Apple Opinions: Mac mini and Pages

I know we’ve got a fairly big Apple contingent on the Dope, and wanted to ask people’s opinions of 2 of Apple’s latest releases:

  1. The Mac mini. There have already been several threads about it, and I know yosemite got one – anybody else? I wanted to get one the moment I first saw the picture, but have held back because I have absolutely no reason to get it. But I still want it. My Powerbook is already more powerful, to get one that’s useful at all would cost more like $800 than the $500 they claim, and I don’t know how I’d share my monitor between the PC and the Mac. But I still want it.

  2. Pages, the word processor that’s included with the iWork “suite.” (How you can call 2 programs a “suite” is beyond me, but hey, Steve Jobs has more money than I do for a reason). Is it any good? I’ve already got MS Word for my Mac, but it just bugs me for reasons I can’t quite explain. Just feels too big and unwieldy somehow; I want something that’s somewhere between Word and TextEdit. I’m especially interested in how it handles HTML output; having a WYSIWYG web page editor would be, as Donald Trump says, yoooge.

  1. Don’t have a Mini myself, but that’s because I’m jonesin’ for a G5 iMac. If I didn’t want the slightly extra oomph of the G5 and had a spare monitor lying around, though, I could see myself buying one.

  2. I’ve only played with pages for about 20 minutes in the store, but I think it’ll satisfy your needs as an “in-betweener” for TextEdit and MS Word. Haven’t played with the HTML export myself, but I hear it’s fairly decent, at least if your page doesn’t try to push the limits of HTML and CSS.

You can also read one guy’s account of using Pages to create a set of wedding invitations here.

I share a monitor between the Mini and PC via a KVM switch. One like this should do the trick. A lot of Mini owners are doing the same thing.

Some Mini owners have reported that the display looks “dim” with the Mini (the culprit seems to be the VGA adapter to connect to VGA monitors). I think I’ve noticed that, but it is so easy to fix with my particular LCD monitor (just hit the “auto contrast” button) so it is not an issue. An FYI if you want to use the Mini on a VGA monitor.

As for its usefulness, if you’ve already got a more powerful Mac, there might not be any point, but I don’t blame you for wanting it. It saves so much desk space. But hey, if you don’t have a desktop Mac (only a laptop), then there’s your justification in getting a Mini! Everyone knows that you should have a desktop computer too! :wink:

I get along pretty well with the 512 megs of RAM upgrade as long as I don’t load up every power-hungry app at the same time. (I had a habit with my old G4 to have Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Word, Acrobat, iTunes, Mail, several browsers, perhaps Garageband or InDesign, yadda yadda open at the same time, but since the old G4 had 1 GB of RAM, it handled it. The Mini doesn’t like to do that.) If I keep it to just Dreamweaver, Photoshop, several browsers, iTunes, Mail and perhaps one or two small programs, the Mini is fine. But of course I really want to get 1 GB of RAM, and will be doing that eventually.

The Mini’s slow hard drive is an issue when working with large (we’re talking several hundred megabytes) files (my experience is with Photoshop files). Under or around 100 MB doesn’t seem so bad, though. iTunes runs like a dream (importing an album is much faster than my PC with a similar CPU speed and a GB of RAM). Can’t say how it compares to every other Mac or PC, though it is definitely faster than my old G4, which is all that counts with me. Other Mini owners have given glowing reports of its speed and niftiness. But, it sure isn’t a high-end Mac, but it never pretended to be.

I had my Mini BTO (built to order) from the Apple store—1.25 GHz, 80 GB hard drive, and 512 MB of RAM. It cost $625 plus tax. Not a bad deal.

I think you should get it as a “desktop” Mac. It’s not a powerhouse, but for most things it will suit you fine.

Thanks for the review, yosemite. The thing is still sitting there, tempting me, but there’s really no way I can rationalize it. The closest I could come to a true practical use for the thing would be that it’d have a faster hard drive than my laptop does, but I’d forgotten that the mini uses what are basically laptop hard drives, if I remember correctly. I just got a new Windows desktop machine, which I only use for games so far, so it’s not as if I need another desktop computer.

But still, they’re so small. And you can get a completely wireless keyboard & mouse that work via Bluetooth, so it’s like being in the future!