Thursday, September 17, 2009
I'm not what you'd call an early adopter. If there's one thing I absolutely hate, it's wrestling with a computer to make it work right when I just want to make music. As a result, I usually stay at least one revision behind whatever OS is current. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Unfortunately, my computer DID break and that meant a new machine. As timing would have it, I bought that new machine right after Snow Leopard came out. Welcome to Early Adopterhood by Default! I was understandably nervous about being forced into this, but figure if it was a total disaster, I could always install an older version myself. As it turns out, though, the transition has been relatively painless.
Snow Leopard isn't a giant overhaul, as you've probably heard. The most significant feature is that the OS is 64-bit, allowing, among other things, for programs to address larger chunks of data (I'm sure a 3 Terabyte acoustic piano sample is being worked on somewhere out there...). However, this feature isn't going to make a huge difference until software is adapted to take advantage of it. Indeed, the Mac defaults to booting up in good ol' 32-bit (you can switch to 64-bit by restarting and holding the 6 and 4 keys down). I tried this, and most of my softsynths and plug-ins wouldn't work, so I didn't bother exploring it further.
That aside, most of the changes are small and aimed at refining the user experience. It certainly feels a lot more zippy and the tweaks to the finder really did make all manner of file operations more efficient. The new Quicktime is especially nice with a refined interface and much more flexibility than previous incarnations.
All has not been without problems, however. As I mentioned earlier this week, I updated to 10.6.1 (which fixed a Quicktime problem) and suddenly my Liquid Mix wasn't being seen by Logic anymore. I also found my printer didn't have drivers for Snow Leopard yet, although an update was finally released this week. There have been a few oddities with the file browsing within programs. I was editing some sound files and saved the edited versions as new files. When I hit 'open' in the file menu, those files wouldn't show up even though they were right there on the desktop. I've had the same thing happen within Photoshop and Word as well. The only other annoying thing that's been happening is sometimes I'll be working in a program and the screen will just go blue and the computer basically goes through it's restart routine, quitting the program and losing whatever I was working on. This doesn't happen often, but it happens enough that it pays to save frequently (not like it doesn't normally, I'm just saying...)
Overall, my first week with Snow Leopard has been pretty good. I keep discovering new small tweaks from day to day and so far, I really like all of them. That may change further down the road, but so far it seems like Apple really did make the new version an actual improvement over the old OS and not merely 'new' for no practical purpose. Any other brave souls out there using Snow Leopard? Share your experiences, good and bad, with us!