Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Jun 2011 22:51 UTC
Mac OS X "Apple has now released Mac OS X 10.6.8, the eighth maintenance update for Snow Leopard, via Software Update. The update offers a number of fixes implemented since the release of Mac OS X 10.6.7 in late March."
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Or the fact that the majority of people see computers as this magical box that whirls, whizzes and does amazing stuff instead of seeing what it really is, a glorified machine that allows you to achieve certain things.

What I meant is that the defining characteristic of a general-purpose computer is that it can do a very wide range of totally unrelated things depending on what you ask it to do. The other side of the coin is that since computers are a tool that doesn't have a single well-defined purpose, they aren't fine tuned for anything in their initial state. When I buy a bike or a car, it's shipped in an almost usable state, whereas computers are a different story... Oh, well, you seem to reply in more details in the rest of your post anyway.

I can do the same thing; I purchased an iMac just recently, I setup my new machine, hooked up my machine, downloaded the applications I bought on AppStore, and installed some updates - within around 1-2 hours I was up and running.

Didn't you get a Dock-full of mess which you never use ? Media files which didn't play back because nothing was installed to play WMV on your machine ? A reset of the fine-tuned configuration of most apps which you use for work ? Missing software which was not on the Mac App Store because of Apple's particular licensing terms ?

I mean... I sure get better at setting up computers as time passes, but I often find it to take some time before I feel at home on the machine. During a few weeks, things don't work as expected, I discover that old stuff from my old machine is missing, etc.

How has Mac OS X 'change significantly' (same can be said for Windows)?

For OSX, I agree that not much seems to have changed with Snow Leopard, but for Windows it's pretty easy to find UX disturbances related to upgrades... As an example, for the WinXP->Win7 transition, I can think of :
-A total Control Panel reorganization (even now I still have a hard time understanding the new logic)
-Much changes in the file explorer, which is the single most used piece of software in a modern OS (Libraries as the non-changeable default folder, tiny breadcrumbs + no up button, no menus, "related task" have been either phased out or mixed with totally unrelated things in the top bar)
-Tray icons which randomly disappear as a default setting (nice once you get used to it, but quite annoying for a while)
-Switching between different windows of the same application via the task bar is now a slow, multi-step process
-Hierarchical view of the start menu sucks, search is more or less mandatory even though its behavior is highly random sometimes
-Media Player doesn't work in the same way at all
-Lots of distracting translucent effects everywhere, which randomly break and fallback to an opaque light blue theme from time to time. Also, Aero Peek loves to hide all of your windows if your mouse accidentally goes in the lower right corner of the screen, without waiting for you to click (most quickly disabled feature ever).

Guess I could remember more if you asked that from me when I got my computer in June, but right now it's what remains in my memory as most disturbing things.

minor changes here and there, a few additional features added but more or less the fundamentals haven't changed.

The fundamentals haven't changed, but so much details have been altered that you end up stumbling into a random change regularly in the first few weeks.

Another problem is also that of lost customization and configuration. "Normal" users probably don't have it as much, but myself when I go to a new version of one of my OSs, I always miss lots of tricks which were so much part of my life that I had totally forgotten about them. Like logging automatically on the wifis of all of my relatives, having a keyboard shortcut to quickly open a terminal and another to xkill a hung program, quick launch icons to my common apps, being able to alt+drag windows on Windows thanks to WinXMove...

When it comes to applications - the majority of people around the world on their computer don't run anything fancy; Windows, maybe a copy of Microsoft Office, and if you're lucky a pirated copy of Photoshop or Photoshop elements they got with their multi-functional printer.

Office itself likes to break compatibility with its own file formats on a regular basis. I'd also add some niche, profession-specific software that varies from one person to another. That's the part which makes supporting newer OS versions most painful actually, because this last kind of software tends to be developed by an unstable team of non-permanent developers, reducing in UX and compatibility breakages with each new release.

As for pain, there is as much or as little pain as you want to impose upon yourself - I've seen experts go to hell and back because their setup was an disorganised mess whilst on the other hand I've seen novices following guides, back up their stuff, clean upgrade Windows and then put their stuff back on within a few hours.

It's true that some setups make migration easier than others.

Edited 2011-06-25 14:20 UTC

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