In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Category: Apple Page 3 of 4

Mac mini server

Among the new and updated products Apple announced yesterday, the Mac mini server was particularly interesting.

It features:

  • 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • Two 500GB hard drives
  • NVidia GeForce 9400M graphics
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 802.11a/b/g wireless
  • Snow Leopard Server

And all this in a box just 6½ inches square and 2 inches thick, weighing less than 3 lbs!

The biggest surprise to me is that the price is $1099. Snow Leopard Server itself is $549!

Although the host I have now is easily the best I’ve ever had, there’s a great appeal to being able to do it all myself. I’d set up the web and mail servers myself. I’d particularly like to configure the anti-spam options for myself, and perhaps even add extra measures. Also, I’d be able to use the address and calendar servers, as well as the wiki. I’d also have five times the disk space and at least that much more bandwidth.

The disadvantage would be a lack of redundancy. I’d have one server with one connection. It’s true that I could also screw things up myself, but this isn’t such a big deal as the last Time Machine back-up is always ready for a quick restore.

It certainly wouldn’t be a money-saver. Hosting costs me some $130 a year. While I could save this money if I did it myself, I’d have to get a static IP from my ISP which would cost me $48 a year. Then, of course, I’d have to buy the Mac mini itself. If I were determined to do this, it would be purely to learn, and to have fun doing it.

Given the cost, I’m not determined to do it. At least not now. And should I win the lottery, I’ll do it, but slightly differently. Given lots of money, the plan might involve a Mac Pro.

I could do this right now if I went with Linux, but I shy away from the idea. I’d need to learn a lot before I set up shop. I know Linux is plenty secure, but if the admin doesn’t know what they’re doing, they could easily make it less secure. I don’t want someone to be able to get at my data, and I certainly don’t want to host an open relay.

I’m not ordering a Mac mini server, but it’s a nice thought.

Promise

Pictured is the icon for the OS X 10.5 application simply called Mail. The number of unread messages in the inbox appears in a bright red indicator as part of the dock icon. If there are no unread messages, there’s no red indicator. This is certainly better than leaving the red marker there with a zero in it. Because the icon is blue and grey, the red highlight is visible from across the room, and it means promise.

The promise of greetings and news from a friend, relative, or lover. The promise of plans for the future. The promise of anything you might imagine from someone important to you.

Promise awaits. Open the message and see what it is!

The iMac turns ten

Ten years ago yesterday, Apple announced a new product. Here’s the apple.com homepage from back then:

A few things strike me about the image. First, what’s with the buggered text? Why the line-break?

The other is that even after ten years, the original iMac looks like ass. Granted, the CRT severely limits what one can do with the design of an all-in-one computer. Still, ass. They also offered it in all sorts of colours with cutesy names, which made me dislike it even more. I do not like cute electronics. It’s nice to have some form with the function, but for many, this computer was about form first.

Still, the iMac was at the cutting edge in many ways:

  • Everything you needed was included, and besides the keyboard and mouse, everything was in housed in a single device.
  • It was the first mainstream computer to offer USB ports.
  • I was the first mainstream computer of its time to not include a floppy drive. Because the CD drive was read-only, the only way to get files in or out was via USB or the network. This sounds fine today, but no one had USB flash drives or external USB hard drives back then.
  • It was the first Apple product to sport the ‘i’ prefix on its name.
  • The iMac saved Apple’s bacon when it sold like a mad fool.

Still, it wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t all that powerful and came with less than the typical amount of RAM at the time. Still, it sold and sold and sold.

Pinch me

Future Shop is probably the largest ‘big box’ electronics retailer in Canada. They were bought by US-based Best Buy some years ago so it’s not a stretch to imagine that their immense volume purchases get them some fantastic deals. Of course they pass these bargains along to the customer.

Witness the MacBook they’ve got on sale until May 1:

Your eyes are not deceiving you. On a purchase price of nearly $1349.99, Future Shop is practically taking a bullet for you by offering a savings of $5. That’s 0.37%. Pinch yourself because this is the real deal. And as if this is not enough, the savings balloon to $5.65 when you figure in the taxes.

Walk… don’t run, bitches. This may not happen again in your lifetime!

Windows versus Mac OOBE

The most obvious difference between the Windows and Mac out of box experience (OOBE) when you buy a ready-to-go computer is perfectly described by a wise poster from San Francisco named bombcar. He (or she) wrote in an Ars Technica thread:

Actually, besides the cute box, the biggest advantage for the OOBE that Apple has is they don’t install fourteen metric fucktons of shitware on each machine.

I’m still pissed at the 16 hours I spend decrapifying that fucking Sony shittop. Decent hardware, but the software.….

The first thing I do with a new PC is reformat the drive. This method of decrapifying a computer takes perhaps two hours and is completely effective. Still, why should it take two hours to return a brand new system to a pristine state?

I was astonished to see the complete lack of ‘shitware’ when I booted my Mac for the first time. I reformatted the drive anyway, more out of habit than anything. I was astonished a second time after reinstalling OSX from the system disc, when I saw the desktop, dock, and opening presentation were all exactly the same as before I reformatted.

It’s a revelation to see a computer manufacturer who isn’t eager to make a few more bucks by fucking up my first experience with a new computer.

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