October 13, 2006


Alas, poor iBook, we hardly knew ye. The ebay auction is over, and the ibook is no more. The Watts household is Mac-less. But, of course, since there's a Mac-vacuum, it desires to be filled.

When we upgraded iTunes on our Celery, it choked. Something either on the iTunes side or the QuickTime side or the Windows side didn't play nicely together. 100% CPU utilization... and the iPod took forever to sync. Lydia was frustrated, which always makes me try to find a solution.

Of course, that made me think... "now what kind of computer would be good at syncing up an iPod...?" Why, a Mac mini, of course!

I spent the afternoon (taking vacation time... not at work...) researching sources for the mini, hitting my usual haunts, but not really finding anything much away from list price other than the refurbs at the Apple Store. My first stop was the Nashville CompUSA, just to see what they had available. They had all the new models... but they also had a lone core solo mini marked down $100 off list.

At this point, I was envisioning actually replacing the Celery with the mini, my mental calculator kept ringing up and up. I'm really attached to my (free) Housebot home automation software on the PC, and I thought a Parallels/Windows XP setup might let me keep running it. There's $79 right there. Oh yeah... and you have to buy Windows ($99.) And there's no way you're running all that in the stock 512MB of RAM. Cha-ching cha-ching. And, of course, running all this on a core solo might be processor-intensive to the point that it would be just as sluggardly as the Compaq. I left to continue exploring.

More Internet research at home kept hitting brick walls. There just wasn't a way to replace the existing computer with Mac parts for under about a thousand dollars.

Then it occured to me... why shut down the Celery? Let it do what it does best: run the house and act as a file server. That freed me up. I could get as dinky a mini as I could find! Lydia and I headed to Cool Springs: her with the intent of buying buttons and me with the intent of shaking the clearance aisles of every electronics store in Franklin until a Mac fell out.

After striking out in a few places, I went to the Brentwood CompUSA to see if they had the core solo in stock. They did not. BUT, they had the previous generation next model up for $150 off the list price! For just $50 more than the current base model, I got a SuperDrive and 20 more gigs of hard drive space!

We got it home, hooked it up, and it's cooking along like a dream. It's a lot faster than the Compaq... but with double the clock speed and double the number of processor cores, that's probably to be expected.

Now we can sync, surf, and do all of the fun stuff with iLife applications that we did with the iBook, and our trusty old Compaq can do what it's good at.

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