I finally made a computer purchase at the right time. My recent MacBook Pro purchase allowed me to take advantage of the Apple Up-To-Date Program, and purchase a copy of Snow Leopard (SL), OS X 10.6 for only $9.99 instead of the advertised $29.99. $20 saved is $20 earned, I always say. What is all the ballyhoo about SL you ask? Isn’t this just an incremental update? The answer, in a word is “NO!”

For me, it boils down to a few simple things:

  1. 64-bit processing – The analogy can be made that we are going from a 4-cylinder engine to an 8-cylinder engine. OS X is finally catching up with the hardware and running in a faster, more efficient manner. Finder operations feel snappier and more responsive, items draw faster on the screen, programs launch and run faster (when updated to 64-bit of course). Working on your Mac just got a little nicer.
  2. Smaller Footprint – unlike the car analogy above, you aren’t loosing space in your car with the bigger engine or getting worse gas mileage. Quite the opposite, in fact. SL takes approximately half of the installation footprint than Leopard does – quite an achievement. Now you add even more music, games and video to your computer’s hard drive – or even work files.
  3. Intel Only – Well, many of you already have an Intel Mac. Go get a copy of SL. For G5 and earlier machines, you seriously have to consider whether to upgrade. Leopard 10.5 still runs and runs well and you know all the apps that currently run on it, will still run on it. G5 owners may want to still hold out a bit. For older machine users, now would be a great time to invest in a new Mac.

After recently installing SL on my machine, here are my findings thus far:

Install took about 45 minutes. Popped in the DVD and double-clicked and away it went, even less painful than the typically easy Mac OS install. Let’s not compare it to Windows…

I had already been monitoring the state of my apps for compatibility with SL using versiontracker.com to look for updates, and had already installed many free updates to my commercial and shareware applications. You do use Versiontracker, don’t you? So I wasn’t expecting many issues. But there were some.

Please note that Apple released SL a tiny bit earlier than developers thought they would and were caught with their programming pants down. However, I applaud them for not pushing out a fix before they are fully tested. Nothing like a patch that doesn’t work.

Application Enhancer (APE) from unsanity.com does not run on SL and therefore the following APE-based software wouldn’t either – FruitMenu, FontCard and IceCoffee. I use FruitMenu a lot as well as IceCoffee. FontCard is becoming less of an issue as applications build their own font menus better. They are working on an update.

Microsoft AU Daemon installed as a startup item with Office 2004 cued SL to install Rosetta. I thought maybe that wouldn’t be necessary so I uninstalled it. Found a newer version for Office 2008 on the Mactopia site, but it said the same thing. No great loss here, since I can use OpenOffice.

For those using Elgato’s EyeTV and one of their hardware video devices, there is a nice little app to automatically find commercials in a program and mark them for you called ComSkipper. I needed to update that from the Google Code site. Poof! All better.

My Epson Artisan 800 wouldn’t print after installing SL. There is a new printer architecture that polls the internet for updated drivers. That’s fine, but it seems to break the currently installed driver, at least for this model/brand. I just deleted the printer in the System Preferences under Printers & Fax and re-added it. Works fine now. Whoa! And the scanning functionality is built right into the printer queue. Nice!

I use Apple’s Remote Desktop software to access several of my clients’ systems. It had to perform some strange installation/update witchery at the beginning, but afterwards behaved as normal.

Leister Productions’ Reunion 9 genealogy (family tree) software required an upgrade that they were quick to contact owners about. It was also mentioned on Versiontracker. Downloaded the update the next day. Nice. These guys were one of two companies I know to contact their owners directly. Kudos!

The only money I had to pay was for Agile Web Solutions’ beta 3.0 update to 1Password. I think they were planning the update anyway and got caught with several other developers with the early SL release, so they offered an Early Bird upgrade discount of $19.99 which is $10 more than what I paid for SL, lol. Not bad, considering.

RapidWeaver 4.2.3 does not work, they have a beta release of 4.3 available in their forums.

Vertical Moon’s SWF ‘n Slide Pro needed an update found here. And I needed to re-enter the serial numbers for each application (SWF Lock & Load and Text-Osterone). Annoying.

Quicken 2007 needed Rosetta, and not sure what to do here, I do use it but not sure I want to continue using it. I might try using iBank.

The utility Cocktail does not work with SL.

Discus labeling printing software, version 3.16 required Rosetta. They are currently on 4.23 and while they say it’s compatible with Leopard, they don’t mention SL. My version is an older piece of software anyway and I currently use Disc Cover 2.

The cell phone utility FoneLink requires an update not yet available.

This is a work in progress, so I don’t want to keep adding to it forever. That’s your job. Feel free to add your Snow Leopard experiences here.

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