Apple did a fantastic thing with Mac OS X but they kinda let Java down. Most java apps look miserable or even cease to function in Mac OS X.
Aqua is beautiful but I would prefer the Swing look and feel because it is platform neutral. At least Apple could let you choose whether to run Aqua components or Swing components.
The way it stands about 99% of applets and applications have to be re-written to use Aqua. Yuk!
PS: great tutorial David!
PS2: i just ran NineSquares on Win2K and Linux. they are identical. only the Mac is crippling Swing. Apple outta let swing do its thing!