10 Ways to Get More Out of Leopard
Apple’s latest and greatest OS, Leopard, is barely a month old, and while the 300 new features may be too much to handle, these 10 tips and tricks will allow you to quickly get more out of Leopard.
Back to My Mac
Back to my Mac is a great thing in that it automatically sets up your router for remote access goodness, but sometimes things aren’t so easy and you’ll have to drill into your router to configure everything yourself.
There are actually two ways to do this: the clean and the dirty. The clean way is comprised of you either buying an Airport base station or hooking an existing one directly up to your Mac. Everything will auto configure on its own.
The dirty is when things aren’t as easy as that and splurging on a new base station is simply out of the question.
Back To My Mac relies on port 4500 being able to forward to your Mac’s IP Address. You’ll have to log into your router (this will vary for each setup, if you are unsure of what you are doing just ring up your ISP and they should be able to guide you through) and configure the following ports to your Mac’s IP Address (obtained in system preferences):
UDP 4500, UDP 500, ESP, and AH
Tip via Apple’s support forums
Time Machine from Anywhere
This plays on the previous tip in that you can access your Mac using either Back To My Mac or mounted over a network connection.
You can have Time Machine designate your Network mounted Mac or any disks connected to it (internal or external) as a backup drive. Keep in mind that your speeds will be severely limited and your upload is what will be the Achilles heel of your backup.
If you can get a higher upload speed from your ISP, then by all means do so, but you’ll never get the throughput that you would with USB 2.0 or Firewire. Even USB 1.1 at 12Mbits is probably faster than your upload connection.
Add Some More Format Support in Quicklook
Quicklook is a time saver but is limited to the formats supported by Apple unless you use third party plugins. We’ve yet to see any hit the wire but if you’re itching to see what your documents look like, Mac Hints has got what you need.
This hack involves some .plist editing inside an application (in this case, TeXShop was used), but this might not work for all applications.
It’s not the cleanest solution but it does work. You can visit the tutorial here.
Opinions vary on Apple’s implementation of Stacks, but the general consensus is that the information needed to differentiate a Stack isn’t there. Luckily, a set of icons have been created to reflect the contents of that Stack using the icons from folders such as Applications, Utilities, etc.
You’ll have to run the following Terminal commands to set the icons as the foremost thing in your Stack:
touch -mt 202001010101.01 ” Downloads “
You’ll have to rename “Downloads” to the name of the icon and sort your stack by date.
Tip and icons via XD
Panther Doesn’t Cut It Anymore
Apple has revamped .Mac to make way for the improvements in Leopard but at the same time has sacrificed functionality for Panther users.
If you use a Leopard based Mac and sync to .Mac, you’ll be left out in the cold as Jaguar won’t be able to recognize some of the sync’d data.
Syncing between Leopard and Tiger brings no problems, but when you bring Panther and Leopard together, some problems will arise. To continue syncing with Leopard without trouble, you’ll have to upgrade any Panther based Macs to Tiger.
RSS Feeds, Now with Spam and Essential Business Emails
In Tiger, Apple brought RSS support for Safari 2.0, and in Leopard support now exists for the syndication of new through Mail. You might have been peeved over the lack of notification in Safari when new feeds arrived but you can change that in Mail.
You’ll have to drag the feed into your Mailbox by right clicking and select “show in mailbox” or do so when the feed is being added in your web browser. Mail can be set as the default RSS reader by going into Preferences, then RSS, and setting the default reader.
Upgrade Your Video Card
To get the full effects out of Leopard, you might need a faster video card. I sit here typing this on an already speedy PowerMac, but the lowly ATi Rage 128 card prevents me from running PhotoBooth, Frontrow, iChat video effects, Time Machine, and DVD player, and gives me a solidified menu bar.
Equipping your Mac with any Core Image capable card will ease the video processing burden of your Mac and let you do the fun visual stuff you normally wouldn’t be able to on a less than satisfactory card.
You can find a list of Core Image capable cards Apple has employed in all of their Macs to date here.
De-uglify Your Menu Bar
One of the bigger complaints voiced by Leopard users is the transparent menu bar which, in some cases, makes text hard to read when used with certain wallpapers.
If your video card is not Core Image capable, it’s already set as opaque. The other alternative is to either use Menu Bar Tint to adjust the color of the bar to whatever your picky self pleases or edit a system level .plist to have a complete white menu bar.
If you prefer the latter, MacOSXHints has you covered.
Fun With Video Effects
IChat and PhotoBooth use some very cool visual effects, but if the limited selection isn’t enough for your visually obsessed self, you can head on over to quartzfx, a blog dedicated to new iChat effects. You should be able to find something you like there.
Anything that prolongs the use of procrastination is definitely a plus in someone’s book, I just don’t know whose though, because the TV got in the way of me finding out.
Make the Dock Suck Less
I, for one, like Leopard’s new Dock, but you might want to tweak it a bit or maybe threaten it back into glass-less glory by downgrading to Tiger. Whatever your preference, you’re probably itching to customize your Dock.
If you prefer Tiger’s Dock over Leopard’s, including forgoing Stacks, you can follow the MacOSXHints guide to swapping out the Dock.
To change the indicators for active applications, Joseph Crawford has provided an easy to follow tutorial.
To totally get rid of the Glass Dock, run the following Terminal commands and you’ll have the same Dock that appears only on the side.
defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass - boolean NO
Finally, if you want to add some pizzazz to your Dock, you can download custom images from http://leoparddocks.com/