The Pint-Sized Tiger


Since (beyond my wildest expectations) there were actually Tiger boxes on sale here in Portugal yesterday, I went out and got one (sorry Amazon UK, you have do do better next time).

Not wanting to spoil two perfectly good working environments (my iBook and my iMac both have custom setups, and I'm currently drafting a set of important work documents on them), I decided to dig my Mac mini out of the server closet and see what it would be like to run Tiger on 256MB RAM.

A few things I noticed:

  • There still isn't a setting for Iberian/Continental Portuguese. You can pick the continental keyboard (which is different from the Brazillian one), but no native Portuguese speaker will be fooled by some of the Brazillian translations (it's 90% neutral, but every now and then I stumble into some very odd wording). Obviously, I'm back to running Tiger in English, like it was meant to be.
  • Dashboard widgets don't have that neat "liquid drop" effect on the mini. They zoom in zippily enough, but I guess I'll only have the full experience on my iMac.
  • Screen rotation works (which means I might have a lot more fun with the HP 1740 I got at work), but you can't fall back to a safe display mode. When I chose the rotation, the mini switched resolution and rotated the display without any warning, and my battered old monitor failed to keep up. No warning, no fallback by pressing Return or Escape. I had to power cycle the mini, unplug the monitor and have it revert to 800x600.
  • Screenshots are now (at long last) saved in a decent loss-less format: PNG
  • Safari's right-click menu has a "Copy Image Address" option.
  • Safari 2.0 isn't smart enough to do feed auto-discovery using relative URLs.

Yep, it's true. I get this the following error message -

Safari can't open the page"http://recentchanges/?format=atom" because it can't find the server "recentchanges".

...which means that the RSS portion of it either doesn't know about BASE or there's a more subtle bug. Clicking on the real feed link worked, though.

Nevertheless, an unexpanded mini is, in fact, usable under Tiger (provided you don't try running a gazillion apps at once). It even feels slightly snappier than Panther, but of course I don't have Office and all the rest installed yet.

More on this as I go along. I expect to use the mini as a template for my other machines, so I'll be setting up Mail.app (which, incidentally, isn't even half what it should be like) and testing a few of the new Tiger-ready apps on it.

Update: In the meantime, I've confirmed that Mail.app still doesn't use the SOCKS proxy settings on System Preferences, which is one of its most glaring faults. I wonder how long I will resist dumping it after someone develops a Thunderbird plugin for Spotlight...

But first, more fresh air. I'm supposed to relax a bit now and then...


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