Thursday, August 27, 2009

Advice: Beware the First Version of Any E-Thing

A quick bit of technical advice, here, on the occasion Apple's release of the next-gen Mac OS tomorrow. I'm an unabashed Mac lover (though one who duly respects XP, alright?), but here's what a couple of decades in the computer world have taught me: Never Buy The First Version Of Anything.

The software business has long treated the first public release as the last beta version. True, you could test today's complex software forever and still never be sure you'd pressed every button in every possible combination. So they count on the "bleeding edge" types, the ones who pride themselves on having the latest/greatest of every product, to find out what still needs work.

It's therefore unsurprising that The New York Times' estimable David Pogue, in today's column praising the new Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" (10.5 was Plain Old Leopard, I guess), nonetheless refers in to "the number of non-Apple programs that 'break' after the installation. I experienced frustrating glitches in various programs, including Microsoft Word, Flip4Mac, Photoshop CS3," and a couple minor apps.

"The compatibility list at lists other programs that may have trouble. Most of these hiccups will go away when software companies update their wares... Let’s hope that Apple hurries up with its inevitable update, too, to address the occasional Safari crash and cosmetic glitch I experienced, too."
Let me hasten to highlight the gist of the column, though, which he summarized as,
"Otherwise, if you’re already running Leopard, paying the $30 for Snow Leopard is a no-brainer. You’ll feel the leap forward in speed (and) polish, and you’ll keep experiencing those 'oh, that’s nice' moments for weeks to come."
State of the Art column, NYT:
Apple’s Sleek Upgrade (8/26/09)

So, like the man says, better to wait for the (or -.2) version. Let the real hardcore geeks unearth the larger bugs and thus get it in shape "for the rest of us."

(Full Disclosure: Mr. Pogue, in an earlier incarnation as a writer/reviewer for MacWorld, had nice things to say about two different manuals I wrote, as he was reviewing the programs they described. So, yeah, I am kinda partial to the guy's opinions, and think he's wicked smart.)

Related, here:
"Endless Vistas... of confusion" (2/4/07)
Posts tagged "tech advice"

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