Sunday, September 13, 2009

Snow Leopard is pretty "cool" but still doesn't have some things I'd like to see

I've been using Snow Leopard for over a week now. I'm quite pleased with the performance boost (it actually makes the first core2 based MacMinis usable) and don't really mind the absence of feature creep/bloat. It looks like this was a targeted effort and Apple seems to have hit the mark quite aptly.

Unfortunately there are some things that still aren't quite right for me with OS X that I'd hoped would have been addressed with the bring forth of this frosted feline.

  • Multiple identities - This is long overdue. Apple back has welts from how often they pat themselves there for innovation and usability. Some how they have overlooked the basic fact that many people use email with a basic many to one configuration. I have email from over 50 addresses pointing to one email account where everything is sorted and stored. Unfortunately I have no way of creating different sender profiles/identities. NOTE: I'm aware of the ability to use comma separated values in the email address field for a selectable list of From: addresses but that doesn't affect the signature, name or other identity information.

  • Address Affinity - Apple's allows you to specify multiple sender addresses by simply populating the Email address field with each address you want to use separated by commas. Unfortunately when replying to incoming messages there are no checks against said list of addresses. Thus if your Email address field contains "you@x.dom, you@xy.dom, you@xyz.dom" and receive a message addressed to you@xyz.dom, hitting reply won't sent the appropriate From: address. Instead it will just use the first entry in the list of comma separated values.


  • Smart Folders - It would be great to be able to create a doc stack form smart folders.

  • Resize - Resizing grid view would be nice (I'm glad we can at least scroll now).

  • Custom Icon - Setting an Icon/image for you stacks would be a really nice thing to be able to do.

App Switching:

  • Specific Windows - Using the Command Key + Tab will let you switch from one app the the next. Once you're in the appropriate app you can choose a specific window with the Command Key + back tick (`) or tilde (~). It would be great if we could just switch to a specific window with something like the Option Key + Tab. I know there are add-ons that provide this functionality but it's long overdue for inclusion as a core feature of the core interface.

  • X11 Apps - Aqua treats all X apps as separate windows of the one X11 process. So if you're running xterm and xcalc at the same time Command + (`) will cycle through all windows for both applications indiscriminately. Apple should start treating X11 windows as first class citizens.

Command line:

  • Bash version - It would have been nice to see bash updated to version 4.x. I'm not a bash fan ( I prefer ksh93 for scripting and zsh for interactive use because they are cleaner, lighter, faster and more robust) but just makes sense to at least have it included as an option. They could have installed it as /bin/bash4.

  • Vim version - still on 7.2.108 could have been updated.

  • - It had some problems with color overlaying that should be addressed. Light Black over Black doesn't come out right (at least not on my systems especially in mutt). It works fine with Putty, xterm, rxvt, and Iterm.

Overall I'm pleased with the updates in Snow Leopard. The boost in performance is quite welcome. Hopefully the next update has some more substance to it.

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