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  • Mac OS 10.5.7, Dumb Journalist Comments and Other Juicy Stuff

    May 13th, 2009

    The last Leopard update arrived in December, 10.5.6, and after lots of forewarning from the Mac rumor sites, 10.5.7 appeared Tuesday afternoon. Claims by Mac|Life magazine that it would definitely arrive last Friday, with no evidence to support that assertion, thus enter the growing realm of abject tech media failures.

    Although 10.5.7 only appears to have a handful of mostly-obscure fixes, there are actually a slew of security-related issues that were dealt with. Unfortunately, whenever Apple strives to address potential security leaks in their own software and in the open source apps that a part of the system, ignorant media scribes will proclaim the end result as proof that malware is ready to strike the Mac big time at any moment. That assumption is clearly false, since none of those issues appear to have resulted in any widescale exploits.

    However, I’m not at all surprised. After all, they are only following in the footsteps of Microsoft, which seems to have seldom released a product or service that doesn’t, to a large extent, imitate that of a competitor, yet they proclaim it as evidence of “innovation.”

    There was also a revised version of the Safari 4.0 beta, one that seemed a tad more stable than the original release, but it’s not good enough for me to use it full-time. You see, display incompatibilities remain with my bank’s account services page, vBulletin’s admin page, and some features of the WordPress Dashboard. We use the latter to write these articles, and Safari 4 choked on the “Insert/Edit Link” dialog and other essential pop-up screens. So I’m back to Safari 3.2.3 for now, and since the people over at the WordPress company, Automattic, are heavy-duty Mac aficionados, I’m sure they are making their views known to Apple about such matters.

    In any case, 10.5.7, by itself, has been well behaved so far. But if you’re skeptical, give it a few days for the early adopters to put it through its paces. You’ll already see some complaints on some of the Mac troubleshooting sites, but pay them no heed unless a large number of users encounter the same difficulties. Alas, the troubleshooting community has,  by dint of ongoing irresponsibility in their approach to covering these topics, lost a lot of its credibility. That’s a sad development.

    Assuming there are no show-stoppers, I wouldn’t hesitate to install 10.5.7. I rather expect, barring any unforeseen problems, that it may indeed by the last Leopard update before Snow Leopard arrives.

    As to Snow Leopard, the latest news from Apple, that Mac developers will get the final beta during next month’s WWDC, is only further evidence pointing to a late summer release. I’m suggesting the last Friday in August, and I stick by that prediction, even though I may be dead wrong. You see it’s not based on inside information; it’s simply an educated guess.

    Now while rummaging through the tech news stories in recent days, I found yet another example of amateur journalism. It happened on the eWeek site, but I regard the author of this piece as not deserving of a link, or hits. If you want to Google the article, fine, but I will not identify the article or author any further.

    The article recounts the writer’s efforts to migrate to the Mac. The remaining impediment appears to be Microsoft Entourage, part of the Mac Office suite. We’re never told precisely which version was actually tried, and whether all the updates from Microsoft were run, but the article concludes that “Entourage is a second-class e-mail client.”

    Well, perhaps, but precisely why isn’t terribly clear, except that it is downgraded in comparison with Outlook for Windows, which is supposed to be a roughly equivalent product. It appears the only problems, or at least the ones revealed in the article, involve obstacles in trying to set up mail handling rules in Entourage to match those in Outlook.

    Now without a clear picture of precisely what actions were required, it’s impossible to know if a solution exists. It may simply require altering the rules to properly shunt messages to a handful of special folders. Alas, there’s no indication as to what remedies, if any, were tried, or even if the author attempted to contact Microsoft or the support people at his company for assistance.

    All we know is that Entourage is no good, and that, as they say, is that.

    Now I should mention that I use Apple Mail. I prefer the way it handles my IMAP messages, even though the setup routine can be a trifle awkward. Typical of a Microsoft product, Entourage offers far more choices, including a more robust rule feature, but that can also present obstacles to the average user. If something goes wrong, which of the many options do you need to change to set things right? Alas, the poorly-written and designed Help panel sometimes gets in your way when you seek a solution.

    But I also know lots of people who swear by Entourage as their favorite email client, so there you go. Maybe the person who wrote the article in question will take a few journalism courses, and learn how to properly present key details in articles of this sort.

    Enough of my rants for today. I’ll probably have more tomorrow.



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    13 Responses to “Mac OS 10.5.7, Dumb Journalist Comments and Other Juicy Stuff”

    1. shane blyth says:

      working sweet as here bro
      My macbookpro hasnt become “beached as”

    2. shane blyth wrote:

      working sweet as here bro
      My macbookpro hasnt become “beached as”

      One of my friends, Rob Griffiths, of Macworld, says his update experience wasn’t so pleasant on one of his Macs. You’ll hear about that on this week’s tech show.

      Peace,
      Gene

    3. shane blyth says:

      ok I think I already saw a comment somewhere

    4. slappy says:

      One of the key tricks of having a smooth upgrade with Apple OS is to specifically us the Combo update. Specially if you’ve done terminal tricks and tweaks to your OS. So far every update I’ve done using Combo update has turn out smoothly.

    5. Mike says:

      Surely the problem for this journalist was Entourage *with* Exchange. That’s what he seemed to be saying.

      I wasn’t surprised. I don’t use Exchange, but I’ve often read that Entourage is not a very good Exchange client. Perhaps that’s surprising, since Microsoft makes both products. But there we are: plenty of people say that.

      John C. Welch says for Macworld:

      “Even with the improvements in the latest version of Exchange, Entourage 2008 still doesn’t have 100-percent feature parity with Outlook for Windows.”

      http://www.macworld.com/article/131730/2008/01/msftexchange.html

      Surely, that’s a more than credible source.

      I suppose a uncharitable Mac user might allow the thought to pass his mind: “Perhaps it’s not *meant* to work that well with Exchange”. But maybe it’s just incompetence. Who knows?

    6. @ Mike: The problem with the article is not so much whether a problem exists, as to what it is. Is there something in the rule the author uses to process messages that can’t translate to Entourage? I don’t know. He doesn’t tell us.

      Peace,
      Gene

    7. David says:

      I find it surprising that 10.5.7, which is mostly a security update, has ignored many of the open source components that they bundle with the OS. For example Carbon Copy Cloner uses a version of rsync that’s three years newer than the one Apple ships. You’d think Apple would have done at least one update in the last three years, but no. Several other components are also more than a year old. This is one area where Apple simply must do better in the future.

    8. Bill Burkholder says:

      Well, I upgraded my early 2008 MacBook Pro last night, with absolutely zero issues. I used the standard Software Update routine. It did take a long time, and it rebooted itself several times, displaying a blue screen for a long time after the third reboot. But I patiently left it alone and was rewarded with the desktop when it was finished.

      I’ve used nearly 25 apps today, with no problems.

      I should mention that I have no non-standard software, no system hacks, no warez, no illegal stuff… I just use genuine OEM and third-party software.

      I have been using Microsoft Office 2004 since it came out, on this and my previous machines, a PowerBook G3 Pismo and a PowerBook G4. I’ve migrated smoothly from G3 to G4 to Intel, and all has continued to work well.

      Entourage does not do every little thing that Outlook does, but it does what it does in a much better user interface. I use it on a corporate network with an Exchange Server 2003, accessing my files via an Intranet Mail Server while in-house, and via an Outlook Web Access connection over the Internet from anywhere.

      This all works well enough that, even though I bought Office 2008 upgrade last Spring, I haven’t installed it yet! (The main reason for that is that Excel 2008 has no Visual Basic for Applications, so it breaks some PC-originated spreadsheets I need to read. I found that out from a coworker before I installed my copy.)

    9. Maybe the open source components have to be tested more robustly before Apple incorporates them?

    10. shane blyth says:

      someone i know has an apple faxmodem the little usb one and now his faxes wont work

    11. @ shane blyth: Ah, people still use those things?

      Peace,
      Gene

    12. shane blyth says:

      yes he uses it so faxes go straight into his computer.. saves on paper everywhere it is only for faxes

    13. DaveD says:

      Gene,

      Regarding Snow Leopard, Apple stated that it will provide a “final Developer Preview” at WWDC next month. That tells me that the so-called Mac OS X 10.6 beta versions are actually Developer Previews. It made more sense after reading that Apple locked down APIs to changes recently.

      A golden master arriving in late August is doable. I am leaning to late, late summer or early fall. Rob Griffiths (Macworld, Mac OS X Hints) did an excellent job of compiling a list of Mac OS X upgrade/update dates. Jaguar (10.2) arrived on August 23, 2002 while Panther (10.3) and Leopard (10.5) showed up in late October (10-24-2003, 10-26-2007, resp.). Puma (10.1) appeared on September 25, 2001. So, if history is a guide…

      Regards,
      Dave

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