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By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2005-05-30 Print this article Print

Tigers most exciting feature is Spotlight, a built-in search facility. Spotlight is similar to Google Inc.s Google Desktop for Windows and the Beagle indexing application for Linux, but Spotlight offers much tighter operating system integration than either of those applications.

For more on Beagle, click here.
Spotlight made it easy for us to troll through much of the data stored on our test system, and the application did a good job of helping us sort through the results that search requests returned.

While Spotlight sets Tiger apart from its client rivals, room for improvement remains. Specifically, while we expected Spotlight to serve as a one-stop search spot, there were parts of test systems that Spotlight could not reach.

For example, we couldnt find the smb.conf file that contains setup options for Tigers Samba file-sharing component. We also were surprised to find that Spotlight wouldnt turn up results from Tigers help resources; we had to search from within the operating systems help application to find that information.

Another feature that sets Tiger apart from its desktop rivals is the Automator application. Using Automator, we could automate repetitive computing tasks, such as applying Spotlight keywords to groups of files, by dragging and dropping program actions into a workflow.

The Automator interface was easy to navigate and offers users who arent shell-scripting-savvy the opportunity to take more control over their systems. Apple also provides a site for downloading Automator workflows that other users have created:

Among the more eye-catching features of Tiger is an application called Dashboard. It runs in the background and, when called on, overlays the Tiger desktop with a work space for miniapplications such as clocks or stock tickers.

We found many of these miniapplications, called Widgets, fairly handy, but they could provide an avenue for mischief-making software. Built out of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and JavaScript, Tigers Widgets are easy to create and easy—too easy, perhaps—to install. Thats because Apples Safari Web browser is set by default to open "safe" file types automatically. As a result, Web pages can be written to auto-install Dashboard Widgets. (The 10.4.1 release changes Safaris Dashboard Widget behavior.) Users and administrators need to make sure that they can trust the providers of particular Widgets before installing them.

Next page: You got served.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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