Mac Power Users 465: The Mighty Mac mini


Thank you!!! I didn’t know there were stats on date saved & served from the content cache :nerd_face:


Really liked the spotlight on content cache; cool feature I had never heard of.

Major props for one of the hosts mentioning how ludicrous apple’s pricing on ram and ssd’s are. Their cpu price upgrades are a somewhat reasonable “apple tax” but there’s no way to justify an extra $600 each for going from 8GB ram -> 32 GB ram and 256GB ssd -> 1TB ssd. Asinine prices.


Even though I already have a Mini (2014) that is set up as my home server (3 Drobos hanging off it to provide my main server data store as well as backup locations for clones of every thing else), I still enjoyed the show and there were some useful tips…and I always like to hear how other people are making us of their tech as well.

One thing I was thinking about though. Stephen talked about having a Mini co-located via MacStadium, backed up via TimeMachine and BackBlaze, and accessible to RelayFM podcasters via shared DropBox.

My understanding is that for Dropbox to be active the user must be logged in. Perhaps that is not the case, and Dropbox will run even when no one is logged in. Does anyone know offhand?

I also assumed that BackBlaze was also something that only ran for a logged in user, but again I may be wrong about that.

If I am wrong about both, and Dropbox and BackBlaze are active for a user who has set them up even if not logged in, then it makes sense to just boot up a remote Mini and these processes will be functional.

However, if you have to be logged in for these services to work, then the remote Mini must be set up to either auto log in on boot (yes, if you manually reboot you could then remote in and log in, but if there is an “unscheduled” reboot your system would be down until someone noticed and you were notified to remote in and log in). I assume that Stephen / RelayFM have something set up in that case to automatically go to a locked screen after auto log in on boot for security purposes - not that I have a reason not to trust anyone at MacStadium, but just in general if I were setting up a remote server I would want to ensure I controlled access to it as a matter of good practice.

As I think about it, I wonder if Hazel, Carbon Copy Cloner, etc will operate when no one is logged in? My Mini does serve files and you don’t need to be logged in for that, but it also does processing via Hazel, backs up via Arq to BackBlaze B2, has open to run rules (as was discussed in the podcast), etc, and so I have it set up to auto log in on boot. However, since it sits in my home office I am less worried about it, and it does go to a lock screen in a few minutes anyway.

Just a few thoughts…


You have to be logged in but don’t have to be the active account, if that makes sense. So two users could be logged in and both be updating.

That’s how I understand it anyway.


You are correct that Dropbox and Backblaze need a logged-in user to work.

I have a MacStadium Mac as well, and my Mini is set to auto-login. Bottom line: MacStadium has physical access to my Mini (and you can’t use FileVault on a remote mini) so if they wanted to get in, they could. That’s a risk I’ve decided to accept.

You can make auto-login somewhat safer using the techniques I’ve described here: Automatic Auto Login which basically involves using launchd to send the user back to the login screen as soon as the auto-login happens.

The other option is to use launchd to send a notification when the system boots, which can be done even without logging in if you use something like and tell you that you need to log in.