Article: Tiger Roars

by on May 6, 2005

After a busy week of finals (hence the few things we’ve published), I took the time to install Tiger on the Mac mini. Before you fire up your new copies of Mail and fire off your complaints, I just want to say that Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4) is awesome. However, I did notice a few things that I’d like the point out.


I’ll be honest, I don’t know how long it took exactly to install Tiger. I opted to try the upgrade approach (I have a backup, so I can always nuke the drive if anything gets weird). The installation went very smoothly (I went to dinner and came back to the desktop, complete with my previous screen saver. After only adjusting a few Preference Panes and updating a few programs, my mini was right back where it was before.

Initial Reactions

As everyone else has said, Tiger feels faster (even if you don’t have the most powerful system). There are some noticeable cosmetic changes, but there’s even more changes to make the OS X experience more complete. As someone who had used a ton of third-party programs in addition to the standard Apple ones, I decided to give Apple’s new programs a shot.

Mail & iChat AV

I used Mail in Panther. I liked it. What did you do to my computer, Apple? Seriously, I just wanted to complain about the toolbars like everyone else has been. Apart from the weird toolbar icons, Mail works well and has plenty of new useful features (better signature support, smart folders, and all the other things you’ve read on Apple’s site).

iChat AV’s gotten some improvements, prompting me to see if it’s worth giving up Adium for. I always find myself switching over to use audio chats, but I felt it was lacking in some areas. The new version of iChat seems to be a lot better, but it is weird seeing its icon in my dock without the AOL “Running Man”. It’s also cool how Apple has turned us into advertisements for the iTunes Music Store. The jury is still out on whether or not iChat AV 3 will take the place of Adium .8, but we’ll see.


Probably the coolest feature I’ve messed with so far is Dashboard. It works as advertised, looks pretty darn cool, and there’s a ton of extra widgets out there already. I love the detail paid to the weather widget’s graphics. Also worth noting is that you should create a folder called Widgets in your Library folder if you want to add your own widgets to the shelf (at least that’s what I’ve figured out in a few hours of use).

Everything Else

I’m not even going to get into the immensely cool RSS screen saver, Safari’s RSS features, or the Dictionary, because chances are, you’ve already read about them. Rather than focusing on all of those other features, I want to focus on one in particular — the time saved.

I set aside an entire evening to set up Tiger, anticipating major changes and possible problems (since it is a major upgrade). Instead, my Mac is the same as before, except with a few more bells and whistles. This consistency is what really matters to Mac users, as much as we’d all like to talk about new features and how much better it is than Longhorn. I just wanted to say thanks to Apple’s developers for (as always) leaving my Mac the way I left it, only better.

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