Fixing Leopard

[2008-03-29] apple, computers, leopard, mac
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There are a few small things wrong with Leopard. But they can be easily fixed:

  • During installation, you should customize (via buttons in the installer) twice:
    • Erase and install: If possible, don't upgrade, your install will be a lot cleaner.
    • Installed packages: You probably don't need all language localizations and all printer drivers and will then save a lot of hard drive space.
  • Dock: I like the dock to the right and at the top. The latter can only be done via utilities such as TinkerTool.
  • iTunes store links: Are handy, but only get you to the store. The following shell command fixes that. Now the links navigate your music library and if you hold option you can still get to the store.
    defaults write invertStoreLinks -bool YES
  • Shortcuts: can be changed via "Keyboard & Mouse -> Keyboard Shortcuts". Two examples of shortcuts that are broken with German keyboards:
    • Move focus to next window in active application: Also known as cycling through windows. Hard to type on a German keyboard.
    • Show help menu: Clashes with Eclipse's "toggle comment".
  • Safari: Show the status bar (which shows the URL when hovering over links) via "View -> Show Status Bar".
  • Finder: Show the path bar via "View -> Show Path Bar". It is very handy, especially with Spotlight, because it shows the path of the current selection, not of the current window.
  • Sleep display: You can do so on command (the computer runs, the display doesn't) via "Expose & Spaces -> Expose -> Active Screen Corners -> Sleep Display". This makes a lot more sense than a screen saver.
  • Sending an SMS: Wow, this one is a biggie. Tiger could send and display recieved SMSes via a Bluetooth-paired cell phone. In Leopard this feature is gone. Sending SMSes via iChat (only works in the US), AOL internet messenger or Skype (costs money) is possible, but you have to be online to do that (on the plus side, you don't need a cell phone then). Fortunately there is the widget emitSMS that at least brings sending SMSes back.
  • Switch off the translucent menu bar: System Preferences -> Desktop & Screen Saver, uncheck "Translucent Menu Bar".
If you want a list of little details that work well in Leopard I recommend the artice "10.5: Liste der lieblichen Feinheiten" (in German).

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