> Enjoy the bleeding edge on that 27" iMac!

I try not to jump into the vanguard of the shock troops of consumerism to be mown down by experimental hardware designs. Just a general policy I have. Because 'bleeding' and 'edge' are two words that describe only hurt — is there really an upside to this concept? If there is, no one ever seems to just come out and nail it. Having the latest, most crappily engineered and untested thing is a luxury which, however questionable, appears to just go without saying on this world.

So, I've advised against buying the new 27" iMac, which simultaneously violates two of my cardinal rules of Earthly computer hardware purchase: Never buy the first available prototype of a new enclosure; and, Never buy the first available installation of a next-generation CPU in an old enclosure. Manufacturers, including Apple (some might even say especially Apple) hew pretty close to the heat tolerances of these components they use, in the rush to achieve their latest avant-garde design. Apple cuts engineering corners, and it affects first-generation product reliability, as we've seen with the capacitor problem in early, large white iMacs, and now the cracked or DOA Intel Core i7-based 27" iMacs.

Lest anyone think this is a new development, I should point that the very first Macintosh ever invented didn't even have an internal fan, despite being offered in an almost unprecedently small, and thus hot, enclosure (for 1984). Unsurprisingly, the first generations of Macs had a habit of frying their own power supplies after a few years, and then burning up the replacements, a few years after that. The 'novel' idea of fan-based cooling wasn't welcomed to the Macintosh until 1987, with the Macintosh SE.

> Unzip iWork documents

Exactly as it reads above — if you want to poke around inside an iWork document and examine its structure (which is XML-based), all you have to do it unzip it.

> Check apps for Snow Leopard compatibility

The Unofficial Apple Weblog pointed me to SnowChecker, which will detect all of your apps and compare them with an online compatibility database. It doesn't really detect them all — it didn't pick up on any Adobe apps, for example — but for a cautious upgrade-shy fellow like myself it's a good indicator of the current state of things.

My verdict: this cat is not ready for primetime yet. Which means it isn't ready for my Mac.