Mac OS X v5, aka Leopard

Oct 27, 2007

macosx_index_leopardishere20071026.pngThe new version of Mac OS X has been released and here’s my somewhat incomplete review.

  • Spell-check can now operate multilingual, using several languages at once. Very appreciated as I write in both English and Swedish. Sometimes in the same dokument. Context-menu › Spelling and Grammar › Show Spelling and Grammar › now choose "multilingual" in the bottom drop down.
  • Spotlight has gone from totally worthless to fully usable, or even a great, feature. It's fast (new mdimporter) and much "smarter" than before. Apple has even added keywords. I still use Quicksilver for launching applications but now using Spotlight to find e-mails, open files, looking up words and doing simple math.
  • Apple listened to the community and provided an alternative dock-style to the ugly "Shelf-dock". To make it look better while in bottom-of-the-screen mode, write a setting to the Dock defaults: defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean YES;killall Dock
  • title_dictionary_20071016.pngThe Dictionary is a great tool and version 2 adds wikipedia, apple-tech and more to the list of queryable sources. It also integrates nicely with Spotlight; typing in spotlight queries the dictionary and displays the first hit as a spotlight-hit. Very neat. Dictionary also accepts the dict-protocol. Test it here: dict://hunch.
  • Screen Sharing in iChat works better than Apple Remote Desktop. And you get voice at the same time. Very neat. The only thing missing is a clear way to abort a session, if it's your computer that's being shared/controlled.
  • Spaces is neat but I need more time to evaluate it.
  • The default desktop picture is horrible. WTF Apple?! That's Microsofts trademark, to fuck things up with ugly desktops. I instantly changed back to my greyscale version of "Aqua.jpg"
  • Dashboard sucks big-time, as usual. Just disable the whole thing and move on with a smile!
  • title_finder_20071016.pngI'm not religious, but .mac synchronization feels like a blessing from above. It's improved and now synchronizes all settings in *Library/Preferences. However, it's not perfect. Some settings is best not synchronized. I would like to have greater control of what specific applications, or default domains to sync. Also missing synchronization of Library/Application Support as well as syncing arbitrary files.
  • The new Terminal.app may also induce religious feelings as it now has tabs (finally!), window styles, inspection panel and Cocoa-ish preferences. highly appreciated as it's a tool in constant use every day.
  • Time Machine should have been in OS X since version 10.0. Not a day too late.
  • Partial screenshooting now features coordinates and size of the part being captured. Very useful in my line of work.

Time Machine

timemachine_hdicon20071016.pngIn my workstation I have several disks. Prior to Leopard I had the system installed on a 2-disk mirrored RAID-set. (If one disk dies, the other one has a copy of the data) Leopard features The Time Machine, which basically is an automated backup system. When a file changes, is added or deleted, the modifications are recorded to another disk. Time Machine also keeps a backlog of changes as far as the disk space on the backup drive permits.

Time Machine makes the following statement as how to prioritize backup:

  1. Hourly backups for the past 24 hours
  2. Daily backups for the past month
  3. Weekly backups until your backup disk is full

I dedicated one of my previously mirrored disks to Time Machine and thus did not want to see it on my desktop. If you’re a true hackintosh user you have the developer tools installed which includes a nice utility for setting magic flags on files. To make the drive TimeMachine hidden from the Finder, do this: /Developer/Tools/SetFile -a V /Volumes/TimeMachineIt will not show up anywhere in normal find windows, but do show up in Time Machines “select drive” window. Very neat. Works like a charm.