DivisionTwo: Mac Mini: The Emperor’s New Computer. I can’t tell whether the reviewer (Jorge Lopez, MCSE) is for real or not. Some of his complaints seem to be ones that a user would have: “Oh, did I forget to mention that the Mini has no PCI slots either? … No keyboard or mouse either. Sorry, Kayla, daddy’s got to make another trip to Best Buy before you can play with your new computer.”
But then we get to the rest of the article, which—well, let’s take it point by point:
- ”its sleek look comes at the expense of the parallel port, serial ports, the PS/2 ports and the drive bays“… Erm, the what, what, and what? With USB and Firewire, who the hell cares? Even on the PC front, I’m pretty sure that all the peripherals in most users’ hands at least speak USB. And drive bays? There’s a very nice combo/Superdrive there. Surely you didn’t have something else in mind, Jorge?
- “And no floppy disk drive”…Oh no you didn’t (oh snap, etc.). Surely we’ve put this particular canard to bed by now. There are these little things called USB keychains, Jorge. They’re practically giving them away with every Best Buy purchase, and they hold between 32 MB and 512 MB of stuff. You know, between about 30 and 500 floppies. And they fit in your pants pocket. You might want to look into them.
- ”During normal operation the unit makes no sound whatsoever. This could make it very difficult for a novice user to know whether or not the computer is on.”… There are some of us who are slowly losing midrange hearing from constantly running fans etc. that actually kind of like a silent computer, Jorge.
- “It turns out the Mini uses a weird kind of display connector on the back that requires a special adapter if you want to plug it into a PC monitor…” Yes, it does. It uses a weird kind of display connector, called DVI, that’s also available on PCs from most major manufacturers, including Dell, HP, and on cards from ATI and Radeon.
- “there is no Outlook Express for email, but Apple includes a program called Mail, which is like a stripped-down email client that can’t execute scripts or open attachments without user intervention.” You know, Jorge, I might call that a feature. A security feature. As an MCSE, you might want to look into that too.
- “Essentials such as a defragmenter or a or registry cleaner are notably absent”. That could be because the Mac doesn’t have a registry that can become polluted over time with excess information, and doesn’t need a defragmenter. (Okay, the jury is still arguing about that last one.)
- “In today’s climate of non-stop worms, trojans and viruses, releasing a computer with no virus removal software is irresponsible on the part of Apple.” Unless, of course, few to none of those viruses are targeting Apple’s platform. Not saying the Mac is immune from viruses, just pointing out that the chances of any Mac user getting infected are vanishingly small, compared to the estimated 30 seconds till infection that an unprotected Windows PC can expect when you connect it to the Internet. (Oh, and more importantly imho than a virus removal program, the Mac does come with an industrial strength configurable firewall.)
- Applications are a whole other category, because the issues he calls out are pretty easy to refute:
- “no Mac version of WeatherBug to check the temperature anywhere in the world”… Well, there’s Weather.com. Or there’s any one of these nifty utilities.
- “Or any equivalent of the DealHelper software I use to keep track of my password”… It’s called Keychain and it ships with the OS. And has for about seven years.
- “My Office 2003 CD would not install…” Um, look at Mac Office 2004, from the same company.
Then he hits the point that makes me think he was laughing up his sleeve the whole time, or else is just hopeless: “When I consider that a good deal of my time is spent running applications like Disk Defragmenter, Scandisk, Norton AV, Windows Update and Ad-Aware–none of which are available for the Mac platform”… Huh. That’s funny, Jorge. A good deal of my time is spent running Word, Excel, Mail, and my web browser. You know, actually getting work done.
There are definitely things about the Mac mini that might trip up a novice user coming over from the PC world, but this list isn’t it.
Update: Erm, based on the reaction to the article on MeFi, I might have risen to the bait of a satire post. I guess that will teach me to blog before my sixth cup of coffee of the day.