Mac OS X Beta Diary: Classic and Aqua

(Editor's note: Macworld's Brett Larson is writing a diary of his experiences using Mac OS X as his one and only operating system. This is his second report.)

It's still going well. Last night, I experienced the fastest shutdown of any Mac ever. Instead of letting the computer go through and close each one of my applications, I figured I'd speed up the process by going in and manually closing each application.

Now in Mac OS 9, I'd have to wait for each application to come to the front, refresh its windows, and then ask me a myriad questions about "save this" and "save that." In OS X? Not even. I jumped from application to application as those dialog boxes came up, and my machine didn't lock up until I answered them. Even on applications running in Classic, I could jump to another application and tend to its needs. It makes me want to use my favorite polysyllabic word: fabulous.

I also like being able to keep so many applications open, though I am starting to notice a slowdown at certain times. When I have Photoshop open as well as everything else, things in Classic tend to get a bit slow.

I'm still having a problem with redrawing windows in Classic. If I drag an e-mail to the side, or a Word document, it literally takes a second to redraw the window. Now, this isn't one of those line-by-line draw items you'd get on Windows with low RAM. The whole window pops up at once -- but it still takes a second. And it only happens in Classic, not in Mac OS X-native applications.

Another problem I have in Classic is with USB. Occasionally, my mouse click stops working.

Now, about that user interface in Aqua. I've heard a lot of griping about it, especially since I monitor the story forums on and frequently read statements such as, It's just so wrong or Steve's ego is driving this piece of crap and it will kill Apple.

I strongly disagree. If anything, this is the iMac of operating systems -- as in, this is what will push Apple ahead even more. I remember when the iMac came out, how people complained about its lack of SCSI and ADB, not to mention its all-in-one enclosure. I think these same people are now complaining about the Cube, and about what they've seen of Aqua.

I just imagine this scenario: someone walks into CompUSA to get a computer. There's the Mac, running Mac OS 9, and the Windows machine. No real difference, especially since Windows 95 looks a lot like a Mac, just a little more square and ugly. This person may, in their ignorance, buy a PC.

But if that same person walks into CompUSA and sees OS X's Aqua interface next to Windows -- no contest. Aqua looks so much nicer. And all the little stuff -- the icons that dance in the Dock when you launch an application, the pulsing buttons, the overall quality of the icons -- it's just gorgeous.

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