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Have You 'Feedbacked' OS X Today?

Have You 'Feedbacked' OS X Today?

by , 1:30 PM EST, November 14th, 2000

In discussing an approach to bringing about positive changes learning is only the first step. There are other factors as well: conviction, determination, action, and effort.

Dalai Lama

Maybe the Reality Distortion Field is losing its strength. Maybe I need another glass of Steve-Jobs-flavored Kool-Aid™.

Either way, I'm starting to have occasional doubts and fears about OS X.

Don't get me wrong. I don't fear whether it'll look good. I don't fear it won't be stable. I don't even doubt that Apple will fix those issues of sluggishness with "Classic" and window redrawing.

I do fear, however, that there's a baby or three in that bathwater they're throwing out.

I'm referring to the noticeably absent feature set in OS X.

OS 9 was a watershed event, boasting features (can you say pop-up folders?) that were pure strokes of programming genius. It seemed like the Mac OS had finally evolved to a state of GUI- and usability beatitude.

Then came The Dock.

I like it, but I like more of the things that were introduced in the OS 9. Everything about OS 9 felt good. OS X features often times look good more than they feel good. Sure, in many ways, OS 9 is but the ninth version of a series of hacks. For example, the Mac OS wasn't designed with the internet in mind. Ditto for networking. But that's beneath-the-surface stuff. The surface, mind you, still commands respect from those who use "The Enemy OS."

But this isn't a rant about OS X, nor Windows. It's a suggestion, especially for those of you who are using this public beta of OS X.

I want to point out to you that "springy" icon in the right side of The Dock. It's a link to the OS X feedback page at

Have you used it? Have you crafted your gripes into reasoned and seasoned comments to the Apple team? I have read many gripes about OS X. It can't do this. It doesn't do that. But I wonder how many of those people have actually sent feedback to Apple? How many others have gotten off their asses and actually taken their contentions to the source?

That's where it will make a difference.

Sure, I have my gripes, but I registered my complaint with Apple damn near the first day that I installed that OS onto my G4 Cube.

I've had a reality check: regardless of what I think about OS X, we all will be stuck with it for a very long time. So get used to it. In this regard, we can commiserate with what Windows users have been suffering for so long.

So, register your feedback. And, if you must post a gripe, try to make a suggestion for each gripe.

Here's where the idea for this column came from: many people on one particular OS X mailing list have been complaining about The Dock. Many have "seen the light" and have come to believe that The Dock is a great replacement for the Apple Menu and Application Menu. Others beg to differ, saying that the Dock should be more user-customizable – for example, many have suggested that there should be the option to move The Dock to the right- or left sides of the screen, á la the NeXT dock.

I wonder if any of them have posted that idea to Apple's feedback page? After all, that is where they are soliciting feedback. In the past, maybe it was a good idea for Apple engineers to lurk on mailing lists. But this time, they are asking for the suggestions.

Have you taken them up on it?

Keep in mind, though: this OS X business isn't like the recent presidential election -- thank God -- where our collective votes decide the outcome. I do wish that if Apple hoists a less-than-OS-9 upon us, we would have the power to demand an election-day-like recount like those bastards down in Florida.

But, like Doc Hillman, I've digressed.

Maybe we will one day call OS X "Jobs' folly." Maybe we won't. But the only ones who can complain will be those who spoke their piece.

I hope that there is more than ego at work on OS X -- human-interface punditry notwithstanding. I think it was in a movie that actor Denzel Washington called such machismo "a dick thing." I'd like to think that Steve Jobs is too old for that.

Meanwhile, I'm thirsty. Now, where did I put that pitcher of Kool-Aid?

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