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New Apple Mini

cmacb (547347) writes | more than 9 years ago

User Journal 7

I had this all typed up as a response to another users Journal when I found that they had made their Journal read-only. Grrrr.

I had this all typed up as a response to another users Journal when I found that they had made their Journal read-only. Grrrr.

Apple refuses to compete on price and maybe in the long run this will prove to be a strategy that works. What they have to be careful about though is not even being in the same price-ballpark with PC systems as they have in the past. My guess is that they might be making $200 each on these things in the long run, if not more. While I'd love to see them crush the Wintel competition, such a move might actually be risky for them... ramping up production ten-fold, all the support costs that go with it.

They recently recalled a bunch of iBooks (including mine) as I understand it, in response to a lawsuit. I wonder how much of the total profit margin on that whole line was eaten away by that move.

The good news for me is that the recall got Apple back into my good graces. I just loved using the machine (when it worked) so I'll be very tempted to get one, or maybe even two of these new Mini machines. I'll probably wait a month or two for the early evaluations on them. I'd like to know how much noise they make and whether they tend to overheat etc. But that tiny footprint and clean look will be a joy.

I'm also torn between using OS X and Linux. I REALLY prefer Linux since there are so many tools I'm already used to (and free ones at that) that still don't run on the Apple desktop. I ran both Yellowdog Linux and Debian on the iBook though with some limitations (couldn't burn CDs or watch DVDs) however I think those limitations are gradually being resolved. I'm not even tempted to write my own OS.

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It's a G4 (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11340997)

in a tiny case, not a G5 so it's not all that exotic. I kept saying if they ever hit a 500$ new desktop I would get back into macs, and I was all hot about it too until I seen it, sheesh, I want a desktop, not a teeny little near PDA thing. I want some room to move inside the case, etc. Ain't gonna get one. Hold out, eventually find a used dual processor G4 someplace that's affordable. I still have my PB 1400, but at most it will only hold 64 megs RAM which doesnot work with the web anymore, it just don't, and I can't put OSX or Linux on it, so it sits mostly. Bogus. I paid serious loot for that thing too, then Apple made a decison to make it non upgradeable because of software and OS choices. That fried my grits so I switched to Linux.

Recommendations in your case-> Just pick up a used old tower for maybe 200 bucks (in other words a nice one) with a G4 or G3 for that matter and shop for upgrades (like from sonnet or whatever) on ebay at your leisure, and use that instead, and triboot classic/osx/linux. The money you save you can put towards maxing the RAM out and on new drives or wireless, etc.

Frankly, I still prefer classic OS over everything else I have ever used. I could care less about fanboiism or exotic "features" that only trained gurus and pro IT people use once a month, in other words, 99% of Linux is overkill for my needs and too compl;icated and upgrades and keeping it patched are a chore.. Anyway,throw enough RAM at an old classic mac machine, as in max it out, and adjust memory on an app by app basis in the "get info" menu entry and it works fine, with about zip security issues. And nothing that linux or windows has can beat the sheer ease of installing apps and *security* on mac classic, portage, apt get, you name it, they all fail it compared to fat binaries on mac classic you can just download and stick wherever you want and they "just work". and no "getting owned" on the internet either, just not happening if you keep appleshare turned off. heck, I ran a non firewalled webserver and didn't get a thing with it (short time frame just for fun but try that with a linux or windows webserver) Man I got spoiled by those ease of use features and built in security. I know "the unix way" is todays method, but really, it's sheer utter hair pulling frustration once something *doesn't* work. Like right now I have mystery burning, sometimes it will work, other times with the same exact settings it won't. I mean a back to back burn, one wiol take, the next one with a fresh disk once. And I set burn speed to like 1 or 2x. Go figger. Screwy crap for sure. I certainly can't fix it, and it's more broken than not. Most annoying.... I never had that with a single mac app. If it said it worked on mac it did. If the hardware said it did, then it did. Balck/white, yes/no. I liked that. The worst was netscape freezing periodically, the solution to that was just to shut it down and turn it back on again occassionally. Then I switched to iCab browser and never went back to netscape except for a few specific sites. All the major "new" browser guys should look at iCab for how to do it, IMO.

oops, rambling, carry on and stuff...excuse numerous typos, got chores to run to...

Re:It's a G4 (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342000)

Thanks for the response.

Gee your experiences have been about 180 degrees from mine. For one, I never used an Apple before OS X, so I didn't have any temptation to even install the OS 9 compatibility stuff. I knew that OS X, with it's FreeBSD underpinnings was a "mature" OS and expected it to have far fewer problems than Windows (OK, almost any OS does that).

By the time I started using the iBook though I was already pretty comfortable with Linux. No EXPERT mind you, but I had installed all the major distributions on a variety of systems and knew how to get to the bottom of MOST problems I'd run into.

I had settled on Debian, even though it has a reputation of being harder to install, but I found, after I got used to it (and with the installer constantly improving) that it wasn't all that bad. I also found that there was practically nothing I needed that I couldn't install simply by typing "apt-get install packagename". My keeping the system up to date consists of typing "apt-get update; apt-get upgrade" once a week or so, unless I read of some security exposure that needs immediate attention.

I discovered a used computer store near me that has used (mostly government) computers and have so far bought 3 older Dell machines for $99 each. While they are older than the last NEW Dell I have, they are also the older, better case technology with fans and power supplies designed to last a long time. They are quieter than my new Dell and more than fast enough for Linux doing web browsing, e-mail, personal business, etc. One of these $99 special has been a web server here at my place for a couple of years now. Behind a Linksys router, I haven't had any sort of security problems that I'm aware off, although I do get a steady patina of hits from infected Windows machines.

I upload picture from my digital camera to my Linux machine. I was carefully to pick one (Olympus) that just looks like a hard drive when I plug it in. No drivers or software needed or desired (by me). My Palm Pilot (an older one) continues to work just fine too. I got my scanner working once, but I do so little scanning I can't say I remember how to do it off the top of my head. meanwhile there were several compatibility issues between OS X and Canon scanners, at one point I read where if you upgraded to the latest version of OS X you would be SOL. Ditto for printers. Getting them to work with Linux has been frustratingly hard... but not all that much easier with OS X. I developed a solution for that: DON'T PRINT. After going through 4 Inkjet printers that seemed to need new ink every time I went to use them I realized I could SAVE money by taking anything I need to print to Staples on a floppy or CD. The old LASER printers are a lot more reliable and I may end up getting one of those just for "emergencies". The only time I miss a printer is when I wan't to print out driving directions from the online mapping programs. I don't mind writing down the steps, but the little map is sometimes nice to have too.

I find that whatever I need to do I can usually figure out a way to do it with Linux, and further, once having done so, I am not at the mercy of some driver vendor, since Linux generally forces me to avoid such dependencies. A great case in point: A recent article over at technocrat (I bet you're the zogger from there too) started me thinking about having MP3 tunes playable around the house. Previously I had been considering one of those Rolu (or similar) wireless network gadgets that could be plugged into a stereo system. A few of them can be run in conjunction with Linux, but they cost a couple hundred and I'd have to get tow or three of them just to make it interesting. That recent article on FM transmitters though got me thinking that a better idea was just to play the music on a PC, any of them, and let the stereo tune it in that way, plus the clock radios would have it too. I spent $35 for a Belkin device that I can now plug into any PC no matter what OS it's running and broadcast the music everywhere. Now I can't think of any reason I'd want to do it another way. The FM sound quality is by far good enough for my ears, and for those occasions when I think I could tell the difference I still have the option of burning a CD.

I don't burn a lot of CDs, but I give Apple the edge on this. Maybe once in a couple dozen times I get a bad burn, usually because I'm trying to do other things at the same time and end up overloading the system. On the other hand I've had pretty good luck with Linux too. The same Compaq laptop that used to have about a 50 percent success rate burning CDs under Windows, now is almost faultless under Linux. I like the way the OS X burner does a verification step by default, I have to turn that option on under Linux, but other than that I'm happy with both.

Talk about rambling.

If I get one of the Apple mini's I'll post a review. As it stand it will probably be mid February at best. I refuse to be one of the first buyers. I'll wait to read that none of them have gone up in smoke or anything.

Re:It's a G4 (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11345117)

by all means if you do a review, submit it to technocrat and I'll publish it. Yes, I'm an editor there. Bruce Perens owns and runs the site. Feel free to join in the fun and do some replies or submissions. It's nice, slashdot without much trolls or flame war stuff.

Question: what belkin device did you get, and what sort of range does it have? More info please.

something about macs, I've junked quite a few older PCs but I still have all but one of my macs, going back to the 512k model that ran off of 400k floppies in ram. full GUI too, still works. never gonna junk any of them, I consider them to be actual bonafide antiques of some value now.

Right now though I'm on a 125$ IBM desktop that I got new in the box salvage,(a deal as far as I am concerned, happy since I opened the box, built like a tank) and older one but to me pretty spiffy and does what I want. I keep fedora on the HD but have been experimenting with micro and mini linux OSes like webwolf, blueflops (SNAZZY!), Feather, Puppy (dang good as soon as they fix a few tiny bugs) and damnsmalllinux (can't seem to burn it yet for some reason so no opinion on it). I'm trying to find a distro that will keep on chugging on much older resource poor machinery, and so far puppy is winning. It is quite nice, configures easy, finds the hardware. Only problem I have had so far is it won't actually finalise my PPP setup and I'm too lame to finish figuring it out (granted, only spent one session with it so far, still trying). I know how to hand write wvdial but no other way, never had to learn it so I'm stuck for now. Besides that, it's very smooth, ton of apps, decent looking desktop, nice menu, works great all the other things on it that I tried out.

blueflops though is very very cool, for even much older machines because it uses two floopies, that's it, first one is a kernel boot image, then the next one is some more apps, you get a nice system with a decent browser that actually displays images and surfs quite well once you figure out how to use it (they call it eLinks "hacked") and some other tools and apps. TWO FLOPPIES for the entire thing! It works slick, runs on ancient junk with hardly any ram needed. I need something like that for this ancient laptop I have with only a floppy drive. I will probably use some of their additional add on packages they have and try to install it. supposedly it's based on a somewhat older version of slackware, IIRC. I even did a very small review while running it and posted it to technocrat.

Puppy is around 50megs, got about everything you need. I am getting disenchanted with most modern OSes, just too dang bloated and you need tons of expensive RAM to make them work correctly. I'm just tired of shelling out serious folding moeny for new hardware all the time. It didn't matter back when I was making much better coin, but now semi retired and on limited budget I am *squeezing* usefulness out of old machinery. I took a serious look at what I actually use a computer for and realised I really don't *need* a distro that takes up gigs of space just to install the thing. Well, that and I resurrect old junkers that I give away to poor farm kids around here on their birthdays. My main problem is none of the old machines have enough RAM and trying to find it nowadays is a pain and it's invariable expensive. So, thinking about switching to one of these small linux distros, well that and I am down to one remaining 95 and one 98se licensed copy (I don't just copy cds with propietary stuff). and after that not going to buy any more, even if they are cheap. Linux is cheaper and I embrace the FOSS concepts now.

None of that takes away from my past liking of mac classic though, went years of smooth sailing computing listening to my windows friends kvetch about problem after problem after problem. there's a *reason* there's so many old mac fanatics out there. Jobs just priced me out of the market a few years ago and I had heard of "linux" so went and checked it out. Much better than winderz for most uses, and the price is right.

aak (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11345154)

you'd think I'd learn to close tags...but NOOO sorry about that dangit hahah!

close italics

Re:aak (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 9 years ago | (#11345180)


I was still trying to parse that first message. Glad you pressed interrupt.

Re:It's a G4 (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 9 years ago | (#11345374)

Here is the Belkin device. I got it at Walmart (I don't hate them, and there aren't many stores to choose from here). It's designed to be used in your car, so I had to buy a separate power converter for another $10 or so. I found that plugging into the AC adapter boosted the signal considerably, on battery alone it would have not been acceptable. I'm in a condo. Big concrete shoebox. So I'm not sure it would be enough power for even a small house. You can always return it to Walmart though... at least I've heard they are good about that.

From one corner of my condo, where this computer is it hits the clock radios at the other end through several sets of drywall. You can tune it to any FM frequency, and I had to experiment a bit. Seemed to do better at the high end. I'm thinking that an even better signal could have been achieved by taping it to a coat hanger or some tin foil, but the wire on the power adapter seemed to do the trick in my case. ast%20II []

cut and past and remove spaces if that doesn't work.

I'm in the same boat as you, semi retired from the computer industry, looking forward to my future career waiting tables here at a resort community. I've given away a few computers too to my "poor" Windows using friends. I've learned that such charity doesn't gurantee a switch. Ingrates! You're probably doing a better service. The future is with the kids after all. You've worked with some distros I've never heard of. I mean to try damnedsmalllinux (sp?) at some point to rehabilitate junkers to give away. I have a "Broken" Windows machine sitting behind me that I suspect will spring to life once I format that trashy operating system off of it.

I'm the same cmacb over at technocrat by the way. I think I signed up the same day it was announced here on Slasdot.

Re:It's a G4 (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11345703)

tune cast looks reasonable and easy to use but probably too weak for what I need. Maybe, donb't know but will bookmark the search anyway in case I can't find it local. I want something can reach out and cover a good distance overland, I live and work on a big farm here. It might be useable with some sort of amp though, or wiredf to an exterior antenna of some sort. Price is right for fooling around though, that's for sure. The one Bruce found is more useable but sheesh sorta outtasite spendy.
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