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Posts posted by Harry_The_Bustard

  1. I've just read the Mac mini and iMac reviews in the latest edition of MacUser and it looks like the latter is the better bet - and I see the iMac has built-in stereo speakers - though I still prefer the "separates" idea. Still, it depends what you want to do - and look at - and I recommend that you read the reviews too.

  2. If you go for the suggested "separates" system (Mac mini et cetera) and choose AppleCare then the latter will cover an Apple Display if bought at the same time - and more. The blurb on the sales page reads as follows...


    Comprehensive coverage


    The AppleCare Protection Plan covers your Mac, as well as an AirPort Extreme Card, an AirPort Express and AirPort Extreme Base Station, and Apple RAM purchased for your Mac. Mac mini, Power Mac, and PowerBook customers can also enroll one Apple display for coverage, provided the Mac and display are purchased together.


    ...and it isn't too clear whether you have to buy it from an Apple Store (be it physical or online) so you'll have to find out - ideally reading the down-loadable documents at the bottom of the page found on the online Apple Store following a search for "AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac mini". Note for sticklers here... there is no such word as "enroll" - or at least not in dear old Blighty where we "invented" English.


    Incidentally, if you haven't got an AirPort Express unit but can afford one then you really should get one for iTunes streaming in another room (where it would also ideally connect to your broadband modem) since you can enjoy playback of your music in that second room either in tandem with or instead of that coming from your Mac. The "instead of" is achieved in two ways. First of all you could have two users set up on your Mac with one playing their music via the main speakers and the other playing it via those connected to the Airport Express unit - in which case you'd need the "main speakers user" to be the active one - i.e. the one with their session visible on the Mac. The second means is, of course, to stream the music to the AirPort Express unit from another computer (not necessarily a Mac) on the wireless network - so long, that is, as it runs iTunes.

  3. Elgato will have a solution to the dual dongle problem on November 6th... the Diversity Dual-Tuner DVB-T Stick - providing, that is, you can get Freeview - and if you can't then you should try to by investing in a suitable rooftop aerial - if you have that option - e.g. not living in a flat. It may be worth noting that the (non-computer) Freeview box that I had which used to work when I lived elsewhere earlier this year could not see a signal in my new place but the EyeTV For DTT Stick could when connected to the same rooftop aerial.


    Incidentally, if you've not already bitten the bullet with the iMac 24" do consider the Mac mini with a 23" Cinema Display which, although maybe less pleasing on the eye if you've got an external hard drive does have the advantage of being a "separates" system which allows you to replace elements in the future. (Given that it's to become your media centre you might consider the three-year AppleCare service if you go for the iMac.) One consideration when deciding on which device to choose is the noise of the fans on each - my G4 Mac mini's making a noticeable, though rarely distracting, noise - a problem I'm hoping will not persist with the Intel model I'm about to replace it with. (The G4 will become my "home office" computer for words and web rather than media - and when I've migrated some Windows stuff to that I'll finally be able to get rid of my two PCs... Hurrah!) For what it's worth I'm also considering getting two of the 500Gb "Ethernet Disk mini" drives which LaCie has just launched with one plugged into my new Mac mini via the 1 Gigabit Ethernet link so making transfer speeds even faster than the USB 2.0 and (with a different drive) Firewire alternatives.


    Finally, the latest MacUser (out yesterday) has a review of every Mac model - perhaps of value if you are still unsure which way to go.

  4. An enclosure to host the 150Gb drive is an option - more about which can be found here...




    ...and, I guess, on the previous show - though I seem to recall the ones spoken of are USA specific. The LaCie drives are, in my view anyway, great and given how cheap they are I wouldn't bother with the enclosure but get one or more of their products. Which one depends on what you'll use it for though if, as it seems in your case, it will be for media storage then it won't much matter which you choose - though I'd go for something with a Firewire 800 port as it'll be quicker to move data around - e.g. video files such as the 2Gb per hour you can expect with DTT. Firewire, as well as being faster than USB 2.0, also allows you to chain several devices together to utitlise the one port rather than use a USB port for each drive - though I'm not clear on whether the data rate between chained drives is impaired by such a configuration. (This is something I'll test in the next month using my two external LaCie drives - proving one's own pudding always being the best bet in my book - though such information can probably be found on such as Wikipedia.) My Elgato EyeTV for DTT stick currently writes video and radio recordings to my Mac mini's hard drive and that's forever filling up with such - and whilst I could get it to write to one of my external drives at the flick of a "Preferences" switch I'll stick with it for now - manually copying the excess to my external drives as and when need be. (They can still be played with Elgato's EyeTV 2 application by selecting the relevant package in the OS X Finder.) What this showed is that plenty of hard drive space is the best bet when one is using a computer for television and although I'm about to buy a new Mac mini (my old G4 model is not good enough for such as DivX movies) the cost per gigabyte for a build to order increase from the base 80Gb is just not worth it and so I'll probably utilise my external drives or buy new ones. However, in the case of the 24" iMac the build to order option is good value and I see that you can get a 750Gb drive as well as a 500Gb one - something I'd be tempted by. Still, you should always have a second drive to backup your main one - though I wouldn't bother with "current" television recordings as you could always manage without those if ever the hard drive failed. Finally, one thing to consider about an external hard drive is the cost of running it if it's kept on all the time - a small but possibly worthwhile consideration in these Global Warming days.

  5. Apple's online store periodically issue discount e-vouchers - usually for £20 if you spend over £235 - to those registered to receive promotional e-mails. You'll be better off using that facility to get the 500Gb drive since "High Street" Apple Stores will charge you an arm and a leg for such - if they'll do it - and it will take longer.

  6. I've resolved this issue - the Allen Key size I needed being 1.3mm - one I got as part of this set...




    ...which masqueraded as this...




    ...and which only cost £1.99 in the shop itself. So, all I need now is some isopropyl alcohol - which I can get.


    Incidentally, the set I bought before went down to the size above - i.e. 1.5 - which was a disappointment.

  7. Thank you for the general advice. In fact I bought this...




    ... soon after discovering my need but none were exact fits. Still, at least I have most of the screws out (thanks to a near-fitting but potentially-head-damaging flat-head driver) and so I can seek another using one of those. Then again it's never easy given that most "High Street" shops sell items in sealed packs - so I'll try a specialist shop - perhaps even the Genius Bar in my local Apple Store - though I doubt they'll want to lose business by giving it - despite the fact I've spent a mint with them over the year or so they've been open. I'll keep you (all) posted as to how that goes.


    By the way... never assume (I'm a man) as you could make an ASS out of ME and an ASS out of U.

  8. You may wish to pick up the latest issue of MacUser (before Friday as the next one's out then) as that has a review of the 24" iMac - and if you're cheeky you could save yourself £3.95 by reading it in, say, a busy WH Smith's like many do with the magazines there. I'm afraid I know no more than I mentioned about the Sony PRS so recommend you carry out a web search for reviews. Still, I'd be disappointed if it were to exclude non-purchased material as that would be a bad model - like Apple restricting music on an iPod to that bought from the iTunes Store - not the case, of course, but a common misconception. I may buy one for my girlfriend when it arrives in these shores - so long, that is, as it's not both expensive and as restrictive as suggested.

  9. My guess is that you'll want the 24" iMac of standard configuration except choose a 500Gb drive plus the suggested wireless keyboard and mouse - and I recommend one of the Elgato devices for television which is where the extra disk space comes in handy. I can't comment on the ease of reading, though, and suggest you get a local store to give you a demonstration with something you're interested in as found on the web - though better still take something in on a USB flash drive. For what it's worth I've got a Mac mini, an Apple 23" Cinema Display and an Elgato EyeTV for DTT stick - a wireless keyboard and mouse too - hanging together as my media centre which I use from the sofa almost solely for television viewing/recording, music playing, web-viewing and instant messaging. (All my other computing is done on a back-room box as I prefer a desk for such.) My girlfriend is an avid "e-book" reader and spends all her free time (far too much I say) gazing at such on her 12" iBook even when the media centre is free. A better solution, perhaps, is the Sony "Portable Reader System" which is only available outside the UK at the moment but which will no doubt appear here in due course. Then again I can't see it working with a Mac - and it's not obvious from the Sony web site what its connectivity is.

  10. I have a Mac mini which accesses the Internet via an Airport Express unit which is connected to an ADSL Nation X-Modem M3 Ethernet ADSL Modem. I'd like to be able to remotely access my Mac mini - i.e. when away from home - both in respect of Remote Desktop (using the likes of Chicken Of The VNC) and file transfer. (To make things simpler I'll stick with the "roaming" machine being a Mac - though Windows solutions which specify a VNC client would be welcome.) I've had a look at http://www.portforwarding.com and http://nerdvittles.com/index.php?p=41 but am still not clear on what to do. (I'm quite clear on the usage of Chicken Of The VNC and the relevant management of my modem.) I'd rather not use SSH for anything as I'm a GUI man. Security is, of course, imperative and I won't mind paying for software to ensure this.