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Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" released!
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Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" released!
I guess this would be a pretty sad group if it didn't even cover some of the major happenings (although you can always get the news elsewhere and have probably heard about it by now). Sorry for being a day late...
10.6 was released yesterday. It offers a number of improvements, although the most exciting features are small things that many people will either not use, or not see the immediate benefits of. We'll have to wait for programmers to take advantage of those technologies.
I went to the Apple store in New York City yesterday evening to purchase a family pack. Copies of Snow Leopard had been placed all around the store, and there were more sales associates around (including some who had hand-held checkout units that could process payments by credit card). However, I don't think that the store was any more or less busy than it normally is. A salesperson told me that they were very busy the night before (probably setting up), but the day hadn't been too bad.
That's in contrast to the release of 10.5 "Leopard." I bought that from my university bookstore and waited on line for its release time. An Apple representative had come to the store and they were handing out cookies, brownies, and drinks (non-alcoholic) to those of us who were waiting. The entire thing felt a lot more festive and like much of a bigger deal. There's been much less excitement over 10.6, by comparison. I suppose people only get charged up when the enhancements are in graphical features, for the most part.
I have not yet installed Snow Leopard, even though I could already make use of a number of the features that it comes with. I'm still waiting for two or three programs and drivers to become Snow Leopard-compatible.
The most exciting features of Snow Leopard for me are aspects that should allow the programs that I use heavily, to become even more useful. I'll have to wait for them to make use of those features...
As cheap as Snow Leopard is, if I weren't pre-empting the fact that programs that I use will require Snow Leopard for some really great functionality, I probably wouldn't have purchased it. Snow Leopard lays the foundation for some really amazing things to come, but from a consumer standpoint that doesn't mean much at the moment. I'd guess that around the time that 10.7 is due out, then those technologies will be coming into play more heavily. And I'd guess that 10.7 will offer some bigger changes on the user front, so it'll feel more justified.
In spite of all that, I was excited for its release, and I'm looking forward to installing it and seeing what's new.
I got the Snow Leopard Family Pack for 46 dollars after discount since my mom gets Government discount and that I need to install it on three machines, my younger sister's Unibody Macbook Pro, my Unibody Macbook Pro and my almost three year old Late 2006 Macbook Pro. I bought it last night at the Willowbook Mall Apple Store and they still have plenty copies of Snow Leopard. I have backed up my Unibody Macbook Pro since I had my college work via Firewire Target Mode using a imaging program and installed it. It took nearly 45 minutes to install, but I have to get rid of Symantec Antivirus since it was throwing error messages and incompatible with Snow Leopard and another piece of software. Also, I had to port my font I normally use with Silk manually since Application Enhancer wasn't supported with Snow Leopard and I can't stand the default font, it burns my eyes...
I have been using Snow Leopard on my old MBP a few days before I got rid of that extra partition and installed it with my bought copy on my main partition. The installation is smooth and all of my programs still work, except my Anti-virus and Application Enhancer... Also, it's alot quicker with boot times and shutdown times compared to Leopard... and it blows Windows Vista and 7 in the dust... Overall, the upgrade alone is worth 46 dollars... and highly recommended if you own Leopard and a Intel Mac.
All right, I'm really hating the new Exposé.
From a usability standpoint, it's really downgraded by the new scaling feature. Previously, activating Exposé caused your application windows to decrease in size so that all windows could be shown at once. However, the scale of each window was roughly preserved - a window twice as wide as another would still be twice as wide in Exposé. This made for a good frame of reference: we all know that iTunes is larger than a Finder window, for example, so going into Exposé you could more easily know what to look for based on the size.
Unfortunately, the scaling completely removes that frame of reference. Now iTunes and a Finder window are roughly the same size, and you're forced to examine the contents within each window pane to figure out which one you wanted. Yet this becomes very tricky, because very large windows shrink down by quite a bit and it becomes even harder to discern what's in them. One nice usability feature that's been added in is "quicklook" - allowing you to quickly bring an Exposé window up to its full size by hovering over it and hitting the spacebar - yet this is still far inferior to the old Exposé, which required virtually no time and no thought process to pick out which window you wanted.
I largely activated Exposé through hotcorners. My upper right corner was for all applications, and the lower right was for the active application. Combined with a very fast mouse speed, I was very used to hitting those two corners regularly to sift between windows. It's now very difficult. I get the impression that this new Exposé was designed based around people who primarily used the Dock (which I keep hidden and have traditionally used only for launching programs). It's not only that Exposé can now be activated through the Dock, but also that the application-specific Exposé no longer brings all of the windows to the forefront (which it used to). A Dock navigator wouldn't have a use for that feature, because just clicking the program in the dock would bring all of its windows to the forefront.
It makes me realize how much I used and relied on Exposé, and I sort of wish that I could downgrade to OSX 10.5 effortlessly to retain that functionality. It seems that many people dislike the new Exposé. When Apple updates their Mac OS X feedback page to include 10.6, I will certainly express my displeasure and request that they at least give us the option to return to the old Exposé style. If enough people request it, hopefully they will add it back.
If you want to provide feedback on it as well, please head to
and share your thoughts.
Finally, the aesthetics behind Exposé are a bit poor. It used to be that hovering over a window would highlight it (the color would be based on your system's highlighting color). In 10.6, the window is simply highlighted around the edges. I don't actually care about this aspect too much (although many people feel that the highlighting color is ugly and out of place), but I think that the highlighting is less effective than the shading.
I just discovered another thing that I dislike about it - either form of Exposé brings up the Dock, and for the application-specific form it'll highlight which application you're putting through Exposé. That further cuts screen real estate for Exposé to use, further cramping things. It's also totally unnecessary.
Yes, very displeased with that indeed.
Knowing them, Apple is bound to have a option to change it like they did with Leopard 10.5.2 update with the ability to turn off menu transparency on the menu bar...
The change with the highlighting is primarily because the title of the window is moved so you don't have to show it which is a bit more useful... but I don't mind the new Expose, although it's still better than Flip3D on Vista... It's either you love it or hate it...
However, I love the new Stacks with the grid... No longer I need to use Overflow just to easily launch another program.
Another gripe is although Cisco VPN is now integrated with Snow Leopard, so I can connect to my University's VPN network without using a extra, ugly Cisco VPN client... they left out IPSEC over UDP and only having TCP support only... Great going... Apple...
Also, installing Bootcamp 3.0 drivers broke MacDrive 7 support since Bootcamp have HFS+ read only support, but I fixed that with a simple repair install.
Another odd thing is that Snow Leopard caused me not to be able to connect to my campus wireless network and let me log in, but it was a simple fix by removing the DNS entries.
Otherwise, Snow Leopard is great and haven't ran into any compatibility problem except APE and Symantec Antivirus... and have been using it for several days, but I did got a kernel panic when I was shutting down my computer, but it gone away.
I hope it comes sooner than the 10.6.2 release! It's really nearly unusable for me, and I've heard from a few others who despise it as well. If your windows don't change much or if you don't have many open at a time then it isn't too bad, but otherwise... yuch.
I always had an Applications stack (but made with custom aliases, rather than pointing to my full Application folder). I have mixed feelings about the new Stacks. Navigating through folders without leaving stacks is awesome, but the grid view used to be able to display more icons than it can now. My "applications stack" has enough icons that I have to scroll through it slightly, yet few enough that on Leopard they could all be displayed without a problem. It's not a huge issue though.
VPN works nicely for me, I like not having to load up the Cisco VPN client each time and keep it running in the background. What do you need UDP for?
Overall, programs are running slower on Snow Leopard than they were on Leopard, for me. The OS itself is a bit faster (mainly on the shutdown). It's workable, but I won't upgrade my fiancee's computer for now, and will recommend the rest of my family to keep away. Once programs optimize for 10.6 (or perhaps, once Apple make some internal fixes that speed programs up again) then I'll recommend it.
In truth, if there were a really easy way to downgrade, I probably would have (the Exposé thing just drives me crazy, and the slowdowns aren't really compelling either). Unfortunately there's no easy way to do it - 10.6 makes Time Machine unreadable to 10.5 systems, or so I hear, so I can't even do it that way. Manually reinstalling isn't worth it. I'll tough it out and hope that 10.6.1 comes soon and brings around some nice advancements. I'm still good enough with computers that I don't mind being "cutting edge" and looking forward to these updates that fix things...
Another problem I'm getting is when I shut down my computer, I got a Kernel Panic, which isn't a big deal since I have already shut down all the applications...
It was wise to make a full image backup using a program like Carbon Copy Cloner so you can restore back to the way it was without worrying about Time Machine backups being unreadable in 10.5. I have done that with my Macbook Pro before upgrading.
I use SuperDuper! personally, however as I see it that's only really a viable option for when things fail right after installation or when there are clearly problems from the outset. Test-drive the OS for a week and you've likely modified dozens of files; if you use an offline email client like I do, then you have loads of communications, as well. To hunt down the files you've changed, back those up, restore from your huge backup, and then go and replace the old files with the new ones would be... a big pain. Which is why Time Machine was such a nice idea. It's just too bad that it doesn't work going backwards with Apple's own software (which makes sense, in some ways).
From what I hear, 10.6.1 should be due out relatively soon. Most of the fixes seem rather practical and will help a number of people, but none of the issues resolved look like they impact me directly. Oh well - things aren't terrible, I just really miss the old Expose more than anything.
10.6.1 is now released and it's weighs 76 MB, a very light download compared to the big downloads in Leopard.
I still recommend holding off on the upgrade to people who haven't already. I've had some weird Finder lagginess when virtualizing Windows (admittedly I'm beta-testing for VMWare, so that may or may not have something to do with it) and under some other isolated conditions... other programs are still catching up, as well.
I had no problems with 10.5.0, aside for with some new features that weren't included in 10.4 (stereo audio over Bluetooth was a big one that wasn't fully resolved until around 10.5.4). 10.5.8 was fantastic for me; 10.6.0 didn't offer much new that could be made use of just yet and by comparison has been a few steps back. I'll probably force myself to be responsible when 10.7 is released and not be an early adopter (assuming 10.6 reaches a fantastic working state like 10.5 did).
Looking forward to future updates...
Whoops... That might be a bad sign since I installed the update... Anyways, I don't use Finder since it's not powerful enough and don't like it as much. I use a Finder replacement called Path Finder for years now and I will still be using it, even if Snow Leopard have a Finder rewritten in cocoa.
Compared to 10.6, 10.5 have alot of problems when it first came out which is why I pretty much held off until 10.5.2 to install Leopard, but I had problems installing because of the stupid Application Enhancer which forced me to reinstall. I early adopted Snow Leopard before it released (but I got my legal Family Pack copy on launch day) and I had relatively no compatibility problems besides the ones mentioned earlier.
Parallels Desktop 4 is what I use on the older Macbook Pro and have no issues with it, but there was a Snow Leopard update, so I installed it and still worked the same with no issues.
Sorry, 10.6.1 was fine, I meant the upgrade from 10.5 to 10.6. I know that a lot of people declare that they'll hold off on a major point release (10.x+1) until it hits 10.x.1, 2, or 3. 10.6.1 didn't really make for a massive improvement over 10.6.0, in my opinion, so if you're still on 10.4 or 10.5 and don't absolutely need a feature on 10.6, keep on waiting.
A co-worker recommended Path Finder to me. It looks nice, but the cost of a bit much for me. I'm not an ultra-heavy finder user, I suppose, so while the features look good they aren't something critical for me, or something that I could appreciate more than a few times per week. Given that it's around $40 (one of the more expensive non-Apple Mac applications I've seen)... I can't justify it at the moment.
Yes, I regret doing a direct upgrade of Snow Leopard on my Unibody since it started to kernel panic while I was looking at my Accounting Powerpoint slides while the teacher was talking. I realized that a old version of VirtualBox was causing the problem and uninstalled it. This was the case with 10.6 and 10.6.1...
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