Apple updates lots of stuff…

Updating software, particularly operating systems, can be scary.  Problems I’ve encountered in the past include failed updates, data loss, bad changes in functionality, and buggy software.  When you get a lot of software updates at the same time… well, that’s very scary.  So, along with releasing Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Apple also released iPhoto, iMovie, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for both iOS and MacOS.  That’s a lot of FUD!

I’ll try to post my thoughts on each as I experience them, but for now, I’ll concentrate on a couple things.

First, installing Mavericks…  Take the advice posted elsewhere… backup and be ready for the worst but hope for the best.  I installed Mavericks on 5 machines since the release.  It took almost a week to get them installed since i took some baby steps to ensure mission-critical software still worked.  Of the 5 machines, 4 installed without any hitches  (hint: If you have multiple machines, backup the installer and copy to any machine you want to update so you don’t download too much data).  The one installation hitch was on a mac mini.  In this case, the install hung fairly early in the process.  After a bit of searching on the web, I found that if you zap the PRAM, the install might work.  It did for me.

The biggest new feature in Mavericks for me is the improved multiple-display support.   Now, the displays are mostly independent from each other.  The benefit the support brings is, at least for me, the return of full-screen apps.  Running a full-screen app in Mountain Lion would take over both displays, the window would be on one display and you’d get a linen covered second display.  Now, you can have a full-screen app in one display, and still work in the second.  After just a few hours, I started putting all full-screen apps in my big display, and apps where I don’t want full screen, including the finder, in the other.  It’s quite a powerful combination.  Mail and Safari (and Chrome when I use it) are almost aways full screen.

There are serious issues, though.  Sometimes I can’t get the menus or dock to show on the full-screen display.  Sometimes the only way to get it back is to quit the app (I haven’t found any  consistent rules, though).  Some apps don’t play well, either, like iBooks.  iBooks under the right conditions won’t display movies correctly in full screen mode.  Still, it’s better than what we had.

The new Numbers looks nice, but in some ways, it’s difficult to use.  For example, I’ve been trying to make a simple scatter plot with more than one data set.  Try it…  Did you notice you had to turn off “Share X Values”?  Do you know where that is?  Did you realize your data has to be in multiple tables (as far as I can tell, at least)?  I almost totally abandoned numbers over this issue alone.  Even now knowing how to create a scatter plot, I still might drop numbers from my line up just for this.