OTOH, they had tremendous trouble accessing the data from the 1960's "modern" version, I'm not sure if they ever actually did fully recover the raw data. First problem was that they had a hard time finding functional hardware that could read the media, but an even bigger issue was that they couldn't extract the information once they read the media as it had been stored in an obsolete PROPRIETARY data format, created by a company that was long since defunct, and that had never released their source code, and who's binaries only ran on long obsolete hardware....

    This is a major issue for the US government - there are significant amounts of records from the Korean war era on, and especially from Viet Nam on, which are essentially lost, and may never be recovered because they don't know how to convert the obsolete data formats into useable form.

    Microsoft is notorious for this - look at the difficulty in opening old Word documents with later versions, or an MS Works document with any version of Word. There are a lot of other proprietary programs that have locked up data in undocumented formats. Interestingly enough, your best bet for opening a lot of them is FLOSS software, as a lot of people have put a great deal of effort into reverse engineering proprietary formats.

    However, with FLOSS, all the software source code is released and available, so it can be updated and recompiled to run on new hardware as people need it, (Linux currently runs on more hardware than any other O/S in history, and every mainline kernel version ever released is available on line in source code) and even more importantly all the data formats are documented and defined openly so that as long as you can read the bits off the media (which is also a problem - NO computer media has anywhere near the lifespan of paper...) the information is there that you need to turn the bits back into useable information.

    Thus IMHO, the most valuable and important part of my system is the mostly unused part that you won't find on a Mac or Windows box - the */src/* directories - if I don't have them on my machine, I can get them as fast as I connect to the net, and while I may not know what to do with them myself, I can always get someone that does...

    Gooserider
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