I try to stay with the current update of Mac OS X, but the latest, “Tiger” AKA 10.4, is pretty lame. The two big new things in Tiger were Spotlight (find anything on your computer, right now) and Dashboard (hit F12 and there’s a universe of helpful little widgets). Except for, both are too broken to use much. Where I really need search is in my email universe; tens of thousands of messages occupying gigabytes of storage stretching back decades, constituting my augmented electronic mind. The search interface in Spotlight is egregiously stupid; it starts searching as you start typing, retaining all the settings from your last search which (in my case at least) are almost certainly wrong, forcing you to stab frantically at the control buttons (which don’t appear until you’ve started) to point it in the right direction. But the worst thing is, it just can’t find emails that I know are there when I search for words that I know are in them. (There is a solution: Open a Terminal, drill down to the directory where the messages live, then use grep). And as for Dashboard... there’s not actually much there that’s interesting. The two widgets I’ve tried to use are local weather and the airline flight tracker. Only problem is, they give ridiculously, idiotically wrong answers. And while they’re sitting there in the background waiting to give the wrong answer, they grow steadily, burning memory and making your Mac run slower. (There is a solution: Open Dashboard, and one by one remove all the widgets; your Mac will run faster and be no less useful.) Fortunately, the OS X value proposition—a decent Unix with a decent UI—remains solid. I’m assuming that the next big cat will actually include something interesting.

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
picture of the day
November 20, 2005
· Technology (85 fragments)
· · Mac OS X (119 fragments)
· · · Gripes (22 more)

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