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HOW-TO Bonanza: 50 Great Summertime Projects for You & Your Mac mini

Well, it’s that time of the year again. The Nerd Vittles staff will be taking a breather for a bit to recharge our batteries. But, in the finest college tradition, we’re leaving you lots of homework. Here’s a listing of what we’ve built thus far in our Mac mini ISP-In-A-Box project. So, while we’re taking it easy, pick out a few projects you haven’t tried and knock yourself out. Any Mac running at least Mac OS X v10.3 aka Panther is a suitable candidate for these projects. Many also have been tested with Tiger. Visit Tiger Vittles for the Tiger update notes to many of these tutorials. Also be sure to check out our WHERE-TO Bonanza: 50 Great Summertime Web Sites for You & Your Mac mini.
Mac mini

  • Apache Web Server
  • Email Servers: SMTP, POP3, and IMAP
  • MySQL Database Server
  • PHP and PhpMyAdmin
  • WebMin
  • The Webalizer
  • Web Calendars
  • Email Reminders
  • Crontab and CronniX
  • WordPress 1.5 Blog
  • TrixBox/Asterisk® VoIP PBX
  • A special welcome to Popular Science visitors
    And here are some of our other tutorials to keep you and your Mac mini busy:

  • Web Sites 101
  • Remote Access
  • P2P from A to Z
  • Network Security
  • Domain Names and ISPs
  • Skype = Free Phone Service and Mastering Internet Telephony: One SIP At A Time
  • And finally we and our friends at MacSurfer and Engadget and Gizmodo and MacOSXhints and MacDevCenter and Entropy. Give ’em a whirl!

  • WebDAV Server HOW-TO
  • WebDAV Clients HOW-TO
  • Managing Web Sites with WebDAV
  • Remote Mac Access with AFP and SSH
  • RSS Made Really, Really Simple
  • Backing Up Your Mac … for Free
  • Mac OS X Tiger Backups: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
  • Building a Data-Driven Web Site
  • Building a Streaming Audio Server
  • Web Hosting (Is Not) For Dummies
  • Hosting Multiple Web Sites and Domains
  • Creating a Secure (HTTPS) Mac OS X Web Server
  • Building A PureFTP Server … If You Must
  • Building a Home Automation Server
  • Building a Computer Telephony Server
  • Installing a Free Asterisk@Home PBX: Part I, II, III, IV, V
  • Mastering Internet Telephony: One SIP at a Time
  • Turning Your Mac mini Into a DVD Player Kiosk
  • HOW-TO: Turn your Mac mini into a media center
  • HOW-TO: Create Your Own Planet (aka Web Site of Your Favorite RSS Feeds)
  • CenterStage – The Mac Media Center Open Source Project
  • UStec Mac mini Home Media Server
  • Wiki Knowledge Base: Using a Mac mini as a Home Media Center
  • MacVroom – The Definitive Mac mini Car Integration Site
  • iDash: Mac mini for Your Car or Land Rover or Lexus or VW GTi or BMW or 3000GT or Prius
  • HOW-TO: Turn your Mac mini into a low-cost recording studio
  • Installing and Tuning Open Office on Mac OS X
  • Exploring the Mac OS X Firewall
  • 50 Ways To Get More From Your Mac mini
  • Last but not least, for PC users thinking about making the Switch to a Mac, read our article and this one. Then buy David Pogue’s book, and you’ll have everything you need. It really is a No Brainer!

    We’ve gotten lots of terrific feedback and some great tips from many of you since we first began putting this list together in early spring, but we’d love to hear from the shy types as well. What did you like? What can we improve? What can we cover which would be of interest to you in the coming months? If you have a favorite open source application or a must-have tool that we’ve overlooked thus far, don’t be timid. Drop us a note or just leave a comment below. We do this for fun, not as a business fortunately, but we strongly believe that Apple should be doing something similar as part of their business plan. We, their loyal customers, deserve nothing less. Thanks for visiting NerdVittles.com. And do tell your friends about us. Finally, take a look at our Tiger Vittles site for the latest happenings with Mac OS X Tiger.

    Who Is This Guy? Ward Mundy, the author of the ISP-In-A-Box series, is a retired attorney who spent more than 30 years providing legal and technology assistance to the federal courts in the United States.


    1. Good Mac Mini As Web Server Tutorials

      I ran into a good series of tutorials on turning a Mac into a web server. He focuses on the Mac mini, but these tutorials are valid for any reasonably powered Mac. OS X already comes with a number of great services installed, but these tutorials …

    2. Thanks, I’m going to be setting up a host for our school web site over the summer on a mini and this info will prove invaluable. You’ve already given me some heads-up about our ISP and some questions I should be asking.

      [WM: You’re more than welcome. You’ll probably want to check out our new Tiger Vittles web site. We’ll be updating all of the Nerd Vittles articles to show how to do the same thing using Mac OS X Tiger over the next couple months.]

    3. I must say, I’ve been looking over the varied pieces in the series, and I can only say it one way… YOU GUYS RULE!! 😉 I got to playing with *BSD back when Rhapsody was first announced and have been running my own unix systems, and I really wish I had access to these documents then. Because the nice part of working with OS X is that underneath it all it is BSD based. I can take the info here and apply it to Net, Free or OpenBSD with little or no changes… again.. You rule!


    4. 50 Great Summertime Projects with a Mac mini
      The Nerd Vittles staff will be taking a breather for a bit to recharge our batteries. But, in the finest college tradition, we’re leaving you lots of homework. Here’s a listing of what we’ve built thus far in our Mac mini ISP-In-A-Bo…

    5. Projects for Your Mac mini
      Over at Nerd Vittles, they have posted a series of links on things you can do on your Mac mini. From running ISP services to setting up a computer telephony server, you can do all of them with your Mac mini:

      Well, it???Ǭ?Ǩ??ɂİ?Ǭ?Ǩ??ɂ?Ǭs that time of the year aga…

    6. HOW-TO Bonanza: 50 Great Summertime Projects for You & Your Mac mini
      This looked interesting. From over at Nerd Vittles comes "HOW-TO Bonanza: 50 Great Summertime Projects for You & Your Mac mini"Nerd Vittles: Well, it???Ǭ?Ǩ??ɂİ?Ǭ?Ǩ??ɂ?Ǭs that time of the year again. The Nerd Vittles staff will be taking a breather for a bit to recha…

    7. Mac mini Projects
      Nerd Vittles has a post listing 50 different projects for Mac mini owners. All these projects are aimed at people turning their Mac mini’s into all sorts of servers (database, media, email etc.) Among the projects linked to are:

      Read More (129 w…

    8. I would be interested in seeing some performance metrics showing how far you can push the Mini as a web server, as a database server, etc. We know what it can do, but how much is another question.

      [WM: Here’s the best info I’ve found on Mac servers generally. Just divide by about 2 for the Mac mini. Not pretty, but it won’t crash either.]

    9. Hi – Thanks for the useful tutorials. One problem, though – the "Web Sites 101″ link doesn’t take you anywhere but this page. Just FYI.

      [WM: You just need to scroll down the page. There are a number of articles.]

    10. Can anyone help me learn how to use my powerbook G4 plus a cellphone to connect to the internet? I did have an aircard with Verizon but they stopped supporting it. After a hassle over the cancellation charge I am looking for a solution such as PCs have. Thanks in advance – great site!

      [WM: Sprint has a great unlimited Internet plan called PCS Vision that’s about $10 a month on top of your cell phone service which is dirt cheap if you make a lot of calls. Everything works great. I’ve used it for over 2 years. Speed is about twice that of a 56K modem so it’s bearable. Next you need a Treo 650 which Sprint now officially supports with free Bluetooth DUN. Here’s a link that’ll tell you everything you need to know about configuring your Mac and Treo 650 to work together. If you sign up with Sprint, send me your phone number and we both get some sort of credit on our phone bills. I love credits!]

    11. Wonderful series on asterisk@home! This actually helped get it working for me (unlike the sourceforge site).

      Please keep the series going.

    12. Thanks to your Asterisk article my girlfriend’s daughter will be wakened for school at O530 hours by a phone call followed by really bad ’70s music (Captain & Tenille’s "Muskrat Love", 10CC’s "The Things We Do For Love", Maria Muldaur’s "Midnight at the Oasis" or The Starlight Band’s "Afternoon Delight"). Yes, phone systems can be used for evil.

    13. So, I guess I came in in the middle of all this…you’re September 15 2005 page talks about where you are in your "ISP-in-a-box" project, but be darned if I can find a link to the "start" of this project so I can follow along from the beginning. Or am I just being obtuse?

      [WM: The project began with setup of the Apache web server.]

    14. Amazing site.

      Amazing information.

      Amazing inspiration for the rest of us.

      I noticed that you mentioned that you preferred that folks not contact you for Asterisk support … well, I would like to throw my hat in the ring for those readers who need someone to lend a hand. Find us at http://www.sjobeck.com/.

      Peace. Love. Linux.


    15. Awesome! I have been looking for clear and Mac oriented guides for many of the things listed here but had no luck until now. I found this site by accident while looking for pureftpd manager instructions and have now have most of what I need to set up my Mac webserver. Very cool. Thanks.

      I will donate! Please keep it up.

    16. I really like the article’s posted here on running a webserver on Mac. I’ve written some article’s (in Dutch) on running a webserver on Mac OS X.

      I was wondering if there were any good, simple, article’s about the ‘mod_rewrite’ module for Apache. I can’t get it to rewrite my URL’s … tried dozen of tutorials but no go … Greeting from The Netherlands.

    17. Great stuff here, though I am challenged by accessing my new apached server which sits behind an Airport Express. There is such a stew of information out there, that after days of trying I find myself back where I started, nowhere. Can it be done? Internet -> my airport extreme -> my mac mini/apache based web page????

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