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  • The Leopard Report: Time for One More Wish List

    March 8th, 2007

    All right, it’s pretty clear that you won’t be rushing to your favorite Apple Store in the next few weeks to acquire a copy of Leopard. Not because you won’t be interested, but because an exact shipping date hasn’t been announced. The original hopes for a January release are long gone, and hopes for a March arrival have pretty much vanished as well.

    If you must know, my new “drop-dead” date is June, in close proximity to Apple’s WWDC.

    So speculation about Leopard’s final feature set might as well continue, since we really don’t know what it’ll be. Even the rumor sites haven’t been very illuminating, almost as if their sources have dried up or their imaginations have failed them. Or a combination of both.

    So I might as well make a few more suggestions — or perhaps just repeat myself in the hope that I’ll make an impression on some of Apple’s developers. Or at least keep the discussion sharply focused, which is the best I can hope for.

    The more I look at the present features of Mac OS X, the more I focus on the Finder and its serious performance shortcomings. Whenever I do manual backup of a folder to more than one external drive, I feel the pain, with spinning beachballs and long delays in trying to get things done. It’s not just the Finder, as most of you know, but other functions on your Mac that are impacted by this inability to perform a few copying operations.

    The process of checking my messages in Entourage 2004, for example, slow to a crawl, as if the entire operating system was under severe stress. These symptoms spread to access pages in Firefox and other functions. My desktop Mac, by the way, is a Power Mac G5 Quad, with 4.5GB of RAM. It was a whole lot worse on a previous-generation G5.

    All this appears to happen because the Finder doesn’t handle multithreading properly. And I haven’t even discussed the consequences of prematurely disconnecting a network server. Try it some time and you’ll see what I mean.

    But you know this, and you have to wonder how this sort of aberrant behavior has persisted through five versions of Mac OS X. When the new Finder was first demonstrated by Steve Jobs, he made a big deal of such new features viewing by columns, preview icons and all the rest. You know he’s an absolute perfectionist, so why isn’t he cracking the whip and demanding that the Finder engineers get their acts together and fix the problems?

    Now maybe I’m whistling in the dark here. Maybe Leopard will have the new Finder that you and I have been lusting after for six years now. More to the point, perhaps there are another 200 spectacular features that are just waiting in the wings until Apple decides to pull the curtains off the final feature set.

    But I’ll go on, because we’re still being kept in the dark, being forced to regurgitate the same old comments about Time Machine, Spaces, a fancier iChat, Mail and all the rest. Well, maybe someone else, because I have nothing new to say about this stuff.

    On the other hand, just what is the competition offering anyway? Features, such as speedy search, which Apple has had since 2005 and “gadgets” instead of “widgets.” Oh yes, improved security, but that remains to be seen. To be sure, early reports have it that people aren’t rushing to embrace Windows Vista. Maybe there is justice in this world after all.

    Maybe people will buy the best product after all, if they’re exposed to it, and they are finally fed up with those $400 PCs that become virus infested and act as if they’re immersed in quicksand after a few weeks.

    Maybe they will believe the fundamental truths behind those Mac versus PC TV ads, if you can forget about the sly humor and the usual exaggerations that accompany a normal commercial campaign.

    As to my ultimate Leopard feature, well it’s not so much a revamped Finder, although that would help. I’m more interested in overall speed and stability. It doesn’t really matter if this application is platinum, another is brushed metal, or some grayish tinge. I just want it to work right, and if I can use even a dozen or two of the expected 200 new features, I’ll be satisfied. Well, mostly anyway.



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    12 Responses to “The Leopard Report: Time for One More Wish List”

    1. Bill Gray says:

      I totally agree with you about the Finder. Sometimes I call it the “Non” Finder after getting the spinning beachball of death.

      I heard Bill Gates on the Today show when Vista was released. He said Vista is the only OS to have parental controls built in. Is he hallucinating?

    2. I totally agree with you about the Finder. Sometimes I call it the “Non” Finder after getting the spinning beachball of death.

      I heard Bill Gates on the Today show when Vista was released. He said Vista is the only OS to have parental controls built in. Is he hallucinating?

      He’s also been quoted as believing that the Mac is also affected by malware on a daily basis. Bob LeVitus talked about that on this week’s episode of my tech show.

      Oh well..

      Peace,
      Gene

    3. Brad says:

      When I got my new MacBook Pro, I was excited since out of the box the Finder exhibited very snappy behavior compared to my former G5 desktop. However, I was quickly disappointed as I added my own items and programs (mostly Universal Binary), the Finder started lunking along like before, not as snappy, etc (even with maxed out memory). Don’t get me wrong, I love my Macs. But I agree with you, the current finder is getting old and needs a revamp.

      Brad

    4. John Davis says:

      Gates does halluinate. It seems that most of his communication is non-sequitur. Like many of his products, he is out of touch with the real world.

      As for the Finder, I have beefs too. BUT, we should think ourselves lucky. It’s still way and above what Windows has, and with QuickSilver, it’s dynamite!

      John Davis

    5. Mark says:

      I agree that the finder needs to be fixed. I’m using a Sawtooth single processor powermac running at a blazing 450MHz and the finder annoys me at times.

      Some things I’d also like to see in Leopard:
      1) A feature like the great classic shareware app called TASKMENUBAR.
      2) QE2D working.

    6. gopher says:

      Entourage’s shortcomings have nothing to do with the Finder, and everything to do with the design of Entourage itself. Entourage uses a single database file which can easily become corrupted. There is a database optimizer on Microsoft’s Office folder for Entourage, but sometimes that can’t fix Entourage’s problems. Because of its “All your eggs in one basket approach” I’ve given up on Entourage and moved to Apple’s own applications. http://www.macmaps.com/entouragemigration.html explains how.

    7. Entourage’s shortcomings have nothing to do with the Finder, and everything to do with the design of Entourage itself. Entourage uses a single database file which can easily become corrupted. There is a database optimizer on Microsoft’s Office folder for Entourage, but sometimes that can’t fix Entourage’s problems. Because of its “All your eggs in one basket approach” I’ve given up on Entourage and moved to Apple’s own applications. http://www.macmaps.com/entouragemigration.html explains how.

      Actually, just hold down the Option key when you start Entourage to optimize the database. It doesn’t require finding the actual application.

      And the particular problem I report has nothing to do with database corruption either.

      Peace,
      Gene

    8. megaphone says:

      Although the Finder is anemic, it’s certainly usable. But when you demand better form and function it simply feels like its been glued together. The discussion on its schizophrenic behavior has gone on for years now between users and developers.

      So the million-dollar question to Apple is; why so reluctant to address one of the most universally loathed pieces of software in ‘the worlds most advanced operating system’? The only thing I can think of is maybe a new one has in fact been in the works for sometime and Tigers Finder was a band-aid. Well, that’s what I tell myself. So like others I’m hoping we’ll see something new in Leopard.

      Either that or phones and digital media are just too important right now.

    9. Although the Finder is anemic, it’s certainly usable. But when you demand better form and function it simply feels like its been glued together. The discussion on its schizophrenic behavior has gone on for years now between users and developers.

      So the million-dollar question to Apple is; why so reluctant to address one of the most universally loathed pieces of software in ‘the worlds most advanced operating system’? The only thing I can think of is maybe a new one has in fact been in the works for sometime and Tigers Finder was a band-aid. Well, that’s what I tell myself. So like others I’m hoping we’ll see something new in Leopard.

      Either that or phones and digital media are just too important right now.

      Or none of the above. Time will tell. But I hope you’re right, at least about the prediction in paragraph two 🙂

      Peace,
      Gene

    10. Damon says:

      I’m looking forward to Leopard if for no other reason than to read John Siracusa’s review. Am I a geek?

    11. I’m looking forward to Leopard if for no other reason than to read John Siracusa’s review. Am I a geek?

      Probably 🙂

      Peace,
      Gene

    12. william lomas says:

      hi all. i, as a blind user using voice over in tiger, want better accessibility to the internet. also, i would love voice recognition. one thing vista does have going for it, is the ability to dictate e mails, open aps do everything. if mac is so quote great, quote, why cant we dictate documents? for leopard to be mind blowing i want the ability as a foreign language tudent, english beeing my main language to be able to dictate in english, french or geman, whenever i wish, lol. regards, will.

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