OS X Mavericks

Apple released a new version of OS X last week: OS X 10.9, ‘Mavericks’. (Wait. Is there a big cat called Mavericks? No? What’s going on here?)

It’s available only from the App Store – no more boxed sets, DVDs, tiny read-this-first pamphlets that nobody every read. That’s easier for Apple, I suppose. But a 5.29GB download isn’t all that convenient for me.

I tried the download last Tuesday, but gave up after a few minutes. (Memo to self: don’t start an OS upgrade an hour before bedtime.) When I tried again, yesterday morning, there were problems. I clicked the download button, and…”OS X Mavericks failed to download”. Sometimes, the error popped up immediately; other times, after a brief delay. I must have tried twenty or thirty times.

I tried a few things – I even switched the router to use Google’s DNS servers, since somebody on the Apple Support forums said that worked for him. Nothing helped. Every time: “OS X Mavericks failed to download”.

Over in Windows-land, the first response to inexplicable system behavior is to restart the machine. That’s not supposed to be necessary on OS X, but I was out of ideas. When the machine came back, I noticed a Mavericks icon in the Applications folder that hadn’t been there before; I clicked on it, and the download commenced without incident.

It took most of the afternoon.

The install went easily enough. Mostly I just watched the progress bar crawl across the screen. (No, that’s wrong – I took the iPad into the other room, and played Trichrome.) Afterward, I updated a few apps; now I have a thoroughly Mavericks’d computer. Yay.

Does it work any differently, any better than it did before? Honestly, I have no idea. The wallpaper is different. The iLife / iWork app icons are different. But I have yet to encounter any this-is-so-cool moments. (Or even any what-did-you-idiots-do moments, which are fairly common when upgrading Windows.) Perhaps the coolness takes time to manifest.

At least it was all free.