Digital Home Leopard coverage: Installation

Don Reisinger has launched the Digital Home Leopard coverage with some discussion on the installation and first impressions. This is only the beginning--keep checking back all weekend for more Leopard coverage.

Over the course of this weekend, I will be covering just about everything you ever wanted to know about Leopard. From its installation (this post) through my final impressions, this weekend will be dedicated to all things Leopard here on the Digital Home. So without further ado, sit back, relax, and enjoy some Leopard.

As I write this, I'm currently running Apple's newest OS--Mac OS X Leopard. And while I will fill you in on some of my thoughts in the posts following this one, I can tell you, without a doubt, that Leopard (so far) is a fantastic OS.

Packaging


Doesn't Apple know how to package products? Whether it's the 24-inch aluminum iMac (the puppy I'm writing this on) or this OS, Apple's packaging never ceases to amaze me. It's simple, elegant, and great looking--everything we should expect from packaging.

It may be a small thing to some, but I'm always interested in how well packages look. If the packaging is ugly and little time was dedicated to it, it has to make you wonder: was the same nonchalance given to the product?

Installation


Installing Mac OS X Leopard is as simple as five clicks. First, you insert the disc into your machine, and a dialog box will ask you if you would like to install the new OS. From there, you need only to press Restart and let the OS do the rest. Next, the system will reboot and you will begin the process or verifying the contents on the disc. If you want to let that happen, expect to spend an additional 20 minutes waiting. If not, press skip--you should be fine.

Once the disc is verified, you need to go through a few menu pages which basically ask if you're ready to install the OS. Once complete, wait a good 45 minutes, and you're ready to go.

First impressions


Upon booting the operating system, you're immediately shocked by the desktop image more than anything else. After looking at a blue background for so long, it was nice to see an entirely new design. Next, you'll notice that the Apple at the top left of the screen is not blue anymore -- it's black.

But perhaps the most interesting change is the Dock. Instead of the old (somewhat ugly, now that you see this) design, the new Dock is fantastic. It has a reflective bottom and sports a blue light to tell you which programs are open, instead of the familiar arrow. So much attention was given to this feature that when the icons jump up and down, the reflection moves with it.

Speed has not been an issue at all. That said, I'm running a relatively new Mac with all the fixins. But based on what I've heard, performance is stable and smooth across all Mac iterations.

Another oft-ignored inclusion is Apple's decision to include a link to your Documents folder on the Dock. Once you click on this, it immediately brings you to an attractive screen that is filled with icons showing you a thumbnail of what each of the documents looks like.

Mail has been upgraded significantly, and I can finally say that it's every bit as useful and organized as any other e-mail application out there. I've already included some RSS feeds into the app and have added some reminders of what I need to get done with the help of the "To-Do" option. So far, it's superb.

Finally, my new favorite application on Mac OS X is Spaces. As someone who uses a slew of programs at any given time, just having the ability to quickly (and easily) switch between programs is a welcome addition. So far, I'm using it only in its default 2x2 setup and decided to use F5 as the indicator button allowing me to switch between windows. Simply put, it works beautifully.

So there you have it--installation and first impressions for some of Leopard's most interesting new features. Trust me, this is only the beginning. Keep checking back (or subscribe to the RSS) all weekend so you don't miss a beat of my Leopard coverage.

Next up: Time Machine.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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