Friday was Mac OSX Leopard Day. I did my consumerist duty and drove to the Roseville Apple Store with around 300 other crazy people. As I stood far back in line, there was applause when the door was released. Another 45 minutes of standing in line, and I could get in. Most of the people there were standing around in the store, chatting it up amongst each other, or looking at MacBooks. However, I was there to purchase the software, and get out, with a t-shirt of course. That took little time at all, due to the hand held Symbol devices with magnetic card readers which a number of staff were holding. I didn't need a bag for such a small purchase, and it felt strange buying the software, having the receipt emailed to me, and walking out with the package in hand, no bag, and no receipt. I wondered how easily it would have been to grab a disc, and walk out, just say, oh yea, I had my receipt emailed to me. In all of the chaos of the "Launch Party," pulling off such a stunt wouldn't have been hard.
After the party, I'm on my way home, and I just can't wait, so I open the package to look at the disc. How clever is Apple to create such products, which are benign, and useless, but still people can't wait to open them, just to look? I get a call from a friend who is at FirstTech, wondering if $120 is a good deal for a 500GB external drive with USB 2.0. He also mentions that from 6 to 9 that night, you could get Leopard for $99, rather then $129. I ruined my purchase from the Apple Store by opening it, plus I bet I'd get knocked with a restocking fee. Rather then giving out shirts, FirstTech was handing out stuffed leopards. Well, enough of about the consumer adventure of procuring the software, how does it work?
The upgrade from Tiger to Leopard, on the surface, seems like much better of a deal then Panther to Tiger. Because I didn't bother to pay for Tiger, I wasn't so let down. This time, however, I greedily paid full retail without investigating other options, such as FirstTech for $99, or getting it from the U of MN via Jeannette for $69. Was it worth the full tag? I don't know yet. I'm not taking advantage of Time Machine, not yet anyway, as I don't really use my Mac for much. It's a Mac mini hooked up to my TV, which has been playing the roll of a fancy Apple TV by streaming Star Trek videos from my PC to the TV. It has also served other purposes by letting my easily throw together podcast demos, edit videos using iMovie, create nicely designed DVD's in iDVD (Designed by Apple in California, made in Minneapolis). To this end, the upgrade has been noticeable. Front Row looks like the Apple TV now. I do like the change. I had some issue getting the Vista desktop and the Mac talking properly, but I am contemplating a full wipe and rebuild to start from scratch. Now that Apple has gotten most of the bugs out of iLife '08, I may be using the Mac more and more. The Mac mini is a terrific form factor, and serves its purpose very well. There is something to be said about using a computer which is hooked up to a TV, even if it is an LCD TV, which makes the experience so much different. While I could type up a document easily on it, I find myself resisting, it just doesn't feel right. I would be better off using VNC from the Vista desktop into the Mac, or rigging up a very long KVM.
In short, everyone who wants a Mac, but thinks they are too expensive, buy a mini, you won't be disappointed. It keeps up with my Vista box well, except for games.