Mac OS X Leopard is chock full of features we love. And some we have already learned to love to hate.
The Dock? Loved and hated. Stacks? Loved and hated. Time Machine? Loved. Sometimes broken. Quick Look? Loved.
Spaces? What’s it supposed to do? You see the issues, right? With OS X Leopard, Apple gave us something for everyone. Not only are their wonderfully utilitarian features like Quick Look, there’s colorfully worthless features like translucent Menu Bar.
Stacks? I love ‘em and hate ‘em at the same time and in equal amounts, but it took some effort on my part to get to such a balanced perspective.
The Dock seems to be universally loved. And hated. All at the same time. As much as I love using Drag Thing, I use the Dock, too, because it’s there, offers good visual cues, but Apple keeps mucking around with it.
It’s that mucking around which makes me wonder why Apple does what Apple does. And why? For example, why did Apple remove the hierarchical dialog boxes from Folders in the right side of the Dock? That was handy, it worked well, no one really complained about it. So Apple removes it entirely.
Life is a give and take proposition, so Apple took but Apple gave back. Stacks. Click on a folder and you can see some of what’s inside, depending on how you set up stacks. But Stacks was clearly designed by the Jekyl and Hyde developers on the Mac OS X Leopard team.
The fan out view in Stacks? Puhleeze. Why? It’s bent to the right and looks like something is broken. Grid View? Sweet, until you hit a folder with too many items inside. Still, Grid works well and is intuitive, Stacks, is, well, broken looking.
Alert Mac360 readers turned us on to a free Automator utility which makes the folders in Dock work as they were intended by those of us who are not schizophrenic about our work habits. Click Here for some samples on how to improve the Dock’s new way to confuse users.
Still, tell me the truth. After using Leopard for a couple of weeks aren’t you impressed? And, strangely enough, don’t you wonder exactly what Apple’s Leopard designers were thinking while they worked on some of the new features?
I finally got Time Machine to work appropriately, but only after buying a new gazillion gigabyte external Fireware hard drive from NewerTech. Then I waited patiently for a day or so as Time Machine caught up with the future and tracked the past. Looks like it’s working OK. Does Apple get a commission on each hard drive sold to accommodate Time Machine?
Spaces? What’s supposed to happen in Spaces? I like the visual wooosh wooosh as application and document windows zip back and forth across the screen. Please, someone add sound effects to Spaces. That’s the only thing missing. Except something useful.
The idea in Spaces is to use a time-honored Unixy feature of virtual windows and make it palatable for mere humans. For the most part, Spaces works as advertised.
Put utilities in one Space and go there to do your work. Put applications in another Space and go there to do your work. All is good and right in the world.
Except there’s no real improvement in productivity or efficiency. There is some confusion as to which Spaces I’m in at any given time, but I’ve heard that from my mom and dad since I hit puberty. I want Spaces to be cool. I want it to work and it seems to, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about what I’m doing other than I’m sufficiently anal retentive to want put things where they belong and Spaces seems to let me do that.
Back to the future. What was Apple thinking? The problem, as I see it, is the same as others see it with Spaces. It was designed to help us organize and partition our applications and utilities, but not the tasks that we use such for. Is that a dangling preposition? A truly smart computer would clear that right up.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Leopard. It’s improved in many, many ways over Tiger, and Tiger was, until Leopard, the best ever, despite a basket full of idiosyncrasies. Apple just hit the high speed button on the idiosyncratic pot blender and the result is a bunch of new and nifty features that we use, love, and love to hate.
Did I mention that I love Quick Look? Even more with Leopard, I want to know what Apple’s developers were thinking about all their newly cooked, stewed, and blended features. A demonstration by Father Steve on stage is nice, but I’d really like to know how the Leopard developers expect the features to work.
Truly, I wonder why Apple does what it does? How about you?