Further Mini Joy

Ahh, you gotta love open source. I wanted a way of controlling the Mac Mini without a monitor. I also wanted to do it on the cheap since I’ll have a monitor for it in a fortnight.

So the obvious choice was VNC. I found a marvelous VNC implementation, OSXvnc, from Redstone Software who have an open source port that they wrote mainly for Eggplant, their marvelous automated testing software. Great guys (I met them at a conference in the US) with some great software. Getting it running was way too hard; I downloaded it, ran it and noticed that one of the options allowed me to start the application at login. Boy, you gotta really sweat on this operating system – it must have taken me 15 minutes to find, download, install and get running this software.

Then I had to find a client for the PowerBook. Chicken of the VNC seemed to be the most mentioned so I tried it and found it was perfect.

So open source gave me a solution in quick order. Thanks guys. Oh, I even found a decent client for Windows from the RealVNC website. It’s hard to tell from the site but the file they give you can install either the VNC server or the client.

Before I go I just have to give a “well done” to Apple’s engineers. I just had the best time using target mode on the Mini when it was attached to the PowerBook. My first tiny shock came when I realised I had left a DVD in the drive that I wanted to get out of the Mini. Without much hope that it would actually eject, I thought it would just unmount, I highlighted the icon and hit Command-E and the disk came out. That made me wonder how well the OS would support the SuperDrive in the Mini while it was in target mode. Turns out that every piece of software I could find ignored the fact that the drive wasn’t inside the PowerBook, it just worked.


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