The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Snow Leopard Top of the Mac Food Chain

2 min read


Snow Leopard, Apple’s newest operating system, is more of an evolution than a revolution, or rather, an exercise in fine tuning. Changes between Snow Leopard and its predecessor are largely subtle and under the hood, but the included upgrades are well worth Snow Leopard’s cost.  Coming in at a miniscule $30, outrageous by operating system standards, Snow Leopard is a feature-packed update of Apple’s popular Mac OSX. The installation process takes less than an hour and is completely painless, requiring the user to do no more than insert the disk and click “Install.”
Some retail chains, like Best Buy, have introduced promotions offering to install Snow Leopard for consumers for a fee. Honestly, it is so simple you should just do it yourself and save the money and the hassle.
Like its predecessor, Snow Leopard works well with all of UMW’s systems, so you shouldn’t have any new hang-ups accessing your email or Blackboard accounts.   Despite a host of new and improved functionalities, Snow Leopard actually manages to be seven gigabytes smaller  than its previous incarnation (less than half the size of Leopard), leaving room for thousands more songs, photos and other multimedia.
Snow Leopard comes preloaded with the newest version of the internet browser Safari and also features a completely reworked and more agile Finder, which is essentially Apple’s version of the My Documents feature on all PCs. Apple’s Time Machine software, a feature which allows users to back up their hard drive, is now almost 80% faster, according to Apple.
Expose and Stacks have both been revamped and are easier to use. Logging in and shutting down, processes which were already remarkably fast using Leopard, are now almost instantaneous with Snow Leopard. iChat, Apple’s video chatting software that can be used in tandem with instant messaging programs like AIM, now boasts a higher resolution capability, making web-cam calls to your friends and family much clearer and smoother than before.
Snow Leopard also comes with the new and incredibly streamlined video player QuickTime X, which features a more minimalist interface. Those hoping for major superficial changes to the overall “look” of your Mac will be disappointed, however. Snow Leopard is physically identical to its slower sibling, so do not expect a shocking Microsoft XP to Microsoft Vista type of transition.
The only issue I’ve experienced had to do with my MacBook Pro’s screen settings; Snow Leopard reset my existing preferences and shut down the screen after one minute of inactivity. This, however, was a very simple fix.
In short, everything about Snow Leopard is faster, more stable, more streamlined, more accessible and more responsive, but it honestly isn’t anything you couldn’t live without. Still, if you have $30 to spend, Snow Leopard is well worth the upgrade.