Mac Mini Owners - HELP!

I need to make a decision. Soon. I have got to replace this (Windows based) machine from hell. I am so tired of doing hand to hand combat with this machine every time I try to use it. I’m about one heartbeat away from laying this machine in the driveway and running over it with my tanker truck.

So many issues with Windows. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.

The obvious choice for me is to move to the Apple platform. Since I’m not independently wealthy (yet), simplest soultion seems to be the Mac Mini. Before I jump in with both left feet, I have a couple of (possible) forseeable issues:

  1. I have hundreds (if not thousands) of files which have to be dealt with, mostly created in Lotus Word Pro 97, Lotus Approach, and Corel Quatro Pro 8. What is required to move these files to the new platform?

  2. I live in Elko, NV. Nearest place for physical support if something goes wrong with the hardware is SLC, UT - about 220 miles east of here. How physically reliable is the Mini’s hardware? (I’ll presume that software issues can generally be handled via phone or internet.) I really can not go without the machine for more than a couple of days without creating some serious problems.

  3. What upgrades to the basic package are recommended? My uses in order of importance: Data and record keeping related to work (Wordprocessing and spreadsheets) - and internet access. (I am not a game player. I believe the pinacle of the video game industry was either ‘Asteroids’ or ‘Space Invaders’ … but would definitely like more speed on the internet.)

Sincere thanks in advance for your advice.


I don’t know about transfering over your files, I’m sure someone else can tell you
BUT if the Mac Mini comes with the dual platform, that is like the bigger Macs, it runs Windows OS and Mac OSX, you’ll have no problems.
What I do recommend, with vigorous enthusiasm, is a high speed cable modem, or at the very least, high speed DSL from your phone company. The internet flies with these in comparison to even the fastest dial up connection.

It looks like MacLink Plus will do your conversions for you.
I’ve found the program easy to use, if not entirely painless; never translated Lotus or Quatro though.

Say hi to the giant Polar Bear next time you see him. :wink:

Out of curiosity what are the “hate it” issues with Windows that you think will be solved with a new OS platform? Win XP and recent CPU + MB platforms are generally considered fairly stable and reliable.

RE the conversion you need to make sure the app you choose has high quality conversion modules for the formats you want to use. Alternatively you can do mass conversions to a new format before exporting them to the new platform. The latest WordPerfect & MS Word versions have these conversion modules available on the install CD and they can be added to the existing programs.

MacLink Plus is definitely a good piece of software. You can also get a portable casing and just hook it up to the Mini; OSX reads Windows file systems. It can’t write, though, so you’ll want to get it off of NTFS and put it into something like FAT32, but it reads just fine. However, that won’t do anything to the files themselves (it’s just data), so you may need to get other software that can read them.

Your Internet speed is going to be capped by your bandwidth (the service you buy from the phone or cable company, most likely) more than your computer. Even a machine four or five years old can handle web pages/etc as fast as the pipe can serve them up, though Bittorrent will lag up a little if you’re on Azureus or you’re working with some obscenely large Flash.

The basic package is pretty solid overall. If you’re still on dialup, you’ll need the USB modem (I wouldn’t recommend this, really, if you want more Internet coolness). I’d go for a SuperDrive, but that’s a personal thing - it makes it easier for you to make backups, and anything like that is good for me. 60GB is smallish if you’re going to be using it as a multimedia library; I’d suggest 80 at least. The gig of RAM is nice but not too important; OSX runs fine on 512 unless you’re really choking it with huge multimedia projects (similarly, Core Duo is some pretty serious hardware).

SEE!!! - Clicked on your link and this stupid machine locked up! … Thanks for the lead on the translator.

I’ll wave at the polar bear for you. I rarely talk to such animals any more … too many of them started talking back! :smiley:

astro, my issues are really quite simple. My first computer was a Mac. Somebody talked me into buying a PC. I really kinda liked playing around with DOS - But when windows came out, the technology left me in the dust.

Granted, this machine is old and is becoming increasingly unstable and a newer machine is bound to run better. But I’ve had poor experiences with this OS. Every time it’s developed issues like what I’m experiencing now, the techs keep saying “thats just a windows quirk. Deal with it”. I’m tired of dealing with it.

If I have to use a machine whose technology I don’t understand, I’d prefer it be one that doesn’t crash just cause I clicked on an icon to open a file.

MrJackboots, Thanks for the tips.

Gotta log off for a little while. Wife wants me to take her into town.

Thanx again …


I just got a recent Mini off eBay. It’s running an Intel chip, so it can and does run Win XP. It came with Boot Camp, which lets me choose which OS I want by holding down my Alt key on my Windows-style keyboard. There is also a program called Parallels that will let you run both systems at once. If that sounds attractive, then buy that. I may yet get it.

My girlfriend is a Lotus 123 and Lotus WordPro user. For translating from WordPro or Quattro Pro, you may do better to purchase the Windows version of MacLink, called Conversions Plus (same company, DataViz). The MacLink version tends to focus on only the most mainstream of PC formats while giving you a wider range of Mac format options; the PC version definitely has translators that can handle the Millennium Edition of Lotus SmartSuite and beyond, and (I’m pretty sure) the latest from Corel Office Suite. MacLink, maybe not so much. (Although it can handle things like WriteNow, MarinerWrite, MacWrite Pro, and Nisus Writer that the PC version may not touch).

Some caveats about translations:

• Forget your macros. Your macros aren’t surviving translation. If you have oodles and oodles of WordPro and QuattroPro documents with necessary macros in them, you’d be better off emulating a Windows environment via Parallels for these old documents.

• Reciprocally, if your documents have only very simple formatting, you can bypass the need for any translation software by saving all your WordPro documents as “.rtf” documents (Rich Text Format) which will open natively in many Mac word processors, and saving all your Quattro Pro documents as “.slk” or “csv” (comma-separated text file) documents, either of which can be opened in either Excel or FileMaker on the Mac.

If you ever need Mac technical help in SLC, I recommend MacDocs on South State Street, even though there’s a new, shiny Apple store at The Gateway.

Thanks to all for the tips and advice …

I’ve zeroed in on a Mini … wish me luck!


Danger, Mini Buyer!

I got mine off eBay and then discovered it’s the cheap one that won’t burn DVDs. Be sure what you get.