I’m NOT getting a Mac Mini

For quite a while, I’ve been considering trying a Mac, because Mac OSX, with it’s sexy BSD backend, looks really neat and amazingly easy to use. Finally, with the advent of the Mac Mini, they lowered the pricepoint to the point where I could realistically try it out. Or so I thought.
I placed my order for a decked out, wireless everything Mac Mini in late January. I soon got informed that my order wouldn’t even ship until late February. That’s pretty crazy, but I understood the early rush on orders and went with it. Oh, how foolish I was. By late February, I was watching the order status every day, waiting for it to change. The expected ship date came and went, and I was getting frustrated.

Suddenly- aha! An e-mail from Apple! Which was to tell me that my order wouldn’t be ready until mid-April. Two and a half months to process and ship an order? I think not. I’ve since canceled my Apple order and, for less money, ordered a barebones PC kit to upgrade my desktop. This will allow me to continue using the programs I know, play games, and use Linux for all my biochemistry programs. Apple lost a potential convertee. And, as anyone who knows me could tell you, I’m a gadget-freak. They would have made a LOT of money from me if I enjoyed the Mac Mini. Ah well. I think it worked out for the best.

Really, I only needed to upgrade my processor, memory, and graphics card… But my Dell is pretty old, and Dell often uses non-standard parts, so I need a new motherboard to support the new processor. And the new motherboard doesn’t fit in the Dell case, so I needed a new case. So really, it’ll be a mostly new computer, with my old hard drives, CD drives, monitor, printer, and other accessories. I’m excited!

Fun addendum: Apple contacted me again a third time after my cancellation, saying effectively “we were kidding, it could be ready to ship soon, though maybe without all the parts you ordered.” Needless to say, I politely responded that this was perhaps the wrong time in the process to attempt to address my concerns, and that I had already re-funneled my money into a barebones PC, and furthermore, asking them to forward my e-mail to their supervisors to show that such delays do cause Apple to lose customers and cash.

15 Responses to “I’m NOT getting a Mac Mini”

Fun little addendum: I placed my barebones PC order on Sunday (yesterday). I just got e-mail confirmation that it has shipped already. That’s under one business day to assemble a custom order and ship it. Contrast with Apple’s 1 to 3 month delay, and I suddenly lose all urge to order an Apple ever again.

Paradoxdruid - February 28th, 2005 at 11:21 am

And it’s quite possible, even likely, that that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

Teisha - February 28th, 2005 at 12:01 pm

Hehehe… Yes, Teisha, I’m well aware of your antipathy towards Macs. 😛 I still think Macs are quite nifty, even if their sales department is a pack of useless, stupid ninnies.

I forgot something in my rant: Waxing poetic about how my new computer system firmly establishes my masculinity and penis size, while berating my comptetitors. Or something like that.

Anyway, I’m upgrading to a new Chaintech motherboard, which will be fitted with a sparkling-new Pentium 4 3.2 GHz processor with 1 MB front cache. It will be accompanied by 1 GB of DR3200 memory, and accented by a 256 MB geForce video card connected by PCI Express. Mmmm… Happiness is a warm computer.

Paradoxdruid - February 28th, 2005 at 2:32 pm

You know, the basics of Apple OS’s and such might be nice, but without Apple cloning to drive Apple to keep their edge, it’s not so big of a deal

Owen - March 1st, 2005 at 12:54 pm

:drools: My new motherboard and processor should arrive on Friday; hopefully we can figure out how to get it all up and running. We’ll have to have a new computer party!

That sucks about your experience with Apple. As someone whose first several computers were Apples/Macs, I hate to see them shooting themselves in the foot like that. If only they’d support the games I want to play I’d continue to support them.

Rachael - March 1st, 2005 at 3:01 pm

Why? A computer is a tool to help us; I choose the tool best suited the job I have for it. Would you use the handle of a wrench to pound in a nail when a hammer was close at hand? My chosen use for my computer is as a gaming machine. (And oh how I wish I actually had that ultimate gaming rig you mention. I’m not anywhere close.)

If I had a job or a serious hobby which required me to use a computer then that use would take precedence. Both of my parents do, and they both use Macs at home. My mother is an artist and continually laments the fact that her employer will not get her a Mac at work because the IT guy “doesn’t know anything about them” and doesn’t want to bother learning, even though the programs she uses are accepted across the industry as being better suited for Macs. Her home machine is a Mac (and a really kick-ass one, at that). My dad is a musician; the best software in his industry is for, you guessed it, Macintosh.

Being my parents’ child, I have interest in both of their fields, and I have software on my computer that allows me to dabble in both art and music. In both cases the software was originally designed for a Mac. If either of these pursuits were to be a bigger part of my life then I would consider switching to the tools more suited to their use.

At this point in my life, however, the primary use for my personal computer is to provide me with entertainment, which comes in the form of internet access and hours and hours of video games.

Rachael - March 2nd, 2005 at 8:10 am

I suppose one of my issues with this is the great potential that computers have as a learning aid that is going unfulfilled. Yes, there are a lot of programs out there that do take advantage of this teaching ability, but the primary _personal_ (not work-related) use is for games.

This seems to lead to another issue — should people strive to learn and grow when not in their work environment? A big problem (with this country at least) is that people seem to get so worn out from their daily work routine that they simply want to pacify their minds when they’re not being paid to use them (but probably the mainstream approach uses the TV instead of computer games). Granted we all need some time to “decompress,” but it feels like it’s more than that — it almost feels like a genuine interest in life beyond work has almost entirely vanished for some people (though this is assuming there’s an interest in life for work, which is often not the case either).

(And please don’t take this personally, Rachael — with your original comments you brought to mind the lifestyle of some close friends of mine who I’ve kind of given up talking about this with.)

Teisha - March 2nd, 2005 at 10:13 am

“If only they’d support the games I want to play I’d continue to support them.”

It honestly seems mildly sad to me that so many people primarily value their computers for this use. It’s hard to say whether this mentality is due to, or responsibible for, the fact that there are few incentives for people to spend extra money on their computers other than upgrading it to display and run their games better. Now-a-days if you’re not really into graphics- and memory-intensive games, why buy the top-of-the-line video card and processor? (But admittedly you clearly need the extra memory for MP3s and all your favorite shows/movies, all legally downloaded.)

I feel there should be other reasons for seriously investing in your computer than continually modifying it to become the ultimate gaming console. Is this why we have computers — is this the pinnacle of their evolution in serving and furthering us?

(Please excuse me if I sound more than a little jaded… this is something I’ve personally been struggling with for some time.)

Teisha - March 1st, 2005 at 10:53 pm

I think the two of you are kind of talking at cross purposes: I think that I (and I’m assuming Rachael) view computer games as a valid “genuine interest in life beyond work.” Just because I’m not constantly outside hiking (though I do enjoy that) doesn’t mean my mind and interest aren’t engaged, nor that computer games aren’t a part of real life. They exist, they have consequences and take effort, and they are a source of much enjoyment for me. 🙂

On a different note: Rachael, what software do you use to dabble in music and art on a Windows machine? I’m somewhat of a repressed artistic soul.

Paradoxdruid - March 2nd, 2005 at 11:11 am

Another sidenote: I’m having a crisis of faith about Linux. I realized that when I run Linux, most of what i do is either Firefox (which is cross-platform), Microsoft Word through WINE (I crave grammar check, which OpenOffice doesn’t have), or games through WINE. Why am I running Linux again, beyond having fun toying around with it and fixing it?

Ah well, I’ll work it out.

Paradoxdruid - March 2nd, 2005 at 11:36 am

“I think that I (and I’m assuming Rachael) view computer games as a valid ‘genuine interest in life beyond work.’ Just because I’m not constantly outside hiking (though I do enjoy that) doesn’t mean my mind and interest aren’t engaged, nor that computer games aren’t a part of real life.”

Alright, I agree with this — what I think is the real problem (and so often is with everything in life) is a sense of “everything in moderation.” I wouldn’t want to go out hiking all the time either (and I think you actually like that specific activity more than me), but at the same time when someone plays a game (or does anything) all the time instead of, for example, getting out with friends or expressing themselves in a more creative and unique fashion (I know I’m going to get crap for this), it’s bad. There always needs to be some balance.

(About the creativity thing — yes, you are creative with a game, more so than watching TV for example, but you’re only building off of somebody else’s devised world, which is much less creative (and requiring of thought) than making something even more original (i.e. writing a story, music, creating something that more expresses who you are). And yes, I realize that thread of logic was rather self-defining, but I tried…)

Teisha - March 2nd, 2005 at 12:11 pm

Yes, I see computer games as a valid interest beyond work, as long as you don’t play them to the exclusion of everything else. I have far more interests than I have the time to pursue them, and a small part of that is because I choose to spend a lot of time on the computer. However, I derive a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction (and, recently, socializing – who’d have thought?) from playing my current game of choice. I’m not spending time finishing that quilt I started two years ago, but, honestly, what would I do with it if I did? I sure as hell wouldn’t sell it. The net result there would the satisfaction that I had completed the project, and it could keep my toes warm while I played more video games. But in the end I’m just as happy putting on socks and heading online to play with my friends. I’m sure I’ll finish that project eventually, but if I don’t it’s not like I’m neglecting my life.

As for my dabbling, I have (what is now a pretty old version of) Finale, which I would use more if I had a MIDI keyboard to go with it, and Photoshop/Image Ready. Finale I actually used some for my job when I was the Music Director in a small church with no resources; I certainly didn’t need it for the job, and I got it mostly because I wanted to play around with it, but I did get some small amount of legitimate use out of it. As for Photoshop, I’ve been teaching myself how to use it a little bit here and there, again primarily for my own personal enjoyment. I’m a perfectionist, so I like that I have a whole lot more control in editing pictures than I do with, say Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. I’ve spent a lot of time making “art” just for the hell of it (and to learn the program better), but the real practical use I get out of it is editing my photos (and, cough, screenshots from CoH).

And if we want to go off on another tangent, I’ll be more than happy to oblige:
“(About the creativity thing—yes, you are creative with a game, more so than watching TV for example, but you’re only building off of somebody else’s devised world, which is much less creative (and requiring of thought) than making something even more original (i.e. writing a story, music, creating something that more expresses who you are). And yes, I realize that thread of logic was rather self-defining, but I tried…”

Since you asked for it, Teisha. 😛 A lot of people have the mistaken belief (I’m not saying you do, and it’s gotten a lot better in recent years) that art created by an artist using computer software is nothing more than “computer-generated” art, when in reality there is a huge difference. My mother works as a graphic designer and runs into this on a daily basis. People assume that since all she does is manipulate a computer program that anyone can do what she does, not appreciating that there’s a lot more to it than just pointing and clicking. This isn’t just seen in the art field, though I think it’s quite obvious there. Now that pretty much everyone has access to a computer they think that if they can just get the right software they can be experts in anything they want. Many times they’re right; tomorrow Scott and I will (probably) prepare our tax return with speed and ease because of some handy software, a feat that when complicated is usually either relegated to the experts or struggled through with hours of frustration and confusion. But Turbo Tax hardly makes us experts on tax law. You’d no more want us to prepare your taxes than you’d want Bubba over in the sales department designing the company’s quarterly magazine with Windows clip-art. (Actually, the second scenario there makes me shiver worse; what does that say about me?) So there, I think I’ve firmly derailed us onto a tangent. At what point is too much accessibilty bad for the overall quality/variety of what we as humans do?

Rachael - March 3rd, 2005 at 9:42 am

Just to address your tangent, since I think we’re in as near agreement as possible with the other part, — no, I realize that computer-generated “art” is very much art. I’ve had several friends who designed computer graphics for a living, and it’s something I know I couldn’t do. For creating art, somebody needs to be able to see it in their mind — no great quantity or quality of tools can allow someone to create something if it’s not already existing in their head.

Teisha - March 3rd, 2005 at 7:21 pm

Well said, Teisha. I, myself, dabble in photoshop and such occassionally, but man– they’re no substitute for skill and most of all, Vision.

Speaking of graphic design: One of my first “tasks” in my graduate lab is to redesign their website… I guess I have no excuse to put off learning cascading style sheets now, do I?

Paradoxdruid - March 3rd, 2005 at 8:36 pm

You could always strive for mediocrity, as seems to be the way so often with other people…

Teisha - March 3rd, 2005 at 9:23 pm

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