Mac mini misses its target consumer

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  • Reply 261 of 289
    Quote:

    Originally posted by jsimmons

    It sounds more like operator error than anything else. I am not a big fan of Windows myself, but it certainly isn't as unreliable as you make it out to be. You're spouting FUD more than anything else.



    I see that you have no experience with windows at all.



    Well, since I don't write Microsoft Windows Kernels and drivers, it is cleary not my fault.



    I also counted out my faults, which do happen, as I am a human like anyone else.



    I also find it har to believe that you really think that someone who is experienced enough to run a lot of different linux boxes is to stupid to configure a linux box.



    If you bother to take a look at Windows, you realize it has a lot of obvious flaws, which it already has for years, and they still haven't been fixed, like the memory management.



    A lot of crashes come from Windows itself (Bluescreen says "win32k.sys"), and some crashes from buggy drivers, which come from bad programmers in the hardware companies. Thats why some boxes run smoothly (which is not the average box) and most boxes tend to crash once or more a day when used heavily.

    Drivers in Windows are run in kernel mode (Linux does that, too, but OS-programmers do better work), so that means, that if the driver crashes, the OS will crash too, instead of killing the driver and restarting it (like QNX does for example). There are also a lot of software or pseudo drivers (Driver for CD-Images, UDF, etc.), which can also be faulty.

    There is also no "kill -s 9" equivalent in windows, it is not possible to just end a program without its cooperation.

    This also applies to the file system. Once, a file is locked, and the process which uses it, has hung up or crashed, it might not be possible to erase or overwrite the file, even with administrator rights.



    Other flaws include:

    - bad floppy disk driver (it slows down a pc a lot, which is not the case in linux and os/2)

    - bad caching: If a lot of data is processed linear (like when editing videos), it is still cached. If the machine is idle apart from that, programs are swapped out to the disk to make room for the useless cached data. So, when you return to the machine a few minutes later and, e.g. open a new browser window, it might take 30s or so to do that, because the application has to be loaded out of the swap, while the movie app might still be writing to the harddisk. This has not been a problem on DOS, Win3.11 and Win9x, since the cache size was user manageable.

    - XP can't do without a swapfile, even if enough ram is present. This slows down a lot, since swapping is always used.

    - Documentation is pretty bad (compared to linux, or the old DOS)



    So, before you say "Windows is cool and never crashes", you should think about that. There are Microft programs I like, though, e.g. "Age of Empires".



    Apart from that I like(d) Linux, QNX, BeOS, Symbian OS, because they work.



    David



    PS: I forgot: A lot of crashes come from a faulty tcp/ip stack in windows, the probability of a random crash is a lot higher when network data is processed.
  • Reply 262 of 289
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by xmoger

    That's not a very fair comparison. Expiring today, dell offered



    Dell Dimension 4700

    ? 3.2 GHz P4 800Mhz FSB

    ? XP Professional

    ? 2 Yr Onsite Warranty

    ? 512 MB Ram

    ? Radeon X300 128MB PCIe

    ? 40 GB 7200RPM Drive

    ? CD-RW & DVD-ROM

    ? Record Now Deluxe

    ? No Monitor

    ? IEEE 1394

    ? Fax modem

    ? Mouse & keyboard

    ? Free shipping

    $906 - 30% off coupon - $100 mail-in rebate. + stamp =

    $541.57



    The optical drive is twice as fast. The hard disk will blow away the laptop drive in the mini. The G4 is not comparable to the P4. Plus you get 6 more USB ports, surround sound and twice the warranty.



    If you don't need to login to a domain or have any firewire devices (like most people), Dell gives you the option to take another $109 off the price. Like I said, this expired today, but Dell has sales all the time.



    You added a bunch of software as well, which is fine, but not necessary. I can rip music & DVDs, manage & edit photos, burn VCDs, DVDs, music, etc. easily all with free apps, plus a $10 copy of Nero burning Rom.



    The mini is a good little box and cheap for apple, but aside from size and OSX, it's not going to compete with a PC.




    the gains from the faster hdd will be offset by the constant cacheing to disk that windows does, I always have a 180-400mb swap file, we usualy have just as big a swap file at work on a workstation with a gig of ram.



    What the hell is recordnow delux - wheres iLife ?



    also, you are getting UNIX with the mini, go anywhere else and try to get a unix terminal with support like apple provides for the pricepoint...



    Unless you use all of the freebees, the av and antispyware tools will set you back ~$100 + yearly subscriptions not to mention time spent scanning, and ram/cpu being hogged by said resources...



    Ram: well you are right there, but everyone knows apple is run bu cheap ass fuckheads when it comes to ram - for their pricepoints, nothing apple sells should come with under 512...but the mac is soooo much better than windows...and good luck getting the most out of that vid card in linux, for anything on x86 besides windows, nvidia is the king.
  • Reply 263 of 289
    I just helped a friend set up a Mini while casually reading this thread. Synchronicity in action, I must say. Instead of upgrading his G4 tower, we decided this would be the best move. Plus he can still use the older machine on the network for storage, etc. My Dad did the exact same thing a week before and his friend picked up two around launch as well. Now to the point...



    Some of the BTO/CTO prices for the mini have dropped a bit this week, probably in reaction to sales figures , consumer concerns and what not. The Mini is now a bit more price competitive than they were at launch.



    There's also been a link to an article floating around from Macworld (I believe it was from them, though I can't be arsed to check the fora for it) that stated, from Apple, that the warranty will be void upon damage of a unit when it is upgraded. Not if RAM is user installed without an issue. Another problem out of the way.



    So, some concerns that were buggin' people are getting better. I think that the perceived value of Apple products is finally having people listen. The Mini will be very attractive at the current price point and set-up for most people considering the known hassles and costs of maintaining a PC or comparable system. I'm sure if Apple captured 10 million sales with a music player that approaches the price point of a computer they now sell, they've already done most of the convincing they needed to.
  • Reply 264 of 289
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    I see that you have no experience with windows at all.



    I've been involved with computers in one way or anouther since about 1974. I've been a programmer since 1979 (likely long before you were even born). I've been building my own PC's since 1987. I've been using Windows since 2.0 came out. I'd say with over 15 years of experience using Windows-based PC's, to say I'm somewhat familiar with the OS would be a gross understatement.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    Well, since I don't write Microsoft Windows Kernels and drivers, it is cleary not my fault.





    I don't either, but I do write Windows apps for a living (and have been for about 15 years).



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    I also find it har to believe that you really think that someone who is experienced enough to run a lot of different linux boxes is to stupid to configure a linux box.





    An ability to successfully setup and use Linux does not imply an ability to have the same talent under Windows (and vice-versa).



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    If you bother to take a look at Windows, you realize it has a lot of obvious flaws, which it already has for years, and they still haven't been fixed, like the memory management.





    Did I ever once say that Windows didn't have flaws? (I checked my post, and there wasn't anything in ther about Windows being flawless, so you don't have to go back and look if you don't want to.)



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    A lot of crashes come from Windows itself (Bluescreen says "win32k.sys"), and some crashes from buggy drivers, which come from bad programmers in the hardware companies. Thats why some boxes run smoothly (which is not the average box) and most boxes tend to crash once or more a day when used heavily.





    Hmmm, this reminds me of the old joke about the guy that walks into the doctors office, waves his arm in a circle and says, "Hey doc, it hurts when I do this."



    I can't recall the last time I installed a driver that crashed Windows. On the other hand, I've experienced incompatibilites between my motherboard's drivers (provided by the manufacturer of the motherboard) and ATI video card drivers that would freeze a game or cause a crash-to-desktop, but I solved that problem by not installing the motherboard drivers and using the ones provided with the OS (Win2K) instead. Everything works fine, and the system is on 24/7 with "heavy use" every day.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    Drivers in Windows are run in kernel mode (Linux does that, too, but OS-programmers do better work), so that means, that if the driver crashes, the OS will crash too, instead of killing the driver and restarting it (like QNX does for example).





    Oh, you mean like when the Linux ATI driver is applied against an unsupported version of XFree, fiorcing you to restart your system?



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    There is also no "kill -s 9" equivalent in windows, it is not possible to just end a program without its cooperation.

    This also applies to the file system. Once, a file is locked, and the process which uses it, has hung up or crashed, it might not be possible to erase or overwrite the file, even with administrator rights.





    Oh I see now, you are one of those Linuz zealots that likes to compare Linux to Windows, regardless of the topic at hand. Reminder: We are talking about "reliability", not "flaws in design".



    However, I'll address your concern - I've had APPLICATIONS use files and not close them, or crash in a less than elegant fashion, leaving files open, or even had DLLs remain loaded (the fault of an APPLICATION) thus leaving a file open. Simply restarting the system is enough to fix it.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    Other flaws include:

    - bad floppy disk driver (it slows down a pc a lot, which is not the case in linux and os/2)





    You still use floppy drives? And please, let's not re-hash that tired (and pointless) argument about being able to format a floppy while being able to simultaneously pee in a cup.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    - bad caching: If a lot of data is processed linear (like when editing videos), it is still cached. If the machine is idle apart from that, programs are swapped out to the disk to make room for the useless cached data. So, when you return to the machine a few minutes later and, e.g. open a new browser window, it might take 30s or so to do that, because the application has to be loaded out of the swap, while the movie app might still be writing to the harddisk. This has not been a problem on DOS, Win3.11 and Win9x, since the cache size was user manageable.



    I can't recall ever being asked by a Windows user why he couldn't manage his own cache. Most of them don't even know what it is or what it's for. They actually just want their systems to "just work", and my entire point is that for about 99% of them, Windows just works. You'll find the same trait among Apple users, by the way.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    - XP can't do without a swapfile, even if enough ram is present. This slows down a lot, since swapping is always used.



    You mean like like OS-X, a popular variant of Unix?



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    - Documentation is pretty bad (compared to linux, or the old DOS)



    Are you running out of things to talk about?



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    So, before you say "Windows is cool and never crashes", you should think about that.



    You must have ridden the short bus to school, because your reading comprehension skills are seriously deficient. I SAID that Windows isn't nearly as unreliable as the original poster implied.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    PS: I forgot: A lot of crashes come from a faulty tcp/ip stack in windows, the probability of a random crash is a lot higher when network data is processed.



    Man that's news to me. I've seen Windows crash before, but it has never been because of a "faulty tcp/ip stack".



    For the last time, I was speaking of reliability, not flaws YOU think a given OS has.

  • Reply 265 of 289
    Quote:

    Originally posted by jsimmons

    [B]I've been involved with computers in one way or anouther since about 1974. I've been a programmer since 1979 (likely long before you were even born). I've been building my own PC's since 1987. I've been using Windows since 2.0 came out. I'd say with over 15 years of experience using Windows-based PC's, to say I'm somewhat familiar with the OS would be a gross understatement.



    If that is true, then you should really know a lot about Windows crashes. Something doesn't add up here.



    Anyway, I don't want to argue anymore. I am happy that my mac mini just arrived today, and that the memory upgrade went good (it worked with DDR-400 ram, not with DDR-333 ram for some reason, the shipped ram was also DDR-400). The GUI looks better than windows, and unix tools are also included. Seems pretty nice, except itune has problems with mp3s, and quicktime player won't play avi/divx.

    Also, it opened right like in the movie, took me less than five minutes.



    It seams like its a good machine for switchers (just hook it to your kvm and push the button), and I think it doesn't miss the target consumer.



    David
  • Reply 266 of 289
    idaveidave Posts: 1,283member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    Seems pretty nice, except itune has problems with mp3s, and quicktime player won't play avi/divx.



    iTunes should handle your MP3s without any problem. (?) There's a free media player called VLC you can find at versiontracker.com which will handle the AVIs. Glad you like the mini.
  • Reply 267 of 289
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    If that is true, then you should really know a lot about Windows crashes. Something doesn't add up here.







    oh, dear God, shut up already
  • Reply 268 of 289
    neutrino23neutrino23 Posts: 1,562member
    My wife just helped her friend order a Mac Mini. I strongly suggested the 512MB version but for her it wasn't interesting. The reason she needed the new computer was that her windows computer was costing her too much to maintain. More than once she has paid a couple hundred dollars to have all the viruses and stuff cleaned out.



    They ordered this from a reseller and got a free keyboard and mouse. The Macally keyboard has two USB ports. Along with this they also ordered free headphones and a printer.



    I've tested the Mac Mini at the Apple store and MWSF. I think 256MB is usable. Personally, I'd want more (I have 1GB in my PB) but I wouldn't say that 256MB is unusable. It is a little slow at switching applications. It is a little slow when running multiple applications. However, that is the user's choice.



    For my wife's friend this won't be a problem. She is an occasional user who mostly needs this for communicating (email and browsing) for which the stock Mac Mini will work fine. They have several other friends who have had PC problems who will be watching this experiment. If it works well there will be orders for a few more Mac Minis.
  • Reply 269 of 289
    Quote:

    Originally posted by iDave

    iTunes should handle your MP3s without any problem. (?) There's a free media player called VLC you can find at versiontracker.com which will handle the AVIs. Glad you like the mini.



    Thx, got that already, and I installed the divx video codec. I also installed Audion from download.com.



    MacOS-X runs very stable, and I am able to use standard software (OpenOffice, Eclipse etc.), so I think it's just the right thing.



    @applenut

    Shut up yourself, if you can't contribute to the topic.



    David
  • Reply 270 of 289
    Incoming...despite the fact that there is a marvelous range of old school style products that still use RS232, the Macintosh has NEVER had a port for such devices since the second one I believe ever made and that was reserved for the mouse. The mac was for the rest of us...that means it wasn't for crappy PDAs, oddball firewalls and dinky mobile phones.



    Whatever the case may be it would be a total failure to have included such an outdated technology in the world's foremost computer innovation company.
  • Reply 271 of 289
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming



    @applenut

    Shut up yourself, if you can't contribute to the topic.



    David




    i've contributed something that was much needed. you contribute nothing but senseless dribble.
  • Reply 272 of 289
    Quote:

    Originally posted by applenut

    i've contributed something that was much needed.



    You mean junk?

    Yes, you've done that..

    I don't know if this is "needed" in a forum, though..



    Well, I miss the old times, when people were helping each other instead of breaking off a fight..



    @DigitalMonkeyBoy

    The UART chip and a connector cost only a few cents, with the benefit of people buying it for that reason. So I think it is a mistake not to include it. It is certainly more important than ps/2 and parallel ports, since it is industry standard. It is not only used by "cheap" cellphones and pdas, but by expensive routers, firewalls, switches, even sun servers, and modems (not everyone has isdn or dsl nowadays, and some want to use their cellphone, which needs extra, windows only, drivers, when rs232 is not supported). Even pc notebooks don't have that anymore, so people have to buy an overpriced usb2rs232 converters. They only have drivers for windows, so people end up buying windows pc-notebooks, even though they might have preferred a linux or a mac machine.



    David
  • Reply 273 of 289
    Quote:

    Originally posted by applenut

    i've contributed something that was much needed. you contribute nothing but senseless dribble.



    Thank you.
  • Reply 274 of 289
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    The UART chip and a connector cost only a few cents, with the benefit of people buying it for that reason. So I think it is a mistake not to include it. It is certainly more important than ps/2 and parallel ports, since it is industry standard. It is not only used by "cheap" cellphones and pdas, but by expensive routers, firewalls, switches, even sun servers, and modems (not everyone has isdn or dsl nowadays, and some want to use their cellphone, which needs extra, windows only, drivers, when rs232 is not supported). Even pc notebooks don't have that anymore, so people have to buy an overpriced usb2rs232 converters. They only have drivers for windows, so people end up buying windows pc-notebooks, even though they might have preferred a linux or a mac machine.

    David




    WTF are you talking about? You can't blame Windows or Microsoft for the lack of hardware drivers for other OS's, but you *can* blame the hardware manufacturers and/or the programmers for those OS's that don't have the necessary drivers.
  • Reply 275 of 289
    Quote:

    Originally posted by jsimmons

    WTF are you talking about? You can't blame Windows or Microsoft for the lack of hardware drivers for other OS's









    I didn't write that.



    Quote:

    , but you *can* blame the hardware manufacturers and/or the programmers for those OS's that don't have the necessary drivers.



    The hardware manufacturers are small taiwan companies that produce these converters because mainboard manufacturers kick out important interfaces. And they haven't got linux or mac os drivers, so if apple would sell their computers with an onboard RS232-connector, or a usb plugin, which would cost them not even a dollar per machine, it would be an important argument for buying an apple over a windows pc. Thats what I meant.



    David
  • Reply 276 of 289
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    I didn't write that.





    The stuff I quoted was something you typed to digitalmonkeyboy. Deny it all you want, but you most certainly DID say that.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Incoming

    The hardware manufacturers are small taiwan companies that produce these converters because mainboard manufacturers kick out important interfaces. And they haven't got linux or mac os drivers, so if apple would sell their computers with an onboard RS232-connector, or a usb plugin, which would cost them not even a dollar per machine, it would be an important argument for buying an apple over a windows pc. Thats what I meant.



    David




    Are you stupid, or just a little slow? Apple has never and will never put a RS232 port on the Mac. Cost per machine is completely irrelevant. Mac users don't miss it, and most PC users wouldn't either (I haven't used/needed a serial port in at least eight years).



    The only important argument for buying a Mac instead of a PC is the one involving adware and viruses (Windows is more vulnerable and is more widely exploited).



    Before you go off on some rant about Linux, don't. Linux isn't even in the running because it's viability as a desktop OS for the *typical* end user is laughable.
  • Reply 277 of 289
    grahamwgrahamw Posts: 575member
    Working in a retail environment I thought it would be an interesting experiment to check how many of our desktop/notebooks feature serial ports.



    Out of twenty eight desktops - three

    Out of twenty notebooks - none



    Hmm. So I decided to check to see if we sell some sort of PCI plug in card for RS232. It's available via special order from our tech division for $30.



    We carry the USB to RS232 cable for $39.



    That's Canadian.



    In short, focusing on RS232 as a deficiency of the Mac mini or any of the above computers that are missing it - well it's utter bollocks. Frankly, you want it? Go buy an adapter. It seems very much like picking at non-existent nits otherwise.
  • Reply 278 of 289
    skatmanskatman Posts: 609member
    Quite an interesting thread, I must say.

    Here is the what I'm wondering:



    My background:

    I maintain many computers at a major research University. This includes Intel cluster running RedHat, PCs running XP/2k both pro and a couple of servers as well as Macs G3/G4/G5s. I consider myself to be much more familiar with Linux/PCs than with Mac OSX.

    I, myself prefer to use a PC at home.



    From my experience with Macs and PCs, I would say that the $499 Mini is not a good choice if one wants to make a good first Mac impression on a PC user.

    Here is the reason. A person who has enough disposable income to splurge on an extra computer already has at least a mainstream PC. He/she/it will buy a mac mini to try it out... because it's not a big investment and they AREADY have something than works well.

    So this person gets a mini, sets it up and then... that person finds that this Apple is DOG slow compared to his/her/its PC.

    An average PC these days has DVD burner, 7200RPM high data density drive, much higher access to memory, multi-task optimizations such as HT...

    I maintain a few late model PBs which have very similar specs and I can tell you that in everyday office apps/ web surfing the mainstream PCs are noticably snappier.



    If I was to recommend a PC user a MAC to get his/her feet wet in, it would the G5 iMAC. It's feel and apparent performance is a lot more similar to an average PC these days.
  • Reply 279 of 289
    idaveidave Posts: 1,283member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by skatman

    From my experience with Macs and PCs, I would say that the $499 Mini is not a good choice if one wants to make a good first Mac impression on a PC user.

    Here is the reason. A person who has enough disposable income to splurge on an extra computer already has at least a mainstream PC. He/she/it will buy a mac mini to try it out... because it's not a big investment and they AREADY have something than works well.

    So this person gets a mini, sets it up and then... that person finds that this Apple is DOG slow compared to his/her/its PC.

    An average PC these days has DVD burner, 7200RPM high data density drive, much higher access to memory, multi-task optimizations such as HT...

    I maintain a few late model PBs which have very similar specs and I can tell you that in everyday office apps/ web surfing the mainstream PCs are noticably snappier.



    If I was to recommend a PC user a MAC to get his/her feet wet in, it would the G5 iMAC. It's feel and apparent performance is a lot more similar to an average PC these days.




    You make a pretty good point, but the Mac mini is not really "dog slow." You say that you "maintain" a lot of PCs. Well, the average PC user has trouble even using one, much less maintaining it. After the adware and spyware takes over, then you really have a computer that's "dog slow." Lots of people either buy a new "faster" computer or take it to Computa World and have it cleaned out, for a fee.



    Problem with your suggestion about buying an iMac G5 is that iMacs are just too expensive for people to take a risk, when they're not sure about switching platforms.



    I'm a long time Mac user and I'm quite satisfied with the performance of a 1.2 or 1.4 Ghz G4, although I think I will pop a faster hard drive in my mini one of these days.



    edit, one more comment: Does an average PC as you describe with DVD burner, fast hard disk, etc. really cost $499 or $599? Perhaps they do; I haven't looked.
  • Reply 280 of 289
    skatmanskatman Posts: 609member
    Dave,

    just like I maybe overstating the slow speed of a G4 Mac, I think it's fair to say that the stereotype of a PC user having a PC full of adware and viruses is not true, in my experience at least.

    Do viruses happen to get onto PCs? Yes. Same with Adware. But this is not a common site, contrary to what the media all AOL/ MSN/ Earthlink/ GeekSquad want you to believe.





    Quote:

    Does an average PC as you describe with DVD burner, fast hard disk, etc. really cost $499 or $599?



    You can get close to that price, but that is exactly my point!

    If a Mac person wants to try and experience working on a PC, I will never recommend a $500 PC. It just will not be worth his while because he will not be able to do all the things that modern PCs do well.



    Quote:

    Problem with your suggestion about buying an iMac G5 is that iMacs are just too expensive for people to take a risk, when they're not sure about switching platforms.



    I do agree with you there. If I "ran the zoo", so to say, I would have put an iMAC in a case twice as big as the Mini and sold it for under $1k.

    Another alternative would have been to put the current Mini mobo in a case twice as big as the mini, but a normal 5.25'' DVDRW drive (MUCH cheaper than 12.7mm drives), put in a 3.5'' 7200RPM drive, and make 2 memory slots. The computer would have been cheaper and MUCH more balanced. Even more importantly, expecially to PC users, it would have been easily upgradable.



    Mini is an interesting machine for a niche market. A Mac laptop with no screen/ keyboard/ mouse. A Mac user, like you, knows this and picks it for a proper application.

    However, an average PC user will expect it to be a Mac desktop and I'm just not sure how well the Mini will play that role.



    I would be really interested in knowing what percentage of all Minis are bought by PC users who have not worked with Macs in the last few years?
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