3/24/08

Leopard: The Good Stuff

I'm just going to touch on a few things, as Apple certainly has—with greater flare—shown off Leopard's features. (Note, this now points to an introduction to Snow Leopard. Google Videos has the older version here.)

First, almost everything worked. I had a few glitches, as I describe in Leopard: The installation and Leopard: Problems.

SuperDuper! had already provided Leopard support, and it worked. Although I can see using Time Machine, to recover the state of individual files, I like having a complete, bootable image that I control. This may change over time. (No pun intended.)

Time Machine. It is cool, neat, etc. As I just said, I can imagine the need and using it. I have only played with it.

Spaces really helps my productivity. Under Tiger, to avoid some clutter, I used to have my desktop display be my "main display" and my Powerbook display be my secondary. It sat off to my left as you can see here. With Spaces, I just keep my PowerBook lid closed and don't use that display.

As you can see (click for larger image), I have 4 spaces set up. In the image, space 1 has my Mail program and a web browser showing. Space 2, my instant messenger windows. Space 3 has my iCal. And in Space 4, I have a few X-term windows up, connected to different systems.

Mail and iCal now work more closely together. Mail allows you to create "To Do" items, which show in your Mail, but also show up in iCal. Here is an example: I miss the side drawer display in the old version of iCal.

To Do Items are show on the side (as before), but details appear in a pop-up window. More on that in a bit. Mail also recognizes content that might be a calendar event. This is very nice. Here are two examples. First, I received e-mail that had information about a university commencement. Note the option it gives me. I did select Create New iCal Event, which brought me to here. In another e-mail, someone invites me to meet for breakfast. I "hover" my mouse over the text, pick Create New iCal Event, and create the event in iCal. As I said, I miss the way iCal used to display information in a side panel. Now one needs to double click on the even (just like the To Do Item, earlier) to be able to see details and edit the event.

One feature Mail could have done without: stationery. Stationery is terrific—for hand-written mail. All it does is add an image attachment that may or may not be seen as a "background" to the email. (Many times it will not show up—it depends on the e-mail client. The user will then click on the attachment to see it and it will make them wonder why you send them a fabric swatch.)

Finder changes. The jury is out on the changes to the sidebar. I find it a bit cluttered and haven't had time to figure out how to fix this. Networked systems that are reachable and "shareable," show up under SHARED. Much of the time. But, just this morning as I wrote this, everything had disappeared until I connected (via SMB or NFS) again to the linuxserver. Then it showed up there again. Of course, I like Quick Look, and I am sure I will like it more as I use it more.

Oh, and Dock and its "reflective 3D" look? I turned it off. Too much candy upsets my stomach.

Right after I talked about SHARED in Finder, all the systems disappeared. This is a complaint in many forums and discussion groups on the Internet. I bet if I went to my local Apple Store I'd see all the systems on their net. I just wonder how? Remember the picture above with local systems showing under "SHARED" in Finder? Now, nothing. And when there is nothing in SHARED, SHARED doesn't even show up. And a day later? All back.

With regard to Spaces... At work, at APL, I am still running Tiger on my 15" MacBook Pro. I wish I was running Leopard. Today on a conference call, I needed to have about 6 documents open. I wish I had separate work Space available in which to group the documents I needed for the call, while still being able to jump back to a space with my e-mail and browser. As it was I had to have all of them opened on the one "space" I had.

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