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The Unheard Word

One woman's slightly skewed views

First impressions of Tiger

I did a clean install yesterday. I was bored and just needed something to do.  :-)  Thought I’d write about it here for the benefit of those who might still be sitting on the upgrade fence regarding installing 10.4.

OK well I did have some troubles, mainly related to copying prefs etc from Panther (previous system was cloned for easy restoration if required!) which resulted in crashes, especially in Mail.  System Prefs also crashed, and some usual keyboard shortcuts (like Cmd+Q) failed to work.  So I had to revert to a more-or-less blank Mail and painfully import lots of stuff. To be honest, I knew Mail was very different behind the scenes and it was a risk I took (thus my backup of the default settings prior to copying the Panther ones!) and now it’s working fine and I’m getting used to the new interface which appears to have much more space on my small screen. I did have to change the message list font quickly though, as it looked pale and hard to read. Not sure why. Also the way the Outbox and Drafts folders come and go according to whether or not they contain anything throws me off-balance a bit. But all in all now, I’m finding Mail *much* faster than before, and very pleasant to use.

Apart from that? Spotlight took forever to index but that was partly because I kept moving stuff over from my Panther disk. Then I found it very klutzy to use – it is definitely not a replacement for Quicksilver, however does do a great job as a search engine.

I did a search for Receipts and it gave me a lovely list, and I was particularly interested in the email results. I wiped the input field then called hubby to give him a demonstration. When I did it again, there were *no* email results.  I still can’t get email results for a search on Receipts in Spotlight, though within Mail it works super-fast anyway. But that’s weird, and Not Good about Spotlight.

When I was trying to get it to work as an application launcher, it returned results from other volumes before the Macintosh HD ./Applications folder which I thought was strange – and unusable – thus my preference for Quicksilver when I want to open something in a keystroke or two.

Dashboard and widgets – I just don’t get it.  Why have a Dashboard layer at all? Why not be able to open a widget without going to Dashboard first?  Though, to be fair, maybe I just feel like this because I use Quicksilver and have the benefit of both an uncluttered Dock and files and applications that open in a couple of keystrokes.  For those that use the Finder to open their Applications folder, I guess the Dashboard would work well.

The default widgets are also useless (to me). The weather widget couldn’t be farther off – maybe it’s talking about Perth, Scotland – except it’s obviously reading the information off my puter in order to put Perth in there at all.  But it certainly wasn’t -1 deg C this morning! Or 4 deg C today.  I was in short sleeves today!  Says it’s -3 deg C right now and I admit I have put on a windcheater by now – after all, it is Autumn.  But I’m guessing it’s still in the teens.  

The converter widget looked great until I tried a currency conversion and saw that the details were correct – as of 2 days ago.  One has to wonder why they’d bother? (Though again, to be fair, maybe it only does weekdays.  I’ll keep an eye on it.)  

The calculator widget… redundant, surely?  There’s a perfectly good calculator app that comes with OSX.  

The flight tracker looked great until I saw that Qantas, one of the world’s major airlines, wasn’t listed. Another slap in the face for Aussies by Apple, who historically has treated us like poor relations and smelly ones at that.  

Anyway, I think we’ll see some good widgets become available by third parties (already have a Transmit one installed that looks like being useful) but IMO Apple could have set some more usable examples.  (But I’m prolly just fussy!)

I am not planning on using Safari, either for RSS (I use NetNewsWire) or as a browser (I use OmniWeb) except in which to check web pages.  So I only glanced at it, but the Private Browsing feature looks good – it makes sure , as does the Debug menu which I think had to be added via third party apps before, and IMO it’s about time it was possible to view PDFs directly within the browser without having to resort to a plugin.

Of course, there are lots of other features. For example, I think the Search field in the Preferences, and the way it spotlights the relevant icon, is nifty but not really a major talking point. And I haven’t yet had a chance to get familiar with Automator, which by all accounts is a great tool.

In all, after admittedly just one day, I *like* Tiger and think it an improvement, but don’t think it was worth the A$200 – except insofar as (me being me) I couldn’t bear to run older software knowing something else – possibly much better – was out there, especially as my applications all seem to be getting Tiger upgrades! So it was the only course of action for me, but I wouldn’t encourage anyone else to be in a hurry, nice though the new features are.

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