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Ten Ten Point One Point Two, to you

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While Apple sites were awash with leaks of the next major point revision of Mac OSX, 10.2 codenamed Jaguar, Apple quietly sneaked out a point-point revision: 10.1.2.

That's pronounced Ten Ten Point One Point Two.

Don't let the version number deceive you, for at 30MB it's the heftiest point release so far. The most sought after change is the addition of support for infra red modems. Although infra red-equipped mobile phones are a rare sighting in the United States, in the rest of the world this how most professionals access the Net or corporate HQ while on the move. So for many users, the absence of the base infra red transport has rendered their TiBook largely ornamental. What use is a computer if it can't talk to other computers?

Other improvements include support for FireWire based digital cameras, AppleScript, an updated Apache, and networking fixes. In fact the update touches so many areas, it might as well be called "we've changed... everything".

Meanwhile the rumour sites gave us the news - confirmed by photographs, although Think Secret was asked to remove its Jaguar screenshots by Apple - that OS X will be gain MacOS' spring loaded folders. (For Windows users not using Object Desktop, and that's most of you, we guess - that's where hovering an icon over a target folder allows you to drill down to your destination in just one mouse action.)

It's been very much missed in OS X, but it may not be enough for some of us. I'll confess that after two months of 10.1, and eight months of X in general, I switched back to MacOS three weeks ago, and haven't regretted it for much more than a moment. Henry Norr confessed to the same in his The San Francisco Chronicle column on Monday. He's gone back to MacOS after using OS X for serious work.

Having cut my teeth on VMS and Unix, I value stability pretty highly. Computers shouldn't crash. But they shouldn't be fighting you every step of the way, either.

Leaving behind the OS X user interface is like leaving London - you don't realise what a constant, nagging annoyance it is - like having a 24 hour toothache - until you've left town. I fear a rant coming on, so I'll stop here, for today. But if you insist, I'll tell you. ®

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