As Leopard’s release comes closer and closer, everyone’s trying to find new ways to emulate the new OS’ features on Tiger. We’ve already seen how to modify your UI to look like Leopard, but what about the actual Leopard features? Using current, pre-existing apps, you can move some of Leopard’s functionality right over to Tiger.
1. Time Machine
Time Machine is one of Leopard’s features that I’m most excited for, because I absolutely dread backing up. It takes up time and processing power, and takes up a lot of space when doing multiple backups. However, Time Machine seems to simplify this by backing up in the background, as well as saving multiple versions of files. Unfortunately, no current application truly lives up to Time Machine, but an app called SuperDuper seems to do the trick pretty well. SuperDuper does smart backups, which means that it’ll backup your whole drive once, and from then only backup changed files. This means that a full backup only needs to be done once, and future backups are much smaller.
Although Virtual Desktops have been around for a while, Spaces brings them to a whole new level. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait until October to use virtual desktops, as two current apps do the job already, VirtueDesktops and Desktop Manager. Sadly, VirtueDesktops’ development has come to a hault. The last release (a beta) isn’t too stable, so watch out. VirtueDesktops is the closest you can get to Spaces, as it moves to the space which a specific application is in when that application’s icon is clicked in the dock. It’s a time saver and really does help. Desktop Manager is also great, but is very simple and basic. However, both do virtual desktops very well, and allow you to have a bit of Spaces, early.
Even though Leopard’s stacks cannot truly be emulated with an app, there’s a simple trick to getting a piece of stacks in Tiger. Simply drag a bunch of files you want to be in a “stack” into a folder, and then drag that folder into the dock. Right click the folder, and it’s contents will appear. Another trick is to use Overflow, an app from Stunt Software. Just click the icon while in the dock, and a window pops up with multiple categories filled with apps and documents of your choice. Both dock folders and Overflow are good choices for temporary stacks.
Even though this has been covered before, I thought I’d give it a quick mention in this article. You can modify Tiger’s UI to look like Leopard’s with a theme called Liger. Just install ShapeShifter and ClearDock from Unsanity, and download Liger. The installer will install a ShapeShifter theme, and two apps, one which makes a Leopard-like dock, and another which creates a transparent menu bar. Sadly Liger has also had it’s development stopped, but has had it’s source released for all to work on.
The new Finder in Leopard is quicker, has an improved UI, does better networking, and includes Cover Flow. Sadly, there is no way to slap all of these features onto the current Finder. However, there are such things as “Finder replacements” that will give your current file browsing experience a boost. Some of these Finder replacements include Path Finder, Macintosh Explorer, and Forklift. All of these apps do a great job and truly boost the Finder experience to a power user level.
The New iChat adds some cool new video effects, most of which can be done on Tiger with an app called ChatFX. ChatFX brings many Photo Booth-like effects and the famed blue screen effect over to iChat on Tiger. Although a bit unstable at times, ChatFX gives you a taste of iChat on Leopard.
With Leopard, you can now clip parts of web pages and put them in Dashboard, thanks to a new feature called Web Clip. With a widget from fondantfancies.com, Tiger users can clip web pages as well. Just launch the widget, insert a URL, and crop. The Dash Clipping widget works really well, and is very handy.
That’s about all you need to transform Tiger into Leopard. If anyone has any suggestions, please leave them in the comments, as I’d love to hear any other ideas/alternatives.