OS X 10.4 "Tiger" thoughts

Vincent Danen

May 08, 2005

Well, I got OS X 10.4 (aka "Tiger") the night it came out.. then spent that night doing backups before I even opened the box. Took me a bit, but worth it because I always do an erase and install... best time to clean up is when installing a new OS. Unfortunately, come Saturday morning, things didn't look so good.

First thing is the DVD verification failed at about 65% on my emac. Tried it three times and no dice; even skipped the verification (on the advice of the geniuses from where I bought it) and it failed during the install. Weird thing is it failed in the same place on my G5, but verified fine on my powerbook. Go figure.

So, brought it back, got a new one, and I was good to go. This one went ok, installed on the emac first... looked good. Installed on the G5 next.. what a mess. Let me tell you... having about 1.5TB of storage and Spotlight indexing right from the get-go is not a good thing. Took about 24hrs to do the indexing and even that was cleaning up a bunch of redundant files (I keep rsync backups of all my servers on a big 500GB drive so it's a lot of little files). Then I also told Spotlight to treat that drive as private. Not really private, but doesn't need to be indexed. Once I did that, things started moving smoother.

A few other rough spots with some apps, noteably with PocketMac Pro which, when I disconnected my iPaq, caused a kernel panic. Apparently they will have a Tiger-certified version out within the first half of this month. Everything else seems to work well.

So now that I've been using Tiger for a few days, how do I find it? Well, I like it. I can't say yet that I like it much better than Panther, but it does feel faster (maybe due to the erase/install, I'm not sure). It seems quite a bit faster on my G5, and feels faster on the powerbook as well. Dashboard hasn't really done anything for me yet. I think the calculator is next to useless (which is the "big" thing for me as far as the stock widgets go)... when you try to divide something, it gives an error. Nice.

Spotlight is pretty cool, and I thought maybe it would replace Launchbar (which I love) as an app launcher. No way. For one, Spotlight returns too many results, and it's slower than Launchbar. So I'm glad I bought Launchbar a while back, even though everyone said Spotlight would do the same thing. It does, but not as efficiently. For me, Spotlight is killer to find stuff nested inside documents and files. That's the thing I like about it. Great search tool (although from the Finder it's a little wonky sometimes... if I do a search for something, sometimes I'll get no results until I capitalize something, even though there are no caps in the filename... go figure). Not sure if the search bit in the Finder is using Spotlight tho. Might not be.

The other thing I'm keen on trying is Automator... but I haven't played with it yet. Sounds like it could be a fantastic time-saver, unfortunately I don't have the time to figure it out. Oh well... maybe in the next few weeks when I finish a few projects. Then I'll be able to play with it.

All in all, I like Tiger. I do have to admit that Apple would do well to have more than one theme for the OS. Thank God for Unsanity's ShapeShifter... I need some variation and style and I honestly prefer the look of Panther to the look of Tiger.

I don't know.. I know of at least one person personally who's had to roll back a machine to Panther. Sucks to be him I guess. I've read some reports from people who have Tiger but don't really think much of some of the new features. I like them all, except Dashboard, but I think it may become more useful once there are more third-party widgets (and once the calculator gets fixed). For the other stuff in Dashboard, that's what I have WeatherDock and wClock for. I don't really have a need for Dashboard.. maybe the stock ticker once I do some more investing on my own, but that's about it.

All in all, I like Tiger. Reading the features on Tiger Server really had me tickled... and irked that I don't have it (or an Xserve to run it on). Some very cool features in there. Would I use OS X server over Annvix? I doubt it. For one, the eye candy that is Aqua has to take a hit on performance that Annvix never will, and let's face it... although the cost of an Xserve is reasonable to other machines in that class it can't beat something like Annvix that I can happily run on an 800MHz duron... who can't get one of those for the fraction of the cost of an Xserve? Sure it may not be as cool looking or as fast, but it can definitely get the job done.

An entry for another day, perhaps. I'll never really know until I get to play with one, but that likely won't ever happen... I can't justify ponying up for that kind of hardware just to tinker... all my important stuff runs on Annvix and I can tweak that far easier and faster than I can OS X. But, as far as Tiger goes... so far I'm enjoying it. Now I just have to wait for my copy of Remote Desktop to show up so I can enjoy the spring/summer weather working outside...

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