Early Tiger Thoughts


Some first impressions on Tiger for the Mac:

Overall I like Tiger, but it’s not life-changer, and I certainly don’t feel the paroxysms of joy over it that other people seem to have felt. I was on the phone with Krissy yesterday after I had installed Tiger and she asked me how it was. I assured her that once I installed it, it optimized my Mac, paid my taxes, resolved my long-standing parental issues and whipped up a light and tasty cheese soufflĂ©. She was skeptical. Well, and who can blame her.

Some more detailed thoughts:

* Clearly, if I’ve managed to download and install the Creatures in My Head widget, I’ve figured out how to play with Tiger’s most-hyped-yet-fundamentally-pointless feature, which is the dashboard. It’s a fun little thing, to be sure, but as others have noted, it doesn’t seem fully baked to me; it basically seems like a way for people to feel clever and arch with their computer, the best example of this being the hula girl widget. Look! A hula girl! Aren’t I wacky and non-conformist! Now excuse me, but I have to get back to writing this ad copy for this here mutual fund. No, I don’t have the hula girl widget on my computer. That’s just silly. I mean, I like the dashboard, but I’m not necessarily convinced it should be a cornerstone achievement of a new operating system.

* Spotlight is rather more useful — useful enough that I’m already frustrated with it because I want it to be able to index files on the network as well, since most of my files are still on my PC although accessible through my Mac. Last night while compiling some information for the Science Fiction film book, I ended up dragging the book’s folder onto the Mac, so Spotlight could index it and I could use it and I could use it track down particular movies. If you’re doing something like that within a few hours of installing an application, that tells you the application is useful. There do seem to be some limitations to Spotlight, but I need to play with it some more to see if those limitations are inherent in the application or inherent in me not knowing how to use the application. But in the short term, at least, thumbs up.

* Other improvements that Tiger brings to the Mac OS are less obvious to me, in part because I’ve only had my Mac for a couple of weeks and the OS’s flaws and problems were not made apparent to me in that time. Most of my “heavy lifting” applications reside on my PC — for example, all of my Photoshopping is done on the Windows Box — with the Mac being used for e-mail, some Web browsing and writing, and it seems to handle those tasks well enough. I also like Safari’s implementation of RSS support, although Firefox is still my browser of choice on the Mac. Other features of the OS, such as the support for video conferencing, mean little to me at the moment since I don’t have the Apple video cam, and it’s unlikely I’m going to shell out $129 or whatever an iSight costs for the purpose of jabbering online.

Overall: B. It’s nice, but at the moment, only Spotlight is doing much for me. I suppose if I were a hardened MacHead, I’d be more impressed with the overall package, but since I’m not, and I had my moment of initial Mac joy a couple of weeks ago, this update is merely an incremental boost. I’m still very happy with my Mac, mind you — it’s quickly become my primary computer (although, ironically, I’m currently writing this on the PC because I still don’t have any useful photo software installed on the Mac). But if I could simply have gotten Spotlight a la carte, I’d probably have done that.