Snow Leopard Latest
So, here’s what I’m observing. It’s fast. Overall, my system is running very fast. Noticeable improvements in startup times for all applications and less lag when switching apps. Frankly, I didn’t expect to see an improvement, since I’m on a Mac Pro, but I’m glad it’s there. Retro in places. Nods to OS9 like putting […]
So, here’s what I’m observing.
It’s fast. Overall, my system is running very fast. Noticeable improvements in startup times for all applications and less lag when switching apps. Frankly, I didn’t expect to see an improvement, since I’m on a Mac Pro, but I’m glad it’s there.
Retro in places. Nods to OS9 like putting the date back in the top left of the screen and adding a very retro styled keyboard/character viewer are a nice and welcome touch.
Preview previews more. Much better handling of pages in a document and a sharp way to read multiple PDFs in a single preview window, moving smoothly from one to another. You can open up a whole morning’s worth of PDF reading in one preview window and work through it (now wouldn’t THAT be cool on a tablet???).
Text selection in columns. It works properly now!
Audio time feature in the Finder. When you audition audio and samples in the finder window, along with the transport heads up display that appeared over the file icon, you also getting a circular timer, which gives you playtime info. Perhaps my favourite SNow Leopard visual tweak – really helpful.
Screen movies in Quicktime. Support for making screen-casts is built right into Quicktime now. In fact Quicktime has become a one stop shop for putting screen-casts on youtube.
Descriptive names for screenshots. I use the screenshots feature a lot, especially command+shift+4 to define a part of the screen for capture. This quick and easy feature had the annoying habit of naming the files produced picture 1 (picture 2, picture 3, etc). That’s fine if you rename and/or use them right away, but annoying if you don’t. Now the files are named by date, which makes them easier to group for renaming purposes.
Better ejection. No more detective work to figure out which application is refusing your attempt to eject a disk. Handy when dealing with disk image installations.
30 second back in Quicktime. This feature caught my eye in the latest iPhone update and it is now in quicktime. One click shuttles you back 30 seconds, which is an easy way to get back into movies and clips after an interruption.
Expose enhanced. Command+1 and Command+2 allow you to sort expose windows in a new way and you can now see windows that have been minimised in the expose window and bring them up.
Preview annotations. You can now make annotations, like notes, circles and underlines in PDFs viewed within Preview. This really is a killer feature for academics, teachers and collaborators. I’ve only just started exploring this, but am thinking of putting up a blogpost on the feature.
Focussed Finder searches. YOu can now set Finder to search the current folder by default. Previously Finder searches defaulted to search your whole machine, which really duplicates what you can do with spotlight. Now you can specify that Finder looks first in the folder you currently are inspecting.
Minimise to application. Now you can minimise windows into the application’s dock icon, keeping the dock size constant during the working day. As I put my dock on the left side of the screen, permanently visible, this is a very handy feature indeed – 3 or 4 minimised windows would blow out my dock previously.
UPDATE – Just noticed two more cool things!
Expose from dock. Hold down the mouse button over an application icon in the dock and will open only that programme’s windows in expose (even works across spaces).
Print Manager “inbox.” Now a number appears over print manager in the dock, to show the number of remaining items in a print cue.
On the negative side a few things are bugging me.
First, the only game I ever play with any kind of regularity, Football Manager is broken. I get a grey screen of death after the initial welcome screen. UPDATE: Changing an authorisation setting allows the game to complete it’s startup. Hooray!
Snow Leopard still installs way too many printer drivers. The process is much more streamlined, but for desktop machines it’s still overkill. My prediction is that this Mac Pro will see, at most, five printers connected to it during it’s working life. So, installing hundreds, instead of thousands of drivers, is really only a tiny improvement.
I’m still underwhelmed by stacks. The new view is more useful than previously, but it still feels like another finder with fewer features.
One thing I’ve yet to test out is the revamped approach to Services. This is a part of the operating system is has real NInja potential, but is often too cluttered to make sense. Services are now application and context specific, and formatted to highlight different processes (like text, picture, search, message, etc.).