The 20 Best New Leopard Features: Page 3

Posted November 5, 2007

Joe Kissell

Joe Kissell

(Page 3 of 4)

#10 Data Detectors in Mail
Another classic Mac OS feature from Way Back When, Data Detectors recycles an old idea in a much more useful form. This actually happened: someone wrote to me and asked if we could do a podcast interview at noon the following Wednesday. All I did was hover my mouse pointer over the text “noon next Wednesday” in the message, and a pop-up menu let me turn it into a schedule item on my calendar in just one click, with the subject of the email message as the title. (iCal even figured out the time zone difference for me, which I thought was extremely clever.) Sweet.

Basically, Mail can look at the text in your email messages and find things that look like names, locations, dates, and so on—and then offer to do useful things with them, such as add them to your Address Book (for contact info) map them (for locations), or put them on your calendar (for dates). It works surprisingly well, and I expect it to save me a lot of clicking and typing as time goes on.

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#11 Enhanced Find in Safari
Many times each day, I find myself looking for some particular word or phrase on a Web page I’ve loaded in Safari. Previously, Safari had a run-of-the-mill modal search dialog; it worked, but it wasn’t especially pretty. Now you can search without opening any new windows. Press Command-F and type a word.

It appears in a narrow bar at the top of your window, and each instance of that word is instantly highlighted on the page. You can cycle forward or back through the found instances by pressing Command-G or Command-Shift-G, respectively. Yes, it’s sort of a knockoff of a feature Firefox has had for a long time, but Safari does it with more style.

#12 Movable Tabs in Safari
If you’re going to have tabbed browsing, it just stands to reason you’ll offer your users a way to rearrange the tabs. Seems like common sense to me. But before now, it took a third-party hack to get Safari to reorder its tabs. Safari 3 not only lets you move tabs around within a window, it lets you drag tabs from one window to another—or into a new, stand-alone window.

In other words, tabbed browsing finally works almost exactly the way you’d intuitively expect it to. It’s about time!

#13 Back to My Mac
Subscribers to Apple’s $99-a-year .Mac service now have a bit more justification for all that money they’re spending. Back to My Mac takes some freakishly complex technology and wraps it up in a pair of features so simple, you might not even realize they’re there.

You can now do something that may have been either extremely difficult or impossible before: access your home Mac, even with intervening routers, firewalls, NAT gateways, and wireless networks, from somewhere else. Or access your office Mac from home. Or whatever.

Basically, as long as any two Macs running Leopard are logged into your .Mac account, you can see either one from the other—for one-click file sharing or screen sharing—as easily when they’re in different cities as when they’re in the same room. All right, it’s a bit more complex than that—you’ll have to select a couple of checkboxes and make sure your networking gear is set up correctly. But the end result is super easy remote networking without weird, confusing, and expensive software.

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