How to Speed Up Your Mac Mini

Mac Mini

Mac Mini

 

I have recently swapped my desktop PC tower to a Mac Mini because of a couple of reasons, one, I hardly game anymore hence I don’t need the power and two, my desktop PC uses a fair bit of power thanks to it’s 1000W power supply unit.

So I thought I had a bright idea by swapping the desktop with a Mac Mini instead. The Mac Mini only uses around 85W of power at peak consumption and since it runs as my PLEX Media server, a scanner server, a print server and also media storage, I guess using less power means a lower electricity bill.

The moment I got the Mac Mini in, I noticed that it wasn’t as fast as my i7 quad-core desktop running with 16Gb of RAM and a SSD. The Mac Mini only has 4Gb of RAM, an i5 processor and running on a 5400 rpm hard disk. Talk about swapping from a Veyron to a Volvo station wagon.

Running OS X Mavericks on the Mac Mini was a little slow and sluggish and the moment the PLEX server runs with other programs in the background, it comes to a halt sometimes.

I tried multiple programs to clean the OS and that didn’t work.

I figured out that the only way to improve speed was a hardware upgrade and I started out with the most basics of basics, a RAM upgrade.

You don't need any tools to change the RAM on a Mac Mini

You don’t need any tools to change the RAM on a Mac Mini

Out went the double sticks of 2Gb RAM and in goes the double sticks of 8Gb RAM.

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 11.05.34 PM

With 16Gb of RAM under the hood, the Mac Mini is blazingly fast. The performance improvement is really considerable and can be easily felt.

So if you are facing speed and performance issues with your Mac Mini, just go with the RAM upgrade. Initially I was considering swapping out the current hard disk with an SSD hard disk, but based on its current performance, I doubt that I might want to go ahead with that upgrade.

Image source: Techradar

Burgers Delight

Burgertory-006

It all started when a friend of mine decided to tag me on Facebook with Burgertory’s advert for their Big Fry Belly Burger that I decided to try it out. I am not much of a fan to start taking pictures of food and start blogging about it but the burger was as awesome as the image itself. 

BigFryBelly

Overall as a burger, it was pretty tasteful but a little on the dry side. The patty was moist and nicely cooked but I will still stick to beef burgers in the future.

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Interestingly enough, me being the so called macho man, decided not to Google or check out where Burgertory was and I ended up parking near BurgerFactory instead. My face was absolutely priceless when I found out that I went to the wrong place. Thank goodness that both these places were relatively nearby.  Situated above a Guardian pharmacy, the place was completely packed on a Sunday night.

Burgertory-001

Ordering was rather complex as there was only a single menu to view at the cashier. I was rather impressed that the place was built by a few folks. They even show cased their journey on the wall which I thought brought a little homely touch to the joint.

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We proceeded to order our food, the prices of the burgers were relatively ok, less than RM20 for a burger but the moment you make it into a set, it costs either an additional RM5 or RM9.

Burger set +additional RM5

Burger set +additional RM5

The good thing with the set is that it also comes with a drink and the soft drinks are refillable. And yes, there is coke light available there.

Burger set additional RM9

Burger set additional RM9

Overall the burgers are not that large, after completing a set, I felt that I could gobble up another burger.

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In terms of size relativity, my wife can eat a whole set and not be completely full. I did contemplate getting another burger or some side dish but decided to check out the dessert offerings in the area instead.

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If you were to ask me to make a trip back there again I would definitely go back to try out their other burgers as well as other things on their menu.

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Honestly, stuck at SS15 in Subang, amidst more than 20+ burger stores (small stalls and shops included), Burgertory does hold it’s candle well against the competition. Although pricey, perhaps I wouldn’t need to get the set next time (two sets costs us RM45 for two).

Sepang Trackdays

320d Sepang

320d Sepang

Once you get bitten by the bug, you really start to really think about a lot of other things. Yup, that is right. Last year I had an opportunity to drive on the track at Sepang International Circuit. It was an open track day and the prices were extremely steep!

I was surrounded by 4-5 track cars which included 3 Porsche who were testing their cars for the Porsche GT3 cup. Of course I wasn’t alone with my normal road car as there were other people from my group of friends as well as other track enthusiasts.

They say driving on the track is like the first time you are having sex. You build up all that anticipation for that first time but the moment you are put up to the plate, you tend to fumble around figuring out what to do. That was pretty much how my first lap went.

I had no idea what a racing line was as well as where in the world should I brake and start turning my car. Of course it didn’t help that other cars were a lot faster and I couldn’t keep up with them and follow their lines.

But it was at that moment I learned that I was crap as a driver. Seriously crap. I bet every kid who just passed his driving exam thinks that they are the next formula 1 champion but the moment I started driving on the track, I realised that I am rather pampered. Pampered with fancy electronic gizmos like traction control, ABS brakes and an automatic gearbox, learning how to drive, takes real skill.

Then I signed up for a couple of courses, first one was a private course taught by some great car coaches at SpeedCity which was organized by a friend. Spent a whole day learning about the car’s characteristics and burned off two tyres. Then I joined both the Advanced and Intensive drivers training.

Even after those courses, I knew that there was a lot more that I can learn about the car and how to control it. I learned that slow is fast and that precision and stamina means a lot. Smooth saves your tyres and gives you a quick time and different braking techniques destroys your tyres. 

As I reflect back on one of my few earlier attempts at Sepang, I am glad that my track times have dropped significantly, from 3mins 15secs to 2mins 49secs. Optimally I know I should hit 2mins 47secs but I will target for a 2mins 45secs time this year.

BMW Intensive Driver Training

BMW_Intensive_Driver_Training_0015

BMW Intensive Driver Training

Last year I joined the BMW Advanced Driver Training which was held at the carpark area at Sepang Circuit (read my last post here). Later in the year, I managed to score seats at the BMW Intensive Driver Training. The difference between these two trainings is that the Advanced training was mostly done at the Sepang Car Park whilst the Intensive Driver training was done over two days and it had both track driving and also training in the car park.

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Both days started off with theory classes in the morning before heading to the carpark for some warm up exercises such as slamming your brakes at higher speeds. On average the speeds you go during the Advanced driver training is around 50km/h, 60km/h and 70km/h. In the intensive, you perform the exercises at higher speeds such as 90km/h, 100km/h and 110km/h. From double lane changes to slamming your brakes and taking high speed corners in the rain (well the weather wasn’t controlled by us), it was all in good fun.

BMW Intensive Driver Training

The one bit which gotten me so interested in this course was the ability to drive on the track. On the first day, we followed the instructor car through the track and had to try to keep up and follow their lines. It wasn’t easy at all and I just couldn’t exit the corner fast enough. I kept having to constantly remind myself to go slow into the corner and exit fast! The second day was a lot more stressful as the instructors would then follow behind us and tell us all our mistakes via a walkie talkie as we run through the track.

BMW Intensive Driver Training

At the end of the course we had a track challenge where we would run through the south bit of Sepang (started at turn 9 and ended just before turn 15) and do a timed run. Thanks to my over eagerness to win, during my first run I kept slipping on the red and white lines (lost grip) causing me to sabotage the rest by hitting the cones the instructors laid out to help us indicate our braking points and turning points. On my second run I went into turn 12 too fast and when I clipped the apex of turn 13, I lost grip in my rear tyres and spun out. The fastest time clocked was 57 seconds in the F30 328i.

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Going through the course was a real eye opener for me, mainly because my lines at Sepang previously was quite crap! Now with a little bit of coaching, I need to learn the more advanced tactics and tips for driving on the track. Definitely a lot more to learn and I am such a newbie compared to our veterans.

BMW Intensive Driver Training

Again to note, you do not have to own a BMW to attend this course. I had friends who participated in the course and they are now addicted to track driving. The pre-requisite is that you need to complete the Advanced Driver Training first before attending this course. I highly recommend this course to you all out there! It was really fun! We even had participants who flew in from Hong Kong to participate in the course.

Photo Credit: All photo credit here goes to the photographer hired by BMW. Didn’t manage to catch his name as he was a really stealthy photographer! 

New Year’s Resolution

It is already 2014 and as I start the new year, I received an interesting link on Facebook where it talks about 24 invaluable skills you can actually learn online for free.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/summeranne/24-invaluable-skills-to-learn-for-free-online-this-year

Taking a cue from that link, I decided that instead of trying all 24 and then falling flat on my face, I shall embark on two areas.

  1. Learning how to code – I am torn between building mobile games and Ruby on Rails (I am actually not too sure what I want to accomplish)
  2. Learning how to write better – As I started writing for Autofreaks in a freelance capacity, I really do want to improve on my writing skills and draw more readers to both my blog and the website

At the end of the year, I do hope I do see some improvements in my writing as well as release at least a product as a result of my coding skills.

Goodbye 2013 and Hello 2014!

Unfortunately I have been neglecting this site as I have been writing as a freelance journalist over at Autofreaks.net. Thanks to that, all of my writing time has been dedicated to that site and I do hope to also still continue updating my blog.

Do check out Autofreaks as I hope to channel and also learn a little more about writing. So far, it has been a difficult task, time as well as trying to get the contents out of my head and unto a post. It isn’t easy but I guess it is a learning step.

Have a great New Year everyone! God Bless!

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