18 April 2013

[liff] OS Upgrade: Striding Boldly Into The Brave New World Of 2009

2925.I've cowboy'd up, put on my big-boy pants, got up the gumption, and finally upgraded my iMac to … Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

Stop laughing.

Seriously, there were a lot of potential pitfalls here. Before I was working with this machine, I was working (most of the time very happily) with a PowerMac G4 from 2004. That was one sweet machine, and stylish, too. And I've always loved Mac OS X, not because it was Apple, so much, but because it was Unix (Darwin, so to say) at its heart.

Despite unnerving years of experience with Windows, I still have no clear idea of what's going on under the hood there. It's a scary place.

But still, as I said, there were pitfalls. For one, the vintage of my current machine. Not the oldest out there, but a Mid-2007 (built the third week of August, to be as precise as I need to), which is supposed to support up to Mountain Lion. Still, I worried. I seem to be a little snakebit on such things; I have known failure on things that were guaranteed to work. Or maybe it's just my 'worst case scenario' way of thinking; I was sure that, since it was me we were talking about, despite having a machine that was nominally supposed to support it, I would spend the 20 bucks on getting Snow Leopard only to have it spit the DVD-ROM right back out.

It ain't easy bein' me.

I also heard many reports about how Creative Suite 4 didn't run completely well under Snow Leopard. I don't use those apps as often as I want to, but when I need them I need them. In some phases of my life, I guess you'd call them mission critical.

But when your OS is about 4 versions back on the type of Firefox it'll support, it's clearly time to do something. So I ordered.

It sure is cheaper than it used to be. A lot of the upgrade experience is moving away from the monumental thing it used to be, and I guess here is where I show of that I'm moving into the sort of person who feels his POV is a bit 'old fashioned'. I remember getting OS X 10.3, Panther, and it was in a big box typical of what I expected computer software to be in. You had something to hold. The upgrade to 10.4 (Tiger) was in a much smaller box but still had some heft. Upgrading to 10.5 (Leopard) happened because it came installed on the computer I bought from PowerMax. Now it's 10.6 time.

Man, that box is small. I mean, it could hold a box set of The Essential Starland Vocal Band and have room left over for the The Essential Terry Jacks. Yeah. That's small. And I know it's getting smaller yet; you don't even have any boxes to hold when you get 10.7 and  10.8, but … no, not yet.

At least you aren't paying $100 a pop for a complete OS. That's something.

So, I put in the disk and we go to work. Whoop … cancel the install. Almost forgot to put in Rosetta. No Rosetta, no FontLab Studio 5, no Photoshop droplets (isn't that strange).

An hour later (the computer did not spit out the disk, yay!), we're upgraded. Even that experience is attenuated … just a progress bar. No status messages. Just "yeah, it's working. Chill." And, at the end of that hour, I'm logging into my iMac and I'm running 10.6.3 and it's pretty sweet. Though the first runs of the apps under the new regime take a hella long time to initiate. After that, though, pretty smooth.

I'd say the neatest thing about 10.6 is the thing they call "Grand Central Dispatch", which finally makes efficient use of the Intel Core Duo 2 processor. I keep an Activity Monitor live icon in the dock with CPU performance graphs. I've never seen them more equally-loaded. I've noticed better performance. All my apps run. I'm so far satisfied.

10.7 is down the road a bit. Loss of Rosetta means I'll have to give up using apps that I'm not ready to give up yet. But 10.6 is doing for me what I need it to do; keeping me connected and using all the stuff I want to use, and allowing me to use updated browsers and Flash content. So, now, I'm happy.

Welcome to 2009, my mid-2007 iMac. Nice to be here.

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