Saturday, August 29, 2009

A New Cat in the House

The latest Apple OS X operating system is mainly an under the hood release focussing on stability, speed, and a smaller footprint. It completes the transition to a 64 bit system and adds more polish and refinement to the famous OS X GUI.

An hour after it arrived, I started the installation. Just past 45 minutes later, the new cat was purring on my iMac. True to the advance announcements, the system runs faster than previous versions. The installer runs on its own and installs over the old system, removing the old pieces and freeing up gigabytes of disk drive space.

The minor bumps I had were all tidied up by the next day. I had left my Time Capsule on during the install and the system lost track of it. When I noticed the lack of backups in spite of Time Machine starting up each hour, I opened the Time Machine preferences, repointed the program to Time Capsule, and logged it into the network again.

My Dashboard started acting strange and freezing at various stages. Puzzled, I slept on the problem and then tracked down the Dashboard plist file (preferences list , an XML file). I moved the file to the desktop and restarted my iMac to force the system to create a new plist. Yes! The Dashboard was back. A bit later, I was looking at the widget for backups when Time Machine started and Dashboard froze once again. Rats!

I pulled the plist file and rebooted once the backup finished. Yep, working again. This time, I opened the “Manage Widgets” panel and sure enough two widgets had a red circle bar symbol next to them. One was the Time Machine Buddy. Deleted the two and the Dashboard widgets are working fine once again.

I am waiting an upgrade from Reunion next week for my genealogy program, and a third party browser plug-in to let Quicktime play the Windows Media Player formats used by CBC. The plug-in I have won’t work with the new zippy 64 bit Safari browser. However; CBC conveniently released a free app for the iPhone, so I am using my iPod Touch as a radio while I work :-)

It is a real bonus to have an operating system that continues to improve and run faster on existing hardware - a far cry from my experience with Windows which slowed down with each new release (in some cases a release refused to install for me (98 to ME) unless I reformatted my hard drive and reinstalled everything, program by program - No thanks.)

As I pass my second anniversary of switching to a Mac, I am a very satisfied customer of Apple. Customer focus, attention to detail, and the integration of hardware and software make a huge improvement over the Windows world.

Modern Sales and Logistics

On Monday Apple announced that OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" would be released four days later on Friday August 28th, 2009.

I decided to order online and at the same time get an AC charger for my iPod. Tuesday evening, I checked my order status. The charger was ready to ship via FedEx. Wednesday the 26th I checked again and saw it had been picked up at the factory in Shenzhen, China that morning. It was clocked in a bit later in the day at Lantau Island, Hong Kong, and then arrived that afternoon in Anchorage Alaska. From there it went down to the FedEx complex in Indianapolis, Indiana. From there it came back up to Mississauga on the following morning, the 27th. And before noon it arrived at my door.

Meantime, the Snow Leopard DVD left for my house on the 27th via Purolator and next morning, the 28th, The Purolator site had tracking records up telling me it was in Toronto and been loaded on a truck just after 8 am for delivery today. Shortly before 5 pm the DVD arrived at my door. We had a new cat in the house.