Things of Note About Leopard

Saturday, 2007-10-27; 01:13:00

So I acquired and installed Leopard -- I did an archive and install while preserving user settings. Here are a bunch of things that I noticed, in roughly chronological order, that you probably aren't going to hear about anywhere else.

  • at the login screen, there's a new "I forgot my password" button which immediately reveals your password hint; it also changes to a "reset my password" after your hint is revealed, which allows you to change your password from the login screen, assuming you know the master (i.e.: FileVault) password for the computer
  • amusing: when hovering your mouse over a bouncing icon in the Dock, the text label bounces along with the icon
  • Spotlight's menubar icon is no longer blue (neither is the Apple menu apple), and Spotlight needed to reindex my drive, although probably that's because I did an Archive and Install
  • iChat preferences now have a shortcut that brings the iChat app to the front
  • an icon on a folder of a Classic Mac OS game has for some reason hijacked the regular icon for bookmark folders in Safari; anybody have an idea on how to rectify this?

    Hijacked Safari Bookmark Folders
  • very nice touch: when using Command-Shift-4 to take a screenshot, the crosshairs initially show the pixel location of the crosshair; then, when you click-and-drag to make the selection, they change to width and height measurements; unfortunately, the crosshair flickers a WHOLE lot so it looks kinda bad
  • You can have multiple logins open at once in iChat, including two AIM accounts at the same time. Yay!
  • If you enable tabbed chatting, and a contact with whom you're not currently chatting messages you, a pop-up bubble appears just like in Tiger. The diff is that when you double-click on the bubble to see all messages, it wooshes over to your existing tabbed chat window and integrates itself there. Kind of a cool animation.
  • While tabbed chatting, if someone in an inactive chat sends a new message (or even the person from the active chat sends a new message but the window is in the background), the latest message shows up in a very small bubble next to the person's icon in the sidebar; when you activate the window or the chat, it goes away

    Leopard iChat Sidebar Bubbles
  • I really like the two new Earth-from-space desktop pictures. Stunning. (They should have one for other sides of the world, though.)

    Leopard Earth Desktop 1Leopard Earth Desktop 2
  • no contextual menus in stacks, but you can command-click on an item in a stack to reveal it in the Finder
  • you can now change the keyboard layout for authentication panels; the keyboard input menu (like the one in the regular menubar) shows up in the upper-right corner of the auth panel

    Leopard Authentication Panel
  • if a contact has multiple screen names (which, presumably, need to be setup in their Address Book card), a little menu appears in the chat window letting you choose specifically which of that contact's screen name to send a message to; weird, though, now it's disappeared and I don't know why

    iChat Multiple Screen Names Menu
  • in dialogs asking for access to your keychain items, "Allow once" is now the button in the lower-righthand corner, meaning you have to deliberately click the "Allow always" button in the lower-lefthand corner, which is good, because it's less secure
  • Stacks are much less useful than I imagined, because you can't make Application stacks! That is, you can't select 5 applications, and create a stack out of them, because stacks can only live in the Documents side of the Dock; selecting 5 apps and adding them to the Applications side of the Dock simply adds 5 icons to the Dock. You can workaround this, though, by making a folder of aliases, and then dropping the folder into the Dock.
  • any folders in the Dock automatically become stacks, and there's no way to get the previous folder functionality back; everyone who likes to just drop their hard drive in the Dock and navigate to everywhere by contextual menus -- say goodbye to that
  • saved searches can not be stacks -- clicking on them in the Dock simply opens up a Finder window for the saved search
  • delete key type-selecting in the Finder, one of my fav features from OS 9, is now back! Wooooooo! I still have motor memory for this even though it didn't work in Cheetah through Tiger. In the Finder, in your applications folder, for example, you can now type I-T-U-N-E-delete-M-A-I in rapid succession and the Mail application will be selected. Previously, iTunes would be selected instead -- to get Mail to be selected, you had to wait a second or two between the 'E' and the 'M'. LE HOORAYS! (this was ABF XLIX)
  • Visor doesn't work, Snapz Pro X has trouble connecting to the Ambrosia servers (and the progress bar goes totally wonky) to renew license codes (even though iSeek does this fine)
  • annoying: previewing song files in the Finder is completely changed; instead of showing a QT Player controller, it now just shows an iTunes note with a black background; if you hover your mouse over this note, a play button appears, which you can click to preview, but you can't skip around in the song anymore. Same in the info window; CoverFlow view just shows the MP3 file icon, but Quick Look does show the progress bar. You can't minimize the Quick Look window and have it keep playing in your Dock, but as my friend pointed out, that's what QT Player is for, I guess. Makes it take a few more seconds, though.

    Leopard Song File Preview
  • can't use the Spotlight calculator or dictionary while it is doing the initial drive index
  • if Time Machine is not configured (i.e.: you don't have an external drive or server to back up to), you can't even enter the Time Machine interface
  • user names for misc processes owned by the system now usually start with an underscore; i.e.: "_windowserver", "_atsserver", "_mdnsresponder", "_www"
  • disabling internet-enabled disk images is now exposed in the Disk Utility prefs GUI
  • icons on the Desktop don't even get partially sorted under the Dock now; yay! (ABF XCV)
  • new question mark icon for the Dock
  • trying to launch the Classic Startup app from Tiger in Leopard gets you the initial "Launch Classic?" warning dialog, but it crashes when trying to actually load OS 9; similarly, the Classic prefpane still works, but clicking "Launch Classic" crashes System Preferences because the Classic Startup app is missing
  • the "always show tab bar" setting in Safari seems to be gone, but your setting is still respected; looks like it's just a hidden pref, now.
  • iChat history now gets segregated into folders for each day
  • screensaver auth window now seems to be a standard auth window, since it now has the "Details" section
  • curiously, Safari 3's contextual menu items for links don't have Italian-localized descriptions for "Open Link in New Window", "Download Linked File", "Copy Link", and "Inspect Element"
  • the first time I made an application launcher stack of aliases of some of my apps, the previews for these aliases were generic app icons with the monochrome "do not enter" sign overlaid on top, as if they were applications that didn't run on my architecture; that made the stack less useful since I had to rely on the name of the app in the stack; happily, force quitting the Dock resolved this problem
  • Dashboard seems to activate immediately, instead of stalling your entire user interface for a minute, even after long periods of non-use (ABF VI)
  • iCal icon now seems to always show the right date in the Dock, even if it isn't open; amusingly, this isn't the case for the iCal icon inside a stack
  • when screen sharing through iChat, the typical shift-click on the mini-computer view makes the swap transition go in slo-mo
  • window reflections in the 3D Dock aren't bothersome at all
  • shift-clicking a stack = WHEEEEE SLO MO
  • stacks are spring-loaded, but they simply open up a Finder window of their contents instead of opening the stack in the Dock
  • standard Command-Shift-4 object screenshots now include a white area with the object's shadow, instead of just truncating at the object's edges (screenshots included in this entry were taken with Command-Shift-4)
  • stupid Spotlight indexing progress bar reset half-way through, so now it's back at the beginning and my hard disk is still churning
  • Emotimaker doesn't work with Leopard iChat, Memory Usage Getter seems to work fine, TuneTagger works fine except the large spinny progress indicator in the Opener window is now dark
  • experience is generally slower than Tiger, but keep in mind this is all while Spotlight is indexing

More bulletins as events warrant.

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