At this early stage we can certainly say Spaces looks useful, whether it actually will be we'll be able to tell at a later stage once we've used it a few times. It could be one of those things - like Exposé and Dashboard - you simply forget is there after a while. Get into the habit of using it at first and you'll probably never want to go back to the old ways.
3.22pm - Along with a much improved Finder, Stacks is another one of those Leopard features that promises to improve the end user experience. Click on any folder in the dock and Stacks presents you with thumbnail images of its contents - at least to a certain extent.
If the folder contains only a few items - such as downloaded files, for example - then Stacks will present the thumbnails in an arc (Apple calls it a Fan). If there are lots of images then you're presented with a Grid - a pop-up menu with a translucent backdrop that presents the thumbnails, erm, in a grid.
In Fan mode, the item nearest the Dock is always the most recent, although you can change the order if you wish. At the top of each stack is an arrow which kicks you over to the file's actual location in the Finder. The same goes for Grid mode too.
However as David Pogue at the New York Times has pointed out, even in Grid mode you can't see everything if there are too many files. It instead shows you a selection and then points you at the Finder view again. This kind of makes sense, but it'd also be good - if a little less aesthetically pleasing - to just see a written list you can scroll through.
Slow, slow, poor Front Row?
3.32pm - Just a quick word about Front Row before we sign off. Front Row is Leopard's Windows Media Center-alike that's been optional on new Macs for a while, but available for everyone. We've tried it here on our Power Mac G5 and it appears to be a little glitchy. Again this is probably because we're already asking the Mac to do too many things (it's still indexing files and backing up the entire contents of our hard drives remember).
Normally hovering over a title from your list of movies will show the title and length of the movie, along with a clip from the movie itself. Do that too quickly and the screen goes completely blank before reappearing again. This could also because we only have an ancient 128MB ATI Radeon card, so your mileage may vary.
UPDATE!!! We've solved it: All that messing around with Spaces earlier means we had way too many apps open. Goonishly blaming Front Row and Leopard was our bad. It's running peachily now.
3.39pm - We still have so much to see and do in Leopard that we can't possibly cover it all in one post, or even all in one day. We'll be familiarising outselves with it fully over the next couple of days so we can bring you the full review. We also plan to look again at some of Leopard's new features, core technologies and how it measures up against Vista.
Oh, and don't forget - we'll also be covering just a couple of the Leopard special events happening at Apple Stores across the country. Kick-off is around 6pm. See you there!