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a week with Leopard

by Rob Friesel

A few thoughts on Mac OS X 10.5 (“Leopard”) after having spent a solid week using it:

  1. Spaces.  I didn’t think that I was going to use this at all but it turns out that it’s a great alternative to minimizing certain windows.  Example: during the day I typically run all the apps I need and minimize certain ones (e.g., Things; e.g., OmniOutliner) to “get them out of the way” while I work in others.  What Spaces has allowed me to do is to put these apps off to the side, in their own separate context, without having to get them jammed up in the Dock.
  2. Time Machine.  In a word: awesome.  It’s already come in handy and permitted me to recover some inadvertently lost files1 from the otherwise certain doom of “Secure Empty Trash”.  The UI is a little intense but the metaphor makes sense and it didn’t take me long to figure it out.
  3. The “new” Dock.  I’m a hidden-Dock-on-the-side kind of guy on my main machine so I really haven’t noticed this.  That said, I actually like the way it looks.  Also…
  4. Stacks.  I didn’t think I would use this either.  But I’ve found them to be pretty useful.  It has also been nice to pull stuff off the ol’ Desktop.  This new default Downloads folder, for example: I could get behind that in a big way.
  5. Translucent menubar.  Meh…  I could see why some folks are turning it off.  None of the Desktop graphics I’ve used have made it difficult to read the menus (at least not yet).  One thing that I do like about it is that it seems to soften the top edge of the screen a little bit while still maintaining that “hard ceiling” effect.
  6. Cover Flow in the Finder.  Another one that I thought I wouldn’t use.  Sure enough, it’s replaced column view as my preferred file browsing method.  Combined with Quick Look, it’s emerged as a very nice UI improvement.
  7. Accessing Shared Machines.  Weird.  I’m undecided if I like this change or not.  On the one hand, it seems to be a lot easier to access the machines I need.  On the other hand, I was accustomed to the whole “⌘k” thing to get to the Connect to Server dialog.  So that screwed me up for a while — especially since it didn’t seem to want to respect the afp:// in my server addresses.  Once I figured out how to make the connections, the rest kind of fell into place (e.g., network-connected volumes still “live” at the same place on the command line so I didn’t need to update my rsync scripts) but it was a little bit of a rocky start.
  8. “Unified” UI.  I like.  Active/front-most windows are certainly more obvious than before.  And this UI treatment seems to make better use of individual pixels and overall screen real estate.
  9. New Mail.  A lot less crashy.  (At least for me.)  But just like when they threw RSS into Safari: /meh.
  10. Quicksilver.  Not “Leopard” per se but I’ve noticed a couple things about Quicksilver since the upgrade.  First, like Mail, Quicksilver also seems a bit less crashy than before.  Second, some of Quicksilver’s pre-loaded scripts seem to require updating; e.g., “Show Character Palette” and “Show Keyboard Viewer” (both of which I use all the time) seem to just flake out now2.  Also, something about the animations and special effects in the UI are a bit different.
  11. Plays well with others?  Seems to play less nice.  Example: finding printers shared over Samba?  Oh you can find them.  But forget about authenticating.
Those are the top observations from the first week.  I’m sure I’ll notice some other things but if I didn’t notice them in the first 168 hours then they’re likely not going to be major3.
  1. Damn you, Microsoft Office 2008 Upgrader! []
  2. Fortunately I found where apps “live” and I have instead dropped aliases to them in ~/Applications. []
  3. Except for this tip here.  Damn but I wish this still worked. []

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

One Response to a week with Leopard

found_drama says:

NOTE TO SELF: other things which seem to be worth noting:

(1) Mail has been a lot less crashy (only once so far) but I already mentioned that; I do however need to “rebuild” mailboxes periodically to get HTML-formatted messages to show up correctly.

(2) Firefox always crashes when it closes. Always.

(3) I don’t have to “reset” the display colors when I wake up from a screensaver anymore, either. It was only about 1 in 10 times before but still…

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