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Mac OS X has been rewritten from the ground up, and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard New Features highlights all of the most important and user-relevant aspects of this release. Experienced instructor and lifelong Mac user Garrick Chow introduces current Mac users to the improvements in the latest OS. While not a complete overhaul of the operating system, this update does address a fair number of internal systems and external user features. Garrick explores all of these updates, including enhancements to the Finder and the Dock and a completely revamped QuickTime player. He shows the wealth of improvements to built-in applications like Safari, Preview, iChat, and Mail, and explains the updated 64-bit support within Snow Leopard.
A feature I use a lot on my Mac Book Pro is OS X's ability to require a password when waking the computer from sleep or when deactivating the screen saver. This is a good first line of defense to prevent people from snooping on your computer when you stepped away for a second. Without the password, your screen remains locked. This feature has been refined in Snow Leopard and it's another welcome change. I occasionally put my Mac to sleep and then immediately change my mind and wake it up again only to have to enter my password. Or sometimes I will just walk away for a few minutes, my screen saver kicks in, and then I have to type my password again.
So I was happy to see that in Snow Leopard you can now configure a set amount of time to pass before your Mac requires a password. This option is still found in the same place as before, under Security Preferences. As with Leopard, you just need to check Require password, but here in Snow Leopard you now have a menu to select the delay time before your Mac will require password. Now personally I don't use screen savers much anymore, but I do often close my Mac Book and then immediately remember I have something else I need to do and then open it again. So by choosing say a minute, if I do put my Mac to sleep by accident I could just wake it up again and not be bothered to enter my password, but if I leave it sleeping for more than a minute I or anyone else who wakes it up will have to enter a password to unlock the screen.
Or for another example, if you know it takes you about three minutes to grab a cup of coffee down the hall and your screen saver kicks in after two minutes of inactivity, just set your password delay to five minutes. Notice you can take this all the way up to four hours of delay before the password is required if you need to. So it's convenient to be able to delay the password requirement if you want the security of being able to lock your screen but don't want to have to enter your password when your Mac is only been sleeping or on screen saver for just a few moments.
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