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Dr. Mac's Tiger Install Tips & Cool Widgets


- Episode 38 - April 29th, 2005

The cat is finally out of the bag!

Every other week my column deadlines for The Mac Observer and the Houston Chronicle coincide. I usually write something completely different for each publication because the audiences couldn't be less alike. My Houston Chronicle readers are 90% Windows, 10% Mac. TMO readers, on the other hand, are 95% Mac users, 4.9% Windows users ( and .1% trolls), and most are likely to be Mac fanatics.

When I choose to write both columns on the same topic, which is what I'm doing today, now, I use a different slant for each.

So next week's Houston Chronicle column is about the things everyone should consider before any major Mac OS upgrade. Since you are such Mac-savvy readers, I can summarize what took 500 words in the Chronicle in three sentences and a picture:

  1. Don't be the first one on your block to upgrade or update.
  2. Wait for the bug fix “point release” if possible.
  3. Back up important data and then back it up again before you update.

Figure 1: Eleven new windows and alerts in Tiger...
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

So, I was all set to cover a bunch of cool Tiger features here today, features I hoped you'd not seen or heard of yet. Alas, I awoke to discover that David Pogue had done just that in his column in the New York Times, "From Apple, a Tiger to Put in Your Mac." And he did it quite well, so I won't cover that territory today.

Instead, let me show you one cool thing from the Tiger DVD and a bunch of cool Tiger tricks that don't come from Apple.

First, here's an extremely rare depiction of the Tiger Installer's new Utilities menu…

Figure 2: The Tiger Installer sports a new Utilities menu with six useful tools
you can use when you start up your Mac using the Installer DVD.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

Folks, you don't just catch an image like that every day. Command-Shift-3, Apple's, and even Snapz Pro are useless when you boot from a DVD or CD. Fortunately I was in the right place at the right time with my trusty camera.

So now you know that these tools are available when you boot from the Installer DVD. I showed you that because if I didn't, at least some of you would have clicked the Continue so quickly you'd have missed the whole shebang. Be thankful I'm so fast on the shutter.

Moving right along to the Tiger products by the parties of the third part, first and at the top of my list of neat things to play with on Tiger Launch Friday™ has to be BBEdit, Version 8.2, which came with a pleasant surprise when I downloaded it yesterday. I was playing around with Automator a little later on and noticed something very cool:

Figure 3: Would you look at that: BBEdit 8.2 included a slew of useful Automator Actions.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

The cool part is I didn't have to do anything for them to show up in Automator... Just having BBEdit 8.2 on my hard disk was enough to make them magically appear when I next opened Automator. Neat!

Now lets move on to some cool widgets that aren't on your Tiger DVD… And since it's nearly the witching hour (6PM), here are some pictures and captions that are going to have to be worth a thousand words each:

Figure 4: VersionTracker widget X 3: All Categories (left);
widget Category (center); and backside configuration view (right).
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

Figure 5: Dash Monitors keeps important info on CPU, RAM,
network and disk access right in your Dashboard.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

Figure 6: The Memory widget: Click tiles to find matched pairs.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

Figure 7: More silliness: The Creatures in my Head widget.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

Figure 8: The Daisy Tracker widget gives you the word, quote,
and joke of the day right in the Dashboard. Neat!
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

It's after 6 and Bryan's screamin,' so this will have to do for now. More in two weeks...

And that's all he wrote...

Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus has been a Macintosh user for a long, long time and has written 49 computer books including Mac OS X Tiger For Dummies and GarageBand for Dummies. He also offers expert technical help and training to Mac users, in real time and at reasonable prices, via telephone, e-mail, and/or unique Internet-enabled remote control software. For more information on Bob and his services, visit

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