Lion Looks Lovely

| Editorial

As Apple has brought along new versions of Mac OS X, new UI features like Expose and Spaces were added to create a sense of excitement. However, not every feature was put in the context of a coherent whole. Lion starts to do that, and frankly, it’s about time.

It’s not that the current way of doing things is Snow Leopard is bad. There’s something for everyone, and if it’s not in Snow Leopard, you can go get it. Like HyperSpaces to augment Spaces.

Back to the Mac

Mac OS X “Lion” learns from iOS: The “Virtuous Circle”

The problem is that all these different features, like Expose, Spaces, Dashboard, and full screen mode were never designed to handle the modern workload and the modern capabilities of apps. It’s almost as if the graphics hardware gave the developers so much power, ushered in with Core Graphics, that the old semi-UNIXy-MacOSX-Spaces-kinda ways of doing things got out of hand.

Suddenly Windows 7 and Linux/Gnome look sooo 20th century.

So it’s time for a unification, and what better way to learn how to do that than from the amazing iPad. After all, the way we live now is outrageous. We need all kinds of extras, a larger attached screen, Spaces, DragThing, and all kinds of visual crutches, plus Expose, to help us manage the display. Plus, we have to keep track of, perhaps, hundreds of applications, hope that they have a “check for update feature” and then do them one at a time. And each developer has its own way of charging for the update if necessary.

Life on the iPad has spoiled us.

I suspect that some developers will be a little bit nervous about all this, especially the part about giving 30% to Apple when they gave much less to Kagi. All that remains to be seen, and I’ll certainly want to hear what developers are thinking. I think it’s premature to judge right now.

One thing is clear. We’ve all been pleading with Apple for a beter Finder for years. Some, like me, have gone the geek route with PathFinder. As usual, Apple runs 180 degrees away from such geekiness. It tried several metaphors in the past for a new Finder, but Apple engineers never met Mr Jobs’s standards. Now, the Launch Pad and the full screen grid gives Mac users a great iPad-like way to manage apps.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to start using Lion. I’m a hard core Unix nut case, born on CDE, and I’m luvin’ Lion already.

Comments

VaughnSC

FWIW I already threw out my first, visceral dev’s reaction at Mac OS X 10.7 to include Multitouch, App Store

VaughnSC

Well, I read the terms… <takes a deep breath>

geoduck

AppStore - Good
Mission Control - Good
iLife11 - Good
MacBook Air - Good
Launch Pad - Not Good, (but I may get used to it if I have to.)

I’m one of those people that has a clean desktop. Maybe half a dozen items (if I haven’t cleaned recently). If it’s any more than that I develop nervous ticks and go into a fit of cleaning, trashing, and filing. I want to be able to see my desktop picture. I’ve spent the last 10 or 15 years razzing my Windows friends about all the crap on their desktop. Now they want to put my whole Apps folder on the desktop.

It’ll take me a long time to adapt.

gslusher

I?m one of those people that has a clean desktop.

My desktop has exactly 3 icons, all HDs. Of course, if I mount a disk image or CD/DVD or plug in my portable FireWire HD, there will be more. I NEVER put documents on the desktop. Some applications insist upon doing that, but I move the documents as soon as I can. I keep few applications in the dock, as I use F10 Launch Studio to quickly access any application.

All my files are organized in folders. The most used folders (and one document) have icons in the dock. Some are also in the left bar of windows.

iphonzie

Now they want to put my whole Apps folder on the desktop.

Launch Pad only shows up when you invoke it. The rest of the time your pretty desktop picture will remain pristine.

John Davis

Anybody remember “At Ease?”

That was the System 7 version of Launchpad.

computerbandgeek

Is nobody else lementing the complete destruction of Spaces?

furbies

I?m one of those people that has a clean desktop.

My Desktop looks like a bomb hit it! Several Times. Over many months.
Mostly what’s there is stuff I’m working on at the moment, or was working on but haven’t filed away yet.

If Lion stops me from being me that way I am now, the Cat is going to get it’s claws trimmed, whether it likes it or not!

lh

For me I prefer to view the desktop in list view with columns and the dock on the bottom of the screen.  Spaces is just too awkward for me.  I am sure that OS10.7 will be conformable for my uses.

graxspoo

I’m a developer, and the Mac app store is scaring the sh*t out of me. Other than that, the rest of what they announced is uninteresting. I’d like to see a new Finder, but it look like they’d rather remove access to the file-system completely.

LarryR

This discussion of files on the desktop (and yes, I have quite a few), causes me to harken back to a recent column—Macworld?  Andy Inhatko?—that argued persuasively that we need to get away from the metaphor of filing for digital content.

iTunes does this, although not very well.  It organizes the files based on their content and metadata. (Although, as someone who had to spend a week resurrecting my iTunes librargy after a hard disc crash, I can tell you that iTunes can be a huge pain when Something Goes Wrong.) iPhoto is a bit better.  MacOS handles lots of data internally and reasonably well:  contact information, calendar data, media files.  With reasonably improved search tools (I’m lookin’ at you, Spotlight!), more robust and consistent metadata, tagging, etc., we shouldn’t have to spend a lot of effort organizing our documents, photos, etc., into arbitrary systems of nested folders.  This is precisely the kind of analysis and organization that a computer ought to be able to do for me, based on my organizational preferences.

I totally agree we need a new, improved Finder, one that, you know, finds things.

rjackb

I can’t believe anyone (except people with a certain unnamed illness—no offense intended as I have my own problems grin) would have only three or some other tiny number of items on their desktop. I probably have at least a hundred (with around ten or so as temporaries) yet I don’t have any problem finding anything.

webjprgm

I just did some quick tests of Spotlight and confirmed my belief that I am much faster at finding files in my traditional folder hierarchy.  Spotlight is very fast for applications (even ones I haven’t launched in a long time), but it is hit or miss with finding documents and the ones it does find still take a couple seconds on my computer.

I search for documents by context (12th grade biology HW, C++ SDL demo are two I tried) in addition to content (it correctly found a short story I wrote where the search string was part of the title but contained in its entirety inside the file).  Context corresponds to my hierarch.  Documents > HW > High School > 12th grade > biology.  Or Documents > Programming > C++ > SDL.

Filing documents without a file system would mean tagging them with all that context.  You could have a tree of categories and tag a file with that, but that corresponds precisely to just placing the file in that directory. (It’s another way of looking at a file system.) The plus of tagging is that a file could be in multiple places.  You could tag it with project name, whether it’s work or school or fun or personal.  You’d search by kind of document (image, text, etc.). You’d search by metadata in the file, like who’s in a picture, who is the author of a Word doc, etc.  But a problem with all that metadata is that I (and probably most people) am not in the habit of filling out that meta data.  TextEdit may list me as the author of my text documents by default, but I never fill in title, subject, and summary meta-data.  When I have multi-tagging systems (like Gmail, budget programs) I rarely use more than one tag.

So, bottom line is that for a completely different way of filing documents we’d need a much better idea of how to do it than we have today and/or we’d need to adapt our habits a lot to get the most out of it.

webjprgm

I could add, however, that I’ve gotten into the habit of launching most of my apps from Spotlight now, even though I maintain a category-based organization in a folder placed in my dock (like a better-organized Start menu).  I don’t think Launch Pad will be faster than Apple+Space+first half of app name+enter.  Especially not if I organize apps into category groups, but if I don’t then it will be hard to find anything.  So I bet I won’t use it much at all.

graxspoo

Here’s how they plan to do it: Each app gets its own little “folder” which it saves into. Save and open dialogs only go the that one folder and nowhere else. This is similar to the way the iWork apps work on the iPad. So, all you see is a list of files made by that application. That’s all the access to the file system you get, unless you push the “I’m an uber-geek” button.

Lee Dronick

I totally agree we need a new, improved Finder, one that, you know, finds things.

How about Spotlight? Just make sure that your files are named appropriately and/or you enter some Spotlight keywords into the file’s get info box.

Here?s how they plan to do it: Each app gets its own little ?folder? which it saves into

That might make archiving files more labor intensive. I prefer putting all data files into their own folder inside of the Documents folder.

furbies

LarryR said:I totally agree we need a new, improved Finder, one that, you know, finds things.
How about Spotlight? Just make sure that your files are named appropriately and/or you enter some Spotlight keywords into the file?s get info box.

graxspoo said:Here?s how they plan to do it: Each app gets its own little ?folder? which it saves into
That might make archiving files more labor intensive. I prefer putting all data files into their own folder inside of the Documents folder.

I’m with you Sir Harry.

When I’ve got “both hands” on the keyboard, is soooo easy to just Cmd-Space to launch another app, or find a phone number in Address Book, or even look for a file. Provided I can remember it’s name or text in the doc.

I do semi-organise my files on the Files HD in my Mac Pro, but remembering just where I left a doc or image and then mousing the finder to find it can be a lot slower than Spotlight(ing) for it.

Lee Dronick

In regards to entering Spotlight comments in a file’s Get Info. It would be nice if we could do that via a menu in the program that created the file.

Say that working on a file in Pages. You pull down a menu and enter keywords.

John Davis

It strikes me that people using this site may not know that you can specify a search and save it in the Finder window.

You don’t need to bother to create a folder for all your Pages documents, for example. Just hit Command F to bring up the Search Panel. You can narrow down the search to whatever you like, “Pages Documents in the Last Month,” anything. Then click on “Save” and Finder will save this search on the left of finder windows. Then one click will bring up those documents.

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