Intel Mini Arrives

The single core Intel Mini I’m going to replace this server with has arrived. On the plus side it got here two days earlier than Apple predicted. That’s very nice, especially since otherwise I likely wouldn’t have had time to set it up before I leave for Software Development on Friday. What follows are a few random notes as I configure it.

I’m using the builtin wireless connection for the moment until I figure out where to put it more permanently. It’s so small, I can easily hide it somewhere the old server couldn’t go. When I picked up the box from the doorman, I thought it was the new pair of binoculars I’d ordered. It really is that small. Take away the shipping box, it’s even smaller. The computer itself is a tad larger than my old Snap server and quite a bit smaller than my old Cobalt Qube.

Sound wise it’s possibly the quietest computer in my office, and that’s a big plus. In fact, if it’s making any noise at all it’s below the threshold of my hearing with my ear pressed right up against it. By contrast the TiBook it’s exchanging files with right now is definitely audible, as is the Dell on the other side of the room the Mini will be replacing.

Setting up wireless was more trouble than it should be because first I had to find the WEP key. Can’t we do better than a big hexadecimal string for these things? More importantly, given that my laptop already knows my WEP key, why won’t it tell me that when I need it? At least this time I had the key written down in a relatively safe place. The last time I needed it, I had to restore the router’s factory defaults, which of course shut down my entire network for an hour while I reconfigured everything just to get the key. Bleah.

Several people have reported on the relative speed of this system. It may indeed be faster than the G4 Minis, but it’s noticeably slower and less responsive than my dual 2.5 GHz PowerMac G5. Possibly more native applications would help.

I really wish Apple would stop insisting on collecting user’s private data and sending it over the Internet just to install the system. Yes, I know how to keep it from doing that; but you shouldn’t have to be a techie to have a little privacy if you want. Plus removing this data collection from the initial screens would cut a couple of pieces out of the initial startup and installation.

It’s also disappointing that despite having a system that was announced less than a week ago, there are already five software updates available for it. I’m installing them now, but I really shouldn’t have to. More annoyingly, the software icon update keeps bouncing until I restart the system. Why can’t it wait till I’m ready to restart? I have several other downloads and transfers in progress, and I have no intention of restarting until they’re done.

Software Update Bouncing Bouncing Bouncing

After a while it finally gave up and stopped bouncing. I’m not sure how long that took, but it should have been shorter.

There is a hack that lets you get around this. In TextEdit (or pretty much any other application) create a new document, type something (it doesn’t matter what) and don’t save it. Then press the restart button in the Installer. Eventually you’ll end up in textEdit and be asked to “Cancel/Don’t Save/Save”. Select Cancel. The Installer will have quit, but the system won’t restart.

The slot-loading optical drive worries me. It shouldn’t, but I’ve simply never liked slot-loading drives. I really want a force eject button somewhere on the computer that will physically push the disc out. I’ve just had too many problems over the years with stuck discs. Sometimes they were stuck by hardware failure, but more than once I’ve had them stuck purely in software (at least as far as I could tell).

4 Responses to “Intel Mini Arrives”

  1. Stefan Tilkov Says:

    In case your laptop is a Mac, your WEP key should be stored in the keychain, and accessible via Keychain

  2. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    That seems to want my Keychain password, which seems to be something different from my login password. I have no idea what it might be.

  3. George Bailey Says:

    The bouncing should stop once you give it focus. I’ve gone days before actually doing the restart.
    The keychain password ought to be the same, unless it’s a different account. The “details” toggle (on the Confirm dialog) will tell what keychain it’s trying to access.

  4. Mokka mit Schlag » Converting a Mini to a Server, Part 4: Launching Servers at Startup Says:

    […] I’ve now returned from Software Development 2006 and am ready to continue moving this server to my new Mac Mini. I had left it turned off while I was away. I turned it on, and loaded the first site into my browser; or rather I tried to load the first site. I couldn’t connect. Hmm, did I forget the IP address? Nope, I forgot to setup Apache to automatically launch at system startup. Let’s fix that. […]

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