August 26th 2002
By Mike Flaminio
Now that you have kicked the tires of Mac OS X 10.2 last weekend, here are a few tidbits worth trying or knowing.
Quartz Extreme is the new 2D video accelerator in 10.2 Apple states that Quartz Extreme requires 16 MB of VRAM on a NVIDIA GeForce2 MX, GeForce3, GeForce4 MX, or GeForce4 Ti or any AGP-based ATI RADEON graphics card. With that said, many Mac users may want more tangible proof that they're getting the Quartz Extreme punch.
I have a G4 with two displays connected, one that supports QE and the other doesn't. One test is to load up a DVD movie, then open the terminal application. Make the terminal window slightly transparent and place the window over the terminal. You should be able to see the DVD play through the terminal window on a QE display. For a more specific test, check out a little program that will indicate QE status for all displays in the Terminal.
External SCSI CD-RW is current not working in 10.2. I have a SCSI burner on a G4 and it's a no-go. Roxio acknowledges the problem and states: "Apple has made some changes in Jaguar that affect how SCSI drives are recognized. After installing Mac OS 10.2, it is possible the operating system will no longer see your drive as a CD recorder, only as CD player. Toast depends on the driver information from the operating system to determine the capabilities of a drive, and as such, will only see the drive as a CD player. You will not be able to record discs with Toast. As this is a Mac OS 10.2 issue, it affects recording through DiscBurner and iTunes as well. We are working with Apple to help them resolve this."
For me, I just decided to make the jump from SCSI and bought a cheap ATA CD-RW off of ebay and picked a FireWire enclosure.
I'm finding 10.2 to work well with Windows file sharing. I haven't tried connecting to a Mac from a PC, but it seems to work well the other way around. The big change with 10.2 is that now networked Windows computers can be found in the Connected Servers browser, rather than needing to type in the server/volumes blindly. One problem still exists, however. 10.2 can't handle required password changes from the PC server, which requires logging from a Windows box.
iChat is interesting. I never was much of an instant messenger, so I don't have any particular opinions of iChat over other IM's. The one feature I really like is the background chat application, allowing me to be available without having the iChat client running. This keeps the client out of the way and when someone sends me a chat, iChat fires up and off we go.
I'm not sure how to run a AIM chat room. I think you need to go into File/New Chat, then View/Chat Option. Select Chat and type in a room name. I'll sit in the room igm today for those wanting to test out iChat. (If this isn't the correct procedure, let me know and I'll get this updated.)
One other tip for iChat, you can change your iChat icon. Do this by opening up iChat, and just drag an image onto your chat icon in the top right. A box should pop up that will let you resize the image for correct fitting.
This isn't particularly new, but is one of my favorite OS X mods. A new version of TransparentDock (2.0.1) from Free Range Mac is available for 10.2. This nifty mod makes your dock background transparent. I prefer to have a black boarder around mine, but you can configure it to look as if your icons are just floating on the desktop.
In case you didn't notice there are now three installation options for 10.2. You can do the full clean install, and upgrade and a backup install. The backup install is interesting because previously the only way to reinstall OS X was a full reinstall, which meant you'd lose all your user information. Now with the backup-type install, your user data will be transported from the old installation into the new one, making life considerably easier. Good news.
Screen Saver Desktop
And finally, here's an excellent tip from macosxhints.com. If you're looking to flex your Mac's muscles, or really test out Quartz Extreme, try this one out. This tip will place your screen saver on your desktop -- in full motion. Apple's new Flurry screen saver looks pretty nice, but I'm rather partial to Euphoria 10.0.1 from Terence M. Welsh.