Categories
Consumer Electronics

Big Sur: New Life for the Late 2014 Mac Mini

What The Hell Is A Mac Mini?

When people ask me what a Mac Mini is, I say it’s an iMac you can use on any monitor. To be honest, I never really thought about a Mac until the late 2014 Mac Mini came out. While you won’t play top-notch games on it, you can get some work done on it.

When the 2018 Mac Mini’s came out, I went to my local Apple store to see if they had one I could play around with. When I asked, the young lady acted as if she had never heard of such a thing. I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume they where just instructed not to promote is as they did not have one on display at the store.

Subsequent macOS updates have rendered this particularly underpowered Mac desktop almost useless. Updates designed for more powerful computers frequently bogged down the Mac Mini as well as other entry level Mac desktop and laptop computers.

Big Sur Is A Beast

Enter 2020 and Apple’s decision to introduce its own CPUs. While this CPU is being regarded by Apple Fanboys as an Intel killer, Apple’s OS upgrade is simultaneously its most aggressive push towards its iOS mobile platform ever. Apparently within that push is less hardware hungry software. As I am writing this article on the dusty late 2014 Mac Mini running Big Sur, this is the best experience I’ve had on this computer since I first got it back in 2015.

There are plenty of youtube videos and blog posts that slobber over the new features of the new Big Sur OS and the three new Apple Silicon computers. That is not what this is about. I am talking about new like for your existing hardware. I am talking about people who have never had the opportunity to experience the true power of the Mac ecosystem having an opportunity. Having a lower barrier of entry with older lower-powered computers being viable again.

No this is not perfect, just better. It is crazy that in 2020 functionality is celebrated. Thank you, Apple for giving new life to a computer that was purposely underpowered in the first place. Hopefully, my experience continues to be good.

If you have one of the underwhelming Macs that came out between 2014 and 2018 feel free to leave a commit about your experiences.

Categories
Comparison

Apple Music vs Tidal

Streaming Services: Does It Even Matter

We can trade the pros and cons of the two music streaming services that would last for days. Honestly, the functionality of either service or any other service doesn’t really matter. What it comes down to is how will the service integrate into your lifestyle. I personally do not care much for Pandora or Spotify. To me, they essentially pull you in with the promise of being able to stream millions of songs for free with the hopes that you will pay to have more control over what plays next. From my experience, those who want to pay, pay and those that do not want to pay, do not pay. I love music, and I want to build my own playlist. I want my playlist to cross genres and invoke multiple feelings; happiness, sadness, nostalgia, etc.. I make a playlist for road trips, cookouts, and moments to myself. To me, control is where Apple Music and Tidal rise above the rest.

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The Real Difference

Where Apple Music and Tidal differentiate is simple, if you use other Apple products and services, Apple Music is definitively better. If you do not use other Apple products and services, I could not imagine Apple Music is a very good experience. The fact that you can integrate Apple Music with tour local iTunes library is amazing for someone like me who has an extensive collection of out of print music, not available on any streaming service, from the 90’s and early 2000’s. Add in the fact that you can upload your local collection to the cloud, from a Mac (of course), and stream it as well it is the hands-down winner for me. While I feel that the flow of Tidal, particularly on mobile devices is leaps and bounds better than Apple’s approach, the seamless iPhone integration is too much to ignore. I actually used Tidal for the last year or so, and it was pretty good for when I used it. If there was one complaint that I could give to both, it would be the lack of an app for Linux. As both companies strive to improve there services, we will likely revisit this debate soon.


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