The world according to Sven-S. Porst
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More quasi-random notes on ‘features’ of Mac OS X.4 and other things I observed while using it.
Probably one of the most annoying things in X.4 is that after waking the Powerbook from sleep the cursor is frozen for a few (5-10) seconds. This is very irritating. Particularly when instant waking has been an appreciated feature of Mac hard- and software for years. This worked in OS 9, X.0, X.1, X.2, X.3… why doesn’t it work now?
The connect dialogue box for AFP servers seems to have changed a little. There’s now a litte ‘gear’ button with a submenu for the connection options. It looks different than all the other ‘gear’ buttons I’ve seen.
Another thing that has become much less responsive are the Bezels displaying volume and brightness changes. Not only does it seem that they need longer to load when they haven’t been used for a while – back to X.2 or X.1 speeds, I’d say. They also seem to be a bit less responsive.
I really don’t like how they revamped the developer documentation for X.4. The strange use of scripts or frames or whatever makes navigating extremely hard and breaks the all important back button.
This may have been around for longer but I never noticed it: The installer can now open a window displaying all the files that will be installed. Handy when wanting to have a look before starting the install. Complete with filter field even.
People were happy to note that in X.4 you can swap the various modifier keys on your keyboard around. At least the Unix people were happy to have this. Personally I just used it to deactivate the Caps Lock key. While on the Powerbook the little light within the key seems to be turned on and off by the keyboard itself (it even works when the OS isn’t loaded yet) and the System can’t manipulate that, I noted that on my external keyboard hitting the Caps Lock key won’t turn the light on now. Nice.
Virtual memory is still a problem… not as vital for me right now as I’ve got a larger hard drive but still quite a space consuming one. Does the system really need to have two gigabytes of swap files – minutes after I quit all running applications? While things have gone back to a somewhat saner state where the maximum swap file size seems to be 256MB, rather than giving you 1GB ones, I am still puzzled why they stick around for ages.
Do you sometimes drag a file to an open dialogue? It’s quite a convenient way to select files which are easily accessible in an open Finder window. But completely fail to understand why, even in open dialogues, dragging a file in there will only select (and display the contents of) the folder containing that file but won’t select the file right away.
While I don’t really want to write about the Finder too much because it’s not worth it, enjoy even more localisation problems with the ‘Network’ source in the Finder being labelled in German in the column view but in English in the window’s title bar. Oh, and it has lost its icon of course. WTF? It also seems that you can’t drag the ‘Network’ icon to the source list in the Finder’s metal windows but that you have to use the Finder preferences to get it there.
Looking at the Screens preference pane when an external screen is attached also gives an interesting, but not amusing, sight. The frequencies displayed in the dialogue are now strange numbers like ‘89.9 Hertz’ instead of the ‘90.0 Hertz’ you saw there previously. A nice new thing about that preference pane is the new button to collect all windows. That could be a nice helper when windows drift on the wrong screen or external displays don’t work and you want your windows back quickly.
Another bit of bitching about Spotlight won’t hurt I suppose. One ‘feature’ of Spotlight is that the importer can set up a ‘display name’ for an item that differs from the file’s actual name. This is needed to make hacks like Apple’s indexing of iCal and AddressBook data possible. But it’s also needed to index all the e-mail messages which are stored as separate files but have some ID strings as names which won’t be very meaningful to the user. Thanks to that feature you can have unique IDs for file names which are important to make things work and meaningful strings as display names for the user.
As long as you’re only using the Spotlight menu or window with its general lack of information this seems to work just fine. But things start being more tricky when you start hitting Command-R to display the selected item in its folder – in the Finder’s smart folders – which just happen to be the Finder’s find windows as well. Let’s just say you get a number of inconsistent results, with the Finder’s find feature’s ones looking the most reasonable.
Finally, I note that I originally observed that the Dashboard’s Weather Widget completely lacks localisation and any handling of umlauts. I’d consider this kind of behaviour to be somewhere between incosiderate and buggy while Apple consider it to be correct. To add insult to injury, my weather widget – painfully set up to look up ‘Goettingen, Germany’, rather than the place where I live, stopped working. At first I thought there was a server problem, didn’t worry too much and limited myself to wondering why the desinged the damn thing in a way that it essentially stops working if it doesn’t have a network connection. But it didn’t start working again even a few days later. It turned out that certain things seem to have changed and now I have to pretend to be living in ‘Gottingen, Germany’ to please the weather widget. Potentially more logical, but still crap.
June 27, 2005, 19:21
Please report these to Apple.
June 28, 2005, 7:07
The more I use Tiger, the more I keep running into little things I never knew you could do. Just today, for instance, I accidentally hit “Apple-Shift-N” to create a new folder… while in a “Save Dialogue Box” and it works! Had no idea you could do this. Have no clue as to how long this has been available. Now, of course, I use it constantly.
June 28, 2005, 22:43
Hmmm, I think creating folders in these windows has been possible for a long time. Since System 8 at least, I’d say. Of course the keyboard equivalent was the simpler Command-N at the thime.
June 29, 2005, 11:04
yeah the weather widget regularly stops working for me as well. sometimes it helps to remove it from the dashboard and add it back again; or to re-type the location, then let it validate;but usually it doesn’t.
speaking of re-typing the location: it still cracks me up that I spent a week waiting for rain that never came because my widget was set to “Berlin” instead of “Berlin, Germany”. “Berlin” apparently maps to “Berlin, Massachusetts”…
June 30, 2005, 0:08