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Mac OS 10.5.7, Dumb Journalist Comments and Other Juicy Stuff

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.