on June 12, 2004
Although I was familiar with 10.2 from using other computers, I still had Classic on mine and have been so in heaven since upgrading to Panther. It's like a calm wave has washed over my whole experience of my G4. I've been a Mac user for over 15 years and wished for many little improvements over time. With Panther, all of these have been accomplished, and more. Essentially, this OS has taken the (few) superior things Windows had (such as the dock and a more accessible finder), kept the good Mac things, and added an overall fluidity, pleasing aesthetic, and ease-of-use.
There are certain improvements besides those mentioned that make the upgrade to Panther a no-brainer. The most noticeable and helpful of these for me is the improved partitioning between programs, i.e. when you're experiencing a problem with one application, it does not effect the others. So, I can keep working in Word and Mail, for instance, even when my browser crashes (as they are apt to do). Speaking of browser crashes, I experience far fewer with Apple's Safari (that comes with Panther) than I previously did with Explorer. Besides less bugs, it's more streamlined and basically nicer to use than the others.
The other native programs are equally user-friendly and actually quite useful. iCal is the coolest; it lets you subscribe to various calendars from anyone who publishes them (like friends' agendas, company schedules, the many available on icalshare.com, etc.) iPhoto, Address Book, and iTunes are also each very good at what they do.
All in all, Panther has significantly enhanced my productivity and enjoyment of my computer.
on April 2, 2004
OS X is money; I just switched from a Windows laptop to a new PowerBook and Panther has not crashed once in the 3 months I've had it. Not only that all my Windows files open flawlessly. The Dock rules, I don't understand how anyone could not like it. You have to throw out the old ways of doing things on your computer and realize that the way Panther is set up makes things so much easier. Traditional ways are not always the best. You can put all your most-used apps (applications) in the dock and they are one click away. Or just plop your apps folder into the Dock and you have one click access to every app on your system, just like the Start Menu (right click brings up a contextual menu like the Start Menu, left click brings up the folder in the Finder). You can also do what I did and put folders containing aliases to all your somewhat frequently used apps and folders, so they are even faster to access. I hardly even need to use the Finder, but when I do it's so easy and stable and good-looking it makes me wish I needed to use it more. The Dock makes app switching easy, just click on the icon, no need for menus like OS 9, and you can always see everything that's running just by looking at the Dock, what could be easier or more useful? You don't really need to minimize windows thanks to the glory that is Expose, but if you want to just get some windows out of the way you can shrink them to the dock, or just hide them using the hide command in the menu. And if you don't like the dock in the center (like I didn't), just download TinkerTools, a free program that will pin your dock to the corner. So basically the user interface is money: powerful, innovative, easy to use. Combine that with hardcore stability, a UNIX core that allows you to run Linux apps (you could even get VirtualPC and run 3 systems in 1, how can you beat that?), slick graphical effects (that can be turned off if you don't like them), not to mention all the sweet iLife apps, and you've got one nasty (as in awesome) OS. Plus it just looks and feels good. And you can put a wicked silver 'X' on a black background on your desktop (like the Panther box) to make your comp look extra cool (you could do it on Windows too but that just wouldn't make sense). So basically, there's no reason not to get Panther... what's $129? That's really not a lot of money, and it's worth it to keep innovative companies like Apple in business. If you're running Windows, you should really consider switching to Mac. Several years ago it might not have been worthwhile, but now that Panther is here, I've seen what great computing can be. I'll bet you at least 95% of the apps you run on Windows either a) have a Mac version or b) have an equivalent app that does the exact same thing (or more). I mean really, what do most users need? Here's a list (with Mac apps/features in parentheses)
1) Internet (IE, Mozilla, Camino, Safari, etc.)
2) E-Mail (Mail, Outlook, Eudora, etc.)
3) Word Processing / Spreadsheet / Presentation (MS Office, AppleWorks, OpenOffice, etc.)
4) Digital music/movies/photography (iLife)
5) Various cool freeware utilities (Check out MacUpdate or VersionTracker)
6) Networking capability (Airport, Rendezvous)
7) Access to external devices (USB/FireWire/Bluetooth (yes even 2 button mice work))
8) Security (Nobody can deny that Mac is far more secure than Windows at this point in time)
9) Ability to read files from Windows (Compatibility with Windows files and disks)
10) Instant Messanging (iChat, AIM, MSN Messenger, etc.)
11) Some other things I probably forgot (but that Macs can probably do)
So basically do yourself a favor and at least go check out Panther. It's a sleek, stable system that works great and will let you do everything you need and want to do, despite the fact that this is a Windows world. But remember, the majority is not always right... do some research, experiment, and check out all the options, there may just be something better. Don't accept that Windows is ok for you just because "it works all right most of the time" or because "I don't really care, it does what I need it to do even if it's not that great". There is a truly great system out there, and it's name is Panther.
on March 3, 2004
This being the third generation of Apple's UNIX-based OS X operating system shows refinement and attention to detail.
The greatest proof is the invisibility of the Unix underpinnings. Even administrator tasks can be handled with ease. There are an abundance of setup utilities ("wizards") and familiar system preferences (like control panels.)
The Macintosh has always meant simplicity, ease of use, powerful utility and just plain fun. Panther continues the tradition and enhances the experience.
Should you upgrade? Panther works for all G4 & G5 based Macs and MANY G3 systems. (PowerBook G3 Wallstreet and original PowerBook G3, G3 Beige and some other G3 systems are excluded from the supported systems list.) Essentially any G3 or higher Mac with built-in USB is supposedly supported. Panther has proven to be extremely stable. If you have a G5, Panther is almost essential to keep you up-to-date with all the hardware features and fixes becoming available.
If you have a G4, you PROBABLY want to get the upgrade to be sure to get the latest enhancements and fixes. Many of the graphical improvements require high-end graphic cards to see the benefit, though.
If you have a G3, first check to be sure your system is supported. Go to the Apple.com web page and select the "Mac OS X" tab. Then click on the "Upgrade" tab then select the link for "Check the system requirements". If your system passes muster, you may want to consider Panther because of the latest updates. You probably won't notice too many speed improvements or enhanced graphics capabilities. However, since it is a stable upgrade and has a number of useful new features it is worth considering.
If you have Internet access, getting updates is as simple as launching "Software Updates" from the Apple menu. There are many new features, outlined in the Amazon review and detailed at the Apple web site, "Mac OS X" tab, "New Features" tab.
For me, my favorite new features are Exposé and Fast User Switching. With Exposé, hit one function key and all your open windows slide aside so you can see your desktop. Hit a different key and all windows are visble, in miniature and aligned. Click on one of them and it pops to the top of the heap.
Fast user switching allows two (or more) separate users to use the same Mac at the same time. Each gets his/her own desktop and preferences. Select a user name from a new users menu at the top, right of the menu bar and enter that user's password and poof, your desktop becomes the other user's desktop. One user can log out and the other user can keep going. This is a real boon because both my wife and I are Mac addicts and still need to share one Mac (after all, isn't sharing what marriage is about?)
Overall, I feel Panther is a worthwhile upgrade, but the price may be prohibitive to some.
on February 17, 2004
There are so many additions and alterations in Panther (over 150 in fact), it's staggering. The catch is that 90% of users will only see a handful of them. This begs the question, "Does it make sense to upgrade?"
To answer that question I always ask myself, "How will this upgrade affect my daily use of the Mac?" I primarily use my Mac for email, Internet, iApps, Office v.X, Photoshop and Dreamweaver. Pretty basic stuff.
I use Expose daily and it has made my life so much easier. No more minimizing and rearranging of windows, just one click and - BOOM - instant desktop. The combination of Fire Vault and Fast User Switching has finally convinced me to set up accounts for family members and it's been working out beautifully. The updated Finder not only makes the Mac more customized (for each user no less), but has made finding and saving files a breeze. The ability to print address labels and mailing lists from Address Book is a much welcomed addition that I will be using frequently. Having drag and drop email addresses and the sorting of messages by thread added to Mail has greatly improved its use. I couldn't be happier that iChat AV is included, as it's become an integral part of my keeping in touch with friends and family across the nation. The Mac turns on faster and everything (especially Finder, Help and Safari) runs much faster than in Jaguar.
As others have noted, installation is very easy and usually painless. My installation went off without a hitch and took about 45 minutes total. However, I have run into two minor problems since installation. My Visor PDA no longer syncs (I understand this has to do with the Hot Sync application not being updated for Panther) and I really can't stand that brushed metal look of the finder (luckily I found shareware (whiteout) that takes care of that).
So how has the Panther upgrade affected the daily use of my Mac? Panther has boosted my performance, given me enhancements that I now can't live without and somehow, I enjoy my Mac even more than before. I didn't think that was possible. Leave it to Apple to deliver the impossible.
on February 9, 2004
I upgraded my four-year-old G3 desktop from OS 9.2 to OS X 10.3. For me, claims that an upgrade or installation is "easy" hardly ever pan out; I usually seem to encounter problems. So I held on to the 10.3 upgrade for about a week before I mustered up the courage to install it. The installation proved to be mostly painless.The 10.3 internet configuration helper l didn't work for me, so I had to call my ISP to get the settings right. Other than that, everything went smoothly.
I've been using 10.3 for about three weeks, and I am very pleased. Prior to installation, I experienced frequent crashes, sometimes several a day. Now they are very rare (two in the last three weeks). I find that the Safari browser is faster and more reliable than Internet Explorer. Sometimes IE gets hung up on displaying a web page. I switch to Safari, and the page comes up in a snap.
The new version of Sherlock is very slick, but I can't figure out how to do something that was very simple with the older Sherlock 2, namely locate a file on my hard drive. There must be a way to do it in the new Sherlock, but it's not obvious. The online Help was of no help in figuring this out. So I just use the old Sherlock 2 in "Classic" mode when I need to locate a file on my hard drive.
Certain features that had ceased to work with 9.2 now work just fine with 10.3. For example, before installing 10.3, I couldn't get my CD ROM to recognize and play music CD's. Now, through iTunes, it works just fine.
One complaint: Apple recommends that you install the latest version of OS 9 for "Classic" mode. I had 9.1, but the latest version is 9.2. I had to pay $20 for this upgrade. I think this upgrade should be included with OS 10.3.
Overall, I'm quite happy with my new Panther.
on January 24, 2004
I switched back to Mac when OS X was first released, because I was tired of windows always crashing and never doing what I wanted. I'm a unix geek, so the notion of an Apple GUI on top of a real rock solid operating system was very appealing to me. But as much as I liked my iBook, OS X feel short in a lot of ways. There were all kinds of tiny, irritating issues, like boot-up speed, and the hideous pinstripes, and the finder not paying attention to admin privleges (eg, if you try to drop a file in a folder where you don't have permissions but you are admin and could authenticate on the command line, 10.1 and 10.2 just tell you that you can't - 10.3 pops up a dialog that offers you the option of entering the admin pasword). Panther has changed all of that. Everything is faster, slicker, more polished, and finally all of the little irritations seem sorted out. When connecting to a digital camera, you plug it in and it just works. When I plug in my iPod, it just works. You don't have to worry about drivers or whether you've got the right software installed - all of the i apps just work. To top it off, the operating system has not crashed ever. In 2 years of use, the only time my computer crashed was when I added some bad memory. If you've got a Mac, I can't recommend Panther enough. You'll never want to go back to OS 9.
on January 18, 2004
I upgraded my G4 Powerbook to Panther about two weeks ago and so far everything's gone off without a hitch. But while this system continues the rock-solid stability I was accustomed to and there are dozens of improvements here as detailed by my fellow reviewers and in The Missing Manual (which I loved), I wonder if this update is a good value for money for those who were already using OS10.2 as I was.
It is a clear (even if incremental) improvement from OS 10.2, and at least one friend who is a Mac user told me that an upgrade to OS 10.3 from OS 10.2 eliminated what had been an annoying software conflict. But I think that anyone who is comfortable with OS 10.2 might be better off sticking with what they have and waiting for OS 10.4 or 10.5 before making the leap.
But for users still using OS10.1 or something older, I think this would be a great investment, adding stability (when I used it OS 10.1's stability was undermined by a lot of bugs that were worked out in the following generations), slick new features like Esposé, and an interface that's easy on the eyes and more intuitive than previous versions.
on January 10, 2004
I finally took the plunge and installed Panther yesterday morning on a G4 Powerbook. Originally I was going to wait until my week off of school for the upcoming Chinese New Year because I thought I may need the time to fix any problems if the installation was not successful. Previous reading through many Mac forums had led me to believe that I would more than likely have a myriad of problems.
After carefully reviewing many forum posts, I decided that I would do an "archive and install." Having done some simple disk maintenance (ran repair disk permissions on the disk utility) and backed up all important files the night before, I awoke at 5:30 this morning ready to install. Trembling with both anticipation and fear, I turned on the computer and inserted the first installation disc. Following all directions onscreen, I was amazed and delighted with the ease of installation. Still not convinced of my success, I held off jumping for joy until the computer had been restarted and I had the chance to check everything out. Because of the archive and install, all my preferences were saved, I lost nothing, and didn't even have to reconfigure my comuter for the wireless connection at home.
Internet Explorer, which I rarely use, loaded more quickly, and Safari, which I use 99% of the time, was even faster than before. I had a look at a WebQuest page I had made, and all the animated graphics were working very well, whereas before in Safari, only one was animated. I did have to re-install Norton Anti-Virus, but the installer was still on the computer, so that was very simple as well. I've downloaded all available updates, and the OS is very stable thus far. To print, I didn't have to do any reinstalls, rather I just plugged the printer cable into the USB port, and voila, successful printing!
Panther appears to be a great operating system, so much better than Windows XP, which I use (and regularly curse) on the machines at school. If you are thinking of making the switch, by all means go for it!
on December 15, 2003
Personally, I found that this was a trying experience from the beginning. First off, few stores even carry Mac software, so that even locating the package is difficult. Thankfully there are on-line opportunities like Amazon to fulfill the dream.
Physically installing this product was an even greater difficulty. I could not find this in a 3.5" format and had to upgrade my PC in order to be able to run the CD. After re-booting, I found that the CD was not mounted and that the software could not be recognized. I spent numerous hours on the phone with Apple Tech support, only to determine that the system requirements were not fully explained in the promotional literature. This upgrade requires an extremely fast processor, at least 512 Mb memory, minimum 40 Gb hard drive. In fact, the system architecture and operating system are completely different! Who knew? I can tell you it is not recommended for the typical Win 98 or Win 2000 customer.
This is probably much better suited to the owner of a new XP machine with the latest in video & IO features.
on December 12, 2003
I have been using an Apple computer for 22 years. I now have Jaguar, which is worse than the prior update. I worked by leaving significant folders on the desktop and like to arrange their order. I am highly visual. I loved scrapbook, notes, and the windowshade feature to stack various parts of a project on my desk.. I have none of these in the unix based system. I keep the dock small after trying various locations and sizes.. With vitreous floaters I don't like things that swoosh, or grow, or pop up and make using this system more visually tiring than earlier options. Not to be persnickity, but if one is a home user and does only email and letters, memos, training materials to hand out--why all the bells and whistles without a general opt in for "simple". Stickies don't replace notes; there is no ability to stack a series of "windowshades" on the full desk top No one has given me a reason to upgrade. I understand it is impossible to go back to the system 9, which I preferred. System 7 something was my all time favorite. I do have a G-4 with 128 mg of memory and graphite airport. Can people suggest why Panther would do anything for mac fans who don't do games, music, complex graphs, charts, etc. thanks