Back to the basics: OS X

  • Posted: 31 December 2012 04:27 PM

    To me, the Mac is the most important piece of Apple technology.
    Everything that I do, work, hobbies or fun (other than games), is mostly done on the iMac. And while the hardware is great, the software (OS X) is not that great.


    For 2013, I wish OS X will get:


    Resolution-independent presentation engine, so I can (finally) clearly see those small-(unadjustable)-fonts every built-in OS X application uses


    Decent file system with end-to-end integrity, snapshots and availability features (think ZFS / BtrFS)


    New powerful Mail + Calendar + Reminders + Notes + Stickies application

    Happy New Year!
    -S.

         
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    Posted: 02 January 2013 10:47 AM #1

    Excellent thread, j4zzcat!

    I suppose one thing I’d like is better integration with iOS. It’s good, and it’s continually improving, but it kills me that I have to use third-party software on iOS to remote control my Mac (something that’s built into OS X). Would be good if Apple had an end-to-end solution there across the product lines.

    iTunes also needs an overhaul (which is sad, because it just got one). Managing music, movies, tv shows and podcasts from one application is fine, but more and more I’m finding many people don’t want to store all those things in the same place. If you’ve got an exhaustive movie library, it makes total sense to store that in a different location from your music library, simply as a function of storage space.

    And this…

    j4zzcat - 31 December 2012 04:27 PM

    New powerful Mail + Calendar + Reminders + Notes + Stickies application

    I agree, though I’m not sure I want all of that in one app. Mail is quite extensible, and I think having it separate from everything else is a benefit. As for Calendar and reminders, BusyCal is an excellent alternative that I’ve been using for a while now (arguably back to the mid-90’s if you look at the roots of BusyCal being in the original “Now Up-To-Date”).

    Good stuff. Curious what others come up with here!

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    Posted: 02 January 2013 11:48 AM #2

    Dave Hamilton - 02 January 2013 10:47 AM

    iTunes also needs an overhaul (which is sad, because it just got one).

    YES. It’s slow and buggy.

    Managing music, movies, tv shows and podcasts from one application is fine, but more and more I’m finding many people don’t want to store all those things in the same place.

    I think it’s deeper than that. iTunes was created as a music app. The addition of movies, podcasts, the iTunes Store, iOS Apps and all the rest has made it into bloatware. It opens slowly, especially if you forget and leave it on the iTunes Store. I want four of five slim apps one for each function. I think of something on the model of OpenOffice. One main control panel but separate Apps that can talk to each other. At the very least how about splitting the iTunes Store off into its own app. You go out there and buy what you want and it figures what app to give it to on your Mac.

    While we’re at it, how about bringing iPhoto into the 21st century. Why did Melissa have to write an article on how to move old pictures to an archive? That should be a simple one click function. Why is iPhoto managing my movies? Why is the UI in iPhoto so clunky? When I go into an event hitting Esc should take me back to the main page. But no I have to mouse up to hit the button. That’s just one of a hundred little annoying quirks in iPhoto that keeps it from running well. The UI needs work. Not an overhaul that would introduce as many bugs as it removes. It needs a good clean up.

    Back to OS-X though, I’ve found Mountain Lion to be buggy. I get spinning beach balls fairly regularly. I keep running Onyx, repairing permissions, etc but it doesn’t help much. When my wife’s 2008 MacBook running Snow Leopard can open Mail, or a text document, or a large picture, faster than my 2012 MacBook Pro, and without the odd beachball/Not Responding issues, something is wrong. I’d like a serious clean up to the OS-X code.

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    Posted: 02 January 2013 12:14 PM #3

    There are a couple of items I would like to see, but I only have time for a few.

    1. Messages to be more like the one in iOS. Specifically hitting Return should add a new line not send the message. White space is our friend.

    2. Better cookie, cache, and local storage, in Safari. Apparently coders have found a way around disable caches.

    Gotta run some errands.

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    “Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don’t believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art’s sake.” E. M. Forster

         
  • Posted: 02 January 2013 01:26 PM #4

    One thing I’d like to see has been bugging me more and more as my monitors have gotten larger. I would like apps and windows that are visible behind the current app you are using to recede more visually than they do now. The current method to show that a window isn’t active is that the title bar and red/yellow/green buttons go grey. I’d like something more obvious and less distracting if you have a lot of windows open at once, something more along the lines of the lightbox effect in a web browser. Have everything get darker, or a little darker with lower saturation, something to make a difference.

    Oh yeah, and like above. Return iTunes to being a music player and create a news app to manage content streaming and purchases. It’s a bloated mess right now.

    Oh and make iWork for Windows so we can get more people to stop using Office crapware.

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    Less is More (more or less).

         
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    Posted: 02 January 2013 02:36 PM #5

    Ooh — and full-screen support for multiple monitor setups. Like one app full-screen on one monitor and other things windowed in the other monitor. That would be fantastic.

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    -Dave Hamilton / The Mac Observer / Mac Geek Gab / Dave on Twitter
    When you find a big kettle of crazy, it’s best not to stir it.

         
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    Posted: 02 January 2013 02:45 PM #6

    FlipFriddle - 02 January 2013 01:26 PM

    something more along the lines of the lightbox effect in a web browser. Have everything get darker, or a little darker with lower saturation, something to make a difference.

    That’s an interesting idea.  One caveat is that I find I often use 2-3 apps at once where I want to read the contents of one app (e.g. a web page in Safari) while actively working in another (e.g. some app where I’m following instructions or writing down info from Safari’s page.)  So if all the apps except the two I’m using could dim that would be great, but what’s the easy way to tell what apps the user wants to have un-dimmed?

    (Note that my my workflow for managing open windows is virtually unchanged since Mac OS 8.  There’s this handy thing activated by cmd-h.  Hide all the windows I’m not currently using, use cmd-tab to switch between apps.  Then I only leave visible the set of things I’m interested in anyway.  I aggressively Hide things I’m not using.  Spaced gave me more options, which I use, and Expose and Mission Control are helpful, but my main workflow is still cmd-h and cmd-tab.)

    For iTunes, I’d like to split out movies, split out the store, and split out iOS device synching.  The store can easily live with App Store.  However, I’m least concerned about that, since it’s a cash cow that Apple will likely want tied in closely with where users use their content.  I also like managing Downloads and Purchases in iTunes, but it would be just fine to manage Downloads and Purchases of music in an “iTunes Music” app and Downloads and Purchases of Movies and TV Shows in an “iTunes Videos” app.  iOS syching just doesn’t belong there.  It made sense for music syching to iPods, but iPhones and iPads are so much more that now it doesn’t.

    Multi-monitor support in OS X has been horrible for a long time.  It works better in Linux where you can have a task bar per monitor and maximize a window to just the screen it’s on vs. Lion’s “Fullscreen” thing that takes both monitors.  (This only matters to me when I try to use a laptop with an external monitor. On my iMac I only have one screen anyway.)

    Default hot-key for Launchpad.  I use spotlight for app launching since it’s a quick cmd-space then start typing the app name.  Spotlight has issues, since it is slow and finds non-app results.  Launchpad’s new app search thing is great, but is not as convenient as cmd-space. (So I set my own hot key, of course, but a default one would make it easier to use other people’s Macs or tell them how to be more efficient.)

    Does anyone find “All My Files” to be useful?  I don’t.  I think it needs a lot more improvement.  Some way of organizing files must exist.  Some better ways of zeroing in on what you want, maybe a tagging system.  Specifying type of file isn’t enough.  I never do file searching in Finder windows either because the UI is confusing. (Windows XP has a better search UI.  Spotlight’s UI is better, but to get details you have to click the button to open the search in Finder’s UI.  Mac OS 9’s search UI “Sherlock” was arguably better too.)

    Save dialogs should not always open in iCloud, especially if the last location I saved to was NOT iCloud.  I almost never want to store things in iCloud by default.  iCloud is only for documents I specifically want to open on other computers, and even then I prefer Dropbox (because I can organize files better, independent of the app, and I can open them in Dropbox app on iOS too).

    I’m sure I could think of more, but that’ll do for now.

         
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    Posted: 02 January 2013 05:06 PM #7

    Dave Hamilton - 02 January 2013 02:36 PM

    Ooh — and full-screen support for multiple monitor setups. Like one app full-screen on one monitor and other things windowed in the other monitor. That would be fantastic.

    +1

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    Posted: 03 January 2013 10:37 AM #8

    “Does anyone find “All My Files” to be useful?”

    Not very much. Mostly I use it for recently opened files. As long as I can organize my files in s hierarchal manner in folders, sub folders and such then I am happy.

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    “Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don’t believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art’s sake.” E. M. Forster

         
  • Posted: 05 January 2013 05:15 AM #9

    Ok, here goes.

    iTunes has “Automatically Add to iTunes”. iPhoto does not have “Automatically Add to iPhoto”.

    Notification Center should show a new email only once. I use Gmail with Mail, and Notification Center will actually pop me anything from 3 to 9 notifications of a single email - it is incredibly frustrating to see a “New email” notification pop up all the time, for an email I’ve already been notified about. This seems to have something to do with VIP Mail addresses - and sometimes it gets confused and shows me a VIP Email address having sent me a spam message - which has actually come from a different email address - which is definitely not in any way related to my VIP list.

    Hmm, I’m sure there’s more but these are the ones that really bother me for now. Gotta run CleanMyMac now so will hopefully be back with more.