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leopard

i just watched the [guided tour of Leopard], and i dunno. some of it looks okay, but overall i feel generally neutral about it.

(before i get to the meat of it all, i'll say that at some point during the tour, John uses the phrase, "writing a blog", and that rubbed me the wrong way. when i think about the word "blog", i view its use more like "journal" (where i don't say "writing my journal") rather than "book" (where i would use "writing a book"). I prefer to say writing *in* my blog, or updating my blog or just "blogging".)

The tour goes over a bunch of features. Here's my reactions to all of them.

Stacks: Stacks basically duplicates something i already do in my dock with a custom folder, but in a more intelligent way. I like the curve of the list view, but i'm not so into the grid view if there are too many items. It's a nice enough feature, i suppose, but i feel like it's saying, "it's okay for you to be lazy about organizing your folders." I'm a programmer and a data analyst. I like things to be easy to find because of my own design - i don't want something to figure it out for me. 2 cats out of 5.

Cover Flow: The big new finder feature is 'cover flow'. Again, it's a neat sort of idea, but again, i feel it's another "we'll clean up your disorganization for you" sort of tool that isn't at all necessary if you're smart about how you name/store your data. I don't find it easier to look at the first page of a word document or an excel sheet to say, "here's what i'm looking for!" rather than finding it with a proper naming convention, espeically when it comes to versioning. Document 1.0 will look exactly the same as Document 1.1 if i only made a few small changes, and cover flow will make it *more* difficult to distinguish that versus just looking at the document name. Overall, it's a mishmash of pros and cons where the cons i think will outweigh the pros. i can't see myself ever wanting to use it. 1 cat out of 5.

Quick Look: An enhanced "Preview" from what i can tell, and yeah, i like it. I'm assuming that opening it in quick view means that you're using less resources than opening the actual app, and to me centralizing all of that within one process is pretty well conceived. I imagine it's also good for screensharing/networking, particularly for video conference calling. 4.5 cats out of 5.

Time Machine: Time Machine is one of the things i first heard about for Leopard, and it was something i thought was a fantastic idea. Now that i see how it works, i'm less impressed with it, at least until i know better exactly how it structures the time machine backup file structure and how flexible it all is.

The main problem is that even if what it's doing is in a compressed/ghost image sort of form that takes much less space, it's still writing to the backup hard drive every hour, and i assume the more data you have, the more space you need to do each time machine snapshot. So what if i want it to backup/snapshot the internal drive i have that contains about 300 .avis of about 350mb each? how much space will time machine need? how does it decrease the lifespan of any of my hard drives? Can i just time machine a part of my systen and not another part? Backing up is of course a necessary thing, but i don't lose files every hour. maybe once every few *months* if even that, and i already have decent backup/data recovery steps i can take. So again - almost a cop out, another reason for people to compute irrresponsibly. But i'm not going to write it off as a complete waste until i know more about the specs. 2.5 cats out of 5.

Spaces: Spaces reminds me of something i've seen my brother do on his linux machine, and yeah, it's exactly what i need. Even with two screens i don't feel like i have enough screen space to capture all of what i want to, and i hate minimzing things in the dock. What's great about Spaces is that i can choose to set however many spaces i want and categorize them however i want. Exposé will be able to give me a quick view of it all without too much clutter or difficulty. The only potential problem i see is that it could be easy to forget that something is running and can promote having too many things open at once that are actually unnecessary, thus slowing the machine down. But used and not abused, this feature is exactly what i'm looking for as a reasonable alternative to buying four extra monitors for my computer and may be a good enough reason in itself for me to upgrade. 5 leopards out of 5.

Mail: don't care. I'll stick to keeping it all on gmail and linking it with google calendar if necessary. if you asked me a few years ago when i actually downloaded all of my email instead of keeping it on a server, this might be great for me. There's of course argument that i should go back to that for privacy issues, but right now i still check my mail from too many places for it to be practical for me to centalize it on my local machine. But it doesn't look like it sucks, at least, although i don't like the idea of a piece of email turning into a graphical WYSIWIG of poofy flowers and backdrops as a default. The "data detector" ability also strikes me as something that can be used more easily for malicious intent than it is useful. 2 cats out of 5.

iChat: The problem with using iChat in the manner that this guy demonstrates is that it assumes that your iChat session is going to be a realtime conversation. If i'm doing a videoconference like thing at work, that's great. But typically i treat IMing as more of a answering machine/quick email sort of application rather than an electronic conversation machine. Videochatting enhancements doesn't excite me at all, and giving me the ability to customize my background to be whatever i want feels very teenager. I do like the sharing ability and that the chatting can be kept in view while that's happening, but i think tthe only great use for that is for business or for troubleshooting computer problems whilst not actually on location. 1.5 out of 5 cats.

Upgrading: yeah. that doesn't tell me jack about what i want to know about upgrading, john. Thanks. 0 cats out of 5.

The final verdict is that i think i'm underwhelmed overall, but since i'm still running on Panther because i was similarly underwhelmed by Tiger and didn't find anything in *it* wortwhile to upgrade, i might upgrade anyway and just hope that it doesn't break my system. I suppose i should do the research and visit some forums to see if any problems have cropped up.

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Comments

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keevon
Oct. 28th, 2007 01:33 am (UTC)
As far as how Time Machine backs up your files, I would assume it doesn't take a copy of the file every hour and compress it. I would assume that if there is a change in the file, it computes a binary diff between the current version and the old version and then stores that diff. In the case of your 300 .avi files, since they would probably never change, or only in small ways, the backup would take up almost no space. With documents, making small changes will probably result in very small backups.

Of course, I don't KNOW that they are doing this, but it is pretty likely.
shandrew
Nov. 3rd, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)
I don't anything about time machine, but it sounds like it works something like the "snapshot" feature that i use occasionally on enterprise storage. The way these typically work is that the file system keeps track of all the blocks, and can actually construct old versions of files out of original blocks plus changed blocks of files. So the amount of additional space that the snapshots take up is deleted files + changed blocks on existing files. It's very convenient for things like database backups, where you backup the snapshot rather than the active file system.

As for 10.4, i highly recommend it if you are not already running it. 10.3 had a bunch of annoying bugs that are fixed in 10.4, and there's a lot of software that works only in 10.4 and higher now. 10.4 also feels faster to me.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 28th, 2007 01:34 am (UTC)
if Spaces is really your only incentive to upgrade, just download Desktop Manager for your mac. ive been using it for a year, i have 4 desktops and I would absolutely die without it. I hate minimizing things to the dock too.
trunks7j
Oct. 28th, 2007 01:34 am (UTC)
oops
lifeofmendel
Oct. 28th, 2007 01:53 am (UTC)
the other part i didn't mention is that i'm starting to hit a point where there are apps out there that i want to run but can't because they all require tiger or later. That's decent incentive to upgrade as oppsoed to just downloading desktop manager, but we'll see.
(Deleted comment)
edrake
Oct. 28th, 2007 05:12 am (UTC)
but if you used the video ichat feature, then we could *pretend* we're actually hanging out in person! or better yet, with this new and improved version, we could set our backgrounds to the same cool scene and pretend we're hanging out somewhere cool together! ooh ooh ooh!!

:-D

(maaaaaallory....hiiiieeeee!)
sleeplessone
Oct. 28th, 2007 06:43 am (UTC)
I don't know how the Time Machine file structure works but you can tell it to exclude areas of the hard drive. I'm fairly sure it's not just keeping an extra copy of the file though.

Spaces is something they should have had since 10.1 :(
The dock still shows you everything that's running, regardless of what space it is in and clicking on an app in the dock will take you to the space it is running in. You can also assign applications to always open in a specific space.

Remote access is also pretty slick if you have more than one Mac. Desktop/Notebook. You can access your files over the internet fairly easily and also get a remote view of your other system. This is seperate from the iChat remote view feature and is just done through the finder similar to mounting a network share.
lifeofmendel
Oct. 28th, 2007 06:47 am (UTC)
You can also assign applications to always open in a specific space.

that *so* wins.
trunks7j
Oct. 29th, 2007 05:17 pm (UTC)
again...stupid mac.....this has been a feature for as long as I can remember in most x11 window managers @_@
lifeofmendel
Oct. 29th, 2007 05:24 pm (UTC)
psssh. you're probably still hung over, so i take this comment with a grain of salt. ;)
trunks7j
Oct. 29th, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
from saturday? holy jesus i hope not
(Deleted comment)
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