Leopard Tidbits

On the weekend, I did something semi-unusual: I installed a major new operating system on the day of it’s release. This is only semi-unusual because my hesitation only applies to Microsoft operating systems. On Linux, I’d install the latest and greatest of everything, and then potentially spend a few hours cleaning up the mess I’d made (remember, the purpose was to play, not get any work done).

In any case, Leopard Day arrived and I happily set about installing it on my Macbook Pro after making a full system backup on my new Seagate FreeAgent Go external drive. I’d be interested to see a correlation between external hard drive sales and the release of Leopard, as I’m fairly certain you’d see a fairly hefty spike. As an aside, the FreeAgent is a nice little drive that satisfies my major requirements: lightweight, and bus powered (meaning it doesn’t need an external power supply). It’s not overwhelmingly fast (it took about 3 hours for SuperDuper! to archive my 70gigs of data), but once Time Machine gets running I don’t notice it at all.

It’s taken a few days to get fully comfortable with Leopard. I have run across a few annoyances (and bugs) but the good definitely outweighs the bad.

Without further padding the content of this post, here’s a collection of thoughts and tweaks related to Leopard that you might find interesting:

  • The Address Book no longer has support for Bluetooth devices. This is disappointing, but Blue Phone Elite looks like a good replacement for that functionality, as well as what Proximity provides.
  • On a related note, Proximity seems to work just fine, as does everything else in my Calendar Synchronization post (excepting, of course, the Address Book SMS stuff).
  • Quicksilver was picking up the backup copies of my applications from the Time Machine drive. To disable this, in Quicksilver select Catalog / Applications and de-select “Find All Applications”
  • Spotlight was finding stuff on my Time Machine drive as well. I’m not sure if this happens to everyone, as the drive wasn’t empty when I initially plugged it in, and various posts in the Apple discussion groups seem to indicate it’s not a common problem. Solved by adding the Time Machine backup directory to Spotlight’s Privacy page.
  • Spaces is great, but I wish it were a little more configurable. I run a multi-monitor setup most of the time (laptop sits open to one side of an external monitor). What I would really like is to have separate “spaces” for each monitor. Unfortunately, Spaces sees the two monitors as one large workspace, and switching to a new space swaps both. I would prefer to have Mail, iCal and iTunes open on the laptop monitor at all times, but setting those apps to “All Spaces” makes a big mess when I disconnect the laptop and run as a single screen.
  • Spaces seems to have several bugs related to switching applications. In truth, I don’t know if these are bugs in the apps or in Spaces, but certain apps don’t behave themselves very well. For example, Cmd-Tabbing to Firefox will send me back to the correct Space but not activate Firefox. Adium doesn’t seem to respect the “All Spaces” command very well. And Photoshop CS3 has trouble with it’s fading UI elements when you activate it from another Space. None of these are show-stoppers, but hopefully they will get resolved fairly soon.
  • The FreeAgent Go comes with a double-headed USB connector – one for data, and one for power. Turns out, you only need the data plug connected on the Macbook Pro. This is nice, as the MBP only has 2 USB ports and they are on opposite sides of the machine. The additional power connector is, allegedly, only required for certain laptops that don’t provide enough power over a single port. Fair enough, but the MBP does so you can forgo plugging them both in.
  • I’ve had a few power-related issues since the update. Once, the system crashed when waking from sleep. On another occasion, the system refused to power down. Finder stopped, but the OS hung showing nothing but desktop. I have a suspicion this is related to Bluetooth devices (doh!). I’ve also had a few occasions where, when reconnecting the external monitor, I log in and the system immediately goes to sleep. I can wake it and log in immediately with no harm, but it’s still odd. I’m considering resetting the system manager to see if that clears things up.