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Talkin' Smack: It Works!

The new era in Mac computing begins By Dave Nagel
Well, Mac OS X 10.0 saw its official debut this weekend, and I was there on Day 1 to buy it in a regular old retail store just like the common man. I even have my OS X Hanes Beefy-T to show for it. I think sales might have been a bit more brisk if it hadn't lacked CD-R and DVD support, but I don't care how many people bought it. You know why? I've been waiting for Apple's "modern OS" since the first hints of Rhapsody, and now, after years of waiting, the promise has finally been fulfilled. And now I, a mere mortal from the central badlands of Orange County, Calif., have it in my possession. Even better, I have it, and it works.

True to my promise of a few weeks back, I went out and bought it and installed it on the very first day. I backed up a few of my more important files, read the Read Me and promptly loaded it up.

It's a beautiful thing, man. Using it is like partying in the land of the Lotus Eaters. It's hard to tear myself away from it. I feel like I've been doped up on the good stuff and set loose naked in a forest of dryads. No wonder Jobs came out with the Flower Power iMac. He's been using this OS for the last year. That just might be the longest high on record!

Seriously, this is good stuff. It runs great, and almost all of my applications run on it, including Final Cut Pro 1.25. (Final Cut Pro 2 won't work even in Classic mode, according to Apple.) This is a fantastic OS?the first time I've felt this way since my first experiences with the Mac. It's given me a whole new computer?a great one.

So here are some of my experiences so far.

Installing OS X went very smoothly. It includes three CDs, two of which are required for the install?OS 9.1 and OS X; you can't use 9.0.4 for Classic. All you have to do is run the two installers and restart. I personally use two volumes. I left 9.0.4 on my original startup volume and installed 9.1 and OS X on the second. This way, when I don't want to use 9.1 (which is always), I can just reboot using my 9.0.4. You can keep all of your System Folders on a single volume though; OS X lets you choose a startup folder, rather than just a startup disk.

What I've found is that switching between the two is no problem. OS X does not fundamentally alter your disks, and I wound up losing very little in the process. (The only things that changed were some preferences. Basically programs that are super-copy-protected will require you to reenter your serial numbers, but I believe this is more a function of booting off a different drive than any actual data being lost. The only other change I've found so far is that my Stickies files were consolidated into a single Sticky under OS X; when I go back to 9.0.4, they behave just as they used to.)

Applications and peripherals
The one big bummer of OS X is that my Wacom tablet won't work under it. My tablet is fundamental to all the creative work I do, which means I have to switch back to 9.0.4 for painting. (New OS X drivers from Wacom should be available in a couple of months.) I haven't yet had a chance to test all of my external devices. The CD-RW, of course, doesn't work. But my MacAlly three-button scrolling mouse does work just fines, as does my MacAlly iMediaKey keyboard.

As for applications, I've now had a chance to run just about my entire software library, which is, I can almost guarantee, much larger than yours. With just a few minor exceptions, everything runs beautifully. As I mentioned, even Final Cut Pro 1.25 works. So do Photoshop 5.5 and 6, Dreamweaver 4, Illustrator 8, Freehand, Studio Artist 1.5, Fireworks 3 and 4, Premiere 5.1 and 6, After Effects 4.1, InDesign 1.5, PageMaker 6, QuarkXPress 4.11, Cleaner 5, LiveMotion, Amorphium Pro, Director 8, Flash 4 and 5 and Office. The OS X version of LightWave ran great in demo mode, but for some reason it couldn't find my hardware key. I couldn't install Maxon's Cinema 4D XL for OS X because the installer couldn't seem to find my original version of Cinema 4D XL. (That's a problem with the installer, not OS X.) I'll try to clear both of these up soon.

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