About this time of the year I’m researching Stupid Music Holidaze® Gifts for an end of the year giggle (and we need as many of those as we can get this year) – but nooooooo. I decide to buy a new untested bit of computer hardware and software and walk everyone through the non-parted Rea Sea of lunacy we call ‘planned obsolescence’. Is it too late to end this and post goofy pictures of Vanilla Ice-themed oven mitts or something? Please?????
(Sip of coffee, 30 seconds of breathing exercises, and one last gulp of coffee)
So yes, it arrived as the Delivery App foretold. Head to the Tube of Yous for gazillions of drool-worthy Unboxing videos if you desire. We are proudly a slow media zone here.
On the left is my 2012 Mac mini. Quad-core i7 with 16 Gig of RAM and 1.5 TB of SSD’s. It’s been a faithful steed for over 8 years, but it can’t upgrade to MacOS 11 which is why I got the MacBook Pro earlier this year. For those tallying stats it’s the 8-core i9 with 16 GB Ram, 1TB SSD model. On the right is Edsel (the Apple M1-chipped, Big Sur’d The New Shiny-Shiny). Yep, I’ve decided Cupertino can smell the glove – I’m calling it Edsel. The MacBook Pro still needs a name – like Clara Jane (you do know we have access to the same Interwebz® right? So do your research.)
For all intents and purposes they are identical (if you ignore the carbon scoring on the 2012.)
But from the back you can tell the difference. The 2012 has Ethernet, FireWire 800 (wow – memories!), HDMI, Thunderbolt (v2), four USB 3 ports, SD card slot, and separate mic and headphone jacks.
Edsel has Ethernet, two Thunderbolt (v3)/USB 4 ports (rather sneaky wording you did on this kids), HDMI (2.0), two USB 3 ports, and the headphone out jack. That’s a lot of empty back panel space compared to the 2012, and at the very least an SD slot would have been a nice addition. Hoping a MacFixit teardown will provide clues as to why so much extra space…
So the drill with any card-carrying AppleGeek® acquiring new hardware is thus: plug it in, turn it on, sign in with your Apple ID, then head straight for the Software Update pane to check for System Updates. After about an hour of waiting on these you can now go check for App Store updates. Wait about 20 minutes or so for that to finish, then open every single freakin’ App you downloaded to download the crud they need to work properly (this is mostly for ProApps like Logic and Final Cut, but you’d be amazed at what else wants additional content). By the next day you should be ready to start working, uhhh, I mean testing.
BTW: with new Mothership® Goodies this process will be incessant for the next month or so. You awaken every day to another Nagbox telling you there’s an update to one of the Tetris pieces inside that got broken since the last time you used it. Get used to it and remind yourself this is why you never buy Version 1 of anything from anyone. I am only mildly joking here, of course.
Oh, and if you’ve never set up a new Mac before you have a wonderfully rewarding few days ahead of you. I’d never spoil the fun, so we’ll just skip over this part, mmmkay…
I encountered the first major hurdle during the ‘turn it on’ phase – it doesn’t like my video cable. I had the old Mini connected via HDMI-to-DVI to my old NEC monitor and figured that since there’s also HDMI on Edsel it should ‘just work’. Nope. Edsel is starting to live up to its name.
My NEC also has a DV port, but that is connected to the MacBook Pro (Clara Jane from here onwards). I grabbed the Thunderbolt 3 cable connecting Clara Jane to my CalDigit TB3 dock and inserted it into one of the Mini’s Thunderbolt ports and Edsel garishly came to life on the screen. (Seriously – the default Big Sur color scheme is blinding…) So it works, but apparently not with my cable or DVI or whatever voodoo is baked into the M1 chipset. So now it’s off to do some Interwebz® research and probably to scAmazon® for the needed wiring. Hey – did I mention that you will spend lots of extra $$$$ in addition to what you shelled out for The New Shiny-Shiny? Yes. Yes you will.
In a flash of ‘Holy Cats – did I just outsmart myself?’ I remembered that I bought one of those portable monitors on sale from said scAmazon® just after I got Clara Jane. Dug the box out of a closet and was pleasantly surprised that not only does it have USB-C – it comes with the cables too. Plugged it into one of the Thunderbolt ports on the Mini and was rewarded with a blazing barrage of colors as Edsel’s interior workings could now be seen.
Told you it was garish! (And sorry for the poor quality – quickly snapped from my phone on the old NEC monitor)
In the next Episode we’ll actually do something with this thing and see if Edsel actually does live up to its name. Wish me luck.