The Switch II: OS X first impressions.

In which our intrepid cross-OS adventurer discovers some of the groovy features of Mac OS X.

This is fun.

Having been playing with OS X for a few days now, and also investigating the Beta 2 of Vista, the next version of Windows, there a few surface things that jump out at me as being very nice indeed.

Previously in Windows I have never really used the search function (you find it down there in the Start menu) - it’s just too slow and unwieldy, and for some reason I’ve plenty of experience of it not finding things at all even though when I go and hunt manually through folders I can turn up what I was looking for.

But if you look in the top right-hand corner of the screen in OS X there’s a little magnifying glass. Click this, and Spotlight wakes up. If you start to type in the search box it begins it’s search according to what you’ve typed. Being a Windows bod, the easiest way for me to demonstrate what I mean is to point you to Google Suggest.

It rocks.

Spotlight in action

Similarly rocking is Expose. Hit the appropriate F-key and all the windows you have on-screen tile so you can pick the one you want - click on it and you’re there. Sweet.


I know these are old news to all you existing Mac-heads out there, but to me they are a revelation.

Interestingly, these are both features that MS is putting into Vista. They behave slightly differently, but the ideas are there. Good ideas, y’see. The unfortunate thing is that having taken two goes to download the beta of Vista (the first one hung half way through the install - I eventually tracked it down to a corruption in the download, so had to start the 3.2GB all over again :-/ ) my PC just doesn’t have the grunt to provide all the extra prettiness that is at the front of all the publicity. Shame, because without it Vista is pretty ugly. The functionality is still there, but being beta and my computer being old (less than three ears, though) it’s pretty sluggish about it. Included is an app that grades your computer’s capability to make it easier to tell what software you can run - a nice idea. The bottom of the scale is 1, and it awarded my PC a… 1! Nice…

I may find some RAM and a beefier graphics card and see what that does. These things are cheap these days after all.