Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini

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Rex Kramer
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PostSuggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by Rex Kramer » Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:49 am

GR is home to a wealth of smart folks who like to tinker and so I'm looking for ideas on what to do with an old Mac Mini I found in the loft. It's a Core 2 duo 1.66GHz with only 1/2 gig of ram. I think it can be upgraded via the memory or the cpu (I believe it'll take up to a 2.33Ghz T7600 processor). So, any suggestions? I'm thinking maybe some kind of media file store with a decent sized USB drive stuck on it.

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Somebody Else's Problem
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PostRe: Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by Somebody Else's Problem » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:52 am

Would it accept a Linux RetroArch build?

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Rex Kramer
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PostRe: Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by Rex Kramer » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:05 pm

I dunno. It's an intel cpu so I guess so. I've got a Raspberry Pi arcade machine that I use for older stuff but that's only an early model so anything beyond 80s arcade games and 16 bit stuff probably stretches it too much. The mini might be a decent emulation box for newer stuff.

EDIT: Other thing to consider is I've got gaming devices coming out of every orifice with about a million games on each of them I haven't played. Not sure I need another device in my life to play games on. Maybe I should go for something a little more creative or useful.

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Green Gecko
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PostRe: Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by Green Gecko » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:21 pm

FreeNAS? https://www.freenas.org/

Or Plex https://plex.tv

Both free.

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Winckle
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PostRe: Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by Winckle » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:23 pm

Rex Kramer wrote:GR is home to a wealth of smart folks who like to tinker and so I'm looking for ideas on what to do with an old Mac Mini I found in the loft. It's a Core 2 duo 1.66GHz with only 1/2 gig of ram. I think it can be upgraded via the memory or the cpu (I believe it'll take up to a 2.33Ghz T7600 processor). So, any suggestions? I'm thinking maybe some kind of media file store with a decent sized USB drive stuck on it.

Funny you should bring this up, I'd just read this article the other day where the author has almost the exact same hardware you do - https://fastchicken.co.nz/2018/11/25/ru ... -hardware/

Also, not sure if you like comic books, but I have a home server that I stream my comic book collection from to my iPad so I don't have to mess around with syncing files etc.

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Pedz
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PostRe: Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by Pedz » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:34 pm

Send it to me?

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Green Gecko
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PostRe: Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by Green Gecko » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:49 pm

Some people will still buy them to develop iOS apps on also. Trouble is the moment you add a screen and gooseberry fool to a box like that you're basically gathering dust and wasting space.

I'd run it headless for something like media, or maybe a small screen for a CNC machine controller, but that's better served by an old netbook or something even smaller like a raspberry pi.

Or use remote desktop to it if you need to do an GUI shiz.

These things are best as some sort of server.

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rinks
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PostRe: Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by rinks » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:59 pm

Use it to turn your fridge into a smart fridge.

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Green Gecko
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PostRe: Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by Green Gecko » Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:21 pm

One day we will see people trying to turn smart devices back into whatever they were supposed to do again.

Y'know, like phones.

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Ironhide
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PostRe: Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by Ironhide » Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:57 pm

WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH AN OLD MAC MINI,
WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH AN OLD MAC MINI,
WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH AN OLD MAC MINI,
EARLY IN THE MORNIN'

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Moggy
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PostRe: Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by Moggy » Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:39 pm

Green Gecko wrote:One day we will see people trying to turn smart devices back into whatever they were supposed to do again.

Y'know, like phones.


The phones original use was to tell Mr Watson that you wanted to see him.

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Rex Kramer
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PostRe: Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by Rex Kramer » Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:56 pm

Winckle wrote:
Rex Kramer wrote:GR is home to a wealth of smart folks who like to tinker and so I'm looking for ideas on what to do with an old Mac Mini I found in the loft. It's a Core 2 duo 1.66GHz with only 1/2 gig of ram. I think it can be upgraded via the memory or the cpu (I believe it'll take up to a 2.33Ghz T7600 processor). So, any suggestions? I'm thinking maybe some kind of media file store with a decent sized USB drive stuck on it.

Funny you should bring this up, I'd just read this article the other day where the author has almost the exact same hardware you do - https://fastchicken.co.nz/2018/11/25/ru ... -hardware/

Also, not sure if you like comic books, but I have a home server that I stream my comic book collection from to my iPad so I don't have to mess around with syncing files etc.

I read that and now I'm going to have to go back and translate it into English so I can understand it. But it does make me think that Plex is the best option. Need to dig around and see if I've got any old laptop memory kicking around. Also need to update the firmware so I can then upgrade the CPU. After that, blitz the box and stick linux on it (or docker, whatever the strawberry float that is) and go from there. I may post updates to this thread if anyone is vaguely interested in updates.

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Winckle
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PostRe: Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by Winckle » Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:15 pm

Docker is a fantastic way of running services on your server and not having to worry about dependencies or other supporting software. Applications are shipped as "containers" which are actually a bit like very lightweight virtual computers. Several groups maintain container images, and starting them up is a simple matter of writing a text file that tells docker what image you want, and any options you need to tell it about. For example to set up the ngnix web server service with docker-compose you make a text file called "docker-compose.yaml" (probably in a folder in /opt/ or something) and make the contents the following:

Code: Select all

version: "2"
services:
  nginx:
    image: linuxserver/nginx
    container_name: nginx
    environment:
      - PUID=1000
      - PGID=1000
      - TZ=Europe/London
    volumes:
      - /opt/config/nginx:/config
    ports:
      - 80:80
      - 443:443
    restart: unless-stopped


Then at the linux command line run "docker-compose up -d" to tell it to bring online all the services described in your docker-compose file (there's only the one, for nginx) and now you have a webserver.
Should you wish to take the services offline "docker-compose down".

The volumes section tells it which directories on the host computer to map to the docker container. If you don't do this, then nothing will be saved as the docker image is completely "destroyed" every time you take it down. You map directories in this fashion to persist data between taking it down and up.

You can add lots of services to your docker-compose file, such as plex, ubooquity (books and comics), rutorrent (bit torrent with a web interface), cloud9 ( a sort of homebrew dropbox).
Check out some of the images provided by one group here: https://fleet.linuxserver.io/

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Pedz
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PostRe: Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by Pedz » Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:02 pm

Ironhide wrote:WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH AN OLD MAC MINI,
WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH AN OLD MAC MINI,
WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH AN OLD MAC MINI,
EARLY IN THE MORNIN'


Send the Mac to Pedz at the price of Postage,
Send the Mac to Pedz at the price of Postage,
Send the Mac to Pedz at the price of Postage,
Early in the morning.

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Minty14
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PostRe: Suggestions on what to do with an old Mac Mini
by Minty14 » Tue Sep 24, 2019 9:44 pm

Winckle wrote:Docker is a fantastic way of running services on your server and not having to worry about dependencies or other supporting software. Applications are shipped as "containers" which are actually a bit like very lightweight virtual computers. Several groups maintain container images, and starting them up is a simple matter of writing a text file that tells docker what image you want, and any options you need to tell it about. For example to set up the ngnix web server service with docker-compose you make a text file called "docker-compose.yaml" (probably in a folder in /opt/ or something) and make the contents the following:

Code: Select all

version: "2"
services:
  nginx:
    image: linuxserver/nginx
    container_name: nginx
    environment:
      - PUID=1000
      - PGID=1000
      - TZ=Europe/London
    volumes:
      - /opt/config/nginx:/config
    ports:
      - 80:80
      - 443:443
    restart: unless-stopped


Then at the linux command line run "docker-compose up -d" to tell it to bring online all the services described in your docker-compose file (there's only the one, for nginx) and now you have a webserver.
Should you wish to take the services offline "docker-compose down".

The volumes section tells it which directories on the host computer to map to the docker container. If you don't do this, then nothing will be saved as the docker image is completely "destroyed" every time you take it down. You map directories in this fashion to persist data between taking it down and up.

You can add lots of services to your docker-compose file, such as plex, ubooquity (books and comics), rutorrent (bit torrent with a web interface), cloud9 ( a sort of homebrew dropbox).
Check out some of the images provided by one group here: https://fleet.linuxserver.io/

If you want to run docker services without the management overhead, unRAID is a great OS with built in docker support. I use it to run Plex and various other non-dev stuff at home and it works great.


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