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Tog Takes on Mac OS X 10.3 670

Rick Zeman writes "Bruce 'Tog' Tognazzini, founder of Apple's Human Interface Group years ago, has finally pointed his electrons to Mac OS X 10.3. He's been dormant for while, and hasn't said anything since the early days of Mac OS X. His new articles include 'Panther: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly' and 'The Top Nine Reasons why the Dock Sucks,' all coming from A Guy Who Knows."
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Tog Takes on Mac OS X 10.3

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  • by ikewillis ( 586793 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @01:53PM (#7975236) Homepage
    1. Make it lockable
    2. When icons are dragged off the dock, instead of going *poof* they should be moved to the desktop, unless they are dragged into the trash (and of course, the trash can't be removed)
    • Actually, the dock is lockable, on a per-user basis, in one of the System Preferences panes named "Account Settings" or something like that. (It might be better to make the dock lockable by right-clicking on it or something, but I don't think it works that way.)
    • by wankledot ( 712148 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:08PM (#7975431)
      The problem with that is the dock icons can represent at least five different things:

      Running applications, non-running applications, folders, files, and open windows (minimized.)

      So by moving things to the desktop... what are you asking it to do? Move the application? create an alias? move a window to the desktop (can't really do that.) move a document to the desktop? a folder?

      Also, you can drag a dock item off to somewhere other than the desktop, such as a document or application window.

      A fundamental idea of the dock is that it's not the actual file/program/window. It is just a representation of it, manipulating the dock icon of an object does not actually move, delete, edit, etc. the object. making the dock affect the actual item makes it dangerously powerful.
    • When icons are dragged off the dock, instead of going *poof* they should be moved to the desktop, unless they are dragged into the trash (and of course, the trash can't be removed)

      1. As a power user I would hate this. It would mean that I would have to then find the icon on the desktop (auto sorted) and delete it. Why add an extra step???

      2. I have yet to see any reasonable analysis or anecdotes that the *poof* behavior is confusing to new users (who probably dont drag things to the dock anyway)
    • When icons are dragged off the dock, instead of going *poof* they should be moved to the desktop, unless they are dragged into the trash (and of course, the trash can't be removed)

      Just so you know, according to Daring Fireball [daringfireball.net]...

      A bunch of people, myself included, griped about the fact that you can't drag-and-drop app icons from the Dock as though they were aliases to the apps themselves. The only thing you can do with them is poof them off the Dock.

      But it ends up you can drag-and-drop app icons fr

    • Oh yeah, I'd just love to have my applications moved to the desktop when I drag them out of the dock.

      My own personal gripe about the dock is when you drag something to the trash. The "add a document to the dock" behavior has priority over the "throw a document in the trash" behavior. What that means is when you try to drag a document to the trash, the trash icon moves away from your cursor! I would be surprised if Tog hasn't griped about this particular bit of stupidity, but I can't check right now beca

  • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @01:54PM (#7975246)
    Apple should've never gotten rid of its HCI group, and Tog once again shows why. For all of its advancement in underlying technologies and reliability, Mac OS X has been a huge leap backwards in useability compared to the Classic Mas OS as designed by people who cared more about useability than "lickability."

    I really think that Apple forgot why a lot of its users so tenaciously stuck with the platform in the first place despite higher prices and the little irritations of cooperative multitasking. The interface matters as more than just a pretty show. Classic Mac OS pundits have been kicking the Dock for years now, and it's good to hear one of the experts chime in. ...Not that Apple will listen, of course.
    • And if he'd supported OSX, you'd be supporting it right along with him.
      • Thanks you, no, but I've been a long, long critic of the Mac OS X interface. While some of the problems from the 10.0 release have been fixed over the years, I've always been extremely irritated that Apple didn't just preserve the Mac OS 9 interface like they did in the very early Rhapsody builds (in case you don't remember) rather than drop this whole new mess on us.

        No, I still in many ways prefer Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X. However, all my modern application require Mac OS X, and I've permanently forced myse
    • But how can you argue with lickability. Adept tongues are valuable assets.
    • by thefinite ( 563510 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:32PM (#7975736)
      Mac OS X has been a huge leap backwards in useability

      I think this is an overstatement. Most of the functionality of OS 9 (and previous) is still there. The desktop, icons, windows, and applications' interface all behave essentially the same way. You can ding it for the dock and other such changes, but the truth is that many people (myself included) actually prefer those changes.

      Now add improvements like centralizing control panels into the System Preferences (you could put many OS 9 control panels *anywhere*), the services menu (which is an awesome idea still highly underutilized), and greater uniformity in applications' menus (how many different places can you find an application's preferences in OS 9?) and you get some significant gains. That is not the end of list of changes for the better.

      My point, I guess, is that OS X is progress, contrary to the small group of critics that is getting smaller as OS X continues to improve. In my opinion Panther is ahead of OS 9 in usability and the worst you can really call it is a trade-off.
    • by jellisky ( 211018 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @03:06PM (#7976195) Journal
      I have found few of the changes to the Mac OS GUI to even be steps backwards compared to Classic. In fact, I find OSX's GUI to be much more usable than Classic's. I cringe at using Classic's GUI in the few times I've had to boot back to Classic.

      I've been a fan of the Dock since I first saw it. For me, it's an indispensible piece of the GUI that really works. I always felt that the window-shading was a terrible solution in that each window STILL took up space, even when you didn't want it to. OSX, click the yellow minimize button to send the window to the Dock, and the whole window is out of sight until I want to see it again. (I have the Dock set to hide, obviously.) Granted, I could use the Hide Application option, but that always felt bad to me since I often have multiple documents open with each application.

      Yes, OSX has some usability issues that I'd like resolved, but at least, from what I've seen, I find OSX to be the most usable of all the GUIs I've used (or am using on a daily basis like OSX, Gnome, Windows XP, KDE, and Windows 98). OSX looks good, works well and fairly consistently, and does things in a way that feels comfortable to me.

      As for the articles, here's my rebuttal to Tog's nine points against the Dock:

      9. The Dock is big and clumsy: Considering what it does, wouldn't it HAVE to be? And set to hide, it takes up no screen space until I want it to. The old Application menu still does that!

      8. Identical icons look identical: DUH! Aren't they supposed to? New things are new, after all... and red things are red. The point he makes is easily countered by the fact that the dock will pop up textual information about the icon once you roll over it. And, sorry, few other GUI tools do any better, including the majority (maybe, all?) of the Classic ones.

      7. Dock icons have no labels: This is an actual concern, but, again, rather than complain, how about propose a solution that works in the setup? I have little trouble with this, since I set up my Dock to such a point that I never have that problem. I have custom folder icons on important folders (which SHOULD BE the only folders to be in the Dock!). It's simple, and you'd have to use the same work-around in almost every other tool out there.

      6. Dock objects need color: This would be a solution to #7, and, in fact, when you think about it, is only a more specific argument for #7. Thus, he should consolidate #6 and #7, then attack that. Again, this is a point that I agree with.

      5. Trash Can belongs in the corner: Excuse me while I play a sad song on the world's smallest violin. My Trash Can, even in Classic days, was NEVER in the corner. I hated that position for it. Still do to this day. And, Tog... I use Command-Delete because it's FASTER and EASIER and makes more sense than the iconic Trash-drag to my mind... not because the Trash is in a "bad" position.

      4. The Dock's locations are unpredictable: Excuse me, what? You minimize a document, it minimizes as the RIGHTMOST icon in the document side of the Dock (for a bottom Dock, that is). What's so hard about THAT? A little use of the Dock shows exactly how predictable things are there. And a new application that isn't in the Dock will pop up in the RIGHTMOST spot of the Application side of it. Is this THAT hard to comprehend?

      3. The Dock is a sprawler: Yes, it is. Is that a truly bad thing? Instead of having to tell people that they have to move to a specific set of spots, I can just say, "Move your mouse to the bottom of the screen." Simple instructions, simple idea, simple implementation, and simple response. I don't have to tell them to sweep along the bottom until the Dock appears, or aim for a corner. Just go to one side and everything comes up.

      2. The Dock replaced better objects: Huh? Tab menus were nice, but what did I do with them? Yeah, I had a folder with links to all my programs and document folders. It worked much like a static Dock. Only, it was a bit more of a p
      • Point-by-point (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Valdrax ( 32670 )
        Point by point:

        9. It is possible to do the same things as the Dock with less screen real-estate taken up. Take a look at the Windows task bar. Wasting space in the Dock only compounds the problem of wasted space in larger widgets for all apps and widely spaced Finder windows.

        7 & 8. A single data point to distinguish files from one another is bad. More information can be presented there, but Apple doesn't take advantage of it. This forces users to hunt and peck for seemingly randomly reordered do
        • Re:Point-by-point (Score:3, Interesting)

          by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) *
          2) Your common apps in the dock are no more in fixed positions than those in the Apple menu -- you just have control of their order

          The thing is, the order is most important to me. I want PhotoShop and iPhoto and iPhoto librarian together. If they shift position it's not a big deal as I have a pretty big target to hit.

          1. The point is that the Dock is the only thing in Mac OS X where you drag and item from it to destroy it (instead of moving or copying it). This is inconsistent behavior, which is anoth
          • Re:Point-by-point (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Keeper ( 56691 )
            I disagree with your assesment. When I drag something off the dock, I am "moving" it out of the dock. Since nothing is actually destroyed, how can it be anything else? Perhaps the puff is a poor indicator of what is happening, but that does not make the action itself wrong.

            Right, you're moving it off of the dock. Onto what? Whatever it's at when you 'let go' of the icon. If you let go on the desktop, you expect the icon to move out of the dock onto the desktop.

            It doesn't. Instead, it disappears.

        • Re:Point-by-point (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jellisky ( 211018 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @06:41PM (#7979114) Journal
          5. The purpose of putting the Trash in the corner instead of the Dock is twofold. First, you want to have it in a consistent place so that you always know how to perform a common operation without a need for hunting as on the ever-shifting dock. This allows you to do it unconsciously without having to devote attention to it -- another good UI goal. Second, you want to use the corner because it's one of the easiest points on the screen to get to. You can't overshoot it easily since two edges of the screen act as a guide to direct your movement towards it.


          Piffle! (I always did like using that word in an argument. It always lightens it.)

          The corner is the easiest to get to, yes. However, the Trash was NEVER in the exact corner. You always had to come back to it, thus devoting visual resources to make sure that you hadn't missed. (And missing it was really annoying in Classic when you did miss and you had "Stick to grid" on... then your misplaced icon would end up ON TOP of the Trash, hiding it and further adding to the frustration by usually forcing two MORE drag-and-drops.) You have to do the same with the Dock Trash... move to the corner then correct from there. Yes, it's not in the same EXACT place, but the access is the same group of movements in the scenario you present.

          The only time that a static Trash is actually more useful than the Dock's is when the Dock is perpetually small because of a lack of a user-defined static list (and if you're really using your Dock, it should almost always be the entire length of the screen most of the session, unless you're an extreme neatnik) or when you had the exact muscle memory to drag exactly to the static Trash every time. The chances of the latter are extremely small... the former, though, depends on how much the Dock gets used and customized. Mine is almost entirely the length of the screen thanks to a large number of frequently used programs that inhabit it.


          4. That's good if you are only having to deal with a mental stack size of 1. However, as you work with minimizing and maximizing multiple documents, you constantly reorder the Dock.


          No, it's fine for most people. Why? 'Cause you quickly learn that if you were JUST working on the document, it should be on the right-hand side. Any user with half-a-brain should be able to figure out which of the icons is the one they want without any trouble.


          3. Wait -- you use the Dock in hidden mode all the time, and you never ever have to deal with it popping up when you drag your mouse down towards the bottom of an app that you're working with? I call BS.


          Maybe because I never go down to the bottom of the screen because I manage my windows such that they're all near the top since I USE the Dock's minimization functions? Don't call BS unless you know it to be true. And I work with a smaller desktop: 1152 X 768, or whatever that one is... I've only once had trouble with the Dock's pop-up and that was after a monitor resolution switch which left my iTunes small window under the Dock. That was fixed quickly by clicking on the iTunes icon in the Dock to bring it to the forefront.


          2. I honestly can't see how tabbed folders were harder to work with than the dock.


          Well, first of all, it comes down to the way the thing is used. ALL of my common apps are in the Dock already, and the only way they reorganize is when I drag them to other places in the Dock. Thus, the Dock performs exactly the same function to me as the tabbed folder. However, the ability to take something off the "list" that the Dock provides by, literally, TAKING it off the list makes more sense than deleting an alias. Yes, you could do the same with the folder, but then you have the alias floating around elsewhere.


          1. The point is that the Dock is the only thing in Mac OS X where you drag and item from it to destroy it (instead of moving or copying it).

    • Here's a table [pliant.org] of original HCI group members that seems to be updated occasionally. Note that some key HCI personnel still work at Apple.

      I think you could make the argument that the group is now more product focused now than before.
  • by signingis ( 158683 ) <signingis&hotmail,com> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @01:56PM (#7975273) Journal
    That's what you get for talking bad about OS X. Punkass.
  • Mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by delta407 ( 518868 ) <slashdot.lerfjhax@com> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @01:56PM (#7975276) Homepage
    After 1 comment, the site is definitely very slow, but I managed to get a mirror before the server went down in flames.
    • Re:Mirror (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Unfortunately, now you appear to be slashdotted. Smooth.
  • Dock (Score:4, Informative)

    by _PimpDaddy7_ ( 415866 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @01:56PM (#7975286)
    I agree with him on the Dock issues on almost all of them. Some may be too nit picky.

    But for the most part he is right. All documents look the same, no tagging, trash can in the dock, dragging from the dock erases what you drag. It's dangerous.

    I don't agree with the dock taking too much space. If you make it the smallest you can still make out what programs are which.

    Plus, if the dock bothers you so much, HIDE it :)
    • Re:Dock (Score:5, Informative)

      by oscast ( 653817 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:00PM (#7975330) Homepage
      "All documents look the same" Um, no they don't. "But for the most part he is right. All documents look the same, no tagging, trash can in the dock, dragging from the dock erases what you drag. It's dangerous." No it doesn't. Dragging to the dock creates an alias (shortcut for you Windows users). Dragging away from the dock simply d-letes the alias
    • Re:Dock (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Gizzmonic ( 412910 )
      Hiding it doesn't take away the wasted space. Instead, it pops up and pokes you in the ass when you least expect it.

      The only way to deal with the Dock is two monitors, with the Dock on the far left..or at least, the only way for me.

      Personally I think they should separate the app launching from the task switching. Put the apps to be launched on a Shelf...where is the shelf...ahhgghh I want shelf.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @01:57PM (#7975298)
    Now I find this curious. I've been told by quite a few people (some of whom use OSX, some who don't) and many who're opinionated about it state it as -fact-.

    "The Dock Sucks trust me I know, the KDE/Windows/BeOS/AmigaOS solution is better."

    Now, that's well and good for them. Really good in fact, that they have the choice between one thing and the other. Personally, I find the dock simple, transparent, to me it sits invisibly, I never notice I'm using it, and it performs admirably. For others obviously, it's sucky. Duh. we're not all clones.

    But to say, as many do, "This is why it sucks and why X, Y or Z is better and your opinion is wrong" is priceless, when clearly for me that isn't the case. It's like saying "You're such a fuckwit if you think Chocolate is better than caramel, here's why"

    (Just so y'all know, when it comes to MY computing experience I do like to go with what works for me, and I WILL be opinionated about what works for me)
    • by transient ( 232842 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:13PM (#7975494)
      That's the thing about HCI people. They're part of an entire field devoted to telling you that your opinion is wrong. The trouble is, by their measures, you are wrong -- they just don't realize that their measures are an incomplete picture of the computing experience. There are people in HCI who are trying to change this and I applaud them, but until they succeed, you are absolutely right.

      Or, to quote one of John Cusack's characters, "How can it be bullshit to state a preference?"

      • by Phrogz ( 43803 ) <!@phrogz.net> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:22PM (#7975618) Homepage
        That's the thing about HCI people. They're part of an entire field devoted to telling you that your opinion is wrong.

        Or, as the joke goes:

        "Give an HCI person a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach an HCI person how to fish, and he'll give you a Visio diagram detailing why your way is all wrong." :)

      • by questamor ( 653018 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:25PM (#7975652)
        I think the entire Human Interface field is so completely different to the Early 80s, that it could be almost irrelevant in that form. Comparing a trashcan on desktop and a trashcan in the dock is getting a bit pedantic when both work, and to a new computer user they are both A Trashcan.

        "Ahhh! That must be how you get rid of something!". That, and a trashcan with a 'full' or 'empty' look is as far as the "intuitive" level of an interface goes, all the rest is learned. As Steve jobs said in his MWSF keynote - "We had to teach people how to use a mouse". That was the time when initial UI intuitiveness was truly an absolute necessity, and what followed on from there was familiarity and consistency.

        With children being taught how to use windowing systems, keyboards and mice from kindergarten (Age 3 or lower, if they're at home) the initial "intuitive" aspect of a UI is becoming less and less relevant, and for Joe Everydayuser, the most important part is consistency. After all, he's probably been using a computer of some kind for 10 years or more, probably 15.
      • by belloc ( 37430 ) <belloc@nOspAm.latinmail.com> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:54PM (#7976024) Homepage
        Or, to quote one of John Cusack's characters, "How can it be bullshit to state a preference?"

        Because your "preference" may be uninformed, and therefore not really a preference at all. You might have what a connoisseur would call "bad taste" in something because you've never experienced the best. That's what Barry was talking about in the quote (to which Cusack's character responded the above); he had good taste in music. I know that concept sounds terribly undemocratic and elitist to our modern ears, but here's an example that many of us can relate to:

        Several years ago, mid-nineties, I read about Linux. I thought, "what could some other operating system do that Windows doesn't do for me now? I'm perfectly happy here in Windows." A few years later, someone with better "taste" in operating systems suggested that I try Linux. He said I'd be convinced if I just tried it. So I did, and my computing world was transformed. I got out of my MS box, and explored, and found that I didn't really "prefer" Windows to the others, because I was uninformed about the others. So, my preference was bullshit. Or rather, it wasn't a preference at all.

        Similar thing happened with good wine. I used to "prefer" to drink shit wine because the other stuff was expensive and I couldn't tell the difference. But someone with good taste in wine introduced me to how to tell the difference between good and bad wine, and now I mostly drink good stuff, and I'm damn glad about it.

        Of course, granted there are endless arguments among connoisseurs about what the best is. But I'm just answering the question, "how can it be bullshit to state a preference?"

        That said, Dick was right about Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. :)

    • Apple Ice Cream (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Valdrax ( 32670 )
      It's like saying "You're such a fuckwit if you think Chocolate is better than caramel, here's why"

      To further extend and utterly mangle your analogy, it's more like Apple took away the Mint, Strawberry, and Chocolate that users had come to love and use regularly and replaced it with a big block of food-colored Vanilla, saying that the rainbow swirls of dyed Vanilla more than adequately serves all the functions of Mint, Strawberry, and Chocolate despite losing a lot of the specific flavors the former soluti
      • Re:Apple Ice Cream (Score:3, Insightful)

        by iSwitched ( 609716 )

        Dude, he's not complaining when others do the same, the guy basically says each to his own. What he's complaining about is exactly what you're doing when you say:

        "The Dock DOESN'T work for most of us."

        This is simply not a defensible statement, do you have proof of it's validity? Have you done independent studies?

        The only thing you can say for certain is the dock DOESN't work for you. If this is the case, try some of the suggested apps Tog mentions in his article.

        I respect your opinion (and Tog's)

    • Are you kidding me? You don't think think that there's a body of research that goes into HCI?

      Back in the day, when this dude worked for Apple, they had HCI research going on all the time. Nowadays at Apple, HCI has been replaced by "ego-driven design." I.E. Steve Jobs thinks brushed metal is cool, so it's taking over Quicktime, then iTunes, now the whole OS.

      The point of HCI with regards to an OS is to make very complex tasks as simple and consistent as possible. Stating it's "just a matter of preferenc
    • "This is why it sucks and why X, Y or Z is better and your opinion is wrong" is priceless, when clearly for me that isn't the case.

      Isn't that exactly what you are doing here?

      This is a big problem in any kind of product design: the immovable, cement-headed assumption that if not everyone, at least all the people that matter are just like you.

      If the Dock works perfectly for you, bully for you. But remember, it's only one data point. However, a design based on principles that are empirically determined is
  • ...of System's 7, 8 or 9, it wouldn't have made it, not even as freeware.

    Tog's right. It is the most inane UI feature to have made it in *any* OS, let alone Macintosh.

    And what's especially frustrating is that they replaced two very workable UI gadgets, the Application Menu and the Process Menu (which Tog confuses with the former) without so much as bothering to elicit feedback from the users.

    I found this to be really arrogant. It was like the boys from NeXT came in and simply assumed they knew better t
    • "I found this to be really arrogant. It was like the boys from NeXT came in and simply assumed they knew better than everybody else"

      Not arrogant at all. The guys at NeXT DID know better and so therefore it was right to take over Apple's former UI staff. Guys like TOG are just bitter about it.
    • You did what? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You actually swiched OS's because of the Dock? Seriously? I'm impressed.

      Tog knew a lot in his day, but his complaints about the dock are clearly from a I-wish-it-were-still-the-old-way mentality.

      The beauty of the Dock is that normal people can use it right away. Power users that need more should just use something else. No one complains that iMovie is limited or that iPhoto is slow, they just get a clue and use something else. (Actually, people do complain, but anyhow...) Yes, the Dock is part of the OS,
    • Sigh. System 6! I love you!
    • by gamgee5273 ( 410326 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:33PM (#7975748) Homepage Journal
      You know, though, Apple has been very responsive to feedback with the introduction of OS X. If the users make enough noise, Apple does pay heed to that.

      Think about it: we yelled about those damn docklings in OS X PB - 10.0 and things moved back into the menu bar; the configuration apps are now accessible from the Apple Menu; there are numerous ways to configure the Dock and the Finder now, allowing a user to have the machine he/she wants.

      I, personally, use the Dock as a waystation for: apps that I use regularly, or use regularly right now (like Keynote, which I use every six or seven weeks or so); for my staff schedule spreadsheet; and for my desktop printers.

      Do I think it needs to evolve? Hell, yes. I want to see multiple desktops or workspaces (no, Expose is nice, but it doesn't serve my needs). On spanned displays I would like to see multiple Docks. Basically, I think Apple needs to make the Dock much more configurable so we can make the Dock our Dock...

    • Whoa kid. The Dock solves a few problems the MacOS has always had, while maintaining very little screen real estate (none at all if, like me, you hide it). And it introduces so much new functionality that I can't imagine a mac OS without it.

      The dock tells you:

      What programs you have open, but that have no client windows left (without having to check the Application menu, which took up space in the already crowded program bar and had no keyboard shortcuts other than option tab)

      Which programs are open, but hidden, again without having to check a menu.

      Informs you when (and often why) a certain program needs your attention in a very noticable but inobtrusive way. And the bouncing can be seen even when the dock is hidden (the icon bounds up at the bottom/sides of the screen).

      Programatic control of icons can offer all KINDS of useful information at a glance without needing to switch programs...everything from the date in iCal's icon to full memory and process indicators.

      The dock allows you:

      An easy way to start, stop and switch programs without having to browse the hard drive. Most programs have useful controls added to their dock icon as well...and you can access these functions with a single interface.

      An easy way to access the trash bin without having to expose the desktop at all times (so annoying)

      Access to the discs in a convenient cascading manner. This has allowed me to access common files and PROGRAMS without taking up resources at all times.

      In short: The dock accomplishes all of the functions of most OS' taskbars, menus and so forth in a much simpler, much more powerful, much more intuitive and above all CUSTOMIZABLE fashion. It kicks ass.

      And you're griping about the loss of the two most useless UI controls ever invented...oh my god, i just responded to a TROLL, didn't I?!?

    • The Application Menu!? Come ON. When I first started using the Mac OS (OS 8) it took me FOREVER to figure out where to stick stuff so it appears in the apple menu. It makes absolutely no sense to climb into the System folder just to add an application shortcut.

      The Dock may not be perfect, but it's a hell of an improvement. Drag and drop. Plus the finder has the Applications button always visible by default (even better with the Panther sidebar) so it's easy to get to non-dock applications. This makes SO mu
    • It was like the boys from NeXT came in and simply assumed they knew better than everybody else
      I wish they had done it, rather than the compromise they came up with. With 10.3, the finder window is now pretty decent. I remember the NeXT browser being a bit more elegant, but this will work. The dock is not as good as the NeXT dock. Especially with the widescreen displays the macs have these days, the original NeXT dock would've rocked.
  • by mr_mischief ( 456295 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:01PM (#7975351) Journal
    is that you don't have to trip through countless menus and windows to get to something a few keystrokes in a terminal window will do faster.

    Pretty pictures for those who want it done easily, a terminal for those who want it done now (or more easily by a program). I like graphical interfaces for what they do well. I like command lines for what they do well.

    With OS X, as with most other *nix implementations, I can have the best of both worlds.
    • by Slightly Askew ( 638918 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:55PM (#7976040) Journal
      With OS X, as with most other *nix implementations, I can have the best of both worlds.

      I run Windows XP, and almost everything I do is done via a command. Create a folder called c:\shortcuts. Copy shortcuts to your favorite apps, vbscripts, whatever to this folder and name them whatever you want. Add C:\shortcuts to your PATH env variable. Now all I do is hit Windows+R (Same as start run), type in my new command, and hit enter. What used to take many seconds of menus, right mouse clicks, and options, now takes less than 2 seconds. I want to start Microsoft Word, I type "word". If I want to start iTunes, I type "itunes". If I want to start device manager and connect to a remote machine, I type "mg computername".

      Not all Windows users are GUI freaks...some of us are pretty proficient with our workstations without the pretty pictures.

  • WindowShade Rocks (Score:5, Informative)

    by laird ( 2705 ) <lairdp@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:04PM (#7975383) Journal
    Most of TOG's suggestions weren't my cup of tea ( I like the Dock, but hey, I used to be a NEXTSTEP developer), but WindowShade is a wonderful program.


    Actually, these guys make a lot of cool, useful little app's, but WindowShade's "minimize in place" is wonderful. When you click on the 'minimize' control for a window, it's minimized down to an icon. But unlike the dock it's minimized right where the window was, so you can arrange the icons yourself. Also, the icon is a live version of the document's contents (so you can see a progress bar's progress, differentiate between two different Photoshop images, etc.) and has the application icon superimposed (so you know what kind of window it is). Apple should at least use these icons in the Dock.
  • by lysium ( 644252 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:08PM (#7975432)
    This article [asktog.com] on his site reviews a few pieces of software that fix the problems associated with the Dock.

  • From an Old Mac User (Score:4, Informative)

    by Becho62282 ( 172807 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:09PM (#7975435)
    I have used every single Mac OS since system 7.1 in 1993 and I think that Torg does have several good points.

    1. I have to agree that the open and save dialogs are a bit obstrusive, I remember being able to move around the open and save dialog to see what was going on behind it at times. Now when I get an ICQ add request I can't see the request because the dialog box is sticking in the way. Perhaps Apple needs to implent ment a "Rip" button that gives you the option of ripping the dialog box off the window on a case by case basis.

    2. I disagree with the trash can issue. I like it in the Dock and find it pretty usefull there. Not to mention the fact that I just rather hit apple+delete to trash things anyway.

    3. Ok, so the UI is differant, but honestly I think it is the best one that apple has designed since I have used the mac. They removed a lot of the issues that plagued it in it's infancy. I love the single window option and I have not had an issue with screen density at all. Quite frankly I think the new finder is the most functional they have had since 7.5 (yeah it's flame bait but II loved 7.5). It provides everything that you would want to access quickly right there for you with minimal problems. Yeah things may be bigger, but I like that.
    • I find it interesting that people are complaining about Open/Save dialogues being attached to the document. Perhaps they could stand to be a little more transparent or something, I suppose, but I HATE floating dialogue boxes. Not a day goes by when I don't lose one using Windows, or it pops up while I'm doing something else, and iterrupts my work in a DIFFERENT application. Having dialogue boxes bound to the window that they belong to means I never have to search for one, and I never have one coming up whil
  • Hmmmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by NDPTAL85 ( 260093 )
    So I take it the Mac community FORGOT to send Tog the memo that his views on UI design are wholly irrelevant and have been for some years now?
  • by flabbergast ( 620919 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:10PM (#7975453)
    *putting my flame proof jacket on* I like OS X's user interface, and I hated OS 9's user interface. I bought my iBook because OS X is based on FreeBSD (and I need a shell prompt and assorted other goodies), but I enjoy the user interface now that I've had time to adjust.

    I think most of the problem is centered around "But the Dock is stupid because OS 9 did this instead." We have a natural tendency to resist change, and Finder and the Dock are huge changes to the Mac interface.

    And yes, I did RTFA, and I do agree that there are some missteps (like all the Dock widgets looking the same) but a lot of the complaints here are "OS 9 is better! OS X sux!"
  • by Alrescha ( 50745 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:14PM (#7975506)
    When he talks about interface design, it's clear that TOG is in his element. When he starts talking about what applications should do, he seems more like he's just ranting.

    I think this comments about the new Finder are right on target. When he complains about needing export from iPhoto, It makes me wonder if he's ever bothered to select a bunch of pictures and just drag them somewhere.

  • Article text (Score:3, Informative)

    by smellystudent ( 663516 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:14PM (#7975511)
    Top Nine Reasons the Apple Dock Still Sucks

    Apple Sales is in love with the Dock. You can't go into an Apple store without seeing it splayed across the bottom of the screen, in the very configuration least conducive to computing on a Macintosh. Why? Because it's sexy and it sells. It makes that bright, shiny new Apple look simple, approachable, and beautiful. It makes for a great demo.

    The problem does not lie with the Dock itself?if it makes a great demo, leave it in?but with Apple's apparent belief that it is a complete solution. The Dock is akin to a brightly-colored set of children's blocks, ideal for your first words?dog, cat, run, Spot, run?but not too effective for displaying the contents of War and Peace.

    Contrary to my previously-held position, I no longer believe Apple should get rid of the Dock. It's just too pretty there in the store, and it does help set Mac apart from the more utilitarian appearance of Windows (although Windows grows more attractive with every release). You want that in sales. You want a visibly-apparent manifestation of the personality of the underlying technology. That's why automakers spend milliions making the outside of the car project an image of what's underneath the skin.

    A certain class of Apple users?those who check their email once or twice a week and sometimes need to print an attached photo?may need nothing more than the Dock.

    The rest of us need more powerful tools, so, Apple, leave the Dock as the smashing demo it is, but also supply some serious, information-dense tools. You have the talent and wherewithal to make such tools as attractive as the Dock if only you will cease seeing this one single object as a complete solution.

    Apple has made a few improvements to the Dock in the last three years. Items no longer jump around seemingly at random, although the size of the Dock continues to "wheeze" in and out without user control.. Items alsoi act like buttons, so clicking anywhere within their confines will open them. Apple also quickly gave us the ability to turn off magnification, a major improvement in day-to-day usability.

    The other good news is that independent solutions now exist for getting around every limitation of the Dock. Read Make Your Mac a Monster Machine to learn how to turn your Mac into a high-productivity, but still fun workhorse. Meanwhile, here are eight continuing problems with the Dock, plus a new one, a decided lack of color. Most of these are inherent, and the solution is more and varied tools. A few can be directly addressed by design tweaks.

    9. The Dock is big and clumsy
    The Dock by default sucks up around 70 pixels square minimum, more than four times as much vertical space as either the Windows task bar or the Macintosh menu bar. (Yes, you can set it much smaller, but then you make it progressively more difficult to identify an icon without "scrubbing" the screen with your mouse to reveal its label.) Couple that with Apple's move to 16:9 wide screens (read: short screens), and you have a real problem. For good measure, add in the Dock's habit of floating on top of working windows, and you have little choice but to hide it.

    8. Identical icons look identical
    This was originally entitled "Identical pictures look identical." I pointed out that the Dock's use of thumnails in small sizes made all normal text documents look pretty much alike. Apple has now dumped thumbnails in return for identical icons. My original advice still holds: "We need information on data types, file sizes (as represented by the thickness of the icon), age, etc." They've now given us data type. We need more?any attribute that can help differentiate one object from another.
    The better solution to this and many of these other limitations is to supplant the Dock with additional objects that are designed for representing groups of non-application objects, so that people aren't even attempting to put folders and documents in this already overloaded single object.

  • I never used OS 9; I pretty much went from Desktop Linux to Desktop OS X so that I could run some apps (like MS Office and Warcraft) without a lot of muss and fuss.

    I've been using OS X for about, oh, 12 months or so now. Never saw the OS 9 tabs and the like - went straight to Finder and Dock world.

    I use Another Launcher [petermaurer.de] 99% of the time - Control-Space, type in a few letters, and I'm done. The Dock hardly ever gets used, but I've never really hated it - if anything, I liked it more than most of the othe
  • Opinion... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:18PM (#7975557)
    Bruce is historically very right about lots of things - mostly about how damaged Windows had to be to not infringe upon Apple's look-and-feel too much in those heady lawsuit-happy years...

    I'm not in agreement with his prolonged high-horse about Aqua/Finder and especially Dock.
    If there were prime directive(s?) in those days, it was that modes are bad, and a good GUI is permissive and forgiving. OSX expands those and 99% abides by them.

    Yes, Aqua interface details do need to be smaller - Classic screen space seems gigantic compared to OSX, largely due to smaller controls. We hit them just fine before, and it's creeping towards Xp cartooniness;
    The dock is still better than the Launcher or the Taskbar in that it does solve the problems of (1) real estate of floating things and (2) kinesthetic problems of aiming inherent in window-bound menus;
    Dragging from the dock doesn't erase what you drag in the newbie/panic sense, it deletes the alias (which yes, is enough to invoke a newbie/panic) - your original is fine, MAYBE dragging it should place it on the desktop (or an alias or copy? what is wanted here?

    I've been using MacOS since the 128K and have 17 years experinece in pre-OSX and three in OSX - I have to say that Classic now feels like Bambi-on-ice compared to what now can be done easier and with more forgiveness in OSX.

    *sigh* ok - I do miss the Chooser.
  • Sorry (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:33PM (#7975754) Journal
    But I can't take seriously the word of anyone who seems to think the Applications menu and Apple menu from OS9 were some sort of holy duality of perfection. And I rarely heed the word of grown adults who still use the word "sucks".

    The Dock is not perfect, but his ranting against it comes across as just so much hyperbole. I get along with it just fine. The problem of identical icons is gone now that I can put my project folders in the Finder's side bar, and I don't minimize folders and documents much anymore thanks to Expose.

    He may be a Guy Who Knows (or was at one time), but he's flat out wrong here, and there definitely a hint of an axe being ground. It also comes across as simply "I got used to this way. I never want to change. Whaaaaa!"

    Some of the reasons can be combined (6, 7 and 8, for example). Some are purely subjective, like 5. I have zero problem trashing things.

    The rest seem to read like "people's hands have minds of their own, and those minds are retarded, so they can never get used to the Dock. It's Fitt's Law, which is as immutable and perfect as the Laws Of Thermodynamics, dammit!".

    And I love "Oh! I dragged something out of the dock and it puffed into smoke!" Wow. So call 911, you silly man, and tell them you need an IV with Zoloft or something. Sheesh.

  • by cmoney ( 216557 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @02:50PM (#7975973)
    Tog: Get over it. Start living in the present. Classic OS is gone, kaput. 3 years ago, I had many of the same reservations about OS X as the majority of long-time Mac users.

    However, having solely used OS X for the past 2 years or so, I can safely say my reservations have been 95% unfounded. As it turned out, it was more a case of "I fear change" than anything substantial. My overall productivity is still much higher as a result of the whole of OS X's new features.

    His Panther review reads more like a list of rants simply because Apple didn't do it exactly like he wanted.
    • However, having solely used OS X for the past 2 years or so, I can safely say my reservations have been 95% unfounded. As it turned out, it was more a case of "I fear change" than anything substantial. My overall productivity is still much higher as a result of the whole of OS X's new features.

      I think this "higher productivity" is one of the most pervasive myths in computing. Every year somebody announces that the latest software has made them "more productive". By my reckoning, a modern office worke

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @03:39PM (#7976637)
    It's cool to see Mac zealots turning on each other!
  • Citizen Kane (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) * on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @03:41PM (#7976677)
    Tog has some very valid points on some aspects of OSX's interface. On the other hand it is obvious he really liked the way OS9's interface worked. His favorite interface hacks are ones that bring back elements from OS9. While Classic MacOS has some very good interface elements not all of them need to be ported to OSX.

    Window shades were a good idea when there was nowhere else for the windows to go. In OSX the Dock is the out of the way window repository and for the better I think. Since the Dock now adds an ownership icon to windows it is easy to see what is in the window and what it belongs to. If you've got a Word document and Safari window in the Dock you can easily tell which is the one you want to bring back up by the ownership icon. With window shades it was easy to lose a shaded window behind other windows or not be able to find the particular window you were looking for. The Dock keeps the windows in a common area and gives a visual representation of them.

    I agree with Tog on white space to a degree. Some widgets in Classic MacOS were in desperate of added white space. Then other widgets were given too much white space. The white space added to windows controls was a very good idea in my opinion. The Platinum window controls were ridiculously close to one another which made it easy to be sloppy and close a window without meaning to. The added space is also good on tools windows. At 1280x960 the close button on tool windows was teeny tiny. Its Aqua counterpart is much easier to hit and more noticable. The amount of space given to buttons and labels however is bordering on absurdity. Interface builder suggests no less than four miles between buttons and labels on an interface. Too many small developers are using the suggested window metrics and ending up with horribly spaced windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @03:46PM (#7976738)
    Tog writes "The same problem is plaguing the Safari browser. You can't elect to import bookmarks into Safari, and there's no way to get them back out. No corporation would support a single-source supplier, and no individual should either"

    There's a hidden Safari feature which allows you to import bookmarks ...

    Type the following command in Terminal (while Safari is NOT running):

    Quit Safari. Enter the following command in Terminal ...

    defaults write com.apple.safari IncludeDebugMenu 1

    Launch Safari -- you'll have a Debug menu added to the application's bar. Amongst the Debug menu options are two ways to import bookmarks.

    To get rid of Debug, quit Safari and enter the following command in Terminal ...

    defaults write com.apple.safari IncludeDebugMenu 0
  • "As crisp as 9.2.2"? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tholomyes ( 610627 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @03:48PM (#7976768) Homepage

    In the article he claims that Panther is as "crisp... as OS 9.2.2". In my experience, 9.2.x was just kludged together to make it forwards-compatible with OS X, and introduced a lot of undesirable behavior.

    In fact, I found this to be true with MacOS 9, period. 8.5 seemed a lot more stable and user-friendly. What did 9 have that 8.5 didn't?

    My only problem with the Dock is dragging, say, 20 or 30 picture files on to Preview so you can look through them all; if you miss the Preview icon and the button slips-- WHAM!-- 20 more icons added to the Dock. Well, that and accidentally clicking on a program that takes a while to boot.

  • by macdaddy ( 38372 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @03:52PM (#7976834) Homepage Journal
    No, I'm not referring to something from NeXT. I'm referring to the Dock's predecessor from previous MacOS releases. I'm referring to the Launcher. *puts on flame-retardent long underwear!* Now I know many of you didn't like the Launcher but for me as a diehard Mac guru I found it indespensible. My Launcher was highly organized. It had a dozen categories at a minimum. I ran more than one Launcher on a number of systems (the hack was trivial and the outcome was most useful IMHO). The Launcher was perfect for me. Apple, however, made a change to the Launcher that I never will forgive them for. I'm trying to remember when exactly they made this change. I believe it was with OS 9 or there abouts but I'd have to do some serious reflecting to be certain. Around the time of OS 9 Apple started changing many of their long-time control panels into full-fledged applications. As we all know running applications show up separately under the Application menu, whereas control panels don't show up at all (they are considered part of the Finder process). One of the control panels they changed was the Launcher. This had a very unfortunate and annoying side effect for me. I used to quickly access the Launcher by clicking outside of whatever application I was in and onto the Desktop. All Finder windows (including control panels) popped to the foreground and my Launcher window(s) was readily accessible at the bottom of my screen. When they changed the Launcher from control panel to full-fledged application (with no additional features I might add) clicking on the desktop no longer brought the Launcher window(s) forward. Now this may seem like a very trivial thing to you but to me it was a major pain in the ass. I'd have to go hunting through the Application menu (or the Application window once they introduced that) for the Launcher. I used every trick in the book to squeeze the absolute most out of my Macs. I knew every time-saving key stroke by heart. This change was very annoying to me.

    I personally find the Dock to be very annoying. I positioned mine on the right hand side of the screen, shrank it to the smallest possible size, only enabled a tiny amount of magnifcation, and made the dock automatically disappear. That's the only way I can make it somewhat useful. I still find that it's always in my way when I have a couple dozen windows open. I'll mouse over to the right hand side of the screen to scroll up or down in a window only to have the dock popup under my arrow. If I'm not paying attention or moving to fast I may switch to another running application or launch a new instance of an app in my dock. This is annoying as hell. It's almost as annoying as the bastardized Apple menu which now has no function whatsoever. With the Classic Mac OS I fly. I can out work even my G4. With OS X I find I have to hunt and peck around all the little annoyances that I can't get used to.

    IMHO OS X is a great OS for a newbie, or at least someone that's not terribly familiar with the ways of the Classic Mac OS. OS X is a royal pain in the ass for a Classic Mac OS guru though.

  • by gobbo ( 567674 ) <{wrewrite} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @04:31PM (#7977340) Journal
    OK, enough whinging, so how do we make this Dock thing work better for us?

    I'll start: I immediately drag my Home, Applications folder and Utilities folder to the right side. There, just about anything I need to browse to in a hurry. One click = the window in question, click-hold-for-a-second and you can navigate a popup menu.

    Then there's the fun stuff like guages and my RSS-eater, or a weather monitor.

    I pin mine to the bottom right side to make up for my crusty old system 1.0 user muscle memory fixation on the trash. But then, as so many people note, command delete (and Cmd-Z!!) is what I use anyway.

    Your turn.
  • by Sophrosyne ( 630428 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @04:46PM (#7977608) Homepage
    Tog wants the dock to be OS X- he wants it to give you lots of info, and be the virtual swiss army knife of the mac. But perhaps that is not it's purpose- it is not the center of computing on the mac and it shouldn't be- it's just a simple retrieval tool for commonly used apps.
    It is not the replacement for the finder, and it is not the replacement for the apple menu. I personally do not want to see the dock become this bloated piece of crap that Tog wants it to become- that is the problem with most modern user interfaces- information overload.
    I like using keyboard commands, I don't mind going into the Apple menu and clicking file and save- and I'm glad that Apple has been consistent on what the dock can and cannot do- as well as what the apple menu does like save and open documents.
    Tog- use the finder more, use the apple menu more, bloat is bad.
  • by wazzzup ( 172351 ) <astromac AT fastmail DOT fm> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @05:19PM (#7978006)
    Doesn't expose address the criticisms of the dock? It doesn't get in the way of those that love the dock and provides an alternative to those that don't.

    Don't like using the dock to switch applications? Use expose to show all open windows - or command+tab for that matter.

    Don't like it when you have 7 Word documents open and you can't tell one document from the other by its icon in the dock? Use expose's show windows by application.

    Don't like getting to a desktop buried by open windows by minimizing windows or hiding applications in the dock? Use expose to move all the windows offscreen.

    As a longtime Mac user, I think the dock is clunky but expose and command+tab have been a dream. My friend that recently switched from Windows to the Mac loves the dock and can't understand why people hate it. With Panther, everyone is happy.

    Tog's arguments and this thread would be valid in a pre-10.3 timeframe but Apple listened and provided a wonderful alternative in expose. Are people just not using it or are these people complaining about an OS that is a generation (or four if you count OS 9) old? Hell, let's start a thread about Windows for Worgroups shortcomings.
  • by Devlin-du-GEnie ( 512506 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @07:08PM (#7979396)
    People are whinging about Tog's remarks because "the Dock works and has never done anything wrong to me."

    That's not his point. Every behavior he criticizes requires you to take your mind off your work and concentrate on the UI for a few seconds. That time away is a painless little vampire sucking on your productivity. It's nontrivial.

    Tog isn't daydreaming or bitter. HCI isn't voodoo. Many of its precepts are supported by empiric research. Go. Read some of it!

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian