homeaboutarchives + tagsnewslettermembership!

Mac OS X.2: the cat’s out of the box!

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 06, 2002

I got my copy of Jaguar from Amazon about, what, 2 weeks after everyone else did (boo Amazon!) and installed it with little delay. So far I like what I see a lot, tons of little improvements here and there and a big speed difference on my iBook.

Windows scroll faster, Web pages render faster, apps launch quicker.

iChat is interesting, but I’m probably going to switch back to Adium soon for their richer feature set.

I’m not using the Address Book or Mail because I’ve got Entourage. The brushed aluminum look of iChat, iTunes, & Quicktime, et. al. is bugging me…I prefer the striped grey lines. I might have to install Metallifizer (thx jf) to bring that soothing grey to all of my Cocoa apps.

The sharing with my Linux box via Samba seems smoother.

Smoother? Fonts? Yes. Nice.

new OS X.2 buttons

My favorite little tweak is the flattening of all the form elements: buttons, pulldowns, scrollbars, &c. It’s such a tiny improvement, but they were just too 3-D and gaudy before; they dialed it down just enough to fix it.

Sherlock 3 is a bit of a disappointment. The flight tracking and yellow pages are nice, but the movie listings are inferior to those of Watson. And I want a stand alone maps feature, not just directions to businesses through the yellow pages.

Anything else I should be noticing/checking out with Jaguar?

(And I apologize for the title of the post.)

Reader comments

EuanSep 06, 2002 at 12:23AM

It’s a small thing I know but I love the way that I now get feedback in the toolbar when either a modem or Airport are connecting. I then get a running total time connected.

Also being able to send contacts direct from Address Book to my phone via Bluetooth is cool - at least until iSync arrives!

AdamSep 06, 2002 at 4:27AM

I know it’s a contentious issue but do you think the upgrade is worth the money?

Tom CoatesSep 06, 2002 at 4:31AM

It’s definitely worth upgrading. Particularly if you have a newer Mac, because then it’s just stunningly faster. Almost scarily so. Dumb tricks worth trying include the rotating background image (total waste of time).

I’m stunningly pissed off with Sherlock. It’s completely and utterly useless if you’re outside the US.

Dan HonSep 06, 2002 at 5:29AM

Ah, I’d been wondering how Sherlock might fare outside of the US and had suspected that it might be useless. Oh well. iSync and iCal had better make up for it, then.

PhilSep 06, 2002 at 5:44AM

I anticipate iCal will be worth the wait. I know I can’t wait to pick it up; my life is starting to get very very busy and my Palm calendar is a complete POS. However, for those of us who don’t exactly have the $300-$600 to drop for an iPod, iSync seems totally useless because, as I mentioned, the Palm calendar is a POS, and I don’t really have anything else I can sync it to. Just a small gripe.

However, as for other features of 10.2: while I like iChat, why exactly did they make it so useless? You can’t make the entry area bigger than 1 line and change; finding out how to set or change your own buddy icon is annoying (I would never have thought to set it in the Address Book); sending files to other users requires a Direct Connect (which I HATE), et cetera, ad nauseum. I will continue to use it for now in hopes that Apple will soon make an update for it. I hope I’m not waiting in vain. (I also hope I don’t have to wait for 10.3. ;))

I actually like Sherlock 3, but the yellow pages are a bit useless as far as maps go. Even a “Find this on a mapping site” link beside each entry would be nice.

I’m also noticing the little speed touches here and there; however, I notice Office v.X is still kind of slow. That might be due to my having 128 MB of RAM, the minimum amount to run it.

And Adam: no, no I don’t. But I didn’t pay for it, really; I bought an iBook at the local Apple Store and they gave it to me for free. I don’t think it’s $129 worth of nice, but it’s a nice upgrade nonetheless if you can afford it.

MattSep 06, 2002 at 6:42AM

I totally agree with the frustration on trying to change your buddy icon- Andre Torrez had to walk me through it; I felt so old an incapable- I thought Macs were supposed to be the friendliest user-friendly PCs out there and then something so confusingly complex comes around (also, not having a check box in the preference screen for how you want your “chats” to display [i.e. bubbles or just text] is equally frustrating).

I did not purchase my copy of 10.2 either, and I’m rather glad that I didn’t. While I appreciate that I no longer have to tell my computer where I am connecting from, be it work or home, where I live this isn’t really a selling feature- businesses who have large networks and want to integrate their Mac and PC systems, well, this upgrade is really for them and the problem with that is that most businesses that use macs are graphics houses and they aren’t switching over to 10 any time soon, due to lack of printer support (still), the non-existent Adobe Type Manager (Font Suitcase? Please, give me a break!), and the lack of most 3rd party plugin support for programs like Adobe Photoshop (still). I fear only geeks like me (I literally squealed with delight when I set up my mac-pc network at home in literally five minutes) will appreciate this feature for some time.

Another little qualm that I have? Well, it isn’t necessarily with 10.2 so much as it is with Roxio, Norton and Wacom. With 10.2 I can no longer mount a .toast file (i.e. a disk image) - all I get is a Mac OS -20 error and a lot of grief. I can no longer use Norton Anti-Virus (I’m not buying Virex, thanks) until an upgrade is release. And my Wacom drivers, working so wonderfully under 10.1.3 through 10.1.5, won’t even load and often hang up my system on startup.


I’m hoping that 10.2.1 (beta testing still) will fix a lot of these problems and Roxio and the rest of them will get on the ball with new upgrades).

DennisSep 06, 2002 at 7:09AM

Phil—you don’t have to change your iChat buddy icon in the address book. The iChat buddy list that opens when you startthe app has your icon in the upper right. Just drag a new icon on top of it. No Address Book needed.

barlowSep 06, 2002 at 7:24AM

How fast are you guys finding Photoshop with Jaguar on an iBook? I could probably go ahead and make the switch to using my iBook for all my work (from a Vaio) if I could reliably use Photoshop all the time. Thanks in advace.

ToddSep 06, 2002 at 7:24AM

Matt - it sounds like you’re having permission errors. I would try opening Disk Utility, then click “Repair Disk Permissions.” When finished reboot. Errors like that are usually caused by permission snafus.

And for those installing 10.2 for the first time, I would definitely recommend chosing the “Archive and Install” option. I upgraded initially, but noticed a few odd quirks I couldn’t get rid off. So I reinstalled but chose the aforementioned option this time. Everything is perfect, and I could be crazy, but faster as well. (and yes, I was able to do an archive and install even with 10.2 already on the machine).

0x990000Sep 06, 2002 at 7:27AM

[ Command-shift-3 = full screen capture ]
[ Command-shift-4 = crosshair selection ]
[ + spacebar = selective window ]
more info here

RyanSep 06, 2002 at 7:37AM

I just swiched my ibook to 10.2 from 9 and find Photoshop performance to be about the same. (moving from PS 6 > 7, also). My biggest gripe is the (now confirmed) bug with non-anti-aliased type at small size. The letter spacing gets all messed up. So you have to turn on anti-aliasing at 8pt, which is _way_ to soft for me, esp. for UI elements.

jkottkeSep 06, 2002 at 8:20AM

My biggest gripe is the (now confirmed) bug with non-anti-aliased type at small size.

Do you have any information on that, a link? When I switched to OS X from the PC, I upgraded from PS5.5 to PS7 and while the text tools are improved, there’s something about the aliasing and anti-aliasing that bugged me.

DarrelSep 06, 2002 at 8:41AM


The iBooks just aren’t really designed for pro users. A 500 mhz TiBook is going to outperform the fastest iBook simply due to the G4/Altivec architecture.

I was already to get an iBook a few weeks ago, but I had 4 people talk me out of it. So now I’m forking out a bit more for the 667 TiBook, and, to be honest, I think it is the better solution (the TiBook will last me longer as a productive tool).

One small bonus to my new government gig is that Apple offers gov employee discounts. Yea me.

And Jason, I concur that the removal of one ‘layer’ of eye candy is just about right. I hope that’s a sign that they are slowly getting back in line with their past expertise in human factors now that they got the bells and whistles out of their system.

RyanSep 06, 2002 at 9:32AM

It’s been bugging John Siracusa too. He rants about it in his review of 10.2 at arstechnica.


Mike KrusSep 06, 2002 at 9:32AM

I can confirm that Sherlock 3 is useless outside the US. Nothing has been localized. When I type my Paris postal code, I get movie listings for some place in Texas (but not Paris, Texas!)

boogahSep 06, 2002 at 10:25AM

adium is nice but i’m curious to know if you’ve played with fire yet. i’m rather happy with how it handles not only aim effectively but it also does the task of jabber, msn, yahoo and icq effectively. i can’t forget to mention that it does irc too - but i can’t recomend it for that because my inner console jockey made me compile bitchx.

benbrownSep 06, 2002 at 12:01PM

I’m gonna reiterate what Todd said above: I read a thing today that said that it would probably be a good idea for anyone who recently installed/upgraded to run the permission checker. It is supposed to speed up startup and whatnot considerably.

Also: love the less-3d-than-before buttons. mm-mm. can’t wait for iCal and iSync.

ed fSep 06, 2002 at 7:22PM

i love jag-wire. it runs very smoothly, campared to 10.1. i do notice though, that the type rendering engine puts color into all type. Look at your black type on white background type. notice it dances a little? i see red, dark blue and even a little aqua in there. i don’t know if it’s the Quartz Extreme rendering engine or not but 10.1 did not behave this way. It made me mad as hell the first week, but since then I’ve become resigned to it. Check it out for yourself, take a screen shot, then blow the screen shot up in Photoshop, ugly type! for a quick and dirty version try the built in ‘screen zoom’ (very cool trick!), press command-option-8 and ‘screen zoom’ is activated, now press command-option and ‘+’ or ‘-‘, to zoom the screen. press command-option-8 to deactivate ‘screen zoom’. I don’t know, sometimes i think i’m going blind, looking at all those tiny little colors in my 8 point type.

also: Ken Bereskin, the Mac OS X Product Manager, has a weblog and he’s doing a new feature a day. lot’s of little tips an tricks. Today’s feature involves mounting an FTP server in the finder (now that’s what i call ‘very cool’): http://radio.weblogs.com/0100676/

brendonSep 06, 2002 at 9:42PM

Maybe this is a “duh”… but I haven’t heard anyone mention things like (simple) internet connection sharing via ethernet and airport, built in firewall, better power management on powerbooks (including…YAY… the return of separate saver settings for plugged and unplugged), MUCH MUCH MUCH faster mounting and unmounting of network drives, Quicktime 6 finally handling DIVX avi’s admirably, seemless internet connection switching… and, when necessary, faster smoother classic support (no more redraw issues)….

I’m liking it. Those things, plus the usual suspects- Sherlock, speed (especially booting) even on my “vintage” PBG4 500, FTP mounting, and seemless cross-platform sharing (woohooo!) make me anyway a happy customer. Yeah, I paid for 10.1 (and 10.0, and beta), and so I wasn’t too pleased to be forkin’ it over yet again, but it IS a strong upgrade that i can honestly has upped my productivity- and comfort, since last weekend when I installed it.

That said, it hosed my custom build of PHP + MYSQL + PHPMYADMIN on my Apache, which took an embarrassingly long time to install. Oh well…

Michael S.Sep 07, 2002 at 2:25AM

Actually, I quite like the iChat icon-changing system. Are you dragging an image on to the silhouette? Drag a really big image and you get a slider to scale the image and a little square window to crop with. Slick! I wish the Address Book would work this way.

ed f: you can use the “DigitalColor Meter” (in Utilities) to zoom pixels and demonstrate that blacks aren’t black. You can turn this off by going to the “General” menu item in Preferences and choosing the “Standard” font smoothing style.

billSep 07, 2002 at 7:48AM

Synchronization between your palm and Entourage is finally available:


Although you’ll need to install office service release 1 before you do so. Careful - it needs a new serial.


JonSep 07, 2002 at 2:54PM

That’s too bad about Sherlock being useless outside the US, but they’ll certainly add localization features soon. What I’m excited about is how apple-F actually loads up a search box again, rather than the entire sherlock application. Very nice.

Other features I like:
1. Apple-tab switches to the last app you were in, instead of reading left to right on the dock. Great for toggling.
2. When you’re in an open or save screen, you can drag a directory or file onto the screen to automatically change to that directory. This exists in 10.1, but Jaguar also selects the file instead of just going to the directory. Good for “browse” boxes for uploading onto websites.

DanSep 08, 2002 at 5:58AM


You’re using Samba to share files with your Linux box? Really?

Well, don’t. Mac OS X and Linux are both UNIX variants - so why not use UNIX tools to share files (instead of forcing both to use the crippling, Kafkaesque Windows protocol)?

Use NFS. Here’s a HOWTO to get you started:


Bon apetite!

GeoffreySep 08, 2002 at 6:54AM

Boogah — after installing 10.2, I tried to launch Fire, and nothing happened. The icon bounced twice, and then just stopped. Which, of course, makes the conspiracy theorist in me wonder if Apple doesn’t like other third-party apps horning in on their newly-acquired turf. Of course, I may just have to reinstall Fire to replace some wonky widget, but who knows.

Another issue that deserves attention: for those of you with the older graphite AirPort base stations, if you do an “upgrade” version of the Jaguar install, you may experience the same dropped-IP problems that plagued AirPort 2.0.4. This only makes sense, seeing as how a new OS would certainly install the newest version of AirPort, but it doesn’t fix the problem.

(For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, AirPort 2.0.4 was intended for the newer “snow” base stations, and owners of the older “graphite” base stations that unwittingly installed 2.0.4 over 2.0.2 suddenly found themselves having to restart their base stations every five minutes. To add further insult to injury, in a shockingly Microsoftian move, Apple wouldn’t let you uninstall 2.0.4 and reinstall 2.0.2 by the conventional methods; any attempt to reinstall 2.0.2 would result in a chirpy “You don’t need this!” error, no matter how hard you tried to weed out all the AirPort software from your machine, and there’s no automatic uninstall script that I could find.)

In an effort to undo this dilemma, I found a user-written AppleScript online that would roll the AirPort software back to 2.0.2 (a solution that worked perfectly when I’d accidentally upgraded to 2.0.4 back under 10.1). Imagine my horror when, after rebooting, my PBG4 no longer recognized its AirPort card. The Network control panel grayed out AirPort, claiming that the necessary hardware was absent, and nothing I could do would bring it back. Finally, I groaned and decided to reinstall Jaguar to try and get all the 2.0.4 widgets back and just live with the five-minute rule. This time, however, I did the “archive and install” method, and wham! AirPort under Jaguar now works flawlessly with my base station. And, like Todd says, I think a number of other little glitches have been fixed, too — although for some reason it keeps forgetting some of my application preferences, which is mildly disturbing.

Anyway, the moral of this story: archive and install, baby. Archive and install.

TimoSep 08, 2002 at 11:05AM

I bought 10.2 - it is the first version of X that I felt it was worth purchasing. As an upgrade it certainly does not justify the £99 price tag.

Nicest thing so far are the little Memory Stick and Compact Flash card icons in the Finder.

Steven GarritySep 08, 2002 at 1:13PM

Regarding the toning-down of the UI elements (excellent example image, btw) - excuse me while I pat myself on the back.

Back in November of 2001, when Apple and Microsoft were both just getting going with their wacky new goober-interfaces, I made a prediction:

I predict that both Microsoft’s Luna interface for Windows XP and Apple’s Aqua interface for Mac OS X, will be toned down in subsequent versions (particularly in terms of color and complexity). This may take at least two versions to come about.

Now, to wait for Microsoft to do its part…

louisSep 09, 2002 at 5:45AM

there’s one little thing about jaguar that really annoys me. i’ve become used to using command-tab to switch between applications, and still do so. however, in os x public beta until jaguar, you could use command-shift (without using tab) to progress backwards through the dock selections. now, having to use command-shift-tab seems like quite a bit more effort (i speak relatively, of course).

perhaps the first iteration was a “bug?”

Joga LuceSep 09, 2002 at 11:49AM

Just wondering if anyone has an information about midi implementation and how cubase and protools fare on osx. last time i tried to upgrade anything (if i remember correctly it was qt5.) all kids of midi problems sprang up. curious to know, yet not curious enough to look for information.

JamesSep 10, 2002 at 5:44PM

A little thing I like is that in the “View Options” for the Finder, I can have the icon labels beside instead of under my icons, and if I check “Show Item Info” I get a second line with some useful stuff: how much space left on my drives, how many items in a folder, and best of all, the dimensions in pixels of any GIFs. Nothing earth-shaking, just cool…

Alex GrantSep 11, 2002 at 12:32AM

No one has mentioned the drop shadow on the arrow. I don’t get it on my 450 G4 home machine, but do on my 667 G4 work machine— I like it.

Still not appreciating the “column” view— and especially not appreciating the save and open mandatory column view.

I have no strange colors associated with the anti-aliasing on my CRTs. I’m curious if it’s an LCD problem.

Lastly, and I’m sure I’m not alone, has anyone else been able to use Illustrator 10 on a machine slower than a 667Mhz? It is so slow, so totally unusable on my 450Mhz that I continue to use 9… which is irritating since there are some very nice things about 10.

Alex GrantSep 11, 2002 at 1:43AM

Hate to post one right on top of another but here, if you use the apple-option-8 zoom screen thing, then take a look at the differences, the weird multi-colored anti-alias problem only occurs in the non-CRT options:


Steven GarritySep 11, 2002 at 5:02PM

For another excellent example of the visual changes to the GUI, see Ars Techina’s review (scroll about half-way down the page and mouse-over the image).

MartinSep 12, 2002 at 4:12AM

The fascination with all things Macintosh continues to amuse and bemuse me.

Sure, they look good, and I’m fairly convinced that they’re good machines.

But let’s face it, they’re expensive and extravagant toys. Anything you can do on a Mac, can be achieved just as easily (if not better) on a generic, cheaper PC.

Additionally, less than 4 per cent of people accesing the internet do so on a Mac - for fairly obvious reasons: even the best Mac browsers have trouble with the most basic HTML.

I just don’t get it.

Someone explain it to me.


jkottkeSep 12, 2002 at 8:40AM

Sorry, Martin. There are reasons both good and bad to own and operate a Mac or a PC (or a Linux box or, or, or,…), but we’re not going to start a Mac vs. PC thing on this thread.

JRKSep 12, 2002 at 12:28PM

Just a quick tip: proteus is the greatest IM client on the planet, for any platform, and it happens to be on OS X. It’s a glorious example of everything Cocoa programming is meant to be.

SarahSep 13, 2002 at 1:14AM

“No one has mentioned the drop shadow on the arrow. I don’t get it on my 450 G4 home machine, but do on my 667 G4 work machine— I like it.”

I’m so relieved someone has mentioned the arrow. I keep looking at and wondering if there is actually something different about it or if I’m just going mad. Now I can save mad for another day.

Paul MisonSep 19, 2002 at 9:14AM

The shadow on the mouse cursor is apparently only enabled if your machine supports Quartz Extreme, which is why some machines show it and some don’t.

I’m fairly sure this was covered on the Siracusa Ars Technica article that’s already been mentioned a couple of times. Yes, it’s long, but you really should read it.

WalkerFeb 01, 2003 at 5:02PM

A year ago I baught a 667 Titanium Powerbook w/ OS X pre-installed. Not knowing the system, and needing to work on web site design right away, I zerod the HD and installed a clean OS 9 system. Later I installed OS X 2. That’s when the problems started. Ever once in a while, when using any OS X internet browser, that annoying spinning wheel would come up. My computer would go into “chunk mode”. Every twenty seconds (approx.) the computer would make a little computational chunk and one process would be completed (one letter would appear, etc.). The computer was effectivly frozen. Eventually my system would go into this weird state every time I started up, without even opening an application. I again wiped the entire HD (zeroing all data) and installed a clean system (and only the system. No other applications.) Again, my computer had the same problem. The funny thing is, my computer doesn’t do this under OS 10.1 or under Linux (Yellow Dog) or under 9.2. Every update of Jaq. has made the problem worse. Now, I start Jaq. and it won’t respond to my mouse (though my keyboard is back on track). The whole things has been a big headacke. Does anybody else have this problem?

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.