Question from potential switcher

in Genius Bar edited January 2014

I currently use Linux, have been lusting after macs for a long time, finally with the Mini feel I can finally afford to take the plunge. Have a few questions though and would appreciate any help. I went to two of the local Apple resellers here and neither of them was able to answer these questions. If these questions have already been answered, please do point me to the right threads.

1. I have multiple email accounts at home and would like to be able to choose the account from which I send email. Can I do that with Mail without creating multiple login IDs for the computer itself? I do not want to have to buy more software like Microsoft Office etc.

2. Does Mail let me choose the path for my mailboxes or am I limited to Mail's default path?

3. Can I choose to have my /home folder on an external USB hard drive or am I limited to having it on the Mac itself?

4. I noticed when I was playing around today in the store that the Mac can only play Quicktime movies and that if I want to be able to play any other format I need to buy the Pro version of Quicktime. Are there free software available for me to be able to see other movie formats or am I forced to buy Quicktime pro?

5. 256 MB RAM. I never will use Garageband, I never will create movies or write DVDs, I will only write CDs. My main use will be email, internet, while having a few spreadsheets open and a few word-processing documents open at the same time. I would also be downloading photos from my digital camera and doing minor work on them. Is 256 Megs stretching it? Do I have to go in for 512?

6. MacOS Tiger - will the Mini Mac be able to run Tiger or not? I thought the G4 was not a 64 bit CPU wile Tiger is a 64 bit OS. Plus I have heard it mentioned that Core Video will not run on the Mini's video card. If I decide to buy the mini now am I buying into instant obsolescence? Should I wait?

Money is tight, which is why I would prefer to be able to use the Mini in its entry level configuration and only with whatever software it comes with built-in.

Thank you and cheers

Tilt in Ontario, Canada.


  • Reply 1 of 11
    1. Yes Mail lets you choose the account to use when delivering any email you compose.

    2. No Mail stores all mail (in UNIX mbox format) in ~/Library/Mail.

    3. Yes technically you can have you home directory on anything. Although it will require modifying you account (like vipw in Linux) in NetInfo Manager.

    4. Quicktime plays MPEG, AVI, MOV amongst others. It doesn't play MPEG 2. VLC or Mplayer are available for Mac OS X and will take care of most formats that QuickTime Player won't handle.

    5. I wouldn't go for anything less than 512Mb.

    6. Tiger has some 64-bit enhancements. It doesn't mean its strictly a 64-bit OS. Tiger will run fine on the Mac mini.

    FWIW The PPC architecture was designed to be 64-bit from day one. Up until the G5 the CPUs were just running a subset of the specification. Because of this the G5 is able to execute the 32-bit code with no penalty. As a result there is no need to rewite apps or the OS to make it work natively with the G5. Enhancement and support only needs to be added where appropriate. ie. support for additional memory that can be addressed by a 64-bit CPU.

  • Reply 2 of 11

    In answer to your questions...

    1.Yes. If by choose which account to send from you mean various SMTP serves then the answer is YES, I do it all the time. There is an easyt drop down menu in mail when you are composing in Mail asking you which SMTP server to send the mail from.

    2. I'm not sure i understand your question, but mail allows for multiple folders for sorting either on your Mac or remotly using IMAP. Also Mail is getting a sugnifcant revamp in Tiger. Get more info here Mail Demo

    3.You can have your home folder on an ext. hard drive as long as it resides on the same drive as the OS. So unless the ext dive is you primary drive the answer is No.

    4. There are many 3rd party applications that allow you to play all sorts of media types in fact i rarely use Quicktime. One of the better apps for media is called VLC plays pretty much anything even Window Media files.

    5. 512 woudl be a better option, you will notice a big difference, but for your needs I would stay at 512 no need to go to 1gb.

    6. Yes the Mini will run Tiger. Not to sure about the whole Core video thing, i guess we will have to wait and see.

    I hope this was helpful.

  • Reply 3 of 11
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Re #3, WJMoore is correct. I have all user accounts on a secondary drive up on my server, the main drive is partitioned to boot three ways.

    tilt, it sounds like your concerns are addressed.
  • Reply 4 of 11
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 740member
    Here's a MacWorld article with instructions on how to move yout home folder.

    Here's a condensed version.

    Open Terminal and type the following commands:

    sudo ditto -rsrc "/Users/username" "/Volumes/volumename/Users/username"

    sudo niutil -createprop / "/users/username" home "/Volumes/volumename/Users/username"

    sudo rm -dr "/Users/username/"

    sudo ln -s "/Volumes/volumename/Users/username" "/Users/username"

    Don't move the Shared folder. A few of those commands are probably unfamiliar to you. Click that link for explanations.
  • Reply 5 of 11
    tilttilt Posts: 396member
    Thank you everyone for your patient replies. Yes Kickaha, my concerns have indeed been addressed

    Cheers and hope to soon become a Machead
  • Reply 6 of 11
    tilttilt Posts: 396member
    One question I forgot to include:

    My wife uses Windows and chats with her friends using Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger, including voice-chat. The tech at the Apple reseller told me that I-chat only works with AOL instant messenger. Would any of you be able to tell me how you get around this issue?

    Thanks and cheers
  • Reply 7 of 11
    iChat is AIM only (adds Jabber with 10.4), and is the best AIM client out for Mac (arguably for any platform), but every major chat protocol has their own clients for MacOS X (including Yahoo with voice), and there are a number of great multi-protocol chat clients most notably Fire, Proteus, and AdiumX (my favorite by far). Tragically none of these support more than text chat (yet).

    2. You can manually change these things, but there is rarely a useful reason to do so. If you are thinking that this is a solution to something, you probably have to re-examine the problem.

    3. Possible, but the solution is probably worse than the problem. Depending on what you are looking at doing, there are probably much better solution. The problems with doing this are similar to the problems with doing this on linux (except distro's that have been hacked to support it).

    4. As has been stated, QuickTime can play a variety of formats. MPEG 2 is specifically an add-on ($) feature probably due to licensing constraints. With the exception of WindowsMedia 9 DRM'ed files there is little that can't be played on MacOS X through one method or another.

    5. 256 is a bit too little, 512 is better.

    6. You are confused about what 64bit computing means, and should probably learn why it is or is not important.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    tilttilt Posts: 396member
    Karl, thank you for responding.

    3. The reason I asked this is because the Mini comes with a 40 gig drive. If I could have my /home on an external 120 gig drive then I need not worry about space. In my Linux machine I have 2 physical drives where the OS resides on one drive and my /home is on the second drive. This way I can keep changing distros without having to lose my /home every time.

    4. Apparently the QT that comes default with the Mini cannot even play AVIs, I have to buy the Pro version for that. As I mentioned, I cannot spend any more money and so I needed to know if there were other free applications that could replace QT and play a variety of media formats.

    6. Yes, I know I am. Though I use Linux at home I am not an expert or even a very technical person. I am just a little better than your average John Doe user, which is why I appreciate inputs from people who know what they are talking about 64 bit computing is not important to me at all, the only reason I asked that question is to make sure that I am not buying something that will be EOLed soon.

    Thanks again and cheers
  • Reply 9 of 11
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    tilt, for AVIs you can either get Windows Media Player (ew), or VLC, which is also free. (VLC also plays MPEGs that cause QT problems due to them being less than precisely made to the standard.)

    Moving your home directory isn't a huge deal, but it also isn't without potential issues. It is possible, but it's also possible to hose some things doing it. Probably easier just to make aliases to directories on the large drive and toss your files there. It'll look just like 'your space', but the top level of your userspace will be on the main drive, and the bulk of the storage on the secondary. No biggie that way.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    QuickTime does play real AVI's, but it does not play the bastardized Microsoft codec (which was Microsoft's rejected submission for the MPEG-4 container format) that is shoehorned into the AVI container. For that you need one of the 2 or 3 different codecs that can be added to QuickTime (such as Divix). But since we are talking about one of the many bastard children of that ill-fated, never released, codec, you never know which of the codecs will work with any particular file. It is too bad that people are still using these AVI producers, as the more modern versions now produce real MPEG-2 or -4.

    That is why MPlayer and VLC were originally created. They are simply bundles of those codecs with a player strapped on.

    Ohh.. and Micorsoft Media Player is unlikely to play these format either.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    tilttilt Posts: 396member
    Thank you gentlemen. Now all that's left is for me to scrape the money and buy one of those cuties

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