The 20 Best New Leopard Features: Page 2

Posted November 5, 2007
By

Joe Kissell

Joe Kissell


(Page 2 of 4)

#6: Resizable Text Fields in Safari
How many times have you been typing something into a form on a Web page—a blog editor or a contact page, say—and found that the designer in his or her wisdom had only left you four lines for what should clearly be an entire page’s worth of text? The Leopard version of Safari nicely fixes that by putting a little resize control in the lower right corner of text entry fields in Web forms. If the field isn’t big enough, just drag to resize it as you wish. Such a tiny thing, but I’ve already used it dozens of times and found that it significantly reduces the amount of clicking and scrolling I have to do.

#7: iChat Theater
I live in Paris now, which makes it just a teensy bit more complicated than it was last year to give presentations at Mac user group meetings in the U.S.—one of my favorite things ever. I’ve done it remotely by video, using an iSight camera, but I had to have a confederate on the other end running my slide show, switching windows, and so forth.

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Now, however, I can run everything on my end: pop a Keynote presentation right into a live video chat and run it myself, show PDFs, graphics, or other files...pretty much anything I want, with all the 3D goodness we’ve come to expect from Apple. I can even ask for permission to take control of the remote machine in order to demonstrate software. It’s great for my travel budget, if not so good for eye contact and personal interaction.

#8: Quick Look
To be honest, I thought Quick Look was kind of silly the first time I saw it. “Oh, look: you can get a preview of a PDF without opening it!” Well, great, but it only takes 1.5 seconds longer to launch Preview; what’s the big deal? It turns out that those 1.5-second delays add up. Sometimes you just want to know what’s in a document—whether it’s a Word file, a Photoshop graphic, a text file, or whatever—without so much as a tiny delay to open an application, and without cluttering your Dock and your RAM with yet another thing you’ll probably forget to quit.

It truly doesn’t get any easier than this: select a file and hit the spacebar. As Steve Jobs would say, “Boom!” There’s your document. Or at least a full-size, scrollable preview of it.

#9 To-Dos in Mail
There’s a strong temptation to use one’s Inbox as a to-do list. I’ve fought this for years; it seemed like I could never clean out my Inbox because a lot of those messages represented tasks I had to complete, and I wanted them to stay there as a reminder of what needed to be done. I didn’t want to keep looking at the actual email message, of course, but the notion of opening iCal (or whichever other schedule program) and creating a new to-do tem for each message seemed cumbersome and silly. Well, no more.

Now I can take a message in Mail (or even an individual line in one of Mail’s new notes) and, with a click, turn it into a to-do task. I can assign alarms, categories, and a due date if I wish; it’ll then sync automatically with iCal and with .Mac. It’s a boon to my productivity, plus it helps keep my Inbox itself down to a more manageable size.


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