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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > macOS > Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini on Panther: "The Mac Is Back!"

Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini on Panther: "The Mac Is Back!"
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Spheric Harlot
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Jan 13, 2004, 10:20 AM
 
http://www.asktog.com/columns/061PantherReview.html

Mac is indeed back! For the first time, with a few simple add-ons, you can turn your Mac into a monster machine, capable of outperforming not only an OS 9 Mac, but Windows XP (see: Make Your Mac a Monster Machine in this same issue).

For a long time, people have been writing me, asking that I do an in depth review of OS X. I held off because I really didn't think OS X was ready for prime time. That's all changed. OS X, in the form of the Panther release, is more than ready. This is a review, then, of what Mac is doing right and where they still need to improve.

[...]

It may seem I'm damning Apple with faint praise, considering how much bad I have mentioned. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Apple is indeed back. OS X is a fully-usable powerhouse once more, with a free and open future. I'm giving Apple some free advice, from someone whose advice is normally screamingly expensive, on where to go from here. The way is open.
There's two more new articles linked there, one on why he still hates the Dock, and one on how to overcome the few shortcomings he still sees in OS X or how to augment functionality to usefulness way beyond what OS 9 could do.

It pleases me that Tog finds so little remaining to criticize, since his points were always well-made - even if I disagreed with the importance of some of them. (He loves Exposť, too.)

I'm now off to see what the cave-dwellers under ex-MacFixit Forum "Masterbaiter" thalo's rock say to that.

-s*
     
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Jan 13, 2004, 10:50 AM
 
I think someone who is "enamoured" by Konfabulator just can not be taken seriously.
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Millennium
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Jan 13, 2004, 11:01 AM
 
Tog is a strange one. I still think he hates the Dock because it goes against his ideas of how an interface should work, but still manages to work well in the real world. And I still think the same is true of insisting that the Trash can be on the Desktop, where it's unreachable most of the time. However, he's got two very good points here.

UI density: He's got a real point there, particularly where Finder windows are concerned. That's a lot of whitespace being wasted. Apple does need to do better on this. In the Finder, you can tweak settings to reduce the grid size, but frankly this is a case of Apple choosing bad defaults.

Import/Export: Here, Tog is dead on. OSX is supposed to be The King of Interoperability, and it pretty much is, but the same cannot be said of iLife and Safari. Apple needs to allow for more import/export options. This is particularly true of iMovie and FCP, to acommodate people switching from Premiere.
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voodoo
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Jan 13, 2004, 01:41 PM
 
"Apple is asking people to make a real leap of faith in moving their information into Apple-proprietary applications. In many cases, users are expected to do so with no way to move that data back out without losing all organization. For example, if you use iPhoto, the organization of your photos is in iPhoto. Iím sticking with Canon ImageBrowser. Itís not as nice, but ImageBrowser is a view onto the Finder. Your pictures are organized in a series of Finder folders, rather than being in a non-exportable proprietary format."

what?



I thought iPhoto kept all the photos in standard jpeg format in a folder hierarchy in the iPhoto Albums folder.. What is he talking about?
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Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Jan 13, 2004, 02:16 PM
 
Heh.

http://thalo.net/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=624...65&m=764600706

Tog has gone from total champion and idol of these guys (huge flame wars on MacFixit back in the day, referencing Tog) to a "crap-settler", one who just "wants this whole mess to be made right".

Highly amusing bunch.



-s*
     
Zadian
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Jan 13, 2004, 02:30 PM
 
Originally posted by voodoo:
"For example, if you use iPhoto, the organization of your photos is in iPhoto. Iím sticking with Canon ImageBrowser. Itís not as nice, but ImageBrowser is a view onto the Finder. Your pictures are organized in a series of Finder folders, rather than being in a non-exportable proprietary format."

what?



I thought iPhoto kept all the photos in standard jpeg format in a folder hierarchy in the iPhoto Albums folder.. What is he talking about?
Apparently he is talking about something he has not the slightest clue about.
Tog might have been some cool GUI-Guru in the early 80s but obviously his best days are over.

And obviously he never tried to use the Mac OS X Finder - still living in the 80s. Very sad.
My Mac OS X (10.3) Finder windows are smaller and much more useful than the ones in Mac OS 9.
     
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Jan 13, 2004, 02:46 PM
 
I found his linked article, "How to make your Mac a monster machine", quite amusing. He lists 4 pieces of shareware which will "Turn your Mac into a power-user, high-productivity monster". Of those, all but one bring back old OS 9 functionalities (system menu, apple menu and window shade). Do ya think he might still be, just a bit, stuck in the past?
     
tooki
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Jan 13, 2004, 03:11 PM
 
::sigh::

Just because it's old doesn't mean it's wrong. Some OS 9 features that are missing in OS X are very useful (e.g. Windowshading, which lets you minimize in place which is great for briefly showing what's behind a window). Note that OS X has a feature missing from OS 9: minimizing a window fully.

Most of these things are features that aren't mutually exclusive -- comparing them is comparing apples to oranges, since they serve different functions.

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-Q-
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Jan 13, 2004, 03:20 PM
 
Originally posted by voodoo:
I thought iPhoto kept all the photos in standard jpeg format in a folder hierarchy in the iPhoto Albums folder.. What is he talking about?
Definitely talking through his hat on that one. And I export JPEGs all the time from iPhoto.
     
clarkgoble
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Jan 13, 2004, 03:29 PM
 
Some of Tog's ideas are good, but some I kind of question. One of the big things Tog championed though was empirical testing of interfaces - something that I think few do enough today. (On any platform)

I honestly don't understand his bit about the trash. However I think it could be solved if the trash can and perhaps docklings were right justified while the rest of the icons were positioned as they are now.

Regarding spacing, while there is some wasted space, that whitespace actually can be important. A great place to see this is by comparing the KDE interface with the OSX interface. Because of the white space the OSX interface is much easier on the eyes and easy to find items. OSX might be a little too lose. Gnome is a nice middle ground in my opinion. But it really depends. I know many people dislike the large icons and so forth in OSX. Personally I'd like more user flexibilty in this regard.

I don't quite understand his "exceptions" to Expose though. That seems like begging for problems. But I may be misunderstanding him there. Perhaps he just wants pallets hidden during Expose?

BTW - use Expose in a way that I'm sure Tog would hate. I don't use corners but have it mapped to the two extra mouse buttons on my MS mouse. Fantastic and very easy for drag and drop. (Although I truly wish Apple would let you drop on a reduced Expose window instead of going back to regular size and then having to remove to the new window position)
     
clarkgoble
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Jan 13, 2004, 03:42 PM
 
Oh I'd also say his comments on the dock are better than his other comments.

http://www.asktog.com/columns/044top10docksucks.html

Specifically the way the dock handles documents and reduced windows is very weak. I was surprised this wasn't addressed in Panther. I think Apple just doesn't quite know how to fix the problem.

I don't think labels would help that much, because of space. Tog's solution of WindowshadeX doesn't exactly inspire me either. However its ability to do reduce in place, which was part of the Jaguar beta, can be helpful. However it doesn't really resolve the ultimate problems that beset it and the dock. Realistically though what one needs is a drawer somewhat like OmniWeb uses. The other alternative is the Finder. (Which I use, along with a dockling instead of Fruitmenu. Forget the name - has a rocket icon)

Regarding dock locations being unstable, I think he has a point. I'd like to have the trash and docklings right justied and regular dock icons left justified. In this way regularly used icons remain fixed in place while new documents or applications move towards the center.

Overall though I find the Dock one of OSX's best features. Especially with some of the fixes in Panther. I definitely disagree that the Sys9 way was better. And it is vastly better than XP, in my opinion. (Labels don't help in the taskbar since only a bit of the title can be seen - often making documents have the same basic label)
     
Nonsuch
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Jan 13, 2004, 04:15 PM
 
Originally posted by Spheric Harlot:
Heh.

Tog has gone from total champion and idol of these guys (huge flame wars on MacFixit back in the day, referencing Tog) to a "crap-settler", one who just "wants this whole mess to be made right".

Highly amusing bunch.

-s*
Wow ... all these years on, and those guys are still at it?
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Jan 13, 2004, 05:42 PM
 
Yeah, he's definitely losing whatever credibility he has left as an HI guru, at least as far as I'm concerned. Not only does he write the same kind of whiny "OS 9 is better because that's what I've been using" rant we hear from all sorts of users who aren't supposed HI experts, he doesn't even remember how OS 9 worked. For example, there's that part about the mysteriously missing search field in Apple Help... he claims to have finally found it by clicking on a button located where OS 9's window-close button used to be, which showed the toolbar. Huh?

Gotta love how he inflates his "top 9" by making two issues out of one, too... dock items have no labels, so if you drag things with identical icons there, they'll look identical. There's further confusion over Apple's actions (they moved away from thumbnails? no, they never had thumnbnails for document icons, just for windows, and they still do). Clearly, Apple made a stupid decision by not making Microsoft Word save document-preview custom icons.

I do see a point in Tog's rantings that I'm not sure he intended to make: to him, usabilty is all about efficiency... being able to accomplish as many tasks as possible with as few actions (mouse movements, clicks, keystrokes) and in as short a time as possible. But in the real world, it's possible to optimize efficiency to a point where overall usability suffers, because you're going for efficiency at the expense of intuitiveness... a point he alludes to (re: Microsoft's work with command-line interfaces) without realizing he's asking for the same to happen with the Mac. The best interfaces maximize user efficiency without requiring the user to be an expert geek.
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Jan 13, 2004, 06:09 PM
 
Originally posted by -Q-:
Definitely talking through his hat on that one. And I export JPEGs all the time from iPhoto.

I think he is talking about the more or less hidden file structure of organizing your library, not the file type.

Some photo organizing aps put your files in common language folders that are nested in more human freindly ways, similar to the way iTunes reorganizes your music folder.

iPhoto folder organization isn't that bad, based on year and month I think but it is not as user friendly as others. The reasoning behind this is that iPhoto organization itself is very user freindly and users should seldom if ever need to access the files directly through the finder. In a Perfect World that is.

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undotwa
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Jan 13, 2004, 07:52 PM
 
He has a few good points.

I think things should only disappear in a puff of smoke if dragged to the trash. It is unexpected for novices to see something disappear when they thought they were dropping the file there.
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brink
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Jan 13, 2004, 08:21 PM
 
I find it hard to take Tog seriously when so many of his criticisms are based on factual errors (the missing search field in Help Viewer, the location of the toolbar widget, the absence of "file shredding") or contrived situations that I've never once experienced in several years of daily use (identical icons in the Dock). I'd say the problem isn't that Mac OS X's interface is flawed, but that Tog is just too full of himself to let go of his snap judgments and learn to make the best use of the new tools X has to offer.
     
CharlesS
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Jan 13, 2004, 09:31 PM
 
Originally posted by brink:
...or contrived situations that I've never once experienced in several years of daily use (identical icons in the Dock).
You've never put more than one folder in the Dock?

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SomeToast
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Jan 13, 2004, 10:20 PM
 
Originally posted by brink:
I find it hard to take Tog seriously when so many of his criticisms are based on factual errors (the missing search field in Help Viewer, [...]
The search field does go away if you hit the toolbar widget and Help Viewer remembers that state the next time it's launched. I can see the potential for confusion with a new user.
     
brink
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Jan 13, 2004, 10:30 PM
 
Originally posted by CharlesS:
You've never put more than one folder in the Dock?
I always put custom icons on any folders destined for the Dock, so their icons are never identical.
     
brink
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Jan 13, 2004, 10:42 PM
 
Originally posted by SomeToast:
The search field does go away if you hit the toolbar widget and Help Viewer remembers that state the next time it's launched. I can see the potential for confusion with a new user.
The point is that the toolbar in Help Viewer is visible by default (if you want to test it yourself, delete ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.helpviewer.plist and start Help Viewer), so Tog's search field could only be hidden if he went and hid it himself.
     
Chuckit
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Jan 13, 2004, 10:44 PM
 
Originally posted by brink:
I always put custom icons on any folders destined for the Dock, so their icons are never identical.
It sounds to me like putting custom icons on folders is a much more "contrived" situation than simply putting folders in the Dock, which is what Joe Doesn'tknowhowtomakeacustomicon is likely to do.
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brink
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Jan 13, 2004, 10:55 PM
 
Originally posted by Chuckit:
It sounds to me like putting custom icons on folders is a much more "contrived" situation than simply putting folders in the Dock, which is what Joe Doesn'tknowhowtomakeacustomicon is likely to do.
How is an example of real-world use contrived? That's just how I've always used the Dock. Even on a large monitor, the Dock is somewhat limited in how much stuff it can hold, so it's not a place to be haphazardly dropping a lot of documents or folders -- it's primarily meant to hold running and frequently-used applications and the occasional minimized window.
     
Horsepoo!!!
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Jan 13, 2004, 11:03 PM
 
Originally posted by Chuckit:
It sounds to me like putting custom icons on folders is a much more "contrived" situation than simply putting folders in the Dock, which is what Joe Doesn'tknowhowtomakeacustomicon is likely to do.
How is that situation any different than having lots of similarly named generic folders on the desktop or in a window.

You are the organizer. Don't put more than 2 generic looking folders in the Dock. Don't name things too similarly. Or do. You decide just how much you can handle before things get confusing. There are too many solutions to this situation.

Tog is really over the top with this whole thing. So are you. As brink said elegantly, this silly situation is right up there with 'too many items in the Dock'. Don't put too many items in the Dock. Nobody's forcing anybody to make the Dock unusable.

Does the Desktop suck because it can get cluttered? No! Clean up after yourself, you slob. (This comment not directed to Chuckit...I'm giving an example to show that anything has to be managed or it'll get out of hands.)
( Last edited by Horsepoo!!!; Jan 13, 2004 at 11:11 PM. )
     
Chuckit
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Jan 13, 2004, 11:25 PM
 
Originally posted by Horsepoo!!!:
How is that situation any different than having lots of similarly named generic folders on the desktop or in a window.
Renaming folders is a basic function of the Finder that takes about two seconds. Creating custom icons is not. Just given what comes with OS X, I don't think it's even possible to create a custom folder icon. The user has to go out of his way to get special software just to be able to distinguish between folders in the Dock. (Granted, it's still possible to distinguish them by mousing over, but it's still a less-than-ideal situation.)
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Nonsuch
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Jan 13, 2004, 11:28 PM
 
Originally posted by Horsepoo!!!:
How is that situation any different than having lots of similarly named generic folders on the desktop or in a window.
Because on the desktop you can read their names.

(I'm not bashing X here, I love it, but come onóit ain't perfect.)
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Jan 14, 2004, 08:13 AM
 
The notion that just because two folders in the Dock have the same icon (and are therefore indistinguishable) makes it unusable is making a rather invalid assumption IMO - that the person who put them there instantly forgets where they put them. I'm sorry, but I could have ten or twenty folders with identical icons in my Dock and STILL know pretty much exactly which was which BECAUSE I put them there. Anyone who has trouble with remembering their own organisation of the items in their Dock is also a person that is going to have trouble remembering the organisation of their folders on their desktop or in their nested folders, etc... in which case the supposed disadvantage of the Dock is systemwide for them!

It also assumes that people use and organise their Dock in a completely random fashion... I don't know about anyone else out there, but I assume that this is true for everyone, I have a structure to my Dock. E.g. my application icons (of which I have 55 permanently in my Dock) are arranged in a largely alphabetical manner. I imagine others group apps by similarity of function (e.g. all browsers together, imaging apps together, etc) and some might have an apparently chaotic organisation, but will know that their e.g. iTunes icon is next to their Safari icon, etc. The situations where we have less control over the organisation are with windows minimised to the Dock, but even then this is no different to OS 9 and multiple windows that were windowshaded. However, unlike windowshading, NONE of my minimised windows ever obscures another window and I can quickly find the one I want, either by visual clues like the window contents/app icon on the window or by a quick scrub of the right side of the Dock with my mouse.
     
Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Jan 14, 2004, 08:28 AM
 
Originally posted by clarkgoble:
I don't quite understand his "exceptions" to Expose though. That seems like begging for problems. But I may be misunderstanding him there. Perhaps he just wants pallets hidden during Expose?
Stickies for example are all but useless via Exposť. I can Exposť away my twenty open windows to expose the desktop, but I REALLY want Stickies to stay visible.

GeekTool (transparent console on the desktop) disappears as well when you Exposť to the desktop.

In short, there's a bunch of stuff whose whole point is that it STAYS visible when everything else is away. Unfortunately, Exposť treats every single application "window" equally, which is undesirable for a number of programs.

Originally posted by clarkgoble:
BTW - use Expose in a way that I'm sure Tog would hate. I don't use corners but have it mapped to the two extra mouse buttons on my MS mouse. Fantastic and very easy for drag and drop.
Actually, he references Fitts' Law, which quite clearly states that the easiest mouse target is to click right where the mouse already is. (Hence context menus and additional mouse buttons.) The screen corners only follow second; then come the long edges of the screen.

-s*
     
Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Jan 14, 2004, 08:39 AM
 
Originally posted by JKT:
The notion that just because two folders in the Dock have the same icon (and are therefore indistinguishable) makes it unusable is making a rather invalid assumption IMO - that the person who put them there instantly forgets where they put them. I'm sorry, but I could have ten or twenty folders with identical icons in my Dock and STILL know pretty much exactly which was which BECAUSE I put them there. Anyone who has trouble with remembering their own organisation of the items in their Dock is also a person that is going to have trouble remembering the organisation of their folders on their desktop or in their nested folders, etc... in which case the supposed disadvantage of the Dock is systemwide for them!
I'm sorry, but that's a rather stupid argument.

I drag URL links to the Dock quite frequently. They all get that cute springy "@" icon. I tend to know more or less what I have on there, and where, but the minute you have to STOP AND CHECK WHICH IS WHICH BY SCRUBBING OVER THEM, you're losing interface efficiency.

Having six folders on your Dock that you frequently switch based upon current projects is NOT lack of organisation or a sure sign that someone has no idea how to structure their folder hierarchy. In fact, I'd consider it quite the opposite.

And someone who has to keep six constantly switching project folders on his Dock is very unlikely to have the time to create or seek custom icons for them.

And don't tell me that's "contrived".

The docked URL example is real life - my own daily experience.

-s*
     
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Jan 14, 2004, 10:15 AM
 
Originally posted by Chuckit:
Just given what comes with OS X, I don't think it's even possible to create a custom folder icon.
You can just paste any image onto the icon to create a custom icon.
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CharlesS
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Jan 14, 2004, 10:40 AM
 
Originally posted by Developer:
You can just paste any image onto the icon to create a custom icon.
But you need to be able to create the image in the first place. Not all of us are graphic designers (although, admittedly there are a large number of them on the Mac platform). And there isn't any sort of capable Photoshop-like program bundled with the OS...

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Jan 14, 2004, 11:15 AM
 
Originally posted by CharlesS:
But you need to be able to create the image in the first place.
No, you don't. You can use one you've taken with your digital camera or one you found on the Internet. It would be nice if the OS used the power of Quartz or vImage to skew it and paste it on top of a regular folder icon, but squared folder images do work. A friend of mine uses this to customize the folders he put in the Dock. It was his idea to to this, however he had to ask me how to change the folder icons. This could be improved maybe if the icon in the Get Info dialog were in an image well with the instruction "Drag picture here to change icon" below it.
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Zadian
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Jan 14, 2004, 11:20 AM
 
Originally posted by CharlesS:
But you need to be able to create the image in the first place. Not all of us are graphic designers (although, admittedly there are a large number of them on the Mac platform). And there isn't any sort of capable Photoshop-like program bundled with the OS...
You could use AppleWorks - the resulting Icons won't be that beautiful but it works.
Or you could use iPhoto.
With Photoshop Elements you can create nice icons - just create a TIFF with transparencies. Photoshop Elements is a "cheep" application and everyone how has a digital camera should have it anyway.

If you have installed the Developer Tools you can even create icons for each standard size for that icon (use Icon Composer and icns2icon, a freeware App)

If you just want to have an icon, you could open an image in Preview copy that image and past it in the Icon filed of the info window.

But the easiest way to get custom folder icons is to download one of the numerous custom icon collections from the web and use them.

If you really want custom icons, you can get them easily. But then, most users don't even know that the icons of folders can be changed.
     
Zadian
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Jan 14, 2004, 11:27 AM
 
Originally posted by Spheric Harlot:
And someone who has to keep six constantly switching project folders on his Dock is very unlikely to have the time to create or seek custom icons for them.
Just put that folders into the finder sidebar and you will always see their names.
That's what i do.

For me the Dock is a place for items that don't change to often (and for minimised windows).

But then, it always depends on the way one uses the Mac.
     
Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Jan 14, 2004, 12:00 PM
 
Originally posted by Zadian:
If you really want custom icons, you can get them easily. But then, most users don't even know that the icons of folders can be changed.
Yes.

Now, the point that got us here was that it's ridiculous to assume that people have that kind of time, and thus the Dock is perfect.

No. This is one of the real shortcomings of the Dock, and while it's possible to work around it "if you really want" to, it shouldn't be necessary in the first place. Apple HAS given us the sidebar as an alternative in the Panther Finder to alleviate this problem, but it doesn't fix the Dock.

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Jan 14, 2004, 12:45 PM
 
And someone who has to keep six constantly switching project folders on his Dock is very unlikely to have the time to create or seek custom icons for them.
Actually, my guess is someone that has six active projects is more likely to have the ability and deisre for custom icons.

Honestly, the Dock was only confusing for me until I learned how to use it. Custom icons might be nice, but if you have a load of crap in the Dock anyway, it is going to be hard to find something regrardless of what it looks like. The idea isn't to put twenty folders in the dock, it's to put a few in there that you're using most often. I'm all for adding an icon editor, but how is that going to function interface-wise?

It's easy to say, "we need this feature." It's harder to actually figure out how it would work logistically.

The notion that just because two folders in the Dock have the same icon (and are therefore indistinguishable) makes it unusable is making a rather invalid assumption IMO - that the person who put them there instantly forgets where they put them. I'm sorry, but I could have ten or twenty folders with identical icons in my Dock and STILL know pretty much exactly which was which BECAUSE I put them there.
Good point.
We need less Democrats and Republicans, and more people that think for themselves.

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JKT
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Jan 14, 2004, 01:43 PM
 
Originally posted by Spheric Harlot:
Yes.

Now, the point that got us here was that it's ridiculous to assume that people have that kind of time, and thus the Dock is perfect.

No. This is one of the real shortcomings of the Dock, and while it's possible to work around it "if you really want" to, it shouldn't be necessary in the first place. Apple HAS given us the sidebar as an alternative in the Panther Finder to alleviate this problem, but it doesn't fix the Dock.

-s*
Who said the Dock is perfect? There are many flaws in its implementation and there are many areas where it could be greatly improved. However, that does not make it unusable or worse than what came before, and IMO, the flaws are greatly outweighed by the many improvements over what previously existed.

Taking your six constantly changing folder and URL examples - why would this be any different if e.g. you were using the desktop. With numerous identical looking icons for URLs (whose identities are constantly changing) on your desktop, it will STILL take you some time to visually scrub through them to find the one you want - where is the difference with the Dock in that? There is still an inefficiency of use (and I haven't even mentioned the need to hide all your open windows first so that you can even see the desktop). With your six folders, a custom icon isn't required, but it would make sense to organise them logically in your Dock e.g. alphabetically or most important/frequently used first to least important/frequently used last - something that would take a fraction of a second to do.
     
brink
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Jan 14, 2004, 02:16 PM
 
Originally posted by Spheric Harlot:
I drag URL links to the Dock quite frequently. They all get that cute springy "@" icon. I tend to know more or less what I have on there, and where, but the minute you have to STOP AND CHECK WHICH IS WHICH BY SCRUBBING OVER THEM, you're losing interface efficiency.

[...]

Then drag them to the Finder! It's better suited for it -- you not only get a text label but an actual file on disk. Complaining that the Dock doesn't work well when you try to use it as a catch-all for a bunch of items with identical icons is like complaining that the old Apple menu doesn't work well when you try to use it to browse a folder with 1,000 items -- the problem isn't so much that the Dock (or classic Apple menu) is fundamentally flawed, but that you're using the wrong tool for the job.
     
brink
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Jan 14, 2004, 02:22 PM
 
Originally posted by CharlesS:
But you need to be able to create the image in the first place. Not all of us are graphic designers (although, admittedly there are a large number of them on the Mac platform). And there isn't any sort of capable Photoshop-like program bundled with the OS...
http://www.xicons.com/
     
-Q-
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Jan 14, 2004, 02:27 PM
 
Originally posted by Boondoggle:
I think he is talking about the more or less hidden file structure of organizing your library, not the file type.
Ah, that makes a bit more sense. Now it becomes more of a debate whether iPhoto should mimic natural language file organization that you conduct within the application in the finder and not a debate on the features of iPhoto itself.

With that in mind, I can't say I necessarily agree with his criticism. I don't think the organization is bad enough to be called 'proprietary' (it's not like iPhoto converts the pics from JPEG to an Apple-only format). You lose a little organizational work, but a quick export of the roll or album into a folder on your desktop gets the organziation back. Non-issue from this perspective.
     
bradoesch
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Jan 14, 2004, 02:46 PM
 
Originally posted by Zadian:
Photoshop Elements is a "cheep" application
That brought to mind this:


Not trying to make fun of your spelling. This thread is kinda boring and I thought it could use a baby chicken.
     
OwlBoy
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Jan 14, 2004, 03:23 PM
 
uh-oh, tog has been slash-dotted.

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Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Jan 14, 2004, 03:48 PM
 
Originally posted by brink:
Then drag them to the Finder! It's better suited for it -- you not only get a text label but an actual file on disk. Complaining that the Dock doesn't work well when you try to use it as a catch-all for a bunch of items with identical icons is like complaining that the old Apple menu doesn't work well when you try to use it to browse a folder with 1,000 items -- the problem isn't so much that the Dock (or classic Apple menu) is fundamentally flawed, but that you're using the wrong tool for the job.
You've *ALMOST* hit the nail on the head.

The point is that the Dock is DESIGNED AS A CATCH-ALL.

If it's not good at doing something, then IT SHOULDN'T DO IT.

In fact, I've taken to dragging links to the Finder. Are you seriously suggesting that my having to do this because the Dock fails at effectively performing one of its designated functions (Apple even sticks a URL on it by DEFAULT, remember) is a sign of good interface design?


Originally posted by JKT:
Taking your six constantly changing folder and URL examples - why would this be any different if e.g. you were using the desktop. With numerous identical looking icons for URLs (whose identities are constantly changing) on your desktop, it will STILL take you some time to visually scrub through them to find the one you want - where is the difference with the Dock in that? There is still an inefficiency of use (and I haven't even mentioned the need to hide all your open windows first so that you can even see the desktop).
Um, JKT, I don't know about your Mac, but on mine, objects in the Finder are *labelled*. At all times.

Absolutely no *scrubbing* required to IDENTIFY files. I still need to FIND them - which is precisely why I'm so peeved to be told "well, drag it to the Finder". The whole point of wanting to drag it to the Dock is to make it easily and directly accessible!

This - unfortunately, because I love nearly every other aspect of OS X - only works well for applications, and for folders and documents only if you jump through the hoop of creating custom icons.

(Oh, and clearing the Desktop is a matter of throwing the mouse into a corner, or hitting a single key, neither of which are even nearly as inefficient as having to scrub through the Dock.)

-s*
     
Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Jan 14, 2004, 04:07 PM
 
Originally posted by york28:
Actually, my guess is someone that has six active projects is more likely to have the ability and deisre for custom icons.
But most definitely neither time nor interest. Someone with six active projects is more likely to be far to busy to have to work around broken interface and will probably just stick to labelled folders in the Finder, since the alternative doesn't work right.
Originally posted by york28:
Honestly, the Dock was only confusing for me until I learned how to use it.
So was Windows. *Everything* is confusing until you learn how to use it.

The whole point about Macintosh is "No Surprises" and elimination/reduction of learning curves wherever possible.
Originally posted by york28:
It's easy to say, "we need this feature." It's harder to actually figure out how it would work logistically.
That is *exactly* what Tog has been criticizing about the Dock since Day One.

-s*
     
Zadian
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Jan 14, 2004, 06:02 PM
 
Originally posted by bradoesch:
That brought to mind this:


Not trying to make fun of your spelling. This thread is kinda boring and I thought it could use a baby chicken.
No problem, that picture is a perfect addition to this thread

And I'm still laughing about my own mistake.
I should use a dictionary before pressing that "submit Reply" button.
     
brink
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Jan 14, 2004, 06:11 PM
 
Originally posted by Spheric Harlot:
You've *ALMOST* hit the nail on the head.

The point is that the Dock is DESIGNED AS A CATCH-ALL.

If it's not good at doing something, then IT SHOULDN'T DO IT.
I disagree. The Dock wasn't designed to be a catch-all -- it just happens to be flexible enough that people can use it as a catch-all if they want, the same way that the classic Apple menu was never meant to be used to navigate all your files but was flexible enough to accommodate any file system object, even impractical ones like an alias to your hard drive. The fact that trying to navigate your entire hard drive via hierarchical menus is a horrendous user experience doesn't mean that the design of the Apple menu was itself flawed, only that some people were pushing the feature beyond its useful limits.

To use another analogy, take the favorites bar in your browser. You can only add just so many items to it before you drop off the usability cliff and it starts to be less efficient than simply using the regular bookmarks window/menu. That doesn't mean the favorites bar is a bad interface design, only that it's not really meant to be a catch-all for all your bookmarks and understandably becomes less useful the more you try to use it that way.

Originally posted by Spheric Harlot:
In fact, I've taken to dragging links to the Finder. Are you seriously suggesting that my having to do this because the Dock fails at effectively performing one of its designated functions (Apple even sticks a URL on it by DEFAULT, remember) is a sign of good interface design?
The thing is, you're assuming that because the Dock is designed to accommodate URL links that it's intended to be the best place to store a bunch of them on a regular basis. I think this feature is really only meant to be useful in a fairly narrow set of situations, like providing an informative link in new accounts the way Apple does.

Have you considered creating a folder just for links and adding it to the Dock? Then you could click the folder to open it any time you wanted to drag a link to it, and control-click to select the links in it. It involves a few more steps but still lets you access your links from the Dock, and it has a few advantages -- you can save the URL links, drag them to TextEdit or Mail to extract the text of the link, and drag to open them in any browser rather than just the default one.

Originally posted by Spheric Harlot:
Um, JKT, I don't know about your Mac, but on mine, objects in the Finder are *labelled*. At all times.

Absolutely no *scrubbing* required to IDENTIFY files. I still need to FIND them - which is precisely why I'm so peeved to be told "well, drag it to the Finder". The whole point of wanting to drag it to the Dock is to make it easily and directly accessible!

[...]

I have to scrub over files in the Finder fairly often to see their names, thanks to the way long filenames get truncated.
     
dfiler
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Jan 14, 2004, 07:24 PM
 
It's a shame to see someone so influential loose touch with their field.

While many of his comments were spot on, most seem to come not from insightful rationalism, but from the not-invented-here syndrome.

True GUI geniuses would have at least a few profound comments, comments that leave the audience thinking "why didn't I think of that?" Instead, his articles now seem to be on par with your average, arm-chair interface-designer; as found in any internet forum.

It's as if he's still designing interfaces for the computing tasks of the eighties and nineties. Users now interact with more programs, files, and other virtual objects than they did in Tog's heyday.

For instance: Spatial organization and navigation definitely has it's merits. Yet it's utility is marginalized or at least tempered by tens of thousands of files, huge digital photo collections, thousands of mp3s, and daily simultaneous use of numerous programs.

The finder must change to meet the typical needs of today's users. If Tog's needs haven't changed then old interfaces make more sense for him. To project these dated needs and accompanying interaction techniques onto other users is... naive at best.

Wow, I suppose that was overly harsh. Tog is a kind and smart man, a man to be admired. Yet his views on human computer interaction no longer merit the wide spread attention that they still garner. We'd be better served reading the musing of someone with true vision for GUIs of the future, not of the past.
     
Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Jan 14, 2004, 08:54 PM
 
Originally posted by dfiler:
It's as if he's still designing interfaces for the computing tasks of the eighties and nineties. Users now interact with more programs, files, and other virtual objects than they did in Tog's heyday.

For instance: Spatial organization and navigation definitely has it's merits. Yet it's utility is marginalized or at least tempered by tens of thousands of files, huge digital photo collections, thousands of mp3s, and daily simultaneous use of numerous programs.

The finder must change to meet the typical needs of today's users. If Tog's needs haven't changed then old interfaces make more sense for him. To project these dated needs and accompanying interaction techniques onto other users is... naive at best.
The new Finder *does* meet the needs of the more advanced users quite well - what with column view (btw brink: if you double-click on the resize handle of those little column dividers, they auto-resize to the longest filename.) and all.

Thing is, the Mac has always been about catering to those users who have no more than a few dozen files, rather than thousands.

And Mac OS X is leaps beyond OS 9 in that regard on many things, but there are a very few instances where it could be better.

That is all Tog is saying.

He's not knocking down Panther at all - he's all about going "Hell Yeah!" and then just pointing out those few instances that could be improved.

Those of you who think he's knocking down OS X really need to RTFA. And perhaps compare to what he wrote three years ago.

He's already been called an "OS X apologist" by the thaloytes.

-s*
     
Chuckit
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Jan 15, 2004, 03:45 AM
 
Originally posted by brink:
I disagree. The Dock wasn't designed to be a catch-all -- it just happens to be flexible enough that people can use it as a catch-all if they want
The Dock was at least designed to be a place to manage active applications, minimize windows, get data from applications and keep frequently-used programs, files and folders. Apple stated as much in their promotional materials for Mac OS X, as I recall. That sounds a lot like a catch-all to me, and most relevant, it was intended to keep frequently-used files and folders. So putting several files or folders in there? That's the intended use. It isn't some wacky misuse dreamed up by anarchists just to criticize the Dock.

Have you considered creating a folder just for links and adding it to the Dock?
But organizing files with identical icons into folders would likely just bring the issue back only with folder icons instead of link icons.
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dru
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Jan 15, 2004, 10:13 PM
 
Originally posted by Developer:
You can just paste any image onto the icon to create a custom icon.
FOURTEEN (14) years ago IBM solved this custom icon thing in OS/2 2.0. They included "Icon Edit", a button that you could click in any "get info" situation called "Edit Icon" or you could drag/drop any folder, icon, whatever to the image well which was displaying the icon to change the icon to that image. It was fast. Easy. You can't get much more discoverable than an "Edit Icon" button.

When has it ever been discoverable on Macintosh? Um... never? Who is going to think to click the icon in Get Info, then do cut/copy/paste on their own? Because labels don't tint icons in the Dock with Panther, there's no hope of distinguishing projects using labels like you could in 9.2.2--unless you use a 3rd party haxie. This icon thing is definitely one of Apple's craptastic achievements with OS X.

FWIW, I never put folders in the Dock. I keep the Dock pined to the right since 786 vertical pixels are used up pretty quickly. I also don't like an overloaded Dock. I don't care that Steve dismissed pop-up folders as someone's "wet dream" (according to former HIG member Arlo Rose's first hand account on the Kaleidoscope mailing list)--*I* want them back.
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clarkgoble
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Jan 16, 2004, 01:57 PM
 
I agree that some visual indicator that icons can be edited is necessary. For power users it is obvious. But not for novices. On the other hand I haven't a clue how to do it in XP. In OSX which you click on the icon in Get Info it does give visual clues it is editable. Also it is in the help files. (Although I recognize people don't like to use them and you have to know something is possible to look it up)

I didn't know that about Jobs and popup folders. Jobs is definitely a double edged sword. He single handedly rescued Apple, but never has focused on HIG as much as he ought. (Witness the multiple UIs on OSX)

On the other hand that also let Jobs break from some traditions that I think were bogging Sys9 down. One reason Microsoft ended up beating Apple was because they focused on pragmatic utility over a maniacal adherence to one way of doing things. Sometimes that led to poor solutions. But then those tended to get refined the next iterations.
     
 
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