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Saturday, May 06, 2006

New Computer

After my last computer died, I bought a Mac Mini. The computer took about a week to get to me: 2 days for the customization (I ordered 2GB of RAM), and another 3 days in shipping, and then 1 day while it got misdirected.

After having it for a few days, here are my first impressions:

1. I thought that 2GB might be overkill. Turns out that this is not true. My typical working set under Mac OS X appears to be about 1.2GB, just enough to cause my machine to swap if I had bought a 1GB machine.
2. A few things aren't as intuitive as you might imagine. For instance, I had to edit a Samba mount to share an external (USB) drive.
3. Mac OS X is a bit of a disk hog. The 80GB that came with the machine are going to go really fast, especially if you intend to dual boot the machine into Windows.
4. If your favorite environment is Emacs, you're going to have to use special instructions for building GNU Emacs v22 for Mac.
5. A few things still feel a bit sluggish. I think the extra special effects contribute to the feel. Things fade in and out instead of just snapping in and out like I'm used to.
6. Having UNIX interface underneath is really really nice.
7. The text edit fields in the web browsers seem really slow. I'm running the Universal Binary version of firefox, so it's got nothing to do with the binary.
8. The machine is much louder than expected. When it's in sleep mode or when not much is happening, it's dead silent. But rip a CD or two, compile Emacs, and the fan kicks up and you can hear it from across the room. Fortunately, like most engineers, I spend most of my time editing text and reading.
9. Despite the much vaunted UI that's not supposed to go wrong, I already managed to screw up the registry equivalent once by installing two versions of Microsoft Office.
10. 2 CPU cores are really nice too. Even when compiling, using web browsers or other apps don't bog down at all.
11. Now I have a more powerful machine at home than I have at work (my work machine is about 3 years old).

I'm still slowly warming up to the UI, so we'll see how I feel a bit later. In particular, I'm going to start running Windows XP (both as a bootcamp'd partition for games, and as a virtualized machine for quicken and possibly photoshop, which isn't going to have a universal binary version for awhile).

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