Snow Leopard: experiences and thoughts

Some thoughts and observations on Snow Leopard following my installation of the retail version:

  • Installation – Installation took about two hours to install on my MacBook Pro, whether its coincidence or not I don’t know but the fluorescent tube that lights the back of the laptop LCD went on the blink at the same time. Doing a system software update subsequently resolved this
  • Printer driver selection no longer gives you the option to do it by manufacturer, instead the software attempts to sniff out other printers connected by networks and examining logs
  • There doesn’t seem to be disk utilities on the install DVD – WTF!
  • Look and feel – overall my opinion of the look and feel of Snow Leopard is that its incrementally tidier and nicer looking. I cant put my finger on individual changes. There are some glitches however. For instance some application icons disappear when the application has been launched: this isn’t only third-party applications but also applications like iTunes. Once they’ve disappeared they don’t appear back in the dock. Right clicking on a dock icon allows you to control if the application starts up on launching, I finally have managed to stop Skype from starting up and launching as soon as I log in. There is an additional icon between the battery life and speaker volume on the tool bar at the top of the screen which is a character map or on-screen keyboard. Its easier to access than digging around in the menus, though that wasn’t too much hassle as I seldom used it – umlaut lovers rejoice
  • Application casualties – The one with the most immediate impact for me has been twitter client Nambu which launches but displays a white box instead of a window. At the present time, the latest version of Nambu that works with Snow Leopard is in private beta. I can’t remember having this much hassle with previous iterations with OS X since 10.1

Snow Leopard DVD icon

Getting down to specifics:

  • Sync services – Syncing seems to be more verbose and thorough, I am not sure why, but syncing my contacts turned out dsicrepancies that hadn’t show up with Leopard and these were displayed so I could select the right data. A change for the better
  • Mail.app – The application icon appears and disappears almost at will from the dock. HTML messages seem to render faster. I didn’t try syncing with an Exchange server, but it works fine with my two IMAP accounts. From a personal point of view, I found it a bit annoying that the Apple key + K no longer empties the trash, instead it has to be done from a menu. Apple is usually really good at looking after keyboard shortcuts, so I was surprised and found the whole disappearing key-cut experience pretty uncool
  • iTunes – regardless of whether you get Snow Leopard or not you can still benefit from iTunes 9, the main thing about that of note is being able to organise iPhone screens on your computer rather than having to drag and drop them on your phone
  • Preview – the main change I have noticed here is that the ‘Grab’ function in the file menu to ‘Take Screen Shot’ – its just a different label that does the same thing. As with a number of Apple applications it appears and disappears at will from the dock
  • iChat – I had a quick look at it but I couldn’t see any apparent change in the application
  • Quicktime has two big things that I noticed. One that the application icon has gone from an elegance that predated the aqua interface of OS X to a big clunky Q which is all Microsoft in its design. It has simple waveform trimming making basic video and audio editing easy, ideal for the Youtube generation

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