Definitely Worth The Wait (10/1/01)
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Ladies, ladies, ladies-- Mac OS X 10.1 in the HIZ-ouse, yo. Forgive our giddy ebullience, but this update has finally made us remember why we were excited about Mac OS X in the first place. Funny how all it took to get us excited again is a release that actually works. Wheeeeeee!!!

Granted, one might expect our enthusiasm to be dampened somewhat by the ickiness of the actual "getting the upgrade" phase of the process, but truth be told, our trip into Retailsville to pick up a kit was far less heinous than many of the "I walked thirty-seven miles uphill through freezing rain only to be stabbed in the eye by a slack-jawed CompUSA employee" stories we're hearing out there. (If you're thirsty for drama, MacMinute has a pretty hefty compendium of reader experiences relating to snagging-- or failing to snag-- one of these magical 10.1 kits at retail.) Whereas lots of you poor souls had to endure the heartbreak of being told by harried resellers that the free upgrade kits never showed up at all, our only inconvenience was unexpectedly having to wait in line for an hour outside the Apple Store Northshore as curious mallgoers rolled their eyes at the dweebs lining up for a computer operating system. Oh, the indignities we suffer in the name of progress...

As for the release itself, though, we said it works, and work it does. This is the very first release in which the brightness and volume keys on our Pismo work reliably (or, indeed, at all). We can finally paste custom icons on our drive partitions so we can tell them apart at a glance. We can now play American McGee's Alice in Mac OS X-- including a level that always crashed under Mac OS 9. Applications launch so quickly that if we blink, we miss it (provided we blink fairly slowly). Resizable columns and two-line icon view tags mean we can finally read the middles of our filenames. QuickTime movies no longer lose sound-video synchronization after four seconds, and DVD playback appears to work flawlessly-- even better than under Mac OS 9. Perhaps most importantly for us, AppleTalk support means we can connect to our ancient Mac OS 8.6 Power Computing clone via AirPort and edit files on a disk in its external Zip drive-- which means we're apt to do a whole lot more AtAT production under 10.1. Heck, even the built-in screensaver got more elegant.

So far our only complaints are tiny ones. For one thing, pressing F12 now appears to open our DVD-ROM drive, and we've done that by accident about a zillion times since Saturday when reaching for the delete key... but that's a feature, not a bug, and it's a heckuva lot easier than pressing the teensy eject button on the drive door itself. The only actual bug we've encountered is that occasionally when we wake our PowerBook from sleep, our sound is gone until we restart-- but since that happened occasionally in 10.0.4 as well, we figure at least we're no worse off than we were before. Overall, two thumbs up-- way up. Kudos to Apple for making so much progress in so little time. Six more months and this OS is going to be so polished, we'll be able to count our pores in its highly reflective surface.


 
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The above scene was taken from the 10/1/01 episode:

October 1, 2001: It wasn't necessarily easy to get, but Mac OS X 10.1 is finally here-- and it rocks. Meanwhile, ethereal visions from beyond hint at an "Apple event" in mid-October packing new PowerBooks and a chewy candy surprise, and Henrico County's 23,000 iBooks apparently aren't quite as easy to manage as those folks originally expected...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3333: It'll Be... "Oh, My Nose!" (10/1/01)   So there we were, clicking happily away in Mac OS X 10.1, when we discovered two features of which we had not previously been aware. The first is that the Keyboard Preference panel lets you set up the ability to navigate the menubar, the Dock, the toolbars, etc...

  • 3334: School Daze In Henrico (10/1/01)   Speaking of Apple "press events," remember that one back in May at which the company trotted out its spankin' new iBook? In addition to getting in a dignified potshot at Dell's ninety-pound consumer laptop, Steve also spent a lot of time playing up the iBook's unparalleled suitability for use in schools...

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