My first week of Mac OS X Leopard has been more enjoyable than the first week of Tiger. Apple paid more attention to little things, more polish, more fun.
Except for those few areas here and there—those odd features Apple did not put into Leopard. We need a spokesperson from Apple’s OS X team to explain why some things don’t show up in the Mac.
All Mac users know that Microsoft’s Windows stole a bunch of features from the Mac, right? Well, the reverse is true, too. Apple pilfered a few items from Windows.
One item Apple did not include in Mac OS X Leopard is the mouse snap back in Windows. While I don’t use Windows too much anymore, that’s one of those handy little features that adds a moment of pleasure to the usually less-than-pleasurable experience.
Mouse snap back, or whatever it is that Microsoft calls it, is simple. When a dialog box pops up, there are usually a few options, such as Cancel or Continue, or something similar. In other words, there’s a default button ready, willing, and able to be used by the keyboard.
The problem is that most people don’t use the keyboard shortcuts, including me. I’m a mouser. The snap back function in Windows moves the mouse pointer to the default button in the dialog box. You don’t have to find the button with the mouse. Just click and you’re moving forward again.
Why isn’t there a mouse snap back function in Mac OS X Leopard? It’s not as though stealing a few Windows-only ideas isn’t something Apple has not done before, right? Enter Lazy Mouse from Old Jewel Software. It does what the Windows mouse snap back does but does it for Leopard.
Wait. There’s more. Apple finally got around to a cool implementation of the tabs in Safari. Move them back and forth, drag from one window to another. Tabs rock, and Apple did it mostly right in the Leopard version of Safari.
What about the Finder? Did I mention that tabs rock? If they’re good enough for Safari, why not pop them into the Finder so we can use tabbed browsing for the rest of our Mac? Well, actually you can, but you have to install Path Finder first.
Path Finder is a Finder substitute which works very well for more experienced Mac users. If Leopard’s Finder challenges you, then avoid Path Finder, because it’s loaded with time saving, ultra-navigation features—many of which, like tabbed Finder browsing, Apple should have included in the Finder.
Apple did include a firewall with OS X Leopard but dumbed it down when compared with Tiger. Gone is the ability to block all TCP and UDP access to your Mac on a port-by-port basis. Why? Only Apple knows for sure, but there are substitutes for the paranoid.
DoorStopX is upgraded for Leopard and brings back to the Mac what Apple took away—granular control of a firewall on your Mac. Remember, only the paranoid survive.
What most of us understand is that the Mac is a personal computer, which means we can personalize it to our tastes and needs, which, remarkably, are not the same the world over.
I love Lazy Mouse because of the snap back feature. I love tabbed browsing in Safari but the only way to get it in the Finder is with a different Finder. I don’t fully understand Apple’s thinking when modifying firewall access in Leopard, but I’m paranoid so I found another solution that gives me more comfort and peace of mind.
In the end, my Mac is personal again.