Snow Leopard – Got the disk, but still waiting

Please wait...

Please wait...

Yes I’ve upgraded my Mac Mini to Snow Leopard, and yes I’ve done a test install of it on the Mac Pro using a spare disk, and it looks great. However, much as I’m keen to upgrade to the latest and greatest OS on my Mac Pro… I can’t.

There are a few key applications that are holding me back.

Logitech Control Centre 3.0 – having a Logitech MX Revolution mouse and a Logitech diNovo Keyboard for Mac, the LCC software is pretty much essential. The current version of LCC (version 3.0) won’t even install under Snow Leopard, and although there are some workarounds to get it installed and to get some of the functionality back, it’s not elegant. Logitech are apparently working on a Snow Leopard compatible version of LCC that should be released “any day now”.

Evernote 1.4.8 – I use Evernote all the time for creating and syncing notes between my two Macs and my Windows (work) laptop. While Evernote 1.4.8 will install and run under Snow Leopard, there are certain things that are broken. There is a Snow Leopard compatible version (1.4.9) in the works, but it’s not out yet. As I write this, Evernote 1.4.9 has appeared on MacUpdate!

VMware Fusion 2.0.5 – another of my core apps, I run my work (Windows) desktop under VMware when I’m working from home. Fusion 2.0.5 won’t even load up under Snow Leopard in 64-bit mode, so best to wait for a fix. No timescales on that one…

1Password 2.9.31 – again, this is something I use every day for storing website logins, secure notes, license details, etc. It will work under Snow Leopard with  some caveats, e.g. it only supports Safari in 32-bit mode. For proper supported S/L functionality it seems I should wait for 1Password 3.0 to make it out of beta. As a registered user I can access the latest beta 3.0 version, but given how critical the data is that I store in 1Password, I’d rather wait for the release version to be on the safe side.

Adobe Lightroom 2.4 – home for all my photos and version 2.4 is reported to have issues under Snow Leopard. Another wait…

DropBox 0.6.556 – great for syncing files between my various machines, but it seems a few bits of this version are broken under Snow Leopard. There’s a version 0.6.557 on MacUpdate but it doesn’t mention S/L compatibility. There’s an experimental build 0.7.12 available, but again, I don’t want to trust my data to something experimental.

EyeTV 3.1.2 – apparently it works but there are problems with the sound.

goSecure 1.2 – the developer hasn’t yet confirmed this is Snow Leopard compatible, although I tried it out on my Mac Mini and it seems to work OK.

MailTags 2.3 – the developer has stated that 2.3 isn’t Snow Leopard compatible and that a new version is on the way.

…and there are a few more.

Wake me up when it’s Christmas.

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Snow Leopard thaws my Logitech webcam mike!

Speak up... I CAN hear you!

Speak up... I CAN hear you!

While I’ve upgraded my Mac Mini to Snow Leopard 10.6, I haven’t yet taken the plunge on my 2008 Mac Pro. This is mainly because I am bug testing some iPhoto software for someone and it would be unfair to change the underlying OS half way through as it would most likely just confuse matters. However, I do now have my Western Digital Caviar ‘Black’ 1Tb drive and so with an hour or so to spare I removed the existing 4 drives and popped it in, just to see how a fresh install of Snow Leopard would run on a Mac Pro.

The installation recognized my Logitech MX Revolution Mouse and Logitech diNovo Keyboard Mac Edition (both plugged in using a Logitech wireless USB dongle), so it was simply a matter of answering a few questions and waiting. Once installed, a Software Update for Remote Screen installed itself, then I was left to play for a while. The Logitech Control Centre v3.0 software refused to install (there is a workaround), so I was unable to use any of the extended features of my keyboard or mouse, however there was some good news about another of my Logitech peripherals.

Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro

Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro

My Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro now works with Snow Leopard’s built-in speech recognition!! Under Leopard 10.5.x, the microphone in this webcam simply refused to work with the Mac’s built-in speech recognition software. It would work fine with other apps like Skype, iChat, etc., and your voice would even register in the OS X speech recognition window, but getting the Mac to recognize anything was impossible and it was a widely reported problem. However, under Snow Leopard I decided to give it another go and what do you know – it worked! Off I went, quoting the phrases on the calibration panel… What time is it? Quit this application. Open a document… and so on. Each one registered first time and I was then able to use speech recognition as I’d always wanted. I am now wondering if the mike will work with MacSpeech Dictate under Snow Leopard? Who knows.

Eventually the time came to stop experimenting and put the Mac Pro back to Leopard 10.5.8. Naturally once I’d put all the original drives back I tried out speech recognition with the webcam and it steadfastly refused to play ball. I am wondering if I upgraded from 10.5.8 to 10.6 rather than doing a fresh install, whether or not the webcam mike would still work with the Mac’s speech recognition? Maybe that’s an experiment for next week…

Quickbitz – Mac Mini Snow Leopard Upgrade

The Mini hits a snag...

The Mini hits a snag...

So I have seen lots of reports saying that the upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard is the smoothest thing ever, and having gone out and bought a copy of Snow Leopard because the Royal Mail can’t decide if they want to ever deliver my Family Pack, I plumped for upgrading my Mac Mini.

Well it wasn’t an upgrade as it turns out. As there was no data that I needed to keep on the Mini, I decided to do a fresh install. This meant popping the Snow Leopard disk in and then wiping the Mini’s 80Gb internal drive before installing. The installation took about 45 minutes at which point it hung. I didn’t associate the Mini with a MobileMe account, I simply defined a user id and it then got to it’s “Talking with Apple” stage. My router is set up to provide DHCP and I was using a cable to connect the mini, so that wasn’t the issue. My internet connection was fine and I was able to browse the Apple web site from my Mac Pro, but the Snow Leopard install still just sat there… for two and a half hours.

Ooops...

Ooops...

Tired of waiting I switched the Mac Mini off then back on again. Sure enough, this time it booted up (very quickly) and then told me that it didn’t recognize my Apple Wireless Keyboard, prompting me to press the key to the right of the Shift key so it could figure it out. Nothing. The prompt wouldn’t go away, however I opened Text Editor and the keyboard was working fine so I simply killed off the prompt. After installing a small update for Remote Screen or something, that was it my Mac Mini had been 10.6’d.

Was it as smooth and painless for me? Not quite.

Is it quicker? Yes, but then I had installed Norton Antivirus for Mac (as an experiment) on the Mac Mini and I reckon just not having that installed any more makes it much quicker.

Next is the 2008 Mac Pro which is my main work machine. Again, I think I shall do a fresh install so that I can get rid of six months accumulated junk. In the meantime, I think I’ll start using the Mac Mini s an application test bed to see if some of those question marks on the Compatibility List are ticks or crosses.

Snow Leopard Application Compatibility

This got me thinking...

This got me thinking...

I ordered Snow Leopard via the Apple Store, and despite being told it was dispatched on August 27th it still hasn’t arrived. I did hear there was (yet another) strike at Royal Mail so all I can hope for is that I get it some time before Christmas.

Anyway, it has given me a bit more time to look at things like application compatibility. Apple themselves have posted a short note on a few applications that have issues, but if you’re looking for a much more extensive and detailed list then head on over to WikiDot and the Snow Leopard Compatibility page here. It’s been put together by the Mac community and contains a lot of useful info if you haven’t already taken the plunge. If you have taken the plunge, then … you luck whatsit!

That’s probably all I’ll say about Snow Leopard for now. The web is awash with reviews, etc., so you’re probably suffering from overload like me. However, the graphic I added to this post got me thinking. Apple obviously see the Snow Leopard as symbolizing their latest OS, so the question is – if Windows 7 was an animal (bird, fish, whatever), what would it be? Have fun in the comments!

Quickbitz – Windows 7 Family Pack… How much?

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard - Apple Store (U.K.)Yesterday I placed my order on the Apple Store for the family pack of Snow Leopard. It will cost me the princely sum of £39 and will allow the upgrading of up to five Macs in my household (there’s just four at the moment). By contrast I read today that Microsoft has announced its pricing for the Windows 7 Premium Family Pack in the UK. It comes in at £149 and will allow you to upgrade just three PCs under the same roof.

Now whether or not you subscribe to the idea that Windows 7 is really just a bug fix for Vista, or Snow Leopard is just a series of patches for Leopard, the Snow Leopard deal seems far better given that the Windows purchaser also has to factor in the cost of a decent security suite (antivirus, antispyware, etc.) as well. 11727-windows7boxes

I am currently running two Windows VMs for personal use – one is XP SP3 which I bought back in the mists of time, the other is the RC evaluation version of Windows 7. All I use them for is to run Helium Music Manager (and I have two Eset Smart Security licenses to cover them both), but I am seriously considering whether it’s worth going any further with the Windows 7 VM or just ditching it as an expensive curiosity…

One other thing – Microsoft has said that Windows 7 Family Packs will only “be available in limited quantities”. Do they really need to resort to tactics like this to sell copies of Windows 7?