I’m a little slow on adopting the latest Internet trends. I have no idea why but I seem to get stuck on last years hot item and then I never seem to hear about the latest and greatest until it has created a lot of buzz. I also have a tough time seeing the value in some of the new items until some very smart and crafty people put it to use in such a way that it really reveals the power of, well, whatever is the hot button item.
RSS is one of those things for me that just didn’t really catch my eye outside of using del.icio.us RSS feeds to keep my bookmarks in sync between my computers at work and at home. In reality, I’m not even using del.icio.us correctly. At any rate, the value of RSS has hit me like a ton of bricks.
I browse a number of newsish sites related to Nintendo, Apple/Mac, digg.com and a number of blogs. I visit these sites just to see what is new. For a long while I’ve used Firefox’s Live Bookmarks feature to keep up on sites that had RSS feeds but now it has just gotten out of hand. I have too many sites and blogs I like to check.
Enter Vienna for the Mac. This thing is spectacular. It looks great, it’s very fast and it allows me to group RSS feeds into any arbitrary group I wish. Apple/Mac feeds in one group and Nintendo feeds in another. Reading feeds is simplistic though I opted for the ‘condensed’ layout rather than the default ‘report’ layout. In the condensed layout it’s very much like using a Microsoft Outlook with mailboxes on the left, messages in the middle and the full message on the right. Now if I could just find a comparable program for Windows I’d have my new RSS fetish fully satisfied.
I ran into two strange issues with Leopard on my mini. For whatever reason, importing video via firewire would drop frames. I’ve never seen dropped frames while importing video with firewire, I didn’t know it was possible. It’s possible there really is something wrong with the tape or the camcorder but it seems to play back perfectly on the camcorder. The other issue is a drop in frame rate while minimizing windows. This sounds pretty trivial but it was actually pretty annoying. It was nearly as bad as running OS X 10.3 on a 400Mhz G3 iMac.
Anyway, I removed Leopard and reinstalled (erase and install no less) Tiger. It still wants to drop some frames, but not as many.
I managed to acquire Leopard for my Mac mini and have been putting it to use for almost a week now. Initially I was a bit underwhelmed, probably because of all the hype, but after spending some more time with it I’m really liking some of the changes put into it though I haven’t had a chance to really get to know all of the new features Leopard has to offer.
Right away I was put off by the color scheme. I was really liking the colors used in Tiger for selected menu items and the title bar on windows. The menu bar also being translucent doesn’t excite me and I’ll probably install this utility to disable the transparency, but I’ll give it some more time. The glass shelf dock looks fine to my eyes except for the odd shadow behind the icons. They are shadowed as if light is shining up through the glass shelf, it ends up creating an effect that just looks like a poorly drop shadowed image. It just looks wrong and would be much more pleasing if there was no shadow at all, or a very subtle shadow similar to how all windows in OS X are shadowed.
I’ve had the Mac mini for a few weeks now so I thought I’d write a bit my thoughts on the mini and OS X in general. There is a lot to like about the mini and OS X but there are also a few items I’ve come to dislike which I’ll discuss below.
The Mac mini is a tiny computer that looks great. I am personally not aware of any sort of PC that is this small, includes the same features AND looks good doing it. That said, aesthetics are in the eye of the beholder and are a matter of opinion. With that in mind I’ll try to steer clear of personal opinion and concentrate more on practicality and usability.