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Zarf in Mac OS X Land 414

baruz writes "Andrew Plotkin (aka Zarf), award-winning interactive fiction author and Mac and Unix programmer, has not-so-recently posted a secret diary of his experiences installing and using Mac oh ess ex."
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Zarf in Mac OS X Land

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  • by Pope ( 17780 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:04PM (#3093861)
    I'd just like to point out that I've had an install of OS X since the public beta release, and NEVER have I sent information in to Apple.
    Another "journalist" complained about this then X first came out.
    It's quite simple: when running then installer fill in the info, then when it asks if you have an internet connection, say no. When it asks if you want to register with Apple, say "later."
    After it boots, go set up your Networking preferences, etc.

    No info sent to Apple. I mean, how dumb do you gotta be to not realise that you dont HAVE to send anything in?!
  • Emacs (Score:5, Funny)

    by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:06PM (#3093883)
    Started Terminal app. Unix shell! Go Steve! Emacs! (Okay, Emacs 20, not 21. Close enough.)

    Man, I'd love to travel back in time five years and tell a bunch of Mac advocates that within five years, Emacs will come pre-loaded on a Mac.

  • by daeley ( 126313 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:09PM (#3093913) Homepage
    Likes American McGee's Alice.

    Hates Dock.

    Doesn't get why you wouldn't want to have root access always on.

    Doesn't like font handling.

    Has strange habit of referring to Apple computer engineers and UI designers as 'Steve' ;)
    • excellent summary!

      now, here's my (o-ess-ex user's) article-o-meter:

      'stupid diary! - 57'

      'good point! - 3'

    • Re:Summarization (Score:2, Informative)

      by psaltes ( 9811 )
      troll, but I'll bite...

      > Likes American McGee's Alice.

      The full quote is "Pico-review: visually brilliant. No plot, ten-second gimmick idea for character. McGee thinks he's going to make a movie out of this? Then again, I went to see Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within."

      I'm not sure that indicates like.

      > Doesn't get why you wouldn't want to have root access always on.

      hmm, I don't think this is what he was saying. Rather, his normal login was in fact 'admin' on OSX, but it still made him type a password (his own password), and the method of figuring out how to type a password was nonintuitive. And he seems to have been fine with using 'su' to install software, except for some reason (hard to tell from what he says) it wasn't immediately clear that this was specifically necessary.

      > Doesn't like font handling.

      I think what he said is that he didn't like the font selection interface.
  • "Bad design or stupid user? Hmm."


    Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair.

    • by GodHead ( 101109 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:49PM (#3094285) Homepage
      My favorite in-joke story...

      A few years back, a non-tech co-worker asked if it was fair for a local computer shop to charge her $65 to fix problem. $65 is a bit much for a 30 minute fix I my mind, so I asked her what the problem was. She said that the shop owner told her it was just aother "Windows I.D. Ten T" error. Needless to say after I agreed it was a fair price and that she wasn't being ripped off, I about fell out of my chair laughing.

      I.D. Ten T = id10t

    • Or, as it's known where I work, it's the CKI, or "Chair to Keyboard Interface."

  • Well, for a UNIX guy I am suprised he was baffled by having to enter an administrator password to install a package or make other system level changes.
    • I agree. I thought the basic premise of having access to root was to not use access to root unless you really need to.

      I also found his point about installing device drives to be pointless. Last time I used yast2 with SuSE, it kept asking for my password before I could even install applications. Why should OS X be any different.
      • I agree. I thought the basic premise of having access to root was to not use access to root unless you really need to.

        For security reasons I log in as administrator and just use 'sudu' whenever I need to make root level changes.
      • Problem is that OS X doesn't set up a root account for you unless you tell it to (i.e., doesn't allow root account access from the UI), so at first you think that maybe your primary user account is root.
        • But you don't *need* the root account. sudo and the GUI version of it (the "click lock to make changes" dialog) are fully functional.

          True, if you want an honest-to-goodness root account, you can pop into the Netinfo manager and enable it, but there really is never any need to. "sudo su -" or "sudo {sh,tcsh,bash}" work wonders...
          • I know. But it takes a minute or two to figure these things out. That's the point of a diary, to document the process of discovery, rather than to provide a review. He DID figure it out eventually.
    • What is the point? It's a single user machine, why does it need security? If we're talking about protecting the user from his programs then what we need is a capabilities system that is intimately tweakable and preferably has unlimited undo accessible from a global event log.
      • What is the point? It's a single user machine, why does it need security?

        OSX is NOT a single user machine. Like any good UNIX box it can have as many users as desired. Furthermore, if it is connected to the net, it most certainly does need security. Lemme have root access to your machine and I will show you what can be done by someone who (unlike me) may have sociopathic and malicious tendencies.

    • by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:57PM (#3094345)
      I think his problem was that the interface for doing so is not intuitive, and he has a point. The text on the installer window says "Click the lock to make changes", which is rather vague; it should be something like "Click the lock to enter your password." Better yet, it should ask for your password right away.
  • by mystery_bowler ( 472698 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:17PM (#3094003) Homepage
    ...because I kept waiting for the grammar to devolve into Hulk-speak:

    RARRR! No like OSX! Icons EVERYWHERE! Stupid Steve! HULK SMASH!

  • Booted "Mac OS 9 Install" disk. Used good old-fashioned tools to wipe hard drive and repartition. (Three partitions: 35 gigs, 30 gigs, 10 gigs. Plus a little one at the front, left unformatted -- I hear Linux needs something like that, and I can certainly spare a few megabytes just in case.)

    I guess he's talking about the 1024 cylinder limit on older BIOSes, which crippled earlier versions of LILO, so the kernel image had to be on a partition within the first 1024 cylinders (usually 512 MB) of the hard disk.

    But I thought that was an x86 platform specific issue. What kind of bootloader do the Macs use?
  • Explore interface for a while. Not very comfortable. New UI like having sex with brand-new partner, while blindfolded and wearing mittens and half-drunk so you can't remember what goes where.

    Maybe it's Zarf, maybe it's me, I can relate to the metaphor but I swear it was easier for me. On both accounts.

  • by eet23 ( 563082 ) <> on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:21PM (#3094045) Journal
    What annoys me most is the "You don't need to know" attitude it takes to a lot of the things in it. For example, it's possible to get detailed info on startup, but they hardly make it obvious how. And the help features are incredibly annoying. One other thing: I think the designers spent too much time thinking "Feature X is cool" and not enough time on "Will feature X be incredibly annoying after a few weeks' use?"
  • Cleaning up mistake: "Delete User" on redundant "guest" account. Dialogue: "This user will be permanently deleted. The home folder will be reassigned to the administrator..." Choice of "System Administrator" or "Andrew Plotkin". Choose "Andrew Plotkin". Okay. The "guest" folder in Users is now changed to "guest Deleted". Don't need it, drag to trash...
    "The item 'guest Deleted' cannot be moved to the Trash because it cannot be deleted."

    This is for security reasons. In order to delete the user, go to terminal and type "sudo rm -rf /Users/shortname\ deleted"
    • I couldn't get this to work. No matter how many times I tried to remove Tim Johnson's account, it just wouldn't go away - that goddamn tjohnson deleted folder kept staring me in the face, so I reinstalled the OS.

      On a totally unrelated note, does anyone know why my friend Steve Hortname who sometimes uses my machine lost all his stuff? They guy had some great mp3's in his home directory...
  • say it with me... (Score:2, Informative)

    by option8 ( 16509 )
    "Mac Oh Ess TEN"

    Ten Ten Ten

    "Ecks" is reserved for X (as in X11)

    thank you.
    • Then why doesn't Apple spell it "MacOS 10"?
      "X" is an "ecks", not a "ten" to us English-speaking folk. If we were discussing a Roman operating system, I might agree with you, but in the US, "X" is a letter, not a number!

      I mean, if Apple released an operating system calles "MacOS +" everyone would call is "mac oh ess plus", not "mac oh ess ten" even though "+" is the Japanese character for 10.

      I say, as long as it says "OS X" on the box, we can call it "oh ess ecks". The hell with what Steve Jobs calls it, what does he know about Macs anyway ;-)
      • This is why I'll probably just block the new ads on /. instead of paying. I'd hate to pay for the right to have people moderate the above post up as insightful. Do we say Rocky eye eye or Rocky vee, no we say Rocky 2 and Rocky 4. So your braod generalization about English falls flat on it's face with a simple example.
  • by fritter ( 27792 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:31PM (#3094129)
    I think this outlines a fundamental problem in switching between OSen, though. When I first installed X, I installed ASM Menu, FruitMenu, everything I could find to make it as much as possible like MacOS 9. Over time, though, I've started trimming these bits back out because they really aren't neccesary. I was just trying to force my old UI preconceptions onto what was an entirely new OS, instead of adapting to fit what the UI was designed for.

    In general, though, this article was really on point with a lot of the interface crap Apple has piled on in recent years (I hate Sherlock!!!). Although his hatred of animations might have shown a need to move on from OS9 - does he realize OSX is preemptively multitasked, thus allowing you to do other things while the app icon slides out of the dock? :)

    All in all, even with the occasional human interface snafu, I love MacOS X. It's still a mite bit slower than OS 9, but the overall experience and quality makes booting into 9 seem like travelling back in time 20 years. The development environment is unmatched, and it's like running 3 OS's worth of software (OS9, OSX, and GNU/Linux/BSD/OSS/Gnome/what-have-you).

    Plus I like those little animations. :)
    • He specifically mentions that he's been trained to watch every animation he sees. Besides, if you want to click on a button on the thing that's sliding out of the dock, and its taking far too long to slide out of the dock, I can see frustration building there.
    • OSX preemptive multitasking allows the CPU to do other things, not the user. During a 1-2 second animation, the CPU can do plenty more than animate. But I can't do anything but wait.

      Some animation is cool and non-intrusive like the dock icons sliding about when apps open and close. But this prefs pane is really irritating.

  • by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:33PM (#3094137) Homepage
    I use MacOS X. I love Apple. I would even take a bullet for Steve. Woz that is. But if you want me to sign up for subscription service can you stop with these lame Apple stories? iWarez was bad, this is unbearable.

    If you don't do better, I won't subscribe and tweak my Squid+SquidGuard config to ignore big ads Slashdot on my OS X box.

    So there! Plus I haven't gotten a wedding invitation, yet!

  • When you've got only one internal drive, it's always a good idea to make two partitions. When one fails for whatever reason, you can still boot from the other (always keep a backup System handy!). This is essential (or at least makes it very easy) to run DiskWarrior and Norton (not that you would ever want to run Norton... at work my co-worker had a slightly old Norton, and while he was running in OS 9 it automagically scanned his hard drive for errors, and changed every .dot file to a _dot file on his mounted OS X partition. Crap on a stick.).

    Back to the subject, I bought my Mac when iTunes was new. I fooled around with it for a few minutes, and found that it came with a HOARD of good MP3 files. I dumbly thought that the Software Restore CD would put them back after I wiped the drive and repartitioned.

    I was wrong :( I'd love to get those back.
    • The iTunes samples songs are only part of the OS 9 install, not the OS X install. Thankfully, I backed them up before wiping my hard drive and reinstalling OS X.
    • When you've got only one internal drive, it's always a good idea to make two partitions. When one fails for whatever reason, you can still boot from the other (always keep a backup System handy!).

      If your drive fails you're still screwed. I knew a guy who partitioned a drive into two like partitions and then mirrored them. I suppose it could have been worse. He could have done three partitions and used one as a hot backup. ;)
      • If your drive fails you're still screwed.

        Nope! I'm got one of those god-forsaken IBM Desktar shit-drives (OEM drive on my G4) that was mentioned on slashdot. Same model number. It's toast. I've got to get it replaced under warranty, but that's a pain in the ass. And then I think they'll just give me another shit-star (every IBM drive I've had has failed. Stupid IBM.).

        However it's got 2 partitions, and the toasted part is only on one of them. So I'm currently 'clean' on one partition (15 GB out of 60 GB, sniff). I've been running that way for a few months now (damn I'm lazy), and I know it's dangerous, but, damn I'm lazy.

        Lesson: always make a partition. 99.9% of the time, it's just directory damage, which DiskWarrior can clean up easily. But DiskWarrior won't operate on it if the only drive you have to run it off of is the damaged and startup drive.

  • OSX Migration (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ink ( 4325 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:36PM (#3094180) Homepage
    We just finished moving about a quarter of our Mac users to OSX. It was almost painless; I was expecting many problems from different people about the new design. One user even went from OS8 to OSX on a B&W G3/300/192MB, and I haven't heard a peep from her since. The most "power" user we have runs Photoshop, Pagemaker and Illustrator, all of which run under Classic and she had the most problems migrating -- but after a couple of weeks of using it , she stopped in to thank me and to inform me that she hadn't had to reboot her Mac in over a week. Previously it was at least once a day (ie, "System Error -1 : Restart your Macintosh"). They unversally love the dock, and the all seem confused by the new finder. They also don't like the s l o w window resizing, but the consensous is that it's well worth the niggles and bugs that do exist.
  • I would love.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward see a review of the OS X UI issues from a Linux or Windows centric perspective. PLEASE NOTE: I acknowledge the right of long-time OS 8/9 users to find pain in the new OS, but I'm not one of those.

    I'm a Windows (at work) and Linux (at home) user who is growing a little fed up with both (okay, HATE Windows; Linux is starting to drive me a little nuts).

    Fact is, I've got a clean RH 7.2 install sitting on nice hardware and half my apps don't work properly (Konquerer crashes, old Netscape sorta runs but has rendering problems, Mozilla -- forget it, Opera won't even start up -- haven't installed the just released beta yet).

    I prefer KDE to GNOME, but after being into computers for over 15 years, the fact is, none of these systems work as well as they should. We've got 20+ years of consumer-level industry experience behind computers and they still suck.

    Windows 2000 is almost serviceable, but XP is the bastard son of MS' strategy for hobbling half the OS against 3rd party media app incursions.

    There are power management, sleep and hibernate issues that MS won't fix in W2K and that aren't that much more stable in XP. Hibernate twice and chances are things will start dying if you try anything. Drivers suck -- I can't set my desktop to sleep because the f&$king HP USB drivers pop up a dialogue after the machine wakes up every time. The only option is to LEAVE MY PRINTER DISCONNECTED BETWEEN USES. But yeah, my wife's a media artist -- she kinda needs the color printer. So much for my Energy Star compliant computer.

    My laptop has 256MB ram and web pages can still choke media. My desktop has 512MB ram and switching among 2 users make it feel like a slug.

    My latop is 1.5 years old and shipped, without me noticing (my bad), with ACPI. No linux power management..

    I'm inclined to tell people who want to buy a computer not even to bother. Use the one at work for your email and spare your home life from the misery that is the modern computer industry.
    • Re:I would love.. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Take a look at [] - the site just opened a little while ago, but the people running it are former Linux and (shudder) Windows types that discovered OS X and are relating their experiences on the site.

      Make sure to take a look at some of the postings by Evil Dr. Go in the forums - he just switched from an OpenBSD system to a G4 running OS X, and has been posting his experiences with it.

  • On a related subject, you can use the Mac OS X app Frotz [] to play all the old text-based interactive fiction games like Zork, HHGG -- basically the Infocom and Z-Code games.
  • by christopher_mcca ( 513738 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:47PM (#3094263)

    I honestly can't say that I've encountered anywhere near the level of frustration that Zarf seems to have met with in his foray into the world of OS X. Maybe I've just been lucky; or, maybe I've spent more time actually trying to use my Mac than trying to beat the bejesus out of the UI until it perfectly matches my own personal internal representation of the perfect interface.

    Don't get me wrong: I think it's perfectly valid to point out OS X's present shortcomings, or to mention areas of the UI that you wish were different. But for Christ's sake, please stop construing the fact that Apple didn't personally ask you how to implement each aspect of the UI as a failure on their part.

    In the end, the diary gave me a vicarious headache as I envisioned the author's bitter moment-to-moment struggle with Steve's hegemony over his desktop. At points, particularly during the Administrator Password Crisis, it started to sound like the Al Gore sketch that Darrell Hammond did on SNL during the Florida mess.

    how do you vote? Do you circle a candidate's name? Do you underline it? Or do you write it on the arrow? Or underneath? Or maybe it's the dots. Do you write the candidate's name on the dots? They seem sort of small. Maybe just his initials. Or do you color in the dots? If so, in what color? Maybe you scratch the dots with the edge of a penny. Or lick the dots. Again, this ballot does not spell it out.
  • by Refrag ( 145266 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:54PM (#3094325) Homepage
    Stupid Andrew Plotkin. Andrew Plotkin no good intuitively understanding even most simple interfaces. Andrew Plotkin no figure out multiple window animations. Andrew Plotkin no figure out scale faster than genie. Andrew Plotkin no figure out customize toolbar until days later. Andrew Plotkin no figure out time since day be half hour or week.
    • Andrew Plotkin doesn't like criticism! Makes Andrew ANGRY.

      BAD STEVE!

      I was reminded of Being John Malkovitch, "Malkovitch Malkovitch Malkovitch" except "Bad Steve, Go Steve" -- who the hell is he talking about? Some guy that beat him senseless as a child?

      I think the only thing that could have made this little "diary" more amusing and childish was if it was written in crayon.
  • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:54PM (#3094327)
    A friend of mine installed OS X at my urging. He's used Unix boxes in work for years, so he's computer dumb. He liked it, generally speaking.

    Anyhow. He partitioned his harddrive four ways. It gave him troubles from day one. Not big ones, just little ones. The GUI didn't fit how he was using his Mac. The Application button, now was meaningless, the Documents button was meaningless, He never used his Home folder. He fought the interface to do it "his way". Looked for and downloaded shareware apps to help him OS 9ify his computer. He fought his computer for a year, changing this, changing that, trying to make his GUI work his way. That's fine as long as you don't want to get any work done.

    So I tell him...."kill the partitions and use the supplied UI elements the way they are meant to be". He says no. Off and on, we have this conversation and he always wants it "his way".

    Then one day, he decides that he will try my advice. I tell him how to save his mail and prefs, he backs up his "essentials" on CD. Un partitions, Reinstalls, updates, etc. For one week, he decided to actually USE the UI elements as they were meant to be used. That was 4 months ago. All that shareware he bought is now useless to him. He no longer fights his computer and has found that OS X is EASIER to use than OS 9 as long as you are willing to change a few habits. Not only that, changing those habits took very little time.

    In the article, this guys first action was to ceremoniously declare (via instant format and partition, which he complains didn't go over as smoothly as he wanted) "f**k this setup, I want the set up to be TOTALLY different" and has been fighting OS X ever since. I'm willing to be if he set aside his precepts and used it the way it is set up, one week later, he would not be fighting his machine and would be back to getting work done.
    • He's used Unix boxes in work for years, so he's computer dumb
      what does that mean? most INIX people I know are computer smart.
    • Maybe the problem is that the Apple-proscribed way of managing your OS is stupid?

      On the one hand, Apple brags about how its OS is based on BSD. On the other hand, Apple software (from the OS itself on down to the supremely moronic iPhoto) encourages -- nay, all but demands that you format your entire 60 GB drive as a single partition for all your application files, libraries, developer tools, logs, etc., etc.

      I ask you ... what legitimate BSD administrator ever worked that way?

      Don't get me wrong. My primary home computer is a Mac, I use it nearly every day, and my primary OS on that computer is Mac OS X. But I, like the author of this article, continue to spend a great deal of time trying to fight the OS to work the way I want to work -- or at least, trying to get the OS to stop fighting back. And I don't know why I have to do that, because from where I sit, Apple's way of doing things isn't right. Mine is.

      • I have no idea what you're doing wrong.
        I have 4 partitions on my laptop:

        I don't mean to insult you by being blunt, but something is wrong if you can't partition your drive.

        My only problem with the setup is that when I reboot it will fail to mount /Users and /Applications. Reboot again, and my /Users and /Applications are mounted. I don't know what the problem is, but I'm looking into it.

        If you need help, this is what I used:
        • Nice troll -- though you seem to have proved my point more than argued against it. Allow me to quote from the site you linked:
          I store all my applications (both Classic and OSX) in a different partition. I just find it neat. There is a bug in Apple's Installer, though. It assumes all applications are kept in the original location. For example, if you move to a folder named "Internet", update 10.1 fails to search for the moved file and create a folder in the original location with the modified components. It's up to you to copy over the changed files into the old Annoying, indeed.
          Go, Apple!

          And BTW, I don't mean to insult you by being blunt, but something is wrong if you partition a drive and then can't mount the partitions.

          • I can mount the partitions. Boot using apple-s and then execute 'mount -a' and /Applications and /Users mount correctly.

            It is the OS that fails to mount the partitions, and I'm trying to figure out if there's a particular order in which the boot process expects things, and if that order isn't (yet) being respected. If you know anything of this, can you help?

            Anyway, why do you accuse me of being a troll? You said On the one hand, Apple brags about how its OS is based on BSD. On the other hand, Apple software (from the OS itself on down to the supremely moronic iPhoto) encourages -- nay, all but demands that you format your entire 60 GB drive as a single partition for all your application files, libraries, developer tools, logs, etc., etc.

            I gave you a link that shows you that nothing forces you to a single partition for applications (Mine is on /Applications), libraries (my ~/Library is in /Users, my /System/Library is on /), developer tools (on /), logs, etc., etc. (I have my swapfiles on /Swapfile) Yes, the Apple installer is moronic in assuming that all the apps are in their default locations, but the installer still works if you use different partitions. The problem is if you put iPhoto in /System/Library, then the updater tries to put the updated files in /Applications/

            Apple *does* have a one view mentality, but it doesn't force it. The fact that some of Apple's installers can find my apps (like iTunes, iMovie, or DVD Player) while others can't (like Image Capture, Mail, or iPhoto) speaks of inconsistency and incompetence, not draconian fist.

    • I disagree. I kind of like it the Windows way (I'm talking about the file explorer, not apps). MS has always been good to add support for new commands while maintaining old ones (for example, the task bar that lets you delete files, or play music). You can still right-click and choose delete, which is my method of choice. It's good to have choice and decide your "right way".
    • No matter how you slice it, the ULTIMATE arbiter of what works/what doesn't is the enduser. Sure, there are some nicely researched UI truisms to follow that are broadly applicable but it is dead-ass wrong to come out and basically say: "This is THE way the UI will be and YOU, the enduse will use it OUR way, period." No. Wrong. The enduser knows best, not some programmer or CEO.

      It is one thing to start from a common framework upon install (you do have to start somewhere) but there should be NO (none, zero, zip, nada, nul, nechevo) hindrances to altering the layout, look, etc, of a UI to fit any given individual's preferences, conceits, pecadillos.

      With OS X, there is the automatic and inevitable inertia of having longtime users have to switch from the old-way OS ..7,8,9 to the new, almost totally different way of things, but that doesn't excuse not permitting proper individual customization. That is one of the things everyone always gets all emotional about on /. when GUI/environment comparisons come up.

      Sure, with any environment there has to be some basic parameters which is what makes any given GUI or environment its particular flavor, but the strength of the linux GUIs or environments is the ability to diverge from the standard way with little pain at all. Apple would be well served to accept that fact early. Allow very wide latitude for the user to change this or that and NOT break anything (like the help tool as described in the diary).

      Trust me, I DO know the best way to setup MY system to work for ME, the way I like to work, the way I prefer to work, the way I work best. No one else, ME, the enduser, knows this stuff.

  • The ONE time I really played with an OS X machine (ISDN router training, damn Ascend Pipe 50s SUCK) I was messing with quicktime, and managed to lock it up. Hmmm, so I used top to find the pid, and then kill -9ed it. It was sweet, the power of linux, with a GUI that doesn't scream CHEAP. Now I just need the moola to but a damn iMac, I'm broke.
  • Two things kind of bugged me about this article. One was the authors seeming expectation of an OS cutomized to his tastes out of the box. The other is his strange (in light of the previous) unwillingness to invest any effort in trying to adjust the UI preferences to suit tastes. For instance:

    Miracle! Noticed "Customize Toolbar" option in Finder

    And the like. "One True Way"... It reminds me of trying to deal with older engineers who have solidifed their ways of doing things and are unwilling to seriously consider input.

    I've been using OSX for about 9 months. Every time I've had an issue/wish with it, I've gone directly to the apple forums, maxoshints and others ( is a real gem). There's no mention of seeing outside help until day 9.

    Reminds me of psychology readings about brain chrystalization...
  • "a secret diary of his experiences installing and using Mac oh ess ex."

    It's been said a hundred times, though probably not here. It's spelled "Mac OS X"; it's pronounced "Mac O.S. TEN."

    Geez... ;)

    • Oh. Yeah, and MacOS 8.6 was written as
      MacOS VIII.VI i suppose?

      From a company who supposedly values consistency so highly, you'd have to assume they are on crack.

      It's got a big goddamn 'X' in it's label, so thats what I call it.

      I spose youre one of those people who says 'GIF' as 'Jif'

  • Snarfegnugen (Score:2, Interesting)

    by macX_rocks ( 531018 )
    I don't mean to imply that I think the OSX UI and general verbage within are perfect, however, the 'diary' seems to posit that the UI should be *absolutely* geared for the totally incompetent user (not that I'm saying the author is incompetent... just assuming he was taking on the role of someone who didn't know his arse from a hole in the ground... for the sake of his 'diary'-based review of the various imperfect elements in OSX). I am not a 'newbie' to the various elements of OSX... I've used MacOS, various *NIXes, NEXT/OPENSTEP, [other platforms], so perhaps I'm not ignoring my experience enough to make a fair judgement... in any case, I don't think the OSX UI/experience is likely to be quite the confusing fiasco portrayed in the 'diary'.

    From the first time I installed OSX, I have had *no* trouble understanding when/how to use packages and when/how to enter which passwords. The lack of an active 'root' user was a bit disorienting at first, but was figured out/resolved/activated within a couple of minutes (BTW- Rather than the oft-posted "use to activate...", I simply gave the root user a password in same effect). I must say that I feel the article announcement's brief bio on the author's background (UNIX experience) set me up to be rather surprised at his inability to *grep* (ha!) the various pieces... that's why I've assumed that he's taking on the role of a newbie and not necessarily so confused himself.

    I love OSX. I want it to improve. I know it will. Surely, it will improve to some degree by user feedback... but, I don't think that feedback is altogether useful when delivered in the form of: "stupid [designers]" or "lack of [some pre-existing feature]?!?!?! Apple/Steve is KILLING ME!!!!!". Sadly the vast numbers of people yelling in such manner, in ernest, also drags down the 'humorous' nature of such satire.

    All the above: IMNSHO
  • by Randar the Lava Liza ( 562063 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @06:12PM (#3094464) Homepage
    There's an incredibly fast Sherlock replacement called Locator [] (freeware) which puts a GUI on the OS X locate database. Searches in Locator take all of a second or two. Plus no channels, no big GUI overhead, just hella fast searches. Plus if you use a program called Keyboard Maestro [] in it's free form you can reassign Command+F to point to Locator instead of Sherlock. Speed speed speed!
    • This can't and won't replace Sherlock. Picture this:
      I just downloaded a file and don't know where I put it. Let's run Locator. Oops... it's not there.
      Why? Because the database has been last indexed the night before.
      Well, just run updatedb to reindex the database and do the search again.
      Wanna bet this takes twice as long as using Sherlock?
  • Buddy boy is picky! :-)
    Doesn't like icons, doesn't like generally anything related to ease of use. Just get a pc, install some distro without X and deal if you want it to be difficult. ;-) j/k

    I can understand some of his gripes though. Configurability is definitely a virtue in an OS, and (while I doubt his accuracy) he descriptions hows it o be lacking such a virtue.
  • Thrusday, 19:05 EST

    Mom's iMac was preventing access to mission critical application (System folder corruption not allowing AOhell to let her into msnbc crossword puzzle with morning cup o' tay)

    "No problem" says I.. "plunk down a wad for OS X"

    Financing and resources secured. I arrive for a gnarly bit o dinner + boredom watching installation bar creep.

    Mundanity ensues and my 1st install of OS X goes well after last touching a mac when options included a mac, or a mac without a mac.

    Gratuitous use of AOHell under OS X (they stole my KDE backdrop dammit!) embarks and I am stumped by 10 Across.

    Foregoing urge to insert foot into crt, I depart.

    Friday, 17:27 EST

    21+ hours later and no whiny calls about iMac. I kick the cat instead. Job well done: Thanks APPLE!

  • Review of review. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by melatonin ( 443194 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @06:30PM (#3094627)
    A review of the review. Well, not really a review, but annotated ramblings or somethign.

    Ran through the OSX registration procedure

    He complains about being forced to register... this has already been commented on. But having no true option is stupid.

    Big dialogue box came up: "You need an Administrator password to install the software." Below this, icon of a padlock: "Click the lock to make changes." Totally baffled. What do I do now? No clue how to enter administrator password.

    Yeah, that can be confusing. You don't know that your password is an administrator password (it never tells you about the concept of administrators, or that you're it).

    Just so you know, he actually took three days to finish Alice (and that was in Easy mode and with a couple of hints on how to beat the bosses. Plus liberal use of cheat keys in final battle.)

    I'm better at Alice than he is.

    Getting more experience working with new Finder. No longer feel totally mummified, but still not comfortable. Column view -- bleah. (Remember using NeXT boxes in college. Didn't like column view then either.)

    Bah, column view was something I always wanted in the Finder. It's good, get used to it :P It's better if you have more folders than files (it's good at finding files deeply nested, and makes it more convenient to have your files deeply nested).

    Hit cmd-F to search partition. Oh, no. Sherlock. Forgot how awful Sherlock has become

    Sherlock is a bane on the Mac's usefulness. Stupid Steve.

    [Dock:] Can click app icon, wait for window list pop-up -- but this is slow and confusing. All Terminal windows have same name anyway

    You can Get Info on a Terminal window and change the name. Very useful. Otherwise they have the ttyp# in the name.

    Only missing UI element: configurable Apple menu. Or some way to do pop-up menu with hierarchical structure showing a directory tree. Needed for One True Way MacOS structure.

    Well, get used to column view, and you've got it. Try this:

    1. Click Finder icon in the Dock.
    2. Hit Command-opt-F. This brings up Favorites. Set it to Column View.
    3. Close window now.
    4. Hit Command-opt-F. The finder should remember that that folder should be in Column View (it will also remember the window size, for when you open up a new window, instead of navigating from an existing window).
    Here's your wonderful hierarchical list, as easy as clicking the Finder icon and hitting command-opt-f. Add folders with aliases in them as your hearts content. Alright, not as easy as the Apple menu, but people abused that thing to no end...

    This animation takes approximately 0.75 seconds. After approximately 0.375 seconds, I am banging on computer top, screaming "Get move on!!"

    Yup, there's too much stupid animation in OS X. A lot of it is warranted and doesn't get in your way, a lot of it (like hitting Command-S(ave), return) takes too damn long as the sheets come and go.

    How hard would it be to write a freeware Dock item which navigates folder tree, without delays?

    Dock menus pop up instantly if you control-click. Or if you have a two button mouse and right click. He finds that out later, but not the two-button thing. I'm happy with one button... I use two at work because I got one there.

    Spent more time selecting fonts. Font selection is annoying.

    Font selection is pretty awesome, the Font panel resizes. When the panel is small you get popup menus for your fonts. At a bigger size you get scrollable lists. You can organize fonts into your favorite groups (like Monospace fonts, it doesn't do it for you). And you can set your Favorite fonts, and while you're browsing your favs you get a nice little custom UI for it (favs include bold/point size in one click).

    More generally: Carbon and Cocoa apps have different font-rendering.

    Actually, CoreGraphics (Quartz 2D) and QuickDraw have different font rendering. The Finder is a Carbon app. Some (many) Carbon apps don't want to jump to Quartz because (a) the developers know QuickDraw and (b) Quartz 2D isn't on OS 9, so the app won't run on both platforms.

    (Five minutes later: Selected "Get Mac OS X Software..." from Apple menu. Nothing happened. The hell? I've got menu option eating space in Apple menu, can't get rid of it, and it doesn't work? Stupid Steve!)

    He deleted IE, and has not set his default web browser (IE is always the fallback browser if it can't find the preferred web browser). Until he goes to Internet prefs and sets his browser of choice, it (and anything else that wants to launch an http url) won't work.

    I've deleted IE, the OS X version is an amazing pile of do-do; absolutely busted functionality. OmniWeb [], Mozilla, and Chimera [] rulez.

    On the other hand, have sworn off using Help system anyhow, due to annoying animations.

    And it takes about 30 seconds to load.

  • Justified Comments (Score:3, Informative)

    by Spencerian ( 465343 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @06:38PM (#3094695) Homepage Journal
    Nothing's perfect. Remember that Mac OS X is a "1.0" in reality, and, given that, it's working pretty well for most. I've never had any system crashes since I started its use last March.

    Zarf's experience confirms three issues about using Mac OS X:

    -If you are an experienced Mac OS 9 user, you will do things to your computer (and vice versa) that will be adverse. Example--moving applications out of the Applications folder. OS X updaters expect to find all Apple-installed apps in their original locations. Previous OS versions generally did not care, but this breaks OS X updates.

    Tip: LEAVE OS X application locations alone. X apps and other non-Apple OS X apps can be placed whereever you want, but the Applications folder is preferable.

    --If you are an experienced UNIX/Linux user, OS X feels fine, but the GUI gets a little in the way, particularly when you're trying to get to the CLI and stay there awhile. The way OS X handles configuration files threw him, too--OS X preferences can be edited, but you don't have dotfiles, but .plist files. Ditto for the transparencies and such.

    --If you hate the fluff of Windows, a few interface issues will annoy both kinds of users. Fortunately, unlike Windows XP, the OS does not attempt to find a way to sell you something on launching any app. Also, (Office X excluded) Mac apps are usually not so overly helpful that you want to assassinate the MS Clippy team and their families for bringing up the "assistant" idea.

    It will be interesting when he installs XDarwin for an XFree86 GUI (it can run concurrently w/Agua or alone on the display)
  • The reason... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The reason that he wasn't able to use the 'Get Mac OS X Software' option in the Apple Menu is because it calls IE.
    Which he said he deleted.
  • Is it just me, or does it seem like if the person writing the diary added "nick" or "inck" to the end of everything he would sound like "pitr" off off the UserFriendly comic strip? ...just a thought =)

  • by 1stmammaltowearpants ( 514509 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @07:25PM (#3095068)
    Maybe if he had spent more time using the standard interface instead of mucking it up with add-ons and modifications, he would have realized that a lot of his complaints are completely baseless.

    Apparently, I learned more about the UI in twenty minutes than he did in several days.

    It should stand as a testament to X's ease of use that someone who doesn't even understand how and why "root access" works can still partition and install multiple operating systems on one machine.
  • Zarf full of diary-a (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Figz ( 217203 )
    First of all, let me point out, I'm drunk and drinking and I'm just taking a time-out to respond to this incredibly stupid diary. Second, does anyone else find this guy to be incredibly lame? I mean, honestly, who takes the time to document in diary format your installations and experiences with an OS? Third, obviously OS TEN (yes, you better start saying the word "TEN" Zarf, because you could get beat up for saying "ex") is not perfect, but it is far better than anything else plus it's still in its infancy. Instead of spouting out that verbal diarrhea (get it? diary-a?), Barf should have taken the time to simply use the OS and get used to it. Every new OS has some learning required. Be happy with the fact that OS X has the shortest. Jeez. Ok, time to drink more.
  • This had all the depth, insight, excitement, and originality of one of those "I spent this weekend trying to get on this information superhighway thing" columns from 1995.

    It might have been vaugely interesting A YEAR AGO, when OS X was released.
  • by SIGFPE ( 97527 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @08:48PM (#3095553) Homepage
    ...Powerbook (550MHz). I have no prior experience of Apples and one thing I was looking forward to was having lots of pdf documents collected together that I could read on the go. I hear that PDF is native to MacOS X and I get excited about it.

    So I run the previewer. Guess what? It takes about a second to render a page. Well...sometimes it's about a half. I try acrobat reader. Even slower! Come on Apple. When I used to use a NeXT running at 40MHz I could read postscript documents at this kind of speed. It's inexcusibly and unforgivably slow. On a 500MHz pentium I can drag PDF documents up and down the screen at about 10-15 fps. It's just like having a paper document that I can scan up and down. But un a supposedly more powerful machine on which PDF is native it's about 5-10 times slower. This is truly pathetic. This is 2d graphics. It's barely a million monochrome pixels that need rendering. What's the CPU doing for all this time? Am I really going to have to write my own PDF viewer?

    Otherwise MacOS X is the dog's bollocks!

  • Mac users (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RestiffBard ( 110729 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @10:23PM (#3095931) Homepage
    I simply must believe that all Mac users aren't as braindead as this one. I've made what seemed to be simple mistakes in windows and linux but at least I was smart enough not to broadcast them to the world. Mac users have to be smarter than this guy.
    • Re:Mac users (Score:4, Insightful)

      by iphayd ( 170761 ) on Saturday March 02, 2002 @02:18AM (#3096699) Homepage Journal
      Actually, Zarf does not appear to be brain dead at all. He is complaining about bad things it the UI that Apple learned about 15 years ago, and forgot when NeXT was paid to buy them out. Things like "Icons should be nouns, and not verbs."

      He was spot on with the problems with the Installation dialog. It doesn't matter how long it too to figure it out, it is that he had to figure it out in the first place. I'm not complaining about the fact that you need authorization to install an app. I am complaining about the fact that the UI expects you to know that the little lock, inside a circle, is a button, and the only way to install the software. It would have been _much_ better UI to have an authenticate and install, rather than a quit button.

      This is not to mention that the installer does not have an authenticate option in the menus. Remember, in a good UI, icons are nouns, menus are verbs and buttons. Therefore having an authenticate button (not an icon) and a authenticate menu item would be much better than the current situation.

      The fact that you cannot delete a deleted user's home folder is stupid and _must_ be remedied. I would suggest that the folder needs to be moved to the admin's folder, and him given full privs to everything. Of course this should only be able to be given to certain admins.

      He also complains about the restore disks, and how it is not customizable. Having searched for the iTunes sampler that I accidentally deleted from my Wife's iBook, I understand his pain.

      Sherlock sucks, 'nuff said.

      Again Apple learned years ago that translucency sucks, yet they insist that all Macs come with translucency.

      Apple learned years ago how to make files and folders not rely on file paths, yet they insist on using an installer that requires things to be where the installer thinks they should be. My computer is MINE. I can understand a change to "the home folder and applications folder is MINE" but then we learn that the apps folder is not really yours either. Oh, and if I want to put other apps in my home folder, they won't register services either. Of course, if there was anything as infinitely cool as services for Mac OS 9, it would register at startup, and be done with it.

      I hope that Apple did enough UI testing to time the animations for optimum usage. I like the animations, especially the genie effect. They aid in assisting clueless users. Testing should have found the optimum speed for animations to not hinder most users. Oh, and it doesn't matter than you can do something else in the meantime if everything you are doing requires that app to be functional.

Information is the inverse of entropy.