Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Leopard...A non-geeky review

Leopard is unleashed and plethora of bloggers, geeks, experts are writing in-depth reviews about the same, raking in matters from finder to developer packages. Let me start with the disclaimer that I'm not, fortunately, a geek or an expert. I've used Tiger for few months, Leopard developer edition for few more months and finally switched to the release edition. I've tried to give some of the useful upgrades that Leopard contains.

I've installed many operating systems ranging from DOS 6.22 to XP to FreeBSD, but the easiest OS I've ever installed is MACOSX and Leopard is no exception. The backdrop is an elegant purplish red celestial aurora. Blindly press "Next" button, unless you want to make certain customizations related to file system type or languages supported. The tech-savvy lot can view the installation log with varying levels of details. Installation procedure takes about 30 minutes (when media check is skipped) and the post-install configuration is easy and takes less than 10 minutes.

The default desktop background is the same celestial one, but the most striking object is the all new "Dock". It has a zebra crossing sort of thing, which could be used for resizing. Stacking is a useful feature which stacks all the recent items in a folder into a sort of drawer which pops out when pressed on it. Its a cool feature and an eye candy too and when the items in the drawer becomes a lot, it automatically arranges in the form of grid. And then there is "Spaces" which was already present decades earlier on Linux machines.

This again has a very significant change which Apple calls "Quicklook". Just press spacebar in finder highlighting any file you want and it gives a preview without opening the actual file. This holds good for plethora of file types like images, movies, pdfs, word documents, excel sheets, power point presentations and what not.
Also Finder has a coverflow view which is very convenient to view images. This again supports most of the file types mentioned above and extremely handy.
It has a customizable side bar which contains devices (all the mounted drives), network, places (which includes folders like pictures, movies, downloads, documents) and custom searches.
Spotlight is nicer and have become more powerful. It can search anything and everything faster than your eye blinks. It can even search the word you enter in dictionary.

iTunes, Quicktime
I personally feel they are the most painful players. Quicktime requires tonnes of plugins to play various kinds of files, while the library concept of iTunes in a pain in the arse. I find VLC (third party) a lot more versatile and can decode almost all kinds of media files on this planet.

Aperture does not work without the update. If you try to install the old one and launch the application, it fails despairingly and asks if you want to send the crash information to Apple. The update is about 130MB download.

Among all, Finder has undergone some real useful changes which is highly impressive and appreciable. It makes lives a lot easier especially for a photographer like me who would want quick and high quality previews, with a press of a button. Definitely Leopard is worth the upgrade.

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