I’ve been running this sucker for a few weeks now, about time for some experience-sharing; I’ll even try to touch a few bases that others haven’t. [Updated: maybe I was wrong about finder navigation.] [Updated again: Keyboard shortcuts/screen capture.] [And again: FileVault.]

Finder Navigation · Exposé and the new CMD-TAB are both outstandingly good, I now spend much less time looking for work-in-progress. Perhaps because I spent many years on Windows, I find that I hardly ever use the Exposé show-all-the-windows thing because CMD-Tab gets me there in two or three clicks. On the other hand, I use the clear-the-desktop thing all the time, it’s truly great.

Oh yes, if you have a PowerBook you’d better use the hot-corners trick to launch Exposé because of course Apple’s stinginess with keys means that you actually have to press two keys to get access to F9 and friends, blecch.

Things Are Faster · Little bits and pieces of speed all over the place, pretty well everything feels faster. Very good.

Yes, I Want to Go Up · Maybe I'm just on drugs; I originally had a complaint here about navigation. Something in the Finder and closely-related file-save box changed, so that whatever I used to use when I was at a directory and wanted to back up to a parent and go sideways and down to a sibling seemed to have stopped working. I’ve received several puzzled notes from really smart people saying “say what?” so maybe I’m imagining it all. Since I manage large directories of pictures (organized by date) and blog entries (organized by date) this kind of directory climbing is something I do all the time. Anyhow, I found out some things:

Ken Bereskin’s blog shows you how you can customize the Finder toolbar to allow vertical navigation, but it ain’t there in the Save-As.

Aaron Swartz writes to tell me of the magic undocumented CMD-UpArrow key, which does what you used to be able to do easily with the mouse; of course CMD-DownArrow doesn’t reverse the effect, grr.

Phil Larson writes in to point out that once you’ve got the Save-As dialogue up, the popup button at the top will show your whole current path, so you can back up one.

External Display Breakage · At work, my secondary screen is a CRT. With Panther, all of a sudden there are fewer resolutions that I can select from. The resolutions menu used to have some that were “suggested” by the external display, and others that you could try to force down its throat. Now there is no distinction and there are fewer options. This really sucks because I can no longer make the external monitor the same 854 pixels high that the LCD is so they’re flush and side by side.

Illuminated-Key Breakage · Some combination of applications-in-service and the phase of the moon frequently result in the keyboard refusing to light up when you’d like it to; this is just a bug that I assume they’ll get around to fixing.

iCal Doesn’t Suck Any More · It’s been significantly re-engineered to the point that it’s now fast enough to use, and even imported the past seven years of my life from the Palm Desktop with only minor breakage, so I’m using it now, because the integration with the Address Book is nice. For the first time the other day, I got an email from an Outlook victimuser requesting a meeting, I clicked on the little .ics attachment and iCal popped up and let me accept/decline, way cool.

Windows Printing! · I don’t know if this was supposed to work before, but pre-Panther I couldn’t use printers plugged into Windows boxes; now I can. Warning: if you are printing a big honking Office doc, it might make sense to copy it to the Windows box and print from there, when you print through the net from the Mac the print job is approximately ten times the size; looks fine, but ten times the size.

Mail.app Doesn’t Suck Either · I moved the POP side of my life over to the OS X Mail from Mozilla, and that went well. It starts up a whole lot quicker than Moz, and the spam filter is significantly better. It’s now what I would call an acceptable modern mail client.

I haven’t tried the IMAP side of my life yet, this never used to work and I’m fine leaving that in Moz for the moment.

Group-Selection Stupidity · (This isn’t new with Panther, but wasn’t a problem before because I wasn’t using as many Apple apps.) Suppose you’re in a first-class OS X app, and you have a list of objects (email messages, files in a directory, whatever) on display, let’s say there are 10, numbered 1 through 10, and you want to delete 3 through 7. OK, you click on #3, hold down the shift key, and push the down arrow till you’ve selected down to #7. Except for, oops, you went too far and have selected #3 through #8. So you press the up arrow and WTF!?!? the other end of your selection grew and you’ve selected #2 through #8. Words cannot express how moronic this is: please make the pain stop. In words of one syllable: I press down key. I see change on screen. Then I press up key. Screen should change back. Right?!?!?!? Maybe this is explained in the same part of the famed Apple Human Interface Guidelines that explain why I shouldn’t be allowed to want more than one button on my mouse.

Stability · It’s not quite as stable as Jaguar. I’ve had a couple of mysterioso lock-ups and jammed Unix processes, which I’d gotten used to never seeing any more. I assume this will settle out, but people who can’t afford occasional breakage might want to hold onto Jaguar for a while.

Update: Keyboard Shortcuts and Screen Capture · Once again, maybe this was here in Jaguar but I think the keyboard-shortcuts Preferences seems to be much better. For example, I just set CMD-F11 to do a keyboard capture of the selection to the clipboard, not a PDF file. I may never use the Grab or SnapZ applications again.

Also there’s what looks like a slick and very general system for managing all your hotkeys in all your apps lurking in there; some time invested in this might prove rewarding.

Update: FileVault · I’ve had a couple of questions on whether I’m using FileVault, and so far I’m too chicken. I travel the world and there is stuff on this hard drive that I really don’t want some random laptop-thief to see, so FileVault sounds like it ought to be a no-brainer. But I worry about the performance hit and the potential for a bug to lose me my whole life, so I haven’t turned it on yet. Any practical experience out there with the performance hit? There’s gotta be one.

author · Dad
colophon · rights
picture of the day
November 10, 2003
· Technology (90 fragments)
· · Mac OS X (118 more)

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