The Mac Mini Mega Migraine

Today’s the Friday after Thanksgiving—commonly referred to in the U.S. as “Black Friday” because all the idiots swarm the shopping malls in effort to save five bucks—and most people have the day off work.

I don’t.

I could have taken a vacation day, but didn’t. I can’t complain, though… since I get five weeks of vacation each year, and after next October, six. Plus, I wore sweat pants to the office. Comfort!

Anyway, about two-and-a-half weeks ago, I ordered two Mac minis for use at the upcoming trade show in Orlando, and they finally arrived today. Now, taken at face value, the Mac mini looks pretty goddamned impressive. It’s quite small, pretty fast, and plenty capable.

The first thing you notice as you’re unpacking it, however, is the relatively-gargantuan proportions of its power supply brick. While the Mac mini is 6.5”x6.5”x2.0” (84.5 cubic inches), its brick is 6.5”x2”x1.375” (17.875 cubic inches)… or about one-fifth the volume the mini.

That’s huge.

So, basically, what Apple has done is move some of that volume away from the box that’ll sit on your desk and put it in a warm, idle slab of plastic that will probably sit on the ground under your desk.

The next thing you’ll notice after you have it up and running… is that it requires 470.5 megs of software updates. That’s almost half a gig worth of download. Here’s hoping you have a Gregg-style 15Mb/s pipe at home or office, because the download/install procedure averages well over an hour on a T1.

What’s worse is that they come with OS X version 10.4.7 (the Intel flavor) preinstalled. Which means that you’re effectively doing a minor-revision software update to 10.4.8. Minor revision?! Blow me, Steve Jobs.

Finally, once all the software has downloaded and installed, you have to perform a firmware update. While this procedure isn’t that taxing (two restarts and then hold down the power button), it represents just one more fucking thing that you have to do (and wait for) before you can start using your flash new computer.

While the mini is the perfect fit for what we’re going to do at the trade show (headless operation, play a video presentation on infinite loop), I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone—knowing now how much work it takes to get it off the ground—would buy a Mac mini for regular home or office use.

Oh, yeah… the price.

You cheap, masochistic motherfuckers.

Posted in Mac

3 thoughts on “The Mac Mini Mega Migraine

  1. Cheap indeed, bitch. What else do you do when your power source craps out on you in the middle of the night and you have no money? I’m actually in the market for a new setup at the home office. Debating the 24″ iMac. Now is your time to talk me out of it…

  2. I’d never talk you out of an Intel iMac. We have a couple of 17s at work, and they are fast as shit and stable like a mofo.

    Plus, you can’t even get a 2GHz mini, and the cost to upgrade it to the 24’s specs, add a 23″ cinema display, etcetera exceeds that of the base 24″.

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