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OS X Operating Systems Businesses GUI Software Apple

Detailed Review of Mac OS X Tiger's New Features 101

sammykrupa writes "I have just posted my detailed review of Mac OS X Tiger's new features. The review covers Dashboard, Spotlight, Grapher (Mac OS X's new graphing calculator), QuickTime Player 7, Automator, Safari RSS (2), that cool RSS visualizer, and all that eye candy (iCandy)."
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Detailed Review of Mac OS X Tiger's New Features

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  • Not very in depth.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by aikon29 ( 563393 ) on Sunday May 01, 2005 @04:42PM (#12400577) Homepage
    Maybe it's just me, but the article didn't seem to b e too in depth. If you're looking for any real information, look no further than the Ars review.
    • by Reaperducer ( 871695 ) on Sunday May 01, 2005 @04:54PM (#12400685)
      the article didn't seem to b e too in depth.

      Agreed. Here's how he sums up Mail 2.0:

      "It does not appear much has changed in it since the previous version except for Smart Folders, Spotlight Search, and a bit of a slicker interface."

      Not true to anyone who's pokes around even a little in Mail. I looked through the preferences for a few minutes this morning, and there's lots of new stuff.
      I think what we have here is the owner of a new web site trying to rush out a review while Tiger is still hot in order to get a headline and drive traffic to his young web site.
      • Absolutely. And the storage system in Mail has changed a lot; meta-data is stored in an SQLite database, and MIME data in files. Before, metdata was stored in table_of_contents (a proprietary format) and the contents in boring mbox files.
    • NEWS FLASH! (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      News Flash!

      Yet another nobody who bought the newest version of OS X has jotted down his opinions on the new features and published them on a World Wide Web which is already brimming over with thousands of nobodies expressing thousands of reactions on thousands of web sites and blogs about the very same topic.

      No word yet on why his opinion is any more worth scrutiny than any other.

      More on this shocking news as the story develops...
    • I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you Tiger fanatics? I've been sitting here at my freelance gig in front of Tiger on a dual 2.5 Ghz G5 with 2.5 GB of RAM for about 20 minutes now while it attempts to copy a 17 Meg file from one folder on the hard drive to another folder. 20 minutes. At home, on my Performa 600 running OS 8.5, which by all standards should be a lot slower than the dual G5, the same operation would take about 2 minutes. If that.

      In addition, during this file tr
  • Especially Grapher. One of the most annoying limitations of the previous graphing calculator was the inability to graph multiple functions at the same time. I was holding off on Tiger, but I may buy it just for that.
    • by Randy Wang ( 700248 ) on Sunday May 01, 2005 @05:36PM (#12401060)
      Wow. A $129 calculator.

      Heh, I suppose I can't talk. I'm buying it for the RSS Screensaver.
      • PacificT's graphing calculator (the full version of the old one you got with the Mac OS) is $100. $30 extra for all the OTHER great features you get with Tiger seems well worth it to me.
        • Well, even with $100 for the calculator, I suppose the real irony is that I, personally, will be paying $30 for a screensaver my 500Mhz iMac G3 won't even be able to run.

          Maybe time for an upgrade. :-(
          • You might also want to dig out your QuickTime 6 player (even with QT7). On my 450Mhz iMac G3, I found that playback was dropping too many frames if the movie was too big (player 7), and yet would play fine with player 6. (I used the 2004 update to the 1984 Apple ad - 480 x 360 pixels)

            On the other hand, there were some movie trailers that did seem "crisper" in QT7. Having read the Ars article, which explains the differences under the hood, it is probably not just my imagination.
      • I paid $40.00 for my copy:

        $199.89 after tax and 10% discount (purchased during Tiger Rollout) for Tiger family pack, which is 5 copies of Tiger.

        About $40.00 a seat for Tiger. You can't get a better (and legal) deal than that.
    • There was indeed a multiple-curve grapher before Grapher: its name was Curvus Pro (last version 1.3.2); its developper sold it to Apple by end 2004, become Grapher.

      I think I mentioned this here at the time, but presumably as a rank-epsilon anonymous coward ;-)

      Curvus was already excellent at the time (I am a registered user), and it seems Apple has added some honest improvements, at least a couple of extra buttons that are really useful in the GUI and other features that I didn't try in detail ye
    • The old original "Graphing Calculator" which started life back in OS9 (or was it 8? I forget) offered multiple-curve graphing as an upgrade to the paid version, as opposed to the freebie that came with the OS which would only do one function at a time.

      I went to their website a few months ago and they have a Carbonized version -- looks pretty much the same as it always did. I didn't buy the commercial one, just played around with the free one. But it still exists if you're in the market.
      • Dawg, it was 7.

        And there's a story there. The guy who developed it got laid off, in the middle, but no one bothered to take away his badge. He kept working there, and all sorts of people conspired to help him... He got it on the gold master, and everything.

        • Thanks for the info. I heard that story indirectly a while back ... pretty good story, too. I admire his dedication. Favorite line:

          At 1:00 a.m., we trekked to an office that had a PowerPC prototype. We looked at each other, took a deep breath, and launched the application. The monitor burst into flames. ... The software hadn't caused the fire; the monitor had just chosen that moment to malfunction.

          Man, that was 1994? Makes me feel old.

  • apart from a couple of bugs mentioned, that 'review' was just the usual product descriptions.

    here's a few things I've noticed. even with these minor issues, OS X is the most perfect thing associated with computers that I've ever known.

    1. iTunes widget playlist support very poor
    2. list of dashboard widgets only updated when you change page then change back
    3. I can't give my bluetooth keyboard/mouse names as long as under Panther
    4. when I use spotlight to search for 'dashboard' it lists a PDF that doesn't c
  • If by detailed... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ieshan ( 409693 ) <> on Sunday May 01, 2005 @04:57PM (#12400724) Homepage Journal
    If by detailed, you mean "fanboy", then yes, you are quite correct.

    5. New interface sounds. Now when you drop something into a folder you hear a cool new sound! Ding!

    I can not think of any reason not to buy Tiger for the $129 it costs. You should just make sure that all the Mac OS X applications you rely on are Tiger compatible.

    There's nothing at ALL wrong with it? Nothing he would improve? No reason at all not to buy?

    Man. I really wish we could get critical reviews.
    • Re:If by detailed... (Score:5, Informative)

      by revscat ( 35618 ) on Sunday May 01, 2005 @05:36PM (#12401065) Journal

      Man. I really wish we could get critical reviews.

      Try this one [] from ars technica, if you haven't already. It's fairly detailed, and not as amateurish, nor is it worshipful.

      Meaty goodness.

    • Re:If by detailed... (Score:5, Informative)

      by aftk2 ( 556992 ) on Sunday May 01, 2005 @08:18PM (#12402578) Homepage Journal
      In addition to the Ars review (already posted in this thread and elsewhere), I would recommend the feature list at Daring Fireball []. They're collaborating a list of the small details that have been changed, improved or screwed up.

      It's not all completely positive, either. This is my favorite:
      If you turn on the Finder's "Show all file extensions" preference, this now includes the ".app" extension on application bundles. [...] can't stand seeing these insipid ".app" extensions everywhere, but I don't want to turn off the "Show all file extensions" preferences because I do want to see the rest of them. What I want is the old behavior, "Show all file extensions, except for the insipid '.app' ones that completely booger up the names of every single application".
  • by daviddennis ( 10926 ) <> on Sunday May 01, 2005 @05:13PM (#12400854) Homepage
    It's amazing, considering all the great features in Apple Core Somethingorother, that he could not have used the built-in spellchecker to proofread his article.

    One or two spelling errors is not a big deal, but I proofread my Slashdot posts more carefully than his article was.

    One thing he doesn't touch on that I've seen in other sites is that HTML files are not indexed using Spotlight. This was a rude shock to me since most of my documents are written in HTML. (I don't have Tiger yet so that comment is not yet based on experience, but the warning seemed pretty definitive).

    I think Tiger looks pretty cool and I'm looking forward to receiving my copy. But this review is not a credible information source.

  • Quartz Composer? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by torpor ( 458 ) <ibisum@gm a i l . com> on Sunday May 01, 2005 @05:20PM (#12400914) Homepage Journal
    Anyone figured out anything interesting to do with Quartz Composer yet? This seems, to me, to be one of the more interesting new bundled-apps in the OSX package .. really looking forward to seeing what can be done with this app...
    • Ive um , looked at it and drooled about all the posibilitys . .. god im lazy .
      Ive been busy playing around with automater to see how much of a replacment it can be for my perl and shell scripting.. so far im fairly impresed with it .It can't replace scripting for me but it can replace a few of the smaller scripting tasks i have .. i digress .
      I too would love to hear of any Quartz composer posibilitys as i really look forward to trying a few things with it (too much to play with , too little time).
    • I'm a VJ and I've been waiting for Quartz Composer for a long time (I used Pixelshox which is the predecessor

      I currently use a custom patch made in Pixelshox when I'm doing live visuals and I'll be converting my patch to Quartz Composer over time and maybe even adding some "real code" to do a proper interface for it.

      My patch lets me play two quicktimes, at a time triggering them from banks, and mix effects over the top controlled by midi.

      Unfortunately while Quartz Composer has a ton o
      • that sounds pretty interesting .. good to know about pixelshox. my video hackery has mostly been iMovie cut 'n paste, so its good to see the video composition stuff happening.

        what really interests me about QC is the MIDI control. i'm still pretty MIDI-lovin', surrounded by synths, so to have video acting as just another MIDI destination is a new step in the adventure. i guess i just need a couple LCD^H^H^HLED projectors, and i'll have my sounds on the wall, so to speak ..

        Unfortunately while Quartz Com
        • you can download some pixelshox patches I've done from


          I'll be sharing some QC stuff when I've had time to play with it more.

          Qc can use all the core image filters plus some simple geometric transforms. At the moment there is no API for adding new patches to QC but it seems to be pretty heavily requested so I'm guessing it's only a matter of time.
    • Re:Quartz Composer? (Score:3, Informative)

      by jcr ( 53032 )
      Anyone figured out anything interesting to do with Quartz Composer yet?

      So far, we're just scratching the surface of what can be done with Quartz Composer. The RSS screen saver is done in QC, for example. Have a look at the Interface Builder compositions in /Developer/Library/Quartz Composer/ for some ideas of how to use QC views in your own apps.

      There's a new mailing list for Quartz Composer users, quartzcomposer-dev, and you can subscribe to it at

      • thanks for the details .. i look forward to seeing what the future holds for QC ..

        (.. incidentally .. "/Developer/Library/Quartz Composer/" .. no such directory .. i guess the Developer Library isn't in my base install.. but I'll check ADC for it ..)
  • by dFaust ( 546790 ) on Sunday May 01, 2005 @05:21PM (#12400918)
    From the article: "QuickTime Player 7 is in Tiger and basically it just adds support for H.264."

    The boys at Ars Technica seem to think differently. See what's really changed [] with Quicktime.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 01, 2005 @05:36PM (#12401059)
    Maybe Slashdot's editors saw how pathetic this review was and decided to post it just to see if they could melt the server. Doesn't seem to have worked yet.

    Come on! We can do it! [ctrl-click] . . . [clrl-click] . . . [ctrl-click]
    • by fideli ( 861469 )
      Surely you meant [command-click] . . . [command-click] . . . [command-click] . . .
    • by billybob ( 18401 )
      Surely, that's the only reason I can think of for why they would post such rubbish. :) This review was fucking horrible and anything BUT detailed. I mean if the Ars Technica review didn't exist, then maybe it would be ok (but still not detailed), but COME ON PEOPLE, there's just no way you can follow up to the Ars review, whether or not you claim yours is detailed.
  • by failedlogic ( 627314 ) on Sunday May 01, 2005 @05:44PM (#12401137)
    This article promises a deatiled account of the new features .... but I don't even see 200 features mentionned!!
  • psst... (Score:5, Funny)

    by fafaforza ( 248976 ) on Sunday May 01, 2005 @05:53PM (#12401226)
    You might want to keep that copy of the XISO release of Tiger sitting on your hard drive and indexed by Spotlight on the down low. (second screenshot)
  • by Zhe Mappel ( 607548 ) on Sunday May 01, 2005 @06:07PM (#12401374)
    Well, we've heard the oohs and aahs of the faithful, and sweet to the ear they are. How about some critical reviewing, now?

    Anand, the PC guru who has been extremely positive toward Apple products since becoming a dual-user, beta-tested Tiger throughout its development.

    This week his lengthy review praises features, but finds the release version to be buggy and rushed. Performance is also a mixed bag. []

    Two quotes:

    "But I have to find it difficult recommending a product that's clearly unfinished, and clearly not without bugs. None of the bugs that I encountered were show stoppers, but I'm not one to support pre-release products that are being shipped as final. So if you're expecting a perfect user experience with Tiger, you'll be close but not quite there. I'm hoping the 10.4.1 update fixes all of my issues, but for now don't expect a flawless $129 experience. "


    "Looking at today, it's an important day for Apple, a day to celebrate a very impressive OS launch - but I get the feeling that no one at Apple is celebrating quite yet, it seems like there's still quite a bit of work left."

  • Experiences... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {}> on Sunday May 01, 2005 @06:12PM (#12401423)
    My main experience was that the upgrade broke stuff. irssi no longer works, and it looks to be due to two bugs in the OS itself - sysconf(_SC_GETPW_R_SIZE_MAX) returns -1 rather than the correct value, and poll() changing subtly in a way that isnt yet documented (its possibly now a syscall).

    Other than that -
    • Dashboard - love it, got lots of widgets and the best thing is, theres info widgets for places outside the US!
    • Spotlight - As someone said to me earlier today, Spotlight is fantastic for browsing sourcecode and source documentation, as well as all the mundane stuff.
    • Xcode2 - Brilliant, and finally we have a datepicker!
  • -While not Tiger-specific, Quicksilver doesn't have a calculator plugin.
    -Spotlight icon unremovable from menu bar

    And probably my biggest annoyance of all:
    -Spotlight does not index hidden folders. I've got this great desktop search app, yet it won't index ~/.xchat2/xchatlogs, even if I sym or hardlink it. looks like shit, can't mailboxes/folders on the right-hand side like the old, and didn't import any of my old mailboxes/accounts.
    -The neat-looking RSS visualizer screensaver has to pull
    • I wonder if you put the real dir someone else and made ~/.xchat2/xchatlogs a symlink if it would work.
    • -Spotlight icon unremovable from menu bar

      You can't remove the Apple menu either.

      I do get what you're saying though, it's just that Spotlight is an integral part of Mac OS now (just like the Apple menu).

      -Spotlight does not index hidden folders. I've got this great desktop search app, yet it won't index ~/.xchat2/xchatlogs, even if I sym or hardlink it.

      Slight correction: Spotlight does index hidden folders (the "hidden" flag on HFS). It does not index dot files/folders.

      Two solutions for you:

      1. Move x
    • -While not Tiger-specific, Quicksilver doesn't have a calculator plugin.

      It does [], although it's really basic. Interestingly, it's called "Calculator Module," and serves as a Quicksilver-style frontend for UNIX (or POSIX?) commands bc or dc - you get to choose. It runs in the bezel. Press "." (dot) to enter input mode, write your math, tab to the right quadrant and get your result.

      Of course, it uses command line-style syntax, and it outputs to the very basic stdout();.

    • You could always...
      cd ~
      mv .xchat2 Library/X-Chat
      ln -s !$ .xchat2
  • Detailed? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kitzilla ( 266382 ) <.paperfrog. .at.> on Sunday May 01, 2005 @10:50PM (#12403707) Homepage Journal
    I share the author's enthusiasm for Tiger, but wonder why this piece was deemed worthy of Slashdot. It is neither detailed nor particularly accurate, more a paraphrase of Apple's marketing pieces than a review.

    The treatment of Automator is particularly disappointing: the author basically says he doesn't understand the feature. Ouch.

    There's little mention of Tiger's under-the-hood improvements, and the author doesn't seem familiar with the complete overhaul of Quicktime.

    Other posters have cited Ars Technica's Tiger overview by way of comparison. I think the folks at Ars have shown us how an OS review is to be done. We don't see much of that quality at Slashdot or over at the hapless OS News.

  • Mac True Reality (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I get the impression as others do this is just a fanboy page about Tiger. That said, although the Ars page was good and well written it lost the plot when guy started being an apologist for Apple's shocking, and in my view shameful robbery of Konfabulator.

    It doesn't matter which way you look at it; whatever excuses you may hear about Desk Accessories and what not; the fact that in the eyes of the Law Konfabulator devs have no real recourse, really you have to ask if it had been the other way round what wou
    • I get the impression as others do this is just a fanboy page about Tiger. That said, although the Ars page was good and well written it lost the plot when guy started being an apologist for Apple's shocking, and in my view shameful robbery of Konfabulator.

      So, making software that has a similar function to other software is "robbery" now? I guess that must mean that almost every Open Source developer is a thief. That GIMP shamelessly steals from Photoshop. That Firefox shamelessly steals from every previous

      • I never heard the people of Startly complain about Automator. Although it is far more limited than QuicKeys, it's more or less a comparable product. They don't seem to mind much. And I think they will lose a few customers: those who find functionality enough in Automator... I believe Konfabulator can perfectly live side-by-side with Dashboard. For some time to come, it will. At least it ran when Tiger was still beta...
    • Obviously you're just a steaming pile of troll sh1t. But then again I guess you never heard of NextStep and Widgets before. Konfabulator was nothing new. Hence they have no recourse. Get with it or get lost..... and coward is absolutely correct...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This just a symptom of modern day internet, each has his/her own site/blog/mailing-list/developers/whatever-page, and a dispersion of effort will make no-one read what anyone else wrote eventually (I know i didn't in this case ;)).

    Just look at the ridiculuous amount of Tiger reviews on [] ...

  • Don't tear the guy a new one :) It's still interesting to recent switchers like me.

    Cute minigolf for Mac: []
  • As Tiger coverage, this is definitely not in-depth. If it is anything, it's the sort of review you can expect after having worked with Tiger for one day. For real in-depth coverage, take a look at Ars Technica's 20+ page review []. Other worthwhile information can be found on []. And yet another that isn't too bad: the IT-Enquirer []. That site even has a free downloadable eBooklet on Tiger.
  • Read my not so thorough, but more subjective review here [] if you are interested in another user's perspective before you upgrade.

    Also, Dashboard is great!
  • I don't think that it counts as a review if all you do is heap praise on something. That's more like advertising, or stupidity. I usually read reviews for what's wrong with a product moreso than what's right.
  • ... this one's decent as the perspective of someone who's just installed it and not used it. I'm finding the Apple Discussions [] forum to be a much better representation of the reactions thus far. From what I've read, a lot of people really like the upgrade, but it's not without its share of bugs here and there. Thankfully none of them are showstoppers, I'm sure Apple will release a 10.4.1 patch soon, but there are a few features that don't work precisely as advertised.

    One of the weirdest that I've noti
    • iPhoto lets you put comments and keywords on any photo, which is what most people have done.

      Hmm, works for me. I did a Spotlight search for 'kitten' and got the pictures I took a couple weeks ago of my brother's kitten, for which I had entered 'kitten' in the photos' comment boxes.

      I have iLife '05... perhaps that makes a difference.
  • Dashboard Gap!! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by kraka40 ( 99918 )
    Is it me or did Apple really leave a fundamental widget out of the Dashboard like

    I mean WTF! What is a dashboard if it doesn't tell you how well the engine is running. I was amazed that it was not included as a default widget.

    This should come with Tiger. What a shame.
    • What kind of system performance do you want to know, that Activity Monitor doesn't provide? I've got that in my Login Items and always keep the CPU meter running in a corner of my secondary display.

      • Exactly, they should have ported over a Dashboard Widget for the Activity Monitor. If you've got the Dashboard up, why not provide system info ala gauge and graph form in a little window.

        In the systems management world, or IT world for that matter. ... when you talk "Dashboards" people think performance, SLAs, etc.

        I assumed that it would come with a systems performance widget.

        Stupid it doesn't, regardless of what Activity Monitor does or does not do.
  • I agree...this article is not even close to being Slashdot worthy.

"Well, social relevance is a schtick, like mysteries, social relevance, science fiction..." -- Art Spiegelman