Panther Seminar uncovers an unheralded feature

November 17, 2003 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

Apple's latest version of OS X — 10.3, aka Panther — was released on October 24, 2003. Going against all instincts that were screaming "wait till it's been out a while!" I upgraded one of my design workstation Macs that had been happily purring under Jaguar for months. I had no choice, I had to update all the info and screen shots for the OS X seminar I do for Dynamic Graphics Training.

The upgrade was problem-free, and my first Panther-enabled seminar went off without a hitch in San Francisco last Friday. Not only did the content focus on doing design and production on a Mac running Panther, I actually used Panther to *give* the seminar, a more tricky operation… I was a little nervous about how my first generation G4 PowerBook (400 Mhz, 512MB RAM, weeny graphics card) would fare with Panther running things for a solid day, mirroring my screen and a screen projector, with eight or ten big fat design apps open at the same time, jumping from Classic to OS X, running Terminal, Font Book, the whole bit.

I thought about bringing its big brother instead (a new 1.25Mhz 15" Aluminum PowerBook with 1GB of RAM), but I think it's important to show how OS X can run on hardware that is *not* the latest and greatest — the kind that you find in most design departments still using the Macs they bought back when everyone had money.

The veteran PowerBook came through like a trouper! The only program that hung with the spinning pizza wheel of death was Illustrator 10, which in my office at least has always been a little flaky. (Of course I told the attendees that I *meant* to do that, so I could demo Force Quitting. Heh heh.)

Anyway, while putting Panther through its paces in the days preceding the seminar, I discovered a great new feature that I hadn't read about before in all the Panther sites and books and magazine articles I've been amassing. I'm sure it's been mentioned, but let me point it out anyway.

The Open/Save dialogs now include a hierarchal "tree" view of a document's location on your hard drive (in the Where: drop-down menu) just like in OS 9. Man, did I miss this in Jaguar! I kept getting that "oh yeah, it's not there" feeling, when I'd press on the document name's drop down menu and see Home, Documents, Favorites, etc. instead of the folder hierarchy for the current location.

As in Jaguar, you still have the ability to figure that path out yourself by navigating visually in Column view (in Panther, you can choose List view instead if you like, thank you Steve), but it just feels more Mac-like to see it in the drop-down menu as well.

If you'd like to upgrade to Panther, Apple's $129.00 is not the only game in town. You can get it for $99.95 via MacConnection (list price of $119.95 and then you redeem a $20 rebate from them).

Then, check out Adam Engst (TidBITs e-zine publisher, Mac luminary) new venture, Take Control E-Books. These are 30-80 page "electronic book" PDFs that focus on one particular Mac topic. Each is only $5.00, making it a virtually risk-free purchase, and you can download them as soon as you purchase them.

The first two Take Control Books are "Take Control of Upgrading to Panther" (by Joe Kissell) and "Take Control of Customizing Panther" (by Matt Neuburg). Both books are excellent resources, and well worth the fiver. Free updates are included with the purchase.


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