Snow Leopard not a train smash

Update: 18 October: Okay, I’ve now actually installed Snow Leopard, and it most definitely is not a train smash; I have a much faster, leaner, machine in front of me. One on which I can select a single column in a pdf (funny how much the “small things” count). The Finder, especially as it emerges from the Dock is a dramatic improvement. Oh, and something I’ve not seen noted anywhere else: Help, which has been a lumbering dysfunctional disgrace through several versions of the OS, has finally been tuned up and responds quickly and smoothly to what’s asked of it.

Problems noted so far: A disappearing cursor in Word. Corrupted iCal calendars, duplicated events and birthdays. And an unwanted “feature” in Mail: notes turning up in the Inbox. (Go into Mail Preferences, and de-select “Show notes in Inbox”, in the Mailbox behaviours section of ALL your Accounts, to get rid of this.)

searches on leopard downgrade

Original post: A year ago I wrote a post entitled, “The Leopard downgrade”, expressing my disgust with OS 10.5 Leopard. (Principally, the Cupertino weasels ripped out Address Book’s Bluetooth support, and the OS was forever dysfunctional on a iBook G4, on which its installation should never have been recommended.)

That post has, since the release of Snow Leopard, started pulling more hits than any other on my blog. Not surprising when you read, for example, that David Pogue’s notably enthusiastic New York Times review (which has now prompted commentary from the NYT readers’ editor) had omitted to mention that Snow Leopard was constantly crashing MS Word and Photoshop on his Mac!! Which it seems it is doing for many others.

If you are one of the unfortunates having this experience, Word crashing, a comment on the same post on Venture Beat recommends trashing your Word preferences to get it working properly and describes how to do this. It’s not clear yet how reliable a fix this is.

I have always enjoyed Pogue’s reviews. But it does seem in this instance he omitted some vital information fromunderstated some vital information in his review, and owes his readers an apology. Completing an upgrade to discover that mission-critical apps like Word are no longer fully functional is extraordinarily stressful.

But the real blame, lest we forget, must lie with Apple itself – this is spectacular incompetence, and demonstrates extraordinary contempt for its users.

And me? I’ve had enough pain from Leopard (it does work rather better on my newer Macbook than it did on the iBook) to last me a lifetime. Snow Leopard appears to have many appealing features. But I think I’ll wait for 10.6.5 at the very least before nervously “upgrading”.

Update 9/9/09: Pogue has commented on this post, saying he “ABSOLUTELY mentioned the Word problems (and others)” in his review. Which he had, saying he “experienced frustrating glitches in various programs, including Microsoft Word, Flip4Mac, Photoshop CS3 ...”

I’m not sure though, that “frustrating glitches” really does justice to Word crashes.

His comment (but not the review or his email to Venture Beat, though perhaps/probably he has mentioned it elsewhere) offers an important clarification: “As it turns out, by the way, my Word crashes were unrelated to Snow Leopard. I had a corrupted Normal.dot file. Once I replaced that, Word became steady as a rock!”

My original characterisation of his review as having “omitted” this information was unfair. Apologies on that score, David.

About David

I am an environmental writer, journalist and speaker living in Cape Town, South Africa.
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2 Responses to Snow Leopard not a train smash

  1. David Pogue says:

    What? I ABSOLUTELY mentioned the Word problems (and others) in my post! Here is the full text:

    “I experienced frustrating glitches in various programs, including Microsoft Word, Flip4Mac, Photoshop CS3, CyberDuck, and TextExpander, an abbreviation-expander. (Interestingly, Snow Leopard offers its own typing-expander feature, but it works primarily in Apple programs, like TextEdit, Mail, Safari and iChat.) The compatibility list at [URL HERE] lists other programs that may have trouble.

    “Most of these hiccups will go away when software companies update their wares (although Adobe says, “Just upgrade to Photoshop CS4″). Let’s hope that Apple hurries up with its inevitable 10.6.0.1 update, too, to address the occasional Safari crash and cosmetic glitch I experienced, too.”

    As it turns out, by the way, my Word crashes were unrelated to Snow Leopard. I had a corrupted Normal.dot file. Once I replaced that, Word became steady as a rock!

    –Pogue

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