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Free and Low Cost Ways to Bring Some Leopard Features to Macs Running Tiger

- 2007.10.29

It's official: If you're running Mac OS X 10.4.x, you are officially running outdated software.

Maybe you're ready to run Leopard - but your iBook G3 can't run it! (Some might say you shouldn't run even "Tiger" 10.4 on a G3, but I have a friend, running Panther with Photoshop CS2 on his 466 MHz clamshell G3 iBook, and Photoshop is faster for him than Photoshop CS is on my original MacBook - that just shows you the longevity of Macs.) So what is a poor G3 user to do?

Nothing.

That's right, you can do almost anything Leopard can do under Tiger.

Now before the Apple Thought Police come to my door in the middle of the night and send me to room 101, let me explain what I mean. Leopard has plenty of new features that Tiger doesn't offer natively. And while Leopard has all of it's features integrated, it also requires an 867 MHz G4 to run, at minimum, and for low-end Macs, that's just to fast.

Time Machine

Time Machine has been glorified as the savior of backup utilities, and it has a pretty snazzy interface to boot. So how can Tiger ever come close to this marvel of Core Animation goodness?

It can't. But Carbon Copy Cloner can. While Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) doesn't look like a galaxy blazing thorough time, it does everything else. Right at this minute, I'm backing up the hard drive of my MacBook (I'm writing on my eMac using Mac OS 9.22) and have set up hourly, incremental updates of my user folder. For everyone that knows what an incremental update is, sweet; for everyone else, it means that as I have CCC set it up, ever hour it will take my user folder and mesh it with the existing backup on my external drive. By meshing it, I mean to say that CCC won't overwrite everything - it will only change anything that changed in my user folder since the last backup.

I can't scroll through time, but I can have hourly backups with a little free software.

Editor's note: Carbon Copy Cloner 3 sounds powerful. We've been using SuperDuper at Low End Mac headquarters for years, and this commercial app (not yet Leopard compatible) not only does everything CCC does, but also has some very useful utilities to help you test OS updates before you commit to them. dk

Spaces

Wow! That's all I have to say after playing with Spaces at the Apple Store on Friday. How can Tiger ever do such a thing?

Well, there's Desktop Manager. Desktop Manager was written for Panther (OS X 10.3), but it works smoothly on Tiger. It provides you with as many extra desktops as you want. I use four but if you need eight, have at it. Desktop Manager is not as streamlined as Spaces, meaning that you can't just hit F8 and see all of your desktops, but if you're on any on any of the 60 Mac models left out of the loop, Desktop Manager is perfect.

Desktop

So you really like how the new Leopard Desktop looks, but you just don't seem to have the specs to be able to run it? Well for a couple payments ($20 and $13), you can! First of all, ShapeShifter from Unsanity has the ability to swap out the existing look of boring old Tiger for something that looks Leopardish. Another option is ThemeChanger.

Secondly, you like all of those snazzy Leopard icons but don't have then in Tiger? Candybar is a neat little utility that changes any icon you want it to, to whatever you want it to look lie. Remember, though, that Shapeshifter costs $20 and Candybar costs $13.

There are some things that you just can't change: Finder's cool little cover flow of all your files, and the Quicklook option is quite nice too. But when it all boils down to it, you can't miss what you can't run. And for all of us running machines that just don't quite make the Leopard cut, Tiger can do 90% of it all just as well.

This article was written using Corel Word Perfect 3.5 on an eMac G4 800 running Mac OS 9.2.2. LEM

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