OS X upgrade packed with goodies

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

Helps Mac user back up data, multitask and even use Windows

Jim Jamieson

Customers try out Leopard at a Singapore store on Friday. Photograph by : Reuters

What is it? Mac OS X version 10.5 (Leopard)

Price: $129.99

Rating 4 out of 5

Why you need it: You love your Mac and can’t bear to do without new wrinkles from the wizards at Apple.

Why you don’t: You use your computer for e-mail, web surfing and not much else, so your operating system has enough bells and whistles.

Our rating:

Apple’s OS X operating system, launched Friday, took a little longer to release — 30 months — than previous upgrades, but it was worth waiting for.

This fourth upgrade offers no fewer than 300 new features, as tallied by Apple, so it’s difficult to do justice to more than the highlights.

Suffice it to say that Leopard brings some major changes to the Mac interface’s look and feel, improvements in productivity programs, beefed-up security and a whole array of goodies throughout the operating system.

Here are some of the more interesting features:

– Time Machine: This seems to be Apple’s way to encourage users to back up their data on a regular basis. Time Machine automatically backs up every file on a Mac to a separate hard drive or another machine on a network running Leopard. The setup and usage of this solution is very easy and — although it requires you to purchase the extra hard drive (costs are reasonable these days) — it really leaves no excuse for losing data owing to a drive failure.

– Spaces: A welcome development for those of us who multi-task and love to have different projects on the go at the same time. Spaces let you switch between different collections of application windows and avoid having to sort through layers of clutter on your desktop.

– Quick Look: This allows you to view the contents of a document’s icon at full size, right on the desktop, without having to open the file or the program used to create it. Quick Look is

available throughout Leopard, so you can also use it with a movie, which will expand and begin to play.

– Boot Camp: The program that allows users to run Microsoft Windows — and Windows-based programs — on their Intel-based Macs is now built into the Mac OS. It just makes it easier and will certainly attract those Windows types who might consider switching to the Mac universe.

– Parental Controls: A big step forward on this front. Leopard allows you to set time limits for your kids’ computer use and even lock up the computer when it’s bedtime.

Leopard doesn’t require a top-end machine, either. The minimum requirements are just 512 megabytes of RAM and an 867-megahertz processor.

© The Vancouver Province 2007


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