Webdesigner #316: "Just Get A Mac" (Mac vs. PC Round 2, TwentyTen Edition)

Slowly, one by one, my colleagues are switching out their desktop PCs with portable Macs. Except for me. Consistently, I’m suggested to “just get a Mac already”, implying the OSXperience will change my life for the better.

Standard_Mac

Here’s where I think it will change my life for the better, and where it won’t.

Pros of getting a Mac

  • Coda becomes available to me.
  • The keyboard layout is great for PHP and Javascript with great locations for $, { } and [ ]. This is a big one.
  • Expose is great for switching between open apps.
  • Getting to the desktop, finding a file, dragging it to an app in the dock for it to open, works great. This doesn’t work nowhere near as nicely on Windows.

Cons of getting a Mac

  • The selection model is virtually useless. If you didn’t start your selection next to the right character, you might as well start over.
  • You can’t live with the dock, you can’t live without it. It pops in whenever you don’t need it, which is when you scale a window.
  • Scaling windows is a miserable pain, especially if you don’t have Cinch installed. Sure it’s “clean” that I can only scale in the bottom right corner of a window. But what the hell is up with that?
  • StrokeIt (systemwide mouse gestures) is not available to me.
  • Directory Opus (superb file manager) is not available to me (and Pathfinder is not an alternative).
  • Expose is horrible for switching to minimized apps, i.e. it can’t.
  • There’s no fullscreen feature, and maximize behavior is inconsistent.
  • Since there’s no fullscreen, there’s no inherent app background, so clicking the space between app panels invokes the desktop. Stupid stupid.
  • OSX creates .DS_Store files in every fricken folder everywhere, and I can only disable it for network drives.
  • OSX hides period-prepended filenames (as it should by default, but if I disable this feature so I can more easily edit a .htaccess file, my desktop becomes cluttered with other files I really don’t want to see).

For the record, I dislike both Windows and OSX now.

Microsoft, Apple, j’accuse!

26 thoughts on “Webdesigner #316: "Just Get A Mac" (Mac vs. PC Round 2, TwentyTen Edition)”

  1. 316: “Just Get A Mac” (Mac vs. PC Round 2, TwentyTen Edition): http://noscope.com/?p=5821

  2. matthew says:

    “Since there’s no fullscreen, there’s no inherent app background, so clicking the space between app panels invokes the desktop. Stupid stupid.”

    That’s a pro for me! Love it, drag from app to app, finder to app, app to finder. Brilliant.

    1. Joen says:

      I honestly can see why you could learn to like that (even if I get super annoyed when I mis-click and get the background). Fair enough.

    2. Matthew says:

      For me the slight irritation when mis click the window are far outweighed by the inter application flexibility it gives me.

    3. Joen says:

      I suppose this app background lack is also what makes individual documents in, for instance, Photoshop, show up in Expose?

      In that case, yeah, that’s a nice thing.

    4. Matthew says:

      Yes. Tho adobe really tries to bugger that functionality by tabbing every app

    5. Joen says:

      Oh don’t get me started on Adobe. Sheesh way to kill an app suite.

  3. curtis says:

    Expose for minimized was fixed in 10.6, finally. From http://www.macworld.com/article/142423/2009/08/snow_leopard_review.html :

    “Fans of the yellow button, fear not: by default, Snow Leopard still minimizes windows the same stupid way Mac OS X has for the last ten years. For us complainers, though, there’s a new alternative: A Minimize Windows Into Application Icon checkbox in System Preferences’ Dock pane. With that box checked, when you click on that yellow button, your window will still fly away into the Dock. But instead of disappearing into the mess on the right, it will minimize into the icon of the application it belongs to. That makes it easy to bring the window back. (Minimized windows are indicated in most programs by a diamond in an app’s Window menu; you can see that same list by Control-clicking on the app’s icon in the Dock.) Even better, this feature works with Exposé: When you invoke Exposé, all minimized windows line up together at the very bottom of the screen.”

    And yeah, the .ds_store files drives me crazy too.

    1. Joen says:

      curtis: Expose for minimized was fixed in 10.6, finally. From http://www.macworld.com/article/142423/2009/08/snow_leopard_review.html

      … but does it work with Alt Tab?

      Granted, I DO like that they’ve fixed this for Expose.

      curtis: And yeah, the .ds_store files drives me crazy too.

      Right? I’d love to see — as an experiment — what would happen to window positions and configurations if those files were brutishly disabled, whether we’d notice at all.

    2. Matthew says:

      There are ways of disabling them on servers. I have done this for when I use expandrive to access FTP servers in the finder

    3. curtis says:

      No, they didn’t fix it for alt-tab, it’ll still stay minimized when you cycle through them. But honestly with the trackpad changes they made recently (4-finger swipe down to activate expose) I almost never alt-tab anymore.

      I never care if my window positions are remembered (since I never do the open in a new window, which is really the only point to remembering that) so it’d be nice if they at least let you disable that.

  4. Matthew says:

    As for Coda, I prefer Espresso for some reason. Coda just doesn’t work for me

    1. Joen says:

      At least you can choose between two arguably great IDEs. On Windows one is stuck between Dreamweaver and a hard place.

  5. Matthew says:

    I still use dreamweaver for eflyers as they’re table based so Dreamweavers quick

  6. Nate says:

    I figure that if I’m writing a .htaccess file it’s going to be part of a site project, so I just create an Espresso project and use that to edit the file. I guess that doesn’t really help if you’re just writing a standalone .htaccess, though.

    I’ve had no problems on a Mac, but I will say that the dock can be a bit annoying at times and that Adobe products just don’t feel right here. Flash’s splash screen stays on top of everything, and then when it finally loads the window is slightly smaller than “fullscreen” so I feel inclined to maximize it because I’m easily bothered by these things.

    1. Nate, you do realize that when Adobe started out, their products were exclusively made for Macs? You’re right though. At the moment I think Adobe has forgotten us Mac users.

  7. Daniel Pihlström says:

    Gotta agree with you here, I switched over to a mac 3-4 months ago.. and while it works just fine, I’m far less productive in os x’s desktop environment than windows or linux. Not saying that it’s worse (god knows all OS’s are terrible,) but I just can’t get as comfortable with it as I want.

  8. “The selection model is virtually useless. If you didn’t start your selection next to the right character, you might as well start over.”

    This was fixed in Leopard I believe. Now we have anchored selection, which is way better.

    “You can’t live with the dock, you can’t live without it. It pops in whenever you don’t need it, which is when you scale a window.”

    As a matter of fact, I recall having problems with the dock when I switched to a Mac. Now, I simply love it. There is nothing more convenient than having access to all your most-used apps.

    “Scaling windows is a miserable pain, especially if you don’t have Cinch installed. Sure it’s “clean” that I can only scale in the bottom right corner of a window. But what the hell is up with that?”

    I must say, I never even noticed that. But you’re right, that could be a pain when you switch.

    “StrokeIt (systemwide mouse gestures) is not available to me.”

    True, but FlyGestures is available to you.

    “Expose is horrible for switching to minimized apps, i.e. it can’t.”

    I never minimize apps. I simple hide (apple+h) them.

    “OSX creates .DS_Store files in every fricken folder everywhere, and I can only disable it for network drives.”

    Windows has thumbs.db and the weird folder in C: But I have only one word for you: “BlueHarvest” – solves your problem.

    “OSX hides period-prepended filenames (as it should by default, but if I disable this feature so I can more easily edit a .htaccess file, my desktop becomes cluttered with other files I really don’t want to see).”

    I fail to see the problem there. That is standard Linux behaviour.
    By the way, I wrote a small app that allows you to toggle viewing those files: http://www.aetherworld.org/2008/07/toggle-the-showing-of-hidden-files-in-mac-os-x-finder

  9. Levi says:

    I’m with you Joen, I want to go Mac, I’ve had enough of Windows. But I’d be making more compromises switching than I would staying put.

  10. Chris says:

    I know, I know, I’m late to the “Joen you’re a crazy bastard” party.

    This is our eternal argument. Some friends argue about politics or music or religion but we’re on the same page on those things so instead we go back and forth about how you’re a nutjob for not using a Mac. OK, so there’s no back and forth. You’re a nutjob and I’m right.

    Here’s your problem. You’re trying to make OS X function as though it were Windows. You’re using a Windows world view to approach a completely different system. Now, you may intellectually appreciate that things are different on OS X and that you should just learn to flow with it. I know you know this. You just don’t do it.

    Case in point, you’re minimizing windows? Why?

    As for the document nature of windows in OS X as opposed to the closed environment nature in Windows that’s just something you’re going to have to learn in your damn nutjob head. Work this in to your noggin: OS X maintains the DESKTOP metaphor. Windows does not.

    Go get a desk. Put a picture on the desk. Now, put a, I dunno, an electricity bill on the desk. Go find some other random crap and put them on the desk too. Now, do you see how each item, the photo, the bill, the porno mag are all a single thing? It’s not a porno mag contained in a larger box. It’s just a porno mag.

    Now, go get your whole damn porno collection and put it all on your desk. It’s a porno collection but each magazine is one thing separate from the other. They’re not all in a giant crate separate from the rest of your crap.

    Oh, and stop using your damn mouse so much. I know Apple brought it to the masses but we have keyboard shortcuts too. Twirling your mouse around in an effort to “go back” on a website or “delete” when you could just hit a damn key is the most bizarre thing I could ever imagine doing.

    OK, I’m done. Talk to you later. 🙂

    1. Joen says:

      Chris: You’re trying to make OS X function as though it were Windows. You’re using a Windows world view to approach a completely different system.

      No, you’re talking to the new and improved Joen! My new official stance is I hate both Windows and OSX. So when I’m bitching about the lack of fullscreen, I’m not just comparing OSX to Windows, I’m also comparing it to the Android and iPhone window models, as well as Ubuntu and every other OS out there.

      Chris: Case in point, you’re minimizing windows? Why?

      Well sometimes, I have to drag a file from one window to another, or from one window to an app. So I minimize all open windows and apps (either Win + D or click the bottom right corner in Win7) and I maximize only the windows or the apps I need. You can’t do that on the desktop. If you want to drag a file into an app and you have 50 open windows, sure you can show the desktop using that corner hotzone, but you can’t from there drag a file into just ONE of those windows. (If I’m making a mistake here, enlighten me).

      Chris: OS X maintains the DESKTOP metaphor. Windows does not.

      To be fair, neither does Android nor iPhone, and I honest to goodness prefer those little anti-desktops to both Windows and Mac’s metaphors. In fact, screw metaphors! I hate metaphors. Do what works.

      Chris: Oh, and stop using your damn mouse so much. I know Apple brought it to the masses but we have keyboard shortcuts too. Twirling your mouse around in an effort to “go back” on a website or “delete” when you could just hit a damn key is the most bizarre thing I could ever imagine doing.

      Point taken.

    2. Joen says:

      I also want to throw this one at you:

      Microsoft Bob arguably uses the “desktop metaphor” more than OSX, and look what happened to that:

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

  11. matthew says:

    Im not sure I’d like the iPhone OS on a desktop machine (tablet aside) – the interface paradigm of touchy finger(s), small screen just isnt comparable to wavey mouse, big screen imho.

    keys!? who uses keys? My mouse is already nearer to any button than my fingers could be.

    1. Joen says:

      matthew: Im not sure I’d like the iPhone OS on a desktop machine (tablet aside) – the interface paradigm of touchy finger(s), small screen just isnt comparable to wavey mouse, big screen imho.

      Two things I like about the iPhone OS (and Android, for that matter):

      – I prefer the scrolling! It feels like you’re dragging a piece of paper. It’s just more precise. Sure, this requires a tablet maybe, or just not a mouse. Did I mention I’m tired of the mouse/keyboard paradigm?

      – I like the application model. On iPhone you can currently only have one app open at the time, but because opening an app is just clicking the icon and closing the app is clicking the home icon, there’s no sense of “managing open apps”. It’s all transparent.

      Moreso with Androids multi-tasking, which iPhone will no doubt get, if not next week then soon enough: you can open several apps. But there is no close button. If you’re in the middle of looking at next week in your calendar, and you suddenly have to check something in your email, you simply click the home button, click the email icon, and once you go back to your calendar, there you are. Whether the calendar closed and saved its state, or never closed — I just don’t care. It’s all transparent.

      So in my mind, the only thing that has to be different from a portable OS compared to a phone OS is the window management. You have to be able to open two or more windows on the same screen.

      But other than that, I don’t see why mainstream OSes couldn’t take inspiration from portable OSes, not to mention consoles for that matter? Filesystem? Sheesh. Out with it already!

  12. matthew says:

    Im not convinced…

    I WOULD like a Bamboo Touch though, but will it be better than a mouse .. hmm

  13. Robert says:

    Hey great looking site! Stumbled upon you b/c of your WordPress 3 post. I’m testing it…

    Anyway, w/re to gestures: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=mac+os+x+mouse+gestures

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