Mac Mini Upgrade – Getting back on track

Alright, time to get back on track once again. I will still have pieces to pick up, but they will stumble in as I get time. It is time to get back to projects at hand; and they have been stacking up on me. 

My kids have a Mac Mini 2011. It is still a solid machine, but the hard drive and lack of RAM are showing its’ age though. It seemed pretty good for a spell, but with kids apps, games, and the lot, it could use a boost. The kids stopping using it so much and when I asked they said it was slow. No it isn’t I said in that fatherly tone of you don’t know what you are talking about. Then I tried to do a little work on it to clean it up and see if I could make it at least “act” quicker. I do crack myself up at times, this was one of them. 

After a little research and checking prices online. I hit the Confirm button for 2 purchases.

MacMini upgrade

The LittleMac only had 4GB of RAM.  Not a lot anymore if you fire up an app or 2 with a couple of browser windows open. I found a stick of 8GB for a decent price on eBay. After saving one of the 2GB sticks of the 4, I brought it up to 10GB.

Second was the hard disk, it was no speed deamon (cracking myself up). Other World Computing has always treated me well when it has some to upgrades, especially storage. It has been a while since I have checked on the prices and I was pleasantly surprised how much they have come down. I was able to pick up a 120GB for $30 and change. I actually bought 2 of them and I am using the other one as the main boot drive in my Debian box now. 

I have not taken apart an Aluminum Mac Mini before. I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal, but to make sure I had my wits about myself I check online exactly how to take it apart. I have long given up my days of manual be gone, hand my my screwdriver! It was a little more involved then I thought, but my boy and I were able to get it done in about an hour. 

Everyone is much happier and I did it under $80. Now maybe we can get a few more years out of it. 




In light of my issues with my real NeXT hardware, I decided to try and get NeXTStep installed on a VM. We use Parallels for the Mac OS X platform here at work, so that is where I started. 

I was able to find some useful information over at the site. It was a little old, but much of it still very pertinent to this install. 

It kept on coming up with errors on the install. It would hang when trying to boot from the CD image. After various combinations suggested from the web and then a few I made up on my own, I will still left with a broken install process. 

Nuts! but I didn’t give up. The windows people use VMware for their VM pleasures. A while back I had received a copy to test and try and make a Mac OS image. I dusted it off, gave it a quick update and tried it with VMware. I am not sure if it is better software (Parallels has never let me down before) or a little luck tossed in, but it worked well installing on Fusion. 

NS33 Installing

There are still some drivers I need to track down and get installed. From my reading they are needed to get some better video and networking up and going. I am kind of looking forward to pulling out OminWeb from the OmniGroup, and seeing how it looks compared to now. It was (and still is) a wonderful web browser. I don’t use it as much as I used to as they don’t update it very often anymore. There tabs and workspace features are ones I wish I would see elsewhere. 

It was welcoming after the past hours of frustration trying to get this up and working to finally see that wonderful Welcome screen. 

NS33 Welcome

From here on out it was a few clicks before I reach the desktop. What a site for sore eyes. 

NS33 Desktop jpg

The desktop is a little tight don’t you think? I know I do. I am going to go on the hunt for the drivers tonight and see what I can scare up. 

I will also post my notes out on the NeXT site in case there are a couple of other crazies out there. 


And then it freezes up. . .

It fired up once, so I figured why not one more time and try and break into it.  I had some limited success. I will be posting a video of it, but I need to edit it before I can upload it. During the process I found some great resources for the NeXT geeks out there. The best resource I have found is over at

Command + ~ dumped me into the ROM monitor. From here I was expecting to be dropped into single-user mode and reset the password for it. I was able to get into the monitor, but as you can see from the shot, it never went beyond that. I tried more than a couple of times and different methods, but always came up with a crash.

A sidenote, the keyboard is a joy to use. I am not sure what it is about some of the old school keyboards, but they have a feel to them that one just doesn’t find very often. The mouse is built to last and does have some heft to it. Which is fine by me as I get frustrated with those mice that feel so light that they might blow away.

I kind of expected it in a way. The hardware is old and the system hasn’t been fired up in over 15 years. I won’t give up yet. It is just time to re-evaluate the project. In my research travels I have found a couple of place that seem to sell hardware. The hard disk replacement will be on my research list next. While this one is spinning up, it is a bit of a noise maker.

I still do have a copy of 3.3 on disc, but didn’t have the boot floppies around. I had sold them a ways back, they were part of my Mac OS collection I had. Anyhow, I was able to find them and download images of them. I figured if I couldn’t get the hardware up a going then get it going on a VM; Parallels by choice. I have started the process of trying to get it going. I have found a couple of guides that have some good information. Once I have it going I will post it here and hopefully over at too.

I enjoy keeping around an older OS. Pretty much just to keep it around, but also there are a couple of games I still like to play on the older OSes like the original Dark Castle. And HyperCard is fun to mess around with every now and again. I need to search for my link where I got this one from and share it when I do.


Blast from my past

I used to LOVE this game! It is one of the original Mac games I can remember. For a while they were few and far between. 

If you are looking for a distraction and/or need a break from the present to blast to the past, check out the link below.