Went out to CompUSA on Saturday and got my wife a Mac Mini. Ever since her old Blue and White G3 died she’s been at a loss for what to do when she wanted to surf the web while using her PC for games, not to mention the time she spends telling me how much better things would be if she was using a Mac. Well, now she’s happy again. The mini is an amazing little box – literally just large enough to put a CD into but it’s vastly more powerful than her old G3 and so long as I don’t mention that the G5’s are probably 5 times more powerful than the mini then she’ll be more than happy.
Actually getting the mini from CompUSA was a different and more interesting story – I knew exactly what I wanted when I walked into the store at Robinson and hung around the Apple section of the store for 5 or so minutes while the guy wearing the Apple shirt proceeded to unpack boxes and generally ignore me (this isn’t unusual, I’ve had that experience many times in this particular CompUSA Apple Store). Eventually he decides to pay me some attention and I have to ask if they have the minis as there was nothing out on display. He assures me they do and even goes out the back to check for me – yep, the $500 and $700 versions.
Now, I’d resolved to get the $600 version because I figured the 20% improvement in CPU speed (1.25GHz to 1.42GHz) would be noticeable and the extra 40G drive space would certainly help out, but as it wasn’t available and I really had no need to go to the $700 one I just saved a bit of cash and got the cheapest.
Next thing I know is the guy is explaining to me how incredibly horrible Apple’s service is and I really want to spend $150 on CompUSA’s 18 month plan. When I baulked at spending 30% of the purchase price on a warranty that literally covered almost nothing more than the standard Apple hardware warranty (12 months parts and labor) they proceeded to “explain” to me that if anything went wrong with the Mac then Apple would charge me $50 just to talk to them about it. I knew this was a flat out lie, especially given the only reason I’d ever talk to Apple is if I knew the thing was broken and it was definitely their fault so again I ignored him.
The stock boy finally brings out the mini (the box is so tiny and cute) and he starts up on the whole warranty pitch as well, also going into how terrible it would be for me to rely on Apple’s warranty and how good value their $150 warranty is! Sheesh – I already told one person I didn’t want it, now another? He eventually shuts up when I tell him I’ll think about it after I take it home seeing I apparently have 14 days to consider their generous offer.
Now the cashier starts up, but while she’s talking to me another cashier interrupts and lets her know she’s got some work to do if she wants to win the daily prize for warranty sales. It all suddenly becomes clear. Turns out the sales guys were deliberately lying to me about Apple’s warranties so they could get the prizes for hocking off a warranty to me. Yeah – I’ve thought about it properly now and they can take their warranties and stick them where the sun don’t shine.
In other PC news, I downloaded trial versions of Hoyle Casino 2006 and also the 3D version. Casino 2006 seems pretty much identical to the 2004 one except the Facemaker bombs out if you install it anywhere other than C: drive. Given my current Windows installation is on D: (for reasons I don’t have time to explain), it took me several hours to work out the problem only to realize there’s really nothing new here. The 3D version is even worse – nothing like keeping the same gameplay (ie 2D overlay) but using crappy 3D models instead of the wider variety of semi-amusing 2D faces.
And in the vein of games not installing properly I picked up Enigma: Rising Tide from Best Buy (thanks to $15 of Reward Zone certificates) just for it being about the most interesting of a rather dull selection in the sub-$30 price range. Turns out it uses copy protection garbage that prevents it from working on Windows XP x64 and getting a No-CD crack for the game just made it crash a little further in. Works ok if I reboot my machine into regular XP but I really hate doing that (what’s the point of a 64 bit chip if you’re only using half the ALU width and half the registers).