Setting up the Mac mini – an illustrated guide

Mac mini in the box.jpg

Ahh… home sweet home. Here’s all my new Apple stuff (minus the printer) on the desk where my PC currently resides. The boxes look cool, I must admit. Gateway 2000 boxes used to be kinda kitschy with the cow spots, but these boxes are elegant.

Opening the Mac mini box.jpg

I open the mini box… Ah yes… “Designed by Apple in California.” Reminds me of the opening credits to a movie.

Notice that styrofoam makes a nice white frame for this package within a package. Let’s open it, shall we?

Read this.jpg

The package opens up like a little gift and reveals some DVDs of software, some manuals, some warranties, and 2 nice ice white Apple stickers. I always take a look at the manual, which is called the Mac mini User’s Guide. Yea, I’m the one that actually reads the manual. What I found out though is that you really don’t need to read the manual to set things up…

Mac mini wrapped.jpg

I take the mini out of the box and lift it up. It actually feels substantial for its size. Like a really nice watch. I bought a combo VHS/DVD recently and when I picked it up out of the box, it just felt wrong, like all the gears inside were made of plastic.

Yes, the kids still love VHS though I’m slowly weaning them over to DVD. Still looking for a good backup solution to prevent the skipping of a scratched Finding Nemo.

Back to the mini… it is an interesting blend of Apple styles. The top is a highly reflective iPod white, while the sides are an aluminum like a PowerBook.

Mac mini unwrapped.jpg

Witness the caterpillar emerge out of its chrysalis and emerge as a beautiful butterfly.

Apple wraps all of its stuff in this tightly wrapped clear film that lets you know that you are the proud owner of something new that has been protected during shipping with this wrapping. This is one of the nice touches that only Apple gives you.

Power brick.jpg

Here’s the power brick. It’s quite large compared to the mini, probably about a third of its size. It’s too bad that it doesn’t use the same power adapter that my PowerBook uses.

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OK, so here’s what you do to install a Mac mini after you’ve taken it and its power supply out of the box:

1. Back up your PC and put the data that you want onto CDs or DVDs or another computer. Then shut it down.

2. Put the power supply together, plug it in the wall, then plug it into the mini

3. Unplug the Internet connection from your PC, then plug your Internet connection into the ethernet port of the mini

4. If you’ve got a USB keyboard and mouse, unplug those.

Plug your USB keyboard and mouse in – I bought the Apple keyboard because it has the volume control and eject keys; I bought the Apple one button mouse because the right button causes more problems for my kids than it helps. They used to bring up the Macromedia Flash properties panel at least a few times a day while playing games.

Also, if you’ve got a PS/2 keyboard and mouse, you can get a USB to PS2 adapter, but after you do so, unplug those as well. Russell has some good pics of his Mac mini switch that shows a USB to PS2 adapter.

5. If you have a VGA monitor, then put the DVI-VGA adapter into the mini and turn the little thumb wheels to secure it (interesting design – I should take a close up of it), then unplug the monitor from your PC and plug the monitor into the DVI-VGA adapter.

6. Unplug your speakers from your PC and plug them into your mini.

7. Unplug your other USB peripherals (I have a printer and a scanner) and plug them into your mini.

8. Push the power button (its in the back on the right, right above where the power supply goes in.)

Basically: Plug the Mac mini into the wall, unplug all the cables that go to your PC and plug them into your Mac mini, then turn it on.

Everything but the monitor.jpg

Here’s the whole set up before I move the monitor over. Note how sleek the Apple set up looks compared to the PC keyboard and mouse.

You've been switched.jpg

You’ve been switched! Yes, that’s an old Gateway 2000-branded 17″ Sony Triniton monitor. Notice how tiny the mini looks next to it.

I’ll post some initial experiences with the Mac mini soon…