FSpaceRPG article

Status: Official

Here are my initial impressions of Apple’s Snow Leopard.

My 1st trial was with my Intel Mac Mini (the last gen with Intel graphics) used for the FSpace Theatre.

Even though this machine was relatively clean, I decided on a reformat and clean install to make this as clean as possible.

I struggled with my superdrive in the first place. I noticed problems of it not appearing on the bus for the past 2 weeks. In the end with the Leopard disk inserted I had to pick up the unit and physically drop it. Seemed to unhinge the thing and the boot process went ahead. (I know - not good for the HD, but this is a big issue with slot loaders).

I suspect a lot of complaints with Snow Leopard and optical drive installs is actually these flakey slot loaders.

By the way, if it is well known that the slot loaders in that version of the Mac Mini have issues, then mine will probably need a service.

The other major issue - Front Row

This piece of software is just a complete piece of shit now! The frame rate dropout is massive, whether quicktime or dvd playback. Why Apple delivered it with Snow Leopard I don’t know. I noticed on the net heaps of complaints for all different kinds of Macs.

So if someone wants a Front Row centric media centre Mac - don’t give them Snow Leopard. Completely ruined my theatre setup.

DVD Player and Quicktime X are fine.

The one other niggle was EyeTV. Because of the version problem with Snow Leopard the installer disk with the EyeTV Hybrid won’t install, and EyeTV don’t provide a modern downloadable installer. You have to get a modern version already installed from a Leopard machine, then copied to Snow Leopard before you can register and use it. Afterwards it behaves okay.

VLC 1.0.1 still works nicely and is playing my decrypted Bluray 1080p streams fine.

The only other thing is that the machine is very erratic in seeing my 10.4.11 server on the network. Have to force a manual defined connection each time.

On the whole the new OS so far is okay, but FrontRow is the real kicker for me.

I’d love to see how a modern Snow Leopard MacMini with a 1920x1200 or 1080p screen behaves in upscaled QT and DVD under FrontRow.

I’ll have to decide whether to downgrade to 10.5 or buy or new Mac Mini (if FR works properly under 10.6 on it).

My next trial will be upgrading my laptop to 10.6 as an upgrade. I’ve just got to play with hard disk storage to ensure I can make a bootable backup of it in 10.5 first.

Categories: Development

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