Posted October 30th, 2007 @ 05:50pm by Erik J. Barzeski
I've upgraded to Leopard. Here are my thoughts on the process, a few of the new features that have struck me already, and the general minutae.
I did an "Archive and Install." I figured what little "extra" crap (like USB Overdrive, which I've re-installed) outside of my User folder I could re-install. It worked pretty well and, after verifying that everything I wanted had been ported over, I deleted the old system folder before it could be backed up by Time Machine.
I was able to re-install psync pretty easily. This remains my backup method of choice. Nightly, psync creates a clone of my main hard drive on another of my internal hard drives. It's fully bootable and this process has saved my bacon a few times. I can boot with minimal downtime, too, by simply making the backup drive the boot drive.
My Mac Pro has four internal 500 GB drives in it. One is the main drive (Peter), another is the backup (Roger). I also have "Thumper"1 and an external drive (Playboy). A few months ago I installed the fourth internal drive (Mimzy) for Time Machine2.
The first thing I did was exclude Roger and Thumper from being backed up. One of the drives is a backup, after all. I excluded my downloads folder because, well, I don't need every change in that folder available to me.
The first backup was horribly, horribly slow. It took forever and the disk was grinding away the whole time. Subsequent backups were often similarly large: multiple gigabytes of data. My computer would grind to a halt every time it began.
Then I added my downloads folder to the exclusions list and things seem to be working a little better now. The only cause for concern I have now is that some applications, like Cyndicate, Entourage, and a few others store their data in a single database, the size of which can often hit several hundred megabytes. They store these databases in ~/Library/Application Support (Cyndicate) or ~/Library/Preferences/ (Entourage - though I could put it in ~/Documents too if I wanted).
I haven't had to use Time Machine yet, but now that the initial batches of "backups" are done, it seems to be okay, sucking up only a little speed. I do wonder, though, given Aperture's known issue3 if similar issues also affect apps like Entourage and Cyndicate. We'll have to test our app to see.
I had to re-install MySQL. I used the 10.4 package, and the startup item appears to work. I used this article, which deals mostly with setting up PHP in Leopard, to edit my "my.cnf" file so that PHP could find mysql.sock.
My Terminal AppleScripts no longer work. The transparency option doesn't seem to be available. Does anyone else have any ideas how to set the background color transparency via AppleScript?
I do like the the new "Settings," which include "Homebrew" and "Ocean" and others. Perhaps the best "new solution" is to simply AppleScript the changing of the given Terminal window's settings rather than changing the colors directly. Still, I'm a bit puzzled as to why the transparency portion of the AppleScript "color" no longer seems to work.
Despite having a 23" Cinema display, I'm a "dock on the bottom" kind of guy. It's small enough that it really stays out of the way, and I've found that having it in the middle is where I like it. I avoid long trips all the way across the screen, and I like to reserve the right-hand and left-hand sides of my screen for Adium and my desktop icons.
I did note that you can use
defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean YES to make even the bottom dock look more like the side docks, but I think the glassy look is fine. I don't love it, but I don't hate it either. Maybe some day I'll "unglass" it but for now, it's fine. Perhaps that's really because I keep it so small.
I find the background windows just a tiny bit too washed out. I agree with others who have said that the new window styles make the "brushed metal" look pretty dumb. I don't care for the stoplight buttons, though - they appear to be a bit too "sunk in" to me. I like the new Panic-inspired selection in toolbars.
I still won't use it. Adium offers more connectivity and shows a combined buddy list - two things iChat can't seem to do. I rarely video chat, Adium usually works for file transfers (lately), and about the only feature I may some day want to try in iChat is screen sharing. For that, I'll launch iChat, but those times will be few and far between.
I never really got into using Exposé. I know it impressed the pants off some people, but aside from the occasional "hide everything so i can see my desktop and drag a file," I never used it. I didn't use it to switch between windows or apps: cmd-tab and cmd-tilde (~), the dock, LaunchBar, or simply clicking available pieces of windows have always worked for me, and faster than clicking a button on my mouse and sorting through a mess to find the window I need.
Spaces, however, has already been put to good use. I've always been a "hider" of applications. I'd often switch to an application and "hide all others" or option-click when switching to another app to hide the existing app.
With Spaces, I don't have to do that. I can use Space 1 as my primary workspace. Space 2 contains Cyndicate and MarsEdit (Blogging and Blog Reading). I have used spaces 3 and 4 for various things as well: Space 4 for Time Machine's progress bar or HandBrake, Space 3 for Speed Download's progress on my copy of Leopard via ADC - that sort of thing.
I can reasonably keep track of what I've put into four spaces, but I can't imagine using more than four because it's got to be tough to keep track of six or more spaces in your head. Not to mention that if you truly have six completely separate things going on at once, you'd probably best be served by analyzing whether your work patterns are truly optimal.
I've used it minimally. I don't like Cover Flow in iTunes much, and I doubt I'll use it in the Finder. QuickLook is nice - very cool.
The sidebar is okay. I wish I could collapse it back to the icon-only view that I had in 10.4, but whatever… I'll deal with the 100 pixels I've lost because of it.
I like that the view settings seem to be completely independent now with no "All Windows" option. However, I did quickly disable the "icon preview" that seemed to enable itself in quite a few places. No thanks - I'll use QuickLook if I ned to.
I love the new renaming feature that only selects the filename. It's one of those features that, the instant you notice it, you forget the way it used to be because the new way makes so much more sense.
In preparation for Leopard, I had created a "Downloads" folder inside of my home folder. Leopard didn't like that. I'd try to click it in the Finder sidebar and get an odd message about how the volume wasn't mounted. I deleted the custom icon on it, drug it from the "PLACES" section, and then put it back. It works fine now, even though the actual folder has never moved.
Simply put, I wish I could disable them. If I have a folder in the dock I don't want it to look like a document, and I sure as heck would like to be able to navigate the hierarchy as I could in 10.4. I strongly dislike stacks, and that's being nice.
New Folder Icons
Blech. I'm not the type of person who likes to install hacks and crap to change the way my OS looks, but these folder icons are just hideous.
What the heck happened here? The old way of using the firewall made sense to me: it'd allow services that I'd turned on (like file sharing). I could add applications like BusySync and allow them through, and in general keep a tight reign on things. Not only did Leopard do away with those options, but the default option is "Let everything (and anybody) in!"
Finally, when you reload, it scrolls to the proper position on the page!
I like it so far.
- Thumper contains my Windows XP installations, rips of some of my DVDs, etc.↩
- I've always used a "theme" for my drives - which gets tougher the more you add - and the latest one is bunnies/rabbits. I'm particularly happy with "Mimzy" since it's my "Time Machine" drive.↩
- Why isn't iPhoto similarly affected?↩