Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2008-02-11 - Update Day Deluxe

Apple let loose a slew of updates today. Most are for Macs, but the Apple TV 'Take Two' update was also released. Before I go through the list, let me review what I have found to be the best possible approach to updating your Mac OS X system.

1) You guessed it: Make sure your BACKUP is up to date. If you haven't made one, go back one article and read it.

2) Repair your boot volume structures. I repair all my volumes once a week. But performing repairs just before any update is critical IMHO. If you are on 10.4 and above you can perform a verification of your boot volume from Disk Utility. If it shows any proble
ms, then you need to boot from another volume to perform the repair. I use AppleJack, which runs while you are in Single User Mode. It is very easy to use and provides some other good features, including number 3:

3) Repair your boot volume permissions. Don't underestimate how important this is. Also don't underestimate how badly your permissions can be damaged. There are some developers who provide installers that leave an incredible mess in their wake. One of them is Adobe. In general, if you install anything it is very useful to repair permissions both before and after the installation in order to avoid permissions related problems.

Beyond Apple provided repair tools and AppleJack there are several very good 3rd party repair tools. I will no doubt review some of them in the future. For now I will only mention my personal favorites. DiskWarrior is terrific at what it does. It is safe and provides excellent basic repairs to volume structures and files. TechToolPro is another of my favorites. It does a lot of what DiskWarrior can do and a lot of things it can't. It's best unique features include checking all your computer hardware and optimizing (defragmenting) your volumes. SpeedTool Utilities offers, among other things, a terrific method for finding and mapping out bad sectors on your hard drives. For freeware, Onyx does a useful verification of your system, but no repair.

4) It may be helpful to check what problems are being reported about any particular Apple update at MacFixIt.com. I have been a member there for many years and have always found it useful. But keep in mind when you read the reports that it is extremely common for Mac users to have problems with update installations because they have not followed steps 1 - 3 above. If a Mac user's system is a mess, it is no wonder an update leads to problems! So read MacFixIt with a grain of salt, as we say. The best information you will learn from MacFixIt is how to remove a bad update and return your Mac back to its former state. Of course, if you have a thorough backup that's easy.

OK, time for the list. I am not providing a list of the features in these updates, but you can find links to detailed information as well as installer files at:

1) Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.2. This includes both client and server versions of Leopard. There are separate updates for Intel and PowerPC Macs. - Sadly 10.5.2 doesn't solve all Leopard bugs and it still doesn't complete the promised Leopard feature set. But it is a significant update. This is the second update for Leopard. (Windows Vista has had how many at this point? None? Apart from monthly security updates, Vista still has had no system updates).

2) WebObjects Update 5.4.1 for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. - If you don't know what WebObjects is, don't worry about this update. You do not need it. WebObjects is an incredible free technology Apple provide for creating powerful websites. It also has a very steep learning curve if you aren't already a programmer.

3) Leopard Graphics Update 1.0. You must install the 10.5.2 update before making this update. The update provides stability and compatibility.

4) Security Update 2008-001. This update is for both Intel and PowerPC Macs. You can read details about all security improvements provided by Apple at this page:

I also maintain a separate blog covering Macintosh Security issues at: 

5) iLife Support 8.2. This update provides stability and performance improvements for all iLife applications. 

Let me finish off the list with a quick review of all the other updates from this past month:

- iMovie 7.1.1
- Front Row 2.1.2 for Leopard
- iTunes 7.6 for both Mac and Windows
- Pages 3.0.2
- Keynote 4.0.2
- iWeb 2.0.3
- ProKit 4.5 for Apple's professional applications: Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Express, Aperture, Logic Studio and Logic Express
- Braille Display Update 1.0 for Leopard
- iPhoto 7.1.2
- QuickTime 7.4.1 for Panther, Tiger, Leopard and Windows

After your Mac updates: Remember to perform a permissions repair on your boot volume. Apple have had a very good record recently of cleaning up permissions after their installations. But they aren't perfect. I've had people rant at me that this final step is not necessary. Experience proves them wrong. It only takes a minute, and I guarantee it will save you future headaches after a sloppy installation.

Also out today is an update for the Apple TV:
Apple TV 'Take Two' update: To access this update, go to the Settings/Software Update menu in the Apple TV interface. You can read about the new free features of this update at:

This past month Apple also provided the 'January '08 Update' to the iPhone. You can read about it and watch a video at:

Share and Enjoy!