Friday, November 30, 2007

Put a Leopard in your tank

All but my fellow Mac bigots can skip the rest of this post. I upgraded my Mac to OS X 10.5 today and had a few observations.

One is that the branding of the software package says “Leopard” with “10.5” in smaller print. I didn’t get the sense that this was true with Tiger (10.4), so I guess Apple has concluded that using the code name to build buzz beforehand creates a brand that’s worth using after launch.

10.5 has brought some fawning reviews but also a few noting the key omissions (notably Classic). Today’s immediate problem was the loss of NetInfo Manager.

Without NetInfo Manager, I had to solve two problems:

In our printer driver days, we used to have multiple system configurations installed (it was much easier under OS 7.x-9.x). Still, my former coworkers thought I was nuts to set up multiple configurations on my laptop — in this case, two versions of OS X and one with OS 9.

It turns out it’s already paid for itself. When my 10.4 partition died 6 weeks ago en route to the airport, I switched my 5-year-old laptop back to OS 9.2.2 and then 10.2.8. Rather than drop everything to salvage the 10.4 partition, I decided to wait until I could do a clean install of 10.5, which turned out to be painless (other than the $70 purchase price).

Much as I like Apple’s stuff, they can’t make the hard disk more reliable. And this little episode had a good side-effect: I bought an up-to-date copy of Disk Warrior, which worked like a charm. Even my wife (Palomar’s then project manager and procurement officer) remembered how the product bailed us out of jams in the pre-OS X days. It’s a good insurance policy to have on hand.

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