MacOS X 10.6.2 Okay, and Desktop

Screen shot 2009-11-11 at 11.28.27 AM

I installed Apple’s latest update for Snow Leopard, 10.6.2, with their 476MB Combo Updater available here. The upgrade successfully installed, and I have not had any problems with my usual apps: CS4 and NeoOffice. Luckily, I haven’t experienced the invisible menu bar status icons issue reported by some folks. I do, however, need to run PhotoBooth and find out if the update addresses the MacBook fan revving issue while video chatting that began with MacOS X 10.6.

Above is a screen shot of my desktop, and the desktop picture was one that I recently made when I was walking around downtown Atlanta on Peachtree Street.

Solution to 64bit Kernel on Late-2008 MacBooks

Jake pointed me to this excellent guide to permanently enabling 64bit kernel booting on the Late-2008 MacBooks and other officially unsupported Macs. If you scroll down to comment #21 on the guide, Jake offers a tip for other Late-2008 MacBook folks about how to get the fix to work after a reboot.

It goes without saying that if you follow the guide linked above, you do so at your own risk.

Apple Favors the MacBook Pro With 64bit Kernel

Screen shot 2009-09-07 at 1.18.14 AM

As you can see in the screenshot above of Markus Winter’s 32 or 64 bit Kernel Startup Mode Selector running on my aluminum unibody MacBook, Apple will not let me run the MacOS X 10.6 kernel in 64bit mode. My hardware, which is identical to the rebranded 13″ MacBook Pro, is locked out for the only reason that my laptop carries the “MacBook” instead of the “MacBook Pro” moniker. As you can read in my previous post on Snow Leopard, I thought that my MacBook would support the 64bit kernel since I have the right hardware to support it. Unfortunately, I was wrong as Mr. Winter explains in this post on his website. This makes me particularly mad, because I purchased Snow Leopard knowing that it had a 64bit kernel which would make use of the 4GB of RAM installed on my computer and allow for 64bit drivers. I realize that individual applications can run in 64bit despite the kernel running in 32bit mode, but I believe that Apple’s decision in this matter is intended to reward particular customers for purchasing higher end hardware. Except in this case, my hardware is no different than the rebranded 13″ MacBook Pro–the difference internally and externally is name alone!

Snow Leopard Still Running Strong

Screen shot 2009-08-29 at 9.35.32 PM

This is my second day with MacOS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and all is running well! As you can see in the picture above, the DICOM viewer OsiriX is displaying my brain beautifully (how science fictional is that?!). My other apps including InDesign CS4 and NetNewsWire have been working perfectly as well. I did run into a problem launching NeoOffice 3.0, because I negligently forgot to update it to Patch 7, which opens without a hitch.

One of the features that I really dig in Snow Leopard is the ability to increase Finder previews up to 512×512 resolution, and as I’ve mentioned before, the previews are lightning fast on my SSD equipped unibody MacBook. I have been lusting for this seemingly simple feature since my first color Mac (a PowerMac 8500/120–my first Mac was a Powerbook 145B, which had a monochrome LCD display). Now that I have it, I have found some of the mundane locating a particular file version significantly faster, because I can quickly spy inside each file within a folder packed with an overabundance of files.

Regarding my post yesterday where I mentioned that the fans were revving. Luckily, that behavior has subsided. My guess is that the indexing service was reindexing my external hard drive, because the fans returned to normal after I ejected the drive and briefly returned when I reattached it today. However, the excessive fan use has subsided and my Macbook is as quiet as ever.

There is one thing that bothers me about the 64bit kernel of Snow Leopard. As I mentioned previously, I had to manually enable the 64bit kernel on my MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008). After Yufang installed her copy of Snow Leopard on her MacBook (Early 2008), she too had the 32bit kernel running by default. However, the 64bit enabler application reports that the 64bit kernel is unsupported on her MacBook. This seems odd, because the Intel Core 2 Duo is a 64bit CPU which leads me to believe that it can run the 64bit kernel of MacOS X 10.6. I wonder if this has something to do with the memory controller (her MacBook uses DDR2 memory and mine uses DDR3). I’m not sure, but I will do more research on this topic and report back.

My Desktop After Installing Snow Leopard

Screen shot 2009-08-28 at 10.25.26 PM

When Yufang and I returned from Cleveland, I promptly began charging my new iPhone 3GS and installing MacOS X 10.6 Snow Leopard on my aluminum unibody MacBook. See above for the finished product (note the Snow Leopard’s blood ringed mouth).

The install was relatively painless. I had backed up my files earlier this morning, so I left the installer to upgrade 10.5.8 to 10.6 while I got my iPhone 2G to accept Yufang’s SIM card (no easy task but it eventually submitted to my will).

I’ve only been running Snow Leopard for a few minutes, but I will tell you my first impressions. First, it is dang fast. Doing everyday chores, opening apps, etc. are substantially faster, and thumbnails are instantaneous (I have my icons set to 128×128 globally). Second, I do not how or if it improved things at all, but I did have to manually enable the 64bit kernel using this program. I have a 64bit capable processor and 4GB of RAM, so I figured running the kernel in 64bit mode shouldn’t hurt anything. Perhaps later I will test it out in 32bit versus 64bit mode. Third, the MacBook’s fans are revving while Safari is open. I have ejected the Snow Leopard install disc, so I know for sure that it isn’t the optical drive spinning up (anyways this is a very different sound than the fans running at full blast). I do not yet know what is causing the fan revving–could be Flash (a common culprit of this behavior in the past on most Intel Inside Macs) loading on some sites that have Flash ads. I haven’t read about anyone dealing with this problem, so I will have to do more research on this problem in the coming days.

I hope that your upgrade fares as well or better than mine!