end kvetch

Macs, productivity, &c.

11.x: The Only Course of Action?

So, I was thinking “what other big cats are there that Apple has not yet used as a version name in OS X?”. The answer is pretty simple: lion. But seriously, lion? L.A.M.E. And furthermore, try saying “Mac OS 10.7 ‘Lion'”. Does that sound stupid or what? If Apple knows what’s good for them, they ought to skip 10.7 altogether and just skip up to 11.x.

Of course, what should the theme for 11 be? There’s no such thing as “big dogs” (unless you’d buy 11.3 “Doberman”) and, quite frankly, dogs are about as silicone-chic as HUMMERs. But even if dogs are out, there are so many other options….

Flightless Birds

  1. Emu
  2. Ostrich
  3. Penguin
  4. Platypus

And sure, platypuses may not be real birds, but if Apple rolled out the next update quick enough, nobody would have time to figure it out.

Then, how about a little love for marine enthusiasts?

Sharks

  1. Great White
  2. Nurse
  3. Thrasher
  4. Whale

Am I the only one that would pay top dollar for 12.3 “Thrasher”? I think not.

Now, moving away from animals, how about my personal favorite….

Unusual Fruits

  1. Mangosteen
  2. Jackfruit
  3. Durian
  4. Kumquat
  5. Cherimoya

I mean, is that awesome or what? Would I wait in line for the Durian update? Hells yeah.

Apple never took me up on my alternative iMac slogan but maybe they’ll be will to feel the flightless love.

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The Student’s Guide to Studying (French and Chemistry)

French

As with any language, learning French provides its challenges. Being the quintessence of all things both pedigological and Francophilic, I would like to provide you all with a list of resources for better French-learning.

1. Google Dictionary is different from the bane of every language teacher’s existence- Google Translate. More often than not, you can avoid embarrassment by finding the correct word.

2. Le Conjugueur is a great tool to find all the conjugations of a given verb (it even suggests verbs as you type). There is also an Spanish and an English version for those of us who is having problems conjugating English verbs. It also has some other cool features and references.

3. Mental Case is a great flashcard app for Macs. I personally don’t do this (and it’s probably why I don’t do well on conjugation tests) but it would be great for testing yourself on conjugations or vocabulary.

Chemistry

Chemistry, and science in general, is a bitch (if you ask me). Luckily, there is help out there.

1. Smell-o-Mints is a snappy periodic table (for Macs, of course) with a fair amount of data. The developer has actually said that he is intentionally leaving features out so as not to “take money from those who sell shareware Periodic Tables.” I personally think this is ludicrous, but to each his own.

2. ChemBuddy is a simple but cool chemistry utility with a periodic table and lots of other features and calculators.

3. WIkipedia is a great resource for this, just look up the element you want and you’ll get all the data you could ever need.

4. WebElements has a nice periodic table online with lots of data.

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TUAW: Ten Five Things I Hate (and Love) About You

Dear TUAW,

Here are five things I hate and five things I love about you…

</3 – It seems as if your hyperlinking is done by an senile 80 year-old chimp. I never know if I will find a useless page for the tag “OmniFocus” or an actual link to that demo video you’re touting.

❤ – Unlike your brother Engadget, you only post pertinent Apple news.

</3 – You have that ugly new Leopard-themed background.

❤ – Your writing style is so glib.

</3 – Your homepage is cluttered.

❤ – Your acronym is fun to say.

</3 – You don’t post as often as aforementioned brother.

❤ – Your graphics are so classy (or they’re intentionally overdone).

</3 – You seem to be sponsored by AOL.

❤ – You have lots of pictures.

Filed under: Apple, Kvetching, , , , ,

On Leopard

So, as I’m sure you’ve realized, I haven’t posted in a while. I’m going to try and get back into this, we’ll se how that goes.

Anyway, since I last wrote I have gotten 10.5 Leopard (if you don’t know what Leopard is, go. Just go). It has some really nice new visual things and some new features. So…let’s take a look.

Finder

Leopard Finder

Finder was one of the changes I was really excited about. I’m a fan of the iTunes sidebar (it just looks so cool!) so I was happy to see it was now permeating the rest of the system. The path bar at the bottom is also a nice thing to have.

Sadly, I was disappointed by CoverFlow. Although documents look nice (however, I think CoverFlow was designed more for people who do lots of layout design or other things that would involve colourful documents rather than the black and white essays that are the staple of my computer), folders and applications look really weird (especially folders). For the record though, I believe the folder weirdness can be blamed on my non-standard iconset (Agua, which has been updated for Leopard, by David Lanham). Regardless, I don’t really think CoverFlow is a good way to navigate one’s files (I also don’t like it much in iTunes, but that’s beside the point).

As far as other features go, the built-in smart searches are nice but I wish we could edit them and add to the list. Like I said above, I really like the new real icon preview (e.g., a MS Word document doesn’t appear as the .doc icon but as an actual representation of the document) even if my French papers are a little dull.

Quick Look is very nice (it can even play music!) and I’m sure it will be a big timesaver once I get in the habit of using it.

iChat

iChat is another one I was pumped for. With the addition of tabbed chats I was hopping it would finally overtake Adium. I tried it out and I quickly remembered all those little iChat things that just bug me.

  1. Huge contact list (often more than one).
  2. No meta contacts.
  3. Tab bar cannot be shown when you only have one chat open.
  4. Limited range of message views.
  5. Bad notification system.
  6. Very little customization overall.
  7. You must look at the chat window (not the contact list) to see if a buddy is typing or has sent you a message.
  8. Only a couple networks are supported.
  9. It insists on using your address card names (or worse, screennames).

In the end it was #8 that truly drove me back to Adium. Why did I even leave in the first place?

Safari

safari.jpg

Safari 3 and I got off to a bad start back in my Tiger days. However, when I opened it up in Leopard I was pleasantly surprised. By far, the biggest improvement is the more Camino-esque behavior (in fact, it filled Camino’s shoes so well that I no longer saw any need to keep Firefox’s little brother around). I was surprised to see things like the chat bar in Gmail load (they didn’t in Safari 2) and I have noticed a lot of Web 2.0 type stuff works a lot better in this version.

Features like resizable text boxes and improved search are also nice.

My only complaint is the lesser degree of plug-inability. Google isn’t the same without Inquisitor.

Mail

mail.jpg

Mail was probably the feature I was most anticipating. Stationary, notes, to dos, what’s not to love. Also, my old version of mail had been having problems and I was hoping this would offer a fix. Not only does Mail work again, but it offers a very nice little “iCal on the go” type thing and contains misc. improvements.

I haven’t tried any plugins with it yet so I can’t speak to that.

However, my main issue is the lack of badge customizability. In the old version of Mail you could just replace the ugly red badge in the resources folder with a new one, but in this new version (and other Leopard apps) I cannot find a way to change the badges.

Time Machine

I must say, Time Machine is pretty effin’ sweet. I have it hooked up to a MyBook Home and it’s working without a hitch so far (let’s hope it performs as well as it has been to date when I really need it). Super simple backup, I don’t even know when it’s going on. (As a n00bish aside, I’ve always used USB drives and when I got my first FireWire one I was blown away by the speed. Well worth the extra money).

Spaces

Spaces can be pretty handy. In one you can piece together a desktop portrait of perfect academic devotion. Then, in another, you can open WOW or whatever your time-waster of choice is, and play away until the time comes to do a quick Ctrl+1 and appear to be the angelic student that you aren’t. Not that I do that…ever…

If you have the money around, Leopard is defiantly worth it, but as Walt Mossberg(/burg?) said, “It’s an evolution, not a revolution.” (Or something like that).

P.S. My English teacher would be appalled that I ended an “essay” with a quote. But, I mean, it’s kosher to do that in journalism, right?

Update: I have installed Inquisitor and Safari Block into Safari and they’re working great. Chalk one more up for Leopard.

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