My Mac Special Report
Tempo b3c1 (Mac OS 8.0)
NOTE: This “preview” was based on beta software, software which is still in development. Please be aware that various features of the system are subject to change in the final release. My Mac was presented the opportunity to explore Tempo by an Apple beta tester (who wishes to remain anonymous.)
You may remember our extensive coverage of Tempo a3c1 back in issue #24. Tempo is now at b3c1, and much has changed since a3c1. In this report, I will only bring you up to date on the changes. Please refer back to issue #24 or go to the Mac OS 8 section on our Web site for more extensive coverage. The address for the Mac OS 8 section is http://www.mymac.com/columns/macos8.
There have been many changes in the installer since our last report. The installer has changed a lot from 7.6, and in my opinion, all the changes are for the better. All of the “4 steps” have been renamed. Step 1 is “Select a destination disk,” Step 2 is “Read important information,” Step 3 is “Respond to the software license agreement,” and Step 4 is “Install Software.”
There are 5 panels to the installer, the first one being the greeting screen (below left) and the next 4 being the next 4 steps, respectively. (Step 1 is below right).
You can still customize installations, select to perform a ‘clean’ install, and to update hard disk drivers, but the installer now automatically checks the disk for problems, and fixes them if possible. When you click “Start” on the last panel, it will launch the regular Apple installer, and install like Mac OS 7.6. I feel that this installer is a significant improvement over previous versions of the installer.
The Appearance Shuffle
I can’t count how many different revisions Apple has made to the new Appearance manager, but it looks like they are finally settling on it now. First, the Appearance control panel and extension are now called “Appearance” and “Appearance Extension,” respectively.
On the options panel of the Appearance control panel, the hated “Truth” font has been renamed “Charcoal.” (I don’t know why people hate Truth/Charcoal so much, but I actually like it.), and the “Apple grayscale appearance” has been renamed “platinum appearance.”
On the color panel, 8 new accent colors have been added, making a total of 19. The 19 are “Aquamarine,” “Black & White,” “Copper,” “Crimson,” “Emerald,” “French Blue,” “Gold,” “Ivy,” “Lavender,” “Lime,” “Magenta,” “Nutmeg,” “Olive,” “Plum,” “Rose,” “Sapphire,” “Silver,” “Teal,” and “Turquoise.”
One of the main features that I didn’t cover in the last report is the new Desktop Pictures control panel. Like the Appearance control panel, Desktop Pictures consists of two panels: “Pattern” and “Picture.”
In the pattern panel you can select different patterns for your desktop, just like in Mac OS 7.6, but it has been slightly enhanced. Now you can see the name of the certain pattern, how big the original clipping is, and how much space it takes up. For example, take the pattern “Denim.” It is 128 by 128 and it takes up 20k. When you have a pattern you like selected, simply click “Set Desktop.” You can still add your old patterns by simply dragging the picture clippings into the control panel.
Apple gives you 48 patterns, some completely new. The first 26 patterns correspond with the different accent colors. For example, there is a Lavender accent pattern, which goes well with the Lavender accent color.
The picture panel is much more feature rich. Once you select a certain picture it will tell you the resolution and the author in addition to how much space it takes up. You can manipulate the picture in a number of different ways. You can have the control panel position it automatically, or have it center on screen, fill screen, scale to screen, or tile on screen. All these features are good, depending on the size of the picture. For example, a smaller picture, like one off a Photo CD, would probably be best centered on screen, because if you had it fill the whole screen, it would get real blurry because the picture has to be stretched to fit the screen.
Changes in the Finder
There have been many changes in the Finder, too. One of the most visible is the addition of a Help menu. The “light bulb” menu is now gone, and the Help menu is placed right next to the Special menu. In my opinion, this makes much more sense, and I feel that this change is for the better. Please see the section below for more information on the new Help menu.
Another way to spring open folders is with the “magnifying glass.” Instead of dragging files over folders to get them to open, you double click and hold down the second click. This will bring up a magnifying glass that will open any folder that it is dragged over. No more compulsive double-clicking to get into deep folders! Again, all windows will close after you release the mouse button.
There are also different cursors for different actions. The first one I will cover is the Contextual Menu Cursor. To get a Contextual Menu in the Finder, you press the control key, and then click the mouse button. The Contextual Menu Cursor comes up when you hold down the control key.
The next one is the Duplicate Copy Cursor. This cursor will come up in two different situations. First, when you are dragging a file, and you drag it to another disk, this cursor will come up, indicating that you are making another copy of the file. The second time it will come up is when you hold down the option key, indicating that you want a duplicate copy of the same file.
The last cursor is the Make Alias Cursor, which will appear when you press the option and command (open apple) keys, indicating that you want to make an alias of the file that is selected. When you release the mouse button, it automatically creates an alias of the file.
One of the most overlooked features is in the System Folder. There are now sub-folders, such as folders named “Help,” “Voices,” “Shared Libraries,” etc. These folders will take all the non-extensions out of the Extensions folder. Though not utilized yet, they obviously will be. Imagine having only extensions in the Extensions folder. What a concept!
View Menu Changes
Changes in the View menu are many. When you go down to the “Arrange” submenu, the Arrange by Grid option has been taken out, replaced by the separate “Clean Up” command. Be aware that all of these options also apply to Contextual Menus.
New are little icons that appear in the upper left-hand corner of a window when you have “Always snap to grid” or “Keep arranged by…” set in the View Options for that window. This was a much needed feature. Since there are separate preferences for each window, you need to be able to easily see what you have set for that window. My personal favorite is the “Keep arranged by name” setting, since I’m the kind of person who always wants to rearrange the extensions folder by name after I add an extension. Now that’s automatically done for me.
None of the changes listed above apply to List Views. As with Icon and Button Views, List Views have preferences for each window, which are fully customizable. Below are scaled down screen shots of List, Icon, and Button View options windows.
Another subject that I didn’t talk about enough last time was what happens to a window when it is being updated. When a window is being updated, a spinning arrow will appear. If there is another icon in the upper left hand corner, like the icon for “keep arranged by…” or “Always snap to grid,” the spinning arrow will simply be moved over to the right.
Help – the new menu
One of the most revised, but overlooked changes is the new Help menu, which has replaced the “light bulb” menu. There are 3 options under the Help menu: “About Help,” “Show Balloons,” and “Help,” formerly called “Mac OS Guide,” or “Macintosh Guide” in pre-Mac OS 7.6.
Mac OS Help is now much faster and it doesn’t take as much time to come up on the screen as it did in Mac OS 7.6. The whole interface of the help system has been redesigned, and the Help Windows are now even more interactive. For example, if you select “How do I change the desktop background,” (bottom left) a window will appear asking what you want do, either use a pattern or a picture. There are now radio buttons and check boxes in the Help windows.
The Help system has also been integrated into all the new control panels. All the “light bulb buttons” now bring up the appropriate part of the help system, and they actually do help! Balloon Help also has been revised and seems much more informative now. The new Help system is just one more great advantage of Mac OS 8.
I’m sure that you are just dying to see more screen shots of Mac OS 8, right? That’s why we have many more at our Web site! The URL for the screen shots is http://www.mymac.com/columns/macos8/screenshots.htm
Mac OS 8 has been ahead of schedule in development for a while now, and Apple has really taken advantage of that. They are well on track for shipping in July, and by that time, this system will be so rock-solid and crash-resistant it will make your head spin!
Adam Karneboge (firstname.lastname@example.org)