Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Leopard Replaced Things

Leopard, you sexy cat, blah blah blah. I won't bore anyone with my usual cheekiness, due significantly to the fact that I'm doped up on Skelaxin tonight. Relaxation: it feels good, but makes you boring as shit.

So, on to the show.

There are a million OSX 1.5 reviews out there, but rather than talk about all of the new cool features that I'd like to bone, let me briefly mention five programs I was able to uninstall due to Leopard improvements.

  1. Terminator replaced by Terminal. Like many others, I was annoyed at the old Terminal's lack of tab support. The new Terminal has not only matched Terminator, with things like tabs and process exit safety, but succeeded it with Window Groups to configure terminals in bulk. Cool.

  2. SuperDuper replaced by Time Machine. To be honest, SuperDuper is actually slightly fuller featured, with scripting support; but I never used it anyway. Time Machine is automatic, free, and almost more difficult not to use.

  3. You Control Desktops replaced by Spaces. It's been a full day and Spaces hasn't crashed yet - so it's already one better in my book. I also enjoy the "only launch here" feature of Spaces - so you can bind a specific program, such as Firefox, to a specific desktop, such as #4. No more manually managing where my windows live.

  4. NetNewsWire replaced by Mail. Simple, elegant, one program, and opens links into your default system browser, ironically, not just Safari.

  5. Finally, Candy Bar was removed because the current icons don't look like they belong in Candy Land. They are simple and bold - just like me.

I'm still no Mac fanboy, but I can feel it creeping on. A few more releases like this, and I may never have to install anything at all. It's like I always used to say about Windows - it's great - as long as you don't have to install anything on it. It was a joke, but I almost wish it with Mac. If Apple and Google could only spawn a bastard company, I'd gladly let it run my life.


vintrepid said...

How do you use Spaces? I find that I need my apps side by side, not tucked away. Would love to see a tiling window manager for the Mac - ala xmonad, dwm or wmii.

Window groups in Terminal look like a good start. Thanks for that tip.

Eric said...

You can set up spaces via System Preferences => Exposè & Spaces. I don't really know of a tiling manager built-in. I just use Exposè "All Windows" mapped to my mouse button 4, so all windows are a click away.

vintrepid said...

Sorry I was not clear. I was asking which apps you put in which space. I need to use every application at some time in conjunction with every other app, so it never seems to work for me to partition applications into spaces.

As Jeff Raskin argues in The Humane Interface - modes are bad. Modes require a context switch. Applications are modes. Spaces and Dashboard are even worse - modes within modes.

I'd much rather see a good tiling window manager to help manage the one workspace well.

Eric said...


I have four desktops, and two monitors.

#1 Adobe Fireworks and whatever
#2 Terminal and TextMate
#3 iTunes, iCal and Mail
#4 Firefox, iChat and Colloquy

Desktop #1 tends to be my "anything" desktop, whereas #2 is where I do the majority of work.

The fact that Terminal has tabs and TextMate instances sit in my cinema display is the only reason this setup works. Since I do most of my work via command-line and text files, this is mostly all I need.

#3 is kind of a playground area which I rarely visit more than a couple times a day.

Finally #4 is where I go if I need help - Google/docs, IRC or IM.

The desktops are laid out in a square, so #2 is above #4 - I can switch desktops quickly via ALT-Up/Down - which is more often than any other desktop switch.