Opinion: The top 25 overlooked and underrated features in Leopard

Don't miss these little-known but highly useful features in Mac OS X 10.5

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Resizable partitions

One of the big under-the-hood features that was lacking in earlier versions of Mac OS X was the ability to create and resize partitions without reformatting a hard drive. Disk Utility now offers complete support for resizing partitions as well as adding and deleting partitions without reformatting, as long as the disk has a GUID Partition Table (the default option for Intel-based Macs).

Downloadable printer drivers

The ability to download printer drivers via software update is a great feature. You no longer need to be concerned if you decided to save space when you installed Leopard by skipping printer drivers.

When you attach a new (or even old) printer, Leopard will not only identify and configure it (which Tiger largely did without help if the driver was installed), but it will also ensure that you have the most up-to-date drivers for it.

Collage and Mosaic screensavers

Leopard harnesses the Core Animation libraries code that developers can use to imbue applications with all manner of animated elements to offer two stunning new screensaver options. Both work with iPhoto albums or folders of photos that you select.

The Collage screensaver builds a 3-D collage of photos piling on top of one another, while the Mosaic screensaver creates a photo mosaic image -- the type we've all seen in poster shops where one iconic picture, such as a movie poster for the Star Wars trilogy, looks like a solid image from a distance, but when you get close you see it's really made of hundred and hundreds of still shots from the movies.

It does this constantly, creating a new image of a photo in the album, using tiny versions of the other photos in the same album. Truly, this stunning effect is one that needs to be witnessed to be fully appreciated.

mosaic_med.jpg

Setting up the Mosaic screensaver. Click to view larger image.

Ryan Faas is a frequent Computerworld contributor specializing in Mac and multiplatform network issues. You can find more information about him at RyanFaas.com.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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