Old Friends, New Friends

After getting used to moving around the new Finder, described in our last installment, we then decided to explore some of the goodies in the Applications folder. We also posted some screenshots in an earlier article, but letis continue our date and meet some new friends.

Old Friends

We recognized some of the crew right away...

The new Calculator is the least exciting of the bunch. It does have a new look and feel, but no new features. No matter, we wouldnit want Apple spending time on upgrading this, when there are more important things to focus on. Also not very exciting is an Internet Connect application, which seems to take place of the old AirPort and Remote Access control panels.

There is of course Internet Explorer, although it is the 5.1 Preview Release, so be warned. QuickTime has also been updated to version 5.0. Stickies has been updated with a new look and feel, and several enhancements, like styled text, search among notes, and access to OS X spell checking.

Finally, the new text editor in town is TextEdit. It can read and write standard RTF (Rich Text Format), Unicode, and plain text files. It can also import SimpleText and HTML documents. Under the TextEdit menu, there was a Services menu, so we decided to investigate. We could do many things, from taking a screen snapshot with Grab, to sending the text via Mail. Of note to those into fonts are the Kern, Ligature and Baseline features in the Font menu. There is also a spelling checker.

Now to check out our new neighbors...

Some New Friends

First on the list is an Address Book. As you may have guessed, you can use it to store all sorts of information about both personal and business contacts. It can link to the bundled Mail program, which is handy if you decide to use OS X Mail. There is some sort of import feature (since we have a sizable existing address book), but we were unable to get more info on it. Thereis a useful search feature, where you can search several LDAP directories (BigFoot, Four11 and WhoWhere) for an individual. If you are in a large enough network, there may be a private LDAP server you can take advantage of.

Next is Chess, which can be in 2D or 3D mode. Chess can take advantage of the speech recognition capabilities of OS X, and youill see a mic icon, plus the valid commands. We havenit had much luck with speech recognition in the past, probably because we only have a PlainTalk mic. With a headset, your mileage may vary. Thereis also a Clock, which can be either analog or digital, and solid or transparent.

Expose Your Pictures on the Web

The Image Capture application is pretty nifty (see our separate article on using Image Capture). If you attach a supported device (such as HP PhotoSmart 315 we had handy) it will be detected, and Image Capture will be launched. What we though was too damn cool is that you could select an Automatic Task, such as Build Web Page, to be executed after the pictures are dowloaded. We were pleased to see our images downloaded, a web page created, and Internet Explorer being launched so we could view the results. Unfortunately, our machine didnit handle disconnecting of the camera too well, and we had to restart.

Mail is Appleis new mail application appears to be capable, while scanning the menus. Weire fans of Eudora, however, and were able to track down a version for OS X. For this reason, we havenit spent much time with Mail. What time we did spend wasnit very productive. We thought we had transferred our iTools information during setup, but test e-mails sent to another address didnit work, and when we tried to quit Mail, it wouldnit.

Get Graphic

Finally, thereis Preview. This application can open most graphics files, and PDF files too. You can export to a wide variety of formats, including TIFF, JPEG, PICT, QuickTime, PhotoShop, Silicon Graphics, MacPaint, Targa, BMP and (phew!) PNG. GIF seems to be missing, but that shouldnit upset too many people, after the Unisys licensing fiasco. Although there was a Save As PDF... menu selection which got our hopes up, it was always grayed out, unless we had a PDF document loaded. A sneaky trick is to Print the document, but then select Output Options and choose the PDF check box.

In our next issues, weill see how to equip OS X with our favorite applications, or experiencing the pain of resorting to old "Classic" applications...