Change-up :: mini-mac

January 22, 2005 21:00 by keithkaragan
You're damn right, I signed-up and bought a mac-mini as soon as I heard about it. Why? I'm haven't been a mac owner; I use Windows nearly exclusively in my trade; It's not what I'm familiar with ... right? Yes, but I always wanted one and never could justify spending close to three grand on a machine I wouldn't utilize heavily enough (imacs aren't an option - I don't have the desk space for that kind of thing - it needs to work in my KVM). So the mac mini seemed to fit me like a glove - I can use my familiar keyboard, mouse, and monitor as well as hooking it into my set-up. Anyway, it arrived straight from China via FedEx and was usable in less than 10 minutes after plugging it in. The mac mini is no powerhouse, I opted for the 512 MB RAM upgrade (the 1GB was obscenely expensive) on the slower processor of two choices because I wasn't sure how accessible the innards of the machine would be (since the purchase a video of opening the case exists on the web) - I'll upgrade it to 1GB on the cheap at some point, but it runs fine with 512MB for now. But even with modest specs, the OS X Panther runs quickly and most tasks are faster than on my Viao laptop with a slightly faster processor. The biggest change for me is getting used to the OS. I've used OSX and other mac OSes from time to time before, but never 'lived' with them for an extended period before. Since plugging in on Thursday (It's Saturday now) I have gotten accustomed to the workings of mac without any real scalp scratching or frustration - pretty cool. I knew about as much about mac OSX as I do about linux (not a hell of a lot, but enough to use it), but I feel way more comfortable on OSX than linux. I like a rich UI and OSX is uber-slick. The quality of video and audio playback is excellent, a great leap over what I normally find with Windows media (even using Windows media player). I don't have a handle on all of the short-cut key strokes yet, so I'm bit slow in some things I fly through in the Windows world, but no worries - those will come in time. I have to say that if I had never used a computer before and someone stuck a mac and a windows machine in front of me, within a few minutes I'd be doing something on the mac without much instruction, and I'd probably stick with it. That's not really an option for me, since I write software primarily for windows machines, but I'm really liking the whole experience. Maybe Windows Longhorn will get the MS interface to this level with the addition of Avalon, I can't imagine that the designers aren't looking closely at what makes this OS so friendly. The linux on the desktop folks would be well served by taking lessons from apple, if they haven't already. Between the mac mini and the Firefox browser I have renewed hope for the computer industry. It's been too long that competition has been out of the mainstream, it benefits all the players - especially the end-users. Apple will sell tons of these machines, and I can't imagine it'll be too long until John and Jane Average can pick one up at Target or Walmart and enter the computing world or replace their virus infected low-end Windows PC that requires them to know too much about computers to use efficiently - These lower end models have a fairly short life span, now they can keep the LCD, keyboard, mouse, and speakers from that and replace the CPU with one that is 1/10th the size and way easier to use. They can load up Firefox, browse the web and be the talk of website administrators all over the world as they see their User Agent statistics start to change. As a programmer this is heart warming too - sure it's easier to code for a single browser, but it's much better as technical specialist to be able to write to a wider spectrum of users ... it's good business. Innovation is accelerated by competition, when Microsoft had to contend with not being the deFacto browser Internet Explorer advanced it's technology faster than it does now. Presently we see more and more bugs and security bulletins, and less new features and innovation in IE. Tabbed browsing has been around for some time now in 'alternative' browsers - still not in IE. RSS integration - the same thing (even Safari will have that in the next OSX release). Perhaps this shift will have some impact in that department, maybe not ... it'll be interesting to see.
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