Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 13th Aug 2008 23:50 UTC
Mac OS X An interesting article has been making its way around the internet the past few days, titled "Top 10 Usability Highs Of Mac OS". Mac OS X indeed does some things very, very right, just like many other operating systems and graphical environments do some things very, very right. The issue with the list of the article in question is that many of the items on the list are not exactly examples of "Usability Highs" at all.
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Must be some Leopard-only switcher
by bousozoku on Thu 14th Aug 2008 00:51 UTC
bousozoku
Member since:
2006-01-23

Apple has done a lot of good things.

Leopard has finally fixed a lot of the GUI inconsistencies and I'm glad for that. Had the person been using 10.3 or 10.4, I'm not sure he would have come to the same conclusion.

I love the image of the Firefox installation. That has baffled so many users and many of them dropped the image to be installed into the Dock, instead of following the relatively clear illustration in the window background.

I'm just glad that there are so many GUIs available at this time and that they can all contribute ideas on how to be more productive. I still appreciate the original Mac OS keyboard shortcuts so that cut, copy, paste, print, save, and open were all easy and consistent and continue to work to this day.

Reply Score: 4

Keyboard shortcuts
by Dasher42 on Thu 14th Aug 2008 00:53 UTC
Dasher42
Member since:
2007-04-05

I tend to sing the praises of an environment that gets keyboard shortcuts right, and I particularly like this about OSX. The way to use and customize keyboard shortcuts is just so darn effective - you match a selection from the pull-down menu to a keystroke.

I also like the fact that an application runs until you specifically quit it, rather than closing all of its windows. It means opening up new ones is a faster process. Why would I want to run two separate instances of Terminal when one with multiple windows will do?

But back to keystrokes. Command-Tab doesn't switch between windows like the other environments seem to think Alt-Tab is for. It switches between dock applications. You can then use Command-` to switch between the current application's windows. This is definitely more effective and flexible, and should be emulated.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Keyboard shortcuts
by tyrione on Thu 14th Aug 2008 06:50 UTC in reply to "Keyboard shortcuts"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

My favorite brought over from NeXTSTEP minus a click is the Alt-Cmd-click on active app icon to autohide all windows and bring the clicked icon's previous state of views forward.

Reply Score: 2

a kernel panic?
by mtzmtulivu on Thu 14th Aug 2008 01:11 UTC
mtzmtulivu
Member since:
2006-11-14

has anybody experience a kernel panic when using linux on a desktop? how does it look like? ..i have been using linux for years now and have never seen a kernel panic ..it hang a few times that required a hard reboot but it has never(so far) dropped me anyway and inform me of a panic ..how does linux handles such situations? do they occur?


A funny but still nice example of Apple’s attention to detail. On the rare occasions when Mac crashes, it still does so in a respectable manner. Usability-wise it’s not perfect, since it doesn’t let the user know what went wrong and only asks the user to reboot the system. Still, beautiful and elegant.

ignorance is a bliss, right? ...

Reply Score: 1

RE: a kernel panic?
by zlynx on Thu 14th Aug 2008 01:18 UTC in reply to "a kernel panic?"
zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

Linux is awful about kernel panics while running graphics. Since I run bleeding edge -mm series kernels on my laptop I have seen many of them.

What happens is that the graphical desktop just stops. No mouse movement, no screen updates. The Caps Lock key starts to blink and that is about it. There is no way to switch back to a text console to view the kernel panic.

If you have configured a serial or network console then you get the panic message as output, but that is the only way.

I haven't used it myself but I've read that kdump can get around this. kdump works by kexec'ing a special kernel which is then used to copy the kernel panic and a memory image to disk. This kdump kernel can also reinit the graphics hardware, sometimes.

Edited 2008-08-14 01:21 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: a kernel panic?
by OMRebel on Thu 14th Aug 2008 02:21 UTC in reply to "RE: a kernel panic?"
OMRebel Member since:
2005-11-14

I've been running Linux for years (guess about 4 years as my primary desktop), and I've never had a kernel panic. If you're using some sort of custom kernel, you can't generalize Linux and say that Linux is very bad about such things. Seems to be more of a problem with your setup than what the overwhelming majority of people do.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: a kernel panic?
by steampoweredlawn on Thu 14th Aug 2008 04:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: a kernel panic?"
steampoweredlawn Member since:
2006-09-27

I don't think he was making a point that Linux is bad about crashing, so much as the way you're notified isn't as elegant as it maybe could be.

OSX's panic screen is clear and concise, and you know that the system has crashed. I have seen one kernel panic on Linux in the 3 years I've been using it, and I had the same experience. Screen looks frozen, and on my keyboard numlock and scroll lock were blinking. I had a pretty good idea that the kernel had panic'd when I couldn't alt+sysrq REISUB my way out of it, but it is definitely not an intuitive way of alerting the user the system has crashed. The Windows BSOD and OS/2 TRAP screens aren't beautiful, but they leave no doubt what happened.

I'm pretty sure that's the point he was making.

edit: typos

Edited 2008-08-14 04:20 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE[4]: a kernel panic?
by 3rdalbum on Fri 15th Aug 2008 12:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: a kernel panic?"
3rdalbum Member since:
2008-05-26

Firefox 3 actually panics Linux for me, and it took a while before I realised the flashing lights were a kernel panic notification. X.org and Linux are in the process of implementing the backend stuff that will enable the kernel to push a kernel panic message onto the screen. Even while running X. Yeah, it's back to the future...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: a kernel panic?
by ggeldenhuys on Thu 14th Aug 2008 08:40 UTC in reply to "RE: a kernel panic?"
ggeldenhuys Member since:
2006-11-13

Since I run bleeding edge -mm series kernels on my laptop I have seen many of them.


Just to make sure everybody knows.... kernel panics are expected in bleeding edge software. No matter the OS.

What happens is that the graphical desktop just stops. No mouse movement, no screen updates.


Do you know if Linux has something similar to what I used in OS/2. Back in the days when I used OS/2, I had a watchdog daemon running and it was link to any external switch - I simply used my joystick. If a system crash occured that froze the keyboard and mouse, I could click the joystick button and the watchdog daemon kills the hanging program returning control back to me. This was awesome. At the moment (under Linux), I go to my co-workers PC, SSH into mine and kill the process myself. I would love the watchdog/joystick feature under Linux though!

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: a kernel panic?
by Laurence on Thu 14th Aug 2008 11:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: a kernel panic?"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Do you know if Linux has something similar to what I used in OS/2. Back in the days when I used OS/2, I had a watchdog daemon running and it was link to any external switch - I simply used my joystick. If a system crash occured that froze the keyboard and mouse, I could click the joystick button and the watchdog daemon kills the hanging program returning control back to me. This was awesome. At the moment (under Linux), I go to my co-workers PC, SSH into mine and kill the process myself. I would love the watchdog/joystick feature under Linux though!

If it's just an X application that's locking then [alt]+[F7] into the CLI then proceed to do the same as what you're co-workers would have done except from your own desktop.

You can then [alt]+[F1] to get back into your X session.

You may need to check I got the F key's correct though.(I wasn't 100% certain on them)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: a kernel panic?
by zlynx on Thu 14th Aug 2008 13:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: a kernel panic?"
zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

No, there is no watchdog daemon to return control to the user. Once the kernel panics, user-space is not run anymore. Unless it is set for a timed reboot or a kdump, the kernel goes into an idle loop and that is the end of everything.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: a kernel panic?
by ichi on Thu 14th Aug 2008 15:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: a kernel panic?"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

Enable "Watchdog Timer support" in the kernel and use the watchdog daemon: ftp://ibiblio.org/pub/Linux/system/daemons/watchdog/

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: a kernel panic?
by righard on Thu 14th Aug 2008 16:03 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: a kernel panic?"
righard Member since:
2007-12-26

You can still use this after a kernel panic:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_SysRq_key

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: a kernel panic?
by eantoranz on Thu 14th Aug 2008 17:12 UTC in reply to "RE: a kernel panic?"
eantoranz Member since:
2005-12-18

Hey... just use the BSOD of xscreensaver... there you have a number of hang ups of different systems.... including BSODs for different versions of güindous (of course). I think it's the safe's way to see a kernel panic.... other than use -mm (or any other non-stable kernel) like slynx does. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE: a kernel panic?
by kaiwai on Thu 14th Aug 2008 06:36 UTC in reply to "a kernel panic?"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

A funny but still nice example of Apple’s attention to detail. On the rare occasions when Mac crashes, it still does so in a respectable manner. Usability-wise it’s not perfect, since it doesn’t let the user know what went wrong and only asks the user to reboot the system. Still, beautiful and elegant.

ignorance is a bliss, right? ...


And a laundry list of 'codes' helps the end user - how? Microsoft have already demonstrated that they refuse to make available the list of error codes for BSOD's when they occur; heck, Microsoft has gone so far as to have automatic reboots instead of actually showing a BSOD.

The laundry list of Linux codes - that helps the user how? again, there is no standardised error codes, nor is there a single place to look up those error codes.

Screaming about the wonders of actually seeing a dump from a kernel panic may get your loins excited, but for the average end user - it is all Greek to them.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: a kernel panic?
by google_ninja on Thu 14th Aug 2008 18:20 UTC in reply to "RE: a kernel panic?"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

its something to stick into google.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: a kernel panic?
by StephenBeDoper on Thu 14th Aug 2008 19:26 UTC in reply to "RE: a kernel panic?"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

And a laundry list of 'codes' helps the end user - how? Microsoft have already demonstrated that they refuse to make available the list of error codes for BSOD's when they occur; heck, Microsoft has gone so far as to have automatic reboots instead of actually showing a BSOD.


It doesn't help the end user - but if the end user has to bring in a support tech, they can usually decipher the error code (even if "deciphering" means "search for it in Google", which is usually the case with Windows BSODs).

IMO, the ideal would be a terse "an error has occurred" message - with an option to show more details.

That said, both of my biases are showing. As a result of doing a lot of technical support, I believe that computer software/hardware should be evaluated based on how easy it is to diagnose and fix problems when they occur (and not just how well it works in normal situations).

And as a BeOS devotee, the "ideal" I described is essentially how things work(ed) with that OS: you get a "Welcome to Kernel Debugging Land" message, with a prompt that lets you run a stack crawl, etc, if you need more details.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: a kernel panic?
by Mystif on Thu 14th Aug 2008 21:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: a kernel panic?"
Mystif Member since:
2008-05-12

"Guru Meditation"


None of what follows is meant to suggest that the average user is expected to know, or even want to know all of this - but some users do...

I can work with Windows BSODs and they can be helpful, but they are far from elegant.

However, for the user who bothers to learn there is a related tool that can be quite helpful in determining the reason for the kernel panic.

If the computer has Windows and reboots instantly than it is unlikely that anything was written anywhere. But if it BSODs you will most likely have a MiniDump file. (Haven't you ever wondered why it sometimes takes so long just to display a blue screen with white text on it?)

The OS writes something to the Event Log, which does help, but even better are the MiniDump files. But it should be understood that when you first try to view a MiniDump file the process feels quite sadistic.

I mean, here you have a file that might just tell you all the intimate details about the crash that just happened, only there is nothing on your computer that can read it. I wish Microsoft didn't make accessing them so difficult.

You have to install the Debugging Tool, and the Debug files for your OS in order to properly access the Mini Dumps. You also need to know where they are written - this will be in the Windows folder, but (I am not positive) I think the location may vary from OS to OS.

Anyway, the BeOS method sounds like the better one to me, of the ones described. It gives a simple message, allows you to dig in deeper, if you want, and the OS already includes the necessary tools.

Whatever OS I use, I just continue to hope for fewer kernel panics, and better tools for problem solving when the inevitable occurs.

I appreciate it when the OS uses its last dying breath to give me clues as to who the killer is, and I hate digging deeper and deeper only to find more and more cryptic messages that have fewer returns when searching the related OS forums.

Edited 2008-08-14 22:14 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: a kernel panic?
by Beresford on Thu 14th Aug 2008 19:31 UTC in reply to "RE: a kernel panic?"
Beresford Member since:
2005-07-06

It helps me, and I'm sure lot's of other people that look after Windows systems. Generally speaking, the first point of call for a bugcheck code is support.microsoft.com, then Google.
And the bugcheck code get's written to the event log, even if the system reboots (unless the system really locks, then there is no evidence).

Reply Score: 1

RE: a kernel panic?
by henrikmk on Thu 14th Aug 2008 12:22 UTC in reply to "a kernel panic?"
henrikmk Member since:
2005-07-10

has anybody experience a kernel panic when using linux on a desktop? how does it look like?

Well, I've seen it many years ago, but true, it hasn't kernel paniced much for me. It drops to console and writes "Kernel paniced." and then you have to reboot.

ignorance is a bliss, right? ...

In fact, OSX displays a requester after reboot, stating that a serious error occurred. You can then click for more information. You can then study the debug output and send it to Apple if you wish, along with a report of what you did to provoke the error.

WindowsXP lets you do something similar.

This reminds me of the amusing error handling system that Ubuntu had once with such error requesters for crashed programs, which also supports sending debug information back to the developer. Except that it would tell you that the application that crashed was not supported by this error system, so your report would not be sent anywhere. It's been a while, but I hope they fixed that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: a kernel panic?
by apoclypse on Thu 14th Aug 2008 13:22 UTC in reply to "RE: a kernel panic?"
apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

Linux does this as well as of a few a kernel version ago. Because kernel panics are rather rare on Linux it took longer than necessary to implement something as crucial as kernel dumps. BTW, if I'm not mistaken their is way to configure the kernel panics to send a some sort of message to you framebuffer, I think someone was working on that a while back. It would be nice if when a kernel panic happened in Linux (which is rather rare. The last time that happened to me was in 2004) that it would display an error report similar to OSX with bug buddy or something. I think its an elegant way of handling the issue rather than a blue screen with gibberish on it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: a kernel panic?
by 3rdalbum on Fri 15th Aug 2008 12:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: a kernel panic?"
3rdalbum Member since:
2008-05-26

Support for a kind of BSoD is coming to a kernel and an X server near you... :-)

Reply Score: 1

RE: a kernel panic?
by No it isnt on Thu 14th Aug 2008 13:25 UTC in reply to "a kernel panic?"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Have had Linux kernel panics on several occasions. When using X11 it's just a frozen screen, and, unless you use a wireless keyboard with no leds, a blinking scroll lock key (or was it num lock? I forget). It's almost always due to fglrx or alpha/beta quality ATI drivers.

Also, that list in the article is a cringeworthy applejizzfest. "Informative error reporting" (4)? Total bullshit. When there's something wrong with OS X, you just don't know what to do, and if you ask on a forum you'll be told to "repair permissions" (which never, ever works). This is, of course, due to Apple hiding the "technical details" (5) in ways that make the software totally opaque to the end user (intended to make her/him more of a consumer than a computer user, I suspect). Claiming "the system seems to be more responsive", for OS X, is a blatant lie. OS X is fine, but not quick or responsive.

Reply Score: 3

RE: a kernel panic?
by jimbofluffy on Fri 15th Aug 2008 19:03 UTC in reply to "a kernel panic?"
jimbofluffy Member since:
2008-07-15

I have had quite a few panics recently in Ubuntu 8.04 connect to Wifi. At least once a day when I use it. The whole system freezes and requires a hard reboot. I have yet to experience a panic in OS 10.4.11 and have been using it for over two years.

Edited 2008-08-15 19:07 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Keyboards: Not a usabiltiy strong point
by Vlad on Thu 14th Aug 2008 01:14 UTC
Vlad
Member since:
2006-03-23

For the few months I've used a Mac Pro exclusively as my workstation at work. I love many, many things about my computer, from Spaces to Finder to the 3rd party software (MacFUSE etc). I do have to admit I've found keyboard use to be mostly intuitive coming from a Windows PC.

What I do not like is the keyboard. Historically, I'm a Windows guy, but I've also used Linux as a desktop on and off for the last 8 years. And christ, I have never seen more inconsistent operation from a single device in my entire life as I have in OSX.

To start off, the Home/End keys have sadly inherited their pre-UNIX operation by jumping from the beginning and end of the document. No other operating system does this. While it's FAIRLY easy to change, Home/End operation is still inconsistent between applications and even user interface elements! Firefox requires a "patch" to behave the way it does in Windows/Linux and I still haven't made it work quite right in Terminal when using stuff like Vim, although it does go to the beginning and end of the Terminal prompt.

To top it off, Page Up and Page Down also don't behave the way you'd expect them to in terminal. I have to hit the shift key to get Terminal to send the command to the terminal and not, well, Terminal. This is the opposite the way it should be (I haven't tried hard to fix this one). I don't need to fool with putty on Windows to get it to work properly, I DEFINITELY shouldn't need to fool with Terminal to make it work properly.

I've finally adjusted to the use of the command key, but it was hard to break out of the Control+C/Control+V/Control+Z habits I've had with PC's for the last 15 or so years. Personally, I also don't like OSX's implementation of Command+Tab to switch between programs and Command+Tilde to cycle through windows; I much prefer the Windows/Linux alt+tab behavior.

Finally, there's the Fn key, which makes sense on laptops but less sense on full keyboards for desktops. But this I would consider a fair adjustment and I've tried to reprogram myself for its use.

The bottom line is this: keyboard operation must be consistent between all applications and in an ideal world should follow the behavioral paradigms used by other popular operating systems.

Reply Score: 8

merkoth Member since:
2006-09-22

Completely agree with you, for a non-MacOS born programmer, OSX is a royal PITA. I'm not saying that their keyboard configuration is wrong (I just don't like it but fortunately most stuff can be customized), but there are quite a few apps that will absolutely ignore your customization (starting with the freaking Console, which could use some enhancements too).

Reply Score: 3

helf Member since:
2005-07-06

yeah, actually. They should. Just because not a ton of people use it doesn't mean they shouldn't listen to the ones that do. That is f--king stupid.

Reply Score: 2

Vlad Member since:
2006-03-23

So because most people probably don't use it they should release it broken or malfunctioning? That's some great logic there. OSX use has picked up a lot in the tech industry, I think you might be surprised how many people actually do use Terminal.

Reply Score: 2

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

For the few months I've used a Mac Pro exclusively as my workstation at work. I love many, many things about my computer, from Spaces to Finder to the 3rd party software (MacFUSE etc). I do have to admit I've found keyboard use to be mostly intuitive coming from a Windows PC.

What I do not like is the keyboard. Historically, I'm a Windows guy, but I've also used Linux as a desktop on and off for the last 8 years. And christ, I have never seen more inconsistent operation from a single device in my entire life as I have in OSX.

To start off, the Home/End keys have sadly inherited their pre-UNIX operation by jumping from the beginning and end of the document. No other operating system does this. While it's FAIRLY easy to change, Home/End operation is still inconsistent between applications and even user interface elements! Firefox requires a "patch" to behave the way it does in Windows/Linux and I still haven't made it work quite right in Terminal when using stuff like Vim, although it does go to the beginning and end of the Terminal prompt.

To top it off, Page Up and Page Down also don't behave the way you'd expect them to in terminal. I have to hit the shift key to get Terminal to send the command to the terminal and not, well, Terminal. This is the opposite the way it should be (I haven't tried hard to fix this one). I don't need to fool with putty on Windows to get it to work properly, I DEFINITELY shouldn't need to fool with Terminal to make it work properly.

I've finally adjusted to the use of the command key, but it was hard to break out of the Control+C/Control+V/Control+Z habits I've had with PC's for the last 15 or so years. Personally, I also don't like OSX's implementation of Command+Tab to switch between programs and Command+Tilde to cycle through windows; I much prefer the Windows/Linux alt+tab behavior.

Finally, there's the Fn key, which makes sense on laptops but less sense on full keyboards for desktops. But this I would consider a fair adjustment and I've tried to reprogram myself for its use.

The bottom line is this: keyboard operation must be consistent between all applications and in an ideal world should follow the behavioral paradigms used by other popular operating systems.

As one who primarily uses the keyboard for just about everything, and has done so in all of the popular operating systems and GUIs, I do have to disagree with you on some points.
First off, the home and end keys. I can understand why they frustrate you, but one thing you have to remember is that the Mac has historically had different interpretations of some of these keys, and OS X holds to that behavior. Home, being beginning and end, obviously meaning the end are taken literally to mean go to the very beginning or the very end. This honestly doesn't bother me much, as I got used to it while using the UNIX console, but I do see how it could annoy a long-time windows user. A side note, the OS X shortcuts for beginning and end of line are command-left and command-right arrow, respectively. Top and bottom (same as home/end in their default behavior) are command-up and command-down arrow.
I can't really argue about the pgup/pgdn keys, their use is far from consistent in some areas, though the specific situation in terminal that you bring up makes sense from a Mac point of view. The pgup/pgdn keys are supposed to scroll the text in the window, which in terminal is exactly what they do. I'm not saying it's a good or bad design, just pointing out that they're doing what they're supposed to in terminal, according to Apple's UI guidelines.
As for the command-tab behavior, I really have to disagree with you here. I absolutely love OS X's app-switching behavior. Not only does it fit with the way apps are structured, but for me it's one hell of a lot faster than having to task switch through every open window, especially seeing that I usually have a lot of windows open. Being able to switch to a specific application rather than having to rotate through all open windows is much faster for me, especially since I can keep switching back and forth between a few apps that I'm working in at the same time and keep the window that I need in the foreground in each one. I don't have to worry about accidentally releasing command on a window I didn't want and interrupting my nice workflow. Likewise, if I've got a lot of documents open, being able to quickly switch between them and nothing else is nice. I mentioned earlier that this fits with the way apps are structured on OS X as well. Basically, all application windows are subordinate to their application, not the other way around as it is on a lot of other GUIs. This means that you can close all of an application's windows, yet keep the app open. It's a very useful trick, since closing a window will not close the application that created it. Compare this to Windows or GNOME, for example, where closing the last window will more often than not terminate the application. Given this, OS X's command-tab behavior makes sense. It's a different way of handling windows, is all, and I happen to really like this behavior personally.
The FN key on desktop keyboards is becoming relatively common, I've seen a lot of PC keyboards that had it before Apple started going that way. I think it's catching on for space-saving reasons, so we have more room on our desks... which just means, of course, that we can clutter our desks even worse than they already are ;) . And finally the command key... well, that's just an Apple thing, I guess.
Wow, enough of my long-winded ramblings for now ;) .

Reply Score: 6

squelart Member since:
2007-03-22

Agreed, key assignments are very inconsistent across applications. As a developer trying a loan MacBookPro, what killed my enthusiasm in days was the different ways to just move between words and pages, depending on the editor! All Windows editors I've used are consistent when it comes to ctrl+left/right and page up/down.

Another point: Items 6 (global menubar) and 9 (seeing many windows) kind of conflict. The problem is that if I want to use some menu command for an application that I can see but doesn't have focus, I first need to click on that application and then I can go to its menu. In Windows I can see many windows too, and I can go straight to any visible menu on the screen -- As Thom wrote, Fitts' Law is less relevant to trained users, so Windows wins again... For me at least.

Reply Score: 2

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

To start off, the Home/End keys have sadly inherited their pre-UNIX operation by jumping from the beginning and end of the document.


No, that is perfectly normal. This is a Mac, it beahves just like a Mac, therefore, it'll act like a Mac. How is the way Home/End so different? its pretty obvious! home at the top, end at the bottom!

Finally, there's the Fn key, which makes sense on laptops but less sense on full keyboards for desktops. But this I would consider a fair adjustment and I've tried to reprogram myself for its use.


No one provides the fn key on the keyboard; I have the full Apple keyboard right in front of me right now and it doesn't have the fn key. You are obviously using a wireless keyboard which is a smaller version of the full size keyboard.

If you're going to make a point, don't make up stories.

Reply Score: 3

Gryzor Member since:
2005-07-03

Errr I agree with you about the home/end thing, but, the Apple Full Keyboards DO have the FN key right below the F13 key. (which, IMO is a bad place to put it. It should be where you have it in most laptops). I don't like the Fn thing, but since we're gonna live with it, at least everybody should put it in the same place.

It's not like a manufacturer decided to put the spacebar on top of the keyboard. The Fn key, if accepted, should get a more or less standard position.

Reply Score: 3

bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23

"To start off, the Home/End keys have sadly inherited their pre-UNIX operation by jumping from the beginning and end of the document.


No, that is perfectly normal. This is a Mac, it beahves just like a Mac, therefore, it'll act like a Mac. How is the way Home/End so different? its pretty obvious! home at the top, end at the bottom!
...
"

Though, it's perfectly normal on Macs since the keys were added to the keyboard, the behaviour of the Home/End keys is odd. The text cursor doesn't move along with the view of the document, so as soon as you press a cursor key, for instance, the view goes back to wherever you were.

It all works relatively well but guessing which keys get you to the front and end of a line, the next or previous word, etc. is maddening.

Reply Score: 3

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

No, that is perfectly normal. This is a Mac, it beahves just like a Mac, therefore, it'll act like a Mac. How is the way Home/End so different? its pretty obvious! home at the top, end at the bottom!


That's horse manure. It's no more intuitive than using Home to take you to the start of a line and End being used to take you to the (yep, you guessed it) end of a line.

Reply Score: 2

tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

Sorry, but seeing as Apple pioneered the Command-X/Command-C/Command-V paradigm why in hell would they ever want to switch to Control-X/Control-C/Control-V, assuming we are going with your theory of conforming with currently popular operating systems for the sake of conforming.

The Command approach is more ergonomic and less taxing on the ligaments from the hand through the wrist.

NeXTSTEP even used this approach.

Reply Score: 4

Imp of the Perverse Member since:
2008-07-27

Sorry, but seeing as Apple pioneered the Command-X/Command-C/Command-V paradigm


lol wut?

That was the case with UNIX long before Apple even existed. The only thing Apple "pioneered" was calling it CMD instead of ALT.

Reply Score: 3

apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

Wrong again. The Cut and paste paradigm was first transferred to the computer by PARC, and guess who used it next. You guessed it, it was Apple and I'm pretty sure it was their idea to use command-c, command-v, command-x etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copypaste

Reply Score: 2

apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

Try completeing your thoughts when you post next time, it may make you look less stupid. You did not specify what you meant and the OP had mentioned Command-C, Command, X, Command-V in his post. You come along and say WUT and spew some nonsense about Unix. I can't read your mind, learn how to put your thoughts together in a coherent manner so that others can follow along.

Edited 2008-08-15 13:46 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Chicken Blood Member since:
2005-12-21

Try completeing your thoughts when you post next time, it may make you look less stupid. You did not specify what you meant and the OP had mentioned Command-C, Command, X, Command-V in his post. You come along and say WUT and spew some nonsense about Unix. I can't read your mind, learn how to put your thoughts together in a coherent manner so that others can follow along.


Well said. The guy was being a complete tool.

Reply Score: 2

Imp of the Perverse Member since:
2008-07-27

Well said. The guy was being a complete tool.


I am not now - nor have I ever been - a "trool". Your comment is blatant slander. I have reported your poast to AOL's TOS(tm) department.

Reply Score: 1

Imp of the Perverse Member since:
2008-07-27

I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of omitting all the irrelevant whining and crying from your post and only quoted the main point:

I can't read


Don't worry, you've already made that abundantly clear.

lol!

Reply Score: 1

apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

Sorry, but I'm not the one whining because they were proven to be an imbecile. You have the tenacity to question my literacy, yet you are the one who answered the OP with something, inane, and unhelpful. Judging by what the OP wrote in their post, I'm pretty sure they were talking about copy/cut/paste, but no that is too much for you to admit. Is it so hard to admit that I showed you up with only a second of Google search?

Now I could have gone on here and sunk down a couple of levels and start name calling, because frankkly you seem to be nothing more than some overeager wannabe who has probably never seen a REAL Unix system in their life (Linux doesn't count), but I'm going to be the bigger man and leave this conversation before it gets out of hand.

Peace

Reply Score: 2

MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

home/end and pageup/down do bother me, but they are at least mostly fixable, even in the console.

What bothers me is the uselessness of the enter key. Some dialog comes up and you want to execute the default highlighted choice? Not with Enter. Space works, but even with that you can't tab between choices (OK, Cancel, whatever). EDIT: I'm probably wrong about enter and space in dialogs, that is to say which one of them works. One does, one doesn't, and if I don't remember which it is that just goes to show how a new Mac user has problems with the keyboard).

Browsing Applications in Finder and you want to launch the highlighted app? Not with Enter. Not with Space either. A Mac user will be familiar with command-O, and that's great. But it's different.

Now obviously Apple is never going to change things to suit users of other operating systems when it would inconvenience long time users of their own operating system and I wouldn't ask them to (having stuff like that as an option would be nice though). As sensible as it is for them to stick with what their users know, it does remain an impediment for people switching. Or at least it does for me.

Edited 2008-08-15 22:24 UTC

Reply Score: 3

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

home/end and pageup/down do bother me, but they are at least mostly fixable, even in the console.

What bothers me is the uselessness of the enter key. Some dialog comes up and you want to execute the default highlighted choice? Not with Enter. Space works, but even with that you can't tab between choices (OK, Cancel, whatever). EDIT: I'm probably wrong about enter and space in dialogs, that is to say which one of them works. One does, one doesn't, and if I don't remember which it is that just goes to show how a new Mac user has problems with the keyboard).

Browsing Applications in Finder and you want to launch the highlighted app? Not with Enter. Not with Space either. A Mac user will be familiar with command-O, and that's great. But it's different.

Now obviously Apple is never going to change things to suit users of other operating systems when it would inconvenience long time users of their own operating system and I wouldn't ask them to (having stuff like that as an option would be nice though). As sensible as it is for them to stick with what their users know, it does remain an impediment for people switching. Or at least it does for me.

To be able to tab between controls, you can turn on full keyboard access, either under system prefs -> keyboard and mouse or by pressing ctrl+f1. No, enter doesn't execute the default choice, return does, as enter has other uses. Note that on Mac keyboards, enter refers strictly to the numeric keypad's enter key, and return is where PC users traditionally think of enter (at the right end of the home row). On a Mac, these keys do have different uses, return functions as the PC enter key and enter performs a variety of auxiliary functions, one of the most noteable being to rename items in applications such as iTunes. Press return on a track, and the song will play. Press enter on it, and you can edit its name.

Reply Score: 1

the 2 dealbreakers for me
by ari-free on Thu 14th Aug 2008 01:28 UTC
ari-free
Member since:
2007-01-22

I would like to like mac os. I have 2 major problems. The fact that there is only one menu and that is at the top. (but this is inconsistent as the toolbars are attached to the apps: there is not a global toolbar to go along the global menu)

I also don't like the fact that there is no text with the icons on the dock. I want to see what I'm dealing with before I move my mouse. Every other OS seems to get it 'right' on those points, at least for me. The taskbar is so important and that is why I'd say Windows wins even if it is cruddy in so many other aspects.

Reply Score: 7

RE: the 2 dealbreakers for me
by Adurbe on Thu 14th Aug 2008 14:15 UTC in reply to "the 2 dealbreakers for me"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

you want a unified toolbar for all apps?

from photoshop to textedit?!

If you unify the toolbar you will likly make it less intuitive, not more. Certain items within the toolbar can be, and often ARE consistent

With regards to the dock, beyond when you sitdown at a new Mac, it is highly unlikly you will be greated with any application YOU didnt put there, as such you almost certainly know what the application is.

If the visual queue is powerful enough, there is no need for a written one (in paticular if it is familiar)

floppy disk = save
printer = print
scissors = cut

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: the 2 dealbreakers for me
by ari-free on Thu 14th Aug 2008 18:55 UTC in reply to "RE: the 2 dealbreakers for me"
ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

I don't want the toolbar on top. But it does belong with the menu. Same function of presenting actions except one is verbal and the other is visual.

Since the toolbar can't be global and it goes with the menu then the menu shouldn't be global either.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: the 2 dealbreakers for me
by el3ktro on Fri 15th Aug 2008 13:09 UTC in reply to "RE: the 2 dealbreakers for me"
el3ktro Member since:
2006-01-10

He didn't talk about a unified toolbar, but a global one. I actually agree with him on that. I like that the menu is always at the top of the screen. But if you're consequent, the toolbar should always be at the top of the screen, too - and not attached to each window as it is right now.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: the 2 dealbreakers for me
by ari-free on Fri 15th Aug 2008 18:20 UTC in reply to "RE: the 2 dealbreakers for me"
ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

oh I see your definition of a unified toolbar is different than mine. I meant sticking the toolbar of whatever app you're using right under the menu on top. That unifies the menu and the toolbar.

Or you can do as Microsoft did in Office 2007 and replace the menu with a ribbon.

Reply Score: 2

Multiple Windows
by TydalForce on Thu 14th Aug 2008 01:35 UTC
TydalForce
Member since:
2008-08-14

Quote:
The author argues that Mac OS X does not force you into focussing on one window only, but that it allows you to see other windows too. I'm not entirely sure what he means by this one, seeing as other operating systems obviously allow you to do the exact same thing.
/Quote

I think what the author means is, Windows encourages - almost forces - you to Maximize a window to full screen. Regardless of how much stuff is in it (I see my coworkers maximize windows that have 3 icons in them all the time). It's a waste of screen space, and discourages multitasking.

MacOS on the other hand encourages you to use windows "big enough" to display what you're trying to display, and have multiple windows on-screen at once (even if they're just overlapping). It makes it easier to switch between apps and windows, and keep something visible while you work on something else.

Reply Score: 3

Window maximizing
by Morgan on Thu 14th Aug 2008 01:37 UTC
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

From the summary:

9. Workflow

The author argues that Mac OS X does not force you into focussing on one window only, but that it allows you to see other windows too. I'm not entirely sure what he means by this one, seeing as other operating systems obviously allow you to do the exact same thing.


I believe what the article author is referring to is that in Windows and most Linux GUIs, when you click the middle button that looks like a square on the titlebar, you get a fully maximized window that hides the entire desktop and any other windows. In most (but not all) Mac apps, the same button -- the yellow sphere in the middle -- causes the app's window to conform to its contents. For example, in Safari, if your window is too narrow for the page you're viewing and you are having to scroll left to right to see it all, you can click that button and the browser window will grow just enough to display the full page width.

Again, not all Mac apps follow this convention; most integrated ones do such as Safari and Finder, but there are a few Apple-provided apps and a whole slew of third party apps that simply maximize in the Windows/X11 fashion.

I think the author's point was that Apple would rather you can see all your windows even if they are stacked on top of each other, than to have all windows maximized and viewed one at a time as many Windows users do.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Window maximizing
by MobyTurbo on Thu 14th Aug 2008 08:09 UTC in reply to "Window maximizing"
MobyTurbo Member since:
2005-07-08

You mean the green sphere does the "maximize" function? Otherwise, a good post. (Note to non-Mac users, the colored spheres give a plus, minus, etc symbols inside of them when hovered over, so it isn't as cryptic to use as it sounds.)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Window maximizing
by Morgan on Thu 14th Aug 2008 08:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Window maximizing"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Yes, sorry...three days without my eMac and I've already forgotten which button does what.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Window maximizing
by MobyTurbo on Thu 14th Aug 2008 08:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Window maximizing"
MobyTurbo Member since:
2005-07-08

Yes, sorry...three days without my eMac and I've already forgotten which button does what.

Three days without a Macintosh? That's like three days without a computer. ;-) I liked the little eMacs, though I never had one, back then it was the only Mac in my budget range so I'd looked at it. What's the latest OS X that can run on one, Tiger?

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Window maximizing
by Morgan on Thu 14th Aug 2008 22:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Window maximizing"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Well mine was a 1.25Ghz model, which ran Leopard fairly well with the 768MB RAM I had. CoreImage wasn't supported by the video card -- something about a lack of programmable shaders -- but everything else worked fine.

I ended up keeping Tiger on mine for several reasons though, mainly for Classic support but also because Leopard was just a bit sluggish compared. 1GB or more of memory probably would have alleviated that, but I wasn't going to spend any more money on it since I was selling it.

I'll still say firmly that a 1.25GHz or better eMac is a viable alternative to any G4 PowerMac unless you absolutely require dual processors or better video. It's a hell of a lot cheaper for the same horsepower (again, not counting dual CPU machines) and you can even run a second monitor if necessary.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Window maximizing
by macUser on Thu 14th Aug 2008 21:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Window maximizing"
macUser Member since:
2006-12-15

You mean the green sphere does the "maximize" function? Otherwise, a good post. (Note to non-Mac users, the colored spheres give a plus, minus, etc symbols inside of them when hovered over, so it isn't as cryptic to use as it sounds.)


I wouldn't call it maximize. It's more like optimized.

Reply Score: 1

6. Fittsâ Law
by Marcin on Thu 14th Aug 2008 01:40 UTC
Marcin
Member since:
2007-06-06

I would say that users are more productive if a mouse has more than one button and it has a scroll. Good thing is that the newest Macs already have a scroll.

Edited 2008-08-14 01:42 UTC

Reply Score: 2

v RE: 6. Fitts� Law
by FurryOne on Thu 14th Aug 2008 01:54 UTC in reply to "6. Fittsâ Law"
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

...And you have just made yourself dependent on moving to menus and on screen buttons for commands that can be had at your mouse point with a nice context menu via middle/right clicks.

A properly set up GUI with multiple mouse buttons will always be much more efficient than a nice GUI with ...one button.

Reply Score: 7

Chicken Blood Member since:
2005-12-21

...And you have just made yourself dependent on moving to menus and on screen buttons for commands that can be had at your mouse point with a nice context menu via middle/right clicks.

A properly set up GUI with multiple mouse buttons will always be much more efficient than a nice GUI with ...one button.


What are you guys even talking about? OS X and mac mice have supported 3 buttons for years now. Please...

Edited 2008-08-14 04:27 UTC

Reply Score: 5

phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

The point is the standard MacOS [X] never favored the contextual menu. The reason was obvious with single button mice.

But even now that Apple mice designers have discovered that not all OSes that could run on Apple machines works well with one button only, Apple don't try to take advantage of these extra user input events in their UI dogma, at system level.

What's the point to have a 3 buttons Apple trademarked mouse if globally MacOS X still handle all them like one single button?

I guess it's the point here.

Reply Score: 3

Chicken Blood Member since:
2005-12-21

The point is the standard MacOS [X] never favored the contextual menu. The reason was obvious with single button mice.

But even now that Apple mice designers have discovered that not all OSes that could run on Apple machines works well with one button only, Apple don't try to take advantage of these extra user input events in their UI dogma, at system level.

What's the point to have a 3 buttons Apple trademarked mouse if globally MacOS X still handle all them like one single button?

I guess it's the point here.


Then I think the 'point' is misinformed. Many Apple apps use contextual menus. This goes for both consumer and pro apps. you could reasonably argue that the middle button isn't utilized within apps (it defaults to invoking Dashboard/Expose, I forget)

And for the record, Apple started supporting multi-button mice long before other OSes could be used on their hardware.

Edited 2008-08-14 15:33 UTC

Reply Score: 2

el3ktro Member since:
2006-01-10

OS X just uses a different paradigm here. By the way, OS X always supported "right-clicking" by pressing Ctrl+Mouse button at the same time. I have a Mac, and I have a three-button mouse attached to it, and I almost never (have to ) use the right mouse button.

Reply Score: 2

dlundh Member since:
2007-03-29

Apples mice actually has two buttons though, and OS X can be configured to have context menus on button 2 (and you can use any mouse you damn well like with Macs). I wouldn't be able to use OS X effectively with one mouse button, so I use two.

Reply Score: 3

helf Member since:
2005-07-06

yes, I know OSX works with multiple button mice and Macs have multiple buttons now. I was just arguing back ;) I have a G4 Powermac running OSX ;)

Besides, OSX is built on top of OS and NS/OS had plenty of support for multiple buttons.

Reply Score: 2

Marcin Member since:
2007-06-06


The lack of a right mouse button and scroll wheel only makes people that are USED TO having them less productive. Those of us who don't use them, even when on computers that have them, remain unconvinced and unhindered. You have just made yourself dependent on them - like someone that needs an automatic transmission to drive a car.

Thinking like this, one can say the same about computers.

Edited 2008-08-14 08:23 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: 6. Fitts' Law -- rant alert
by mounty on Thu 14th Aug 2008 02:56 UTC in reply to "6. Fittsâ Law"
mounty Member since:
2005-12-12

Surely the main point is that we are unable to configure the interface to work as we prefer. I use a Mac but add ShapeShifter just to get rid of the pig-ugly title bars and bright white everywhere. Where possible on any machine I use, I set up point-to-focus instead of click-to-focus. i prefer it; you may not. And as for the menu bar being at the top of the screen---how can it be good useability to split an application's interface into two parts ? If a menu bar, why not an action-buttons area ? or a documents list ?

Frankly I rue the day I bought this G5. I wish I could move to another OS but Apple keep all the hardware secrets so that the only competition is Yellow Dog, which in my experience is unuseable (I use Gentoo on PCs quite happily). I feel shafted by Apple and will never buy anything from them again. It just takes the p*** to hear people praising MacOS as a refined and polished OS.

Oh, and one more task for this weekend ... install 10.5 AGAIN because the current installation is broken ... and no, it's not ShapeShifter, because I didn't even get round to putting that on before it went wrong. Post to an Apple support forum ? Sure, and watch the question being zapped by a moderator keen to reinforce the perception that all is well and lovely in the garden of Apple.

Reply Score: 3

kamil_chatrnuch Member since:
2005-07-07

although not a mac user, i was searching for this the other day [as i dislike the top menu] and found this:

OCSmart Hacks
http://www.ocs.cz/OCSmartHacks/

- the main menu can be popped up anyplace, anytime
- tear-off menus
- resizing a window by any edge
- moving a window by any point inside its frame (not just by its title)

Reply Score: 2

mounty Member since:
2005-12-12

Thanks for the hacks tip, but I am reluctant to try it, simply because Apple seems to have a policy of keeping some secrets which subtly break hacks like this. In fact, I won't be installing ShapeShifter again, just because I can't be sure that it wasn't responsible for bitrot in my 10.4 installation.

So my planned re-installation of 10.5 will be absolutely clean and by the book. If it breaks again, then it'll be time for Debian or Gentoo.

Reply Score: 1

intangible Member since:
2005-07-06

Doesn't Debian install on almost any hardware these days or is it so proprietary that only Yellow Dog has spent the time getting the details working?

Reply Score: 1

mounty Member since:
2005-12-12

In my experience, Yellow Dog (Terrasoft) hasn't got all the details working.

1. Snowstorm on the graphics (windows still visible, but it looks like a noisy electric motor is operating nearby --- this is on LCD).

2. Boot menu doesn't allow booting of MacOS --- you can select it but nothing happens.

Those in my experience.

Reply Score: 1

RE: 6. Fitts� Law
by kaiwai on Thu 14th Aug 2008 06:45 UTC in reply to "6. Fittsâ Law"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I would say that users are more productive if a mouse has more than one button and it has a scroll. Good thing is that the newest Macs already have a scroll.


And they already have a second mouse button - all you have to do is enable it in your preferences. In the case of a laptop it is using two fingers and clicking, on a desktop, it is clicking with the right finger.

Reply Score: 2

Difficult to know where to begin...
by tupp on Thu 14th Aug 2008 01:59 UTC
tupp
Member since:
2006-11-12

... there are just so many things wrong with this article.

Most of the points are based on common, pro-Apple, ingrained misconceptions about usability (or the points themselves are common, pro-Apple misconceptions). The truth is that Apple software and hardware has a lot of major usability problems. Many of these problems stem from Apple's emphasis for form over function and from the adherence to their own interface guidelines.

In addition, it is amazing that it never seems to end -- the constant line of Mac supporters who pop up as new usability experts.

Reply Score: 6

hylas Member since:
2005-07-10

The article is a bit *light*.

by tupp

In addition, it is amazing that it never seems to end -- the constant line of Mac supporters who pop up as new usability experts.


You insensitive clod! - I'm an old usability expert.
The guidelines are somewhat in flux, but will be hammered out to be as rigorous as System 7.x - OS 9.x

Begin here (review):

Introduction to Apple Human Interface Guidelines:

http://developer.apple.com/documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/...

Edited 2008-08-14 03:43 UTC

Reply Score: 1

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

The article is a bit *light*.


Agreed. It is definitely light on facts.


You insensitive clod! - I'm an old usability expert.


Anyone claiming to be a usability expert (old or new) is suspect.


The guidelines are somewhat in flux, but will be hammered out to be as rigorous as System 7.x - OS 9.x


The "rigorousness" is a significant part of the problem.

In addition, the Apple usability problems have existed in their hardware and software from the original Mac to the present.


Begin here (review):
Introduction to Apple Human Interface Guidelines:
http://developer.apple.com/documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/...


What is the purpose of this link? It is circular logic to argue for the Apple HIG by merely linking to the HIG -- it's like someone quoting the bible to prove that the bible is correct.

Edited 2008-08-14 04:41 UTC

Reply Score: 3

lurch_mojoff Member since:
2007-05-12

Anyone claiming to be a usability expert (old or new) is suspect.


And what do you claim to be? Care to give an example of these pro-Apple misconceptions and the horrendous usability stemming from them and then provide support why it is a misconception?

Reply Score: 1

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Anyone claiming to be a usability expert (old or new) is suspect.
And what do you claim to be?


I don't bother trying to dissuade personal attacks any more -- Apple zealots never seem to grasp the simple difference between making references to specific posters and making general references to a group. I just counterattack, personally.

In answer to your question, I claim merely to be a seeker of truth -- a dispeller of common misconceptions. There are countless pro-Apple misconceptions.

By the way, I assumed that the original poster was joking when claiming to be an "old usability expert," and I partially intended humor with my retort about such self-appointed experts being suspect.


Care to give an example of these pro-Apple misconceptions and the horrendous usability stemming from them and then provide support why it is a misconception?


Not really. I do not care to do so... not for the zillionth time on this forum.

I will respond anyway, and just list some Apple usability problems with explanations (but I do wish that the Apple crowd could develop their memory to function beyond the short-term):

- Programs don't really close when one closes the program's window (confusion; errors; and hidden processes slow down performance);
- The menu-bar of a program always appears at the top of the screen... with todays' widescreens, sometimes miles away from its window and from the user's focus (the longer back and forth eye movement slows work, and distance-to-target is actually a very important usability factor**; one must sometimes check the menu bar title to determine the app to which it applies, slowing work).
- The model/metaphor of trashing drives to unmount and/or remove media is (inaccurate and confusing; invokes fear and dread in the user, similar to the old "bomb" icon);
- The maximize button on the window really doesn't maximize the window (confusing to new users, can force unnecessary scrolling);
- The round mouse (the ultimate example of usability being sacrificed for stylishness, should be included in every usability textbook);
- Monitors that can't tilt downward (not very usable when placed above eye-level);
- Defaulting to "jelly-blobs" as widow widgets, instead of descriptive symbols (requires errors for comprehension; frustrates the colorblind; inadvertent click of toolbar blob can cause lengthy searches on how to recover toolbar);
- The target of the default "jelly-blob" widgets is too small -- limited to the jelly-blob, instead of encompassing the window border from top to bottom (no explanation necessary);
- Use of non-intuitive actions (for instance, the mouse movement most commonly used to engage Expose is arbitrary);
- Use of touch-screens instead of buttons (lack of tactile feedback forces one to look at screen);
- Use of sub-keypads on touchscreen devices (requires extra keypresses -- it takes nine key presses to type elipses {...} on the Iphone: http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=iphone );
- Ill-considered multi-touch scheme (simple functions such as "cut & paste" on the Iphone become difficult usability conundrums, here's one roundabout solution: http://www.vimeo.com/266383 );
- Critical buttons and access ports are hidden on hardware (users can't find power buttons, brightness controls, optical drives; stylishness ruins usability).

**...according to Fittz-law, and any one of these parenthetical disadvantages is more than enough to ruin any minute speed benefit of "infinitely large" targets on the screen edge. A better use of the screen edge, would be to place large, frequent targets there, (instead of items from the app's menubar), such as palettes buttons, app buttons, a wide button for menu of available apps, etc. By the way, a few non-Apple GUIs were actually designed to maximize the advantages of the screen edge, and here's one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mezzo_(desktop_environment)

Hope this helps.

Reply Score: 4

hylas Member since:
2005-07-10

Nice Bee suit.

[I don't bother trying to dissuade personal attacks any more --

... I just counterattack, personally.

In answer to your question, I claim merely to be a seeker of truth -- a dispeller of common misconceptions. There are countless pro-Apple misconceptions.

By the way, I assumed that the original poster was joking when claiming to be an "old usability expert," and I partially intended humor with my retort about such self-appointed experts being suspect.


" ... countless pro-Apple misconceptions".
You do start counting at zero, right?

I'm an unusual suspect - true.

"... self-appointed experts"

Pray tell your superior "usability model". Truthfully.

Reply Score: 1

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Nice Bee suit.


Nice uterus cleanser reservoir.

"Bee suit" must be an inside joke. Not even sure if it alludes to a protective garment for beekeepers or to the suit worn by the Simpsons character who says, "No es bueno!"


" ... countless pro-Apple misconceptions".
You do start counting at zero, right?


With posters like you, one starts with the lowest common denominator.


I'm an unusual suspect - true.


Congratulations.


Pray tell your superior "usability model". Truthfully.


I never claimed to have a superior usability model. However, if you claim that Apple has superior usability, please consider/address the specific examples listed above.

Reply Score: 2

ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

The round mouse (the ultimate example of usability being sacrificed for stylishness...

In the past you could criticize Apple usability and while you may not agree with them, at least there was a sense that they actually cared about usability. Today Apple is mostly about style and what's hot and popular.

I want an OS that puts usability first. I'm certainly not going to get that from linux. Many, including myself, are looking to Haiku to solve these problems but I do have the concerns that there is a feeling that BeOS did nothing wrong and I think the UI needs to be completely overhauled...

Reply Score: 2

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

In the past you could criticize Apple usability and while you may not agree with them, at least there was a sense that they actually cared about usability.


That hollow "sense" that Apple cares remains today.


I want an OS that puts usability first. I'm certainly not going to get that from linux.


In regards to what you desire for usability, you are more likely to get it from Linux -- right now and in the future. There are currently a plethora of Linux GUIs and CLIs from which to choose. Windows and OSX don't even come close in the number of UI choices. As mentioned above, the non-OSX *nixes offer special UIs designed completely around usability concepts (Mezzo desktop), not to mention special UIs, such as tiling window managers that provide a level of speed that far surpasses that of mouse-reliant GUIs.

Haiku is certainly an OS to follow, but I am not sure how its usability will differ from other point-and-click GUIs.

Reply Score: 2

ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

lots of UI choices does not mean greater usability. Just a lot of half baked UI's. And it's not just about the OS. Linux apps, such as gimp, VLC and blender, just don't seem to care about usability. There aren't that many commercial apps on linux and that may explain the lack of polish.

Reply Score: 2

Not quite intuitive
by ohbrilliance on Thu 14th Aug 2008 03:06 UTC
ohbrilliance
Member since:
2005-07-07

Some of the metaphors are only intuitive once you've been shown them. The drag-and-drop installer is one of those. Completely baffled me, but of course it's so obvious *once you've been shown*. Same goes for dragging a device into the trash to eject it.

I've been using a Mac for a year, and found the transition from KDE quite difficult. However, I absolutely love the interface now that I'm used to it. There's almost a sense of 'feeling' your way with the interface.

There's just one usability issue I can't get past: Mac OS has nothing equivalent to Konqueror/KIO parts. For home use that's no biggie, but for systems admin work, Linux/KDE is essential.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Not quite intuitive
by tyrione on Thu 14th Aug 2008 07:35 UTC in reply to "Not quite intuitive"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

OS X has no intention of having it's user's live in Finder and have it morph into a WebKit Browser called Safari.

Since 4.1 I've hardly touched Konqueror because it's so damn slow on pages burdened with Flash. It's painfully slow in many sites under Debian Sid.

The new KDE Menu has several searched applications that come up and upon clicking them do NOTHING. Then I go to konsole to launch from command-line and with some verbose output showing it's work in progress:

Example: knotes

knotes (4:4.1.0-2)
knotes
QLayout: Attempting to add QLayout "" to KNote "libkcal-897350935.789", which already has a layout
knotes(2049) KFontSizeAction::setFontSize: KFontSizeAction: Size 0 is out of range
QLayout: Attempting to add QLayout "" to KNote "libkcal-897350935.789", which already has a layout

Several applications that aren't even KDE 4 base are also having problems launching from that newfangled menu.

Konqueror 4 and Konqueror 3.5.9 are definitely different beasts with different goals.

KIO Slaves are what we call in the NeXT World as Services from the Services Menu. Try it some time. The more Cocoa-ified OS X and third party apps are the more useful the Services Menu becomes.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Not quite intuitive
by nutshell42 on Thu 14th Aug 2008 21:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Not quite intuitive"
nutshell42 Member since:
2006-01-12

I haven't yet used KDE 4.1 for more than a few minutes but I know something about Debian unstable:

Don't use it for a month when they do a major KDE (or GNOME for that matter) upgrade. I've lived through a few of them (btw. gcc upgrades are just as bad for KDE as gcc breaks their ABI every second release) and it always takes some time until the packages become usable again.

If Debian's currently moving KDE4 into unstable, now is a good time to expand your horizon. Try Gnome or Xfce or fluxbox or e16/e17. Then in mid-September look if the KDE 4.1 packages are no longer broken.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Not quite intuitive
by tyrione on Fri 15th Aug 2008 02:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Not quite intuitive"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

I've got GNOME installed of course, along with GNUstep and haven't checked out the latest Xfce, though it's always a very nice lightweight DE.

Enlightenment is also something I will check out.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Not quite intuitive
by WereCatf on Thu 14th Aug 2008 11:02 UTC in reply to "Not quite intuitive"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Some of the metaphors are only intuitive once you've been shown them. The drag-and-drop installer is one of those. Completely baffled me, but of course it's so obvious *once you've been shown*.

It sure baffled me too, I actually had to search and read how to install apps in OSX ;) So, no, it definitely isn't as intuitive as people make it out to be. And uninstallation of apps is rather annoying since there is no consistency..some apps require using uninstaller application, some has to be found via Finder and dragged to trash and so forth.

Same goes for dragging a device into the trash to eject it.

I definitely didn't know this! Atleast my brains doesn't automatically think of "hey, lets drag my devices and all to trash" as a good idea.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Not quite intuitive
by apoclypse on Thu 14th Aug 2008 13:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Not quite intuitive"
apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

True but if you've been a user since the old Mac OS days then things have stayed pretty consistent throughout the lifetime of Apple's premier OS. While dragging devices to the trash to eject them isn't ideal in some cases and confusing (though that is why apple has that nice little eject button in the far right of their keyboard), I personally wouldn't have it any other way. For a windows user who has never used an Apple OS before, then yeah its confusing, but that behavior has been consistent on Mac OS since the beginning. It does two things that I like 1. It forces the user to un-mount the drive before ejecting (which the OS does as it ejects). In Windows this is an issue. You have to go the far right corner of your screen to un-mount your devices properly and sometimes it doesn't work properly at all because there is some window or process that hanged still using the device. In OSX removing the device usually kills all process related to the device and all windows as well. I've never gottena device busy error in OSX. I'm sure it happens but I have yet to come across that issue.
2. Apple trains their users to use the context menus as little as possible, I personally like that a lot. Sometimes the tendency in GUI's is to put way to much functionality into context menus without giving users the option of not using the context menu. Things that can and should be done with drag and drop operation are stuck in a context menu somewhere. In Gnome/KDE un-mounting and ejecting a device for the most part requires you to use the context menu. For a new user who has no idea what they are doing there has to be a better way to allow users to eject their devices without relying solely on context menus. There is an eject applet for Gnome, I'm sure there is one for KDE as well. Macs don't have eject buttons on their disc drives and that has been true since the floppy drive. I think Macs use of a dedicated eject key on the keyboard is the key, though I did like it better when it was used to power on the Mac. First time I saw that I though it was so darn cool.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Not quite intuitive
by darknexus on Thu 14th Aug 2008 19:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Not quite intuitive"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

That little eject key is only useful for ejecting physical media, most commonly an optical drive. It won't unmount thumb drives, network shares, or other attached storage. However, there is this little key combination, command-e, that will eject anything. Select the device and press command-e and that'll do it. That's another thing that's stuck around and remained consistent.
I've never seen OS X close files or kill applications that are utilizing mounted media when you eject it. I've gotten "device busy" errors many times and have had to go hunt around to find which program was using it. It would be nice if OS X would tell you which programs or files are still in use on the device, that would certainly be an improvement. On the other hand, I haven't seen any os so far that was able to do this reliably by itself. Of course in UNIX-style oses you can use fuser in conjunction with ps to see what's happening, but that's far from automatic, and even that doesn't always tell you why a device is busy.

Reply Score: 1

ggeldenhuys
Member since:
2006-11-13

Just to comment on Thom's remarks that most software uninstall and still leave files and settings around.

I'm a Ubuntu Linux user and 'apt' and 'dpkg' is awesome! (thanks to Debian really) 'dpkg' has two modes of uninstalling software.

One that uninstalls software and leaves the settings/config files on the system (dpkg -r).

The second option (dpkg -r --purge) will uninstall the software and remove any configuration files - leaving no trace of that software!

Linux rocks! :-)

Reply Score: 0

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I'm a Ubuntu Linux user and 'apt' and 'dpkg' is awesome! (thanks to Debian really) 'dpkg' has two modes of uninstalling software.


It's the other end of the spectrum, and anything but ideal. I've detailed how software management should work in an article:

http://www.osnews.com/story/19711/The_Utopia_of_Program_Management

Reply Score: 1

Usability?
by 3rdalbum on Thu 14th Aug 2008 12:47 UTC
3rdalbum
Member since:
2008-05-26

I don't see that Mac OS X is any more "usable" than anything else I've seen in operating systems for the past few years.

One thing I do especially like in Mac OS is the way drag and drop is used quite a lot (thanks to Apple's HIG I gather). It makes more sense to drag a file to an application, rather than open the application and then tell it where to find the file. It's like going into a library to borrow a book - you bring your library card with you, you don't tell the librarian where you've left your library card and expect them to go and fetch it for you.

However, if it wasn't for Mac applications supporting it, this wouldn't even be a consideration.

Windows applications also have surprisingly good drag and drop, and sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised by drag and drop on Linux. Sometimes I'm disappointed when one or both of the programs won't accept drags or drops, or a drag from a KDE program to a Gnome program results in a KDE-specific file location being put in :-(

Reply Score: 1

Minimum font size for all applications...
by dahacouk on Thu 14th Aug 2008 15:17 UTC
dahacouk
Member since:
2005-10-21

The main problem I have with OS X is the inability to set a minimum font size for all applications - and the whole interface. Font sizes are all over the place. Especially in pro-apps. It kills my eyes. I have a 30" LCD and would prefer a minimum font size of 18 point everywhere. And resolution independence wont help as it scales everything up including the graphic elements. Really!

Reply Score: 1

2 non-intuitive things
by fretinator on Thu 14th Aug 2008 15:22 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

1. Program Installation: I found the installation process VERY confusing at first. I downloaded a file (some kind of image file). Double-clicking it did not install the application, instead it created some other kind of disk image on my desktop. Double-clicking this brought up a dialog that showed me a nice picture on the left, an arrow pointing right, and an icon labeled "Applications". I really didn't get the point. After googling, I figured out what to do, but it still seemed a bit strange. On top of that, I did not find any menu or short-cut created. I had to create an alias and drag that to the desktop. Strange. Every other install on every other OS is the same - double-click a file, perhaps answer a few preference questions, and then it installs itself. On Linux, it's even easier. I double-click it, enter my admin password, and I'm done!

2. Ejecting removable media: It took me a LONG time to figure out that dragging a floppy to the trash did NOT delete what was on the floppy, but instead ejected it. yeah, that's REAL intuitive - if you are a child of the 60's!

Reply Score: 4

RE: 2 non-intuitive things
by macUser on Thu 14th Aug 2008 23:07 UTC in reply to "2 non-intuitive things"
macUser Member since:
2006-12-15

1. Program Installation: I found the installation process VERY confusing at first. I downloaded a file (some kind of image file). Double-clicking it did not install the application, instead it created some other kind of disk image on my desktop. Double-clicking this brought up a dialog that showed me a nice picture on the left, an arrow pointing right, and an icon labeled "Applications". I really didn't get the point. After googling, I figured out what to do, but it still seemed a bit strange. On top of that, I did not find any menu or short-cut created. I had to create an alias and drag that to the desktop. Strange. Every other install on every other OS is the same - double-click a file, perhaps answer a few preference questions, and then it installs itself. On Linux, it's even easier. I double-click it, enter my admin password, and I'm done!

2. Ejecting removable media: It took me a LONG time to figure out that dragging a floppy to the trash did NOT delete what was on the floppy, but instead ejected it. yeah, that's REAL intuitive - if you are a child of the 60's!


I can't tell if this is a tongue in cheek response or not. But if not...

1. You probably downloaded a disk image (dmg file) which is basically a compressed virtual disk. Almost like downloading a file that's been zipped but actual a mountable volume when opened. The application you downloaded is completely self contained. You could have put it on your desktop for all it cared and it would still have operated. You could have even run it from the disk image. Installation is basically moving the application to the directory of your choice (seems that the developer was suggesting the Applications folder). Why would you want it to make an alias/shortcut for you automatically? I would be totally annoyed if every app I installed created aliases. I can make them and place them where I want.

2. Dragging a disk to the trash to eject it is actually a short cut to going to the Finder's File menu and selecting eject (command+e). It sounds like you may have been using a pre-Mac OS X version of the OS though because since Mac OS X every Finder window has an eject button next to the disk icon.

Reply Score: 1

Baloons
by eantoranz on Thu 14th Aug 2008 17:01 UTC
eantoranz
Member since:
2005-12-18

Think of it, do we really need someone to tell us when something goes the way it should?


Perhaps it should.... for example when installing the drivers for the mouse you just hotplugged will take more than two seconds (I think that even ubuntu reacts at once without much delay... but, hey, it's Vista, so.... WOW! Really?).

[10567.373735] usb 4-2: new low speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 4
[10567.538816] usb 4-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[10567.559013] input: USB Optical Mouse as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.1/usb4/4-2/4-2:1.0/input/input12
[10567.591851] input,hidraw0: USB HID v1.10 Mouse [USB Optical Mouse] on usb-0000:00:1d.1-2

And almost instantly, the mouse is ready to roll (literally).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Baloons
by apoclypse on Thu 14th Aug 2008 18:17 UTC in reply to "Baloons"
apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

"Think of it, do we really need someone to tell us when something goes the way it should?


Perhaps it should.... for example when installing the drivers for the mouse you just hotplugged will take more than two seconds (I think that even ubuntu reacts at once without much delay... but, hey, it's Vista, so.... WOW! Really?).

[10567.373735] usb 4-2: new low speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 4
[10567.538816] usb 4-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[10567.559013] input: USB Optical Mouse as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.1/usb4/4-2/4-2:1.0/input/input12
[10567.591851] input,hidraw0: USB HID v1.10 Mouse [USB Optical Mouse] on usb-0000:00:1d.1-2

And almost instantly, the mouse is ready to roll (literally).
"

This is one of the things I love about Linux and OSX. When I connect a mouse I want the thing to work right away, I don;t want to wait until windows decides to find the mouse, pop-up 3 messages letting me know it found the mouse, and then letting me know its ready for use, what sucks even more is that it does this if I move the mouse to a different USB port, really annoying. The same goes for midi control devices (keyboards, etc) and external harddrives. You know how I know my external devices work in Linux and OSX, because they work, I don't need the OS give me a play by play of what its doing to get my devices to work. Can the talk and speed up the process.

Reply Score: 3

Apple Products
by SGG1990 on Thu 14th Aug 2008 17:02 UTC
SGG1990
Member since:
2008-08-14

Apple products are like a girlfriend; you need one as long as you don't have one, and when you do, you realize it's really no big deal and go back to normal ways.

Reply Score: 4