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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hello, Leopard!

Two Weeks! That's how long it took to migrate from Tiger 10.4.11 to Leopard 10.5.1. And no, it wasn't Apple's fault.

My road to leopard began when apple kept sending all those email about Leopard demonstrations coming to a Mall near me. I had already decided not to move rapidly to Leopard because I argued the down time it would take to backup every piece of data was just a bit rich for my taste. Since I've been running FileVault (encrypted file system) for the good part of 2 years, my mac needed some extra tender loving care, what with all the horror stories about FileVault being an issue with Leopard upgrades. But i was weak! a quick trip to the nearest Apple reseller and boom! I was a happy man, rushing to get back to my mac and transform it from Tiger-strips to Leopard-spots.

Sliding the dvd to my slot drive, a minute or so and my superdrive coughed out the Leopard
like me eating some really bad sandwich. That was the part where I got to say, "Houston, we have a problem." Mounting the dvd on my Linux server revealed that indeed the media could be read, though it only showed the boot camp parts of the install. The odds were quickly moving to hardware failure and not bad media. A quick call to the reseller and they quickly responded if i could take the Mac in for some differential diagnosis. It wasn't like i could pry the machine apart myself.

Being fourth in line to be served while the local resident genius solves other problems can be nerve wrecking. You think of all sorts of things that could be wrong and hoping that the problem was simple as bad media. After all, i tried loading my tiger dvd and it still mounted. It was a good half an hour before I finally got served. The Genius popped in all sort of dvds, including his copy of leopard and my copy of tiger. my mac threw them all out.

This is the part where I thank my foresight to buy AppleCare. My mac is nearly 2 years old, been with me at the hospital while I was sick (had it smuggled in). It goes were I go and she hasn't acted up or anything like that. I was surprised that it was a broken dvd drive. the boys and girls from the reseller took my mac in, and promised she'll be all nice and better after 2 weeks. fourteen days later, my mac was coming home with me.

Fourteen days without the Mac was like taking a fourteen day vacation in hell. I was stuck using the home Linux box, which is basically used as my home-server, and family computer. I built it using gentoo Linux and it works great as an AFP (apple filesharing protocol) server and as a NFS box. It was like being a druggy on withdrawal symptom. For instance, what was I to do without QuickSilver? Oh, sure KDE offered katapult as a QuickSilver-like app but it wasn't the same. And what was I to do without iTunes and podcasts? for those fourteen dark days, I was relegated to listening to Twit for instance, streamed via the web. my ipod of course could not be sync'd with my Linux box.

Vacation was over. Nevermore my Mac was back! A quick trip to the reseller and I got the mac back home. applecare took care of everything and for someone who has been fixing his own computer since the old age of 10, it was a nerve wracking experience letting some other person play their hands inside my machine but everything was how i left it, except the part where the drive's fixed and now accepting DVDs.

So what else was there to do but pop in the Leopard DVD? the disc mounted perfectly and once the reset button was clicked, the mac rebooted off Tiger for the last time. An hour or so later,
Leopard was booting!

First impression? It looked great!

A few people online have been disliking the new transparent menu bar. it isn't so bad. it's not intrusive at all. it changes really with the wallpaper and my wallpaper settings is a folder filled with images from people i know to hot babes to comic book covers that i like.

The dock is nice with the 3d look. a number of people dislike the absence of the old black tiger marking for apps that are on. It is now like a point of light under each app that's on. I don't mind it. it is all right in my book.

One of the biggest thing that i've been enjoying on Leopard is spotlight, which is spot on. in Tiger that damn thing just wasn't useful or could be used at all. I dunno if Apple had to change the lightbulb or the batteries running the thing, but Leopard's Spotlight works excellent!

I like QuickLook coverflow-like thingy on finder, very itunes, which is great. Spaces, i've been enjoying. Setting specific workplaces for things like Adium and Safari and Mail as opposed to more work related space. It is a good way to get organized.

Time Machine, I haven't tried since I don't have an external drive (my home linux box is my archive-server) but for most people, I think Time Machine would be great.
FileVault, I will not try again ever. maybe until it becomes better. It has been more trouble than it was worth while I was using it for 2 years. It slowed down system performance considerably. I'm happier now without it.

the screensaver when set to mosaic kept on crashing and for some reason, i couldn't use the screensaver now. anyway the bug report has been filed and sent apple's way. Maybe by 10.5.2 it'll be fixed.

My biggest problem with Leopard so far is the firewall. I'm just not a big fan of app-based firewalling. I know, i know, most folks don't care about that sort of stuff and can't even begin or want to wrap their brains around firewall settings, what ports tcp or udp to turn on. it makes perfect sense to go that route but darn it apple, would it have been too hard not to include an "advanced" preference page for people like me who want to set tcp/udp ports that i want open?!

From a user point of view, I don't see any noticeable difference in speed between 10.4.11 and 10.5.1. Leopard 10.5.1 is just as springy as good old Tiger with a lot new stuff. I know much of the change in Leopard isn't appreciated by the masses, like under the hood changes but the ones that people will and do notice--- the new look and feel for instance, is more than worthwhile to upgrade. Tiger had a great run. Leopard is arguably the next iteration to an already great OS! Hello, Leopard!

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