What you’ll find in my Leopard… and what you won’t

  • November 8th, 2007

I had made plans for a proper break-down concerning the features, changes, and updates for Apple’s latest feline incarnation – 10.5 Leopard. Ultimately, I decided that there had been far too many of those posts that I couldn’t justify one of my own. Rather, I’ve decided – with proper motivation from a few individuals – to share what you all might find if allotted some one-on-one time with my computer(s).

A salute to 3rd party developers, you have all inspired Apple

Before I continue, I would like to take a few minutes to salute a handful of third party developers whose little application “babies” may have been completely replaced by features integrated within Leopard.

Apple Leopard Stacks resemble Stunt Software - Overflow

To the developers at Stunt Software (creators of On The Job), Overflow was sooo awesome it may not be that surprising that Stacks [Grid] bore a striking resemblance.

System Preferences - Apple Spaces

To the developers of VirtueDesktops, your virtual desktop(s) solution was by far the best method for expanding a workspace. I will never forget that slap to change desktops trick (hack) – SlapBook. Alas, 10.5 Spaces is as integrated of a virtual desktops solution as there can be.

Tabbed windows for iChatTo the creator of the ever so popular iChat enhancement – Chax. You did everything right for iChat that Apple should have done from the very start. Why it took Apple so long for tabbed windows and proper account management is beyond me. Chax was the first bit of software I installed after a clean disk wipe.

Apple Leopard Time MachineTo the developer of SuperDuper, I owe you for saving me from premature baldness after random HDD failure. You made backing-up data as easy as putting on socks. Although Apple has a solid backup solution with Time Machine, having the original Leopard install DVD at hand for a restore is a definite pain in the arse. As soon as SuperDuper is 100% Leopard compatible, I’m coming back. Until then, “Scotty, we need more power…”

Apple Leopard SpotlightQuicksilver, it was hard to let go, but Spotlight really cleaned-up and became the search tool it was supposed to be. I know I’m giving up quite a bit with the ever so useful plugins, but Spotlight really has something – deep document and file search with speed to match. From what I’ve gathered, Spotlight is just as fast, if not faster than Quicksilver [as an application launcher] on a variety of configured machines.

Apple Coverflow

And finally, to Steel Skies and their Coverflow technology. After Apple’s questionable inspiration followed-up by an intellectual rights acquisition, it was only natural that Apple integrate the file browsing technology throughout most of its operating system. Coverflow will surely find its way into other aspects of Apple Software as foreseen by Chris M.

What you’ll find in my clean Leopard install

A large percentage of current Leopard users opted for a simple upgrade from Tiger. I, on the other hand, decided that I would take the opportunity of a clean install to decide which applications were a must, and which were a bust.

In addition to the usual iLife applications like iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, and Garageband for “fun”, productivity needs are handled by iWork – Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. Until Office 2008 is officially released, I can’t comment on whether or not iWork will remain my main office tools.

Other non-Apple applications installed on to the hard drive?

  • Adobe Creative Suite Web Premium – A complete tool set for work, work, and play. I still find it hard to stomach the ~$1,500 pricetag. When the software is considered industry standard, there really is no way of getting around the entrance fee. Right?
  • CSSEdit – Initially, I had my doubts about whether or not I could justify purchasing a license for a tool which specialized in nothing but CSS creation, testing, and debugging. I was wrong. CSSEdit has proven to be an invaluable asset for editing websites in real-time. The added X-Ray tool, stylesheet override, and code completion come in handy from time to time as well.
  • Firefox – Since Leopard and Safari 3, I’ve relegated nearly 90% of my internet browsing time to Safari, with the remaining 10% in Firefox. You really can’t beat the Firebug extension.
  • Handbrake – Nearly every memorable DVD I have is made available digitally for in-house streaming thanks to this handy little application. Pop a DVD in, select your output quality level, and rip a copy as backup.
  • Little Snitch – This allows me to monitor, approve, or disapprove network traffic coming in or out from my computer. Use this in unison with the OS X [flimsy] Firewall for complete control over your internet traffic. Make sure to grab the latest [beta] version if you’re on Leopard.
  • Mailplane – Although Gmail new IMAP support provides an even more convincible reason to switch to Mail, I can’t help but keep a copy of Rubben’s Mailplane. Think of it as a specialized wrapper for all of your Google email accounts. Not only that, the application is developed by an individual devoted to delivering quality while corresponding with users on a personal basis. [Check out my review: Mailplane, Gmail will replace your desktop email client]
  • PandoraJam – A Pandora wrapper for music without the need to keep Safari or Firefox running. Additional benefits? Automatic recording and song slicing / import into iTunes. Perfect for creating one-off playlists in iTunes.
  • Pukka – I use del.icio.us to easily manage my bookmarks online. Pukka makes the task as easy as possible. Add the ‘Send to Pukka’ bookmarklet for quick posting to your account.
  • SmartSVN – Subversion wrapped in a decent Java GUI. I loathe the command line and SmartSVN keeps me sane while collaborating with co-workers. It’s not the prettiest client on the planet – I’m waiting for Versions to finally turn into something tangible.
  • TextMate – A personal favorite for plain text editing and web development; edit projects, code folding, themes, bundles, and custom snippets.
  • Transmit – Panic’s S/FTP client for OS X. The interface continues to look the same, but the features continue to improve with each release. Current favorite due to Amazon S3 droplet support for quick remote backups.
  • Perian – Not exactly an application, but an enhancement for QuickTime video file playback. Before Perian, it became customary to make VLC one of my first application downloads after a clean installation. Not anymore.
  • VMware Fusion – I dropped Parallels like a bad habit after VMware Fusion [beta] was released. From my own experience, Fusion is much lighter on system resources while virtualizing Windows XP & Vista.
  • VLC – I digress. VLC is back on the machine after I discovered that the one two Quicktime + Perian combo does not support HD .mkv file format rips. +1 for Arnold.

So there you have it, a lightweight list of “my necessary” applications after a Fresh installation of Leopard. Notable applications that would have been installed on Tiger: Quicksilver and Growl. What applications do you insist as requirements after a fresh Leopard install? Are there any major changes in habit from OS X Tiger?