My wife and I visited the Apple Store during Friday night’s launch of Tiger, but only to try to win the PowerBook they were giving away. I had actually bought a Tiger family Pack shortly before from MicroCenter. That store was offering a $50 rebate on both the single-user and family packs, and that was a much better deal than anyone else was offering.
We got back to late Friday evening for me to start upgrades, then, even though I felt I was ready. Using Firewire hard disks, I had backed up both our iMacs and the G5 PowerMac. I began upgrading by applying Tiger to the g5 PowerMac using the “Upgrade” option, and it all went without a hitch. All my applications worked, including Epson printer and scanner drivers I had half-expected to disable. I don’t really use the PowerMac for scanning or printing; my G5 iMac serves as that workhorse. I had set up the PowerMac to serve as my upgrade “canary”; and since it didn’t croak, I decided to move ahead with upgrading my iMac. I wanted a chance to get to know Spotlight, and I hadn’t seen anything to make me think that Tiger would kill any of my major applications.
I used the Upgrade option for all the installations, and they all went smoothly. The installer said it would need 2.7 -2.9 GB for the installations. The time they took varied. The installation onto my PowerMac took 23 minutes while the installation on my iMac took about 28 minutes.
One of the new features of the installer is that it will check the installation DVD for errors before proceeding. It will find scratches and oily fingerprints; I know this from personal experience. This routine adds about 10 minutes to the installation time. (The times quoted above do not include that routine.) There is a button that lets you skip it; and if you want to use it, I still recommend you check your DVD during the first installation and then skip it for any subsequent ones.
The first boot after the installation was completed was not fast, though I would expect that type of behavior with any operating system.
The first thing I noticed was the Dashboard icon located next to Finder in the Dock. Dashboard is an extension of Expose. When you click on the Dashboard icon, colorful “widgets” appear. These are small applications that run various tasks you might find helpful. For instance, since I just shipped a Tiger family Pack to my son Tim today via FedEx, one of my widgets provides FedEx tracking number info. To see where the package is, I simply click on the Dashboard icon. The widget automatically updates to the latest information as it occurs, saving me from having to travel to the FedEx website and constantly check. I also have one that displays data from my Address Book, the local six day weather forecast, a calculator, a sticky note, and a commercial flight tracker. About a dozen or so come loaded natively, and Apple has pages more you can download from their website. To install a new one, you simply download it to your desktop and double-click on it.
Apple’s Setup Assistant was the first thing that actually ran. It asked if I had a Mac I wanted to transfer data from. I didn’t, but if I had, I would have only had to connect the “old” Mac via a Firewire cable and boot it in Firewire Target Disk Mode to have it handle the data transfer. It dutifully asked for registration information and also pushed several screens designed to get me to sign up for .Mac. Once I jumped through all the not-so-sticky wickets, I was at my desktop, which looked different only in the addition of Dashboard to the Dock, the bright blue Apple at the top left of the menu bar, and the blue ball with a white magnifying glass in the middle of it, the symbol for Spotlight, on the right end of the menu bar. The other new thing I noticed fairly quickly is the addition of two nee menu items in Finder, a Burn Folder and a Smart Folder. The Burn Folder entry also shows up on any Finder context menu. While I have a suspicion about what that is, I have not had time to do any investigating. I believe Smart Folders have something to do with Spotlight, but I’ll leave the firm diagnosis of both of those to another date.
Overall performance actually seems a bit snappier than Panther. Repairing permissions is much faster. Where I used to watch Panther sign onto my home’s wireless network, it’s done by the time the Desktop hits the screen now.
There are two new applications in the Utilities folder, i.e., Grapher and Voice Over Utility. (I haven’t had time to explore them, yet.)
QuickTime 7.0 was also loaded up with the Tiger installation. Streaming video is faster and visual clarity is outstanding. The only downside to QT7 so far is that it disabled all my QuickTime 6.0 Pro keys, both my retail key and the one that came with Final Cut HD, originally Final Cut Pro 4.0. That’s a hidden cost of the upgrade, and it amounts to $30 for each machine you want to run QT Pro on.
Like with any operating system upgrade, Tiger’s incompatibilities are something to look for.
Here’s at list of the applications and drivers I own that required no modifications or updating to run in Tiger and suffered no loss of functionality (as far as I can tell):
Adobe Illustrator CS
Adobe InDesign CS
Adobe Live Motion 2.0
Firefox 1.03 G5 version
iMovie HD 5.02
Garage Band 2.01
Roxio Toast 6.09
Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0
Corel Draw 11.693
Yahoo Messenger 2.53
MSN Messenger 4.01
Epson Perfection 1660 Twain drivers (Epson Scan 2.30)
Epson Print Center 2.14 (on my 1.8 Ghz G5 iMac)
Epson R200 Printer drivers
HP Deskjet 1100D printer drivers
Here’s the list of applications I own that required updating or lost minor functionality under Tiger:
MacKiev’s Print Shop (a version 1.07 update is available)
Micromat Tech Tool Pro 4.03 ( a 4.04 update is available)
Microsoft Office 2004 (handheld synchronization with Entourage is lost; Entourage crashes more when saving an e-mail)
Here’s the list of applications I own that lost functionality under Tiger:
ClickNDesign 3D (Classic mode; cannot run in Classic mode-crashes when trying to run in Carbon mode and runs in Carbon mode even when told not to)
Outlook 2001 (Classic mode; cannot find mail server)
Unfortunately for me, the two applications that lost functionality where fairly critical.
Lots of Mac newsgroups are reporting that Tiger breaks VPN functionality with third-party VPN applications. It did not break VPN with my workplace per se; I can still log in to my workplace and access my workplace like I used to via my browser, but Outlook 2001 seems unable to resolve my mailserver’s name. Of course, Outlook 2001 is known to have this problem no matter what operating system it’s run with; so, I really don’t know that its problems are attributable to Tiger.
I’ve managed to replace ClickNDesign 3D—or at least regain some of its functionality—with a version of exPressit I downloaded from the Memorex website.
I haven’t given up on both these applications, however; as Tiger patches are released, I’ll see if I might regain them.
Do I think the upgrade was worth it? In a word, “yes”. Spotlight really does change how you work with your computer. I could write a whole blog on it alone and am sure I will be writing about it more. Even though I first though Dashboard’s widgets were all flash and no substance, I’m actually finding them somewhat useful and certainly colorful and fun. Still Tiger’s incompatibilities are driving my not to upgrade my PowerBook for now. Virtual PC 7.01 also breaks under Tiger and it is on my notebook, and ClickNDesign 3D and Outlook 2001 both run there.
I haven’t had time yet to see if I can judge the positive impacts of Tiger on my video editing dual 2 Ghz G5 PowerMac. That’s next. As always, I’ll keep you posted.