Read this before you get your Apple Mac mini

“Think of the Mac Mini as a laptop with the screen, keyboard and battery sliced off, or a desktop with all the air sucked out of its case. Apple has taken the stuff of everyday computing and stuffed it into the smallest possible enclosure. To judge from the past week of testing, the Mac Mini fills that role just fine — as long as you choose your setup wisely. The Mini’s shrunk-to-fit design forces some compromises that can drastically limit its usefulness,” Rob Pegoraro writes for The Washington Post.

Pegoraro recommends that you order your Mac min with at least 512MB of RAM, as does MacDailyNews. Think about adding the SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW), AirPort Extreme Card, and Internal Bluetooth module options, too. Also, Pegoraro writes about using a Windows keyboard and mouse with the Mac mini:

The other potential hiccup with the Mini comes when you try to attach an existing keyboard and mouse to it. (They aren’t included in the box.)

It’s not that the Mac Mini won’t accept non-Apple gear. An IBM keyboard worked instantly; the only trick was guessing that its Windows-logo key took the role of a Mac’s Command/Apple-logo key, while Alt subbed for the Option key (the Mini’s manual should explain this but does not). Similarly, every mouse I tried — even a fancy Logitech wireless model — functioned immediately, without needing extra software for its right button and scroll wheel to work on the Mac.

So, think about getting an Apple keyboard for your Mac mini – it’ll be worth the $29. “If you can steer past the memory and USB roadblocks, the Mac Mini should be an utterly pleasant machine,” Pegoraro writes.

Pegoraro concludes, “I didn’t try to match the software bundles of those PCs to that of the Mini, because that’s not possible. The PC universe has no answer to Apple’s elegantly matched bundle of its virus-free Mac OS X Panther, its Safari, Mail and iChat Internet applications and its new iLife ’05 multimedia suite. There’s still a difference between the start-up costs of Windows and Mac computing, but with the Mac Mini, Apple has shrunk them to the size of an ATM withdrawal, not a car payment or a month’s rent in a group house. That ought to be enough to make buyers give Apple a second look. Given the woeful state of Windows computing, they should.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Here are a couple of other pointers for those new to Mac OS X. Drag your hard drive icon to the right side of the Dock. Then, you’ll be able to click and hold on it (or right-click with a two-button USB mouse) and you’ll be able to dive down into its contents with ease. You might also want to drag your Applications folder to the Dock for the same reason. We don’t know why Apple doesn’t ship Macs set up this way by default. You’ll also want to drag your commonly-used applications to the left side of the Dock for convenience and slide them around to group them into whatever order makes sense for you.

Also, you don’t have to shut down your Mac all the time. Sleep works perfectly well in Mac OS X, so when you’re done with your Mac, just choose “Sleep” from the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen. Then when you’re ready to use your Mac again, just tap the spacebar on your keyboard or move your mouse and you’re back in business again in an instant. No more waiting for start ups!

[UPDATE: 6:45pm ET: fixed description of location of Apple menu to upper left. Duh.]


  1. ‘Woeful state of Windows computing’…says it all.

    And Windows users should be told that it isn’t going to get any better for a long time to come.

    The Mac is already there. Welcome Windows users.

    Good article. And another pointer; with Mac you don’t finish with a start.

  2. i love plug’n’play. it would only make sense that the windows key is the apple equiv. it’s just that windows users don’t really use the windows key since it only has one useless function.

  3. “The PC universe has no answer to Apple’s elegantly matched bundle of its virus-free Mac OS X Panther, its Safari, Mail and iChat Internet applications and its new iLife ’05 multimedia suite.”

    An article that will really have people thinking it’s time.


    Second post.

  4. Why does every article talk about the $29 Apple keyboard. There are many Non-Apple keyboards available with the apple keys on them, probably from about $5 US.
    I got one free with an iBook about 4 years ago, which is still going strong by the way with panther Installed.

  5. This gentleman Rob Pegoraro is writing some interesting and well thought out pieces. Overall the Mac mini has gotten exceptionally good press. Just wish the supply wasn’t so constrained.

  6. The PC universe has no answer to Apple’s elegantly matched bundle of its virus-free [software].

    So who’s been complaining about the Mac not having enough software [AVI conversion tools excepted]?

    MDN: Drag my Applications folder where? You’ve gotta be kidding! Let’s see, 67 items there, a number of which are folders of categories of apps. In fact, I drag a folder containing category-folders with about 70 app aliases to the dock but that’s no match to the old snappier Apple Menu.

  7. The iMac G5 was my first Apple computer… iPod was my first Apple product ever. Having used a PC for over 20 years, I’ve found myself spending more time with the iMac than I do with my Dell boxes. I’m sure I’ll spend even more time with it once I replace the Apple Bluetooth Wireless mouse with a multi-buttion bluetooth mouse.

    I was about to order two Mac Minis for my daughters and saw the rumored price drop/memory increase. I’m just waiting to confirm this before ordering them each a Mac Mini.

    Articles and publicities like this go a long way in convincing other Windows users to give Mac a try. Once they do, they’ll be hooked… just like me! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  8. Hint: If you are new to the Mac and trying to figure out how to do something, try the obvious first. Think of how it would have been done if it had been set up in a logical consistent way and that is probably right. For example, to turn off the computer, press the same button that you used to start it, to take a picture from a web page and put it in a specific folder just click, hold, and drag it to that folder, to change the name of a folder, double click on the name and then type in the name directly, etc etc. Use the “Help” menu extensively, especially if you can be online. You can also find alot of good information and more technical details in the support section at

  9. By the way that was a great article. Positive but with the limitations and how to solve them explained perfectly. This kind of article will do much more to switch users than a wholly positve, gushing one.

  10. I bought my Mac Mini Thursday and it’s doing very well, thank you. I picked up a Kensington Wireless Optical Desktop for Mac at the same time and it is a good fit. It only takes one USB slot (RF Unit with built-in battery charger), has a REAL mouse (scroll wheel and two buttons) and a number of hot keys- all in a Mac layout. They cost less than the Bluetooth combo Apple offers and will work better for most people.

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