Mac Mini Hacks

04.08.2020by
  1. Mac Mini 2018 Hacks
  2. Mac Mini Hackintosh
  3. Mac Mini 2014 Hacks
  4. Mac Allister Mini Hacksaw
  5. Mac Mini Hackintosh
  6. Mac Mini Hacks
  7. Mac Mini Late 2012 Hacks

DiZASTiX writes 'Kevin Rose, the ever so popular host of G4/TechTV's The Screen Savers, has managed to fit a PC inside the Mac mini. 'I've seen a ton of articles around the web lately comparing the Mac mini to the near full size desktop PC. What they fail to compare is the amount of computing power per square inch you get with the Mini.

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Empowered

- 2006.05.05

One of my most treasured 'classic' books is How to Keep YourVolkswagen Alive - A Manual of Step by Step Procedures for theCompleat Idiot. This book was written by John Muir (no, notthat John Muir) and first published in 1969.

The author defined an 'idiot', for the purposes of the book, assomeone who knows nothing mechanically. It was targeted at peoplewho were unknowledgeable but could see the value in performingvirtually all of the required repairs to their air-cooled Beetlesand busses.

I used the book, which was written in hippie speak, to rebuildengines and do countless other repairs. Although I no longer have aVW, I keep this motor-oil-stained book on the shelf with my otherclassics. It's the standard by which I measure all other 'how to'books.

The 'Dummy' for the Job

I enthusiastically accepted the job of reviewing Mac miniHacks & Mods for Dummies, when our editor, Dan Knight,offered it to me. I'm a huge fan of this minuscule Mac but knowvery little about its inner workings.

I'm very aware of its shortcomings, so I have the willingness totry to improve it. I have performed hardware and software hacks onMacs in the past, so clearly I have an interest in that area aswell.

Just take a look at your cute Macmini. Isn't it just begging for a mod?

The Authors

Some might ask, 'Why should I spend $24.99 on a book when thereis so much information like this on the Web?'

It's true, if you do a search on 'Mac mini overclock', forinstance, you will get a variety of instructions on the subject.Most of the authors of this information have performed theoperation, which is extremely tricky and not for the faint ofheart, only once. They may or may not have provided all of thecautionary information you need or described the specialty toolsand optics required to perform the procedure with the least amountof risk.

When commencing an operation that could easily kill your Mac,who would you like to have telling you how to do it, someone whomanaged to do it just once?

John Rizzo has worked as an engineer for Boeing, buildingaircraft electronics. He purchased an original Mac 128K in 1984 and later performed hisfirst Mac hack by soldering in more memory. Eventually, he hackedin a new motherboard and an internal hard drive. He's writtenseveral Macintosh and Windows books. His columns, features,reviews, news, and analytical stories have appeared in every majorMac magazine and several other computer magazines. John alsopublishes MacWindows.com,a site designed to help Macs get along in a Windows world.

Co-author, Arnold Reinhold has been programming computers sincethe vacuum tube days. He's been a loyal Mac user for 20 years. Hehas worked with spacecraft guidance, air traffic control, CAD,robotics, and machine vision. He has also written on the subject ofInternet technology for two other books in the Dummies series.

Rights to install, access, or otherwise use Autodesk software and services (including free software or services) are limited to license rights and services entitlements expressly granted by Autodesk in the applicable license or service agreement and are subject to acceptance of and compliance with all terms and conditions of that agreement. All benefits and purchase options may not be available for all software or services in all languages and/or geographies. When you subscribe to a plan, it may renew automatically for a fixed fee on a monthly or annual basis, subject to availability. Autocad for pc.

A Warning

Much of the content in this book was already outdated at thetime of its publication. It was written prior to the introductionof Apple's 'stealth upgraded' 1.33 -1.5 GHz G4 minis and the January 2006 Intel minis. If you have one of these, someor much of the content may not apply to your Mac. You may be betteroff waiting for a second edition.

This review would have no credibility if I didn't try a coupleof the procedures in the book. I will describe one procedure in thebook where I ran into problem later in the review.

Part by Part

Part I: Owning a Mac mini

Part 1 of Mac mini Hacks & Mods for Dummies discussesthe reasons why you might want to alter your mini. It explains whatyou are expected to know and where to find the information if youdon't know it. An overview of the procedures is given, and itdetails how to organize for a mod.

There's a section about the best ways to travel with your mini,along with a very good glossary of port terminology. If you don'tknow USB 1.1 from USB 2.0 from FireWire 400, this and more isexplained understandably and concisely.

A chapter in Part 1 explains exactly what kinds of things youcan plug into your stock mini.

I ran into some misinformation here.

A product called the TrittonSEE2 is mentioned as a way to add an additional monitor to yourmini via one of the USB ports. A visit to the company's websiterevealed that, although there were plans to manufacture one, no Macversion of the device is available and the current version can't bemade to work with Macs.

There is an alternative VGA video adapter for Windows. TheMatroxDualHead2Go is said to work with OS X Macs, at least to some extent. I havenot tried this product and can't vouch for it.

In any event, do your own investigating before you buyanything.

Part II: Cracking Open the mini

Much of what follows in the book hinges on this part. It tellsyou how to properly open your mini's case and disassemble theinternal parts. It also covers what will and won't void yourwarranty (if you still have one). There are good instructions forreplacing the battery and resetting the PMU.

All of these instructions are easy to follow your first timeinside the mini. Just be aware that the connectors may not want tobudge easily the first time you disconnect them. This possibilityis not mentioned in the book.

Apple may have made some changes in the connectors in recentminis. I found a small screwdriver to be useful in levering themout by their flanges. Don't pull on the wires, and be careful aboutwhat you lever against.

Part III: Upgrading the mini Yourself

This part covers installing and configuring upgrades such asinternal Bluetooth, AirPort Extreme, memory, the hard drive, andthe optical drive. It also covers options for external USB AirPortand Bluetooth.

Hacks

I had already upgraded my mini's memory to 1 GB before I knewabout this book, but the procedure for doing this and the otherupgrades is described carefully and fully.

Part IV: Mods for the Home

In this section you can learn how to build a media center aroundyour mini. It discusses how to choose and set up a TV, soundsystem, software, and DVR hardware as well as calling out therequired connectors and adapters.

An interesting chapter in this part provides the instructionsfor using X-10 hardware with your mini to control all of thedevices in your home. Since this uses very little processing power,you can continue to use your mini for other things.

This part also describes how you can use a mini as an effectivetool in the kitchen.

Part V: Modding Your Car for the Mac mini

If you think it would be cool to install a mini in your car anduse it as a car stereo with a huge database of tunes or combine itwith a GPS for getting directions or use it for WAR driving, thispart is for you. It covers hardware and software installation,wiring, and powering the mini in a car and selecting and installinga display.

Part VI: Maxi mini Mod Techniques

If you don't know how, this part will teach you how to solder.It also covers cutting the mini's case materials and the types ofglue and paint to use on them. It discusses some home grown andcommercial options for making the case appeal to your sense ofaesthetics.

Mac Mini 2018 Hacks

Also in this part are some useful hacks for the OS X 10.4'Tiger' operating system and some of Apple's included programs.

Desktop Trash

If you are still mourning the loss of some of the features ofthe OS 9 interface, take heart. You can write a script thatwill put a Trash folder on the desktop or in the sidebar and routeeverything you put in it to the real Trash.

Mac Mini Hackintosh

There are a couple of drawbacks to this. The icon you assign toyour Trash folder doesn't change when you put something in it, nordoes the discarded item show up in the folder, since it getsredirected to the real Trash. However, it does allow you to do awaywith the Dock entirely, if you wish. There are instructions fordoing that and other Dock hacks, too.

Mac Mini 2014 Hacks

I tried the Trash mod, and after I figured out that one line ofthe example script was shown wrapped and was not a new line, itworked great.

Mac Allister Mini Hacksaw

Additionally, a software option for providing a hierarchicalmenu is discussed.

Using a Fast External Drive

A chapter in this part is devoted to running a faster 3.5'external hard drive from the mini's internal interconnect board.Although the author mentions that you can make the cable adapteryourself and provides the pinouts, complete instructions for doingthis aren't included. Instead, two sources in Australia are listedfor obtaining ready made cables.

Overclocking

Nobody sits on the fence when it comes to overclocking. When thesubject comes up, it's likely to spark a debate livelier than anypolitical discussion. You either understand the overclockercompletely or totally decry him.

Another Warning: The overclocking instructions in this book seemto apply only to the initial release of the G4 Mac mini. If youhave a 1.33 or 1.5 GHz 'late 2005' model, the jumper settings don'tappear to be the same. I found this out the hard way; you don'thave to.

Surface Mount Technology parts get smaller every few years.That's one of the things that makes the mini possible. You shouldknow that each jumper involved in setting the mini's clock speed isthe size of two small grains of salt pushed together, and they arespaced tightly on the board.

To do this mod, you should be an expert solderer and have theequipment mentioned in the book. If your eyesight is poor or ifyour hands shake, even a little, you should not attempt tooverclock your mini.

I've been soldering for nearly 40 years and do it very well, yetI found this hack to be a real challenge.

Using the jumper position settings in the book, I first tried toclock my mini from 1.33 GHz to 1.5 GHz. This resulted in no boottone or any other inclination for the mini to boot. Next, Isoldered two of the jumpers back to the board for the 1.42 GHzsetting with the same result. Fortunately, when I restored alljumpers to their original configuration, the little Mac produced ahealthy boot tone and sprung back to life.

As of yet I have not found the correct jumper positions foroverclocking the later, faster G4 minis - but even if I do, I amunlikely to perform the operation again. Too much soldering in thesame area on a board can damage it, and that's where I feel myobligation to Low End Mac's readers ends. (It doesn't mean we can'tstill be friends.)

Mac Mini Hackintosh

Part VIII: The Part of Tens

This section provides sources on the web for additional help andsupplies. It also lists other possible uses for your mini withbrief descriptions of how they might be accomplished. Theseinclude: An electronic scoreboard, A boat or small aircraft Mac, Amobile Podcast studio and a pro recording studio.

Appendix

This covers troubleshooting and repairing OS X, disks, memory,and other hardware. This information is useful to any Macowner.

Recommendations

As mentioned above, if you have one of the 'late 2005' mini'swith faster G4 processors or an Intel mini, it may be in your bestinterest to wait for a revised edition of the book.

Even though, in my opinion, it doesn't quite measure up toHow to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive (and what can?), if youhave a 1.25 GHz or 1.42 GHz G4 mini, get this book. Even if youperform none of the hacks or mods, you will learn what your Macmini is really capable of. You will also gain a lot of other solidinformation that will help you, if not now, then sometime down theroad.

Mac mini Hacks & Mods for Dummies. Available at your localbook store or by calling 1-800-225-5945. In Canada call1-800-567-4797. Also available directly from the publisher in paperback and as an E-book.

Available fromAmazon for US$15.74.

Empowered articlescopyright ©2005-06 by Hardy Menagh. Low End Mac is an independent publication and has not been authorized,sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc. Opinions expressed arethose of their authors and may not reflect the opinion of CobwebPublishing. Advice is presented in good faith, but what works for onemay not work for all.
Entire Low End Mac website copyright ©1997-2016 by Cobweb Publishing, Inc. unless otherwise noted. Allrights reserved. Low End Mac, LowEndMac, and lowendmac.com aretrademarks of Cobweb Publishing Inc. Apple, the Apple logo, Macintosh,iPad, iPhone, iMac, iPod, MacBook, Mac Pro, and AirPort are registered trademarks of AppleInc. Additional company and product names may be trademarks orregistered trademarks and are hereby acknowledged.
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