I'm beginning to get the impression that actually the Mac mini is just a piece of junk - a technological dead-end - and that it was that sort of a piece of junk before it came off the production line. It's possibly even the sort of junk that used to be called "a white elephant":
·n. a possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of.
– ORIGIN from the story that the kings of Siam gifted such animals to courtiers they disliked, in order to ruin the recipient by the great expense incurred in maintaining the animal. - Concise Oxford Dictionary (10th Ed.)
The thing seems to have been cynically turned out with all the old tricks for throw-away product obsolescence - including, for example, well-sealed units (difficult to maintain), lock-in, and little or no forwards or backwards design compatibility. Just more "waste-making" (per Vance Packard's "The Waste Makers").
I say this after researching across the Internet for "uses for an old Mac mini", where most commenters seemed hard-pressed to think of a use for the thing (but many seemed to like to dream up daft uses for it anyway), and the most positive comment I came across was one that didn't actually declare a continuing use for the device: (my emphasis)
iFix Old Macs
You know the ones I mean: those Power Macs, PowerBooks, iMacs, iBooks, Mac minis, etc. based on the PowerPC processor that Apple sold a few years ago. Sadly, support for them is dwindling, but the software is still out there that would enable their continued use.
Maybe you still have one of these fine old machines. Resist the urge to throw it in the dumpster and buy a new computer. The addition of more RAM, a bigger hard drive, an updated graphics card, or a faster processor might be all it needs. It won't be sitting in your local landfill leaching heavy metals and other bad things into your drinking water. And, you won't be perpetuating the evil practice of assembling the "latest and greatest" in low-wage sweatshops around the world.
- which absurd statement rather begs the question "...all it needs"
for what? For making it "look like a new one"? Why? It's already obsolete. A Spinning Jenny
was "a fine old machine" too.
I don't have any kind of a dislike for "things Apple" - quite the reverse, in fact - mainly because:
- (a) I had the opportunity to see first hand in 1984/5 how the Apple Macintosh technology could make for such an amazingly useful productivity tool at an early stage - for Project Planning (MacProject) and Desktop Publishing (Aldus Pagemaker). It was even good at games. So I gained a considerable respect for the Macintosh hardware and software and the Palo Alto ergonomics research that had been incorporated into its design. This pretty much pre-dated the advent of any corresponding particularly useful functionality on the IBM PC.
- (b) In 1988 I was responsible for managing three small departments in a large insurance company. One was an Applications Development group (for IBM mainframe systems). One was an "Information Centre", which provided a service for corporate PC users (PCs, PC upgrades, network connection, and all kinds of PC-based software and training for use of same), and the third was a "Technology Research" group. Of the latter two groups, the people in the first group had no experience of using Macintoshes, the people in the second group did. I saw how both technologies - Mac and PC - had a suitable role to play, particularly as online distributed processors or smart terminals connected to and integrated with mainframe systems, but the Mac came at a premium price and generally was difficult to integrate or cost-justify.
It was a no-brainer - a business decision. We eventually standardised on the use of the DOS-based (and the new Windows-based) IBM PC technology, because of its flexibility and especially because of the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). It was clearly easier to integrate, more cost-effective to buy and to support. It could do the job pretty well if you were able and prepared to support it by rolling your sleeves up and getting stuck into some of the guts of the motherboard, peripherals and operating system, whereas the Mac was more of a "black box" - notoriously difficult to support by opening it up and tinkering with it, by comparison.
But there were Mac bigots and PC bigots then, and there still are today (QED). Based on the foregoing, I would not usually consider investing my valuable cognitive surplus in Mac technology. I was only prepared to make an exception in this case because I didn't like to see a Mac mini consigned to the dumpster without at least exploring the possibilities of whether it could be useful. I rather like old bits of technology. For example, I can see a lot of potential use for extracting old Atari hardware and software from a landfill, but - after this exercise - Mac minis perhaps not so much.
Seems a waste, but there you are.
Actually, on reflection, this experience could probably support the argument that buying anything "Apple" might be largely a waste of good time/money - i.e., because of their apparently wasteful marketing strategy.