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Running the same Mac for six years and why Snow Leopard is awesome

September 20, 2009

mac-os-x-snow-leopard-icon1After the good people at the Concordia University Computer Store were able to sell me a copy of Mac OS X Snow Leopard shortly after launch day, I enthusiastically installed it on my Rev A Macbook Air. The first gen Air, while gloriously thin, has a few shortcomings in the speed category. Well, snapily ever after, my Air did  indeed benefit from Snow Leopard, and now shuts down in just four (4!) seconds.

As for my main workhorse, my iMac at home, I was quite a bit more hesitant to install the OS. I waited until MediaLink and CoverSutra, two programs I use a lot, were updated with new betas to support 10.6.

While my iMac is about a year old, in reality, it’s got a lot more baggage. I switched to Mac from the awful hell of PC ownership six years ago. I bought an eMac running Mac OS X  Jaguar (10.2), and since I was still clueless when it came to Macs at the time, I had no idea that Panther (10.3) was just around the corner. So a month after buying my eMac it was seemingly out-of-date. Luckily Apple shipped me the new OS for just $10, something they continue to do today for people who buy their Macs in the months just before a major OS update.

No worries, I upgraded to 10.3 quickly and easily, didn’t even wipe my hard drive or go through any other hoops. When Tiger (10.4) showed up in April of 2005, I remember buying on launch day and going through the same process – no hard drive erase, no fuss, just simple upgrade on top of the existing OS. I was amazed that my huge clunky eMac (Which I thought was sleek back in the day) wasn’t slow after two major OS upgrades. My HP Pavilion desktop, my previous computer, felt slow within months of purchase, thanks to Windows and all its faults.

Near the end of 2007, I decided to sell the eMac while it was still worth something (I got $450 for it on craigslist!) and use my work laptop, a 15-inch PowerBook G4 for a few months as I decided what new computer to buy. I created a partition on the PowerBook, installed Tiger on it, and then used Apple’s built-in Migration tool to transfer everything from my eMac to the PowerBook. The laptop would stay my primary computer through an upgrade to Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) and I clung to PowerPC until a year ago, when my speedy Intel iMac arrived. A quick migration via FireWire and I was up and running.

So that’s my Mac story. Many computers but I’ve never had to wipe anything or start from scratch. Just like my eMac OS upgrade from Jaguar to Panther six years ago, my iMac is faster now after upgrading to Snow Leopard. Safari zooms. Safari doesn’t crash when a plugin is bad, which is a lifesaver. The new QuickTime Player is beautiful. iCal’s much improved Google integration has me in sync everywhere I go. Did I mention it’s fast? As long as your favourite software is ready for Snow Leopard, the $29 US/$35 CDN upgrade is a no-brainer.

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