Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

A New Apple

Apple will be releasing their new operating system on Friday. It is OS X version 10.6 and it’s called “Snow Leopard”. Not too surprisingly, one can find many articles regarding this event online. Galen Gruman of InfoWorld’s piece, titled The 7 best features in Mac OS X Snow Leopard is a fairly typical example of them. His words are in quotes and italicized, and mine are not. snow leopard

..here are Snow Leopard’s most immediately beneficial new features and enhancements.”

1. ActiveSync and Exchange 2007 support
“Following in the footsteps of the iPhone, Snow Leopard makes these Microsoft technologies native to the OS. That means Apple’s e-mail, calendar, and contacts apps work just peachy with Exchange 2007 server, giving users the same capabilities as Microsoft Entourage but with the better-designed, less-memory-intensive apps — Mail, iCal, and Address Book — included in OS X.”
Neither I, nor anybody I know, has an Exchange Server 2007 box set up in their home. And no, I don’t think this “enhancement” is going to make Business stop using Windows workstations and replace them all with new Apple machines. (But, I could be wrong.)

2. Exposé integration in the Dock
“The Mac OS X Dock makes it easy to access applications, open documents, and common folders, a concept Windows 7 is stealing in its retooled taskbar. Open documents are even more easily accessed in Snow Leopard, thanks to the integration of Exposé. Now when you click and hold an app icon in the Dock, you get preview windows for each of its open documents, allowing you to switch easily among them or to close them, all without having to clutter your screen with document windows. I never cared much for Exposé in its traditional role (providing hot corners and shortcuts to open application windows), but I love the Dock-integrated Exposé functionality that Snow Leopard adds.”
While nice, I don’t think a computer user will find this a compelling reason to upgrade — Microsoft or Apple user. (And please note, it is he who makes theft accusations.)

3. Automatic location detection
“When you travel, it’s easy to get mixed up as to when your appointments are, since your computer is still in your “home” time zone, and you have to mentally calculate the current time when looking at the calendar or clock. Sure, you can change the time zone in the Date & Time system preference, but it’s easy to forget. So Snow Leopard changes the time zone for you automatically (if you set that as the default behavior), using Wi-Fi mapping to figure out where you are — you will need to be connected to a Wi-Fi access point or router. iCal can also be set to adjust the times to the current time zone automatically, so your calendar always reflects the current times.”
Ummm… really? Well shoot, let’s throw a parade! I cannot tell you how refreshing and welcome this news is — what with how depressing the headlines have been lately.

4. The new Preview is more like Adobe Reader
“I have nothing against Adobe Reader, but I love that Preview now can open multiple PDF documents, display their contents as contact sheets, and show thumbnails of pages in a sidebar for easy navigation. In other words, it works a lot like Adobe Reader. That’s one fewer app to launch — and since Preview loads much faster than Reader, I can get to my PDFs’ contents much faster now.”
Let’s just chalk this one up to the old Grasping At Straws Department. But this guy’s a pretty good writer…I can almost feel his excitement.

5. Movie and screencast recording
“Snow Leopard takes the formerly $35 QuickTime Pro and makes it a standard, free app in Mac OS X. That means you can record movies and — great for many marketing, education, and Web professionals — screencasts from your Mac with no additional software.”
Why is this #5? This one actually makes some sense (for some people) as the Snow Leopard upgrade costs $29*, six dollars less than this stand-alone. However, those who know me know I wouldn’t touch QuickTime with a bargeman’s pole.

6. Systemwide automatic text replacement
“Automatic text substitution as you type is nothing new; Microsoft Word has had it for more than a decade. But Snow Leopard lets you specify such substitutions via the Keyboard system preference, so you have a common set of substitutions available to all applications. Right now, only TextEdit, Mail, and various Apple apps use this common auto-text service, but if other software developers adopt it, you may finally get all your text-oriented apps to autocorrect the same way.”
Wow. Okay…

7. No more gesture segregation
“I have a late-2006 model MacBook Pro at home, and it’s frustrating that its gesture-capable trackpad supports only the first generation of touch gestures (one- and two-finger moves), not the second-generation three- and four-finger options. Snow Leopard fixes that, so gesture-capable trackpads now support all gestures, no matter what Mac model you have. (Of course, your Mac has to have a gesture-capable trackpad, so models before 2006 aren’t helped out by this update.)”
Hmmm. I manage to convey my thoughts pretty well with one-fingered gestures… And since I’m a Kallyfornyan, I sometimes offer up the two-fingered “peace” sign… But I can’t think of any three-fingered…

* Note: The $29 upgrade price is for Leopard users; if you have an older Mac OS X version, it’ll cost you $169 to upgrade. Also, 10.6 will only run on newer, Intel-based machines, and not the PowerPC architecture.

I have to disagree with Mr. Gruman’s choice of these 7 from all the improvements Apple has made to their OS; and from my comments my feeling that much of this (such as every tech site’s listing Exchange compatibility as #1 Neat New Thing) is media hype should be pretty clear. But, hey. He’s entitled to his choices, and it’s his job to write something..

Apple did do (IMHO) several things right; such as pricing it at $29. To see the full list of changes made in OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, see, http://www.apple.com/macosx/refinements/enhancements-refinements.html And then decide if an Upgrade is in your future.

Today’s free link: Snow Leopard upgrade: what’s in it for me?
This ZD/Net article has a neat chart which explains what new features will work on which Apple machines.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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August 26, 2009 - Posted by | Apple, computers, News, PC, shopping for, tech | , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. For those considering the upgrade to Snow Leopard, keep in mind it is for Intel based Mac’s only, the PowerPC has gone legacy.

    Like

    Comment by Dave Brooks | August 27, 2009 | Reply

    • Dave Brooks,
      Yes. Quite right; and I didn’t mention that fact. I will amend the article. Thank you.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | August 27, 2009 | Reply


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