The Mac mini

Published Date
01 - Apr - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - Apr - 2005
The Mac mini
I could not believe the stupidity of a people who would drag a wooden horse, the size of a building, and created by their enemy, inside their erstwhile safe haven. Did they think it was filled with chocolate?

Much later, I read Steve Jobs proclaim the superiority of software to hardware. It was a good sermon: user experience is nine-tenths software, I sagely nodded.

Finally, a seldom-used part of my brain connected two disparate dots-what if you wrapped your OS in a tiny, sleek package, adorned it with a blinking LED and christened it the "mini"? Would this Trojan succeed in injecting OSX inside my safe, Windows haven? And all that in just 30 hours?

Day 1, 10:00 am; Hello, Hello
It's so small! I have used bigger modems! I connected the mini to a 23-inch BenQ LCD. Connect the network port, a mouse, and an Apple keyboard, press the power button and we are in OSX land. Time taken to reboot-60 seconds. Ah, look, a blinking LED!

10:15 am; The OS
I wanted to push this little box to its 256 MB limits, so the first thing I did was turn on all the eye-candy. I was pleased by how OSX would instantly reflect any change to its settings-no need to click on Apply and twiddle your fingers. Also noteworthy was the use of animation to grab attention: icons on the dock would jump up and down eagerly, demanding to be clicked.

Getting on the local network was easy, as was sharing files with Windows and Linux. Getting on the Internet was similarly painless.

2:00 pm; Installing Applications
I installed Opera just by dragging the file to the "Applications" folder; then, with a simple click, I added it to the dock. I now had Opera, six MSN Messenger windows, and three Safari windows open. OSX panted to keep up.

3:00 pm; Pushing It
As I type this, I am importing 53 high-resolution images from a camera while updating OSX; I also have two Safari windows, 13 MSN Messenger windows, four Opera tabs, iCal, iPhoto, iMovie, a system profiler, and a text editor open. OSX is hectically caching to the mini's tiny hard disk, and the little bugger is actually keeping up.

4:15 pm; Integration
Everything is well integrated, with a uniform interface and minimal surprises. iPhoto and iMovie are both very good at what they do-and what they do is more than sufficient for a general user like myself.

6:00 pm; Bugs
Add third-party software and things begin to break apart. Opera, for example, did not inherit the system-wide "spell check" umbrella; the quality of font smoothing, drag-and-drop of text and a consistent look and feel were other casualties. Oh well, tomorrow is another day!

Day Two, 10:30 am; Irritants
No tool tips on icons and files, the [End] key is missing, [Delete] does a backspace, pressing [Enter] renames a file, and AppleWorks needs a lot of work.

5:00 pm; A Sad Farewell
The mini is returned to its rightful owners. OSX is beautiful-both to behold and to work with. The mini bolsters the software with able hardware. Add the iLife '05 suite and the mini turns into a very tempting investment. If only the Geeks at Apple would sacrifice Rs 10,000 off the mini's price, I would gladly drag this Trojan in, blinking LED and all.

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