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Friday, January 25th, 2008

A foul Apple

The cliché is well known: Apple makes great computers and great software. Sleak, elegant, easy to use. And being a Mac fan myself I have to say: the cliché is well deserved.

But let he who is without fault ... - even Apple sometimes does it all wrong. Like with Leopard (MacOS X 10.5). Sure, its all great. Time Machine is an eye opener in the world of backup, the cover flow in the finder finally not only comes to par with XP but actually overtakes is directly. All nice and dandy.

Problem is: Back in Cupertino they seem to like to redo things from time to time just because they can. One thing is all this translucency stuff, where a number of users have already figured out ways to circumvent the translucent menubar (as I did, too). As I see it, translucency reduces the readbility of menus significantly while the proclaimed effect of "seeing what's below" doesn't materialize enough - there is still a menu drawn above. Bummer. Still: You don't need the very latest in graphics hardware like Vista demands, which is nice.

However, the thing that strikes me even more, are the new folder icons. What were they thinking? The old icons where masterpieces in design, both elegant and easy to identify. The new icons are just dull and very hard to make out. Don't believe me? Check out these screenshots from Tiger and Leopard side by side:

Screenshot from MacOS X 10.4 (Tiger)

Screenshot from Tiger (MacOS X 10.4). Click to enlarge.

Screenshot from MacOS X 10.5 (Leopard)

Screenshot from Leopard (MacOS X 10.5). Click to enlarge.

It is really hard to make out, what all the designated folders are supposed to be for again. Bummer.

But as this Blog is not supposed to be just about ranting but also about helping, here's my description on how to turn the wheel of time back to better times (at least 95% of the way).

Get your hands on a machine with Tiger (10.4) on it. Possibly a system CD/DVD will do nicely, too.

Navigate to /System/Library/CoreService/

Look for CoreTypes.bundle and open the package (via the context menu)

Within there, open the folder Contents/Resources/

Copy everything from there that looks like a nice folder icon to some temporary folder of your choice (I said copy, not move). Here's a list of folder icons I picked:

You can close the Resources folder now

Move all icons to the Leopard machine (zip it, E-Mail it, whatever works for you). On the Leopard machine go to the same folder. You definitely want to make a backup copy of CoreTypes.bundle first!

Overwrite the dull Leopard icons with the more pleasing icons. Confirm the warnings as they pop up.

If you feel like it, also choose some appropriate icons for the new folder icons BurnableFolderIcon, DownloadsFolder, GenericSharepoint and UtilitiesFolder.

Restart your machine

Now, feeling better, do you?

1 comment:

majax1 said...

January 25, 2008 3:49 PM

Actually, it is amazing that Apple did not add a theming function to the desktop. Theming is the feature that I like most about my desktoip as it allows me to create an individual desktop just the way I like it to be. And it is just more than changing a background picture. Funny enough, there are skins for the Mac to change the look of the toolbar.

By the way, today I have a Mac on my table. After two exhausting days of screen capturing with Camtasia I got angry with crashes when using a codec other than WMV. Today, a collegue just stormed into my office, put an iMac on my tables, turned it on (booted within 5 sec) and told me to use Wirecast. :-)