Leopard Consolidation: The State of the Art

By Graham K. Rogers

    Leopard has been with us for a while now. Overall I am happy with what is happening on my computer, but it has not been totally plain sailing. I have had a couple of minor problems and I know that others have not fared as well as me.

    A bug in Parental Controls manifested itself by making the widgets disappear. Apple has a fix in a Knowledge Base article (KB307022). I reinstalled using the Archive and Install method before this document appeared (I was teaching this two days later and needed it all to work). The system has been perfectly stable since.


Early on we found that several third-party utilities were in need of updates. Bit by bit they have been returning and there are also revisions to some applications. iTunes and QuickTime were both updated and now stand at versions 7.5 and 7.3 respectively. iPhoto also received a little nudge up to 7.1.1.

Three weeks after Leopard was released, an expected update, bringing it to version 10.1.5, was released. Although there have been improvements, not everything has been fixed, including my widgets bug. In the release documentation, Apple clearly makes reference to third party system utilities: it is these that have been giving some users a lot of problems.

Disk Warrior Powerful utilities like Disk Warrior or TechTool are in the process of being updated. Alsoft suggests that Disk Warrior is only run from the disk or from a 10.4 partition: the update is coming soon. Micromat expect an update around the end of November.

Apple has also been releasing advice, via its Knowledge Base documents, as problems appear and can be resolved. A couple of these revolve around Time Machine, which I am finding most useful.

I was writing one text and deleted a part. A couple of hours later I wanted to try the idea again. I started Time Machine, scrolled back and found the earlier version, then simply used copy and paste [To make this clear, I did restore the version first.]. Examples of Apple's advice include that Aperture libraries are excluded from the automatic backup (KB306853) and that disks that ship with a Master Boot record will have to be reformatted to work with Time Machine (KB306932).

One local user had crash after crash. I suggested that he just remove third-party utilities from login items (or avoid starting them) and bring them back one by one. The last I heard, after more than a week, his system was stable, although he did have a continuing problem with Thai fonts in Firefox. [Note: In the end he had several continuing problems with Leopard.]

Fetch A check around the web, and asking a few questions, reveals that Firefox is misbehaving in Leopard with Thai fonts and with Cyrillic (Russian). This is currently being investigated by the developer team. [Note: An update to the 3.01 beta version fixed most font problems.]

Some essentials had been updated within days. Marcus Bresink's useful Tinker Tool (v3.8) was first out of the door and my favourite FTP application, Fetch, is now at 5.3.

Tinker Tool

yasu Other utilities began to revive around the time of the 10.5.1 download. Adobe updated Lightroom the day 10.5.1 came out New versions of the popular Cocktail and the donationware Yasu appeared at about the same time. Cocktail is a $15 shareware utility (475 baht) which we can test before purchase. It will expire after the tenth launch.

Yasu runs maintenance scripts, which is fine; but it will empty caches by default as well as clear logs. There are two options when complete: restart or shutdown. Cocktail has a larger selection of fine-tuning tools that can affect the system, the files and networking. This also allows one to put the Dock at the top of the screen: try it and you will see why the default has the Dock at the bottom. These utilities should be used with care.

In each case (following a download), on the first activation of such software Leopard reminds users that the application was downloaded from the Internet and asks us if we are sure we want to run it, offering to open the relevant webpage.

Bento Apple also slipped in two new programs: Final Cut Express 4 and Bento. The Final Cut name is familiar to most Mac users and here is a new version positioned between the pro-level and home use (represented by iMovie versions). The US price is some $199 (6600 baht) although there is no information concerning availability or pricing in Thailand.

Bento is a personal database application that has been developed by Apple's wholly-owned Filemaker subsidiary. On install it starts by accessing information in the user's Address Book and iCal (calendar) to provide a centralised data resource. There is a preview version available for download and the full price is some $50 (1500 baht). For me the jury is still out on this as I am not a database person.


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