Frank Mitchell

Cuter than the Cube

Mac mini

Apple just released the Mac mini. To quote Audra:

“Apple keeps making me more and more their bitch.”

I know what she means. Once you’ve really used a Mac, there’s almost no reason to switch back, unless you’re a gamer. For now, I’m just going to dispel a couple of myths and rumors that popped up in that conversation.

  1. If you buy the AppleCare Protection Plan (APP) with your Mac mini (for an additional $100), you’ll get 3 years of support. That means that if anything goes wrong with it, you can call Apple and they’ll pay to have it shipped back to them and repaired. Estimated turnaround time is about week. Personally, I think it’s worth it.

  2. To upgrade the memory from 256MB to 1GB will cost you $382. But yes, it is upgradable. Likewise, you’ve got the option of either a 1.25 GHz processor or a 1.42 GHz one. Personally, I don’t think the extra CPU cycles (or hard drive space) is really worth it. You’d be better off spending the $100 you save on a Maxtor external.

To quote Paul:

“[Q]uite frankly, I don’t really consider upgrading my machine very much anymore…I’m essentially a developer user these days. I don’t care about the latest and greatest because my machine compiles plenty fast runs jEdit easily, and runs WoW fine unless the server is having problems.”

Neither do I, but that’s only because if I do I won’t be able to play Thief any more. Everything is becoming more and more disposable, and prices are going down faster and faster. Which is easier: $2000 every four years (a build it yourself computer) for a machine that may or may not last that long depending on how fast the market changes, or less than $1000 every two years (the Mac mini) for something that’ll do what you need it to do?

“I’m fairly certain that the Mac will be more reliable and less of a headache, too. And reliability and lack of headache is a big deal for me these days.”

Speaking from personal experience with my Powerbook and the iMac my mother uses at work, it will. Because Apple owns all the hardware, you don’t have to worry about parts not playing nicely with each other. Plus, it’s all BSD under the hood, so you’ve got the power to bitch slap your programs into submission (kill -9) if you ever need to do so.

Then there’s the fact that you just don’t have to worry about viruses, malwares, spyware, parasites, etc. Unix permissions mean that if your web browser does get hijacked and crashes, it’s not going to pull the rest of your computer down with it. I can’t say the same for Windows Explorer and the Blue Screen of Death.

The Mac mini fits the college student niche that says, “I want a semi-portable computer with a nice monitor and keyboard, but I don’t want a laptop.” It’s something I could see my parents buying to replace their aging PC at home.