Thursday, September 03, 2009

Snow Leopard

The new Macintosh Operating System, Mac OS X 10.6 also known as “Snow Leopard,” shipped last week (friday August 28th) but I didn't receive it until monday (August 31st).

In preparation for the update, following some recommendations, I had already made sure last week that my Time Machine backup was up-to-date and that every other devices linked to my Mac (A-TV, iPod) had been properly synced. I had also verified my hard drive, repaired permissions and did a little cleaning (getting rid of a few unused or older apps). Just to make really sure I could easily recover from any problems, I had also purchased an extra 320Gb hard drive that was used to clone the HD of my iMac.

(More after the jump)

I've spend all monday night installing Snow Leopard. It really took most of the evening, so I watched TV while it was installing. I then spend a couple of hours checking the computer for changes and problems. I already knew by reading the tech news that some apps would not work and that most of the changes would be invisible, but I couldn't help to feel disappointed. I am glad that I paid only $35 CND ($29.95 US) for this upgrade and somewhat I don't regret getting it. The OS was almost entirely rewritten so it is faster and lighter, but the speed increase is not really noticeable. And all the improvements (on the visual appearance, on the performance or the added fonctionnality) are rather small. Overall, it is mostly the same than Leopard, but better. However, there's no new fonctions that make me exclaim in joy and the new OS generates several problems. It is far from the crisis that I experienced when installing Mac OS 6 and 7, but still those little problems end up being quite an annoyance.

Here's a quick list of the problems that I experienced:
  • Norton Anti-Virus 11.0.2 is broken.
  • Mail app is behaving strangely.
  • iCal cannot publish Calendars anymore.

For Norton Anti-Virus there is nothing I can do but wait for Symantec to released an updated version that fixes the bug. However, I am amazed that such a big company, who is handling the security for so many people's computer, would let a problem like this happen. It is true that Snow Leopard was released ealier than expected, but the OS was seeded to developpers several months ago for them to test it and make sure their softwares would still work properly after the update. Clearly, Symantec has failed us. According to their forum, NAV 11.0.3 update should be available around mid-September...

After installing Snow Leopard, one of my mail server was at first not responding, but it worked after a while. Then I noticed that some emails were not appearing where they should in the email's list of the Mail app. I first thought “well, I have lots of emails—in fact two years worth of emails—so it might be a little heavy fo the app and cause it to be slow and behave strangely.” Therefore I decided to backup and eliminate most of the older emails. First, I archived and zipped all my mailboxes (so I could re-import them later if necessary). Then I also upgraded Mail Steward 7.9.8 to 8.2.5 (at the cost of $20) to archive all my mailboxes in a way that would be searchable. Finally, I deleted all my old emails. I thought it did the trick, but I recently noticed that some emails are still sometime not listed, but they reappear if I refresh the window. I haven't seen that problem mentioned by anyone else (someone did mention problems with the Mail app but it seems to be a different bug). It is not too much of a problem, but it is annoying and hopefully it will be corrected in a future update.

After installing Snow Leopard, I also noticed that my exported iCal calendar were not working anymore. I was getting a “calendar cannot be found” error message from MobileMe. According to the tech news sites, a bug seems to prevent calendars with all-day events to be properly published. After searching the web, I found a work-around using iCal Exchange to publish the calendar on Google Calendar instead. On the Apple forums, someone suggest that switching iCal from 64-bit to 32-bit mode will temporarily fix the problem. I haven't tried this fix yet and I am rather waiting for an Apple update.

Finally, some of the applications that I am currently using are still PowerPC apps. For some, I've found updated version for Intel Macs, but for a few apps there are no Intel or Universal version. For some there is simply no alternative than continue to use Rosetta (ReadIris Pro 11 for example) and for others I will have to consider purchasing alternative softwares (for example: updating Toast 6 Titanium with Roxio Toast 10 for $80, or replacing Appleworks 6 with Bento 2 for about $50).

Update: On September 9th, in Apple “It's Only Rock and Roll” event, Steve Job announced iTunes 9, new iPod models and the iPhone / iPod Touch OS 3.1.1. Similarly to Snow Leopard, the free iPod Touch OS update is bringing just a few disappointing improvements and, according to some, a few problems. In my case, the iPod seems to have batteries problem recently. Goes from fully charged to nearly empty so it shuts down and is unable to reboot until it's recharged. Annoying.

Update: On September 10th, Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.1 but it doesn't seem to fix any of my problems. Hopefully it will come with the next update.

Update: On September 16th, the Symantec forum announces the release of NAV 11.0.3. I ran LiveUpdate immediately and after a longer than usual download, NAV installs and request a reboot. It now seems to work. They announced another update, 11.1, for late October.

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