Macminicolo breaks down the new Mini

Macminicolo has a great blog post about the changes in the new Mac Mini and what they mean for users. These guys know too, as their Mac Mini data center in Las Vegas hosts over 1400 Minis. They also sell off their older machines and follow the value of past Mini versions.

The 2012 Mac mini will still be very popular, keeping the prices of used Mac minis high. That machine offers the SSD/RAM upgrade options, the quad-core processor, and can also run a number of past versions of OS X.

UPDATE: And here’s the MacFixit teardown.

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Will we build R2-D2s or C-3POs?

Interesting read by Rex Sorgatz on the future of robotics. Will we create R2-D2s, selfless robots that excel in areas where humans are deficient like deep computation and endurance in extreme conditions, or C-3POs, personified facsimiles of humans, complete with our foibles?

It’s simple:
R2-D2 aspires to be a great computer.
C-3PO aspires to be a mediocre human.
We need great computers, not mediocre humans.

Or as Sorgatz puts it in a nice info chart: R2-D2 is Wall-E, C-3PO is HAL. I think this debate will continue for a long time, with R2-D2 always the safe choice and C-3PO designs continuing to annoy us, or just plain creep us out – until we reach the Scarlett Johanson AI stage from Her. Then we’ll gleefully welcome our new robot overlords.

Siracusa Reviews Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite

Brew a pot of coffee and turn off your phone, it’s time to settle in for a long read. John Siracusa’s exhaustive, entertaining and technically rich review of Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite is here. Siracusa’s yearly reviews of the Mac operating system have become an annual treat since he first began with Mac OS X 10.0. This year’s review spends a lot of time on Yosemite’s marquee feature:

In last year’s OS X release, Apple tore down the old. This year, finally, Apple is ready with the new. To signal the Mac’s newfound confidence, Apple has traded 10.9’s obscure surfing location for one of the best known and most beautiful national parks: Yosemite. The new OS’s headline feature is one that’s sure to make for a noteworthy chapter in the annals of OS X: an all-new user interface appearance.

Siracusa’s insight into the UI and technical design of Mac OS X is enriched by 30 years of Mac experience and a little OCD. Who else can lament on the move from pulsating default buttons, or wax nostalgic about Kaleidoscope schemes? His reviews have become so legendary, there are reviews of his reviews. Sadly, as listener’s of John’s Accidental Tech Podcast know, this may be the last year he writes his 25,000+ word review. Kick back and enjoy one last labor of love.

Hoorah for the Mac Mini!

There was an Apple event today where new iPads were introduced (the iPad Air 2 & iPad mini 3) along with a new iMac sporting an amazing 5K retina screen (5120-by-2880 pixels). Holy cow!

That said, I was just as excited about the newly updated Mac Mini. Apple’s diminutive desktop computer hadn’t been updated in two years and has always seemed on the brink of cancellation. Yet here we are, closing in on the Mini’s 10th birthday next year, and Apple gives us an updated Mini starting at just $499. Granted, this will only get you an i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB spinning hard drive, but you can configure this little badass all the way up to a 3.0GHz i7 with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. ($2,199 if that’s your thing.) I’ve owned several Minis over the years and they’re great as workstations, media servers, and even rack-mounted network servers. I’m glad Apple continues to keep the Mac Mini on the roster.

Superhero Draft

On the latest episode of the Incomparable Podcast, a draft was held to build ultimate superhero teams. Not a single person drafted Superman OR Batman! I get that everyone is over Wolverine, but no caped crusader? Was the latest film that off-putting? My ultimate 7-person superhero team would be:

Superman – Every team needs a heavy and the last son of Krypton is the ultimate one.

Batman – Known as the World’s Greatest Detective, he’s also good with gadgets, rich, and has a ready-to-move-in hideout.

Professor X – He also has a great HQ, but it’s his near omnipotent telepathy that we’ll need to save the world.

Forge (X-Men) – I’ve always loved his ability to build really awesome guns to shoot at people. Plus, Cable is too moody.

Hulk – Smash. Hulk smash.

Spiderman – He may not be the most powerful, but he’s smart and will bring some levity to the morning status meetings.

Black Widow – My team needs some feminine charm and who better than a top-secret spy that looks like Scarlett Johanson? TEAM COMPLETE!

More TV Premieres

The sixth season of Mad Men started last Sunday and for big fans of the show, it was like a big juicy cheeseburger. So good. This Sunday HBO’s Veep, one of the funniest shows on TV, starts its second season. I’m also intrigued by NBC’s Hannibal which started a few weeks ago. A couple shows I need to catch up on are Netflix’s House of Cards and the Sundance Channel’s Top of the Lake starring Elizabeth Moss of Mad Men. Full circle!

2013 Tech Podcasts

My three favorite tech podcasts from last fall have been taken from me. John Siracusa shuttered his geek-minded podcast Hypercritical in December and Marco Arment did the same with Build & Analyze. Earlier in the fall, John Gruber moved his podcast The Talk Show away from the 5by5 network and host Dan Benjamin to go it alone. In a great example of how chemistry and tastes can change on a dime, I’ve never found his new podcast, where he is the main host with a rotating sidekick, to be as good.

I tried Andy Inhatko’s podcast for a while, but as much as I like Andy as a guest on other shows, his own show didn’t hold my attention. I also tried going back to Leo Laporte and the TWiT network, but those shows feel too produced and shiny to me now.

One podcast I’m enjoying now is the Accidental Tech Podcast with Siracusa and Marco. It’s no surprise I’d like it with those guys. In fact, I’ll check out anything with Siracusa (except Anime!). Marco runs the discussion, Siracusa talks off the cuff, and there is a third guy who chimes in occasionally (and I guess is running the equipment?). The three cover what’s new every week in tech and it scratches the itch. I’ve also recently started listening to Debug with Renee Ritchie and Guy English. The production values aren’t great but the conversation with iOS and web developers is fascinating. At first I was a little off-put by Guy’s obvious lack of podcast experience, but he has a degree of charm and does the most important thing an interviewer can do: he stays out of the way.

I also enjoy occasional episodes of Jason Snell’s The Incomparable geek podcast. Add into the rotation the hilarious Flop House bad movie review podcast with Dan McCoy, Stuart Wellington, and Elliot Kallan and you’ve got a solid slate of replacements.