I upgraded to Leopard over the weekend after borrowing a friends copy, since I just couldn’t wait for mine to arrive (thanks Coda!), and its been overall a Good Thing. Leopard has brought us new versions of just about every app in OS X. The most notable ones, for me, are Mail, iCal, Terminal, Spaces, and Stacks.
Mail got an iTunes-like sidebar and a little Mail Activity status area (yes, there are other things like Notes and Todos, but I haven’t bothered to use them yet). The update coincided with GMail’s addition of IMAP, a long-awaited feature especially for us iPhone users. My previous solution of forwarding all my accounts to a fastmail.fm account is pretty much defunct. Setting up GMail’s IMAP on two accounts with a combined message count of 17,904 was not a fun experience. Now that Ive set it up and tweaked a few things it seems to be humming along quite nicely, Inbox Zero style. Heres what I recommend you do if you’re going to set up IMAP with Gmail:
- Log into gmail.com
- Archive everything (except stuff you haven’t dealt with yet)
- Delete all your labels (maybe, see below for an explanation)
- Enable IMAP under Settings
- Add the GMail account to Mail.app (Ill call it Personal)
- On the sidebar in Mail select Personal → [Gmail] → Sent Mail, then choose the Mailbox → Use This Mailbox For → Sent
- Do the same for Trash, Junk, and Drafts
- Install Mail Act-On (might require some Terminal tweaking)
- Create an archive rule called Act-On: y | Archive and say that if its in Personal to move the message to Personal → [Gmail] → All Mail
- Repeat #9 for each other account you have
Now you’ll have the ability to get to that holy grail of email, Inbox Zero, with more ease than before. Under this setup you’ll have an inbox, but it’ll be empty most of the time. The email you’ve dealt with will be archived and will be visible in Mail under Personal → [Gmail] → All Mail and under All Mail on gmail.com. Oh, and about step #3.. when Gmail first came out and told us search, don’t sort and gave us labels I thought I understood what to do, but what I ended up doing was pretty much sorting email into labels, going totally against how Gmail is set up. What I discovered is that labels should only be for emails that you still have an active interest in, otherwise you’re just sorting and filing. In GTD-speak thats only use labels for emails that still have an action associated with them. By the way, this applies locally to Mail.app as well. Get rid of your folders. You only need Smart Mailboxes and search. Try it, you’ll like it.
The only thing that looks the same (almost) in this version of iCal is the events view. Everything else has been tweaked. The mini-calendar is more legible and larger. The list of calendars has, like Mail, been iTunes-ified. The biggest change is the dropping of the edit drawer in favor of a popup. My only complaint with it is that I don’t understand why they went with a drop shadow under the text boxes inside rather than a fuzzy blue border like in Safari.
So Terminal has real preferences now, and tabs. The former is nice, but I’ve already set things up so I doubt it’ll have much effect. The latter has been mitigated by the fact that I use screen. Oh well, they’re welcome additions anyway. Thanks Apple!
This is probably the best new feature in Leopard as far as Im concerned. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about Time Machine, but mostly because it’ll encourage other people to back up more, making the Mac ecosystem a better place to be. Most of the other things in Leopard are not really big-ticket items, but are nevertheless cool to have. I’m still noticing little things, like the fact that ⌘⇧4 (grab selection) now has coordinates and dimension numbers nice touch!
Anyway, Spaces is exactly what Virtue Desktops and Desktop Manager should have been. The animation is exactly right (windows slide off the screen in the direction of motion, the pager comes onto the screen with the arrow inside the old space pointing to the new one), windows that live on all spaces are supported and predictably stay put when switching spaces. Dragging apps around when viewing all spaces is dead simple, and Exposé even works in that view. All-in-all, Im very impressed with their implementation of virtual desktops.
Ive only got the default stacks in my dock right now (Downloads and Documents), but I’m digging this feature already enough to make me leave the Dock visible and put it on the left side. So now the Dock does have a use for me: My Active Stuff. I removed all apps from it, so only running ones show up. I can easily click on the stacks in the dock, pull out the thing I want to mess with, and either open it or drag it to an application (usually opening folders in TextMate).
Despite the best laid plans of mice and men, Ruby is still broken under Leopard. Not as broken as Tiger, mind you, but broken is broken. So Im sticking with my Tiger setup of using MacPorts for everything. Oh well.
- Spanning Sync went bonkers and now wants to delete all my iCal events.
- 1Password refused to work at first, but has been updated for Leopard and now works just as before
- Pyro and Safari 3 are feuding, and as a result you cant upload files in Pyro
So all in all Im quite pleased with the upgrade, and I recommend you check out the Ars Technica review for more. It has already changed the way I work for the better, though how much of that is coincident Im not sure yet.