If you’re still waffling about upgrading to Tiger, consider one application that is almost worth the price of admission by itself. Before we get to that application, however, here’s one quick addendum to one of the four good upgrade reasons I mentioned last week the Safari web browser. In addition to the increased speed and RSS support, Safari can now archive web pages. Simply go to a page, select “Save As” from the File menu, select “Web Archive” from the “Format” menu, and click “Save”. The resulting “.webarchive” file has embedded within it the text and any images and any other media on the page. Later, without a web connection, you can go back and see the page like you were online (although, of course, the links won’t work unless you’re actually online). Now, on to the application that is, in itself, a showcase for many Tiger features.
It’s Mail. Tiger’s built-in email application has been rebuilt from the ground up. Its already powerful spam filtering system gets a boost, including increased ability to “work with” spam-analysis tools like SpamAssassin and BrightMail, which ISPs (Internet Service Providers) use to attack spam at the server level. Got kids with email accounts? Create an email “safe list” for your kids’ accounts that prevents them from exchanging email with people you don’t know. Emails from addresses not on your safe list are automatically (and covertly) sent to your account for your review.
Mail also leverages the power of Spotlight search by offering “Smart Mailboxes”. A Smart Mailbox “holds” emails that meet a certain criteria. Actually, the Smart Mailbox holds a “shortcut” to the actual email message, which may be physically residing in another folder. Anyway, let’s say you want quick access to the email you’ve received over the last seven days. Or, all email from/to your Mother (Happy Mother’s Day!). Or messages to/from an internet forum or mail list you belong to. You simply specify a set of criteria, something like “Subject” (or even “Entire Message”) contains “Macintosh”, and every email in all your mailboxes that meets the criteria instantly appears in the Smart Mailbox (you name the Smart Mailbox what you wish). Plus, in the future, every email message you receive that meets the criteria will appear in the Smart Mailbox, regardless of where you may physically store it.
Get a lot of photos attached to your incoming email? Do you “return the favor” and send a lot of photos? Tiger Mail makes both viewing and sending photos easier and more efficient. Here’s how. In the past, if someone attached a photo to an email message, Mail would display the image in the body of the message. To save the photo on your Mac, you had two options: drag the image to the desktop, for viewing in Preview or dropping into iPhoto; or, click the “Save Attachment” button and select a folder to store it in. In Tiger Mail, you can click one button and all the images attached to the message are imported directly into iPhoto. Or, click another button, and present the attached images in an iPhoto-like full-screen slide show, complete with dissolve transitions. Want more control? Move the mouse, and an opaque control “dashboard” appears on the screen. Start, stop, pause, go forward or back in the slide show. Expand photo size to fill the screen. Select “Index Sheet” and thumbnails of all the photos in the slideshow appear (with Expose and Dashboard flair) on the screen. Click on the one you want to enlarge.
Whew. That’s now five out of 200 new features. More next week.
© 2005 Peter F. Zimowski