Following my own advice on how to buy stuff second hand, i had been keeping an eye on adverts.ie, donedeal.ie and ebay.ie for second hand mac minis. Last week, i stumbled across an ad for a 2009 mac mini and bought it for €500. I would have blogged about this earlier, but i wanted it in my hands first…
This particular mac mini was bought in late 2009. Here’s what i got for my €500;
- 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
- 4gigs of DDR3 RAM
- NVIDIA GeForce 9400 graphics
- 4 GB 1067 Mhz DDR3
- 120 GB serial -ATA Hard Drive
- Airport Express
- Full Apple Keyboard
- Bluetooth Mouse
Which isn’t bad at all… Here’s what a brand new version with all that would cost me;
- Basic Mac Mini – €719
- Upgrade to 4GB RAM – €90
- Airport Express – €89
- Apple Keyboard – €49
- Apple Mouse – €49
- Total: €996
So buying this stuff brand new isn’t cheap… yes, you get a slimmer shell & slightly better hardware but remember this is essentially a toy to help me learn how to develop iphone apps. So i didn’t need a brand new mac mini, but i did need an intel based one which ruled out all the G4 powered older mac minis. €500 wasn’t the cheapest i’d seen but this was the newest & highest spec one i’d seen so that’s what drew me in to the bidding process on adverts.ie.
Initially i bid €450 (asking price was €550). In the end i got it at €500 including delivery. There were others interested & offering slightly more but they couldn’t collect it face to face so backed out. I didn’t mind getting it posted, in fact i wanted that – driving half way down the country to collect it would just a be a huge waste of time in my eyes.
Why not build a hackintosh?
I’m well aware that i could have built my own mac or modified my existing PC for much less than €500, but i deliberately want to keep apple & windows separate. The way they’re supposed to be. It’s easier that way. No dual booting, no virtual environments… just simple. One windows system, one apple system.
This mac mini will be my iphone app development center and not much else. I’ll probably connect it up to my 32″ LCD and swivel around to it when i want to work on it. I might also get a cheap, smaller monitor for it depending on how i get on and how much i’ll be using it.
For everything else, my PC & dual monitor set up will remain my favored set up. However i like the idea of having another decent computer at my disposal in a nice tidy form factor. I’d *like* a new macbook air as opposed to a mac mini… it would make more sense and give me more power on the move than my current netbook but again it all boils down to cost. A macbook anything just doesn’t make sense because it’s quite simply just not worth the cash in my opinion.
Go forth & learn
For this type of thing, you don’t really need lecturers and tutors… the internet has all you need to know, so provided you know what to look for, learning won’t be a problem. If i can pull this off and develop my own apps to a reasonable standard, it will be the most valuable skill i’ve learned inside and out of college over the past 4 years. I’ve got plenty of ideas for apps so they act as great motivation to learn.
I also know a few people now who develop or have developed apps so between those guys, books and my own experiments i’m fairly confident i can start producing basic apps early in the new year. I now have all the tools and equipment needed to get started so the pressure is on to make this work. It comes at a fairly bad time in that i have a quite a lot of college work and exams coming up, but i’ll be brave and suggest that this is more important than any subject i’m currently studying in college.
Sticking with college and i’m now 100% committed to doing a dissertation on social media. No going back on it now. It’s what i’m interested in, it’s what i know a lot about and it’s something i enjoy studying and researching in my own time anyway so for those reasons, it makes perfect sense.
My post yesterday wasn’t just a random topic, it was deliberately published yesterday because i knew i’d be getting my mac mini today. This new mac mini and my venture in to app development is all about building… i feel it’s vital for my own sake to create & develop rather than to just sit back and analyse. I can see that this year in particular is molding me in to becoming a ‘thinker’ rather a ‘doer’ which is not something i want to let happen. The best way to learn anything in IT and to stay on top of trends isn’t to read papers and blogs and whitepapers, it’s all about getting stuck in and trying all this stuff for yourself.
So that’s where the motivation for yesterday’s blog post came from… “just build it”…. just start something… it’s the only way to learn properly. Over the coming weeks i’ll be blogging more about the transition from windows to mac and my progress with iphone app development.