Tigerize Panther

by C.K. Sample III Jul 09, 2004

I’m going to quickly run you through some online freeware / shareware / donationware, that you can load up on your current Mac running Panther to replicate some of the functionality, albeit not the full look and feel, of Tiger. I’ll organize the list so that it corresponds to the features list on Apple’s Tiger Preview page, and keep in mind this is my list. It is not meant to be comprehensive. It’s just what I know to be best, no matter what you say. ;-b Here it is:

  • Spotlight—as you all probably know by now, Spotlight is Tiger’s new sleek and sexy systemwide search.  Nothing currently out there will do exactly what Spotlight is supposed to do with the same speed and savoir-faire (does all that visual flash and flare slow things down at all?). However, you do have Panther alternatives. Blacktree Inc. makes a free product called QuickSilver. Ostensibly, it’s just another launcher, like LaunchBar and its cousins. However, with it, you can search every file on your computer, every program, every contact in your address book, every bookmark, simply by hitting Command+SPACE and beginning to type part of the name of what you are looking for. Quicksilver will provide its best guess as you type and then if you pause, a small drop down menu will appear through which you can quickly scroll.
  • iChatAV—alright, okay, big deal.  We already have iChatAV.  “But Tiger’s iChatAV lets me chat with MULTIPLE people!” you exclaim. I don’t know about you, but I only have one friend who I feel comfortable enough to chat with while I am multitasking (i.e., typing away at the computer WHILE I pick my nose). And, unfotunately, most of my business associates are on PeeCees.  If you really want this functionality now, you’re either going to have to invest in one of those ugly PC programs that some developer grudgingly ported to Mac (sort of, kinda), or load up ohphoneX and iChatAV simultaneously (I don’t think it is possible) and try to triangulate the chat nicely.
  • Safari RSS—ok. This is pretty and cool.  A nice integrated RSS reader for you casual news addicts. If you’re into blogging though or any sort of mega-crazy news reading you’re going to still want NetNewsWire (and yes, there is still a free lite version).
  • Dashboard—So, yeah, Dashboard is really cool and all…oops, that’s the wrong link… *cough* Excuse me.  As I was saying, Dashboard is cool and all, but if you want it now, get Konfabulator. Alternately, since all the Dashboard ‘gadgets’ are HTML-based, you can run most of them in Safari right now.  Get your 3rd party gadgets at The Dashboarder and Apple’s gadgets from here. Consider cutting and pasting the HTML into one big bookmarked gadget page that lives on your computer’s hard-drive and runs on startup!
  • Automator—you can do everything Automator does with Applescript (maybe with the help of mac::glue), but first you have to learn it. Who am I kidding?  Automator looks mega-cool.
  • Voiceover—at this point in the list, I’m starting to wonder who comes up with these names. In any case, if you are interested in Voiceover, Apple was looking for beta testers not long ago…
  • .Mac Sync—We already have partial sync, but I’d like to see consistent dependable service out of .mac before they start slopping on more features, especially in the email department.
  • Enhanced UNIX support—want more linux goodness? Check out fink and darwinports.
  • XCode 2.0—cool, but you can always use the Terminal, vi, pico, or emacs, alongside a nice compiler and code away…

This list is by no means complete and Tiger will probably run faster smoother and better than Panther, but honestly, not many of the announcements made are light years ahead of the current reigning feline: Mac OS X Panther. Play around with this stuff and see what you can manage.  Also, if you really want to impress your non-mac using or mac-novice friends, get Desktop Manager, and then under the preferences choose the Desktops tab and set the Switch transition drop-down menu to Cube. Now get that really cool multiple-user-switching animation with several different virtual desktop environments. This tends to amaze Windows users.


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