Talking Tiger

As we were preparing this month’s issue, we picked up an amazing little tidbit from our market-research folks. Just a couple of months after the introduction of Mac OS X 10.4—or Tiger—about half of Macworld’ s readers are already using it. (Apple doesn’t expect half of the general Mac-using population to have made the switch to Tiger until June 2006.) Judging by the volume of letters we’ve received about our July cover story, most of you who’ve made the switch have some strong opinions about the new OS.

Early Adopters Speak

Mary Stamper —My thoughts on Tiger? Dashboard: I like the idea of little programs that don’t take too much space or time to open. But I wish Apple would just go ahead and give us true virtual desktops; I could reserve one for accessory programs, another for documents I’m working on, and so on. I also wish Dashboard apps weren’t limited to HTML and JavaScript concoctions. Why can’t I just put OS X’s own Calculator in there instead? Safari RSS: Having to find and click on the RSS-feed bookmark to bring up a Web page is clumsy. I might as well go to the page in the first place. Spotlight: Why bother navigating through folders in the Finder, even if I know where the file I want is? Now I can let Spotlight do the work—and do it very well. I also use it as an application launcher. I’ve got a ton of apps on my system—there isn’t enough room for all of them in the Dock, and I don’t use most of them often enough to justify putting them there. Spotlight solves the problem perfectly.

Peter Campbell —For my birthday this year, I bought myself a brand-new iMac running Mac OS X 10.3.5. Then Tiger came out, and I decided to upgrade. When I got my discs, I chose the Archive And Install option—and then the problems began.

Although my iMac was a plain-vanilla system, some programs worked after the upgrade and others wouldn’t. I tried repairing permissions (as suggested in Apple’s online forums), but the problems persisted. I was so frustrated that I did a completely clean reinstall of OS X 10.3.5 and all my programs, and put Tiger away. But after about three days, I decided I was not going to let Apple beat me. Since a clean install of 10.3.5 had worked, I figured I would do the same with Tiger. The clean install took much less time to perform than the Archive And Install one, and Tiger worked without any of the problems that I had experienced or others had described. Once again, my instinct about upgrades held true: Don’t do it! (I will quickly add that now that Tiger is up and running, it is nothing short of beautiful—clean, simple, and responsive.)

Christopher Kintz Rindge —Apple’s decision to release Tiger only on DVD is a slap in the face to the many loyal Apple customers who have only CD drives. When I called Apple about getting Tiger on CD, the company told me that I could order the DVD and ship it back along with an additional $9.95 (for shipping and handling), and the company would exchange the DVD for a set of CDs. This is crazy! Why not just sell me the CDs in the first place? My family includes three generations of loyal Apple users. We love Apple products, but they shouldn’t be this hard to buy.

Lynne Rudie —Your articles on Tiger were wonderfully informative, but they made me kind of grouchy. I’m a graphic designer. For those of us who make our living on our Macs, upgrades are disruptive. We have to add to the price of the software the cost of the time we lose getting everything running smoothly again and learning how all the new stuff works. Your little sidebar (in “Tiger Arrives,”July 2005) about how to perform the upgrade doesn’t tell even half of what’s involved in getting a real, working Mac running productively after a major upgrade. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mac. But it’s not a toy—Tiger is going to have to wait.

Mark Abraham —I finally found a problem with Tiger: iCal no longer displays the correct date in the Dock after you quit the app. Bad move on Apple’s part!

Peter Ronai —The Apple ad for Tiger on the inside front cover of the July Macworld shows a screenful of Dashboard widgets. At least two are embarrassingly inaccurate. The Dictionary widget says that metatarsal means “any of the bones of the foot (metatarsus).” In fact, the metatarsal bones are found in the middle of the foot and represent only 5 of the foot’s 25 bones. Second, the Conversion widget shows that 60 miles per hour converts to 96.55789 kilometers per hour. The correct figure is actually 96.56064 kilometers per hour. I would have grave reservations about using Dashboard.

Classical Gas

Jamie Phelps —Your Playlist column about managing classical music in iTunes was quite good (“Corral Your Classical Music,” July 2005 ). One thing you neglected to mention was the Grouping tag. I use Grouping to label the overall piece (“The Lord of the Rings,” for example) and Song Name for the titles of individual movements (“I. Gandalf,” “II. Lothlorien,” “III. Gollum,” and so forth). Too bad neither iTunes nor the iPod allows me to shuffle by Grouping (only by Song Name or by Album).

Glenn Pillsbury —Chiming in on Kirk McElhearn’s column about dealing with classical music in iTunes: having recently converted our extensive classical collection (more than 2,700 tracks and 18GB of music, with dozens of era-based genres), I wanted to recommend Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes. As mentioned in the article, one of the biggest headaches with classical discs is poor data from CDDB (the online music database that supplies track information for iTunes): movement titles placed in the performer column, composers in the album column, misspellings, and so forth. Several scripts from Doug’s site helped me correct that data across several tracks at once. In particular, I found the Put This After/Before That, Swap This With That, and Replace Text In Track Names scripts invaluable.

AirPort Assistance

Michael and Sarah Russo —We want to thank Andrew Laurence for his July 2005 Mobile Mac column (“Fix AirPort Printing Problems”). Our home network includes two Macs and a Windows XP box, along with an AirPort Extreme Base Station that has a Canon i960 connected to it; those components are all connected to a Linksys router, which in turn is fed by a cable modem. We’d been struggling to get the XP box to print. I had tried connecting to the printer via IP, as the Apple Knowledge Base suggests, but that never worked. Lo and behold, I read the “AirPort Does Windows” section of the article and tried the tip about using Bonjour for Windows, and my home network is now fully functional. Merci to Andrew and to Bonjour!

What the “L”?

Rob Martini —You folks have been a terrific help to me. Thank you! Because I’ve experienced difficulties with my battery, the July issue’s “Unix Tip of the Month” ( Mac OSXHints ) regarding battery life was most welcome. But I didn’t get the results I expected. Nothing came up regarding “cycle count” or “absolute max capacity”—values that will help me figure out whether I need to replace my battery.

It seems that you were one of the many readers who mistakenly entered the numeral

1
instead of a lowercase L (
l
) when you entered the command in Terminal. Try it again with the letter, and you should get the results you want.—Ed.

Adobe Redux

JD Warrick —David Sawyer McFarland’s article on what will happen when Adobe consumes Macromedia was very interesting (“Adobe Swallows Macromedia,” Mac Beat, July 2005). But if you really want know what will happen in the aftermath, I have just two words: Remember Aldus.

CameraWorld?

Gary Wright —OK, what’s the deal with digital cameras? My latest issue of Macworld (July 2005) has two articles devoted to cameras, taking up four pages. The April issue had reviews of photo viewers, photo printers, and a camera, and the January issue had two camera articles that consumed 13 pages. While I expect Macworld to cover software for photographers, I don’t subscribe to it to read about cameras. There are plenty of photography magazines out there, but there are damn few Mac magazines. In addition to Mac computers, photography and canoeing are two of my hobbies. But that doesn’t mean I want to see articles in Macworld about cameras and canoes. And don’t even get me started on the percentage of pages that Macworld has devoted to the iPod.

As always, we invite readers to tell us what they’d like to see more of in Macworld.—Ed.

iProblems

Jose Donida —I recently purchased an open-box iPod mini. When I loaded the software and hooked up my iPod with the USB cable, nothing happened. iTunes didn’t open, the iPod just flashed its “Do not disconnect” message. The disk icon of the iPod did show up on my desktop, so I tried dragging the music out of iTunes and into the iPod—again, nothing. I returned that iPod and purchased a brand-new one. I loaded the software on my Mac and hooked up the new mini to the computer—again, nothing. After reading the user guide, I realized my problem: The iPod software required OS X 10.3.4, but I was running 10.3. I wanted this to work, so I decided to update to OS X 10.3.9. Unfortunately, it’s a 117MB download, and I have dial-up service. After three hours, I’d downloaded only 50MB. That’s when I started glancing at the PC in the playroom. Sure enough, I loaded the iPod software on it and was able to download the music to my iPod without a hitch. Why didn’t Apple include the OS update on the CD that comes with the iPod?

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