I have been working on Apple equipment since the Apple II+. I ran a Mac computer consulting company for ten years. I have seen much of the good and bad that has come from Apple over the years. I think that this Operating system version is the best Apple has ever released.

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It was a long upgrade because I wanted to ensure that it went smoothly.

It involved:

  • buying two of the five Leopard Take Control books ($15USD for the bundle – CHEAP and GREAT!) http://www.takecontrolbooks.com
  • reviewing Macintouch reports (1/2 hour)
  • running Diskwarrior 4.0 on my drive first (and on my backup drives); (1/2 hour)
  • making two complete bootable clones of my machine; (2 hours) http://www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper
  • getting a VersiontrackerPro (http://www.versiontracker.com) membership ($50 for a year) and it helped me find, download, and install updates to about 40 applications. WORTH the price. (3.5 hours)
  • making room on my drive (1 hour of cleanups);
  • refreshing both backups again (smart updates using Super Duper – also a great little tool)
  • running the actual OS (used archive and install) (at least an hour – went to sleep instead)
  • ran Software updates (1/4 hour);
  • read “Take Control of Customizing Leopard) and did all system tweaks (1 1/2 hour)
  • tested out the newest applications (Mail, Calendar, Address Book);

First impression after reading both Take Control books (get them – they’re worth it) is that Apple finally fixed many of the annoying things that had been in Mac OS X since the inception.

Pros:

  • The Finder is WAAAAY better, smoother, more sensible, faster.
  • Spotlight finally makes sense. They got rid of that sort of pseudo search window that was neither app nor utility nor modal dialogue – what the hell WAS that thing?
  • The whole system feels faster.
  • Spaces itch a scratch I have wanted to itch for a long time. I thought they’d be useless. I have used them for a half-hour and think I’ll use them forever now.
  • Mail finally has bulleted lists (and they work!)
  • iCal finally put all three views (day, week, month) into the same window and it doesn’t jump all over the place annoyingly like it used to (each window had its own place and they sometimes jumped around when you switched between windows.
  • It feels cleaner, more consistent (thank god the brushed aluminum look is entirely gone!!), and somehow more solid.

Cons

  • I have built at least a thousand backup scripts. Time Machine does what the best scripts in the world do.
  • But it’s not there yet. You can’t control it’s schedule and you can’t make bootable backups with it.
  • Use SuperDuper for that instead (http://www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper) and use TimeMachine for incremental data snapshots over time.
  • Safari is fast…but you can’t load multiple home pages at start and it still doesn’t work with Google Apps properly so it’s not really an option for daily use;

General comments

  • The dock is not as bad as people have been bitching about.
  • The menu bar’s transparency is not a problem as long as you have a background with a light bit at the top.

Great job Apple. I feel like I have a new, fast, clean Mac on my desk!