I guess I’ll come right out and say it: I’m a Mac person. It wasn’t always this way. But now I consider my Mac laptop to be one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. It was also one of the hardest. I’m frugal by nature, so I don’t really tend to spend impulsively. My Mac came with OSX Tiger installed and less than a year later, OSX Leopard was released.
Though I wanted to upgrade, my frugal side got the best of me—not a bad thing, more like unfortunate. Thankfully, Jason knows me well and got me Leopard as a birthday present. Sweet. Fast forward another two years. Again I refused to splurge and again Jason came through (it’s kind of nice having a birthday in December given that Apple seems to frequently release things in October).
Since my Mac is pretty old, I figured I’d give my perspective on how the upgrade went for me.
Not wanting to take any chances, I fired up Time Machine and started a backup. Just in case something exploded, I’d be good to go. A couple hours later, I was ready to install. I honestly don’t know if the install process could have been made any easier than it is for Snow Leopard. It was pretty much set it and forget it. The install took over an hour but I didn’t really have to do anything, though my mother hen instincts were in full effect and I checked on it every 5-10 minutes.
Some Software Quirks
I don’t use a ton of programs, but there are a couple that I swear by that were initially “broken” after upgrading. The first is Quicksilver. I visited the site and grabbed the beta download, but had no luck getting it to work. After reading a few forums I deleted the program, as well as its Application Support folder, and reinstalled the newest version. Voila! It worked, sort of.
One random thing I still can’t figure out is that launching Calculator from Quicksilver doesn’t work anymore. More accurately, launching works, but the calculator has no buttons. Launching Calculator from the Applications folder works fine, so I’m assuming it’s a kink still getting worked out with Quicksilver.
While Growl seemed to handle the upgrade completely fine, the GrowlMail plugin broke after the upgrade. Thankfully, I found an article with an interim solution. According to that article, it looks like a new version of GrowlMail has been released separately to fix the 10.6.2 compatibility problems.
Another plugin I can’t live without is the Letterbox Plugin, which converts your mail layout into three columns, making much better use of wide screen displays. I grabbed the latest public beta for Snow Leopard and all is well.
Adobe Creative Suite 3
I was pretty hesitant to upgrade because I had heard that Snow Leopard did not support CS3, but after doing a little more research it seemed like the programs would run okay. In my opinion, they seem a little “unstable,” but they do work. Dragging documents to the CS3 dock icons doesn’t seem to work consistently if the programs aren’t already running. Not a huge deal, but something to get used to.
For sake of this post, I also ran another Time Machine backup after the upgrade. It didn’t seem to go much faster, but perhaps it will get faster the more backups I do? Time will tell.
So far, I’m extremely happy with the upgrade. Since my machine doesn’t have the newest hardware, I appreciate the improvements made to speed up Finder, as well as the time it takes to wake up from sleep and shut down. The upgrade also delivers on its promise to free up hard drive space. I’m not sure exactly how much I got back, but I can tell for sure that I have more than before.
As Jason pointed out, it seemed silly when it was announced, but the “Snow Leopard” name is actually quite fitting. It’s a smaller, faster version of Leopard, just as snow leopards are a smaller, faster leopards in the animal kingdom.
Update 02/02/2010: I thought it would be worthwhile to mention that I do not have the original 2GB RAM shipped with my machine—I now have 4GB. I purchased two 2GB sticks of RAM from Crucial.com and installed it using the video instructions on lifehacker.