Snow Leopard is out (well, it’s in customer’s hands anyways), and that means I’m finally free from the burden of NDAs.
I have some gripes about Snow Leopard, I’ll get to my largest in a second. First, overall, it’s a progressive upgrade for Mac OS X. Exchange is nice, and the iPhone OS UI crossovers (Expose, Finder, etc) are nice touches. But, there are some significant misses. GeForce 8600 owners get QuickTime H.264 Hardware Decoding (which from my testing, appears to be there), but Apple says it’s unsupported. At the same time, people paying much less for their 9400M-based Macs get guaranteed H.264 decoding. Seriously, Apple, clear the air there… support the people that paid $2,000+ for their 8600M-based Macs.
But probably the worst offender in Snow Leopard is the new-found demand that you enter your password after the screen dims. Previously, you could have your display turn off after a certain period (and, as long as a screen saver wasn’t triggered), you didn’t have to enter a password to wake the machine up. If you closed the lid, or triggered a full system sleep, then you’d be prompted for a password.
This made it really simple to leave your system logged in, running whatever task you wanted, and not require a password to continue using it. As I’m about to explain, this change is really bad for the environment.
Now, to keep my machine active, I have to delay the display sleep to a very long period, like 30 minutes. Previously, I had the display set to shut off after five minutes of inactivity (both while plugged in and on battery).
So, now my MacBook Pro is going to sit there, chunking away a task, with the display on… basically all day. Think about it, I am going to use the machine every 15-20 minutes, and so the display never will really go to sleep. As such, I don’t have to enter my password in constantly, but my power bill is going to punish me in the long run.
Apple, please give folks the option to undo what you did. The Security System Preferences panel could easily have an option to “Bypass password on Display Sleep only”. That would solve this, and avoid the environmental damage that is about to ensue.