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My Favorite Leopard Features
OK, now that the Leopard (aka Mac OS X 10.5) is out of the bag, I can finally talk about it.
Here's a short rundown of what I like best:
- defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean YES
I hate the look of the dock at the bottom of the screen, and this gives the dock at the bottom the much more elegant look that you get when the dock's at the left or right.
- Spaces. Especially being able to assign a program to a particular space, and the way they're integrated with the system, so you auto-switch spaces when you switch apps or when the computer switches apps, like when iChat gets a new conversation.
- Xcode's new startup window with integration for RSS feeds, and the improved documentation update mechanism that lets you download new sets without having to mess with the browser. It seems finally someone is getting that web apps and desktop apps aren't an either/or proposition, but that you can transparently integrate one with the other.
You can even use Cmd-Delete like in Software Update to hide unwanted documentation collections. And I wonder what I'd have to do to add my own documentation sets to Xcode...?
- The "new" Finder. It hangs a lot less often, and seems to be much more responsive. It's still a far cry from a good file manager, but at least I don't have to tear out hair I don't possess anymore.
- The blur effect behind most transparent windows. This is exactly the little bit of polish we needed to make transparency work.
- Stacks. I first thought they'd be horrible, but they're as fast as having a folder in the dock and right-clicking it used to be in 10.4. But they show icons, which are easier to recognize than text. And you can even drag stuff out of them, and the dock icon for a stack will do a spring-loaded opening of its corresponding Finder window when you hover over it during a drag. And the Downloads stack lists items in the order they were added, not according to change date. Yes!
Okay, the compound icons suck since you can't tell apart several stacks that all contain folders, and you can't see the custom folder icon a stack has either, and they should at least offer some paging control for when there's more items than can be shown at a time, but it's usable, and almost spatial.
- Spotlight is finally fast enough to be usable.
- The new Front Row is finally fast enough to be usable. No more eternal scanning of folders before you can browse them. You may not get the previews right away, but at least you can call up each movie. The writing is smaller now, though. Not really large enough on my small 4:3 screen. Guess I gotta get myself a cinema display after all ;-)
- Brushed Metal is dead, and inactive windows are coming back.
What I don't like so far
- When an application requests a web site to be opened, its window opens behind any currently open Safari windows, if you have set Safari to open tabs without activating them. That sucks. When I open something in a new tab, I often do this to sort of "queue up" interesting links on a page I'm reading. But hey, I have NetNewsWire, so I already have the best browser out there...
- They broke the speech manager again -- it's not as bad as 10.2, but I now get additional lip-sync-callbacks after the speech manager told me it had finished speaking ... grumble...
- Drag'n drop in text fields is kinda broken, too. When you select a whole line and want to make a copy immediately below or above it by holding down the option key and dragging it down, it refuses to let you drop the copy right after the original line. This is the correct behaviour when moving, but someone obviously forgot dragging.
- Icon composer has an "Export..." and a "Save as..." menu item, but neither lets you select an image format to export as. Both just save .icns files...