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Oh What a Night

August 22, 2002
I felt a rush like a rollin' ball of thunder
Spinnin' my head around 'n' takin' my body under
  -- B Gaudio, J Parker

Apple is sponsoring a fun fest. Jaguar, the latest 'dot' version of the sleek OS X operating system, is slated for release this Saturday, a day when many outlets would otherwise be closed. But they will not be closed; and true to blockbuster movie form, Apple is making the day before a fun-filled vigil.

Apple stores and retailers around the world will be holding special Jaguar parties starting at 10:20PM local time (Jaguar is version 10.2 of OS X, get it?) with prizes and who-knows-what in store for the Mac faithful who attend.

Jaguar is the second major update of OS X. The first version 10.0 was hardly off the drawing boards when released and lacked a lot of its planned functionality. 10.1, which followed about a year later, was more what Apple had in mind, and Mac users started taking it seriously. 10.1 went through half a dozen updates, through to 10.1.5, before it came time for Jaguar.

The full package is priced at $129 and includes the Developer CD, the full-scale NextStep collection with a slew of other applications thrown in for good measure.

Reviewers claim Jaguar has improvements and enhancements that are too numerous to mention; generally they speak well of it, although some complain that Apple's Mail program is sluggish when compared to previous versions.

On the bright side, the Address Book program is enhanced and more closely resembles what an address book should be like, and it would also seem that Mail does not automatically put each and every e-mail address in it - a major annoyance in the current version. Jaguar also has iChat, a chat program which is allowed to interface with AOL's huge IM user database - as opposed to MSN Messenger, which cannot.

The deciding factor will be how well the NextStep wizards in Cupertino have improved their agonising window server, the module responsible for the 'spinning beach ball'.

The words to look for, therefore, will not concern all the new programs and flash, but 'the beach ball is finally gone'.

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