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I'm pleased Microsoft released Vista

Had it not been for Vista, I'd probably still be on a Windows platform at home, rather than taking the plunge and getting a Mac back in August. It seemed a good time to switch with the Intel-based hardware offering the same performance levels as the PC counterpart and an OS based on Unix. I wasn't expecting it to be easy, but strangely it was. It seemed to work - and work seamlessly with everything else I had - dodgy phones, pdas, audio/midi interface and so on. Hey it could even run Windows if I wanted.

It was also very easy to use. Then along came Leopard. I'm not one to gamble on early adoption, but the prospect of an automated backup system was too tempting - anyone who has had to restore from a backup only to find out the backup had "not been done" by the people you thought were supposed to be doing it will know why I liked this aspect.

I was actually invited to the world "premiere" - but that seemed a bit of a sad way to pass a Friday night - so I held off until Sunday. I dropped into the Apple store and there seemed to be a very long queue to the tills - but Apple store folk were wandering around taking mobile chip and pin payments. Very nifty. What do those hand-held things they have run? It's a Windows system? Surely not.

So - how difficult is it to replace your operating system on a Mac with the next big thing? Well you put the install DVD in. Click on a button and enter your password. It restarts - asks for your preferred language and gets on with it. Put the kettle on or watch some telly. Chill. Done. It plays a rather splendid welcome movie and it's all there - familiar and yet changed. Flawless.

The backup system is genius. Apparently 80 percent of Mac users knew they should back up but only 26% did. Now there's no excuse. It's even fun to delete files just to get them back.

Some of the interface "improvements" I will need to disable. And perhaps urge for the designers concerned to be fired. They're half-baked eye candy at best - and reduce useability in some cases - making some aspects worse - but on the whole it's better.

The ability to have multiple workspaces you can switch between is nicely done. The coverflow is fun and works. Whether I need to superimpose myself on a movie backdrop during video conferencing is debatable but may come in useful if I want to disguise my location. "Yes I'm in Paris - really". "Yes I'm on the moon" etc.

The curious thing is - it is faster. And now it's backed up. So - result. 

If you want an in-depth look at the technology under the bonnet* - this review from John Siracusa tells you everything - and I mean everything. (Thanks to Chris for pointing it out)!

*(NB: Bonnet as in car bonnet - or hood if you prefer. Not bonnet as in a fairly old fashioned wrap around frilly hat - but if you can buy iPod socks I bet you can get iMac bonnets). 



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