Mac Mini First Impressions

I got a Mac Mini. These were my first impressions with one helpful comment from one of the people to whom I was complaining:

18:49 < cory> Mac Mini.  All of my keys are different. :(
18:50 < cory> Didn't let me set up my bluetooth keyboard until after the install, either.
18:55 < cory> Oh god.  I'm no longer a registered Apple Developer?
18:58 < cory> No optical audio out AND no optical media drive.
18:59 < cory> Apple doesn't like optical things apparently.
19:19 < cory> My keyboard apparently needed a firmware update, and the machine needed to reboot for that.
19:21 < silencer> this is what you get for buying cheap junk, oh wait
19:38 < cory> Oh, I guess XCode 3.* is the free one.  That's the one I want.
19:59 < cory> Well, Netflix works.  That's something.
19:59 < cory> Though I get random white pixels reminiscent of my first ATI video card.

Some explanation: I've been thinking about getting a Mac Mini for many years. I had originally intended to get one as a home theater PC, but I opted for something a third of the price some years ago and have been using it happily ever since. I've looked at prices and specs for a while, hoping for a reason to get one since, as a build machine and just for variety, and I recently just splurged.

I remember noting that they don't have optical audio ports and being disappointed in the past. I think I just forgot about that until I tried plugging it in, this time.

That the model I ordered didn't have an optical drive was a bit unfortunate, as I'm using it as my HTPC, now, and it would be nice to be able to throw even a DVD in there if not a Blu-Ray disk. It's weird that it comes with install DVDs. I failed to be able to read them on Linux. They weren't mountable as iso9660, hfs, or hfsplus volumes, and then I stopped caring. There's apparently some software to be able to read them over the network from a Windows or Mac machine, but I don't have one of those with an optical drive. Why didn't it come with an SD card loaded with software?

I now own two Apple products - a bluetooth Apple wireless keyboard and the Mac Mini. That they didn't work together without a hassle was really disappointing. The firmware update required me to reboot the machine, after which I had to log in before pairing the keyboard with it again. Logging in requires a keyboard.

Charging for development tools always seemed like a crime to me.

I think I resolved the issue with random white pixels sparkling across my screen by swapping out an HDMI cable. I'm running cables through my receiver and to my TV so that I can use my receiver to switch inputs, and the run was apparently too long for the Mac Mini's GPU to deliver a strong signal. Even though other devices on the same cables didn't exhibit the problem.

My Wii, which had been used primarily for Netflix for a while, now, will likely see much less use.

The upshot of all of this is that there's a .dmg of Notebook Ninja that runs on OS X attached to its project page, now.

  • Posted: 2011-03-24 21:07 (Updated: 2011-03-24 23:51)
  • Categories: computers


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