Like many of the Mac faithful, I headed down to the closest Apple retail outlet around 6pm on Friday afternoon to pick up a copy of Leopard, the latest release of the Mac’s OS X operating system. I got to Haddock Computer in east Wichita about 10 minutes after 6. There was no wait, but they mentioned there had been a good line before the Apple specified 6pm sale time. They also had cookies and were giving away a small leopard stuffed animal with each purchase. Not the same as the t-shirts given away at Apple Stores, but pretty cool in any case. Oh, and I don’t know if this just an artifact of the cheap nature of such give-aways, or some kind of joke, but the label attached to the leopard showed a picture of a tiger (Tiger was the prior release of OS X before Leopard).
Anyway, moving right along, I started the installation around 8:30pm. I installed to an empty external drive, as I prefer a clean install as opposed to doing an upgrade (even though Apple upgrades are known to work pretty well). I had no issues, and was soon rewarded with the sleek new look of Leopard. This isn’t a review of Leopard as that’s very well covered on other sites, but I didn’t want to share a couple of quick observations and since I had written a list of software to be installed, I’ve posted that list in the extended entry area.
My first concern was that my VPN client (Nortel Contivity) worked so I could continue to connect in to work. If that didn’t work, I would have to update a different machine, and wouldn’t be able to use Leopard on a daily basis. Thankfully, it installed just fine, and I was soon connected into my company’s intranet.
Next on the list was VMWare Fusion, for running a PC on my Mac. Though I’ve worked for years only occasionally using my PC, it really is handy to have it running in your native environment, especially for things like calendaring, NetMeeting and so on. If you’re not familiar with virtualization techniques, it’s a mechanism that allows one or more virtual machines to run “inside” a host computer.
Given that those programs worked fine, I knew it was worth it to continue installing all the rest of the programs I use on a regular basis and also to copy over my Documents folder, iTunes music folder and so on from the original boot drive.
Below the fold is a list of all the software I’ve currently got installed on my Mac. Worth noting are a few programs that I haven’t yet installed, or that I have installed, but don’t use as much as in the past.
The first is Quicksilver, which I use as a program launcher. Simply type control-space and the first letter or two of program you wish to run, and Quicksilver launches it. It’s an indispensable Mac tool, so why haven’t I installed it yet? The answer is that Spotlight, the built-in file finder and app launcher, was reported to have been greatly improved and I wanted to give it a try. So far, it works just about as well as Quicksilver, which means one less program to install.
Next up is PathFinder, a Finder replacement. The new finder has a number of minor improvements, and so far I’m not missing PathFinder (much). Jury’s still out, but I suspect at some point I’ll need a feature that Finder is missing and will then install PathFinder.
The other program that I use daily but haven’t installed is iTerm. iTerm provides a tabbed terminal interface, which I greatly appreciate when I have 5-8 terminal windows active. Much better to have them contained in tabs that spread out over multiple windows. Well, the built-in terminal program now supports tabs.
Firefox has been my browser of choice for years. I’ve tried Safari in the past, but always came back to Firefox. This time may be different. Safari is much faster, and I’ve yet to run into a page that doesn’t render correctly. Pluses for firefox include better a rich system of plug-ins for extending functionality. The ad blocking is much better, tab handling a bit better, and the web development plugins are unsurpassed; I quite literally couldn’t do my job without them!
I usually install the vendor keyboard and mouse drivers, but so far, only one extra key (screen text size control) isn’t working with the built-in drivers. We’ll see how it goes.
As previously mentioned, below the fold is a complete list of all the software I’ve installed on my Mac running OS X Leopard. Though not extensively tested, all programs below do appear to work correctly with Leopard. For many of the packages listed, I’ve linked to the company or product home page so you can find out more information as needed.
Software I’m using on my Leopard based Mac.
Nortel Contivity: VPN software to access work
VMWare Fusion: virtual machine software to enable running a PC inside my Mac
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom: Image management software; highly recommended!
Adium: multi-protocol chat client
RealPlayer: internet radio player (KPIG)
WeatherPop: weather updates in the menu bar
Textmate: text editor
BBEdit: text editor
Firefox: web browser and web development
OmniDiskSweeper: disk usage monitor
OmniOutliner: outliner program
KGTD: Getting Things Done add-on to OmniOutliner
SpamSieve: spam blocker
Vuescan: scanner control program
Efax messenger: fax viewer
Eye-one Match 3: monitor calibration
Portfolio: alternate image browser/manager
Transmit: FTP client
iStat Menus: menu-based system status
PasswordSafeSWT: secure password manager
MacGourmet: Mac recipe manager
Google Earth: 3D earth viewer
GPSBabel: GPS file manager
BlackInk: crossword puzzle program
Missing Sync: for syncing with Palm devices
ComicLife: create your own comics
Flip4Mac: player for WMV files
Starry Night Pro: an entire observatory on your computer