Why Save the Mac Mini

Jeff Reynolds jeff at siphonophore.com
Tue Jul 24 00:08:53 EDT 2007

sorry i have been out on the water chasing whales for a couple of  
weeks and am behind in the rev list.


I beg to differ on this point. Almost all my clients are poor  
educational and charitable orgs. the big thing here (which others  
have mentioned) is total cost of use of the equipment, not just the  
hardware price. PCs only do well with small orgs when there is  
someone (usually a volunteer) that is very handy with computers and  
willing to come in and keep things going. i have had many orgs take  
donation pcs or buy cheap pcs with costs in mind only to end up  
spending horrendous amounts of time (and in some cases money) keeping  
things running. Macs have traditionally had very low total cost of  
ownership costs in many ROI studies and this has also been proven out  
many times in my personal experience in this sector. If an org does  
not have someone that can manage a pc well then it can be trouble.  
linux is totally over the heads of all the small non profits i work  
with. IT support is totally non existent with most small non profits.  
even if they have a good staff member or volunteer to keep things  
running this is dangerous since if they leave the org is screwed (i  
know i have lived through this a few times).

In education the gifts of apple equipment did get some loyalty, but  
the big reason that macs still have a large share of that market is  
that they are easy to keep going and the hardware tends to live on  
and on and on (sometimes you just want to go out and shoot an old  
machine since its so old, but still chuggin along and no one wants to  
loose a machine thats working!). they can also be managed by a  
teacher with just a little bit of computer savvy and willingness to  
just play with things. the first thing in school budgets to go are  
education IT support (administration keeps getting it) and computer  
lab instructors/managers. the support goes but the hardware is still  

I had these points drive home really hard when i went back to my old  
high school to teach for a year. i had a mac lab that was a mish mash  
of like 7 or 8 models ranging in age from new to 7 or 8 years old. i  
had about 30 some odd desk tops and another 25 laptops. down the hall  
we new pc lab with 25 dells all identical and a full time tech (he  
didnt teach, just kept things running and installed stuff) who was ms  
certified up the wazoo. i was not certified in any way  
(certifications, certifications, we dont need no stinking  
certifications!) and was teaching full time. i usually had a machine  
or two down and usually they were just waiting for a hardware order  
to come in or just the spare hour to fix things. the pc lab usually  
had 4-5 machines down at any time. i would see the tech in there  
earnestly trying to fix them for hours. The pc lab was paid for by a  
grant from the business classes (they thought it was wrong to learn  
computing on a mac) and halfway through the first quarter i had most  
of the business instructors begging for some spare time in the mac  
lab to do their classes.

the last funny thing lately has been about 5 small business owners i  
know in the last 6 months have called up and asked what macs they  
should buy for their business. they were all hard core pc users and  
were all pretty savvy computer users and the last people in the world  
i would have ever thought would switch sides (each of them were some  
of my worst rassers of me using macs mostly). They all said pretty  
much exactly the same thing that they just had the last straw drawn  
and realized how much time they were wasting keeping the computers  
running instead of using the computer to do their work and get income.

personally i have had to work both sides of the fence (mac, pc and  
others) over the last 20 years and i keep realizing the same thing  
that the extra investment up front really pays off on the long run  
and i think this proves true to a lot of folks out there...


Jeffrey Reynolds

On Jul 15, 2007, at 6:40 PM, use-revolution-request at lists.runrev.com  

> But for poor educational or charitable sector organizations to buy  
> Minis just
> seems to me a totally disordered sense of priorities.  Still more  
> if a prime
> purpose is to run Rev, which is (one of its pleasures) so remarkably
> forgiving of low end hardware.  I have had absolutely no, zero,  
> complaints
> about responsiveness on our 500Mhz machine running the Rev app.   
> Its instant.
> If we were teaching programming on it, using Rev, I think it would be
> perfectly fine and at least as responsive as a Mini.  The graphics  
> are of the
> same generation anyway.

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