I love my Mac. Sometimes I hate my Mac. Mac ownership sometimes is a true love and hate relationship.
With Windows, it’s the other way around. Hate comes first. With my Mac, it’s love first, then tough love, then some things I think I love to hate.
Let this be my last little rant about the idiosyncrasies of Leopard. I’m fully 17 months pregnant and time is short. Plus, it’s becoming more difficult to reach my Mac’s keyboard from a sitting position.
I tried placing my Mac notebook on my lap, but my lap is round and what’s inside squirms, which makes my Mac somewhat unstable and prone to slide; left, right, down. That’s not conducive to good writing habits, not to mention good posture.
Think about it. Do we love our Macs? Yes. Do we hate our Macs? Not all of us, certainly. This woman hates her Mac. She’s a lawyer. Apparently, not a very good one. She can’t figure out how to use a Mac, despite it being the most popular computer at schools. Elementary schools.
Would you hire a lawyer who can’t figure out how to use a Mac? See? There are some people who hate their Macs, and some are, or tried to be, Mac users.
There isn’t much to hate about my Mac, especially since Leopard launched, but I have a few beefs, complaints, concerns, issues, worries, and annoyances. Not necessarily in that order.
We’ve beaten the poor Dock to death, so I’ll avoid that corner of the Annoying Mac Habits House. The parts of the Dock I love should be obvious to most of us who switched to Leopard. It’s colorful.
What? Isn’t that an improvement? How about those visual cues? You know, the little blue light under the icon of an opened application or utility on Leopard. Sweet, huh?
Let me start at the beginning. Installing Leopard on a Tiger-filled Mac is a breeze. Unless you choose the default Upgrade option, which tries to install Leopard on top of Tiger. Why is that even an option? Read the Apple support forums and most of the installation issues have to do with the Upgrade option, not the Archive and Install option, or the Clean install option.
I’ve done all three. Here’s your Wednesday afternoon Hint From Alexis—use Archive and Install or Clean install, not Upgrade. It is not worth the hassle, despite the six Mac users who made it work OK.
I love the unified windows look in Leopard and I’m not afraid to say it. I’ll even say ‘I Told You So’ because Mac360 long predicted a unified theme to hit Leopard, and many of us Mac users started using it with Uno long ago.
So, what does Apple do? Now they’re into non-unified buttons all over the place. Look at the buttons in the Safari toolbar, then compare them with the buttons in Mail’s toolbar. What’s going on? Make up your mind, Apple. Rounded. Squared. Recessed. Not recessed. Why does Apple do that? Drunk designers?
Folders. OK, I don’t mind Leopard’s new folders. They’re subtle. Actually, they’re a little less than whatever the lowest setting is on subtle. But they’re still folders. The problem is in the visual cues. Tiger’s folders were just easier to determine what was inside the folders than Leopard’s Think Different look.
These goofy little subtleties are from the same folks who gave Mac users the little text labels on top of the icons when you mouse over an icon in Leopard. The white text on black looks like a mini version of the Grid view in the Documents section of the Dock. Nice touch, Apple. I’m serious.
Now explain to me why the Menu Bar is translucent. In an odd sense of irony, not all Macs have the translucent Menu Bar. If you have an older Mac with a less-than-holier-than-thou graphics card, the Menu Bar is platinum plastic, the way God intended.
Apple polished Leopard in a couple of other areas that I love. The Menu Bar is not rounded at the corners. I love it. Gone is that vestige from 1984. But application windows appear to be slightly rounded, which, when placed against the Menu Bar, makes for an odd, ill-fitting combo. Sigh. Love. Hate. Sigh.
In another delightful touch, Leopard’s pull down menus have rounded corners on the bottom. Nice. But they’re a little too translucent and often display too much of what’s behind the pull down menu. Love. Hate.
Why does iTunes have different scroll bars than the rest of the applications and utilities in Leopard? Please. Won’t someone tell me why? It’s maddening. I love iTunes, but it looks so, uh, different, that it’s distracting.
The Finder. I love Leopard’s Finder. It’s such a dramatic improvement over Tiger’s Finder that I actually stopped using Path Finder to replace the Finder. But Finder has some interesting hiccups. Like the Finder of old, Finder in Leopard has trouble remembering View Options for each Window. You set it, Leopard’s Finder forgets it.
The Sidebar is improved, too. Except that I can’t figure out how to increase the font size of what’s stacked in the Sidebar. Is there a way? I can change the font size in Finder windows, and in every view. But I haven’t figured out how, without resorting to a 3rd party hack, how to do the same in Leopard’s Finder. Sorry. I need glasses and big fonts.
Finder, otherwise, just works better. Much better. It handles network connections and failed connections as it should, with grace and dignity, and only a little apprehension.
Quick Look is wonderful. Cover Flow is addicting. Spotlight finally thinks before it searches. Screen Sharing is a Gawdsend. The new icons are attractive.
Remember Repairing Permissions in Disk Utility? I’ve tried it half a dozen times on two Macs. It might be repairing permissions or just talking to files using an obscure dialect from a planet recently culled by the Wraith. Whatever it’s doing, Repair Permissions refuses to tell me about it. Anybody else get that to work? How long does it take?
Did you notice the iCal Dock icon? Is that cool, or what? It displays the date. Yes, it should have done that since, what? Jaguar? Panther? Tiger? Hello Kitty? But it does now and it looks great. Love those little visual cues in Leopard.
Oh, did I mention that I love Spaces? Oh, and I hate Spaces, too. I really want it to work for me, and it does. Except it doesn’t DO anything for me. I can never remember which applications are assigned to which Spaces, so when I click to get Mail, which is in Spaces window #1, and I’m in iTunes which is in window #4, the whole screen goes woooooooooosh, while Mail speeds to the front of the screen.
That’s how it works. But it just feels so wrong. And that’s the problem with this ongoing love and hate relationship with Leopard. There’s so much to love, but for every love or two, there’s a niggling little hatred that creeps through because Apple did something naughty or goofy or unexplained.
I’m afraid I’m in some sort of co-dependence relationship with my Macs these days.
How about you? Got any disputes with what Apple feeds us? Found a new feature that’s to die for, but you’re already dying a slow death because of something else that’s just weird? Talk Back to Mac360 in the Comments section below.