Mountain Lion is coming - do you care?

Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion UpgradeApple just revealed in private briefings to select journalists and bloggers that it is updating OSX from Lion to Mountain Lion in the summer and that going forward, it will support an annual upgrade cycle similar to what they do on iOS.

So what?

We’re still on Snow Leopard and, according to our own published software upgrade policies, will start evaluating the Lion upgrade in the spring.  A summer release of Mountain Lion does not make a difference, except that we might wait until the end of the year and go straight to Mountain Lion.  We’ll see how Mountain Lion will handle legacy software in our test environment before we decide when we will upgrade.

To us, the upcoming Adobe Creative Suite 6 upgrade is much more important than Lion vs. Mountain Lion.


I’m sure, Corporate IT managers were less than thrilled when they heard the news given that these guys are typically on 3-year upgrade cycles.

As an agency, we will skip iBooks Author

Creative Collateral by Digital DazzleApart from the big EULA hubbub that broke out yesterday over Apple’s restrictive End-User License Agreement terms for their newly released iBooks Author software, there’s another reason why we cannot use it in our creative process.

From Darrell Etherington’s post on GigaOm:

iBooks Author won’t be as appealing to those users since it creates a file that is not quite epub2, not quite epub3, and not quite XHTML5, according to Vook’s blog which makes it “one channel only,” or essentially proprietary.

Our customers always want our work in standard formats (PDF or epub), since they never know what their customers need.  Thus, they will have to cover their bases and make our work available on more than just Apple devices.  And that’s the reason why, no matter how slick iBooks Author is, we cannot use it in our creative process.

Which Tool To Use?

Do you need to create something on your computer? Write a paper? Or do you want to edit a gantt chart, but you don’t know what software to use?

Why don’t use ask your fellow computer users?

Best Creative Tool for the job keeps a list of the most popular software tools. Once you go there, simply name your top three software tools, then access their database to find out what others are using.  While their results might reflect certain biases, they will at least give you some starting point when picking a good tool for the job.

When should you upgrade your software?

Over the weekend, a friend asked me what I think about MacOSX Lion (he knows we are a Mac-only shop). My answer surprised him: We have not even begun to evaluate it.

I took the opportunity to run him through our upgrade policy, which can be depicted nicely as an infographic:

Upgrade cycles MaxOSX Lion at Digital Dazzle

Essentially, our Macs fall into three categories:

  • Production Critical Systems, where we do all the heavy lifting for our clients. If these systems don’t work, we not only face missed milestones, but probably some very serious time rebuilding the machines. Thus, we are most carefully when upgrading these.
  • Production Systems, for tasks such as writing, emailing or billing. While essential, we can easily switch these tasks to other hardware, with only minor (or no) impact on milestones.
  • Test Systems, which is hardware that is not in daily use and can therefore be used to test before we deploy in our production environment.

In an environment like this, OS upgrades are the hardest to pull off. During a brief stint in the data center world, I learned that you should never upgrade the OS of critical systems until at least 6 months after the upgrade was released. Similarly, we don’t even touch a new OS until the first maintenance release and don’t put it in production until the second maintenance release. In other words, let others find and worry about bugs.

In the case of OSX 10.7 Lion, we felt that the first maintenance release was so small, that we would wait for the second maintenance release before starting to test. Also, we aren’t in dire need for any of the new features, so if in doubt, we’d rather sit it out a bit longer than jump in too early.

That’s why we have not even begun testing Lion.

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