Mac Mini and more

Have you seen the new Mac Mini that was just released a week or two ago? It’s a tiny little box that has a whole Apple computer in there. Now, I love my Windows machines (especially my TabletPC) and I would never think of switching to a mac, but I am seriously considering getting one of those things just to play around with it. I know it comes with the iLife ’05 package which is pretty cool looking. It looks like this little box would be excellent for those people that would like to make movies and/or music (I hear GarageBand is excellent)…you would need a SuperDrive upgrade (that’s the Apple term for DVD burner) which means the system is $499 (base) + $100 (SuperDrive), but that’s still not a bad deal.

I also ran into an article this week by Robert Cringley about why he thinks Apple released a little unit like this out of the blue…and it actually sounds like he is on to somethiing…

I wonder if Microsoft will ever get into this market (kinda did with Xbox in a way) beyond the Media Center PC. If Cringley is right, then is might actually make sense for MS to built their own Media Center Mini PC as it would be awesome and it would make a lot of sense to have a low cost PC (in the $600 range) that was a complete media center. The current generation of machines are nice, and I really like the Media center interface and all, but the machines just aren’t something you want to sit next to your entertainment center (or I should say, I wouldn’t want to put it there).

ASP.NET Security

I just ran into this post on talking about what a hacker could do to an ASP.NET hosting provider by simply running webpages… I guess I really hadn’t thought about it that much, but it does make sense since anything you can do in .NET can be done in ASP.NET including disk access (like reformatting the system), messing with the system services, etc. Obviously there are user level permissions and things to help protect the system and there are various trust levels you can use to turn down ASP.NET permissions in general, but still something interesting to think about.

Mac Experience – Not too bad

Yesterday I was in one of the campus computer labs watching some video editing happen on some high-end Apple OS X workstations. I’ve gotta say that those things are pretty nice. The interface doesn’t look terribly different, but there are some subtle changes in the way things work…plus it’s just plain weird to have only one mouse button (which in this case was the whole top of the mouse…so just press down anywhere and you get a click). I like the little menu at the bottom of the screen that has all of your favorite programs in it for easy access (BTW, there is 3rd party software to give you something similar on Windows but it’s not quite the same feel).

I was basically watching Robert take a DV tape of his wedding (he got married on the 1st of Jan and I filmed it for him) and build a DVD out of the video. We were using Final Cut Pro HD which wasn’t too bad to use although you can tell it’s a professional tool because it’s quite complex (but full featured). Good thing the lab staff was around to help us figure out what to do. All we really had to do to the video was to raise the overall volume, remove a little hiss (from raising the volume), add a little music to certain parts (the music at the wedding was played in the wrong order, so Robert corrected it to what it should have been), and add a little bit of text to the end. All in all, the longest parts of the process were the digitization of the tape (it happens in real-time…so a 1 hr tape takes 1 hr to digitize) and then messing with the sound (mainly because there were a million options of things you can do and neither one of us knew what each one did so it was a trial and error thing). Apparently it takes quite a while to export the video out to a DVD though once you get everything put together…we started the export and it said it’ll take about 2 hours to export 37 minutes worth of video (and that’s not the time it takes to write it to a DVD, just the time it takes to create the MPEG-2 file we need to build the actual DVD). Anyway, the lab closed before we got it to a DVD, but I think it’ll be done next week.

Overall though, the experience of using a Mac wasn’t all that bad, BUT it doesn’t have visual studio, Tablet PC OS (mainly digital ink), or .NET so it’s not the place I want to be, but I could see having a second PC that is a Mac for playing around with audio and video…plus, it is always good to be familiar with other technologies so you can learn their limits.