Tiger Weekend

I’ve upgraded three machines this weekend to Tiger. Starting with my niece Amy’s eMac, Yingwen’s iBook, and finally my PowerBook late last night. My mom and my grandfather both have new iMacs, so I suspect they’ll have me come over and upgrade their machines if they don’t figure out how to do it themselves.

The tricky one is going to be our old Tangerine iMac, which lacks a DVD drive. I’m currently trying a couple of things off the network…

Safari

First thing I had to play around with is Safari RSS. Can’t we just call this Safari 2.0? Anyway, the feed autodiscovery and aggregation features are actually pretty nice. Simple and effective, and I’m able to scan through the feed quickly thanks to the search feature and the ability to expand and contract posts. I’ve heard many prefer their NetNewsWire to the new Safari features, and that’s cool. For me, I actually think I’m digging Safari a bit more. The only thing I wish was that there was an easy and obvious way to add custom stylesheets.

iChat

I’m also looking forward to playing around with multi-party iChat video conferences. Most of my immediate family members now have iSight cams and newer Macs, so we could really have some fun with this. The video and audio features of iChat are some of my favorite features of Mac OS X, so the ability to have more than one person on the line at the same time is gravy.

Speed and Storage

I noted on all three machines so far that performance seems much snappier. This was most impressive on the eMac, which was running 10.2 and has only 256 MB RAM. The iBook also seemed to have a slight delay in accessing some functions of the UI for the first time in a session, which appears to be gone now.

Since my PowerBook is really tight on disk space, I trashed a bunch of unnecessary hog applications and opted not to install certain printer drivers. I kept the Gimp, Epson, and HP drivers, while leaving out the rest of the lot, and that saved me about half a gig of disk space. Trashing Civilization III freed up another 700 MB, and a few remaining unused apps and unnecessary document files allowed me to purge a few more hundred megs.

I need a new hard drive.

Searching

I’m pretty impressed with Spotlight so far. Search results were quite fast when I ran my first search for “Double Bass” and it returned 158 items instantly. The one thing that bugs me is that the Spotlight results window is bundled with the Finder process, so I can’t Command+Tab to it directly. When I do that to get to the Finder, always a Finder window appears on top and not the Spotlight results, even if that was the last window in focus. And worse, Command + ~ doesn’t let me cycle to the Spotlight results window either. This is lame.

But on the other hand, I do appreciate the common look and feel between the Spotlight results window and the interface that Safari creates when viewing a feed. That was a nice touch.

Searching in a Finder window doesn’t seem as snappy as Spotlight, and I don’t understand why that would be, but the results are really a lot easier to parse than before. It categorizes results and shows previews of images. Well done. I stumbled across the feature that turns a directory of images into a slideshow. That was pretty slick looking, but I wish it was a bit more obvious to find.

Dashboard

What a lot of eye candy, eh? Dragging a new widget off the dock makes a trippy splashy thingy. I guess that’ll sell some machines…

I do find it a convenience already, to be able to hit F12 and see some helpful metadata about my world. I can’t wait to see what the community comes up with. Building these things appears to be very web-developer friendly, using CSS and JavaScript, so that might be fun to play around with sometime.

Languages

The keyboard layout menu and input method plugin has changed for Traditional Chinese. It’s icon in the menu bar is now a bit more obvious, showing a character for the input method selected (Hanin=ʺ, Cangjie=, and so on), and the menu options are simplified. The preferences are now in English on my English-based system, which helps me out quite a bit in figuring out which things to select. I imagine on a Chinese OS, this would all remain in Chinese.

That First Impression Thing

This is all I have time to note in my first 24 hours with el Tigre. My overall first impression of Tiger is that it is a definite performance improvement on all the machines involved, upgrading was a snap, and the new features are very cool.