First Look: Picking our favorite Leopard features

Dan Miller

My strategy: Look for features with long-term potential, not necessarily near-term utility.

My picks:

  • Web Clip

    I stopped using Dashboard six months after Tiger came out, but Safari’s new Web Clip tool could get me back in the habit. Web Clip lets you create customized Dashboard widgets from any Web content. Say you search for “Apple” on Google News. Hit the Web Clip button and select the results, and you’ll have a live Apple News widget in Dashboard. It sounds very easy and very cool—and like I’ll be hitting F12 once more.
  • UI Recording and Playback in Automator

    Automator is already an excellent way to turn repetitive system tasks into easily-launched workflows. But its interface—which requires you to systematically construct those workflows out of discrete “actions”—has scared off many potential users. In Leopard, they should have less reason to fear, thanks to Automator’s new recording and playback abilities. The idea: Turn on Automator’s recorder, do the things you want to your workflow to do, then stop recording. Those steps are recorded as a single action, which you can then save or add to as you wish. While other new Automator features (variables, looping) potentially make it more powerful, recording and playback should make it less forbidding.
  • CalDAV Group Scheduling in iCal
  • To-Dos in Mail
  • Parental Controls Time Limits and Bedtimes
  • Library Randomization
  • Data Detectors in Mail
  • iCal Office Hours
  • iLife Media Browser in Open Panel
  • Scriptable System Preferences & Applications in AppleScript
  • What I’d never pick: Custom stationery in Mail because e-mail stationery in general is for people with too much time on their hands. If you’re going to expend the effort to customize that stationery, well, pal, maybe you need to find a hobby.

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