Is a new cat the answer?

I have a terrible track record with operating systems. Or really bad impulses. Quite possibly both, now that I come to think of it. As I type this, one of my cats is underneath my house, where I'm hopeful that it'll catch the rats that are currently living there uninvited.

Why? Basically an impulsive idea built around the concepts that I don't like rat poisons getting into the wider ecosystem, and rat traps run the risk of you coming across a half-live rat and being nastily bitten, so some means of termination without poisoning is desirable. Hence, a cat under the house. The cat can just eat the rats.

On reflection, I'm sure it'll come back to bite me. Either the cat, or the rats, or both.

Operating systems are like that too. Present me with a new operating system, and the odds are very high that I'll be throwing it onto a production system pretty darned quickly, if only to have a fiddle and see how well it runs compared to what used to be on there. The consequences are sometimes interesting, but never without quirks. I've had hardware refuse to work for obscure reasons, applications timing out or causing kernel panics and files self-corrupting seemingly at will. Early release software can be dangerous stuff, but somehow, whenever it rolls around, I don't quite listen to that part of my head. Conventional wisdom says to hold off for the .1 release with its bevy of beautiful bug fixes, but my patience doesn't often hold that long.

Snow Leopard's due Friday. And in so many ways, it's perhaps the one operating system that I should be excited about installing and should throw onto my beloved but worn MacBook ASAP. After all, it's not pitched as the revolutionary new operating system in terms of big new shiny features, but more for what's going on under the hood. Smaller installation footprint. Better Finder. Grand Central to take advantage of multiple processor cores. Overall a more optimised experience, rather than one that's guided by new widgets or accessories. It's even cheaper than previous OS X releases were, at $39 for a single-user pack or $69 for five users — assuming you’re presently running Leopard. If you’re running Tiger then you have to buy iLife and iWork as well in a bundle with Snow Leopard for $229 single-user and $299 for the Family Pack.

And if you're running a PowerPC Mac, prices for Snow Leopard technically start at $1049 for a new Mac Mini.

At the same time — and I do feel rather shallow typing this, but it's true — that same lack of shiny widgets and consumer eye candy make me ponder if this is the one time where I might hold back. There's no rock-solid guarantee that Snow Leopard will make my aging MacBook better. Not that many new gizmos that I can't live without, or at least that my brain can convince me that I can't live without. If past history is any guide, there will be at least one application or hardware device that it doesn't like at first. All of that, for possibly the first time in my personal history, gives me pause for thought. Should I jump in and install, or wait and see?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a cat to extricate from underneath my house. Possibly with a rat in its jaws. Possibly not.

Pre-order Snow Leopard from the Apple Store

Will you be getting your paws on Snow Leopard as soon as you can or holding off? Discuss in MacTheForum


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