An Ambush of Tigers in Siam (Updated 10 December 2012)
The Bangkok release of Apple's latest version of OSX, 10.4, Tiger, was on Friday 29 April a few days after Microsoft made its announcements on Longhorn. Unlike earlier OSX releases, several in the US received Tiger early: others have downloads. At 5,500 with tax, it was slightly dearer (by about 200 baht) than the US price.
The many features of Tiger are on Apple's site. Worldwide there were numerous articles outlining new features, focussing on Spotlight, which is like a supercharged Finder; and Dashboard (press F12), which runs small desktop utilities: "Widgets". A Google search shows sources for these. Note: the original link to the Dashboard features on the Apple site is no longer live (thanks, Apple), but a reader - Erin Williams - suggested the replacement now used. My thanks are in order.
I arrived at Siam Discovery Center just after 3pm to see presentations about Tiger basics. Some of the new features are exciting: iChatAV, allowing 4-way video conferencing with a higher quality image (10-way audio); Quicktime 7, which has much potential for online video; and XGrid. This allows creation of a grid network: a supercomputer in the home. Also demonstrated was a feature that allows some displays to be rotated -- 90º, 180º, 270º.
Note: I was unable to find this feature on the PowerBook.
At 6pm, several hours before the US release, with a fanfare then a bang, confetti was sprayed around the stage and sales began. I was surprised by the number of people lined up -- the lady in front of me grabbed two copies. I took several Pictures of the Bangkok release (thumbnails and larger images). My Tiger box in hand, I dashed home.
I decided to "Erase and Install" on the Power Book, instead of updating (or "Archive and Install"). The machine is relatively new and the few weeks' of data was easily backed up on the eMac.
With a small prayer to the computer gods I inserted the DVD disk and said goodbye to Panther. 30 minutes later Tiger was installed. I went through the setup panels before continuing, but I did start Safari to check that I was online.
Stage two was a reinstall of software that came installed with the PowerBook. That install disk has a bundled software package. A few minutes later, we were ready for settings. I had written some of these on paper, and some were in files on the eMac. I copied them across with the data I had backed up.
iPhoto recognised the images immediately. Mail took a little effort to identify, then import, the saved mailboxes. What took most time was entering mail account details and passwords. The PowerBook installed the (USB) HP 920c I connect to the eMac although the printer was not on.
I forgot the Address Book. Trying to synchronise for the first time, I did not check and it over-wrote other devices. I had to carry out another backup procedure when in the first place was I should have used the "backup database" menu.
I have first impressions only. The OSX interface has been slightly changed -- the blue apple for example. Likewise, some applications have interface changes. There are some nice new screen-savers. Mail has changed considerably and all messages are indexed by Spotlight for easier searching. It will be difficult to downplay Spotlight.
Safari looks the same, but RSS (really simply syndication) is finally integrated. If a site has RSS this will show in the URL window: feeds can be displayed in the Bookmarks Bar. Another useful trick in Safari is "private browsing". A user who does not want information (history or downloads), for example online banking, can turn on this feature.
A return is made by "Grapher", one of the nice OS9 programs that got lost in the move to OSX. As its name suggests, "Automator", another new utility, lets a user automate repetitive tasks: a bit easier than script writing.
Although Sherlock has an online dictionary, Apple has included a dictionary and thesaurus in Tiger. A test showed that it does not have "antidisestablishmentarianism", although (to my surprise) it did show "floccinaucinihilipilification."
Also new is VoiceOver Utility, which integrates with Universal Access preferences: assistance for the physically challenged. Press Command + F5 (Cmd + F5 + Fn on PowerBooks) and a computer voice reads text in supported applications (e.g. Preview).
An addition to the Startup disk preferences panel is the Target mode button. Before, this would necessitate a restart with the T key pressed while connected to a second computer. This will make that occasional task easier. Spotlight has its own preference, and the panel allows deselection of certain categories in search results. A second panel lets users add locations that are not searched at all.
Note: The collective noun for a group of tigers is a swift or an ambush of tigers.)
For further information, e-mail to Graham K. Rogers.
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