Snow Leopard – First Impressions

Well, I decided that a long weekend was the ideal time to break upgrade my computers, so rather than wait for my upgrade DVD for the iMac, or the Family pack I’d ordered from Amazon for the other two to arrive, I’d go out and see if I could get it locally. As it happened, Micro Anvika had the single user pack in their store within Fenwick’s in Newcastle, so I bought one of those at the not outrageous price of £25. I then cancelled the order from Amazon, as I won’t be needing that five computer licence. I will buy another single one from them, as it’ll be slightly cheaper that way, but that’s just a licensing formality.

Having got my DVD, and having made bootable backups of all three Macs with SuperDuper, I decided to attack the MacBook first. I don’t keep any real data on it – it’s all either stored on my iDisk or just lives on there temporarily while I work with it, so it’s the easiest to deal with if anything went wrong. I decided to give this one a full wipe and reinstall rather than a simple upgrade. This proved to be quite simple. Boot from the DVD – hold down the key people still refer to as Option, even though newer Mac keyboards label it as alt, while the computer starts, and pick the installation DVD from the selection of drives. Once the installer loads, go to the menu and run disk utility to erase the hard drive, then just start the installer.

It does what it needs to do, boots once or twice, then comes up with the familiar “Welcome” video and invites you to choose your settings. Reinstalling software was the usual fun job, with most things behaving themselves nicely. The only exceptions so far are WideMail, which I find makes’s interface more useful, but which is not yet compatible, and PTHPasteboard, which won’t install[1] on the grounds that it wants at least version 10.4 of MacOS X, and I’m running 10.6[2]. I’ve replaced it with the free Jumpcut, which isn’t as sophisticated, but seems to do what I need.

Apart from that, the MacBook seems perfectly happy. As has been widely reported, this isn’t a massive dramatic upgrade, but it does make things a wee bit quicker.

I gave the Mac Mini an upgrade. This is even easier, as you can start the process from a running computer. It upgrades the OS, reboots and after muttering to itself a bit, comes back to life in a newer and shinier form.

I’ll probably go for the upgrade option on the iMac, too. I’ve already upgraded iBank to the new version that I’ll need, replaced PTHPasteboard with Jumpcut, and everything else should be fine.

[1] Though it appears to still work on the Mac Mini after upgrading to Snow Leopard
[2] So, no maths prizes there. The website for the app currently consists of a statement that the app is no longer sold because of “Snow Leopard issues”

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