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15 Things Apple Should Change in Mac OS X 936

Posted by Zonk
from the twitching-the-tiger dept.
richi writes "Two of Computerworld's top operating systems editors, a Mac expert and a Windows expert, compare notes on what Apple should reconsider as it develops Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Mac OS X 10.4, or Tiger, is (in their opinion) a noticeably better operating system than XP or Vista. But it is not perfect. OS X has its own quirks and flaws, and they set out to nail down some of the 'proud nails' for the next release." From the article: "7. Inconsistent User Interface. Open iTunes, Safari and Mail. All three of these programs are Apple's own, and they're among the ones most likely to be used by Mac OS X users. So why do all three of them look different? Safari, like several other Apple-made apps such as the Finder and Address Book, uses a brushed-metal look. iTunes sports a flat gun-metal gray scheme and flat non-shiny scroll bars. Mail is somewhere in between: no brushed metal, lots of gun-metal gray, and the traditional shiny blue scroll bars. Apple is supposed to be the king of good UI, and in many areas, it is. But three widely used apps from the same company with a different look? Sometimes consistency isn't the hobgoblin of little minds."
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15 Things Apple Should Change in Mac OS X

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  • Window Management (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MECC (8478) * on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:23AM (#17254480)
    11. Managing Window Size.
    . . .
    Here's a thought that's simple and solves about 80% of the problem. What if Apple made both lower corners of Mac windows draggable? What if all four corners were? Either of those minor improvements would be quite welcome.


    How about regular click an edge to move the entire window, and control-click-drag anywhere on an edge to resize? (or vice versa)

    • by TeacherOfHeroes (892498) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:39AM (#17254712)
      One of the things thats always bothered me when I use OS X is the way that the maximize button behaves. I can see how its behaviour under OS X makes sense in a certain way (Only enlarging to be 'big enough'), but I maximize a window to hide the clutter behind it as well as to see some more content in the foreground window.

      I've dug around in the system preferences a bit, and looked on google as well, and can't seem to find any way of changing this behaviour. Would an option to change behaviour be so hard? As silly as it may sound, its been one of the few annoying things thats really been keeping me from using OS X in any serious manner.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by eldepeche (854916)
        It isn't a maximize button. The last time I owned a computer that primarily ran Windows was in 2001, so I'm used to it. I use the "Application -> Hide others" command to get rid of the clutter of other windows.
      • by mmkkbb (816035) on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:16AM (#17255416) Homepage Journal
        Hold option while you click the zoom button, and the window goes up to full screen.
        • by WillAdams (45638) on Friday December 15, 2006 @11:04AM (#17256302) Homepage
          Depends on the application and the framework it was programmed in.

          Works in Cocoa apps such as CyberDuck and TeXshop.

          Doesn't work in TextWrangler

          Does weird things in Finder, esp. on a multiple monitor machine

          Sort of works for Safari

          All of which is a good argument for why Apple shouldn't've knuckled in to Microsoft and Adobe and should've stuck w/ their Rhapsody plan and never have wasted time on the foetid mess which is Carbon.

          William
          (who wants TIFFany instead of PhotoShop, Altsys Virtuoso instead of FreeHand or Illustrator and thinks that PasteUp could've been as good as InDesign and that FrameMaker would still be available on Macs if we'd had Rhapsody)
      • If you want one single application taking up a full screen, doesn't it cease being "Windows" and become "DOS"?
    • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:44AM (#17254834)
      Oh thank god this has finally come up. As a PC user that sometimes uses a Mac, I've found this frustrating. But any time I've brought it up in casual conversation with Mac people, they've treated me like it's my fault for not understanding the superiority of the Mac UI. I was actually starting to justify in my mind that there must be something wonderful about only using the bottom, right corner and I just had to try harder to understand what it could be. Meditation wasn't helping. Seeing this on the list might save me years of therapy.

      TW
      • by jgalun (8930)
        I think Apple has been coasting on its reputation for UI and its success with the iPod UI ever since Jobs came back, rather than any actual work they have been doing with MacOS UI. I used to own a Mac, and thought the interface was fantastic, but I really thought that MacOS X was a step backwards in the interface.
        • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:26AM (#17255610)
          I've often wondered if was just stuborness. It seems like there are a few ideas that are common in PC land and improve on the Mac way of doing things, that Apple just doesn't want to impliment purely out of a competitive spirit. I don't know if this is true, and people who use Macs often tell me I'm wrong, but for things like this I just find it difficult to believe there's any other explanation.

          Here's the thing. Linux UIs freely borrow great ideas from many sources. Microsoft is famous for grabbing other peoples' good ideas. Isn't it time for Apple to learn that even their best ideas can be improved over time, even if the improvement was first implimented by another company?

          TW
          • by NormalVisual (565491) on Friday December 15, 2006 @12:08PM (#17257492)
            As Picasso said, "good artists copy, great artists steal." Part of what advances knowledge is building on that which came before, and Apple would do well to understand that. Case in point - it took them *forever* to produce a two-button mouse, even though the rest of the world had long before learned the advantages of such a device. It used to be pretty annoying when you'd spend $3K for a nice shiny new Mac and then still have to buy a decent mouse for it.

            Apple definitely has a good UI, but they really need to get past the "not invented here" mentality in order to file some of the sharp edges off.
            • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday December 15, 2006 @02:36PM (#17259818)

              As Picasso said, "good artists copy, great artists steal." Part of what advances knowledge is building on that which came before, and Apple would do well to understand that.

              Yeah, okay. Hopefully Apple knows their UI is not perfect and is willing to borrow to make it better. They seem willing as they're incorporating virtual desktops and many other features from other systems.

              Case in point - it took them *forever* to produce a two-button mouse, even though the rest of the world had long before learned the advantages of such a device.

              Yeah, and by watching others Apple was also able to see all the disadvantages of such a system. Usability experts the world around wish they could go back in time and make one button mice the standard and simplify their lives. One of the most common interface problems is that people click the wrong button in some instance, or both buttons simultaneously with random results. For novice users, a single button is a much, much, much better option. More than that, the end results of the standardization on one or multiple button mice makes a big difference on the software ecosystem. Given that novice users are better with one button, lets look at advanced users. On Windows and on OS X I use the same four button trackball with a scroll wheel. On both systems the primary button does the same job and the third and fourth buttons are user assignable to tasks I commonly use. The only difference is the second mouse button. Is it more usable on Windows or OS X? On OS X, it is assigned to a series of services and scripts I chose. It is up to me to decide, on a per-app or and/or global basis what is available. On Windows, this app is full of functions that the application designer chose, many of which I never want or use. Even in applications like Wordpad, this key is assigned to functions I will never, ever use, while in OS X and textedit, this button provides me with word counts, grammar checker, translation between languages, some perl scripts I commonly apply to text, and other options I've chosen. Basically, it frees up one more button for me to assign, and I need it because otherwise I'd need a mouse with 5 buttons. My third button activates expose to quickly choose apps and my fourth button activates my dashboard widgets or my virtual desktops, depending on the context. So for me, a power user, the one button default gives me one more useful button.

              And what else does this affect? Have you ever used scripting applications, or alternative input devices like tablets, braille boards, spoken interfaces, etc.? Because OS X only has one button by default, all developers code to that standard and all functions are available to users of all these devices. With Windows applications, it is not uncommon for poor developers to place functionality for an application only in a right-click menu, making it difficult or impossible to access using these alternative interfaces. It encourages poor development practices.

              Okay, so now lets look at Apple's multi button mouse. They have learned from the mistakes of others. By default, it works as a one button mouse so all the advantages listed above apply. In addition it works as a multi-button mouse for power users. Better yet, this change occurs in software, so a mac in your living room can have a mouse that is one button for the kids and multi-button for the grown ups or experts all without switching and hardware around and automatically set up on a per-account basis. All the benefits with none of the negatives. The only question is what about laptops? Will they make multiple buttons and option there as well? I doubt it, but it is possible. The reason is, when you use a desktop with a mouse, you either have both hands on the keyboard or one on the keyboard and one on the mouse. In the latter configuration, having to use chording with the keyboard slows a user down as they must move their hand. On a laptop, however, both hands are already in place and once you learn how it is (according to usability studies) faster to use the trackpad button with chording than it is to have multiple buttons that make you move your off hand. They might find other ways to use the trackpad to provide this, but I doubt it will be physical buttons.

      • Re:Window Management (Score:5, Interesting)

        by GreatDrok (684119) on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:26AM (#17255608) Journal
        "there must be something wonderful about only using the bottom, right corner "

        When I got my first Mac (I liked it so much I now have four) it drove me nuts as did having to use the menu bar at the top of the screen. Also things like the mouse cursor disapearing when I scrolled a window or clicking into a window only bringing it forward rather than activating the button I clicked on. These were all things which nearly caused me to dump the platform but over time I learned that there is something wonderful about it. Muscle memory is the key. I have found that I can now do things much more quickly than originally because a flick of the mouse takes me to the top left of the screen where I hit the menu with great accuracy (trackpad too). When I want to resize a window, woosh, straight down to the bottom right corner and zip the window is resized. No danger of hitting close because I decided to widen the window up near the close button. Losing the mouse cursor when you scroll? I wouldn't have it any other way. On Windows it annoys the heck out of me that the mouse doesn't disappear when I scroll.

        As more people come to the Mac from Windows, this discussion will keep coming back. The way the Mac does things isn't wrong or broken. Its just different and in time it becomes second nature.
        • Re:Window Management (Score:5, Informative)

          by JonathanBoyd (644397) on Friday December 15, 2006 @01:44PM (#17258982) Homepage
          Something you might find useful: Holding down command while clicking on a background window often lets you manipulate it without activating the window. E.g. in Safari, if I'm reading one window and want to check a detail in another while keeping my current one in front, I can drag the background scrollbar (or click on the arrows) while holding command and it will scroll without moving to the front. If I'm reading in Safari and want to check my mail without switching to Mail, I can just command click on the 'Get Mail' button and it will check in the background, leaving my Safari window on top. You can even drag windows about in the background using this method. One note though: if you command click on a link in a background window, it'll open in a new tab in the foreground window, though this can be advantageous at times, particularly if you use different windows for different categories of tabs.
      • by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday December 15, 2006 @11:02AM (#17256264)
        I guess the reason you can't resize from edges is because OS X windows don't have borders, other than the title bar at the top. Clicking the very righthand most edge of most windows for example would be a click on the scrollbar. The bottom right hand corner is available for resizing because it's often an unused space between the two scrollbars, and if not it's on a window that isn't maximally occupied anyway.

        They could make a border all the way around windows, but it would make for a much heavier design, like Windows and Linux has. Is the feature worth compromising the design for? Particularly when Zoom does the common resizing task for you anyway.
    • Re:Window Management (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rocketship Underpant (804162) on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:25AM (#17255572)
      I find this is mostly a complaint either from those who haven't quite gotten how the Mac UI works yet, or people who are using poorly-designed apps.

      Why, in general, do we even need to resize windows? The answer, 90% of the time, is that the window is the wrong size or shape for its contents. That's what the green "optimize" button is for -- to resize the window automatically to the same size as its contents, and properly implemented, this does just what you want. With Safari, it makes my web browser just wide enough to view the current page without scrolling, and tall enough to show all or as much of the page as possible. With Pages, it resizes the document window to fit the exact size of the document at its current zoom level. I practically never need to resize these windows.

      The problem comes mainly with apps that haven't implemented the optimize button properly. The list of offenders includes Camino and all those expensive turds Adobe sells (which break almost all the rules of OS X consistency).

      • by dave420 (699308) on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:56AM (#17256136)

        As with most things in life, I use things because I want them to do what I want, not because I want to do what they want me to. Like my OS. Even if it's all fucked up, I want it to work how I expect. There shouldn't be a learning curve with your desktop, just like there is no learning curve on a real-life desktop. You don't reach for that pen and suddenly it shoots off 50cm to the right, starts hovering in mid-air with a weird blue glow around it, quickly followed by all the contents of my desk miraculously re-arranging themselves 20cm above the top of the desk, Dana Barrat style.

        The problem isn't that the users don't "get" OSX. OSX is just an operating system. You're talking about it like it's the hardest quantum theory any mere mortal could never hope to understand. I'm pretty sure I have the cognitive ability to understand what the buttons do. I just don't think "optimise" is such a great idea for resizing windows. I want to resize the window, but the UI has to step in to do it for me, as I can't be trusted? Is that it? If I want to make a window as big as my screen, shit, I paid for the OS and the software in question - I should be able to do that if I so wish.

        I'm not having a go at you, I just think that you're arguing from your own perspective. I've been using computers for decades, and there ARE reasons you want to maximise/minimise your UI however you please. You blame it on the apps, but doesn't change the fact the GUI is not allowing you to fix it manually. If I wanted an authoritarian figure telling me I, or some software I've bought, is doing something stupid, I'd get some input from my wife. I don't need my GUI to tell me what to do, snatching my balls in the process :)

        • Re:Window Management (Score:5, Interesting)

          by The One and Only (691315) <[ten.hclewlihp] [ta] [lihp]> on Friday December 15, 2006 @11:54AM (#17257264) Homepage
          The problem isn't that the users don't "get" OSX. OSX is just an operating system. You're talking about it like it's the hardest quantum theory any mere mortal could never hope to understand.

          Quite true. The problem isn't not learning OS X, the problem is not unlearning Windows. "Take up the whole fucking screen with this window" makes sense in a GUI that's based on tiling (and, despite overlapping windows having been introduced in W95, Windows is still more of a tiling GUI--no differentiation between windows and applications, menu bars in every window, etc.). The Mac GUI isn't about tiling, so the "take up the whole fucking screen with this window" functionality doesn't mesh as well with the rest of the GUI. When I work in Windows, I always want to "take up the whole fucking screen with this window" because that keeps the menu bar in a predictable location. Windows, in effect, isn't really a single multitasking workspace so much as an implementation of multiple workspaces, with one application/window/form per workspace. The motivation behind wanting Mac OS X to "take up the whole fucking screen with this window" stems partly from being stuck in the Windows singletasking frame of mind, and partly from boneheaded software vendors who design the same UI for all OS's so that Photoshop or Office has to take up the whole fucking screen by design. (Mac-only software often has a minimalist UI that can peacefully coexist with other windows and applications, unless it actually requires that much space. Tasks that are usually done with space-sucking toolbars get put into Inspector windows and such.)

          Nonetheless, there's nothing stopping you from making a single Mac OS X window take up the whole fucking screen. Just hide the dock, move your window into the top left corner, and resize it until it takes up the entire screen. It's just a pointless and silly task in the Mac GUI so there's no easy shortcut for it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by oohshiny (998054)
        That's what the green "optimize" button is for -- to resize the window automatically to the same size as its contents

        Except in iTunes, it goes between whatever size iTunes was and a tiny player window. In other apps, it makes the app full screen. In yet other apps, it toggles between two different sizes, neither of which is right.

        The list of offenders includes Camino and all those expensive turds Adobe sells (which break almost all the rules of OS X consistency).

        Then, apparently, Apple's applications are
  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:25AM (#17254504) Journal
    But OS X 10.5 is pretty much in the can. Right now, Apple is focusing on bug fixes/performance tweaks. Some of these are good suggestions, maybe they'll take them up for OS X 10.6 guys...
  • by owlnation (858981) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:25AM (#17254510)
    Can't put widgets on the Desktop? Um, you can actually - but you need a widget to do it. The Devmode widget for one.

    And that solves the whole "no date on the desktop" one - and probably some of the others too.
  • Noooooooooo (Score:4, Funny)

    by Frankie70 (803801) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:28AM (#17254560)
    But it(Tiger) is not perfect.

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooo.
  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:35AM (#17254646) Journal
    This one would be a complete disaster. The dock is cluttered enough as it is. That's what they made Expose' for.
    • by el_womble (779715) on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:03AM (#17255150) Homepage
      Agreed. Its like the authors have never used windows. Within 10 minutes of sitting at my desk at work I have 20 or so application instances running from cmd and textpad to Eclipse. It renders the bottom of my screen useless. You might say "Ahh, but XP collates them into a single button!", thats worse!!! The only system I've found that manages 20+ windows effectively is Expose.

      As for the comment about printer support... plug printer into Airport, press print in any application on any computer on the network and then select printer from the bonjour printer list. Easy. Want a direct connection, skip the part about the Airport.

      They had a point with the look and feel, but to be honest it doesn't bother me as perhaps it should. And cut and paste is just not the mac way of doing things... we drag and drop EVERYTHING and Expose makes that easy.

      I'm sure given time I could come up with 15 things that annoy me about OS X, but their gripes seem trivial at best. How about disconnection from network drives slowing down the WHOLE system? Or the way the firewall settings are in 'Sharing'. Trivial things that annoy me are that fink hasn't been absorbed into the default install and X11 is still concidered an optional extra - being able to install quality free software like Scribus/The Gimp from a Synaptic like interface could really open peoples eyes to OSS.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by peragrin (659227)
      not quite the author's point but he still missed the obvious.

      Open up your HD and drag the applications folder to the dock. If you click onit, it opens the folder. If you right-click on it you get a contextual menu of everything it contains.

      I know that some people use spotlight. both are just as fast for me though if my hand is on the mouse anyways I will use the mouse.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by GraZZ (9716)
      If your app has a properly implemented Window menu, all its windows will be listed in there.

      I can't tell if the writer is unhappy that you can't do this on the Dock without the context menu or if he thinks that context menu on the Dock is the only way to get a list of windows. It isn't.

      Also learning the keyboard shortcut Cmd-` (beside 1) to switch between an app's windows is your friend.
  • WTF ? No F2 ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:35AM (#17254652)
    "2. Renaming Isn't Easy. The process of renaming files is highly mouse-centric on the Mac. There's no F2 option (as there is on Windows) that lets you select the file and press F2 to expose the filename-editing mode. The mouse process requires very precisely timed mouse clicks. Anyone who has ever been forced to rename a long list of files under both Windows and Mac operating systems will likely agree that the Windows way is easier. --Michael Cullison"

    Well, pressing the 'Enter' key does precisely that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Divebus (860563)
      Highlight the file/folder and hit return.
    • Re:WTF ? No F2 ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HTH NE1 (675604) on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:49AM (#17255984)
      2. Renaming Isn't Easy. The process of renaming files is highly mouse-centric on the Mac. There's no F2 option (as there is on Windows) that lets you select the file and press F2 to expose the filename-editing mode.

      You hit F2 in Windows to rename files? And that's supposed to be intuitive?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by _xeno_ (155264)

        No. It's not supposed to be intuitive. It's supposed to be useful.

        There are quite a few really useful Windows short cuts that aren't exactly easy to find. They're there for power users more than they're there for "regular" users. Once you learn to use them, they're very useful. I'm sure someone can find Mac OS X shortcuts that aren't exactly easy to discover but make certain tasks far easier.

        Unfortunately Windows makes it painfully difficult to discover these shortcuts (they're not listed as accele

      • Re:WTF ? No F2 ? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Friday December 15, 2006 @11:26AM (#17256704) Homepage
        Apparently he doesn't understand that Return or Enter is the OSX equivalent of F2..
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by koreth (409849)
          Which, coincidentally, just happens to be my #1 OSX UI peeve. Why should hitting Enter do something I almost never want to do (rename the file) instead of what I intuitively expect it to do (open the file)? Everywhere else in the UI, Enter is short for "execute the currently selected function," but somehow you're expected to want to spend all day renaming files rather than actually using them.

          Yes, I know about command-O. I'm saying it would make much more UI sense for rename (the rarely-used function) to

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by keytoe (91531)

            Opening a document can be an extremely expensive operation if the owning application isn't already running (think Photoshop). Opening the WRONG document can be a WASTED extremely expensive operation. When fat-fingering the return/enter keys, I would much rather the Finder toggle me into 'edit filename' mode than have it launch Photoshop.

            This philosophy is scattered all around the OS. The more expensive the operation, the more input you need to provide. That applies to dialog boxes with and without default

  • by Moby Cock (771358) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:40AM (#17254726) Homepage
    I must take exception to their: 10. Accessing Applications discussion. Having a second tier of apps or whatever on the dock, would, I think ruin the minimalist elegance of the dock. Finding lesser used apps is what Spotlight if for. Click the button (or Apple+Space, which is much simpler) and type what you want. Done. No expanding submenus a la the Start Menu.
  • by spikev (698637) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:41AM (#17254760)
    ...if we should trust someone to give design interface advice who spreads their article over four pages.
  • looking different (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MarsDude (74832) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:42AM (#17254782) Homepage
    "Open iTunes, Safari and Mail. All three of these programs are Apple's own, and they're among the ones most likely to be used by Mac OS X users. So why do all three of them look different? "

    Maybe because you don't want to click 'reply' when you want to buy a song? ;-)
  • by stivi (534158) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:43AM (#17254788) Homepage
    Many times I read about UI inconsistency in Apple applications, such as those mentioned in the post: Mail, Safari, iTunes. I note it as well, that they look different. However, I realize that I do not feel the inconsistency whle working with them, I do not notice it. Strange, how come? How it is possible, that I was feeling the inconsistency on my Linux machine even there was unified look of all applications and I am still feeling inconsistency on any Windows machine where is unified look as well? I found out, that it is not about the look, but more about the feel, more about the behavior of applications, more about expectations how the applications will react to your commands, how the applications understand your intentions.

    I agree, UI look in Apple applications is not consistent, but the behavior is in majority cases consistent. And that is what counts. While working, you do not notice whether the app is brushed metal, Aqua or grayish plastic.

    It is just my observation...

  • by MarkusQ (450076) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:43AM (#17254790) Journal
    Sometimes consistency isn't the hobgoblin of little minds.

    IIRC, the actual quote they were going for is "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" and the point he was making is that small-minded people tend to get bogged down worrying about consistency where it doesn't really matter. In other words, if your list of biggest gripes includes items like this, get a life.

    --MarkusQ

  • by penultimateman (983800) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:46AM (#17254856)
    #7 is just silly. First of all, brushed metal and shiny scroll bars have nothing to do with user interface. These are surface elements which are totally seperate from functional (ie UI) elements. Secondly, why should all applications look the same to begin with? The rooms in my house don't all look the same. Each of these applications look different because they are different. All doorknobs don't look the same, but I still know how to use them. If an application is intuitive and responsive, like iTunes, Safari, and Mail, it should look different from other applications. It's called style. I suspect #7 was written by a computer with poor visual pattern recognition.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dfghjk (711126)
      "First of all, brushed metal and shiny scroll bars have nothing to do with user interface."

      You don't feel that the "look" part of "look and feel" matters to a UI? You think that "feel" is all that defines a UI?

      "Each of these applications look different because they are different."

      The point is that they are gratuitously different having nothing to do with their function.

      "If an application is intuitive and responsive, like iTunes, Safari, and Mail, it should look different from other applications."

      Why? How d
  • My list (Score:3, Informative)

    by also-rr (980579) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:53AM (#17254992) Homepage
    A while a go I posted my list [swifthost.co.uk] of things that I didn't like about OSX and I got some good responses that fixed [swifthost.co.uk] a few.

    The good news (for me) is that now Linux on powerbooks is very, very good [revis.co.uk] - not only do all the key things like wireless (with WPA), suspend, sound, 3d acceleration etc work perfectly but with Beryl installed it actually looks far better than OS X. I was sitting in an internet cafe yesterday and people were being awed by OS X... except it wasn't OS X at all. I said almost two years ago that Linux was catching up with OS X for look and feel... well, now it has. Even with Gnome apps mixed into a KDE desktop the behavior (thanks to an awful lot of work by the Kubuntu/Ubuntu guys) is more consistant across applications than anything you will find on OS X or Windows.

    Oh, and with MOL installed (so it's one button press to switch to/from full screen OS X almost as fast as on native hardware) there really are no downsides.
  • by bartlettdmoore (972179) on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:06AM (#17255210)
    Apple continues to drop the ball on the keyboard issue. Many dialog boxes require mouse input when a simple 'arrow over then press enter or spacebar' would be most sensible. What's worse is that some of OS X's dialog boxes respond to keyboard input while others don't--very frustrating! Windows got this right way early (I'm talking version 3 or earlier) and their key bindings have pretty much remained constant (and thus predictable) since. I love the Mac OS, but this drives me--and other power users--crazy! Its time for Apple to get on board with the keys on the keyboard. I'm appalled that the Computerworld article missed this flagrent impediment to using OS X to get things done...
  • by Senjutsu (614542) on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:17AM (#17255426)
    I guess this specific one is "reader-contributed", but it's still increadibly daft:

    2. Renaming Isn't Easy. The process of renaming files is highly mouse-centric on the Mac. There's no F2 option (as there is on Windows) that lets you select the file and press F2 to expose the filename-editing mode. The mouse process requires very precisely timed mouse clicks. Anyone who has ever been forced to rename a long list of files under both Windows and Mac operating systems will likely agree that the Windows way is easier. --Michael Cullison

    Hey Mike - arrow key until the file you want to rename is hilighted - and push enter. Wooooooo, scary hard.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fishbot (301821)
      I agree that it is very easy to rename files. Unfortunately, people coming from Windows or Linux or other non-Mac backgrounds will likely navigate with cursors, press enter, then get annoyed that the application didn't launch. option-down arrow is not an intuitive way to launch something with the keyboard, and renaming is not something that is done often enough that it deserves the prestige of being assigned the enter key; the most likely key to be hit if the user wants (what they consider to be) the defaul
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bastian (66383)
      I do a lot of training Windows users to use OS X at my job.

      I've discovered that the primary roadblock for most people is that they assume that if you can't do it the same way you do on Windows, then there's no way to do it.

      This is as much a problem for skilled users such as developers and administrators as it is for folks who can barely operate a mouse.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by carpe_noctem (457178)
      Sorry, I have to object, as the renaming thing really bugs me on the Mac, too. "Enter" is the "go" key, as far as most people are concerned. It's big, and makes a satisfying "chunk" when you press it. In Explorer, pressing "enter" on a file opens it, which is what the natural behavior should be. Renaming the file instead is really strange, and it results in lots of novice users accidentally renaming their hard drive to "aaaaasssdf" and so on.

      If anything, option+enter or something should rename, but I'm
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by poot_rootbeer (188613)
      Hey Mike - arrow key until the file you want to rename is hilighted - and push enter. Wooooooo, scary hard.

      That's a design WTF in itself.

      Enter is a primary action key, has been since people were using VT100 terminals. When you press Enter in the context of some interface resource, it should perform the primary action associated with that resource: navigate into a folder. Open a document. Launch a program.

      Instead it allows the user to modify the resource name? That's not a primary action!

      Honestly, I can't
  • by pubjames (468013) on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:26AM (#17255594)
    I want to be able two have two applications running "in the foreground" simultaneously.

    What do I mean? Well, I have two big monitors and often work with several applications at once, for instance, Photoshop and Flash or Photoshop and Final Cut Pro. I would like to be able to run them side by side, simultaneously, not have just the one in the "foreground" open.

    The problems at the moment are that it is very fiddly to position palettes etc between two applications so they do not overlap, lots of the palette windows disappear when when an application is not in the foreground, and there are lots of other petty annoyances.
  • by ptomblin (1378) <ptomblin@xcski.com> on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:32AM (#17255708) Homepage Journal
    Point 12: They seem to be complaining about how hard it is to find individual windows for an application. Haven't they seen Expose? No? How about splat-` to cycle through the windows of the current application?

    Point 10: It's awkward to find applications too rare to put on the dock? I dragged my Applications folder to the dock as a folder. If I mouse over to it, I get a drop down menu of every app in the whole folder. Or I can double click on it to open the folder. Or I can go to Spotlight and type the first couple of letters of the application name and have it find the app very quickly.

    User Point 3: The Apple mouse doesn't have three buttons. I spent a whole $9 for a Logitech optical wheel mouse, and all the buttons (including the scroll wheel) work just fine with no configuration.
    • Yes, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sean.peters (568334)

      The Apple mouse doesn't have three buttons. I spent a whole $9 for a Logitech optical wheel mouse, and all the buttons (including the scroll wheel) work just fine with no configuration.

      I have a Powerbook, and I don't want to plug a damn external mouse into it. I want to use the touchpad, and I want said touchpad to be more useful... by including a second freakin' mouse button. I get tired of being thwarted by the one button disciples, whose reasons for opposing the second button seem to be variants on the

  • by KidSock (150684) on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:34AM (#17255748)
    Oh, please switch to the Windows focus model and key navigation. When I first used my Mac mini I thought it was broken. I litterally went to the forums and asked questions about it. I couldn't figure out how I could launch an app and then loose it even though it appeared launched in the dock. And I spend 99% of my time in WindowMaker which is also based on the NeXT focus model.

    Also, keyboard navigation is useless. Why would anyone want to remember all of those shortcuts?

    I just know people are going to pop up and explain that I can do everything that I'm complaining about but don't bother because it's just not "as simple as possible and not simpler".

    It's HARDER than Windows. When you click on an app in the application does not appear, only the menu bar get's focus. That's very confusing. So why not just switch to the Windows focus model that everyone is already familar with?
    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday December 15, 2006 @12:02PM (#17257402)
      I had the same problems when I started working with my brand-new iMac. The only other mac system I had worked with is about 10 years old, and I don't even remember the OS name. So I was a complete and utter n00b the first day I switched on my iMac. And everything was HARD. It took me 45 minutes to install an app, because I kept looking for a setup.exe file. I tried to reinstall the same app when I logged in with a different user, and couldn't figure out why the OS told me that it was already there. It took me ages to figure out how to get to the end of a line of text, or to the end of a document. I have just now figured out how to tab between windows of the same app. I actually looked for about 15 minutes for the firefox preferences - until it dawned on me that all app menus are at the top of the desktop. The biggest eye opener though was working with iWeb. I decided to throw together a silly little blog, just to see how it works. I spent probably an hour manually resizing all images I wanted to use, exporting them to a public folder and hand-editing the templates in iWeb. Until I decided that I was gonna test Apple's famed ease of use, and decided to just drag my images from iPhoto onto the pictures in my iWeb template. And - miracles of miracles - the images just appeared in my blog. They automatically got thumbnails, the web page automatically knew where the images were, and the entire process of creating a page for my parents to check out my images took 30 seconds.

      That, to me, was the epiphany that there is a Windows way, and there is a Mac way. The windows way requires you to know how Windows stores things internally, and what its design philosophy is. Everything needs to be done manually, especially when it comes moving data between apps. I used to think that the coolest thing in town was to be able to copy text from one remote terminal to another. Now I know better - there is the Mac way, in which I just do what I want to do. If it's something that ought to be common (enable ftp server? tab through apps? move pictures around?), there is a simple way to do it. As in, brain dead simple 1-2 click operation.

      The reason you and I - and presumably a lot of other people - were confused is because we tried to use OS X like WinXP. Don't do that. Start to think that there ought to be a simple way to do it, and then just try it. I've found that that solves 90% of my UI issues.
  • by trudyscousin (258684) on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:46AM (#17255940)
    ...was a complaint about shutdown error trapping (as they put it...huh?).

    If one doesn't want to be pestered by that dialog, just choose the Shut Down command while holding down the Option key. Easy squeezy.

    Come to think of it, that's a good bit of advice to follow whenever you find yourself wishing something behaved differently: Try the Option key. It won't always make a difference, but often, it does.
  • Shift Selecting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by seanyboy (587819) on Friday December 15, 2006 @11:18AM (#17256572)
    The one thing that drives me to distraction is trying to select multiple files in finder or multiple tunes in iTunes with shift and the keyboard. If you accidently select too many items, the temptation is to change from shift-Down to shift-Up. On a mac, this will start highlighting items above where you started your selection. Other than using the mouse there appears to be know way of unhighlighting items incorrectly selected.

  • by -noefordeg- (697342) on Friday December 15, 2006 @11:52AM (#17257234)
    Change it so that the "home" and "end" buttons do the same things in ALL programs. It's so fucking annoying right now. To get to the end or the beginning of a line, you sometimes have to hit the "end/home"-substitutes, or apple-end/home-substitutes, or apple-left/right-arrow keys.
    In Windows every program recognizes Home/End, and takes you to the beginning or the end of the line. Combining this with the shift-key to select text, makes the Mac even worse.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spitzak (4019)
      Emacs shortcuts work on the Mac: Ctrl+E for end, Ctrl+A for start of line.
  • by Kipper the Llama (454021) on Friday December 15, 2006 @12:06PM (#17257446)
    ...the fact that, when you minimize a window and pull it up using Apple+Tab, it STILL doesn't reappear until you pull it up from the dock. Seriously. This causes 95% of my frustration when moving from Windows to Mac.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Apple+Tab reveals an application switcher not a window switcher. Thus, selecting an app brings the application to the front. Any unminimzed windows for that application will also be brought to the front. Minimized windows for that application will not. In my case, I keep multiple documents open in Word, but minimize a couple I'm not working on at that moment. If I apple-tab to Safari to copy some text and then apple-tab back to Word to paste the text, I do not want my minimized documents to suddenly ap
  • #15 - MenuCalendarClock, or a variety of other similar programs.

    #14 - Konfabulator/Yahoo Widgets or Amnesty. I use Konf/Yahoo Widgets. The problem with Amnesty is that Dashbord widgets are CPU hogs. Putting them in their own layer means you don't have to care because they're only running a small part of the time.

    #13 - I've used a combination of applications working together to make the middle mouse button bring up the window menus as a context menu, but Apple should ABSOLUTELY make contextual menus available from the menu bar the way Services are, and make the main menus and Services available with contextual menus. There's five places that are close to the mouse under Fitt's Law, and the fifth is... where the mouse is right now. :)

    #12 - The Dock needs a lot more work than this. In NeXTstep the Shelf (the equivalent of the right half of the Dock) was a real place... you could drag documents into it and out again, so that it provided an intermediate place to "pause" a drag and drop operation while you shuffled windows. The "Poof" is cute, but it's a bad user interface design... if you want to trash a Docked object, the trash is right there.

    I use XShelf for this.

    #11 - If anyone knows of software that fixes this, I would love to hear of it.

    #10 - I used to use third party apps, but now I just have a folder containing aliases pointing to the system and personal application folders, and certain places in the Library, in the Dock. And, yes, this could be made a lot better.

    #9 - "The rest of the world long since accepted that IBM makes the best keyboards" - Indeed. I would dearly love to be running OS X on a Thinkpad instead of a Macbook, mostly for this very reason. (Yes, I know that's Lenovo now, but the principle's still valid)

    #8 - CUPS MUST DIE

    #7 - The low level user interface isn't even internally consistent on the Mac. Every application has its own UI for configuring hotkeys - this should be a single "hotkeys and input" item in the Preferences, that lets you assign ANY key or corner combination to any application using the new "input manager" they create to implement this.

    #6 - There's a million apps for this, and none should need to exist. Plus... laptop fan controls, keyboard illumination, sleep/hibernate behaviour, and all the rest of the laptop configuration crap that you shouldn't haveto deal with but in the real world you all too often do.

    #5, #4, #3, #2, #1 - Finder is two separate programs that don't work well together. The old OS 9 Finder should be pulled out and restored fully for the benefit of the folks who like a spcial Finder, and the old NeXT File manager should be pulled out and restored fully for those of us who prefer a file browser.

    On the reader peeves:

    #1 - If I select shut down, and some application wants to know if I really want it to close, give me a window that says "yes, kill it and the rest of the pig-dogs, I WANT TO SHUT DOWN NOW". In fact that should be a button on the "shut down" dialog. "Cancel, Shutdown, Kill the pigdogs". Same with "sleep". And give me an option to go into safe sleep AND power off in a single operation (you could call it Hibernate :) ).

    #2 - It's in there. Almost. RETURN on a file SHOULD put you into edit on the file name. Except when it doesn't. See points #5 through #1 in the previous section. :)

    #3 - YES. Steve, old man, nobody kicked sand in your face for putting two buttons on the NeXT mouse. It's time to give up on this whole passive-aggressive single-button-mouse thing. See also "putting OS X on a Thinkpad". You got IBM japan to help you out on one of the Powerbooks (3400, I think)... you can do it again. Nobody will call you a wuss.

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