Thoughts on Leopard

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to play with Leopard on a daily basis since its release, I have a clear idea of what things I love and what things I loathe about the upgrade. I’m happy to report that for the most part, I still feel like Leopard is a solid and worthwhile update, but there are some annoyances I have yet to get used to.

Downloads Stack (Thumbs up)
This seemed like a nice idea when I first played with it, and it has only gotten better since. I didn’t realize just how much junk i download on a daily basis, and the fact that it sits there quietly waiting for my next move is so…polite. My Desktop doesn’t look like I sneezed files all over it, and I haven’t lost anything yet. The fact that it’s a system-wide feature is an even bigger plus.

Mail (Undecided)
I’m still undecided on the new upgrades to mail. I have yet to use notes (I honestly can’t think of what I’d use them for) and have had limited results with the To-Do items (perhaps because I’m constantly feeling behind on the list anyways). I can’t say that I’ve noticed much difference in Mail – and if anything else, I’m discovering that Mail is quickly becoming my arch-enemy – not because of the program itself, but because I have too many emails, and too many accounts. Ugh.

Networking (Thumbs up)
I connect to our company servers on a daily basis for most of the day, so the added robustness of how Leopard handles disconnected servers and such is such a breath of fresh air. I have to say that I still feel like Apple could improve networking ten-fold – but this alone makes the upgrade a necessity.

Performance (Thumbs up)
I mentioned right off the bat in my last review that Leopard felt snappier – and I’m happy to report that remains true. My aging G5 is responsive and feels solid. No kernel panics, no crazy crashes. Knock on wood that it stays that way.

Preview (Thumbs waaay up)
One of the best app upgrades in my opinion has been Preview. When you drag files to the Preview application (on separate occasions) it no longer spawns a new window. Instead, it opens the drawer (as it should) and displays your files. I don’t know if this was a preference on the older version, but it is on this one. And best of all, it still opens up in a half-bounce! 🙂 Sweet.

Finder (Thumbs down)
Perhaps the most important item on the list (user interface) is my least favorite right now. This is for a number of reasons, which i will happily list here:

  • Cannot set how many connected servers you can show/hide on the sidebar – so if you have an office full of computer that are all networked together, you will see at least 10 of them – which pushes the rest of your items down.
  • Cannot re-organize your sidebar either
  • I do like the file path view on the bottom

Back to My Mac (Thumbs waaay down)
This feature is a joke. I’m surprised they even call it a feature.

Time Machine (Thumbs down)
Much too restrictive and complicated to set up. I’m sure for those of you out there who were able to figure it out it’s a lovely feature, but I have happily re-downloaded my copy of Backup and am doing my weekly backups that way. In my opinion – a complete waste.

Screen Sharing (Thumbs down)
Slow when it works – if it works at all. Doing it though iChat is a recipe for disaster (crashes every time). However, if it does work, it’s a nice feature.

.Mac syncing (Thumbs down)
I love .Mac. I use it all the time and it keeps my bookmarks nicely synced with my computer at work. However the upgrade has left it quite crippled. My iPhone no longer syncs calendar events. What a crock! Considering the fact that calendar syncing is probably one of the most important features of the iPhone, this is a big no-no – and the problem is well-documented on the Apple discussion boards – with no sign of Apple’s acknowledgement.

Airport Extreme (Thumbs down)
Crippled the ability to connect to my external hard drive via Airport. This one is also well documented on the Apple discussion boards, but Apple has yet to acknowledge it.

File Sharing (Thumbs waaaay up)
It’s about friggin’ time. All I’ve gotta say about that.

Spaces (Undecided)
This was a feature I was very excited about – and in all honesty, is easily salvageable. Once I read the tip to add the to all spaces, that did it for me. Unfortunately, it also wreaked havoc with my Adobe Creative Suite – particularly InDesign. As soon as I see this is taken care of, Spaces is going back up!

Dock (Thumbs down)
I still can’t believe they disabled dragging the hard drive down there! C’mon!!!! Still don’t like the look of it either, although I’ve grown to live with it.

Stacks (Undecided)
Don’t use them. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that I LOVE the Downloads stack, I would probably give this one a thumbs down as well.

QuickLook (Thumbs way up)
If only I could un-train myself to double-click on everything and press the space bar instead!

iChat (Thumbs up)
All I ever use iChat for is to keep in touch with friends and family. Video conferencing still works, and I couldn’t care less about changing backgrounds – so it’s a plus in my book. I do wish that screen sharing actually worked though – although I’m guessing the fact that I’m on a G5 and my wife is on an Intel machine isn’t helping compatibility issues.

Open/Save Dialog Boxes (Thumbs waaaay down)
I’m used to browsing through my photo assets when I’m working in Photoshop and for some reason Apple decided to add a border to each preview image, which has slowed my machine to a crawl — to the point where I can no longer use the dialog box to browse. And for those of you who think it’s a G5, it happens on my quad Intel at work as well.

Spotlight (Thumbs up)
I finally found a use for it. It replaced Quicksilver. Don’t get me wrong, I think Quicksilver is a magnificent program – but I used it for one thing and one thing only: app launcher.

So there you have it folks. My honest to goodness views on Apple’s latest cat. I’d say for the most part, it’s a draw, but in all honestly, the negative items always seem to carry more weight in situations where you really need them to work. Did I miss any?

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Leopard

  1. kwerner

    Hey Dave! I actually LOVE Time Machine. It saved my butt just last week… twice! Sometimes I’m stupid and save over files, so this came in handy when I’d saved over the recipe book I’m formatting for my sister (Christmas gift for our mom). I was so sick over it and had NO time to start over. And then… Wait a minute!! Time Machine!

    I love it so much! And I love that it just backs things up in the background and I never have to worry about it. 🙂 I’m sure other programs would do the same thing, but it’s a godsend for me personally.

    I wasn’t ever really a fan of .Mac syncing except for bookmarks. That’s why I only had my .Mac membership for one year. I wish they would offer the bookmark syncing service separately. I would totally be on board for that.

  2. D Molanphy Post author

    Kristina: Totally agree that .Mac could be much better. I have been thinking about canceling my account as well, but one thing keeps me from doing it, and that’s convenience. It’s a one-stop shop to sync all of my relevant data – and Apple has done a nice job of integrating it into iPhoto and iWeb. In fact, one of my new favorites are Web Galleries – in a matter of minutes I can upload an entire roll of photos to a nicely designed, unobtrusive site.

    On that note, there is always a free (and probably better) alternative to .mac. It takes a little time to set up, but if you like Google, you should check this out.

    As far as Time Machine is concerned, I’ll have to give it another shot. My experience so far was painful (it wanted to reformat my drive, so I bought a newer drive – and then it started indexing it but then stopped – and that’s about when I got fed up with it). I’m much more paranoid about doing things differently when it comes to backing up files. I’ve been burned too many times.

Comments are closed.