Thursday, November 1, 2007

Leopard - First Glance

Mac OS X 10.5 a.k.a Leopard has been the hot topic around town lately. While getting my first Mac is exciting, learning how to use Leopard or accustom to Mac OS X is another adventure.

Here are some noticeable differences working in Windows environment and Mac OS X:
  • Keyboard - As all Macs come with the "Command" key, which I found acts very similar to "Ctrl" key in Windows. Although Mac keyboard also comes with Ctrl, Alt, and Shift. Most of the "Ctrl" key function in Windows are the same with "Command" key function. For example, under Firefox, a new tab is "Ctrl-T", and with Safari, a new tab is "Command-T". Find is "Ctrl-F" under Windows and Mac is "Command-T". I am glad to see this similarity because that makes the transition easier and normally I just have to guess the key.
  • Windows menu bar - Under Windows, all window has their own menu bar (File, Edit, View, etc). In Mac OS X, all windows share the same menu bar (with various menu item depending on the application). Also I think all of them share the same common key shortcut too, for example, "Command-," will bring you to the preferences setting for each application.
  • Close,Minimise and Maximise - The button group is located at the top left of each window rather than top right in windows. Although in Windows, you can change them using different themes, such as WindowBlinds, AquaSoft, etc.
  • Dock - This is the unique signature of Mac OS X where it acts like the "Quick Launch" under windows but looks nicer. Also in Leopard, it comes with the concept of "Stack",  whereby you can organise your items under a folder in Dock. When you click on the Stack folder, it will spring out in a "Fan" or "Grid" mode.
  • Spaces - I love spaces very much. Being a Linux user too, I have discovered the effectiveness of using Spaces quite a while ago. Spaces allow you to organise your work into different workspace so that it would not clutter with too much application windows. The new Spaces that comes with Leopard enhance the experience where you can switch to different Spaces instantly by using shortcut key "Command+arrow key" or "Ctrl+". You can also customise the keyboard shortcut if you don't like "Ctrl+". For me, the Ctrl key is a bit out of reach and I have change it to "Command+
To be honest, I found that it takes sometimes to adjust to the new keyboard layout and a lot of time I hit the wrong button. As time goes by, I think it will become easier. Also I think I will buy a Mac keyboard later.

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