I realize this is not a breaking-news review, as Leopard has been out since last fall, but it doesn't hurt to give it a look now that it's been out and updated.

I'm a Mac fan in general, I'll admit it. After dealing with Windows for about 12 years I was fed up. In the summer of '07 I bought a shiny new MacBook Pro with an Intel processor.

It came with Tiger but I've since upgraded to Leopard, and I love it. The Spaces feature essentially provides up to 16 virtual desktops (possibly more on newer computers, I don't know). This is great for organization. I personally have all my communication applications bound to one space, which means whenever I open them they open up in that specific space. I have my web browsers in a 2nd, and my media players in a 3rd. Finally all of my applications that can be productive are in a 4th, such as my office suite programs. This way I won't get distracted while working, my chat windows won't clutter up my media, etc.

Dashboard is still wonderful, with all its little widgets. I find it to be superior to Vista's little widget doo-dad because it doesn't take up any screen space when not in use.

Expose, allowing you to easily see all your open windows arranged in front of you, has not changed, which is just fine. It's a great thing and needs no fixing.

TimeMachine is another great app. It's an automatic back-up program that backs up every hour, then a single backup for every day of the month. I don't know how it compresses them after that, I haven't run out of room on my drive yet. When looking at your backups, it arranges them so that you see what was on the desktop at any given time, but can search through the files normally, as if it weren't a backup. Apple recommends their pricey (but wireless) external drive, TimeCapsule, but I find my Western Digital MyBook works perfectly for it. (Unless you purchase an external drive that writes insanely fast, there's no need to get one with FireWire connectivity, as most drives cannot write faster than a standard USB 2.0 connection can deliver information)

QuickLook is an interesting feature I haven't used a whole lot, but may start doing so. The option to use QuickLook shows up if you right-click on a file. Basically, it allows you to view your file without actually opening up the program. If you're looking for a file this can be handy, especially if the application that is used to open it takes a while to load .
One thing I liked was that Leopard comes with X11 already installed, which is needed to run some Linux- or Windows-based programs. Though it was an optional install with Tiger, I had a hell of a time getting it to work.

The only thing I've found that I do not like about Leopard is the interface and controls for the firewall have changed. You can no longer set it to allow or deny specific ports, but must rather tell it to allow or deny individual applications.

If you have a Mac, you should upgrade to Leopard immediately. If you're still using a Windows machine, you should consider switching. The interface is very user-friendly and easy to learn. As I said, I'd been using Windows operating systems for 12 years, but I could do almost anything I needed to do easily within a week of getting this computer.

Reviewed by: Cap'n Commie



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    July 2008



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