Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's Better to Look Good

So, all of my Mac buddies are waiting with bated breath for the release of the new OS X Operating System dubbed "Leopard" this coming Friday. Their eyes are wide, their cheeks are flush and they have credit card in hand - just bursting to buy and install this OS update.

Folks - it's NOT the freakin' iPhone... it's an operating system. I didn't see any of my Windows buddies lined up to install a .0 version of Vista. They weren't all a twitter over new features or time-saving doohickeys. They were waiting for the other shoe to drop. In the Windows world there is NO WAY you would ever install an operating system that is at .0 status. You would wait for the first service pack (at least).

Nonetheless, my Mac friends can't wait to get their hands on this product (in most cases they pre-ordered). Never mind the fact that most of the commercial applications will break, or that some 3rd party drivers need to be updated or that there are tons of bug in the Java implementation - frankly, they don't care.

They are drooling over the interesting new features in the OS: Time Machine (automatic backup), Spaces (organized groups of running program windows) and Cover Flow views in the Finder (browse documents like you browse albums on the iPod). There are supposedly loads of more improvements (Apple says over 300+) to Safari, the mail program and others - but those three (Time Machine, Spaces and Cover Flow) are a couple of the most noticeable "WOW" features.

I was watching the video overview and the stuff they've done is pretty cool. I was especially impressed with Time Machine - their new backup program. In typical Apple fashion, they have taken something that used to be relegated to tree lists and scrolling lists of files - and made it a totally visual experience. You can open up a folder and click the button on the dock - and the screen "slides up" and now you see lots of windows that are "stacked" on each other and lines down the right side of the screen.

The lines represent days, and you can click on a day - and the windows will move forward (right at you!) until it comes to the day you selected and will show you a snapshot of the way the folder (or iPhoto album) looked on that date. To "restore" an item - just click it and click "restore" and you are zoomed out to the current view of the window - and that item will appear just where it was before you deleted it.

Same kind of thing with "Spaces". It's really just a way to hide selective windows of running applications - but it's pretty cool. You tell it how many "spaces" you want and then you can have any number of windows open and you can put them into a "space." This lets you have games in one space, browser and text editor in another, etc. You can even drag and drop windows between spaces to re-organize it. Cool.

Finally, there is the Cover Flow view of your documents. It shows previews (on that glossy, reflective surface) just like on the iPod. BUT, you can also click on a document (in the demo it was a slide preso) and you can page through the document while you're in that Cover Flow view.

Cool? You bet!

Life-changing? Not so much.

Worth having a bunch of broken productivity apps and utilities for 3 months? Not hardly.

Hey, don't get me wrong. I love the Mac OS, it's very cool. And now that they're bringing their default OS more in-line with iTunes - they are creating one great (closed and proprietary) franchise. Just like Windows...

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