Happy Upgrade Week! Due to a number of unrelated events, much of my technology world saw major changes and upgrades over the last week or so. My main computer and my phone both saw major operating system upgrades, and my iPod was replaced entirely. Following are my (very brief) impressions of Max OS X 10.5 ‘Leopard’, the iPod Classic 80gb, and Windows Mobile 6 Professional. . . .

  • Mac OS X 10.5, ‘Leopard’—Apple released a major update to Mac OS on Friday 10/26, and (the nerd that I am) I preordered it and had the install DVD in my hands that same afternoon. Unfortunately, I had some fluke hard disk corruption on my MacBook Pro that I discovered that very same day, so I spent half the weekend fixing it (mirror the whole 200gb HD to ext. drive, wipe and zero-out disk, then mirror back). I finally got ‘Leopard’ installed on Sunday, and—minus some standard early-adopter bugs sure to be fixed soon—I love it. A couple of programs aren’t working right, but the problems will either be fixed soon (open-source stuff and Missing Sync) or affect programs I don’t use much anymore (like Photoshop 7, which is pretty ancient anyway). Overall, Apple has a real winner here. Smooth upgrade, slick new features, and the same rock-solid reliability of previous OS X versions. If you’re not a Mac user, head over to Apple’s ‘Leopard’ site to see what you’re missing.
  • iPod Classic 80gb—I got my first iPod as a graduation gift from my parents in 2004. That 20gb third-generation iPod served me well and worked like a charm until the end, but my music collection finally got too big for it (and it didn’t work too well with my Honda MusicLink car kit, which was designed for fourth-generation and newer iPods). So, for my birthday a week ago, Melissa bought me a new 80gb iPod Classic and we traded in the old one for a 10 percent discount on the new. Now I’ve got plenty of room for my growing music collection and other data, and it works flawlessly with the car kit. The new interface is pretty cool too and has lots more eye-candy.
  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional—I saw ‘Leopard’ and the iPod coming, but HTC and AT&T Mobility surprised me this week by (finally!) releasing updated firmware for my AT&T 8525 (a.k.a. HTC Hermes) phone. While not clearly advertised as such, this firmware upgrade bumps the phone’s operating system from Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC Phone Edition to Windows Mobile 6 Professional in addition to various other fixes and upgrades. I only got the firmware updated Friday night, which was a hassle because it wipes the whole phone to factory settings, but overall the changes are good. WM 6 seems much snappier than WM 5 was, it has much better sound effects and alerts built-in, and a few nagging bugs have been fixed (though others haven’t been—go Microsoft!). All my 3rd-party applications and add-ons and tweaks seem to be working after reinstalling them. Nothing huge, but a welcome and unexpected improvement for a good phone. My only complaint is it seems to be negatively affecting battery life (which wasn’t great on the 8525 to begin with), but I’m experimenting with some possible fixes.