Tag Archives: Upgrade

Running Leopard

So I’ve just about got everything going in Leopard having done the upgrade. The only significant application that isn’t working is iMovie – but then that didn’t work under Tiger either. (Having had a trawl around the net it seems I’m not alone in having problems with it on a G5 either… The main tip seems to be to run it on an Intel based Mac, but it’s still not perfect…)

As with the upgrade to Tiger the OS upgraded without too many problems. I opted for the archive and install method this time around, which shifts the existing system directory out of the way, installs the new operating system and then pulls in all the settings and configuration, leaving everything else intact. This is regarded as a somewhat more reliable way to upgrade than using the straight upgrade as there is less chance of problems caused by leftovers from the old system as it is a completely new install. The third option is the erase and install that I used with Tiger which does a totally new install, and then pulls all your settings across from a backup as if it were a new machine.

As with any upgrade, it was then a process of working through all my core applications to work out whether I could get everything done.

There were a couple of minor casualties – one being Menu Meters, a little tool I had running to keep track of what the machine was doing. However I found a worthy replacement in iStat Menus that does much the same, but adds details of fan speeds and the current temperature inside the machine to the mix.

Amongst the applications that gave me grief during the update, my process for keeping the e-mail I receive in an average day (see this posting for details of what I do) came to a crashing halt. I started the new Apple Mail, and was greeted with a message stating that both MailActOn and MailTags had been disabled. Both applications have beta versions that are Leopard compatible, however that was only half the story. Along with the two applications I use Smart Folders extensively to group e-mails by subject and type, and to be frank they were being less than smart immediately after the update. Fixing that though was just a question of patience – sit back and wait for a few hours whilst the machine rebuilt the spotlight indexes.

Perhaps the application (aside from iMovie) that gave me most hassle was ClamXAV, my virus checker – as it would just keep crashing. Eventually I tracked the problem down not to an issue with Leopard, but with one of the new features of the latest version that made use of spotlight – disabling that and effectively reverting to the same configuration I had before solved the problem. Aside from that, the only annoyance is that Leopard insists on loading X11 whenever ClamXAV starts up.

The last application so far that has been a problem has been Google Earth which locked up every time I tried to start it. This I nailed down to a problem with my MyPlaces.kml file – once I removed that everything worked fine, and I built up what I needed from the copy of the file on my PC version of the application.

Sorting out Google Earth also turned up another change – the way networking is set up in Leopard which has changed a bit from Tiger. This also brings me on to my biggest recommendation, grab yourself a copy of the excellent Mac OS X Leopard The Missing Manual by David Pogue. It was an excellent reference during the upgrade process, and was indispensable in quickly getting the PC/Mac networking working again. Granted I could probably have worked it around after a while fiddling, but the book has a step by step walkthrough, including pointing out the obscure settings that you might otherwise miss.

Mac OS X Leopard The Missing Manual also has a great appendix going through the upgrade process (including how to use an iPod to do it if you’ve broken your DVD drive), and as always is punctuated by David Pogue’s great writing style and sense of humour.

For example he describes the Leopard first boot title sequence as:

“… one of the most visually stunning post-installation OS startup movies in historyâ€?

I’d perhaps not go that far, the encoding on YouTube gives you the general idea – but lacks the impact of the full screen HD version you get on the Mac – gives you the general idea though.

So was it worth the effort? I’ll have to give it a few days of usage, however so far there hasn’t been any absolute show stopping problems that mean I’ve had to resort to the backup as there were when I upgraded to Tiger. True there are some applications that aren’t quite there yet, but equally there are now starting to be some Leopard only applications, so now seemed like the time to move. There are some slightly annoying look and feel changes that I guess I’ll get used to – but some real nice new eye candy too – if you’ve got Leopard and a load of pictures in iPhoto, check out the fantastic mosaic mode on the screen saver. Next thing to look at I think will be getting Time Machine going…

Where Have All the Colours Gone?

I hate it when software upgrades stuff things up. A new 2008 release of Pocket Informant, the diary software I’ve got on my PocketPC to replace the frankly woeful Pocket Outlook has just been produced, and whilst the upgrade went smoothly, and the application itself works fine, all the category colours on the Today screen plug-in have vanished. Oddly enough the plug-in thinks it’s getting the colour details – just seems they are all coming out in white…

Memory Upgrade

iMac G5 Opened Up

So I’ve finally got around to upgrading the memory in our iMac G5. Back when we got our first Mac, it was recommended as pretty well the first purchase for the machine. At that time, Apple shipped their consumer machines with a paltry 256Mb of memory on board, so it was pretty well essential to avoid a lot of waiting around. When we got this machine, they were shipping with 512Mb of memory, which is pretty much adequate, and it only really causesproblems when we you try to multi-task a lot of applications, or load something big.

Unfortunately, as time has gone on and our iPhoto collection has grown, and our iTunes database has expanded, loading either application tended to result in a large lump of the active memory disappearing, and then a good deal of disk activity as the operating system starts swapping memory off to disk, so I decided that it was about time I upgraded. MacOS X, like Windows XP likes as much memory as it can get.

Anyway, I pointed my browser at Crucial Technology, and stepped through their useful Memory Advisor tool that makes sure you get the right memory modules. The iMac has two memory slots, each of which can take up to 1Gb, and ships with a single 512Mb module in one slot. Although it is quite happy to take different types of module in each slot, it runs better with a matched pair, so after some going back and forth, I decided to go the whole hog and get the full 2Gb upgrade. My figuring is that iPhoto and iTunes are only going to get larger, so whilst 1Gb may be adequate for now, we may as well do it in one step, and then there is only one redundant module rather than two.

The upgrade turned up in the post yesterday, and I grabbed a copy of the Apple Upgrade instructions. Because of the compact design, the upgrade is a bit more involved than the equivalent upgrade for an eMac. To do the job on an iMac G5 you have to loosen three screws, and flip open the entire back of the machine, giving a good view of the whole of the innards of the machine, including the processor, the hard drive and the motherboard. The memory slots are pretty obvious and easy to get to, and the actual process of putting in the new memory is pretty quick. The only slightly complicated bit is ensuring that the clips at the top of the back slot back into place.

Having said that, it’s made a big difference to the performance, especially with iPhoto which comes up noticeably quicker. My thought is that with the lower amount of memory iPhoto is loading and almost immediately swapping memory out to the disk, resulting in a good deal of the disk access. Certainly it will be interesting to see what else runs faster, but if you’ve got a Mac with 512Mb memory I can certainly recommend beefing it up a bit.

The Upgrade Dilema

So as of Boxing Day, version 2.0 of WordPress, the platform on which we host this site was released.

The big question from my point of view is whether to upgrade right now, or wait and see what happens. I have the time at the moment, since I’ve got a few days off work between Christmas and New Year – but then do I want to spend that time messing around trying to get the blog to work?

So far I’ve been keeping an eye on the blogs for feedback from other WordPress users, particularly those with slightly more complicated sites as although we’re pretty well using the default theme here, there are a lot of plug-ins and tweaks running, and from previous experience plug-ins and tweaks are where the problems occur – people with standard builds are usually okay.

So far I’ve seen quite a few of the ‘upgrade went fine’, ‘simplest upgrade ever’ type posts, however what has guided my decision for the moment is this posting from Tech Cruch who have had days of hassle getting things to work properly, and this post on the Optiniche Blog advising that if you’re happy with 1.5.2, which I am, to wait and see with version 2.0. So, on that basis, I’m opting for the wait and see – maybe when 2.1 comes around I’ll upgrade then!