Snow Leopard GM "Unofficial" First Impressions

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Let's get this first bit out of the way up front. I am not a developer and have no NDA to break. I acquired my copy through "unofficial" channels. Having established that, I will be providing no spoilers and I will be purchasing the OS as soon as it hits the store shelves.



After running it for about two hours, I have experienced nothing that makes me think this is anything but the final version. It is absolutely ready for prime time. I have no fear about running it on my production machine. Sometimes beta software feels like beta software. This feels like polished, retail software.



Yes, it is quite snappy. I can't find anything in the interface that seems sluggish. I am running it on a stock, 15" MBP from the previous generation. I only have 2 GB of ram. It feels like I got a ram upgrade. I have been looking at the activity monitor to check my CPU usage. The most I have been able to push it to is about half running and intense Logic Pro file. Watching a 1080 P movie does not even cause it to break a sweat.



Speaking of movie playback, QT is what it should have been all along. It is light, clean, and useful. The bezel is completely gone. That, alone, is almost worth the price of admission. When you click on the green window button, the window actually resizes to fit the screen as it should have all along. Additionally, you can now do video capture right from QT. It works flawlessly. There will be a new era in how-to videos for the Mac. You can also make video and audio recordings from within QT. It is a lot easier than having to open iMovie or GB. Again, the features work flawlessly.



The enhancements to the Dock are subtile but meaningful. Stacks now works as it should. You can drill down into folders without leaving it. Previewing all windows in a running program, even minimized windows, is now easier than ever. The feature works a little like it does in W7 only better.



The install was painless. It was completely unsupervised. Other than the Welcome screen, I would not have known that had installed anything new. Everything looked exactly the same as before, including my wallpaper. The first thing I did was open system profiler and check the OS version number. Do not expect a whiz bang new look. The refinements are subtle, but real.



I am no developer and will not be able to answer the types of questions that advanced users will no doubt have. Still, if you have any questions within my power to answer, I will be more than glad to. I mostly started this thread because I have been looking for this type of first hand review and discussion. Well, here it is. Have at it.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 71
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post


    Let's get this first bit out of the way up front. I am not a developer and have no NDA to break. I acquired my copy through "unofficial" channels. Having established that, I will be providing no spoilers and I will be purchasing the OS as soon as it hits the store shelves.



    After running it for about two hours, I have experienced nothing that makes me think this is anything but the final version. It is absolutely ready for prime time. I have no fear about running it on my production machine. Sometimes beta software feels like beta software. This feels like polished, retail software.



    Yes, it is quite snappy. I can't find anything in the interface that seems sluggish. I am running it on a stock, 15" MBP from the previous generation. I only have 2 GB of ram. It feels like I got a ram upgrade. I have been looking at the activity monitor to check my CPU usage. The most I have been able to push it to is about half running and intense Logic Pro file. Watching a 1080 P movie does not even cause it to break a sweat.



    Speaking of movie playback, QT is what it should have been all along. It is light, clean, and useful. The bezel is completely gone. That, alone, is almost worth the price of admission. When you click on the green window button, the window actually resizes to fit the screen as it should have all along. Additionally, you can now do video capture right from QT. It works flawlessly. There will be a new era in how-to videos for the Mac. You can also make video and audio recordings from within QT. It is a lot easier than having to open iMovie or GB. Again, the features work flawlessly.



    The enhancements to the Dock are subtile but meaningful. Stacks now works as it should. You can drill down into folders without leaving it. Previewing all windows in a running program, even minimized windows, is now easier than ever. The feature works a little like it does in W7 only better.



    The install was painless. It was completely unsupervised. Other than the Welcome screen, I would not have known that had installed anything new. Everything looked exactly the same as before, including my wallpaper. The first thing I did was open system profiler and check the OS version number. Do not expect a whiz bang new look. The refinements are subtle, but real.



    I am no developer and will not be able to answer the types of questions that advanced users will no doubt have. Still, if you have any questions within my power to answer, I will be more than glad to. I mostly started this thread because I have been looking for this type of first hand review and discussion. Well, here it is. Have at it.



    Do you have rosetta insatlled?



    If not have you had any trouble printing documents? I print to several HP printers and one uses old PPC code drivers.
  • Reply 2 of 71
    mac voyermac voyer Posts: 1,282member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by backtomac View Post


    Do you have rosetta insatlled?



    If not have you had any trouble printing documents? I print to several HP printers and one uses old PPC code drivers.



    The good new is that printing works flawlessly as near as I can tell. The bad news is that SL does not run on PPC. SL is Intel only.



    On a related note, I gained about 20 GB after install. This is probably due to getting rid of PPC code.
  • Reply 3 of 71
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,698member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post


    Additionally, you can now do video capture right from QT. It works flawlessly. There will be a new era in how-to videos for the Mac.



    Presumably, you mean screen capture?





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post


    On a related note, I gained about 20 GB after install.



    Are you sure? Most places are stating that Snow Leopard is "only" 6 GB smaller than Leopard (see this google search)
  • Reply 4 of 71
    mac voyermac voyer Posts: 1,282member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    Presumably, you mean screen capture?



    Are you sure? Most places are stating that Snow Leopard is "only" 6 GB smaller than Leopard (see this google search)



    Perhaps the term I want is screen recording. When you activate it, QT makes a recording of everything that happens on your screen until you press stop. You can then play it back as a movie.



    As for the space gains, I wasn't expecting anything like it. I had 66 GB before I installed. I had 84 GB when I was done. Perhaps it was a special case. I'm not complaining.
  • Reply 5 of 71
    mac voyermac voyer Posts: 1,282member
    This is a quick and dirty example of what I mean. It is not at all choppy in real life. It was uploaded directly from QT. The youtube compression was not kind to it. The feature is fantastic.
  • Reply 6 of 71
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post


    This is a quick and dirty example of what I mean. It is not at all choppy in real life. It was uploaded directly from QT. The youtube compression was not kind to it. The feature is fantastic.



    Weird. Near real time, recursive thread video that uses the question about the feature to demo the feature.



    I fear a rupture in the space time continuum.
  • Reply 7 of 71
    Can you tell me the build Number of the Snow Leopard version you are using?



    You can find the build number in the software category in System Profiler.



    I am asking this because there has been some confusion over what the build number for the GM version of Snow Leopard is.



  • Reply 8 of 71
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,179moderator
    I notice that the aqua buttons are still there, which is a shame.



    Is there a Quicktime encoding feature, is Quicktime X separate from Quicktime and is using the H264 encoder any faster than before? I'm curious about how much they use the GPU for. From the comment on the 1080p playback, it seems they are perhaps using the GPU for that.
  • Reply 9 of 71
    revsrevs Posts: 93member
    I got to use the latest seed, and supposedly GM build, 10A432 yesterday, and my random impression is as follows:



    no major changes UI wise, as we already know. The average user may wonder what they paid for! (ie parents/non techies)



    QuickTimeX is very nice. However I could not find any preferences for it - when opening a video they did not auto play, I had to then click play. Annoying.

    Perian worked fine and the CPU usage was low.



    Everything is snappy.



    Expose is a bit wierd, didn't really have time to get used to it.



    You can minimize windows into the application Dock icon. However there is no visual indicatior to show that an app has minimized windows.

    Holding down the app icon for a very brief moment will show all windows expose style.



    Most Safari plugins need to be rewritten to be real plugins. SIMBL based plugins do not work.



    System Preferences relaunches when loading a 32bit third party preference. Uses are informed about this with a message, but I think the message is unneccesary and confusing for most users. As long as it works!



    Spotlight can now default to search from the current folder and not the whole computer. This is a welcome change. However results were coming back as icons and not list view. EDIT - Ive been told you can use the view options in the finder to set the results to be a list.



    iCal doesn't seem any different.



    Finder icons can now be huge!!





    Bottom line - I'm sure there are huge under the hood changes, and new apps will take advantage of this. However I do feel that most users won't realise what they are paying for. For them it will all seem the same.



    That's all I can remember for now!
  • Reply 10 of 71
    mac voyermac voyer Posts: 1,282member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by d00by View Post


    Can you tell me the build Number of the Snow Leopard version you are using?



    You can find the build number in the software category in System Profiler.



    I am asking this because there has been some confusion over what the build number for the GM version of Snow Leopard is.







    The build number is 10A432
  • Reply 11 of 71
    mac voyermac voyer Posts: 1,282member
    After a day of banging on this thing, I am fairly certain that this is not the final build. First, there is no clean install option. There really is not much of any install options, though it is nice to have a simply, no fuss, install. I wiped my HD and did the install as clean as possible. On two computers I have done the install a total of three times. Each time, it took about forty minutes. No way will the final version ship without install options.



    QT has no preferences as previously mentioned by another poster. There are also no import/export options nor an option to upgrade to pro. Clearly, these are features that will be added to the final release as well. VoiceOver has a major bug which they will no doubt fix. VO is the built in screen reader. Most people will never even no it is there. Other than those few things, this is a fantastic release. I am excited about the prospect of it getting even better and more optimized.



    One more thing, I see no difference in the performance of the clean install vs. the in-place upgrade. This thing was made for upgrading. It upgrades like a service pack. There is no fanfare; it just installs and you are right back where you left off. It will be well worth the effort for anyone who is curious. I won't be going back to Leopard.
  • Reply 12 of 71
    lennylenny Posts: 85member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post


    First, there is no clean install option



    Well, maybe you gave the answer youself

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post


    This thing was made for upgrading



  • Reply 13 of 71
    tvontvon Posts: 2member
    Does double clicking the titlebar still minimize for you? I did a fresh install and it's not working for me....
  • Reply 14 of 71
    lennylenny Posts: 85member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tvon View Post


    Does double clicking the titlebar still minimize for you? I did a fresh install and it's not working for me....



    It's disabled by default. Go to System Prefs and activate it.
  • Reply 15 of 71
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post


    Additionally, you can now do video capture right from QT. It works flawlessly. There will be a new era in how-to videos for the Mac.



    Really?? Will it allow you to capture a voice narrative at the same time it captures what's happening on the screen? If so, that would be Awesome! I need exactly that feature to do some screencasts and software tutorials.
  • Reply 16 of 71
    mac voyermac voyer Posts: 1,282member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post


    Really?? Will it allow you to capture a voice narrative at the same time it captures what's happening on the screen? If so, that would be Awesome! I need exactly that feature to do some screencasts and software tutorials.



    Yes. It gives you a choice of input methods, quality, and save location in a drop-down menu.
  • Reply 17 of 71
    asciiascii Posts: 5,847member
    Quicktime not autoplaying is a big annoyance for me.



    Expose is sluggish until you do it 2 or 3 times and then it mysteriously speeds up. Typically you will only do it once therefore (for practical purposes) it is always sluggish. They really need to work on fixing this.



    The two most common Dock menu items I use are "Keep in Dock" and "Force Quit." All the others I couldn't even tell you what they are. What they have done is move "Keep in Dock" in to a submenu, another little annoyance. The most common ones should not be in submenus.



    The new Finder is great. If you configure it right you can have a true spatial Finder. Windows remember their positions, and you can't have two windows of the same folder open at once, and when you restart, any windows you had open come back open. It requires some configuring to get this effect, for example you must hide the sidebar to avoid two windows with the same contents. That online commentator guy who has made this his pet issue should be happy now.



    The fact that the Spotlight search in a Finder window now searches that Window is a good new option, but is not on by default.



    Be careful with "Mute" - if you are listening on headphones and have it muted and unplug the headphones, mute is turned off - or at least it doesn't apply to all outputs in the first place.



    There is a bug in the keyboard shortcut preferences. In the Expose tab, try setting the 3 expose modes to F13, F14, F15. It will show you the little yellow roadsign warning that you are conflicting with another shortcut. Click on it and it takes you to the keyboard shortcuts tab but there is no conflict present. Maybe those keys do something on a notebook, but on my desktop it shouldn't be showing a conflict.



    Other than that I guess it is a technical tour de force, with 64-bit throughout and the new queue-based system for programming multicore.
  • Reply 18 of 71
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,698member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Be careful with "Mute" - if you are listening on headphones and have it muted and unplug the headphones, mute is turned off - or at least it doesn't apply to all outputs in the first place.



    This isn't new to Snow Leopard. Both my MacBook running Tiger and my MacBook Pro running Leopard do this. The headphones and built-in speakers have independent volume control. So, if you're using the speakers and have the volume set to max, then plug in headphones and adjust the volume to half-way, when you remove the headphones the volume will go back to max; plug the headphones back in and you return to half volume.
  • Reply 19 of 71
    asciiascii Posts: 5,847member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    This isn't new to Snow Leopard. Both my MacBook running Tiger and my MacBook Pro running Leopard do this. The headphones and built-in speakers have independent volume control. So, if you're using the speakers and have the volume set to max, then plug in headphones and adjust the volume to half-way, when you remove the headphones the volume will go back to max; plug the headphones back in and you return to half volume.



    I agree they should have independent volume control, but mute should be universal. Oh well, it is what it is. I didn't know the earlier versions behaved the same.
  • Reply 20 of 71
    I am extremely happy with SL and it is noticeably 'snappier'.



    However, I have one thing which is sort of bothering me. I have a MBP with a multi-touch trackpad. If I call expose by swiping 4 fingers, then swipe the opposite direction to get rid of it (without releasing my fingers), the windows go back to expose mode as soon as I release my hand. If anyone with a multi-touch MBP could test whether it works like this on his end I'd be grateful as it worked well on Leopard.
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