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The Real Problem with the Leopard Dock


R. Mansfield
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You know I'm not really thrilled with the changes made to the dock in Leopard. No I'm not talking about the shelf since I keep my dock on the side. But rather, the problem is with the Application folder that is represented by the first folder of its content, which is of course, Accordance.

 

Now I have two Accordance icons on my dock in a sense, and it often causes me to hit the application icon when I'm really wanting to select the Accordance icon.

 

And before Leopard, I had the Application folder on my dock, but it opened into a hierarchical menu system of all my programs. This was handy, but now if I click on the folder it shows me all my applications through the iSync app meaning that I have to actually open the folder to launch anything else.

 

I would like to be able to do two things to the Leopard dock. I'd like to have folders that weren't represented by the first icon of their contents, and I'd like the option to use full menus that contain the names of the programs rather than the icons. Hopefully solutions will be forthcoming from somewhere.

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And before Leopard, I had the Application folder on my dock, but it opened into a hierarchical menu system of all my programs. This was handy, but now if I click on the folder it shows me all my applications through the iSync app meaning that I have to actually open the folder to launch anything else.

 

I would like to be able to do two things to the Leopard dock. I'd like to have folders that weren't represented by the first icon of their contents, and I'd like the option to use full menus that contain the names of the programs rather than the icons. Hopefully solutions will be forthcoming from somewhere.

Two suggestions:

 

1. Use the contextual menu (right-click if you have a two-button mouse or ctrl-click otherwise) for the Applications folder to Show as > Grid (not Fan, which it sounds like is your current setup)

 

2. Keep the Accordance and Applications icons further away from each other to avoid the confusion between the two similar icons.

 

For the rest, you'll have to wait (probably not long) for configuration hacks! I'm staying tuned to http://www.macosxhints.com/.

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I know what you mean about the stacks folder taking on the icon of the first app in your applications folder. Mine is 1password so that is what my icon is. I'm sure that apple will have this problem solved very soon.

I found less use of the dock in leopard and rarely use the applications folder. I just press cmd+space bar and type in the first couple letters of the application I want to use and press enter and its launched. Much easier for me.

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J. P., when the dock is on the side of your screen, it uses the grid instead of the fan anyway, so that wasn't a solution.

 

I have come up with a temporary fix, however.

 

As a reminder, here is what my Applications menu looked like before:

http://homepage.mac.com/rmansfield/assets/misc/before.png

 

The problem above is obvious because my Accordance folder is first, and this creates two Accordance icons on my dock.

 

So I created a new sub folder in the Applications menu and simply named it "___" which put it alphabetically before Accordance.

 

Then in the info panes, I copied the Application folder's default icon onto my new icon.

 

Here is the new result:

http://homepage.mac.com/rmansfield/assets/misc/after.png

 

That will be helpful for the time being, but I still hope that the simple hierarchical menus can be restored at some point.

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Nice work around with the folder in the applications list. I did something similar as you did but chose a iMac icon I found

http://www.sidnak.net/webclips/application_icon-20071102-065047.jpg

 

The icon possibilities are endless. If you wish do do something like this you can find a ton of different free icons HERE

Edited by techmate
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My Accordance app is actually in the Accordance folder, so my Applications stack just shows a folder on top. That looks fine to me. I prefer the stacks view to the Tiger list view. That, to me, looked too much like a poor imitation of the Programs option in the Windows Start menu. My only critique of stacks is that I can't figure out if I can resize the icon size in the grid. They are HUGE! I would like some option to make them smaller. Otherwise, I find the Leopard Dock and Menu Bar to be a nice improvement over Tiger, and I feel like I'm on an outdated system on Tiger now when I'm on my iBook. Adding the list view would make some people happy, but I wouldn't use it.

 

What I'd really like to see is the ability to add smart-folders as stacks. That would be a great feature.

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My Accordance app is actually in the Accordance folder, so my Applications stack just shows a folder on top. That looks fine to me.

 

 

You know, that second Accordance icon IS the icon for my Accordance folder. I, too, have Accordance in it's own folder as it should be. So, I don't know if that was the default icon a while back or if I did something goofy to customize it. But as I've said before, I've just copied my folder from machine to machine rather than reinstalling.

 

I still like the icon I made with the little Applications icon. That way it can be recognized at a glance. Regardless, I don't care for the new Leopard way of treating folders in the dock. Just doesn't work for me.

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Leopard, unfortunately, has a lot of gimmicky changes that do not help anything, but seem to hinder a lot. The mere thought that you are all discussing workarounds for the destruction of useful folders in the dock is just sad.

 

The translucent menu bar has to rank as one of the stupidest ideas ever.

 

Here's hoping 10.5.1 fixes these behaviors or at least gives us the ability to turn them off!

 

Joel

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Leopard, unfortunately, has a lot of gimmicky changes that do not help anything, but seem to hinder a lot. The mere thought that you are all discussing workarounds for the destruction of useful folders in the dock is just sad.

 

The translucent menu bar has to rank as one of the stupidest ideas ever.

 

Here's hoping 10.5.1 fixes these behaviors or at least gives us the ability to turn them off!

 

Joel

 

I could not agree more! Translucent menu bar and menus idea is somewhat silly. I don't really want to see through my menu bar or menus. As for the applications folder, frankly, I miss the old red "A" folder for the applications. It stood out and was quickly identifiable. Stacks are sort of OK, but I'm not thrilled with it. If you have .Mac, the Back to my Mac feature is awesome, and I became an instant fan of Coverflow and the accompanying Quicklook feature.

 

That having been said, my iMac is getting Tiger put back on it until the constant crashing is fixed. Apps won't even force quit in some cases. My wife uses that computer most and wants it to "just work." That having been said, Leopard will stay on the MacBook Pro as it has run decently on that. I appreciate the folks at Oak Tree being on top of their updates. Accordance runs beautifully.

Edited by Brent Lawrence
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I actually enjoy the cosmetic changes in Leopard (I've used menu shade before Leopard ever came out to make my menu bar translucent), but my problems have more to do with performance issues. I'm running Leopard on a new, Aluminum 2.4GHz iMac, and the internet connection continually gets dropped. I have to switch back and forth between ethernet and airport to get it to work! Spolight on shared Macs gives incomplete results, and images in iPhoto cannot be searched by keyword/title in the Finder/Spotlight. I'd rather Apple forget about cosmetics and focus on performance so that the OS works as well as advertised, and at least as well as Tiger. Some of these performance issues are just embarrassing.

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Leopard, unfortunately, has a lot of gimmicky changes that do not help anything...

 

 

I agree. The one exception to this (and the sole reason I upgraded both of my machines) - Time Machine.

 

Jeremy

Edited by jarcher
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I agree as well The one exception to this (and the sole reason I upgraded both of my machines) - Time Machine.

 

Jeremy

 

Oh, I think there are lots of good things in Leopard. The ability to share screens through iChat is incredible. I struggled for weeks trying to get Apple Remote Desktop to work with my parents computer, and iChat made the same thing possible instantly. There's also lots of teaching potential through the use of something like the iChat theater since it can read Keynote slides. The Back to My Mac feature--although it's not fully implemented--promises to allow me to leave most of my files on my home computer and travel pretty light with my MacBook still being able to access everything. And I'm still discovering things, but there's lots to like about Leopard in my opinion.

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...the internet connection continually gets dropped. I have to switch back and forth between ethernet and airport to get it to work! Spolight on shared Macs gives incomplete results, and images in iPhoto cannot be searched by keyword/title in the Finder/Spotlight. I'd rather Apple forget about cosmetics and focus on performance so that the OS works as well as advertised, and at least as well as Tiger. Some of these performance issues are just embarrassing.

 

 

So bottom line, wait on Leopard, or go ahead and get it? I have to drop closer to $250 (2,350,000 IDR) because of my location, so I am bit more hesitant than usual. I mainly use Accordance, iWork 08, and Aperture.

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I've had major issues with my wireless as well. I believe the fix is to use WPA, not WEP (which is a wise change anyways). If you're using an Actiontec AP try upgrading the code on the access point. I've seen issues with this since 10.4.

 

Jeremy

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Interestingly, for me my major issues have been more with my wired connection. Airport actually seems more stable.

 

If you only have one Mac, I would wait to upgrade. I still have an iBook running 10.4.10, so I have been using that more than usual to get normal, work stuff done simply because Leopard is too flakey right now.

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...simply because Leopard is too flakey right now.

 

 

OUCH! :(

 

I do have two. thanks for the info. Maybe after the first update.

Edited by Justin Burt
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So bottom line, wait on Leopard, or go ahead and get it? I have to drop closer to $250 (2,350,000 IDR) because of my location, so I am bit more hesitant than usual. I mainly use Accordance, iWork 08, and Aperture.

 

If you're not doing so already, you might watch the iWork and Aperture discussions on Apple's site to see if there is much in the way of Leopard problems mentioned there.

 

I haven't upgraded yet. Not sure if I will. I loved the idea of Time Machine, but since they dropped support for hard drives hooked up to Airport Express, that's less convenient for me. I make heavy use of folders in my dock; Stacks sounds like a huge step backwards. I don't use iChat (that might change if I can talk my parents into trying it), and many of the other improvements just aren't that big a deal for me. If I do upgrade eventually, I'll probably end up using Butler's docklet and/or container features to replace my use of Tiger's Dock.

 

Lorinda

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J. P., when the dock is on the side of your screen, it uses the grid instead of the fan anyway, so that wasn't a solution.

Mea culpa--I didn't read your original post carefully enough.

 

... I still hope that the simple hierarchical menus can be restored at some point.

DockAppsMenu is the first hack I've seen that does this in Leopard, though it's currently (0.1a) a bit rough.

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Speaking personally, I love using Leopard. This is of course a your-experience-may-vary observation, but for my uses of the computer it is a huge step forward. Running on a MBP, I've had no stability issues, but boy does it feel a lot snappier. Also, though I readily identify the stacks as a step back, I never kept folders in the dock I'd use hierarchically. I usually kept only single files on the right side of the dock and only drag-and-drop apps on the left side. Quicksilver filled in all my launching gaps. (I'm no quicksilver pro like Joe, but it is still a very clean, fast launcher for me). I actually like the idea of stacks of just some favorite grouped things. Also, I don't find the new look of the dock a problem at all, I haven't noticed any issues of finding things too visually cluttered due to reflection, and the blue light is just as identifiable to me (since the edge of a screen is black, I too often found the black triangles blending with that).

 

I think that addresses why the biggest weaknesses in Leopard aren't bothering me much at all. Ironically, Time Machine isn't that relevant either as I don't have a spare HD lying around. I'm generally very careful about changes being saved, so access to a file specifically from 3 weeks ago is fairly useless. Plus, I regularly back up all my important work to my .mac, so as a general backup isn't as necessary either.

 

What I love about Leopard are all of the little things. I haven't gotten into Spaces yet, but I think I'll like it a lot when I do. The things such as the much faster finder, the pinstriped List menu, the usable Network pane of Sys Prefs, etc. Its just all these little things I come across, realizing 'Wow, why didn't they do that sooner!'. Plus, it being much much snappier has been quite nice. One little feature I've been itching for since OS X came out is the little thing OS 9 did when emptying the trash: tell you how much was in there! Its so simple, there is no reason not to give you that info. Maybe you accidentally put a folder in there that had some major files and didn't realize it. I've done that before and lost some major work due to it (before I started backing things up). Sure, sure, you can always hit cancel, open the trash and check, but why not have it just tell you? If anyone knows of a little hack that does this, great! No, one of the 3rd party seperate Trash cans thats just a folder with a 'rm' script attached is not an option; I want just a more informative OS X can.

 

Sorry about my rant-i-ness, but its late :)

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Just some FYI for those who use the time machine feature I noticed that in the migration assistant, there is an option to migrate your data from a time machine backup.

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  • 2 weeks later...

For you Stacks-haters out there, there is a new tweak that adds "bins" to your stacks so you can tell at a glance what each stack represents. Here's the link: http://t.ecksdee.org/post/19001860

 

Here's a screenshot or two:

 

http://www.ecksdee.org/iw/stacks.jpg

 

http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/8812/picture1hd6.png

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  • 2 weeks later...

As an update to my comment about Leopard being too flakey, since 10.5.1, I haven't had any problems at all. My internet connection dropped once on wireless, but my wired connection has been flawless. Everything is now incredibly fast, and I really like the new look. I only need two things for Leopard to be totally problem-free:

 

1. A driver for my Okidata printer

2. An updated Accordance widget

 

I can work around these two issues pretty easily, but it will be nice once they are updated.

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Although I have had quite a bit of trouble with Leopard, Accordance is working flawlessly.

Edited by Helen Brown
PM from Jonna: this is what she wanted to say.
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Macworld has an article on a beta app named Quay that restores hierarchichal menus to the dock, witih some interesting features. The comments on Macworld also mention Hierarchical Dock.

 

I'm still working in Tiger, so I can't comment personally on either of them. If I do ever upgrade to Leopard, though, I'll either purchase Quay or reconfigure Butler to replace the way I currently use Tiger's dock.

 

Lorinda

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  • 4 weeks later...
Macworld has an article on a beta app named Quay that restores hierarchichal menus to the dock, witih some interesting features. The comments on Macworld also mention Hierarchical Dock.

 

I'm still working in Tiger, so I can't comment personally on either of them. If I do ever upgrade to Leopard, though, I'll either purchase Quay or reconfigure Butler to replace the way I currently use Tiger's dock.

 

Lorinda

 

I downloaded HierarchicalDock and it works quite well, although maybe you have to wait 1 or 2 seconds on older computers before the popup comes up.

And I read rumors about 10.5.2 with an improved dock.

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