this mac mini is pretty sweet!

For Christmas and our birthdays, Sarah and I got ourselves a cute little Mac mini. As previously noted, our main Windows machine recently refused to start (I suspect power supply failure), and even trying Cristi’s approach to trick the BIOS didn’t work.

So, really, we were forced into this.

It sure is easy on the eyes — all aspects of this computer scream “nice design!” at me. Assimilating myself mac-wise is going pretty smoothly. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way:

  • I was about to gent bent out of shape due to firing it up and finding OS X Tiger installed — didn’t notice the extra OS X Leopard DVD in the package, which I appreciated.
  • Keyboard things are a little weird when you’re coming from Windows hardware (that’s what the mini is — just the case and some components and an operating system. You’re on your own for keyboard and mouse and a monitor). I’ve learned pretty quickly how to do these characters on my German keyboard aimed at the Windows market:
    • ~ (Alt Gr +n, then a deadkey space) – need that all the time in a unix derivative, don’t we?
    • | (Alt Gr + 7)
    • ^ (thankfully, just the caret key followed by a deadkey space)
    • the control key (strng on a German keyboard) doesn’t work like I expect it to — but the superfluous Windows does behaves like the control key
    • emacs keystrokes for cursor positioning seems to work using the real control keys in a lot of applications (^A to take you to the beginning of a line, ^E to take you to the end). Learning those keystrokes back in the day for PINE on vela.acs.oakland.edu seems to have paid off (of course, some of them work in vim too).
    • [ and ] are on the 5 and 6 keys when used with Alt Gr
    • { and } are misleadingly on the 7 and 8 keys when used with Alt Gr — the keyboard has labels that indicate those characters should be on the 7 and 0 keys
    • € and µ (does anyone ever really use that outside of The Even Dorkier, out there measuring µFarads or masking µProcessors? I mean, c’mon).
    • I still need to find some way to get used to not having keyboard commands for selecting or jumping to/past whole words at a time, or find a way to actually do it under Mac OS X. School me?
  • OS X Tiger was frustrating as I tried to set up the wireless network here in the apartment. The simple setup wizard just wasn’t cutting it. I had to go into the network diagnostics wizard and specify a 40-bit ASCII or hex key for it to work. Not sure if that’s related to my network or the OS, but after erasing and installing OS X Leopard from scratch this evening, the simple setup under *Leopard* worked just fine.
  • I have *got* to remember to look for application menus always way up at the top of the screen, and not at the top of the application window. In desperation, I right-click, hoping to be able to unhide some critical menu item, like “File” or “Edit.” That usually doesn’t help me much. That is killing me at the moment. For the truly dorky, I’m sure this clearly explains to why I picked KDE over Gnome on Linux.

got a new computer!You might think I’m all jazzed up about this new computer, staying up late and whatnot. Well, it is late, and I am jazzed up, but I think it’s really the jet lag that’s done it to me. At least the only thing on the docket for tomorrow is cleaning up my desk and making some stuffed peppers using the sauce from this recipe. That’s OK. By the way: tomorrow’s the last day of the Christmas market on Neupfarrplatz. Here’s what we did today for lunch:

Wurst! Wurst!


One thought on “this mac mini is pretty sweet!”

  1. Cliff

    I like that VNC desktop sharing/remoting works easily within Mac OSX, but I wish I could figure out how to get TightVNC (my client of choice on Windows) to know what kind of keyboard I’m using here on Windows and how to interpret those keystrokes over on the Mac remote desktop. Any ideas?

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