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Some of the awesome, lesser-known new features in OS X Mountain Lion

The big new features of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion like iMessage, Notification Center, Dictation, Facebook and Twitter integration, and AirPlay are getting all the attention. However, for me, the coolest stuff in major releases of OS X are always the little things one might not notice right away. And OS X Mountain Lion, with over 200 new features in all, has a lot of cool "little things" to look forwards to. Here's a few of them:

  • Rename documents from their title bar: Rename a document without leaving the app. Just click the filename in the title bar and choose Rename from the document menu.
  • Calendar sidebar is back: Click the Calendars button (in iCal) to keep a list of all your calendars accessible in a sidebar.
  • Address Book Groups column: Contacts includes a new groups column, which always gives you quick access to your contact groups.
  • Inline progress for downloads and file copies in Finder: When copying a file from a server or connected drive, you'll see its progress in the file's icon in the Finder. You can also cancel a copy in progress.
  • Automatic download of app updates: The Mac App Store automatically downloads app updates and OS X software updates so they're ready to be installed.
  • Inline find in Mail: Easily find a word or phrase in a message. As you type, Mail instantly highlights all occurrences of the text you're looking for in a specific message while dimming the rest of the message. The Find banner displays the number of results. Use the arrow keys to browse matches.
  • Fill out PDF forms in Preview: Preview lets you quickly fill out forms. It detects areas that are intended for text entry, such as underlining and boxes. Just click to add your text. And click to select checkboxes.
  • Search notes and highlights in PDF's: In Preview, search notes and highlights in a PDF document either by author or by content.
  • High-performance H.264 encoding: When you select a standard HD export setting, QuickTime Player takes advantage of hardware video encoding for optimal performance (dependent on which Mac you're using).
  • Do Not Track: Safari supports an emerging privacy standard called "Do Not Track." When you turn on Do Not Track or surf the web with Private Browsing, Safari asks the websites you visit not to track you online.
  • Improved scroll bars: Scroll bars in Mountain Lion expand when you hover the cursor over them, so it's easier to scroll a web page or document.
  • Go full screen on any display: If you have a secondary display connected to your Mac, you can take an app full screen on either display. Drag the window to the desired display and click the full-screen button.
  • Game Center-enabled Chess: Chess in Mountain Lion includes Game Center support so you can go head to head with your friends. Sign in to the Game Center app to see your achievements and track your progress.

As is often the case with Apple's hardware and software, it's the little things that make its products truly great (Come on! Game Center-enabled Chess.app?). The examples above are just a few of the ones taken from Apple's Mountain Lion Features page. Click on over to see the complete list of all 200+ reasons Mountain Lion is going to be the best OS X yet.

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