Favorite quotation: Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes, that way when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes. - Jack Handey

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Here are some more of the notes I've been making as I've used Tiger. Currently I'm on 10.4.4, and while this is vastly improved from 10.3.x and earlier, in many ways it still pales in comparison with the "integrated, intuitive, clean" feel of System 8.6 (and of course 9.x). Obviously OS X is far more stable, faster, easier to develop software for, etc. That is not the issue; the issue is what I see as the "PC-ization" of the Mac interface -- the look-and-feel becoming less coherent across the various programs there are for the Mac; inconsistent interface behavior even (and especially) within Apple's own software, notably (and regretably) Finder and Safari; a counter-intuitive/difficult placement of system controls like global browser preferences (set in Safari, not System Preferences) and firewall preferences (set in Sharing, not Security or Network), although Spotlight really helps (it's still no excuse for poor organization).

These things in the unedit list below are all things that I think Apple should address as they continue to make OS X the best OS on the market, which in many ways I already feel like it is, but obviously felt strongly enough to hastily type some thoughts into Stickies about a few things. My main deal is that I really don't like there being anything about Windows that is better than in Mac OS X, like how it has the ability to view a folder of images "as thumbnails" without using another program -- in OS X you have to use iPhoto or GraphicConverter (which apparently comes with many Macs nowadays, and that's cool); or how when you install stuff in Windows, it very conveniently adds what you installed to an "Add/Remove Software" or "Add/Remove Hardware" list, allowing you to easily uninstall things. This was never an issue, really, with System 9 and earlier, since there were no invisible folders that things generally got installed into, and it wasn't too hard to go in and manually remove any Control Panels or Extensions (and the Extensions manager told you what was part of the OS and what was 3rd-party).

OS X has no equivalent to the Extensions Manager; the closest thing is the Activity Monitor, which gives no clue as to what is part of the system software (and if it is, if it's been modified by a hacker or not) and what is something that is 3rd-party, and of the 3rd-party stuff, what goes together by brand or software package. You have to dig much deeper to find all the little pieces of stuff that many programs install in OS X, such that it's not much different from Windows now in that regard. And if you do find stuff, being able to delete it or copy it to a new OS X installation is made to be a severe pain by the way the Finder handles file permissions: yes, you paid for this computer, but no, you don't have permission to copy this file! And woe be to you if you tried to copy or burn a CD of 1,000 files and one of them, the Jonah on that ship, was owned by root and you had no permission. Goodbye, wasted CD! There is no option to operate as a "super-user" inside the Finder; in order to take care of business in these cases one must resort to using the Terminal -- but woe be to you if you never have been initiated into the dark, arcane mysteries of Unix.

So Apple has some work to do, yet. Here are some things.

in safari, in the bookmarks view, you can't drag one "favorites" category (far left toolbar) into another directly in that same list; you have to open one then drag it over.

would be nice to have a hierarchically expandable view in that left column of the finder which can now only be the "favorites", ala windows explorer-view, or system 7 style.

setting the default browser should not have to be done from within Safari. what if you delete it??? GOSH!

aliases of folders, in list-view, should have the same "expansion arrow" as folders themselves (y'know, the triangle that rotates from > to V ).

text fields in browser windows need to have an auto-save and unlimited undo feature. so if your browser crashes or you accidentally hit "back", then it will always still have your text in it, or you could load it from a file. i don't wanna have to use a keylogger.

finder prefs don't let u set date to x/x/x format, always verbose... =.=

in finder/mail/safari etc. can't click on left sidebar and up/down arrow thru favs/shortcuts or type first letters of name to jump to ptclr item...

in safari can't open a subfolder of bookmarks as a seperate window... why not just use finder for storage/organization of bookmarks where when ur in bookmarkland, folder is flagged for all subfolders to have same flag that left sidebar becomes safari's instead of finder's... same w/iphoto and itunes... BUILD IT INTO THE DAMN FINDER OR AT LEAST HAVE THE OPTION~!~!~! WITH LIMITED FUNCTIONALITY OR SOMETHING~!!~~~! sheebzzz!!!

have a way to globally set default column widths in finder.... QQ

piece of software called "RWality" where you stick in any RW optical disk, then it automatically copies the entire contents to a new disk image mounted from your HD so it's nice and fast. option to hide the actual RW disk from finder, just show you the image. then when you eject that disk image, it burns the new version back to the RW disk, if necessary! how sweet wld that be?!

i hate it how the finder creates an alias when you drag-and-drop a disk image or disk into a folder. THIS IS STUPID. drag-and-drop should ALWAYS copy. sheesh!!! consistency, apple, consistency!

OMG iTunes' auto-complete is so crappy. jeez. it's terrible. so like, if you have a bunch of unnamed tracks, w/zero info, and you start entering all that info, I thought the point of "auto-complete" was to save you time. But it's stupidly designed. you put in a song name- you'd think it could search online and find the album name, artist name, etc. for you... out of a list of possibilities... but nooo... so anyway, then you put in, for the first song out of 19 or whatever: (1) song name, (2) artist, (3) year, (4) album name, (5) & (6) track number X of Y, (7) & (8) disc number X of Y, (9) genre, and (10) drag-&-drop album art. That's TEN different places I have to input data. Now if I am going through a list of songs where I don't know ahead of time which ones belong to which artists and which albums, but I'm just filling in that info as I go along, then when I enter a previously-used album name, it should automatically fill in the track and disc number Y, the year, the album art, the artist, the genre, etc. but it doesn't!

since OS X, the "open" dialog box has SUCKED ASS. at first there was NO keyboard navigation. now there is, but it sucks compared to the old OS 9 way. see, the problem is that OS X insists upon the columns-style view for all dialog boxes, unless you're a program like Reason that rolls its own dialogs, which in some ways suck even worse (cmon propellerhead), but we won't get into that. See, the problem with the "columned" open/save box is that keyboard navigation is a total bitch with it. There's also no way to set the "list" view as the default for all programs, although at least it does remember what you last used, so if you start using "list" view in a program, next time you open or save, it will bring up list view by default, so that's better than nothing. You can command-2 command-3 between them, which is nice. But I don't like how if you tab to the sidebar, you can't type the first several letters of whichever shortcut you want to employ.

in the finder, i'm having problems with items disappearing from my favorites list in the sidebar. seems to happen a lot with 10.4, not sure if it happened earlier. can't even remember if there even WAS sidebar earlier... QQ. anyway, I put shortcuts in my side-bar to folders that are on firewire drives so i can easily connect the drive and offload files without having to open multiple finder windows, etc. but it's SUPER LAME because as soon as you eject that firewire drive, POOF, the shortcuts disappear!!! SO LAME!!! what should happen is, they should stay there but then if the drive is offline and you click them, it should bring up a window saying "please insert/connect the disc/server 'Nazareth' ", or whatever the drive or server is called. even tried creating aliases on my local drive of the folders on the removable drive that i wanted to shortcut, then draggd the aliases into the sidebar... BUT EVEN THAT DIDN'T WORK!! QQ!! worst thing is, it USED to work in a previous version of OS X, but they broke it, probably on purpose! and the sidebar preferences are mysteriously in the Finder's Preferences, even though the sidebar appears in almost every dialog box in every program. QQ!!

should be able to edit MP3 tags right in the finder's "get info" box! cmon apple!

loading network servers, disconnecting them, and having them time-out causes far too much beachball death. also, inserting and ejecting CDs and DVDs, as well as sometimes firewire drives, and waiting for them to spin back up, takes way too long, ESPECIALLY ejecting a CD or DVD from the internal powerbook drive! Takes for frickin ever!! should just POP RIGHT OUT. but nooooo....

autocomplete is the bane of my existence. If you start typing a two-word album name in iTunes, but the first word is supposed to be capitalized, it will un-capitalize it for you, or vice versa half the time, and there's no way to fix it except type the whole name then go back and fix the error. For example, album name I want to type is "Uniform" but if I even press 'U' once, even with shift held down, it fills in "undertow" even though I already have all the songs from Tools' album undertow. ugh. so you have to type "uniform" then go back and change it to "Uniform."

ugh, you can't add items 2+ at a time to the sidebar... qq

all the mac browsers crash too much. seems like at least once per day i manage to overload safari or firefox -- they're both equally bad. once you have 5+ myspace tabs, forget it. if you have your OS X firewall turned on, and file sharing turned off, and web sharing turned off, and try to open a JPG on your hard drive into safari, it's beach boys time: spinning beach-ball of death.

after 10 seconds the beach-ball-of-death should morph into a little bomb ala Systems 1.0-9.2.x ... at which point if you click your "escape" key it should instantly force-quit the program.

OS X needs to reserve a little like 10% processor headroom so when programs get into an infinite loop or hang whatever, they don't eat up the ENTIRE CPU thus making it super sluggish and takes forever to bring up the force-quit window or do anything else you might be needing to do. of course, Apple's corporate address *is* 1 Infinite Loop... but still...