Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Snow Leopard Rocks

I love Snow Leopard. Well, almost everything. It's very smooth most of the time and there are some very nice features to it. But there are a couple of niggling things that I've sent feedback to Apple about and you might want to as well. Here are some of the things that I hope they fix in an upcoming update:

Default Calenders in iCal
I use Mail, iCal, and Address Book to connect to our company's Exchange Server. However, when a third party application downloads a .ics file you cannot choose which calendar to add it to. When you open the ics file, it adds the event to the Home calendar and then you have to choose which calendar to add it to.

Why not add a dialog box asking you which calendar you want to assign it to if you have more than one or allow you to choose a default calendar when adding events outside of Mail.

No Address Book Respect
Because I use Mail for work, I get emails from new people that I want to add to my Exchange Contacts list. But when you add a contact for Mail, it goes to your All Contacts general category rather than to my Exchange Contacts category. As a result, I have to launch Address Book and manually add it to Exchange and then delete it from the general category.

If Mail is going to be used in the corporate environment, it should respect corporate assets.

VPN Support through Cisco
One of the things that got me excited about Snow Leopard is the ability to use built in VPN to access a Cisco Concentrator so I wouldn't have to use Cisco's client. When you use Cisco's client and you want to reboot your machine, the client will present a dialog box awaiting user input and will cancel any reboot.

Apple's VPN connection does not do that and it is very fast to connect. The problem with Apple's client is that in the first release of Snow Leopard, using the VPN client would allow for the resolution of internal server names at work. However, when 10.6.1 was released, I lost that functionality. Now I have to add our domain extension to server names just so that it would know which server to connect to. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.

The funny thing is, when I go back to Cisco's client, I can resolve server names again but it's giving me problems with accessing outside Internet locations.

I think that this would be a small fix on Apple's part that would help a lot of users in the corporate space.

Firmware problems
Quite a few Snow Leopard users have experienced the slowness issue where their Mac will suddenly freeze for 10-30 seconds and then become responsive again. QuickTime movies will often stutter or suddenly stop for a few seconds. It's frustrating for sure. A PRAM reset helped (search Apple's online support for what that means) but a number of users of newer Macs reported that performing an EFI Firmware downgrade helped.

Well I tried it and it worked. No more pauses. Apple then released a new version of the EFI firmware which I tried. Pauses came back. I downgraded again and the pauses have all but literally disappeared. If you have to know, my brand new 15.4" aluminum core MacBook Pro is running version 1.6 and all seems to be fine.

But overall, I still love Snow Leopard. The fan rarely comes on. It just seems so powerful that it brushes off whatever I throw at it. Even launching a virtual machine while watching a movie didn't even cause a hiccup. And this is while driving a second external monitor.

I'm sure that the coming patches will eliminate these few pesky problems and make the Mac experience so much better.