Why I'm Upgrading to Leopard

By now you've no doubt heard that the latest Mac OS X version dubbed 10.5 Leopard will be dropping on Friday, October 26th at 6pm. Usually I don't need convincing when new software comes out, and I upgrade regardless. However, when reading through the new Leopard features list on Apple's site, one thing became apparent - I could care less about every single Leopard feature with the exception of the new Airport menu.

Get a clearer picture of your surrounding Secure networks in the AirPort menu, Secure wireless networks are identified by a lock icon.

Finally, I don't have to click on every single Wi-Fi network to find out which ones are open. Sometimes Frequently my Comcast-provided Internet connection will go down and I will be tempted to connect to one of the many wireless APs in my area, or I'll be Wi-Fi hunting in airports, hotels, and at unconferences like BarCamp Atlanta last weekend. It takes quite a bit of time when you must click every network until you find an open one. However I never connect to my neighbor's Wi-Fi access points as we all know that is both ethically wrong and illegal..

BarCamp Atlanta - Paul StamatiouThat's me on the MBP trying to find an open Wi-Fi AP, which has been taking a while without knowing what APs are secure and which are open... actually I think I was showing off some Firebug magic.

Other Upgrade-worthy Features

If I had to choose the other Leopard features I'm looking forward to, this would be my list.

Calculations in Spotlight. I always QuickSilver open Calculator or open up the calculator widget to calculate interesting things like googols and Fitts's Law when doing HCI homework. Having a basic calculator at my fingertips would save time.

Hot Corner for Sleep Display. I'm a big hot corners user already - top left for desktop, top right for all windows, bottom left for dashboard and bottom right for activating the screensaver. However, whenever I leave for a short while I'd rather sleep the display than turn on the screensaver. I had this problem with my old iMac - there was no way to physically turn off the display short of sleeping the computer. I think iMac users will love Leopard's support for a sleep display hot corner.

Tabbed Windows for Terminal. Every night before I head to sleep I always SSH into my server to look over logs, back things up and what have you. I have certain things automated but I always sleep better whenever I manually take a peek. Tabs in terminal means I won't have to remember every screen command for Linux (although this is slightly different).

Granted I will thoroughly enjoy all the big Leopard features like Spaces, Time Machine, the new Finder and the new Desktop look, it's the small things that have my attention. However, more importantly, I'm looking forward to a fresh install. My MacBook Pro has gotten sluggish despite a few defragging sessions with iDefrag. It kernel panicked the other day and my iSight hasn't been detected for months.

Will you be in line at the Apple Store on October 26th?