OS X: First Impressions

With the release of Mac OS X this past weekend, first impressions are coming in from all angles, especially from the My Mac Staff. Below we will be posting a dialogue of first impressions from staff members as we load the “worlds most advanced operating system.”

OS X: First Impressions: Adam
(Machine: PowerBook G3 “Firewire”/500/512MB/12GB)

First, I just need to say that Apple has really outdone themselves here, in
both good and bad ways. I love Mac OS X, I’m in it right now, but I can’t
make it my main system—yet. But I’m sure I’ll switch sooner or later. It’s
really excellent.

My system is a Pismo PowerBook G3/500/512MB/12GB. Mac OS X is pretty darn
fast on it, which is surprising to me. I thought I was going to need a G4
for sure. I’ll upgrade to a G4 eventually (my occupation demands it), but
for now, its nice to know I can run this OS without any problems.

Classic works! Moreover, it works really well. I can use all of my staple
applications, such as AOL IM, Word, Entourage, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc
without any problems. Quark 4.1 has a few minor problems but it is
functional. Also, I’m excited that classic prints just fine on my Epson
printer. I’ll have to wait and see how it performs with LPR/AppleTalk 10/100
printers. But all in all, I’m amazed by classic. I don’t think we, as Mac
users, could have asked for anything better to help in the transition.

OS X works really well also, but it’s missing two main features that I used
to love. One, the view options and almost all contextual menu items are
eliminated from the finder. You have to go back to the top menus to access
view options and get info. What’s with that?! That’s a step in the wrong
direction. I hope this is fixed with 10.1. Second, Spring Loaded Folders. I
really really miss them. I’m sure I can learn to live without them, but they
were really cool. Everything else is ok, and I am getting used to the Dock.
It’s pretty neat, and is becoming really functional. I like the ease of
application switching, and also the way popup folders in the dock work.

System Preferences are really nice, all integrated into one panel: the way
it should be. I’m also beginning to get used to the architecture of X, which
isn’t all that different from 9, at least from a UI/functionality
standpoint. I was able to replace my OS X internet explorer prefs with my
classic IE prefs just fine. Nice, really nice.

Like I said, this simply can’t be my main system yet. It’s not yet
functional enough for me. But, the future is definitely here, and I am ready
to embrace it. I am going to try to spend a certain amount of time every day
booted into X. Hopefully it will help ease the transition. But as far as
Quark upgrading the “industry standard” layout application to X
compatibility, I’m not holding my breath 🙂 Thank god for classic!


OS X: First Impressions: Bobby
(Machine: PowerBook G3 “Bronze”/400/192MB/12GB)

For any of you who have loaded OS X, I’d love to read your fist
impressions. Here are mine.

I loaded up OS X yesterday. I decided to rig a triple boot system.
I loaded a partition with both 9.1 and OS X. While leaving my OS
9.04 partition untouched.

The install while long, was very simple and easy. I just followed
the directions and pretty soon. TaDah! I was OS X booting.

Then all was lost. Actually not that bad. But it was so frustrating
to go from something as easy as the original Mac OS to something so
completely different.

First off, it’s gorgeous. Mac OS 9 and below aren’t any slouches
but they are somewhat bland in comparison. OS X bring the terms
elegant and beautiful to a whole new level.

The time I spent at the Apple event was good. It gave me the
equivalent of country road directions, “You go straight down this
road… when you see the coffee shop, turn right, then when the
road gets dark ’cause of the trees, you have to turn left then
right. If you pass the park, you’ve gone too far. But don’t worry,
you can’t miss it!”

Bouncing icons can be turned off. Though it is a nice visual clue.
But I turned my bouncing icons off to save CPU overhead. Navigating
using any of the formats provided, icon, list and the new column
view works great. It’s just that you don’t have any idea where you
are headed!

As far as speed…. well, that is a relative thing. Once the OS 9
environment loads, opening classic apps doesn’t take long at all.
Not much longer than in OS 9, sometimes it seems quicker.

But OS X itself seems sluggish. Kinda like it just woke up from a
binge the previous night. It moves, it can operate, but it seems
very, measured and deliberate, like it is feeling like at any
moment it could get dizzy and fall down…

And it does fall down. I had two strange instances.

1. When I went to ‘save as pdf’ a web page I was on (OmniWeb was my
browser) I went into an endless loop. No worries, I can kill that
process. I opened the force quit application, it was stuck behind
the print dialogue box from OmniWeb. Ooops. No worries, I could see
the OmniWeb process was already highlighted and I tried to kill it.
No good. I would have been stuck if it wasn’t for some playing
around I had done at the Apple Store.

I checked the console.log program and sure enough OmniWeb had a
obvious error in it. (I had no idea what it meant, but could tell
it was bad 😉

I quickly opened the Process Monitor application, which shows you
all of the processes, and how much CPU time they are taking etc.
(though it doesn’t show you how many threads) and by double
clicking on the .OmniWeb process, I was able to kill it. Which is a
nice trick for anyone else that might have problems with an
Application that has freaked out.

2. The second odd problem I had was when my Screen saver went into
action. The screen saver is a way cool thing. I had my PowerBook
hooked up to an external monitor. The screen saver shows two
different pictures on each screen. Whoa!!! cool!

But when I tried to get back into OS X, it went into an endless
loop. Nothing I tried worked. I was simply stuck at the login
screen and endless looping. I even tried to “force quit” and
nothing ‘cept a bonafide “three finger salute” reboot would recover
from that one.

Overall, I’d give the OS a good grade on a G4 as I got to play
around on at the Apple Store. However, on my G3, it is just too
slow. Apps open slow, windows are slow to open and show their
contents sometimes.

This seems strange to me as there are still UNIX boxes running 133
risc processors at work that run just fine, even with a gui.
Granted, not nearly as advanced as OS X, but geeez!

I guess the worst thing and obviously, this is just a newbie
talking was being so lost within the OS. I mean we’re talking,
“we’re not in Kansas any more Toto!” lost.

The most depressing thing? My fonts won’t work with the new OS. I
tried loading them into the font folder… nothing. Won’t even show
up. Doesn’t matter if they are PS or true type. Now that is
depressing as I had read that current fonts would work in the OS.
Ooops. (and yes, I was placing them in the correct font folder.)

And if they do work on OS X. The help program certainly doesn’t
tell you jack about how to make them work! I guess that is also
another big let down. The Mac OS help, isn’t! More times than not,
it would get me pointed in the right direction but gave me no real
concrete help. That’s frustrating.

But will I keep working with it? Sure. Though all of my programs
are classic dependent, sooner or later they all will be OS X
compliant. So I’ll spend my time making sure I know how to do this
and that in the new OS. Slowly but surely I’ll get myself up to
speed and comfortable with the new OS.

And if you haven’t dived in, we’ll you’re not missing anything
until you get yourself a G4 and tons of RAM. 😉

What were your experiences? I’d love to know.

All the best,


Adam Karneboge

Leave a Reply