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Scot

Buying A Mac!

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Scot
*(Plate glass option= As a last resort you can always experience the ultimate return policy by returning the item thru their plate glass window) :D  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

Hey, let's hope you don't have to do that.Well, I'm posting from my Mac Mini.Everyone should know that if it weren't for Arena, I probably wouldn't be the proud owner of a dyed-in-the-wool UNIX-driven Macintosh. One of the first things I did was open a terminal window to stare at the underpinnings that bear a much closer resemblance to Linux than they do Windows. Way cool.I wound up buying the Apple Bluetooth keyboard. I got one that was Open Box at my local CompUSA store (see, I do buy in bricks and mortar stores, but only when I have to have it today!). The keyboard works great, but I'm so addicted to split keyboards that I feel like my arms are "knock kneed" while I type this. Perhaps I'll get used to it though.The reason I had to buy a Mac keyboard was that my PS/2-to-USB adapter, which works fine with Windows machines, wouldn't work with the Mac. All my keyboards are Microsoft Keyboard Elites, which come with PS/2, of course. Why? I do not know. Perhaps they offer USB now. It's silly because all Microsoft mice come with USB, and a PS/2 adaper. That's how their keyboards should come too.So, what do I think of the Mac? I like it a lot. I'm really, though, already looking forward to Tiger, the next version of the OS. There are some very cool features in it.The only aspect I have quibbles with is "the Dock." It's OK, but it's not as elegant, IMO, as the Windows taskbar. Apple should have ripped Microsoft off more there. Lord knows, they had every right to. Yes, the Dock scales, but I prefer the very low profile taskbar.The only other thing I find extremely annoying is the fact that -- and I'd forgotten this -- you can't reposition the sides of windows by dragging their edges. You have to go to that lower right corner.Perhaps someone can set me straight on networking. While my Mac Mini connected wirelessly to my Windows peer network better than most Windows computers, wireless internet connection is dog slow. Not suitable for downloads. And when you consider my service is 4Mbps, that's pretty bad. I suspect something about the wireless internet protcols is amiss. When I plugged in an Ethernet cable to my router, presto, perfect connection and wicked fast. But wirelessly, it's dog slow.Any and all suggestions on the wireless stuff appreciated!Other than that, I'm very, very impressed. A friend told me about a program called Quicksilver that I love. Keyboard launching. I installed Firefox, and except for the toolbars, which seem a bit messed up, it's great. I'm happily installing most of my usual batch of extensions.I'm looking for software suggestions. Also, does anyone know where I can get a good honest deal on Microsoft Office 2004? I'd like to play with Entourage, but I don't think I'm going to be able to afford it. I think I'll have to stick with the Standard eddition.Enuff for now. L8r. :thumbsup: -- ScotP.S. Arena, now that I have a Mac keyboard, methinks that Apple hasn't changed this Delete-left and Delete-right key thing. I think the original Mac only had the Delete-left key. I think they added the Delete-right key in about 1990 or something and it's been that way ever since. Sorry! I was very confused.

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RichNRockville
Great collection of mac programs. I bookmarked that one.If you really want to see a great picture, connect the dvi output of the mac-minito a sony lcd tv. Great picture with only one problem. the top menu bar is almost off the screen and I can't figure out how to bring it down but it works. dvd movies play great and browsing looks great.All in all, now that I went out an bought a Kensington wireless keyboard and mouse that has the option keys. I am going to permantly put the mini next to my sony lcd tv. this way when the tv programs are no good, I can at least browse the web and such.

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fhaber

So, Scot, you managed to create a $1050 computer out of a $499 one (g)....If you're not out in Redmond at the moment, how about something on the speed and crispness of the interface? My experience with the original Imac and the first version of X was, shall we say, not good (as in buggy, balky and slow).I gather you're a graphical kinda guy, and while I value your writing, I'm not sure you're the guy to make this comparison. After all, you were at one time a victim of the Kawasaki Cult, no? What I'm worried about is how the icons and windows whip around the screen, when the GUI is set to full-minimalist. Or is that necessary these days? Can you set OSX to (what did they used to call it) show-rects (outline dragging)? You can totally eliminate the dock, right, or make it text-only? Can that minimal-Radeon mush around 1280x1024 in 2D 24-bit, fast? That's a given now with even bottom-feeder video, right? And is there a different feeling to the way the screen draws under that semi-vector, PostScript-based, PDF-native descendant of MacDraw?And since you have the restore disk, I trust you'll be messing up the opsys and taking us through the gory details of a restore, noting the current versions of sadMac, gong, ROM monitor errmsgs, and all that stuff Jobs tries so hard to hide from us?(Seriously, and beyond the above ribbing..... I agree that OSX is far and away the most elegant of the xxNIX desktops - no contest, and more thougtfully designed for use than NT. It just has the feel of a product coming from real design and loving use, rather than from a couple of talented artists working under the iron rule of focus groups.)-Frank

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Arena2045

Wow, that was a boring rant full of bias. Moving on...

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Scot
So, Scot, you managed to create a $1050 computer out of a $499 one (g)....
Frank, you're posting in the All Things Mac forum, and people consider comments like this here to be something of a flame.One comment in response. Have you tried OS X 10.3? It took Apple until this iteration to get things right in OS X. Take a look again. This is a much better OS than you're giving it credit for.Look, I'm not dropping my Windows PCs out the window. But I can appreciate a great OS when I see one.-- Scot

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eksimba

You guys are making me want to get a mini... If I do so it'll be the first time I've used a Mac since the mid-80's. Scot, I liked your latest newsletter's article. Between you guys here and an acquaintance I have who just launched his modmini website, I'll probably be buying one soon and hooking it up via KVM. Does anybody have any suggestions for a good (and hopefully inexpensive) KVM to use for that purpose?

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Peachy
IOGEAR makes some good quality KVM switches and they also bundle them witht the cables. The 4-port versions are well-priced, but the 2-ports are cheaper.

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eksimba
IOGEAR makes some good quality KVM switches and they also bundle them witht the cables. The 4-port versions are well-priced, but the 2-ports are cheaper.

Thanks, Peachy! I would only need the 2-port version. Very nice.

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fhaber
... people consider comments like this here to be something of a flame.-- Scot

Well, I thought I threw the fanatics a bone in my last paragraph. I haven't tried a recent OSX, no. I was asking for info from you, and the assembled company, to determine whether that would be worth my time.What's boring and dismaying to me is the kneejerk zealot reaction. I didn't expect that in this place.So, is the mini snappy with 1G RAM and a few programs open? Anyone care to respond to my points with substance?(My political position, if you demand one? I like the Mac's handholding, except when I don't. Now that there's Terminal, I suspect I'd no longer get blue in the face about any terminal cuteness I see. That good enough?)

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nlinecomputers
What's boring and dismaying to me is the kneejerk zealot reaction. I didn't expect that in this place.
Say what? Forgive me but the only one exhibting that is you. If you don't like the Mac that is fine but I didn't see any thing in your post that really made any constructive critism. You used the term Kawasaki Cult first. Methinks you call the kettle black with your kneejerk zealot comments. I guess we here at the SFNL have had it too good for to long. Looks like we have our first real troll to show up in some time. Guess we are making the big time again.*plonk* Edited by nlinecomputers

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fhaber

Now that we've established your sense of humor, might I quietly ask again for substantive comments?

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RichNRockville
.....
Sensitive sensitive.. As a person who started out with IBM-PC's back in 82 and has tried more versions of Linux than I care to talk about. I also used to teach the really old macintosh where I worked. I feel that too many people are much too sensitive to anyone saying bad things about their chosen os.I feel that some take their os as a religion and like some of the religious zelots who believe that anyone who does not believe like them is going to that place down south that is real hot. And also plain wrong.Maybe that is the difference between hobby'sts and those who use computers to make money. Maybe so..

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nlinecomputers

Rich it wasn't the flame on Mac OSX that ticked me off. Don't slam the boss and Mac users in general and then expect us to give you a discussion on the matter. Maybe he was intending humor. It didn't read that way to me. It came off as rude and condescending.

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teacher
What I'm worried about is how the icons and windows whip around the screen, when the GUI is set to full-minimalist.  Or is that necessary these days?  Can you set OSX to (what did they used to call it) show-rects (outline dragging)?  You can totally eliminate the dock, right, or make it text-only?  Can that minimal-Radeon mush around 1280x1024 in 2D 24-bit, fast?  That's a given now with even bottom-feeder video, right?  And is there a different feeling to the way the screen draws under that semi-vector, PostScript-based, PDF-native descendant of MacDraw?And since you have the restore disk, I trust you'll be messing up the opsys and taking us through the gory details of a restore, noting the current versions of sadMac, gong, ROM monitor errmsgs, and all that stuff Jobs tries so hard to hide from us?-Frank

I'm trying to get a handle on what your questions are so you can get a valid response. Do your questions boil down to this?1. Is it necessarily to have the scren at full-minimalist to have a screen without things happening?2. Can it now be set to outline dragging?3. Does a setting of 1280x1024 in 2D 24-bit have decent speed or is it slow?4. Does MacDraw handle differently now than it used to?5. Are you going to show us how to dig underneath and fine tune our systems rather than leaving them as they arrived?Is that what you are trying to ask? If so, maybe you can get some answers now. :lol:

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Peachy
4.  Does MacDraw handle differently now than it used to?
Julia,It's not called MacDraw anymore, but Quartz Extreme!

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fhaber

Thanks, Teacher and Minimalist. That's a good precis of what I was asking. Permit me a couple of emendations, would you?1. Is it necessarily to have the screen at full-minimalist to get really snappy response on this computer? Could you detail the complexity of the process necessary to do this? (In WinXP it's needlessly scattered, and requires a tip file to find all the settings.)2. Can the desktop still be set to outline dragging?3. Does a setting of 1280x1024 in 2D 24-bit have decent speed? (Yes, but on rereading I find that Scot has treated himself to a brace of magnificent 21" flat screens. He'll be running at 1600x1200 native, doubtless. I'll get my answer in spades. "Millions" will be pushing it for a 32MB graphics card, no? On the other hand, it's hard to find a lame graphics chipset for 2D these days, and a low-end Radeon is certainly more than lame.)4. Does MacDraw... than it used to? (And more technically, will the user notice any visual difference in how a complex app window or a major desktop change redraws, vs. the bitblt-ing of the PC? How about this "native-PDF" stuff? How does that impact a PC user? How about a user who wants a simple bitmap for a screen capture, for instance? Can you still get TIFF? Is PICT dead?4a. Tell us something about the Mac's superiority in screen-font sizing, especially at high resolutions, and especially for system text (toolbars, menus, etc.). The Win PC is showing signs of a major design mistake here - you can choose Large Fonts, and let the pulldowns in some apps overflow their boxes, or squint. How does Mac do it better.5. Are you going to show us how to dig underneath and fine tune our systems rather than leaving them as they arrived? (Yes, exactly, and you put in more nicely than I did. Pointers to tip sites, etc. I hope Scot has time for this.)Thanks very much for the reply. My excuse? I'm from New York. I hope this exchange has given Scot some fodder for his next Mac item.-Frank (misspelling edited)

Edited by fhaber

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Arena2045

fhaber:I'll answer one part of your list. About the video quality. The attitude you are portraying is very negative to the video in the Mac mini. There is nothing wrong with the video card that they choose for the Mac mini. You can drag files on the desktop, drag windows, make transparent windows, watch movies, make large 128x128 desktop icons, etc etc etc. The Quartz Extreme engine is very versatile.OS X 10.3 is a thousand times better than 10 and 10.1... and you cant even compare it to OS 9 or earlier.I have both a PowerMac G5 and a iBook 1Ghz G4... and I have no issues with video quality on the iBook... which would stand to reason that the Mac mini with some higher specs would do just as well or better with video.I often run using windows with transparency activated (accomplished by a third party app) and have no issues:My iBook Desktop:Click thumbnail to view:t_ibook_02_27_05.jpgNo, there is no need for a "minimalist" approach for a desktop, and there is literally no need for outline only dragging... and the default color setting for OS X is in millions of colors...You are taking the role of an anti-Mac-ignoramus too seriously and not giving the hardware/OS enough credit, which is typical of such an attitude (the mac mini has low what ever thus it must suffer).If you want a semi-non-biased comparison between OS X and Windoze XP visit: http://www.xvsxp.com/ where you can have a look at a lot of different comparison categories and see which OS does better at some things.

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Scot

Running the Mini ... with "millions" selected in the System Preferences > Displays control panel, and, yes, with 1600 x 1200 resolution on the Samsung, both the display quality and video performance are flawless for everyday computing tasks. There is no sense of something lost or corners being cut. In fact, from a visual perspective, OS X Panther and the Mac Mini represent a clear notch above Windows. (Perhaps the only gripe I have is font anti-aliasing, and that may be my due to my own lack of experience.) The ATI Radeon 9200 (4x AGP) w/32MB of vram is fine at this level. I think there would be a problem if I went up a notch. I don't buy any Windows PC these days with less than 64MB of vram, because I do have larger, higher-res displays than the 213T.One thing I would say, I haven't pushed the video around much. This ain't no high-end graphics machine. It's not what you would buy for heavy duty graphics-intensive tasks. This is a rank-and-file everyday home Mac for the average user. And of course, home computers are expected to handle basic photo manipulation. The onboard video is fine, especially for the price. For more oomph, and the ability to upgrade, the PowerMac would be the way to go.-- Scot

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Scot

Harking back to an earlier comment I made in this thread, my wireless Internet connection on the Mac Mini is working fine these days. I had said earlier that it was very slow. And it was. But that appears to have been a brief aberration. Just checked it and it's working as fast as any of my wirelessly connected Windows machines.Anyone know what "Use Interference Robustness" setting means?-- Scot

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Arena2045

According to my AirPort Extreme base station:"Interference robustness should be enabled when you are in an environment with other 2.4Ghz devices that may be interfering with your network. Devices that can interfere include certain wireless telephones, television repeaters, or microwave ovens."But I do remember a similar option when I had my old linksys network, it was like network boost or something. If your existing network has that turned on, then you should have Interference robustness turned on.

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greengeek

I would be interested in seeing how 3D software works on the mini, something like Blender, not sure what else is available for OSX, if someone cares to try it out.

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fhaber

(Airports in general).This is another area I'd like to know more about. Apple Airports have a reputation of being more robust under heavy interference than most. And then there's the useful little wallwart thing that can stream your music - very creative design, that.(Manhattan is 802.11 ****. You're lucky if the signal can get through ONE concrete-block and wetwall-plaster wall. A survey in this room shows *eleven* other wireless networks, a third of them open. If I walk to the windows in other rooms, I can pick up eight or so more, at "good" or better. Some brands of routers just go into fibrillation, and have to be reset every few hours, their stacks full and their little brains fried.)

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Scot

So, my use of my Mac Mini is starting to stagnate a bit. I could use your help! What should I explore next? The Mini has occupied a temporary place in my "labs" (my office), and I'm now rearranging my office just for this computer. I want it to be easy to get to. But ... what do I use it for? I'm not really able -- for professional reasons -- to make it my main computer, much as I would like to. (Or, at least, I can't do that if and until I become totally addicted to Macs.)So, what should I check out? I know some of you have suggested some things already, but I'd appreciate any new thoughts anyone has.-- Soct

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greengeek

Personally I think you should chuck out all pcs except for one to run Linux and replace the rest with Macs. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it! :">

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rbdietz
So, my use of my Mac Mini is starting to stagnate a bit. I could use your help! What should I explore next?  The Mini has occupied a temporary place in my "labs" (my office), and I'm now rearranging my office just for this computer. I want it to be easy to get to. But ... what do I use it for? I'm not really able -- for professional reasons -- to make it my main computer, much as I would like to. (Or, at least, I can't do that if and until I become totally addicted to Macs.)So, what should I check out? I know some of you have suggested some things already, but I'd appreciate any new thoughts anyone has.-- Soct

KVM switch with your main system?

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Arena2045

Scot,Its going to be hard to suggest ideas, especially trying other apps since I'm sure you have paid a lot of money for applications that you use on a daily basis and have grown attached too......but that doesn't mean you can't try out various shareware apps...Some MAC ONLY RSS Newsreaders:NetNewsWire 2.0 (beta) - NNW has been in BETA for a long time... thats not a bad thing, because they are making GREAT progress... but there comes a time when a company needs to realize that NO application is final, sticking with the BETA tag only hurts them in the long haul.I personally like NNW the best!* Some people don't understand the pricing for NNW. NNW 2 (alone) is $24.95. NNW 1.x is $39.95 because it includes NNW and a Blog editor. NNW 2 doesn't include the blog editor its now sold separately but can be bundled.** Lite (freeware) version available.PulpFiction - Has some interesting features... $25* Lite (freeware) version available.NewsFire - Was released as freeware but then went to shareware: $18.99. Has a simplified interface.NewsMac - Has an interface that I don't care for personally, but it has its perks. NewsMac Pro is in development, and looks to be a killer app. Donationware....Some MAC ONLY Browsers:CaminoOmniWeb - Uses the same core as Safari (so if it looks good, or bad, in Safari it should look the same here)... has some cool features... $29.95...If you haven't tried the included iLife apps, they are all great: iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, GarageBand, iTunes...OS X has the necessities to be a web server, you can always use it to test website projects....Instead of using ListGarden to generate your RSS feeds for the newsletter, give Feeder a try... has a boat load of more options. $24.95...Check out Modmini.com for some Mac mini uses....Pimp your Safari... from PimpMySafar.com...Buy a RadioShark... or ask to get one for review for your newsletter... and then use it to record radio broadcasts (with time shift recording)...etc....But then again, I don't know what you want to do with it, or how often you want to use it in your daily work habit.

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Rando

Scot, I too come from a Windows environment, except I never used a Mac in the past, and I just started using an iMac in December. I had to get experience on Mac for a new job in a university sitting where 20% of my users are on Macs. So far, I love it and have bought one for home use, but I can't keep my son off of it long enough to use it. The biggest things I have had to get used to are the home and end keys. What are they for? They kind of act like the Scroll Lock on the PC keyboard. The other thing I have to get used to is realizing when I click the X in the top left corner, it closes the window, but not the application. I find myself with a half-dozen apps running in the background that I thought I had closed. I am waiting on more reviews for iPhoto before I pass judgement on it, but so far all I can see it is for is keeping track of my pictures. The editing is lame. I WILL be saving up for PhotoShop! As for applications, don't forget to look at some of the open source stuff. Some of them have OSX installs, others can be a pain to install, so make sure they are worth the effort first.I will probably never get to the point where I toss my Windows PC out, unless XBox games really pick up. I can really get used to this!

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LilBambi

Suggest removal of dead link at KevinRose's site, PrivateDancer. Page not found.

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