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21 gripes with Apple Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

Leopard's good, here's how to make it great

Apple's Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard operating system upgrade is full of good stuff, but there's room for improvement. Lots and lots of it. We asked Harry McCracken - editor of PC Advisor's US sister title PC World, and an avowed Mac fan - to list his gripes, requests and puzzlements.

17. Unless I'm missing something, the DVD Player's thumbnail-generating menu item doesn't show up at all if you're watching a movie in full screen mode.

18. Web Clips, which let you grab part of a web page and turn it into an auto-refreshing widget for Dashboard, are one of my favourite new features in Leopard. But I'm not sure why the feature in Safari that lets you do the grabbing is called "Open this page in Dashboard" rather than "Create a Web Clip".

19. And when you flip a Web Clip around in Dashboard to access its options, you get the cool 3D flipping effect - but Web Clip widgets' backsides are all the same size, so the widget changes size as it flips in a way that doesn't make sense.

(Both these complaints about Web Clips are picky and don't impact the feature's basic usefulness - but OS X's general fit and finish are so high that it's always startling when a particular aspect is clunky.)

20. This is anecdotal evidence based on one install of the OS, but I've had enough odd quirks since I installed Leopard to leave me thinking that cautious types should wait a few weeks for a version that incorporates Apple's first round of bug fixes.

As I write this, DVD Player has frozen on my MacBook. And when I tried to use Force Quit to kill it, I couldn't even get that feature to appear. (I don't think that's ever happened to me before - normally, Force Quit is wonderfully reliable compared to its counterpart in Windows.)

21. If Steve Jobs inexplicably allowed me to decree that one feature be added to OS X, I wouldn't have to think for a nanosecond about what to ask for. It would be that the OS let me maximise windows so they fill the entire screen, letting me use all the screen real estate for one app and eliminating the distraction of other windows on my desktop.

(That's what maximising does in Windows; in OS X, maximising simply enlarges the window to the size that the OS believes is adequate to hold the content in the window in question.)

I'm far from the only person who wants this, and there are various third-party techniques for making it happen, although I haven't found any that are very satisfying.

With the exception of my stability concerns, none of the above gripes are gigantic or reasons to avoid Leopard altogether. Some are probably fixable with tips or third-party software; some are things that Apple will address sooner or later; there may even be instances where I've misunderstood the functionality that Leopard provides right out of the box.

If you've got comments on my quibbles - or quibbles of your own - post a comment with your thoughts. And as I live with Leopard, I'll report back with further compliments and criticisms...

Harry McCracken


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