So I got myself a Mac Mini this weekend. Couple of factors led up to it:
- We really have no central machine in the house. I have my work laptop (Windows), my wife has a Linux netbook for email and such, and then at any given time I’ve got a couple of cobbled machines in various states of usefulness, ranging from the old Dell laptop next to the TV that the kids sometimes play on, to the desktop machine down in the basement that sounds like it’s on its last legs.
- Our pictures and videos are scattered all over the place. With no central machine, I tend to use the most powerful machine available to me, which ends up being my current work laptop. Over the years and the jobs, pictures tend to get scattered. Plus, the simple act of going out for Mother’s Day and my wife saying, “Can we see the pictures?” ends up being half a dozen operations as I shuffle around cables and AV ports and things to bring them up in a way that people don’t have to huddle around the laptop.
- The kids don’t have any meaningful computer time, be it for games or educational. That troubles me.
- I am getting tired of reading magazine articles about people with no programming experience whipping up the next 99cent utility and pulling down $100k in 6 months. :)
All those things together make a Mac Mini sound like a good investment. I can hook it up to the HD tv in the family room and use it like a video/photo/music jukebox, first and foremost. With a wireless keyboard and mouse the kids can get some play out of it simply by turning to HDMI2, something they already know how to do, and not have to worry about booting up a machine and hanging around for a few minutes just to get a game started. Plus, I can VNC into it from my laptop and develop to my heart’s content.
I will keep notes here as I learn. Interestingly I’m finding that running a VNC window from inside my Linux virtual actually seems faster than doing it natively from Windows. I even pulled one up on the iPhone, just to see if I could do it :). The performance seems acceptable (I got the base, $600 model), I was ripping DVDs and FTPing over my iTunes collection from the work laptop, all while setting up a Rails environment for myself.
Having fun so far!