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Old November 1st, 2009, 09:24 AM   #1
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Snow Leopard: Self Healing is Built-in

A lot of what I do the past 5 years is test, experiment and basically dig deep into how our tools of the trade actually do their job. When it comes to computers that means literally taking apart the OS and either reverse engineering it's core setups or worse, turning a good running system into a barely running shadow of it's original self - non-destructive testing for software I suppose you could call it. But all this tweaking also means I have to then restore all my bungled surgery back to it's original condition so my once pristine system regains it's former healthy status.

Before Snow Leopards' release, restoration was an often painful task (and forget about any version of Windows, painful doesn't even come close to being a good descriptive) simply because the restore process really didn't take me back to a 100% restored state but more of a hybrid of good code with bad sitting in an old folder - just in case you end up having some parts of the OS that require needing it's parts manually replaced.

Right away some people are thinking, "Why not simply make a backup prior to all this testing?". But therein lies the point: Many people get themselves into a situation where they've gotten their system in a poorly running state or worse, had corruption caused by user error or a poorly written app that's gone amuck. It happens even in Mac-land. These same people often do *not* have any backup strategies in place so all they have is their single install on their main machine - and they're desperately trying to fix their broken or crippled OS.

Well fear no more: Snow Leopard is now *nearly* 100% self-healing. I say nearly, because nothing replaces having a stable clone or backup OS on safety-standby but now you can fix things quickly without the fuss of before...

If you're running Snow Leopard and get into trouble with OS stability you now only have to do one thing: Insert and boot from the OS disk and re-install the OS. That's it.

Worried you're going to erase your previous installation and all your apps or, like the previous OS's where "Archive & Install" simply put a new copy of the OS and moved the old off to a new folder? Worry no more.

In fact what happens is quite brilliant: Snow Leopard's install routine is now by default (as in hard-coded into the install routine) always in "Analyze and Replace" mode, no more archiving old code (although technically it does move a few things into a safe, hidden folder). What happens is this: The install routine looks at all the current code installed on the machine, analyzes which code is good and which is bad and simply erases old core files and replaces them with original code and puts all core services back to a fresh install state.

But the best part: It does NOT erase any apps, preferences... nothing. All your previous data is kept in place - as long as those user-created core OS files are not corrupted - and not moved off to a "previous OS" folder. (no effect on third-party software prefs at all). That means you get back an entire OS - albeit reverted back to 10.6.0 - but in perfect running order and exactly the way you had it setup. All you need do is run Software Update to bring you current to the OS state and you're back in business. End of story.

I'm often very critical of what Apple doesn't do properly, but their golden child, Mac OSX, has just gotten brilliantly better for us all.
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Old November 1st, 2009, 11:00 AM   #2
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Thanks Robert! It's very interesting information to hear. Do you find Snow Leopard to be stable? I've bought it, but I didn't dare to upgrade because I heard the XDCAM Transfer Tool was a bit buggy with it, and because I saw lots of beach balls with 10.6.0 on fresh systems of friends.
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Old November 1st, 2009, 12:52 PM   #3
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Thanks Robert! That's great news. Thanks for sharing.
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Old November 1st, 2009, 07:52 PM   #4
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M.G.:

With exception to the bleeding edge when it was literally released to the public where there were a few driver issues with various things SL has been the most stable/robust OS X version thus far. Any Mac capable of running it will see a performance boost even in just everyday simple operations.

Unlike the update from 10.4 to 10.5 which was a major service update, SL has really done under-the-hood code changes to not only streamline it's physical data size but transform memory allocation and parse resources more efficiently. Snow Leopard is just as much a cleanup/transformation of the OS as the unibody MBP was to the laptop line: Cleaner, more logical, less clutter, better resource handling.

I can't attest to any compatibilities with XDCAM or other Sony codecs since I don't shoot them but across the board I've had far more positive feedback from clients and other users than complaints by a very wide margin.

Unless you've got a piece of hardware or older software that isn't SL compatible (and there may be those straggler products that may never update) there's no reason not to update your OS.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 08:31 AM   #5
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I am about to test P2 workflow under 10.6.1 today. Will post my findings later.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 10:53 AM   #6
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P2 works flawlessly in Snow Leopard; ingest is a tad faster depending on your setup.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 12:24 PM   #7
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Thanks Robert!

It's good to hear such things. Especially now that I have switched to a Mac after more then 25 years of Windows. :-)
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Old November 9th, 2009, 08:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
Right away some people are thinking, "Why not simply make a backup prior to all this testing?". But therein lies the point: Many people get themselves into a situation where they've gotten their system in a poorly running state or worse, had corruption caused by user error or a poorly written app that's gone amuck. It happens even in Mac-land. These same people often do *not* have any backup strategies in place so all they have is their single install on their main machine - and they're desperately trying to fix their broken or crippled OS.
Even if you have a solid backup strategy (Time Machine makes it easy). You have to know exactly when your system got corrupted. If it's affecting something you don't use much then it may be impossible to pin point where you should go back to. Also you may have installed countless other things that you'd have to redo even if you could identify the point in time. I worry about this kind of thing as it would take days for me to reinstall from a blank OS. Glad to know Apple is on top of it.

I switched from PC to Mac because of FCP, but the OS has been a pleasant by product of that move. In the PC world, the OS would die on me and I probably wasted an entire week a year dealing with OS problems and restoring with a new copy. That's a week I'm not getting paid, not mention missed deadlines, et cetera. Mac is worth every penny extra you might spend.
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Old November 9th, 2009, 04:58 PM   #9
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Pardon the digression but 10.6.2 is now out. Apple, in their usual verbose way, says this in a list of fixed items:

About the Mac OS X v10.6.2 Update

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple, Inc.
* general reliability improvements for iWork, iLife, Aperture, Final Cut Studio, MobileMe, and iDisk
It's anyone's guess as to what was fixed for FCS or if it's FCS3-specific. The list does look comprehensive, though, even if a little on the terse side.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 09:31 AM   #10
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Robert, a little off-topic: did you do a clean install or an upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard?
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Old November 10th, 2009, 10:52 AM   #11
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The initial install was Clean then used the Migration Assistant to move over files/apps/etc. Every subsequent re-install has been described as above.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 10:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Foster View Post
Pardon the digression but 10.6.2 is now out...
Do not install this update; read my post on the mentioned thread about what's broken and how to get back to ".1" which is 100% stable:

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/non-line...cp-issues.html
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Old January 6th, 2010, 09:57 AM   #13
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Since I updated to SL I've had nothing but problems with FCS2. FCP keeps crashing. I downgraded back to 10.6.1 after 10.6.2 kept crashing. Still crashing, I know, I shouldn't have updated in the middle of a project, but this is kind of an on going project since the beginning of '09. I wonder if this is the problem. The projects assets have almost filled a 1TB ext. drv. I'm trying to finish whats left of the project and am having a hard time rendering everything to get to the DVD stage. I've tried to export to compressor using the 90 min setting but it just crashes and I have to restart FCP.

I'm running on a Mac Pro 2 x 2.8Ghz Quad Core 10Gb RAM.

1. I did a clean re-install of SL.
2. Ran the 10.6.1 patch as Robert suggested.
3. Still was crashing so I removed FCS2 using FCS_Remover.
4. Reinstalled FCS2 and updated everything but the OS.

Still crashing although not as much, I'm still having trouble exporting a 90 minute sequence to a .mov file using export to quicktime no conversion. Compressor failed because FCP crashed during 90min DVD conversion.

My plan is to put a bigger main HD as I'm down to 50Gb and reinstall back to OSX 10.5.8. This seems a bit backwards, do I need to move to FCS3? I've read its not worth the upgrade.

I called Apple about the upgrade to FCS3 and they weren't aware of any problems with FCS2 and SL. I thought, WOW!

My Project:
I film off road racing and have a couple DVD's out from the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Currently I'm making personalized DVD's for some of the racers. There was about 20 races each with about 2hrs of HDV clips each. If the project is too big, are there any suggestions on breaking it up differently?

Thank you...
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Old January 6th, 2010, 10:23 AM   #14
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Your specific problems may be hardware related if the software environment is stable. I'd setup a visit with the Genius Bar to get it sorted out because it seems that you've done all you could with a fresh OS and app install.
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Old January 6th, 2010, 10:45 AM   #15
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Thanks Robert,
Yes I'll have to do that as I seem to be stuck now. I was attempting again while on this site. The export was up to 70% and FCP crashed and disappeared again.
I'm going to try it on my MBP for now. Its been a bit more stable for some reason.
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