If you have not seen the newest addition to the Macintosh line, it is worth taking a look. It is a very small computer that is only 6.5 x 6.5 x 2 inches. The Mac Mini is about the size of one of those internal CD-ROM drives you install into a PC. By far one of the smallest computers you can buy. And it’s relatively inexpensive, the base model costs only $499. Additionally, you need not buy a new monitor, mouse or keyboard. It is 100% compatible with PC monitors and PC USB keyboards and mice.
But what exactly can you do with this mini computer? Quite a bit! The base model comes with more than enough features for most computer users. It is a full fledge Macintosh, nothing small about this machine except its physical size.
In this article, I will talk about three main uses for the Mac mini. First, I will discuss what Macs are known for; their audio and video capabilities. Secondly, I will discuss general Internet uses such as browsing, email, and chat. Finally, I will discuss word processing. These three are some of the most common tasks for most computer users.
Digital Video, Photos and Music
Music has become what Apple is known best for. Who has not seen one of their iPod music players? The Apple Macintosh comes with iTunes, which allows you to play MP3 music, as well as purchase legal copies of songs directly from the iTunes music store. Songs only cost ninety-nine cents, and the selection is huge. If you have an iPod you can attach it to the Macintosh and use it directly with iTunes.
The Mac Mini also comes with iMove and iDVD. These two applications allow you to edit and burn your home movies to a DVD. However, if you want to record your own DVD’s you will need a Mac Mini with the optional DVD burner, which adds $100 to the price of the Mac Mini. If you have a digital camcorder you can transfer your movies directly into the Mac Mini.
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Digital Video has become very easy with the Macintosh. Just drag clips from your video together and make a complete movie. If you are like me, your home video includes many scenes where the camcorder is not pointed where it should be. The video editing software makes it very easy to remove such footage from your movie.
If you have a video camera you can use iPhoto to download and organize your digital photos. The iPhoto application allows you to quickly move your pictures from your digital camera to the computer. Photos can be organized into catalogs and printed.
Browsing, Email, and Chat
The Mac Mini comes with both Internet Explorer and the Safari browsers. Internet Explorer is provided for sites that require it for compatibility. You can also use the built-in Macintosh browser Safari. Safari works very much like Internet Explorer, only with many additional features and fewer security issues. Safari supports tabbed based browsing, which allows you to open multiple websites and quickly switch between them.
Email can easily be setup on a Mac with iMail. The iMail application will connect to your mail provider and allow you to send and receive mail messages. Chat is provided by iChat which allows you to use your existing instant message accounts to communicate with your friends. Additionally, most of the major chat networks have chat clients that can be downloaded free of charge for the Macintosh.
The Mac Mini comes with Apple Works. Apple works is a full-featured office automation product, similar to Microsoft Office. It can open files created with Microsoft Office. Apple Works comes with all of the standard “office applications” that you would expect. It includes a word processor similar to Microsoft Word. Additionally, Apple works includes a database application, similar to Microsoft Access. Spreadsheet functions are provided as well, similar to Microsoft Excel. Finally, a presentation application is also included, similar to Microsoft Powerpoint.
The word processor is full featured and includes all of the tolls you have come to expect. Files created with Microsoft Word can be opened. Additionally, you can save your files as Microsoft Word documents. Whether you are writing a report for school or a resume for a new job, Apple Works is ready.
The Mac Mini is a very powerful computer, despite its small physical size. The Mac mini also comes with a great deal of software already loaded. The only add-on that I discussed in this article is a $100 DVD burner if you want to record your movies to DVD.
Using a Macintosh is very similar to Windows. The average Windows user will soon be right at home with a Macintosh. Many things are actually much easier on the Macintosh. The Macintosh operating system is based upon the industrial strength UNIX operating system. This makes for a very stable operating system, without many crashes. If you are thinking of trying something other than Windows, the Mac Mini is a great option.