New Gear : MacMini

Yeah, yeah, it’s been two weeks since my Memorial Day missive. (Thanks, BTW, for all the kudos on the piece — biggest “hit” day ever on the blog.) It’s time to get back on the wagon, so we’ll get a little stream o’ consciousness about some of the new toys in the Deauxmayne.

I’ve had a MacMini for years. In fact, my first MacMini was a 1.42GHz G4 MacMini back in 2005. That was a cool little machine — teency, reasonably fast for what it was, and a great infrastructure machine (at the time, I also had a G5 iMac). And, it was my first foray into the weird little stepchild that is the MacMini.

A year later, I upgraded to a 1.66GHz Core Duo MacMini — one that I was still using as an infrastructure machine until the latest acquisition. Again, a cool little machine, with plenty of upgrade potential. Getting the machine open required the use of a cake icing tool (seriously!), and I got inside it several times to upgrade memory and hard drives. In fact, until a year or so ago, it was the “server” this site sat atop.

Enter the recently announced OS X Lion. Looks like it’ll be a great new OS, but it’s hardware bar-to-entry is a little higher than my lil’ ol’ MacMini could provide. So, after five years, it was time to move on to new hardware.

I picked up the new little 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo MacMini last week, and was really impressed with the size. It’s thinner, albeit a bigger square than its predecessor. And along with that thinness, Apple learned a lesson from the AppleTV, and dropped the power brick — a single cable plugs into the back, and that’s it. What a great improvement!

Another nice touch are Mini DisplayPort and HDMI ports on the back for video. No more bulky DVI connector! There’s also a FW800 port, and four USB ports — all good things for the way I’m using the little box. Apple also put an SD card reader in it… but it’s located on the back on of the machine. That’s a really, really, really weird place for a slot that you’d figure someone might be using a lot if this was your primary machine.

So what do I use it for?

Firstly, it’s a print server, serving up my Canon multifunction printer to all the machines on the network. Printing from everywhere is a great thing!

Secondly, it’s a backup machine. Using Chronosync, I backup my recently-acquired Western Digital My Book 4TB array (from the iMac) to a pair of Western Digital My Studio 2TB drives. One gets the photo and scan archive, and the other gets the rest of my digital life — documents, software, etc.

Thirdly, I have a fileshare sitting on it that Becky uses to drop off files for backup. Basically, an internal cloud application from her view. (I had to throw a cloud reference in there!)

Lastly, I have it set up for video import duties. I can import via my EyeTV device, or from my Canon ZR70MC digital camcorder. It’s got a nice A/D import path in it, and with FW800 in the new MacMini, it makes importing video a breeze.

Are there other things I could do with it? Maybe… probably. For now though, I’ve got a pretty cool infrastructure machine that just percolates right along, without me having to worry about it at all. That’s solid, and it just works.

One thought on “New Gear : MacMini”

  1. It is so nice to be able to brag about my grandson-it took me 30 minutes to change my black ink cartridge this morning.

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