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Looking to switch and looking for advice

 
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scotdeej
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:51 pm    Post subject: Looking to switch and looking for advice Reply with quote

I'm thinking of getting a Mac Mini to use in our lounge, leaving the old PC locked away in the study, although I do hope to link them in a home network, not sure whether to go wired or wireless though (Airport extreme seems awful expensive).

Regards the Mac Mini, seems pretty clear that 1Gb of memory is the amount to go for (not from the Apple store though) but is there much difference between the 1.25 and 1.42 processors (hard drive size is irrelevant as I'll be using an external firewire drive for most of my media storage apart from my music). Mostly I'll be using the mini to surf the net, listen to iTunes, look at photos and watch my home videos (long since given up any noble idea of editing them and burning to DVD!!).

I'm also intending to hook up the mini to a Panasonic plasma (th37pv500) via the dvi / vga adapter, any thoughts / comments on this?

Regards input devices, I like the idea of the Macally iWebkey keyboard (USB infrared cordless) as it has an inbuilt pointing device, looks ideal for a laptop keybord in a lounge (saves having a flat surface for a mouse), does anyone have one and have any views or any suggestions for something similar?

Hope some of you guys can help and keep up the good work on what I've found to be a very useful and informative board already.

Derek
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Susurrus
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, a Mini wouldn't do you wrong for what you're planning. Regarding hooking it up to the plasma, I don't think it'd have a VGA connection. I haven't heard of any TVs that aren't LCD TVs that have those. My TV at home has a DVI connector and since your TV is so expensive, wouldn't suprise me if it has that or a HDMI connector. Either way you should be able to hook your Mini up to it.

Regarding using a mouse on the couch, I find that a lot of mice work fine on the couch surface, though YMMV. I prefer having them separate, but that's a personal preference.

If you don't plan on doing very much with the Mini, 1.25Ghz will be fine, especially if you upgrade to 1Gb of RAM.
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bsnoel
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to switch and looking for advice Reply with quote

scotdeej wrote:
Regards the Mac Mini, seems pretty clear that 1Gb of memory is the amount to go for (not from the Apple store though) but is there much difference between the 1.25 and 1.42 processors (hard drive size is irrelevant as I'll be using an external firewire drive for most of my media storage apart from my music). Mostly I'll be using the mini to surf the net, listen to iTunes, look at photos and watch my home videos (long since given up any noble idea of editing them and burning to DVD!!).
Derek


From what I have read in the press and seen on the internet there is roughly a 15% difference on some benchmarks between a 1.25GHz and 1.42GHz Mini. That's really not that much for most typical users. For example some hypothetical task that takes 30 seconds on a 1.42GHz Mini would take about 34.5 seconds on a 1.25GHz Mini. On other tasks, there may be no perceivable difference at all. Its obviously a little bit more complicated than that in the real world, but this is a good enough rule of thumb to base a decision upon.

If it came down to it, and I had to choose between a 1.25GHz Mini with Bluetooth and Airport or a 1.42GHz without any upgrades, I would go for the 1.25GHz and get the BT/Airport upgrade. I wound up adding BT/Airport later, and I have found it to be worth having. These BT Keyboards from Apple are fantastic.

Either way, I have been a Windows user and admin for over 10 years. I SWITCHED to a Mac! And, I glad that you did. OS X is simply awesome!

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homerjatmoes
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to switch and looking for advice Reply with quote

scotdeej wrote:
I'm thinking of getting a Mac Mini to use in our lounge, leaving the old PC locked away in the study, although I do hope to link them in a home network, not sure whether to go wired or wireless though (Airport extreme seems awful expensive).

If you have the means to run cables to network computers then use cables. Wired networks are more secure and less administration to keep secure.
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Susurrus
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to switch and looking for advice Reply with quote

homerjatmoes wrote:
scotdeej wrote:
I'm thinking of getting a Mac Mini to use in our lounge, leaving the old PC locked away in the study, although I do hope to link them in a home network, not sure whether to go wired or wireless though (Airport extreme seems awful expensive).

If you have the means to run cables to network computers then use cables. Wired networks are more secure and less administration to keep secure.


I agree though you really only need to secure a wireless network once.

As for the speed difference, the 1.25 gets a 117 and the 1.42 gets a 125 on XBench. The upgrade is only worth it if you'd like those extra 40Gb, really, as the speed difference is negligable.
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homerjatmoes
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to switch and looking for advice Reply with quote

Susurrus wrote:
I agree though you really only need to secure a wireless network once.

Unless you lock the wireless down by only allowing certain mac addresses connect and anytime you change or add a wireless device you need to add it's mac address. If you use DHCP you also need to check from time to time for any rogue nodes. I also use some wireless tools to make sure no one is trying to get on my network, or just to check out any other available nodes. Encryption keys should also be changed periodically.

With the newer MIMO and routers like the Belkin Pre-N, ranges are getting incredible wich only means more dilligence is needed to make sure your network is secure. because you do not want this to happen. Mind you that this was an unsecured network but there are tools to break wireless encryption and exploits for router security flaws.

There is a tradoff between convenience and security. Wireless is far from "set it and forget it", but most people do.
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Susurrus
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 10:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to switch and looking for advice Reply with quote

homerjatmoes wrote:
Susurrus wrote:
I agree though you really only need to secure a wireless network once.

Unless you lock the wireless down by only allowing certain mac addresses connect and anytime you change or add a wireless device you need to add it's mac address. If you use DHCP you also need to check from time to time for any rogue nodes. I also use some wireless tools to make sure no one is trying to get on my network, or just to check out any other available nodes. Encryption keys should also be changed periodically.

With the newer MIMO and routers like the Belkin Pre-N, ranges are getting incredible wich only means more dilligence is needed to make sure your network is secure. because you do not want this to happen. Mind you that this was an unsecured network but there are tools to break wireless encryption and exploits for router security flaws.

There is a tradoff between convenience and security. Wireless is far from "set it and forget it", but most people do.


I just turn off SSID broadcasting, turn on MAC address filtering, add a WPA password and then don't worry about it. The work you'd have to go through to get through that would be a waste of time. Besides, we have a big lot, so you probably don't even get this on the street.

You're right though, one should know more about networking when using wireless. I shouldn't advocate carelessness just because I don't need to worry about it as that's how badness happens.
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homerjatmoes
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 10:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to switch and looking for advice Reply with quote

Susurrus wrote:
I just turn off SSID broadcasting, turn on MAC address filtering, add a WPA password and then don't worry about it. The work you'd have to go through to get through that would be a waste of time. Besides, we have a big lot, so you probably don't even get this on the street.

You're right though, one should know more about networking when using wireless. I shouldn't advocate carelessness just because I don't need to worry about it as that's how badness happens.
You have a good setup.

My problem is that I get bombarded with scenarios everyday so my thinking is always geared to what a hacker would do, which has aparently made me a little paranoid when it comes to computer security.

I met this one guy that went to the extreme of using a vpn at home for wireless access on top of all the encryption and filtering.
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Susurrus
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 12:11 am    Post subject: Re: Looking to switch and looking for advice Reply with quote

homerjatmoes wrote:
Susurrus wrote:
I just turn off SSID broadcasting, turn on MAC address filtering, add a WPA password and then don't worry about it. The work you'd have to go through to get through that would be a waste of time. Besides, we have a big lot, so you probably don't even get this on the street.

You're right though, one should know more about networking when using wireless. I shouldn't advocate carelessness just because I don't need to worry about it as that's how badness happens.
You have a good setup.

My problem is that I get bombarded with scenarios everyday so my thinking is always geared to what a hacker would do, which has aparently made me a little paranoid when it comes to computer security.

I met this one guy that went to the extreme of using a vpn at home for wireless access on top of all the encryption and filtering.


The world needs more people like this guy. If people did this, there would be a decrease in spam in the world. I think that with WPA security and SSID broadcasting off, most people would be safe enough. I'd be happy with that as the lowest common denominator. It makes me sad to think of the things I can do when I check the wireless and I have 5 competing networks with full signal strength in my list of available wireless networks.
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scotdeej
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice folks, just a couple of follow on queries if you don't mind;

Firstly, regards the connection to the plasma screen, not sure if I got my terminology right, the connection to the plasma screen is via a D-sub 15p, is there an adapter to go from the dvi output of the mini to this connection (there is an HDMI terminal but I'm saving that for next year when Sky start broadcasting HD TV in the UK).

The brochure for the screen says it supports PC resolutions of 1,024 x 720 however in another page there is also a table stating that it also accepts input signals from Macintosh 13" (640x480), Macintosh 16" (832x624) and Macintosh 21" (1152x870), this has me a bit confused, basically I just want to make sure the mini will work with it and I'll get a decent resolution / picture.

Regards the keyboard / mouse issue, does anyone use / has used one of the Macally iWebkey keyboards, my wife is keen to cut down on clutter but I'd like to know how usable the pointing device is on the keyboard. If the keyboard is not recommended can you recommend any multi button / scroll wheel mice that connect via bluetooth so that I can use them with the Apple keyboard?

The wireless set up sounds a bit complicated, especially if I want to network to a PC, looks like the wired solution may be simplest and safest.

Thanks again folks
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Susurrus
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scotdeej wrote:
Thanks for the advice folks, just a couple of follow on queries if you don't mind;

Firstly, regards the connection to the plasma screen, not sure if I got my terminology right, the connection to the plasma screen is via a D-sub 15p, is there an adapter to go from the dvi output of the mini to this connection (there is an HDMI terminal but I'm saving that for next year when Sky start broadcasting HD TV in the UK).

The brochure for the screen says it supports PC resolutions of 1,024 x 720 however in another page there is also a table stating that it also accepts input signals from Macintosh 13" (640x480), Macintosh 16" (832x624) and Macintosh 21" (1152x870), this has me a bit confused, basically I just want to make sure the mini will work with it and I'll get a decent resolution / picture.


A D-sub 15-pin connector is just a VGA connector. You'll just need to buy male to male D-sub connector and then you should be good to go. The Mini can output pretty much any reasonable resolution, so you should be able to run your TV at 1152x870 if the TV supports it. I would pretty much guarantee that your Mini can output at the 1024x768 resolution

scotdeej wrote:
The wireless set up sounds a bit complicated, especially if I want to network to a PC, looks like the wired solution may be simplest and safest.


If you can run the cables, wired is definitely the best bet as it's cheaper, easy, and faster than wireless.
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scotdeej
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again, the maximum resolution of the screen is 1024x720 so hopefully all will be well.

Looking forward to using this forum even more once I take the plunge and order my mini!!
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