Mini Madness


In under 48 hours, I've picked up (via e-mail, RSS or casual browsing) more Mac mini links, unpacking photos and unbridled enthusiasm than what might be deemed healthy. Of course, there isn't a single one in Portugal yet.

I would be remiss if I didn't link to Russell's switching post (mind the advertisements - there is an actual web page with photos underneath).

Contrary to what news.com wrote, this is actually Russell's second Mac, and I await his next post with curiosity. It is sure to be enthusiastic, gushing, and carry some minor ranting cosily nestled within his utterances - guaranteed entertainment for a somewhat hazy Sunday afternoon.

While we wait, here are a few links to get you started: HTmini, GigaOm, Mac mini blog, HomeTheaterMac, Mac Media Center, and, bucking the trend, Considering the Mac mini - which is backing off.

The Little Server That Might Be

Me, I've already made up my mind about using it as a server. Using it to host this site will allow me to phase out one of my old Intel servers (which is filled to the brim with RAM, dust and noisy fans) and provide me with ample opportunity to test it in a way few people seem to be interested in.

Given my UNIX background, I will surely have a lot of interesting things to blog about in that regard. For instance, I'll be investigating:

  • The minimal set of changes required to the base Apache to host this site.
  • mySQL deployment, at least until I move away from PhpWiki.
  • Remote headless administration via VNC and SSH.
  • The ease of configuration of standard UNIX niceties such as logrotate, SNMP monitoring and all the cosy stuff that my current RedHat setup provides me.
  • Bandwidth throttling for the rare instances where I get some link love from more popular sites.
  • Backup strategies using the built-in combo drive, cdrecord and the odd bit of Perl.
  • And, of course, deploying Subversion or monotone (or maybe even both) on it to support my meagre development needs.

All of that in 256MB of RAM, at least to get started.

The Mini Experiment

So, following my iMac G5 saga, a few of us here in Portugal started a scientific experiment of sorts:

Each of us ordered a Mac mini from a different retailer, or picked a different approach to obtaining one. Mine will be a stock config ordered from a local retailer known for bypassing the local distributor, while others have gone to the distributor itself or are trying to order custom configurations from the US or UK.

I hope to have an entertaining little table with the results, and maybe a few photos as well.

One of my friends even offered to print transparent stickers with the sentence "I came from a real Apple store" in discreet, 5mm-high Myriad lettering.

The joke currently making the rounds is that having a Mac mini is likely to take the same time as a new family member - i.e., around nine months.


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Mac