Mac OS X Tiger first look

I got my retail box of Tiger Monday. The funny thing is that is is Build 8A428, the same as the GM that I downloaded from the ADC Connect site days ago. I have been beta testing Tiger thanks to Steve Gerhman's kindness; he gave me a ADC seed key.

I have too many variables to install Tiger on my work drive, but I have enough firewire drives laying around to choke a horse. I figure I will test installing all my software on this drive before I take the plunge on my main work drive.

Before I go any further, let me explain something about upgrading Mac OS X. Every time we have even a dot release I see all these people having problems. MacFixIt just loves to post them too. Disconnect all your stuff. Especially your firewire drives. I am going to have to make a seperate post for this because it is just so important. If it is a dot release, do not install it through Software Update.

And now we continue with our regularly scheduled post...

So on to the install. Without installing the extra languages, installation went rather fast. Of course one must realize that I have a Dual 2.5 Ghz G5.

I was first asked to choose a wireless network, so I chose my Express. I then was asked to login to .Mac, which I did. My credit card expires before the next billing cycle so it asked if I would like to update my credit card information, so I did. I did not have to type in any information for registration (which is required now in Tiger) because it gathered all that information from my .Mac account. Nice touch.

Even when I made my administrator account I did not have to type in my name or user name in - this information was also pulled from my .Mac account. This entire process flew by a lot faster then any previous OS X install. Of course it helps to have .Mac, but if you have a Mac and don't have .Mac you should really consider getting it. No - this is not a commercial - its really worth it.

The first thing I notice is what is missing: Internet Explorer and Stuffit Expander. Both of these are good choices to leave out, although for different reasons.

Not having Internet Explorer (which has not been updated for the Mac in years) installed from 10.4 on means I do not have to support it during web development. There are a lot of hacks that have to be made when considering a design or redesign of a web site. Not having to support Internet Explorer on the Mac is a huge sigh of relief.

Of course IE 5 Mac has not all of a sudden gone. Many people still use older versions of OS X - even *gasp* OS 9. There will also be those who download IE 5 so they can use it in Tiger because it is "missing." It might be shocking, but there are still people who don't know the benefits of Safari. If you don't believe me I have news for you. I know people who were still using Netscape Navigator 4.04 even when version 7 was released.

Not pre-installing Stuffit Expander is also a good thing. Yes, Stuffit has its roots on the Mac. Yes, Stuffit is the compression format of choice on the Mac. But since Mac OS X came out, Stuffit has been on the way out. With a *nix underpinning, there are a lot of compression formats available that do not cost money (or nag you till you buy it). When 10.3 came out, it had .zip compression built into the Finder. And lets face it, Stuffit is not very Windows friendly.

I used to like Stuffit Deluxe, even have a license for it. Since OS X came out though, I have had no use for it. At this point I wish more Mac users would just use .zip, or .gzip, or .tar, or...

To say the least, I am really glad Stuffit is no longer installed by default. I am of course going to have to install it. It will be years before the Stuffit format is truly dead, but Tiger is the beginning of that death.

One thing to note about Stuffit Standard: You have to download it and install it in Tiger. You cannot run it from another hard drive. This of course means you have to go through Allume's super-annoying registration process. It does work in Tiger though.

Now for what is new, as in new applications to 10.4: Automator, Dashboard, Dictionary, Grapher, and VoiceOver Utility. VoiceOver was actually added recently in Tiger beta so its nice to see the finished product. Fiddling with VoiceOver is great. I first thought it would be Veronica all over again, it was quite surprising when I actually heard a fairly human voice.

If you have not read about Automator yet, please do. It is the best thing since sliced bread. OK, OK, its the best thing since AppleScript. It is a really great addition to the automation capabilities of AppleScript. Having a macro AppleScript utilities is a great thing.

We now have a first party dictionary, both as an application as a Dashboard widget. I guess I don't need OmniDictionary any more. I will say this, Apple's first party Dictionary is sleek looking.

Grapher takes me back to High School math classes, which is not a pretty sight. This little app would be helpful if I needed to do some algebra, geometry, or *shudder* calculus.

Dashboard is the new Expose. I am surprised the did not use that in their marketing. Dashboard is one of those things, like Expose, that people will just "get" one day and never know how they used Mac OS X without it. What is really great is all the Dashboard Widgets that are already out. It made beta testing a little more fun to be able to try out the newest Widget.

Next lets open up iChat AV. It has my .Mac account setup already per usual. It now supports multiple accounts (AIM, .Mac, Jabber) but alas I still cannot use multiple accounts at once. If Apple wanted to squash the IM competition on Mac OS X, they would have added this feature to iChat AV. This means I will still be using Adium X for the foreseeable future. I am really disappointed here. I really wanted to be able to login to multiple accounts at once in the new iChat AV. Oh well.

There is a slightly different video icon for people running iChat 3. Another nice touch. I can't wait to get both my dad and brother on a video chat at once.

Oh my lord! When you quit iChat it doesn't annoyingly ask you if you are really sure you want to quit! Holy Toledo Batman. Very needed change. Thank you Apple.

Apple did kill some shareware rapers with iChat 3. You no longer need 3rd party software to show your current iTunes song while you are using iChat. It is a default "available" message now.

Next to open is Safari 2. Lets start with what I hate. When you download something that *might* contain an application such as a .dmg or .sit file, Safari warns you of this, asking if you are sure you want to decompress it. It doesn't seem to matter if the "Open "safe" files after download" preference is checked.

Safari still does not have colored code. I will have to find that color plugin again.

MenuStrip 3 works. You Control: Tunes woks. Transmit 3 works. TextWrangler works. I had to install a new version of Little Snitch.

More soon...

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