One of the links in yesterday’s link dump was this article in ComputerWorld titled “15 Things Apple Should Change in Mac OS X“. As I noted in my del.icio.us comments, it looks well thought-out on the surface but also seems to be more of the same (at least w/r/t/ this breed of article). I’ll now take a few moments to respond:
- re: #15 & “No Date Display” – – It takes a little international hackery but you can do this under 10.4. Observe:
- re: #14 & Widgets on the Desktop – – I’m half-and-half on this one myself. This may be a nice improvement for some widgets (their example was decent) but as I have Dashboard turned off 99% of the time. (Luckily, there’s DashOnOff for that.)
- re: #13 & “Inconsistent Use of Context Menus” – – I’m not sure what they mean here. I cannot think of an application that does not have exactly what I need in the context menus. That said, two points of clarification are in order. First (full disclosure). I’m really more of a keyboard shortcuts and Quicksilver kind of guy. Second, I would agree that the Services menu needs to be in all context/right-click menus. Egads!
- re: #12 & The Dock – – This is one of those “tip of the iceberg” things, isn’t it? So much discussion on what the Dock is/not and what it should/not be… I’m afraid we have neither time nor space for that discussion here.
- re: #11 & “Managing Window Size” – – I partially agree with this but their stated position is one that is a strong echo of folks well accustomed to Windows’ window management. Being “stuck” with only the bottom-right corner and/or the Zoom buttom (it’s not “Maximize”, you XP/Vista clowns!) is a bit frustrating at times. But I also don’t find myself cursing this behavior on a daily (or even weekly) basis. In fact, I think that would be such a radical shift in the UI behaviors that it the consequences (w/r/t/ unexpected changes in existing applications) far out-weigh any perceived benefits.
- re: #10 & “Accessing Applications” – – Again: Quicksilver!
- re: #9 & “Backspace and Delete Keys” – – This one is almost preposterous, it reeks so badly of “Woe is the Stranger in this Strange Land”. The fact that there is a discrepancy in the delete/backspace nomenclature aside, the key in that physical position on the keyboard performs exactly the function you expect it to. On your laptop, Fn+Delete performs the opposite-facing delete you expect it to. Their argument about laptop keyboards makes no sense to me because the above keys are in the same place (re: Fn; re: Delete) on every Apple portable while their mysterious and coveted PC Delete key is in a different (and increasingly inconvenient) position on every other laptop I’ve used (Dell, IBM, Gateway, &c.)
- re: #8 & “Printer Setup” – – For local printers, I’ve never had any problems. For
RendezvousBonjour printers, I’ve seldom had problems. For network printers … well, it can be a little Baroque sometimes.
- re: #7 & “Inconsistent UIs” – – There is something to be said for that. A common-enough lament.
- re: #6 & “Laptop Screen Dimming” – – Energy Savings out-of-the-box vs. battery-draining out-of-the-box…?
- re: #5-3 & Finder’s Column View – – #5 I would flag “irrelevant” because we say “yes” to #4; as for #3… “What…?”
- re: #2 & Finder’s “Cut” – – I find I like this behavior. More secure. You’re less likely to lose a file this way. I guess that’s what Time Machine will be for?
- re: #1 & Finder’s display refresh issues – – I’d settle for Spotlight windows that “sat still” while I tried to navigate their virtual contents. Because really, isn’t that more important than an unreasonable “100% of the time”?
The “Reader Peeves” are also pretty amusing. My favorite:
2. Renaming Isn’t Easy. The process of renaming files is highly mouse-centric on the Mac. There’s no F2 option (as there is on Windows) that lets you select the file and press F2 to expose the filename-editing mode. The mouse process requires very precisely timed mouse clicks. Anyone who has ever been forced to rename a long list of files under both Windows and Mac operating systems will likely agree that the Windows way is easier.
- “…no F2 option…” When navigating with your keyboard, feel free to press “Return” or “Enter” for this one. Don’t worry, it takes Cmd+Down to open those apps and documents. Also, Cmd+i into the “Get Info…” dialog works pretty well for this.
- “…rename a long list of files…” It’s called Automator, my friend. Now shipping!
While I won’t waste folks’ time with 15, I will drop in a quick Top 5 (in no particular order) to counter the above:
- Built-in on/off switch for Dashboard.
- Fixes for FileVault. (E.g., do it at the directory level instead of the whole Home folder…)
- Get “Services” into all of the context menus!
- Spotlight, Spotlight, Spotlight! (Stabilize my Smart Folders and give me a “bezel” interface similar to what Quicksilver has. Also: search operators would be nice…)
- Cleaned up Finder. (There’s plenty of discussion out in the wild about this one. I’ll save my “What’s in a Desktop?” discussion for later…)