A Few Other Tiger Notes


Update: Murphy's Law intervened, and Apple released 10.4.1 a couple of hours after I posted this. 99% of this is still valid, though.

So, it's been over a week now, and so far I'm reasonably pleased with Tiger. Or rather, with selected portions of it. Here are a few pluses and minuses, in no particular order:

  • I promise I won't write about Mail.app any more. It mostly works, but it could be so much better... And please note that the vertical preview pane hack doesn't work anymore, so it's no use e-mailing me about it.
  • Address Book is basically still the same horrendously dumb LDAP client (see Projects/vcard2ldap). Interestingly, even though it persists in only displaying a single e-mail address per contact, it has some subtle changes in its LDAP attribute usage (i.e., I had to change my code for it to display anything at all). Smart groups are neat and the "address book sharing" feature might be nice for small, close-knit groups, but I'd rather have decent LDAP support.
  • Spotlight is beginning to seem useful, although I have yet to master the extended query syntax (which is essential when searching my multi-gigabyte mail archive). Dashboard, on the other hand, seems as useless as Konfabulator.
  • The best writing-oriented addition so far (besides subtle changes in Cocoa text fields) is the built-in thesaurus, which helps when you're stuck in one of those absurd technical writing situations where you have to repeat the same thing multiple times.
  • Safari keeps crashing on me when submitting searches on this very site. Plus its WYSIWYG HTML editing capabilities are woefully inadequate, although I've found TextEdit to now have some improvements in that regard (it can now open saved web pages). I also can't find its RSS view appealing, and am getting downright annoyed at its penchant for displaying aggregate post counts on my toolbar (I've yet to switch that off).
  • Automator has laid idle in my dock - after my initial enthusiasm, I have yet to find something I cannot do better and faster using a terminal window.
  • Terminal.app somehow started using xterm-color as $TERM, which greatly contributed to end my tussles with screen on some boxes. dterm was always a lame option anyway.
  • The calculator was vastly improved - it now has a programmer mode. Either that or it was slipped in on Panther and I never noticed. And the Grapher applet is utterly amazing - I've used it for a couple of times to compare boundary functions for some estimates, and ended up spending hours twiddling it after my work was done.
  • Quicktime has become officially annoying, thanks to all the "PRO" menu options. The default should be to hide them and not subject me to such rampant incentives to buy - H.264 encoding is incentive enough, thank you, there's no need to be irritating.
  • The bundled version of PHP is now 4.3.10, which is more than enough for most of my stuff (check my HOWTO section for an updated tutorial on how to get it working).
  • Finder now makes dinky little noises when files are created or moved. It can get very annoying, but I've felt no real need to switch it off since I have a couple of AppleScripts that I run regularly and like to know they're working.
  • Preview finally, at long last, lets me view PDFs in "facing pages" mode, thereby justifying the money I spent on a 20" iMac. Reading work documents has become infinitely more pleasant, and the annotation features have also been enhanced (although I have yet to see if they translate into something Windows can see, since I use them mostly to draft comments I then send separately by e-mail).
  • I've yet to fiddle with the new Assistive Technologies stuff (VoiceOver and the like), but it looks promising.