Apple’s latest cat, should I adopt it?
This is a Guest Post from Steph Reinstein, who has been a fantastic commenter on my blog, helping answer loads of questions related to all stuff Apple. Steph takes us inside his latest Apple Journey, upgrading to Snow Leopard. Enjoy. Please feel free to leave comments, and I’m sure Steph will gladly answer.
Apple released their latest software offering, OS X Snow Leopard, towards the end August, and I thought I would give you my personal review of this fantastic piece of software.
Apple has branded this upgrade as “evolutionary not revolutionary” and that is what is waiting for you.
New exposé & Stacks
I have always been a big fan of exposé and it just got so much better. You can now quit apps, quick preview windows, see all windows open of a specific app, all with a quick Cmd + Tab. It can now be activated on newer Macbook & Macbook Pro with a 4 fingers gesture on the touchpad, and you can also now browse inside folders in stacks(this used to be a big annoyance for me, not being able to do so)
It is clear to me that SL has been taking in account the much rumoured Tablet Mac. The way exposé behave now is so “finger friendly” and it seems that Apple have learned from the Newton fiasco, and is making sure that the OS is ready for the hardware.
All Intel Core 2 Duo Macs are 64 bit capable, but unless you are a proud owner of one of the newer Macbook Pro, Mac Pro, iMac (roughly 2008 onward), your kernel will boot in 32 bit. However even in a 32 bit kernel, 64 bit apps will refer to RAM faster and you will see a marked improvement. Apart from the DVD player, all Apple apps that come with SL are now 64 bit.
Grand Central Dispatch
It takes out the onus of the developer to thread tasks to different cores of the CPU. In other words, the OS will now maximise the CPU cores it uses. Not much in there for the end user, perhaps a faster app, but to the devs a huge time gain if they do address multi-core processes.
After a bit of a facelift, I think I will give it another shot now that the “PRO” version has disappeared. But the smokey theme makes it look like a non Apple app, very strange.
Previously, most of the time when Safari crashed, it was due to plug-in. You are now able to carry on browsing even when Safari has detected an error on the page.
Finally, you can now get rid of Entourage (Microsoft is doing it for you anyway) and the long awaited Exchange support is built in.
The less visible features
Finally, Eject – actually ejects … the device will become grey while doing so, but now at least you know something is happening
Malware scanner – Only scans for two known worms, and only from downloaded files. Anything on a thumb-drive, USB disk, NAS, network won’t be scanned.
Preview – Is becoming slowly a full featured app with tools.
No more groggy Mac – with a much improved faster wake up time from sleep.
Space saver – After my SL upgrade a save a healthy 6.2 Gigs on my machine.
The services menu – after a few years of installing and deleting apps my services menu has grown ridiculously big and obsolete. It seems it has gone through a bit of a crash diet now!
Print drivers are now also updated via the Software Update.
Battery Monitoring- ALT+click the battery icon and it will tell you when it is time to spend R1,5K for a new one
Better Wifi – Faster reconnect, ALT+click gives you more info
Should I Upgrade?
The improved features are worthwhile, and I am a bit vain in that matter… If I can afford it I like to have the latest …
The pricing of the upgrade is very attractive (R329.00) The most annoying part of my upgrade was actually Sandton traffic to get to the iStore.
I heard reports that the DVD will upgrade from Tiger as well, but I can not confirm that.
It is an Intel only club .. Older machine are unwelcome
Incompatible software – This is a biggie to not upgrade or to wait.
Apple has caught many developers by surprise with the early release of SL. There is a list on Apple website of software that will not run in their current version work on SL –http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3258
The big one for SA customers would be the software provided by Vodacom & MTN for their Datacards (VMC, etc.): they are made by Novamedia, and are basically a branded version of Launch2net, which has not been upgraded to the latest version yet. If you use the Vodacom or MTN MAc software, you may want to hang on a bit before upgrading to Snow Leopard
Plaxo plug-in, Growlmail, forklift, 1password are also incompatible at the moment. 1 Password & Forklift have however released early betas to overcome this issue.
UPDATE : Applejack is not yet compatible with SL.
I hope you take the plunge and upgrade to what seems to be a revolutionalry upgrade from Apple. Please feel free to comment,ask questions. I will try my best to answer them promptly.