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Summary:

I’ve had this article from Computer World sitting in my READ Bookmark folder for a few days. I finally got around to it, and there’s a few items I feel the need to comment upon. They’ve written-up “15 Things Apple Should Change in Mac OS X”, […]

I’ve had this article from Computer World sitting in my READ Bookmark folder for a few days. I finally got around to it, and there’s a few items I feel the need to comment upon. They’ve written-up “15 Things Apple Should Change in Mac OS X”, but I feel as if they’ve missed the mark on some of those 15 things.

The thing with Apple is, they build all this functionality into their software, but only reveal so much of it – leaving the rest for accidental discovery or ‘treasure hunters’ to find along the way. Perhaps you’ve missed some of these little things as well. If so, maybe we’ll save you the headaches and time by shedding a little light here. Plus, I’ll feel better about offering my 2 cents worth even though I wasn’t asked…

Starting off with #15, is a complaint about no Date Display in the Menubar. True, this is slightly irksome, and there are shareware apps to get around this. But it should be built into the OS, right? Apple, I suspect, would agree, which is why there’s a way to do so. I don’t recall the link from where I first found this, but Paul has a great write-up and illustration of the method. The short of it is that you customize the format settings under Internationalization within System Preferences. Ok, one item resolved.
True, you still don’t have the calendar readily available, but freely, via the OS, you can view that with a widget on Dashboard – which brings us to our next item.

Number 14 takes issues with the inability to put Dashboard Widgets on the desktop. This is a personal preference thing. I like them out of the way – I like my Desktop clean. So keeping them on the Dashboard is preferable for me. If you’re in agreement with Computer World, then you can use the Dashboard Debug mode through the Terminal. Again, freely available, and part of the Operating System.

The Printer Setup is number 8. It’s been a while since I set my printer up. But if you install the drivers at the OS setup, it seems like it’s pretty easy to me. What’s better, is the Bonjour integration of Network printers. When I hook my MacBook into my office’s network and need to print something, it’s easy as pie. The Print window pops up, I drop the printer selection down, and choose one of the automatically discovered (via Bonjour) network printers and I’m good. Nothing to install, no brain damage.

Then there were a few Reader-submitted Peeves with OS X. Number 2 on this list went off on file renaming. Yes, it can be a bit of a delicate dance with the mouse – click, wait, click to get the editable name. But from the keyboard – which is what it sounds like the user is looking for – all you have to do is click on the file, and hit Return and it’s editable. One of those so simple it’s not obvious things I guess.

Number 3 complains about the lack of a second button on the Apple Notebooks. This is one of those completely preference things, and technically a hardware issue to boot. But I love having that one big button beneath the trackpad. A double finger tap, or a Ctrl-click work great for me. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the two-finger tap on my MacBook, but it’s become something I’m extremely comfortable with.

Otherwise, I really agree with most of the rest of the issues – Fn-Delete issue, Managing window sizing, and inconsistency in application interfaces could all use a bit of work. But hopefully the issues I addressed above help you out if they’ve been cause for some heartburn in the past.

  1. Glad to see someone address the article. I think they, and you made some valid points. All, except, the dreaded single-button mouse issue.

    Apple is wrong. Steve Jobs is wrong. And sorry Nick, you are wrong, wrong wrong. ;-)

    Single-button mice are for children and even then, most kids can handle the 10+ buttons on a Wii, PS2, Xbox 260 etc, Having to press the control button to get a contextual menu up is no counter-intuitive and wasteful of a users time it amazes me.

    Apple should commission a study, like they did for their big honking 30″ ACD, for the production a single-button versus a multi-button. I think most people would recognize that is an obvious decision that more than one-button is a good thing.

    Wake up Steve!

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  2. Well I didn’t speak to the mice that come with desktops. I was referring to the notebook double-tap/right click thing. I use a Logitech MX1000 with my MacBook when I’m at my desk – and I use ALL the buttons for something in my workflow.

    I think Apple’s moving in the right direction by making the Mighty Mouse the standard – as it adds some more buttons to the equation for people who desire them. (Though I still know old Apple hold-outs that don’t use more than a single mouse button…)

    But on the notebooks, I stand firm that I like the large single button (but I’m used to the double finger tap and all the hot keys to do everything else I want). Of course that’s my personal opinion, you’re entitled to yours as well obviously. :)

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  3. The one thing that has stopped me from getting a Macbook any earlier (still haven’t got one, waiting until March/April, you know, for Leopard and the fabled Macbook Pro Thin) is the one button.

    I’ve been using Windows since 95 and have used every version released since then (except 2003). Since 1995 I have been using mice with at least two buttons (and eventually a scroll wheel… those were the days). It seems absolutely stupid to me to now go backwards and use anything with less than two buttons.

    Apple likes their products being easy to use and intuitive, which is why I don’t understand why they will force someone to press a button with one hand and click with the other, when all of this can be achieved with the thumb. It’s as absurd as IBM laptops which didn’t have a Windows key (hello, how do you Windows+M when the boss is walking past?), or Linux distros which pretend that the Windows key doesn’t exist (it should bring up the menu straight out of the box, I don’t want to tinker with settings).

    /end rant

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  4. One button trackpads are the only way to go. I use a five button mouse constantly, but on the road, the way the apple laptops are now is perfect. It’s just difficult to work with a laptop the way PC trackpads are set up. Maybe it would work if instead of putting the second button to the side, they put it below the first button and made it very small, but I think it’s perfect the way it is.

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  5. “Number 14 takes issues with the inability to put Dashboard Widgets on the desktop. This is a personal preference thing. I like them out of the way – I like my Desktop clean. So keeping them on the Dashboard is preferable for me. If you’re in agreement with Computer World, then you can use the Dashboard Debug mode through the Terminal. Again, freely available, and part of the Operating System.”

    MacPilot (and I believe Onyx and Tinker Tool as well) allow you turn this on without the Terminal stuff, however the one thing that I found is that Dashboard widgets will sit on top of all of your windows. I use Yahoo! Widget Engine and keep a few widgets down in the corner pinned to the desktop.

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  6. I have to agree with above. I bought my first Mac laptop (err.. notebook) a few months ago. Once you get used to control clicking it’s very natural. I find myself doing it on my desktop all the time.

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  7. #3 – why does everything have to revolve around the Windows way of thinking. Linux doesnt need to know about the windows button cause its not windows! There are other ways of thinking than the windows way. Thats what I find the hardest when teaching people OSX, they are all like “wheres the start button?”.
    I like my one button trackpad. The two finger trackpad click is a really good idea, which I use alot now but before ctrl + click was fine with me.

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  8. I was a bit buggered about the one button thing on my first mac, which was a macbook pro 2ghz. I use it mainly to game world of warcraft, watch movies, videos, listen to music, fix photos on my daughter in ipohoto etc. All that works great using just one mouse button and trackpad. I tried using a normal mouse this weekend on my mac (still use mouse on my windows and linux computers) and it was hell to use.
    So I will never ever buy a mighty mouse (even though they look cool) for my laptop.

    At work I use contour rollermouse, works great too and I can no longer use a normal mouse which is as comfortable as rollermouse.

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  9. I too like the one button of my iBook. It seems much more intuitive than the two button configurations I have come across, I always find the right clicks annoying as you have to move your whole hand to uncover it and press it with your thumb. The only way I can se Apple having to buttons on a trackpad would be to keep the one long one across the bottom and place another long one across the top of the trackpad, I can see that wokring well.

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  10. While a second button (right-click) on the mouse can be very useful, there are still several other modifier keys that I need to use frequently or in combination (command-option-or-shift-click). So it’s not such a big deal to add the Control key to that list since my hand is already there.

    Personally, I think that if you use more keyboard shortcuts in general rather than mousing to every menu choice, your efficiency goes way up.

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