With Mac OS X updates coming at regular intervals, many of the glitches that marred the first versions are being fixed. However, there are still several things that need work. Today, we are presenting a Mac OS X progress report of things that we hope will be fixed in the near future. (And thanks to Ted Landau, founder and director of content, MacFixIt.com, for his input into this report.)
Print this checklist out and see how many of these issues get resolved by the July Macworld Expo in New York. After all, that’s supposed to be the next generation’s “coming out” party in many regards. Without further ado, here’s a list of problems and or missing features we’d love to see addressed in Mac OS X. Still missing is the ability to play DVDs. iDisk may not work properly when transferring files. On several Mac models, especially PowerBooks and iBooks, brightness and/or volume keys don’t function correctly. Macs with older ATI accelerators may need to drop down from millions to thousands of colors to play QuickTime movies and games at acceptable framerates. There’s no inherent Mac OS X support for the GeForce 3 graphics card. You can’t connect to AOL via a dialup connection. Internal modems don’t make any sounds. You can’t access the AirPort Base Station via OS X; you have to boot from OS 9. Some third party Ethernet cards won’t work. iSub doesn’t work (though a combination of iSub and SoundSticks will). Sleep is disabled on some Mac models when a PCI card is installed. Third-party USB mice will likely have problems. There’s no direct way to add or edit alert sounds. AppleShare can’t work via AppleTalk, just TCP/IP. You can’t double click title bars to collapse windows. You can’t “drill” though spring-loaded folders to find a file. You can’t drag and drop a file through a nest of folders. Easy Access isn’t included. (Easy Access is a control panel extension containing a set of keyboard utilities designed to assist people who might otherwise have difficulties using the keyboard or the mouse.) There’s no automated way to uninstall Mac OS X. There’s no ability to type a name and having that item selected and brought into view. Power management on portables results in shorter battery life than using Mac OS 9.x. There’s no Mac OS X native version of iDVD. The Mac OS X Finder doesn’t automatically update the Show Info data on a drive; you have to log out and log back in to update the information. Mac OS X doesn’t mute the startup sound when you choose Mute in the Sound pane of the System Preferences. We need a better way to take screen shots than with the Grabber utility (Mac OS 9’s f-key method is better). List Views don’t always shift down when you type a letter for a name that is below what is visible in the window. There are problems with file sharing, especially when trying to use Connect To Sever to access other Macs on a local network. Also, it’s difficult to get the IP address listed in Sharing’s Network Identity to change — no matter how often you change it in Network Preferences. You can’t get connect to laser printers via AppleTalk and get printer specific features. That only works via TCP/IP — though, in some cases, the needed software for TCP/IP connections is missing, as well. There’s still an issue and inconsistencies with filename extensions. And this interacts with the issue of determining what application opens when you double click a document. You can’t easily backup a Mac OS X disc. Retrospect doesn’t work yet, and simply trying to make a Finder copy won’t work either because it overlooks the invisible files. Along the same lines, there’s no easy way to transfer the complete contents of one Mac OS X volume to another. There’s a problem with selective re-installing. In Mac OS 9, if you accidentally delete a needed extension or control panel, you can usually find a copy and reinstall it without having to reinstall the entire OS. In Mac OS X, this is more of a hassle. In fact, sometimes doing a complete reinstall of the operating system often seems simpler. Similarly, there doesn’t seem to be a way to do a partial reinstall that reinstalls just the Mac OS 9.1 components if you have problems and need to get Classic working again. You still can’t easily make customized startup CDs that boot in OS X. With certain SCSI cards installed (such as Adaptec 2906) you may not be able to startup from the Mac OS X Install CD. Calculating size of large folders in Show Info is slow. There’s a problem with audio skipping on audio CDs on at least some Mac models. Sound to external speakers doesn’t shut off when headphones are plugged in. Apple also needs to provide better documentation as to exactly what all the files in the System/Library and Library directory do — and provide release notes for what the changes made to these files do when an update is released. For any common end-user troubleshooting problem, if the solution requires using Terminal, Apple should think about providing an Aqua-based tool to handle the fix instead.
Some of these are things Apple definitely intends to fix. Others are features that Apple may or may not decide to incorporate into Mac OS X.