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Me, my life, my interests

Mac OS X Leopard upgrade

I picked up a copy of Apple's Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard on Saturday morning, and set out to upgrade our three Macs in the afternoon. All three installs went without a hitch on our 17" iMac, 15" MacBook Pro and our 13" MacBook. I found this Macworld article helpful in preparing me for my first Mac OS X upgrade experience. For my MacBook Pro, I did the most preparation, by:

  1. Performing a complete data backup
  2. disabling some login items
  3. removing unwanted (or dodgey) preference pane applications
  4. verifying the hard drive
  5. checking application compatibility
  6. checking preference pane application compatibility

For the MacBook, I did a cursory check, and a complete data backup.

For the iMac, I just inserted the disk and upgraded away. There was no data on this anyway - it's all on our ReadyNAS NV+ network storage.

Removed applications

I removed the following from my MacBook Pro after doing a check using Google for Leopard compatibility:

  • efssmartd
  • Application Enhancer, and ClearDock
  • ExtFSManager
  • Flip4MacWMV
  • LockTight
  • DesktopplePro

The following startup items / applications remained:

  • Growl
  • Skype
  • Quicksilver
  • HardwareGrowler
  • iTunesHelper
  • Adium
  • SpanningSync
  • Chronosync
  • Synergy

Based on the reports of the installation hanging after the reboot, I'm glad that I went to this trouble and removed the Application Enhancer app!

There are now some useful articles about application compatibility for Leopard, as well as some that describe some workarounds.

After the upgrade the following applications needed to be reinstalled or reconfigured:

  • Parallels - reinstall
  • Synergy - reinstall and reconfigure (plus fix firewall settings)
  • Skype - reinstall after Skype stopped and wouldn't start again - EDIT: you can get the Skype 2.7 beta via this link at skype.com as the 2.6 version seemed to have the problem of stopping and not being able to restart after a period of time.
  • Printers - all my printers disappeared and needed to be reinstalled

The only minor issue that I had with the MacBook Pro, was that the Installation could not find my hard disk... but booting off the DVD allows you to run Disk Utility, which reassured me that it hadn't disappeared, and also let me do another Disk Verification. Once this completed successfully, the install application found the HDD fine.

Upgrade Method and times

Upgrade method

  • iMac - Upgrade
  • MacBook Pro - Archive and Install (preserve User and Network Settings)
  • MacBook - Upgrade

Times

  • iMac - 31 minutes after DVD verified
  • MacBook Pro - 37 minutes after DVD verified (which took 30 minutes
  • MacBook - 47 minutes after DVD verified (which took 33 minutes)

I also had a problem later with the NDAS driver on my iMac that allows me to read the drive in my MediaGate media player connected to my Telly. This driver caused a kernel panic whenever the MediaGate was detected over the network. Restarting in safe mode and uninstalling the driver fixed the issue, but I have not yet attempted to reinstall or find a Leopard compatible version.

Leopard is very impressive - I am very pleased with everything so far.

New Belkin networked USB hub

Now this is what I'm talking about.  Something that deals directly with the fact that peripheral manufacturers don't produce network capable drivers for their usb products anymore (eg Canon). This device from Belkin, the Network USB Hub, allows direct connection to usb devices over a network, as if they are attached directly to your computer.

The problem that I have at the moment is that many new devices, like my new Canon Multifunction printer (MP530) come with drivers that only support direct usb access.  So plugging the printer into the my network print server is useless, especially for functions other than printing, like scanning or faxing.

Now all I need is for it to be released, and for the Mac drivers to become available.

Made the switch from PC to Mac

It's kind of funny, but I think I'm the PC in the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads, yet here I am sitting typing on my new Mac. Maybe the change doesn't happen instantaneously. I'll check again in the morning. Perhaps I should start by taking the suit jacket off. There.

So far the hardest part about making the switch was coughing up the cash for another new computer. I bought my last notebook just under a year ago, thinking that it would last for a couple of years. It was a Toshiba Tecra A7 and it was really diasppointing. Hot, slow, troublesome. In a side by side boot test, my Toshiba takes 10 mins to boot. No kidding.

I was excited to get my new Mac. I though about it for about three weeks after getting the quote, and then when I placed the order, my supplier was out of stock, and so was Apple. Oh well, I guess this is supposed to teach me patience or something.

I waited until the kids were in bed before unpacking switching on the Mac. Kind of didn't want this to happen.

Twenty-five years of conditioning using a PC were gone in about an hour and a half. The first 10 minutes were the hardest. "Where do I find applications? oh, what's this Finder thing? Oh there they are!" Then move to "Ok how do I install Firefox? Lets try GetFirefox.com and see what happens...oh there it is, download. Run. Done. How do I get the FireFox icon on the bottom menu thing... can I drag it there? Yes!"

An hour later I was checking the System Software was Up-to-date, and installing Firefox plugins like I'd been using it forever.

The next morning when I switched on my PC at work to connect to the Exchange Server, I found that I was looking for things in the wrong places and usig the trackpad with two fingers to scroll, to no effect. I had made the switch!

There are still some things I need to do. This Mac will be the computer I use at home AND at work. I am required to use MS Project. Hmm, next to check out Bootcamp and Parallels. That will be weird.

Cam.