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#677: Snow Leopard Coming Friday!, School Year Software, Reburn a Disc, OS X Server 10.5.8

 
     
 

Happy Tuesday,

In an unexpected move yesterday, Apple announced that Snow Leopard will be available on Friday. Most of us were expecting a late September release, so this is welcome news. A new operating system from Apple is always exciting for me, and I’ll be installing Snow Leopard during my lunch break on Friday. Ed has all the details on Snow Leopard below.

Whether you are installing a major operating system upgrade like Leopard to Snow Leopard, or Tiger to Snow Leopard, it is pretty much mandatory that you have a current backup. While only a tiny fraction of these installations go awry, some do fail and result in data loss or a computer that doesn’t start up. Apple’s Time Capsule is the perfect backup solution, and we have plenty of Small Dog Refurbished Time Capsules in 500GB for the unbeatable price of $149.99—that’s less than the price of an AirPort Extreme base station, and you get a wireless hard drive in addition to all the base station functionality.

Have fun with Snow Leopard if you choose to upgrade immediately. I’ll have an in-depth report on the new operating system in next week’s Tech Tails.

Thanks for reading, and keep in touch.

Matt
matt@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  Snow Leopard To Be Released This Friday!  
   
 

Surprise! OS 10.6 Snow Leopard will be released early, on Friday, August 28! Here at Small Dog Electronics we are very excited about Snow Leopard, even though Apple is not heavily promoting its launch with pre-press, etc.

Snow Leopard is designed to make day-to-day tasks on your Mac easier, faster and more accessible. It delivers a wide range of enhancements, next-generation technologies, out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange Server, and new accessibility features. Snow Leopard is the most powerful and refined version of Mac OS X ever.

How to Purchase and Upgrade to OS 10.6 Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard is an upgrade for Leopard users and requires a Mac computer (duh) with an Intel processor, 1GB of memory (though at least 2GB is highly recommended), 5GB of available disk space, and a DVD drive for installation. Visit our RAM Finder if you want to add RAM to your Mac before upgrading to Snow Leopard.

If you’ve purchased a qualifying Mac or Xserve on or after June 8, 2009 that didn’t include Mac OS X Snow Leopard, you can upgrade to Snow Leopard for $9.95 exclusively from Apple via the Mac OS X Up-to-Date Program. Click here to get details of this offer and download the PDF.

If you have OS 10.5 Leopard installed on a Mac purchased before June 8, 2009, you can upgrade to the Snow Leopard Single User Edition, on sale for $29.99. Click here to see this.

If you have multiple Macs running OS 10.5 Leopard, you can upgrade to Snow Leopard with the Snow Leopard Family Pack. This can be installed on up to five Macs and is on sale for $49.99. Click here to see this.

If you have Mac OS 10.4 Tiger or earlier the only way to upgrade to Snow Leopard is with the Snow Leopard Mac Box Set. This includes OS 10.6 Snow Leopard, along with iWork ’09 and iLife ’09. Purchasing those separately would cost $289! See the Snow Leopard Mac Box Set on sale for $169.99 by clicking here.

The Snow Leopard Mac Box Set is also available as a Family Pack that can be installed on up to five computers for $229.99. Click here to see this.

Some of the most exciting new features and overall system enhancements in OS 10.6 Snow Leopard include:

  • 64-bit support, the next big step for the Mac. All key system applications are now 64-bit so they can take advantage of all the memory in your Mac.

  • Out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange. Mac OS X Snow Leopard delivers built-in support for the latest version of Microsoft Exchange Server, something even Windows PCs don’t have.

  • Smaller footprint. Snow Leopard takes up less than half the disk space of the previous version, freeing about 7GB for you—enough for about 1,750 more songs or a few thousand more photos.

  • The Finder has been completely rewritten using Cocoa to take advantage of the new technologies in Snow Leopard, including 64-bit support and Grand Central Dispatch. It’s more responsive from top to bottom, with snappier performance throughout the Finder.

  • Quicker Time Machine backup. Snow Leopard makes Time Machine up to 80 percent faster and reduces the time it takes to complete your initial backup to Time Capsule.

  • Faster to wake up and shut down. Your Mac wakes from sleep up to twice as quickly when you have screen locking enabled. And shutting down is up to 80 percent faster.

  • QuickTime X: As the next generation of media players, it’s built on new core technologies and advances modern media and Internet standards.

  • More efficient file sharing.

  • Multi-Touch gestures in older Mac models. All Mac notebooks with Multi-Touch trackpads now support three- and four-finger gestures.

  • A new technology called Grand Central Dispatch takes full advantage of multicore systems by making all of Mac OS X multicore aware and optimizing it for allocating tasks across multiple cores and processors.

  • Universal Access: Every Mac comes with built-in technologies designed to help people with disabilities experience it. Innovations in Snow Leopard advance accessibility even further.

It’s a pleasant surprise that Snow Leopard is being released earlier than expected. We will feature in depth reviews of Snow Leopard in our newsletters as soon as it’s released.

Not sure if your Mac qualifies for Snow Leopard? Email sales@smalldog.com with any questions!

 
   
     
  Software For the School Year  
   
 

Somehow the summer has flown by and the back-to-school season is well under way. While I’m personally enjoying the fact that I am not in the position of getting ready for a school season, I did think it was a good time to plug two of my favorite school-related applications. While there are many standard applications that are considered “school necessities,” the two applications I’d like to share with you today, Schoolhouse 2 and iFlash, are lesser-known applications that can help you get organized and study for exams.

I discovered Schoolhouse 2 in my very last semester of a professional program I was enrolled in and I’ve been kicking myself that I never looked for something like it sooner. It’s a free/by donation application that calls itself a “homework manager,” but I find it to be much more than that. Schoolhouse 2 uses a simple interface that’s very similar to iTunes. It allows you to define semesters, class-loads and instructors (even an area to add your instructors contact information) and then gives you a tracking area for quizzes, upcoming assignments and projects. You can define priority levels to assignments, due-dates, add notes and tasks.

My favorite feature is the project center. It’s a great home base that allows you to list all of the related files for a project and even email the files to individuals or groups that you’re collaborating with. For example, I worked on a large group project for my pathology class in my last semester. My project center allowed me to list the pictures, Word documents, Keynote presentations, notes and a list of tasks all in one window so I could see all of my project elements and keep track of what I needed to do. When I finished my portion of the project I was able to email it to my group and we could edit things as needed. It was a great way to keep everything organized and really helped me visually break down the project into tasks so that I was less apt to wait until the last minute and stress out over how much work was left. As a veteran procrastinator this was a big plus for me!

iFlash is a recent find of mine. While I’m not in school, as a technician I am frequently studying for new certifications. Flash cards work very well for my learning style; kinesthetic and visual. While there are several flash card applications out there, I particularly like iFlash because it allows me to add pictures and audio to my flash cards and I have the option of studying on my computer or sending my card deck to an iPhone or iPod touch and studying on the go. For those who like the tactile benefit of flash cards, the decks can also be printed out on paper. The only flaw I’ve found so far is that pictures and audio can’t be displayed on the iPhone or iPod touch, but other than that it’s an easy and versatile program.

For those of you heading back into the educational trenches, cheers to a great year!

 
   
     
  Tip of the Week: Burn Several Times to the Same Disc  
   
 

Did you know that it’s possible to burn to one CD or DVD multiple times? The trick is to use the “Leave Disk Appendable” option in Disk Utility, located in the Utilities folder on every Mac. First step is to create a folder and fill it with the stuff you want to burn. From there, open up Disk Utility (Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities), pull down the File Menu, select New, and then Disk Image From Folder in the sub-menu.

When the resulting window opens, find that folder you just created and click the Image button. Select a destination for your image, and click Save. The disk image, ending with .dmg, will shortly appear on your desktop and along the left side of the Disk Utility window. Click once on its icon in Disk Utility, then click the Burn button at the top left of the Disk Utility window.

Here’s the trick: When you click the Burn button, a dialog box will pop up asking you to insert a disc—go ahead and insert the disc, then click the blue triangle on the right side of the window and click the box next to Leave Disk Appendable before hitting Burn. Next time you need to burn a disk, just repeat the process; when you get to the final step, the button will say Append instead of Burn.`

 
   
     
  Mac OS X Server 10.5.8: Port Aggregation For Greater Bandwidth  
   
 

Apple recently released version 10.5.8 of Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server. As part of troubleshooting an email issue for one our server customers, I decided to run all the software updates and install the new 10.5.8. After installing and rebooting, and then running mailbfr to rebuild the email databases, I checked the server to see if everything was up and running.

While I had solved the email problem, the server reported a new error message in a sporadic fashion, periodically saying that the server’s serial number was invalid, and that there was another server running with the same serial number! I brainstormed about what could possibly be the problem, going from worst to best. Did someone take the serial number and set up their own server? Had the client’s serial number expired or something? I was imagining the worst!

My first step in figuring it out was to check the log files. You can do this on your own machine with the Console.app in the Utilities folder. Apple’s Server Admin program provides access to many important server logs directly in it’s own interface. Reading the logs, I noticed that it was reporting the IP address of the offending server with the duplicate serial number. I checked the IP address and was bemused to learn that that it was the IP of the second ethernet port on the same server. The server was complaining about itself!

My next step was to check the Apple Support forums and knowledge base, where I found I was far from alone in seeing this problem appear with 10.5.8. Apparently, this was only happening when both ethernet ports were configured within the same subnet. It was not affecting servers with only one active ethernet port, servers with two bonded ethernet ports (two ports acting as one, with one IP), or servers setup as gateways, where one port is part of the outside Wide Area Network, and the other is part of the private Local Area Network.

The simple fix was to turn off the other ethernet port, which I did, since it was just there as a spare. However, Apple posted a Knowledge Base article to specifically discourage setting both ports on the same subnet, a practice I will now follow with all my servers! Where I previously used one port as a spare, I will probably now use link aggregation to combine them and double the network bandwidth.

 
   
     
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