Dell Mini 9 Hardware and Upgrades Discuss Dell Mini 9 Hardware and Upgrades.

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bsoplinger1 bsoplinger1 is offline
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Default Re: What upgrades should I consider for running OSX & Windows XP - 04-30-2009, 04:31 AM

Since you didn't mention your OS choice, I should point out that OS X is much better than Windows in terms of encapsulating a program in 1 place. It is very easy to just move a program from /Applications (OS X equivalent of Program Files in Windows) and get pretty much the entire program moved. There aren't bunches of files in /Windows or other places so the amount of space for most copied programs the only thing left behind is the preference file on the SSD (perhaps some data also but generally not much if any).

This is *NOT* an attempt to start a Win vs Mac discussion, I'm just talking about the space issue. This means you could take a 32G SSD and then a 32G SDHC and copy tons of programs to the SDHC and end up with a system that behaves very similarly to a 64 SSD alone, space-wise.

Mini1: Vostro A90, Black, 2G, 1.3 Webcam, Bluetooth, 64G SuperTalent, OS X 10.6.4
Mini2: Mini9, Black, 2G, 0.3 Webcam, Bluetooth, 32G RunCore, OS X/Win 7, internal PCI-e SHDC Reader
Mini3: Mini10v. Black, 2G, Webcam, 640G HD, OS X 10.5.8/Win 7/Ubuntu [Hibernate w/NBI 0.8.3 RC4]
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  (#12) Old
guht guht is offline
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Default Re: What upgrades should I consider for running OSX & Windows XP - 04-30-2009, 05:04 AM

Nethfel - Once again excellent information.

The primary OS would be OSX. As far as what software. I am unsure as I will be a first time OSX user! The machine was primarily bought as an inexpensive option to play around with the iPhone SDK. So that is the primary purpose. In a pinch I was envisioning perhaps using Windows XP to do work when out and about. My work requirements are quite extensive with MS Office, MS Visual Studio, and Crystal Reports. That is the bare minimum required for work, and that already sounds like I am gasping for more space! Perhaps it is unrealistic to think of this as a work machine at this point. I am not even sure I would be able to do productive work on such a small device. I have small hands, some say womanly, but I dont know if they are small enough to work productively coding on a netbook for several hours! LOL!

It almost sounds like I need to hold out for a 64GB?

Im vaguely familiar with nlite, but not familiar enough to know what advantage that holds. It sounds like it removes some of the windows OS bloat, but how much bloat can really be removed? Is it similar to selecting packages during a typical linux install?

Being that I am an OSX virgin, and having a little general knowledge of my computer usage, do you have any programs you would recommend for OSX?

Thanks again!
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Nethfel Nethfel is offline
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Default Re: What upgrades should I consider for running OSX & Windows XP - 04-30-2009, 12:40 PM

Hi again Guht,

There was one thing I forgot to mention in the virtual machine discussion - I don't know about fusion on the mini, but on virtualbox, when you setup a VM, if you launch it and get a virtual execution on the cpu error, there's a flag turned on that needs to be turned off - the only negative is for some reason in the latest version of VB the option to turn it off is there, but the option to change it is grayed out. All you have to do is edit the xml file that relates to the vm and change one line from true to false (at home, mini at work, so I can't tell you the exact line)

This post got a lot longer then I had anticipated, so I apologize for that Keep in mind, although this post may make it look a bit overwhelming, it really isn't - the biggest thing is to sit down and play with it, and to try to let go of your windows mentality. If you think too much of how it's done in windows and not allow yourself to accept the differences, you'll be miserable (take this after reading posts from someone who couldn't make the transition, she was so windows fixated she couldn't see the big picture of use on the mac)

In terms of software, I like:

7-Zip (7zX) - self explanatory. Although OSX will handle a lot of extraction by itself, 7zip, like on windows, helps with some of the extra compression containers.
App Cleaner - (Mac is very different for many software removals then pc. On a pc, you have to use uninstall and pray everything is gotten. Mac, most programs you can just drag to the trash to get rid of. Some that were installed with an installer (instead of just dragging to your applications folder) have an uninstaller. For those that are just dragged in/out, if you want to get rid of everything related to the program - including its settings information, AppCleaner handles it for you. It's not perfect, but it works fairly well.)
Adium - chat program similar to msn, but is meant for multiple systems (think trillian), so it covers aim, icq, yahoo, msn, etc.
aMSN - a msn specific chat client. Only needed if you want to do video chat with msn users since adium doesn't support video chat. If all you and your friends use is msn, then you can probably just get amsn and ignore adium
Darwine - windows emulator for programs that will work with it. Saves having to launch a vm. Not everything is compatible tho. You can go to the Wine website and check compatibilities. Darwine is just an osx port of wine
Firefox - yes, safari is nice. I use safari most of the time, but I like how firefox works with certain websites better
iAntiVirus - free, yes, you probably can get away without having AV protection as there are so few viruses and trojans for mac, but I'd rather be safe then sorry. It's light weight, only handles OSX viruses and free.
NeoOffice OR OpenOffice - you really don't need both. Replace the functionality of MS Office. if you go to the NeoOffice website, they have a functionality comparison. They overlap quite a bit. I've tried both, and although NeoOffice is nice, I personally think I like openoffice better; possibly because I've used it on windows and linux before and feel more comfortable with it. Either package should be fine.
Onyx - basic system maintenance. Checks permissions, HD status, etc.
MS Remote Desktop Connection for OSX - only if you need to access MS comps from your mini tho. I needed it, but if you don't, then don't waste the space.
Transmission - bit torrent client
Peerguardian - if you don't know about it, check it out if you use torrents. pc version avail too.
VLC - media player, better support for other containers
Perian - software to give quicktime the ability to play more containers and encoding formats
MacFuse - behind the scenes program to utilize more disk formats.
NTFS-3G - gives you the ability to write to NTFS formatted drives directly through the finder, requires MacFuse
Chicken of the VNC - obviously, ONLY if you need a VNC client. works fairly well. I have it on my desktop, but not my mini.

Here's a pic of some of the icons in my top bar:

These are - iantivirus, mobileme (service from apple that provides sync. costs $99/yr, but as I sync several pcs and like the service, I use it. Many use other free alternatives), SoundSource (thought it would be useful, but don't need it. I use it heavily on my Mac Pro as it makes swapping audio inputs and outputs really easy), istats hd monitor, istats network monitor, istats cpu monitor and finally monitor control. all the istats things are from one package called istats. I didn't list it as a necessity as it's more to just let you know what's going on - it's a nice little free app tho. As you can see when I took the screen cap, I was using a good deal of the cpu - at that point I was installing MS .net 2.0 on the VM.

Those are some I've found the most useful that are free.

Websites that are good for software: - has freeware, shareware, updates and demos - similar to macupdate - Apples own repository of software

Books important for a new user (I'm a recent switcher although I still have windows on bootcamp on my main machine):

Mac OS Leopard The Missing Manual - ... 059652952X An invaluable tool. tells you so much about the OS that those of us who haven't been working with it for years would never know - including how to fix many mistakes we might make in our first steps of being a new user. You don't need it, but for $24, to me, it's worth it.

Important things to know about osx that is different then windows:

Windows don't maximize on osx. People who have been using osx longer then I can explain it better why it is more efficient. A lot of people find this irritating after switching from PC to mac and being used to full screen everything. I think part of it is that they want you to use your screen realestate more efficiently then just having single window take up everything.
Clicking the red x dot closes the window, NOT the program. This can be good if you want to leave a program running to avoid start times, but don't want any windows open for it atm. Programs that conform to the standard look/feel/operation of OSX will have a quit option in the programs self titled menu (ie: when running safari, there is a dropdown at the top named safari). You can also use apple-Q (aka Command-Q) to quit the current program. The command button on a windows keyboard (ie: the keyboard on the mini) is the windows key.
Command - Alt - Escape will pull up a force quit menu incase something hangs. Similar to the programs list on the task manager from Ctrl-Alt-Del on windows (all running tasks can be obtained from the activity monitor under utilities in applications).
There is no traditional task bar. Running programs will appear on the dock when you launch them with a blue dot under them (this is for osx leopard, for tiger there was a little black arrow). The dock acts like a quick launch bar as well. Anything without a blue dot is not running and is just an icon to access a program (or folder, the two entries right by the trash are the downloads and documents folder)
You can eject a thumb drive or a CD (if you have an external cd drive hooked up) via right-click and select eject, or by dragging to the trash (which ejects as well). There is also an eject button up on the top menu bar, but AFAIK it's only for a cd/dvd drive.
All of your applications that you don't see (ie: not on the dock) are in the applications folder. If the finder window isn't open, just click finder in the task bar and on the left side select Applications
The dock is just a set of links to the applications, they are not the applications themselves, so if you drag something to the dock or off the dock, you aren't actually moving or deleting the program, only a link to it.
If you need to access a windows share on your network, with finder up, select Go and Connect to Server. in the address bar type: smb://HOST.IP.OR.HOST.NAME and click connect. You may need to set your credentials to connect to the system.
There is more, but this should at least get you started

Hope this helps!

--------- EDIT ADD IN - 9:01 am ----------

I did forget one other app you might want to consider -

Plex - it's a media center type app, and from what I've read in the osx forum it will play 720p mkvs on the mini. I have had this on my mac pro since I got it, and I do enjoy it and am now installing to my mini.
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guht guht is offline
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Default Re: What upgrades should I consider for running OSX & Windows XP - 04-30-2009, 04:37 PM

Wow! Thats a wealth of helpful information and should make my transition and first experience with the mini and the Mac OSX a lot smoother! Thanks so much for taking the time to write all that out. I know it helped me, and hopefully others will benefit from this thread! If you were in Arizona I would buy you a beer!

I should get my mini within the next few days, and I will follow up with either you personally, or the thread, or both - to let you know my experience!

Im sure at that point I will have at least a few more questions, but you have definitely provided a solid foundation here so thanks Nethfel!
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  (#15) Old
Nethfel Nethfel is offline
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Default Re: What upgrades should I consider for running OSX & Windows XP - 04-30-2009, 06:28 PM

Not a problem, happy to help. Lots of people have helped me tons since I started using OSX, so it is nice to be able to offer some help in return

I'd suggest you follow:


for the install - the easiest and smoothest way; the only change is the version of dellefi that is used in the guide is 1.0.7.x, the current version is 1.1 (1.2 is in beta). You can get 1.1 here:


GL, and let me know how it goes!

PS: I normally use an external keyboard and the windows key is the command key. For some reason when I disconnected it and was using the laptop keyboard earlier the alt key was being recognized as the command key. I don't know why, but if you find things not working right (command-q for example) try the alt key with the q
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