Thursday, March 31, 2005

Mini by name, maxi by nature

I bought my first Mac mini recently: unfortunately I didn't get to keep it, but I can confirm it's an amazing bit of kit.

A support client, who I had just helped move into serviced offices in the City, phoned me up one morning to report that his PC was making a funny noise, and was asking him to insert the boot floppy; did I have one handy? After breaking the bad news to him (fortunately he had a recent backup on a new external hard drive I got him to buy before the move) we discussed his options: a new hard drive, or taking the opportunity to upgrade to a Mac, an idea he had been toying with for a while. He sensed the hand of Fate and decided to go for the Mac.

"Now I want you to take a taxi into the City when you come in: I don't want you to schlep the computer on public transport." I told him not to worry. A quick trip to the Apple Store on Regent Street, and I walked out with the mini in a tiny box, about the size of a shoebox but square, and took the bus to the City. "Is that it??" Oh yeah!

It's truly amazing, this tiny brushed aluminium box nestled next to the monitor, with all the power of OS X, optical drive, the works. Completely silent. I had it up on the network in seconds, restored the backup, got Mail working, and had a happy client.

I was pleased to see that Apple took no shortcuts with the mini: the packaging, finish, default install, all up to the standards one would expect of an Apple. Apart from having no screen (something which is a plus for those making the switch from a PC desktop) the mini is a true Mac, at an absolutely bargain price.

The Joy of CSS

Apologies to my regular readers (yes, both of you) for the lack of recent posting: I have been rather occupied with building the site I mentioned in a previous post. Anyway, it's up now if you want to take a look: CareerBalance

I'm quite proud of it: it's my first pure CSS site (look Mom no tables!) and it was a lot more fun to build without having to think through forests of TD tags and single-pixel gifs. It's much nicer and more intuitive just to be able to create a basic HTML document and then specify how it looks using a CSS.

The site was created with the fantastic BBEdit, and there's a special bonus for those of you using Firefox: transparent boxes with rounded corners in the interior page nav column! Some day all browsers will be this good...