Monday, 29 October 2007

Leopard purring

In a strange courtship with fate, I installed Leopard last Sunday, three days before travelling to Japan. I am delighted to say that in many ways the transition is seamless. Time Machine, the new incremental backup and snapshot application is a major feature, ideal if you have a spare unformatted [large] hard drive. The appearance is more modern for aspects of the finder and general GUI - translucent headers, an organisational folder structure like the recent versions of iTunes, some new icons, etc. While it is quite slick, it is also slightly less invisible and Zen. I liked the immaculate simplicity of the 10.4 OSX interface and there are more 'words' on the finder interface now. Textual explanations for everything are very trademark Windows. Best left for the non-visually minded. I have to say that in general, I am impressed that there were very few 'flops' that marred the experience. The things that have been affected include: (1) external sound interfaces don't work [very problematic but hopefully remedied by the time I stop travelling], (2) all printers, virtual and otherwise, ceased to exist and must be found again on networks or, in the case of USB printers, are recognised when plugged in. This is a little tedious for my workplace where all printers are network printers and need to be rediscovered. (3) VPN (Virtual Private Networking) for secure conduit into work no longer functioned until I installed a newer version of the Cisco VPN client but that seemed to do the trick with greater stability than before and curing all other Mail woes connecting with an Exchange server (previously bumpy). (4) The new OS brings new Safari version with moveable tabs and smoother execution of certain other things, ability to cut parts into widgets and Mail app, a new version of the Mail app with stationery (just what you need, right?) and as a consequence of the updated Safari, hacks to my widget's JS code needed to be re-made. If you have an iPhone, you will recognise that some of the dock and other 10.5 GUI appearance changes are shared with the slimmed down version of OSX running on the touch-screen iPhone. These include the new-look System Preferences, changed network setup (old is still there under Advanced tab) and calendar navigation. In conclusion, the Leopard is purring nicely. Nice = little trauma to user. Though the 300 system tweaks alleged by Apple are not so easy to spot. Only 4 scratches against 296 purrs: well done Apple.