Archive for November, 2007

Leopard: Worth the upgrade?

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Leopard box shotI’ve been on holiday the past seven weeks (I know, lucky me!), so the Leopard launch has somewhat passed me by. The reviews seem generally positive, but is it worth forking out the AUD $158 for the upgrade?

Here’s what I think of the major new features in Leopard – bearing in mind I’ve never actually used it ;) :

New Finder: I actually like Finder in Tiger, though I know a lot of folks complain about it. The new Finder features do sound like they’d help me find things quicker. I love the idea of browsing files in Cover Flow mode, though I’d like to see how well it performs in practice. The new sidebar looks like a big improvement, as does the new Spotlight – finally, boolean searches, and, from what I’ve read, it’s a lot faster too. Tempting to upgrade just to get a decent Spotlight frankly.

Quick Look: Decent previews of files without having to open them sounds like a great time-saver, though again I’d like to see how “quick” it is in the reality of a cluttered hard drive like mine. Though Apple naturally shows off this feature with movies and photos for the wow factor, I reckon it’ll be most useful for previewing PDFs for me. Would upgrade for this feature if it turns out to be genuinely useful.

Time Machine: Great to see a decent backup feature finally built-in to a desktop OS, but it’s nothing you couldn’t already do with rdiff-backup if you’re technically minded (though TM is of course much prettier and works on a per-app basis too). I already use rsync to do my own backups and am perfectly happy with that, so I wouldn’t upgrade to get TM.

New Mail: Stationery – meh. I use plaintext email, thank you very much. :P Notes could be a useful feature, especially if they sync with my Palm notes through Missing Sync, but I feel they’d be better in iCal. I like the ability to access them via IMAP though. To-dos in Mail seem a bit frivolous too, but then again, iCal’s RSI-inducing interface sucks so badly that any other way of entering to-dos would be a blessing. Faster searches and RSS are nice improvements, but again, not sure they’re worth forking out for. (more…)

How to work in the dark without eyestrain

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

If you’ve ever worked on a computer for long periods late at night with the lights dimmed, you’ve probably ended up with a headache or eyestrain by the end of it. The obvious way round this is not to work late at night, but if deadlines are looming and you have to pull an all-night session then you’ll find Blacktree’s little Nocturne app very useful.

The theory behind Nocturne, and other similar apps, is that viewing white on black is a lot easier on the eye than black on white. Therefore they invert the colours of your Mac display so that most of the screen is black, or dark, while text appears white, or light.

You can achieve a similar effect via the Universal Access preference pane in System Preferences, but Nocturne produces much better results. For example, you can tweak Nocturne’s colour settings so that the inverted colours look more natural, and you can also hide the desktop background to further remove distractions.

Give it a go – it’s free! :)