First Look: Picking our favorite Leopard features

Christopher Breen

My strategy: I split my picks between features that would help me bring order to chaos and those that simplify common computing tasks (or, in the case of the Mac’s Speech capabilities, tempt me to finally use them).

My picks:

  • Quick Look

    I’m a pack-rat, not terribly organized, and less-than-creative about naming files, which means I have too much stuff on my Mac, in too many locations, with too many duplicated or similar names. It’s for this reason that I depend on Spotlight and other search features to root out my files. However, because I use duplicate or similar names, in the past I’ve had to open files to be sure I have the correct one. This will be unnecessary thanks to Quick Look. Just choose a file, press the Space Bar, and I can easily see the file’s contents.
  • Back to My Mac

    How many times have you banged away on your MacBook in a café or hotel room and wished you’d remembered to transfer a particular file from your desktop machine to your laptop? Me too. The Back to My Mac feature lets .Mac members easily connect to any running Mac they own via the Internet. It was possible before (and remains possible) through the Mac’s sharing capabilities, but Back to My Mac should be far easier to configure and operate.
  • Quick Look, another first-round selection in our draft, figures to make finding files and documents a whole lot easier.

  • Recording in iChat

    As host of the Macworld Podcast I record a lot of remote interviews and use Skype to do it. Wonderful as Skype’s voice quality may be, the application can be finicky—quitting unexpectedly and distorting voices. iChat, on the other hand, is robust and with a fast Mac and speedy Internet connection, can pull off audio and video conferences with aplomb. With iChat’s improved sound quality, I may be spending far less time with Skype.
  • Video Recording in Photo Booth
  • Improved PDF Annotations in Preview
  • Application Binding in Spaces
  • Alex in Universal Access
  • Default Alarms in iCal
  • Merge All Windows in Safari
  • Tabbed Windows in Terminal
  • What I’d never pick: Apple describes Leopard’s New Look as “an elegant, distinctive new look across the entire system. The semitransparent menu bar and reflective Dock frame your desktop picture. The active application window stands out with a deeper drop shadow and a distinctive toolbar color. One look at Leopard and you’ll know you’re in for something special.”

    From what I’ve seen of Leopard’s distinctive new look, I’m not convinced that what I’m in for is all that special.

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