Friday, August 19, 2005


My PowerBook is running Mac OSX Tiger now for almost two weeks and I have to admit that I like it. I was a bit skeptical when has been announced because it seemed to me that they're moving in the wrong direction. Instead of making the user interface clean and more usable, Apple kept adding new features. I was especially concerned about Dashboard since it looked like a big blob of animated effects. More for marketing than for real users. However, I need Java 1.5 for University and so I finally ordered my copy after resisting for a few months.

To make it short, I was quite impressed. Installation went smooth as usual. The user interface elements are looking a bit cleaner now and Spotlight is unquestionable a big step forward. I still use my favorite tool LaunchBar to start applications, lookup addresses and sometimes navigate through my folders (go and get it, it's really great). But I can now drop all my PDF files and other documents into a single place and don't have to worry about placing them in more or less meaningful named folders (I almost never felt that I got my folder names right). One can assign metadata (called "Spotlight Comments") to documents but I'm not using it much. I feel there is enough data in most documents, so I don't think that adding more (meta)data provides much value.

I even find myself using Dashboard regularly. I'm ashamed but I like these neat little animation effects. I've setup my Dashboard with some quite useful widgets and it's nice to have them all at hand with a single key press. I find people (mostly Windows users) looking at it and saying how unprofessional and kittenish it looks. I think they are just envious because they don't have a nice looking notebook with a cool operating system. They are stuck with Windows OS and got so frustrated about it's mediocrity that they have to attack superior things. They would feel even more frustrated about their bad OS otherwise. Ups, I zoned out at bit.

Dashboard Screenshot

Speed has also improved by an order of magnitude. Well, if you have enough RAM. I've heard from a friend who owns a PowerBook stuffed with 256 megs that things slowed down compared to Panther. I've 768 megs of RAM and my PowerBook got speed bumped. Especially bootup is much faster now.

Of course there is room for improvement. Sometimes it's quite unhandy to have the Dashboard widgets only, well, on the Dashboard. If I try to sum up some numbers from an application using the Calculator widget, I'd like to copy the values from the application to the Calculator. It really drives me crazy to constantly toggle between Dashboard and application. I wish I could pick a widget from the Dashboard and take it into the foreground, putting it back when I'm done.

There are some rough edges in the system (eg my Terminal application sometimes fails to open a new window) but I expect them to disappear with future updates. There's nothing such serious that I'm really annoyed about it.

And I still would like to get the Shelf from the NeXTSTEP Workspace Manager back!!


Blogger knapjack said...

There are actually a couple of ways to detach widgets from the Dashboard.

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