Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

This was passed on to me by a friend, and as a way of wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving, I decided to pass it on to you. Go to the link, sit back, and watch the video. Enjoy!

As a side note, Apple is choosing to close its Agents program at the end of the year. I am trying to determine if they are still offering the discounts until then, so as soon as I hear I will let you all know. But in the meantime, if you are planning to get any hardware in the near future, and I can still swing the discounts, make plans to purchase soon.

Thanks for your support!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Double-Double Vision

Leopard transition, part 2. Here are some further things I have found from my recent switchover:

My USB modem didn't automatically get set up during the conversion even though it was already setup in Tiger. No option to Answer Now unless Receive Faxes is on – you just have to set the ring count to a high number and use the Answer Now feature in the Menubar. Not sure if this was a problem in Tiger.

Suitcase Fusion refuses to hide on Launch, which it always has done on my system. But now I sometimes have a little trouble making it hide using the keyboard command or the menu item. Plus, I found a tech note on Extensis saying that you need to disable Font Book's auto font activation (new in Leopard) in Font Book's preferences for Suitcase Fusion to function properly.

Annoying delays in Mail and other apps that have been plaguing me in Tiger are gone in Leopard, huzzah! A cool new feature for Mail is that dates in messages are smart linked to iCal events, so you just hover the mouse over the date and you can click, edit and add your event to your calendar of choice. The Note feature I mentioned earlier is handy, but cutting and pasting from it to other apps is sometimes problematic. Either it doesn't work or it tries to maintain it's internal formatting.

I cannot seem to access my networked PC anymore. Or rather, I can see the files in the Shared Folder, but I don't have privileges to put files into it. Errr. And I did nothing to change that. It appears that I can only connect as Guest even though I try to sign in as the owner.

The Print Center no longer is a separate application but folded into the Printers & Faxes Preferences Pane. Go there to add/configure new printers, faxes or modems. This isn't bad, just different.

Apple Updates now works like Windows! Actually, not a bad idea. Apple downloads and sets up the install, and if it needs to restart the system, and you say yes, then it closes everything down and then installs the software, prior to rebooting. Should make installs less likely to encounter problems.

Web Clips. I made my very own Widget last week. Easy. Of course, I had to make it hard on my self, but you don't have to. Just go to a web page where you have info that you see on a regular basis – stocks, movie listings, cartoon strips, etc. Then click on the Web Clip icon in Safari, use it like a screen shot tool and drag a square around the info then click inside or hit return. Pick a frame and voila! it shows up in Dashboard as a bona-fide Widget. It auto updates itself every time you go into Dashboard.

So currently, my verdict is: Leopard will not stop you from completing your daily activities on your computer. In fact, there are some nice things that you will find fun and useful. But do you have to run out and buy Leopard now? Probably not. And in the end, it might be a nicer experience for you after they have ironed out some of the problems and software developers bring their apps up to speed.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Leopard – Seeing Spots

Ok, I took the plunge and pre-ordered Leopard from Amazon for $109.00. Got it a couple of days ago and ran the installer. I will say up front that I got wind of some things to be watchful for during the install, but everything seemed to work out. I have read that people recommend an Archive and Install and that makes some sense for those who want to spend the time rebuilding their system (I don't) or who are very cautious about system upgrades (I probably should be). Maybe it seemed like a smooth install because I left it running while I took the girls to their Kung Fu lesson.

(Just a word of wisdom to those whose payments are delinquent, they are both Junior Black Belts – so please pay promptly.)

Anyway, I got back to see it already rebooted and showing the Setup Assistant. Alright. Went through that and we're at the desktop. First thing it said was it needed to update my Mail database, which might take a while. About one minute later, it was done.

The only thing odd about Mail was that it distorted my email signature graphics. So I pulled the graphics to a new line and it resized them to normal. Also received one email from a client who had the same problem. (Chris, try this fix and see if it works for you.)

One thing I do like is the ability to write Notes in Mail. In fact, I am writing this blog entry in Notes as we speak. Nice. Now, if you could run it separately from Mail...

Received a warning about Jon's Phone Tools needing the key, so I pulled up the License Manager and copied and pasted into the box – uh, oh – no good. I emailed the author and found that the current version is not compatible with Leopard and he is writing a new version from the ground up. He probably should issue an email to his users.

I opened the drive and was looking in column mode and it took a couple of seconds to see each column appear as I clicked on the previous column. Very annoying. Part of that was due to the system re-indexing the drive. It has improved but is still slower than Tiger.

Later... Yup, browsing through Finder windows is definitely slower. It's amazing how aggravating waiting a couple of seconds for the next column of info to appear is.

Default Folder does not appear to be working, I will need to try a reinstall. Version 3.0.6 is supposedly compatible, and I did reinstall but need to log out and back in to see if it's working.

Later... After checking it seems as though it switched itself off automatically during the upgrade. I turned it on and it's working again. The only thing it seems not to do is "bounce back" to the last file selected, which is a feature I like.

Hmm. My RazerPro mouse is not behaving. It is acting like a one-button mouse. The driver seems to be operable but none of the other mouse functions work. Will check for updated drivers.

Later... their support board says they are writing a new driver which will be Leopard compatible. In the meantime, I have to go back to my Mighty Mouse. Wah...

Safari. Leopard brought in all my bookmarks, but they did not go to the Bookmark Bar and Bookmark Menu, they ended up in the Show All Bookmarks area. It was a simple procedure to move them where they needed to be. Still need to try some of the new features like Web Clipping.

I am wondering if my attempt at URL synchronization using BookDog was the culprit. Others I have spoken to didn't seem to have this problem.

As for Internet plugins, the only one lost was FLVR which is not supported under Leopard and the authors at Tasty Apps have released an application called Video Box that replaces it and are giving a free upgrade to FLVR owners. BTW this is a program that lets you download and convert Flash Video from web pages to your desktop. Nice for those keepsake YouTube videos.

Dreamweaver CS3's FTP capability broke in Leopard. Dang! Good thing I have Transmit, which just released a compatibility update, 3.6. It seems to work unhindered.

Later... After doing some digging, it turns out that you need to plug the IP number, not the domain, into the Remote Access address. That's a fix but not a solution. 

What else? It's been a few days and still I am impressed with how 3rd party developers are handling the transition. Transmit, DragStrip, BBEdit and SnapzX Pro have all automatically notified me of Leopard compatibility updates.

Time Machine. The biggest questions for me were – how big a drive do I need? What happens when the drive is full? The answers are – he bigger the better and Time Machine will begin to remove older files from the drive when the drive is full.

I have a 400GB external drive and a 500 internal drive that has about 370MB on it. When it attempted it's first complete backup, it told me it couldn't fit all the data on the drive, which was kind of odd, since I was able to do it with Carbon Copy Cloner. It suggested I put some files on the excluded list, which I did. It now runs smoothly and quickly in the background and doesn't disturb my work. Nice.

The reason for the larger drive is that it will just keep on making backups for as long as it has space. And for people working with larger Photoshop files or video, bigger drives are a necessity. You probably want a drive at least half again as big as your internal.

As for the auto deletion of older files my understanding would be that you would also backup important files like client jobs and such onto CD or DVD anyway, and this was just an added layer of protection. In the event of a drive failure, you want a current copy of your drive restored, so you probably wouldn't miss those files anyway.

As of this writing over 2 million copies of Leopard are already out there, and many of you have already made the leap, which has been the fastest adaption to a new Mac OS that I have ever seen. I know some of you have also started using Leopard. Please post your experiences here and maybe we can work out some issues together.