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Category Archives: tech

OS X Leopard thoughts

Just wanted to say, I’ve been using OS X Leopard for about a week and overall, I’m really impressed. The installation was a bit of a pain, due to my years of abusing the OS in ways Apple apparently didn’t forsee, but after removing a few toxic-to-Leopard files and directories, I was up and running.

First off — Leopard actually feels noticeably faster on old hardware. This is great news, since my beloved 12″ PowerBook G4 is in its fourth year with me, and I have no plans to replace it. (Seriously, if my PowerBook were to die right now, I’d go on eBay and buy another one rather than a newer laptop.) Now, this is not to say it necessarily is faster on the kernel level (it might be, I don’t know), but when I’m using it, all the UI parts are snappy and responsive. And that, my friends, is a whole lot more important than shaving a couple percent off compile or copy times.

The new Finder is a huge improvement on previous versions, and the coverflow view (where you can shuffle through previews of all your images) is surprisingly useful — I made a smart folder for all my PDFs, and use it to find papers I filed away but don’t remember where. Spotlight is finally usable on my PowerBook and so far has refrained from grinding my compy to a halt for hours at a time. And Spaces is already an integral part of how I work. The real revelation, though, is Time Machine, which is just a massive leap ahead of every other consumer-level backup system I’ve ever seen — so easy, my computer-leery mom can use it, and so powerful, I can’t imagine myself ever using anything else. So kudos to Apple — I was fully prepared for a minor upgrade to OSX with a couple of features I would ignore or disable, and instead I got an upgrade that has already become so essential, I’d have trouble going back to Tiger if I had to.

And yet, at the same time, the new Dock is so bad — and so aggressively, unavoidably, in-your-face bad — I can’t understand how it got through development. Stacks is such a terrible idea I keep checking the web to see if anyone has yet written the inevitable program to disable it and get regular folders back (a la Spotless). I mean, I understand that Leopard is a huge project and different teams might have different levels of competence, but this is like finding a room full of pinheads in a NASA lab.

Anyway, there’s a much better, much longer review over at Ars Technica that I may one day finish reading. But in short, I’m quite pleasantly surprised at how lame Leopard isn’t.

PS: Shut up! I am *too* great with pinhead analogies!

SPOILER: it blends

Oh sure, the iPhone will change your shorts, change your life, change into a nine-year-old Hindu boy and get rid of your wife, but… will it blend?