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OSX. Where has the AI spirit gone?

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
I remember back in the DP days, there used to be very lively threads around here about OSX. The AI boards were THE place to discuss the direction you felt OSX should go... Wild speculations fueled by hints and teasers by Belle, Kate, and others.

Seems like now the only threads around here are rants or "I want this OS9 feature back". None of the great OSX threads have come back with the revival of the AI boards.

I'm creating this thread so that those of us who see OSX as the future of the platform can discuss what *new* features/functionalities we would like to see in the future, and so that the few that have inside knowledge of Apple's direction with regards to OSX can post freely, without the wild scepticism they are often greeted with.

This is where I want OSX to go in the future:

Virtual Desktops. Every day I find myself wishing for them. Being able to fling the mouse on the side of the screen to change desktops, or view all desktops at the same time in a mosaic view would really make everyday use of OSX more powerful.

Tighter integration of Services with the Finder. Being able to convert images, send e-mails etc. directly within the Finder.

We have an industrial strength OS, give it an industrial strength file-system. Journaling, proper 64bit. And make the Finder USE extensible attributes.

Sherlock3: Major re-write. Indexing should be on the fly, and it should take advantage of the database-like structure of HFS+, so that file name searches are instant, ala BeOS. The direction Sherlock is taking was discussed at lenght a while ago in a Macnn thread started by a member named rm -rf etc or something similar. Very insightful, can't find it however.

Leverage meta-data, don't fight it. OSX should *not* rely on file extensions to determine a file's type. The OS should parse the data in the file to determine the type of the file, so that a situation where a user receives a file with the wrong extension, or no extension/file type and can't open it never happens. OS9 used to do it in an almost adequate way, the BeOS does it, OSX should too. John Siracusa says it best in his <a href="http://www.arstechnica.com/reviews/01q3/metadata/metadata-1.html" target="_blank">review</a>

10.2 is said to bring back spring-loaded folders. Will Apple just give them back to us the way they appeared in OS8 in 97 or are they going to show us they were removed because they truly wanted to make them insanely great?

Exacerbate contextual menus by providing a documented API. Finder Pop was a wonderful addition to OS9, and that kind of functionality can only be brought by 3rd parties.

The Dock is a fine proof of concept. Now make it blow our minds with functionality we couldn't have imagined.

that' it for me, I'm waiting for you guys' crazy ideas, and maybe some insight on what Apple's doing (hint, hint )

[ 12-24-2001: Message edited by: SYN ]</p>
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post #2 of 41
It is obvious the reason osx is not suitable for everyone is lack of professional applications that people use on a 9-5 basis to make their living off of.

When this problem is solved, it's uphill from there/
post #3 of 41
Humbug!

He, OK, seriously:

I would prefer a tabbed or similar interface to bring a "desktop" or series of desktops to the foreground than have virtual desktops as they currently are known. I'm not an expert by any means on this though: do virtual desktops hold more than just a "desktop" background change? Are settings and such changed too?

Could someone explain about the advantages of a "journaling" filesystem? I've read much about Be's use of this, but frankly, it was "in-one-ear-out-the-other." Basically, it sounds like one of those things you didn't know you needed until you have it. Is it a matter of abstraction -- that the contents of the finder do not have to directly display the organization and layout of the filesystem?

The idea of more context-specific file browsing/searching apps/utilities appeals to me, like the old example of the iTunes browsing feature. The inference Jobs once made about multiple Finders. In this case, I imagine that Sherlock as an exclusive app to go bye-bye and its various search types to be integrated with the appropriate browser (and I'm not think of the web browser typology). It's all quite fuzzy in my head, maybe others have a more concrete idea about this.

Is there some kind of hidden secret about disk copy? It sometimes seems like it's gotten a lot of attention. Maybe it's just me.

SLF: I've finally been convinced that SLF are pretty much OK as is when the Finder is in column or list view. I hold my opinion that they are a bit weird in icon view, especially when it's set to single-window burrowing. Ooh, and as long as they are making SLF for the Finder, could they please please please make it available to the Dock pop-ups? I'd be in Dock heaven with that! just toss my home folder and some odds-n-ends, and suddenly the Dock is indispensable (and a lot like the old pop-up folders).

And I'd like to see a better Help system. Nothing too whiz-bang, just speedy, with good searching, a depth of information, integration with the Knowledge base even more is possible and most importantly -- step by step help! I think Apple's consumer audience would find a great help system a very persuasive selling point.

Uh, more later I guess
post #4 of 41
I like the virtual desktop/room idea.

My first job using a computer was on a crazy Unix comp put together by guys in white coats at Kodak Electronic Publishing. While it may have been Unix, it did have a gui. Not a very good one, by todays standards, but it was completely gui once booted.

On the screen (actually there were two, but one was just for displaying pictures in color), which was in black and white, were four doors with doormats in the bottom left hand corner.

Two of the doors were workrooms. Basically, these were desktops which started off identical. You did all your work in either one. They acted the same as each other. One tech could use one room, another could use the other.

One of the doors was for your tools. You could go in here and get any color correction tool you wanted. Bring it back to one of the workrooms and you could duplicate it, use it, trash it or whatever. You could do some amazing batch functions with these tools.

The fourth door had pictures of trees, the sun and a little walking path on it. This was the "exit" door. You went here to log out and shutdown.

To open the door you held your mouse over the little doormat for a few seconds. The door would open. You then held the mouse in the doorway for a few seconds and voila - another room.

If they could do something like this for the virtual desktops it would be pretty cool. Either that or let apps continue to run when logged out sort of like (god help me) XP does.

It sucks when I have a process going, something downloading etc. and my GF has to log out and close my apps just to check her email.
post #5 of 41
Ahhhh SYN, you want to confer with the Apple Apolgists. For that you'll have to go here:

<a href="http://forums.macnn.com/" target="_blank">http://forums.macnn.com/</a>
post #6 of 41
Thread Starter 
Ahhhh SYN, you want to confer with the Apple Apolgists. For that you'll have to go here:

<a href="http://forums.macnn.com/" target="_blank">http://forums.macnn.com/</a>


hehe, cute . I'm specifically fleeing the macnn type of threads, ie uninformed 12-year olds, half of them brain washed by the RDF, the other half playing arm-chair CEOs ranting... I'm more interested in discussing what OSX will become once it has overcome its obvious short-commings - speed, lack of apps, functionality present in OS9 - than bashing everything Apple does and blaming it on Steve's ego, or praising whatever Steve touches...

I'm not an expert by any means on this though: do virtual desktops hold more than just a "desktop" background change? Are settings and such changed too?

You can change resolution too on a per Desktop basis, being able to change Docks would be great. I remember a (very) old thread here which discussed the idea of a Cube you could rotate in order to access your various desktops... Amusingly, I met an ex-NEXTSTEP developer at AppleExpo 18 months ago and he told me he was thinking about implementing multiple desktops in that same way... Wonder what happened...

Could someone explain about the advantages of a "journaling" filesystem?

Basically, the file system keeps a log of all data transactions that take place. Thus, if for instance a power failure occurs while doing a large data transfer, your files do not get corrupted, and when you reboot, the filesystem's integrity will have been preserved. This can be achieved either with journaling, either with softupdates. I'd really like Apple to migrate towards XFS.
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post #7 of 41
[quote]Originally posted by Kestral:
<strong>Ahhhh SYN, you want to confer with the Apple Apolgists. For that you'll have to go here:

<a href="http://forums.macnn.com/" target="_blank">http://forums.macnn.com/</a></strong><hr></blockquote>

Oh we have many apologists in here. Say anything bad about Apple or OS X's GUI and you get called a whiner and such. Some people just cannot STAND anyone saying anything bad about Apple. No matter what it is.
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post #8 of 41
Thread Starter 
Oh we have many apologists in here. Say anything bad about Apple or OS X's GUI and you get called a whiner and such. Some people just cannot STAND anyone saying anything bad about Apple. No matter what it is.

Well, this thread was not supposed to be an Apple Apologist gathering... I just got tired of the people threatening class-action law-suits everytime Apple did something that displeased them; and wanted to discuss something else. I thought I made this point clear in my initial post, as I clearly criticised some design decisions in OSX, reliance on extensions and sherlock being the most obvious.

Maybe you should read before posting

edit: Merry Christmas to you all

[ 12-24-2001: Message edited by: SYN ]</p>
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post #9 of 41
Thread Starter 
Oh I get it now, you're all on your nerves with regards to the happenings in the "Apple dropping support for older Graphics Cards" thread... Hadn't read that one... Well if it can calm anyone down here, I think Apple ****ed up big time there.
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post #10 of 41
Hi SYN,

Well, as far as short-comings go, I think that even if there are native OS X apps, the problem is the quality of those said applications.

At this point, it seems like developers are just making the minimal modifications necessary to just barely pass over carbon-compliant line.

Why is this not a Good Thing(tm)? Quite simple, because by producing "Frankenstein apps" of this sort, what happens is that you end up getting all the disadvantages of running OS X (namely, major slowdown in speed) without the advantages of OS X (such as full use of services, true pre-emptive multitasking).

A good example of this is Internet Explorer start loading a page up and while you do, click and hold on a menu selection - the program stops rendering, just like pre-OS X. I thought the whole point of moving to OS X was so that inefficient system resource utilizations by the OS would be eliminated, but instead, what you have is an app that may look a little different (sacrificing a lot of processor power to do so in Aqua), but feels like an OS 9 app.

What I would prefer to see is developers actually taking advantage of all the new abilities that OS X has, rather than just rehashing an OS 9 app, thereby turning the OS X experience into a much slower version of an OS 9 experience.

[ 12-24-2001: Message edited by: Kestral ]</p>
post #11 of 41
Thread Starter 
that's the spirit.

Good apps are starting to come, but it's true that very few are taking advantage of OSX's unique features, such as services, CoreGraphics rendering, scroll wheel support etc. This will come in time. However if you choose your apps correctly, you'll see that we're getting there, albeit slowly.

The problem you're citing in your example is actually Apple's fault, not MS' The Carbon UI toolbox is not re-entrant, so indeed if you hold down your mouse in IE, the rendering, and worse, the downloads, will grind to a halt. This was supposed to be fixed after 10.0, but it still isn't...

Any devs here know when (if?) it's supposed to be fixed?
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post #12 of 41
Good point about the apps. It's nice to have the apps coming sooner than later, and the old mantra from the NeXT day was "get it working first, then get it working well." HOwever, it irks me to no end when these big houses screw up such "superficial" concerns as their appearance (though their behavior isn't far behind). Well, let's hope some kind of trickle-up effects happens where these small developers (especially the ones who use Cocoa -- hell, even FaxSTF looks smashing) show the big guys how to do it.
post #13 of 41
[quote]The problem you're citing in your example is actually Apple's fault, not MS' ? The Carbon UI toolbox is not re-entrant, so indeed if you hold down your mouse in IE, the rendering, and worse, the downloads, will grind to a halt. This was supposed to be fixed after 10.0, but it still isn' <hr></blockquote>

QuickDraw and newer CoreGraphics APIs are fully re-entrant (QuickDraw I know for sure). They can be called on any thread in a given process.

The mouse issues in IE are most certainly Microsoft's fault. Even without threading, it is possible to do the rendering and downloads while the mouse is held down. Using the CarbonEvent function TrackMouseLocationWithOptions will allow to you to do this, simply specify an immediate timeout. You can also use Carbon Event timers. Or ReceiveNextEvent with no timeout - the possibilities are endless.

I know that the above techniques work, as I have personally worked on single thread applications, but they had live window resizing, menu interaction that didn't block the rest of the app; and yes, holding the mouse down didn't block the app either.

Microsoft has some pretty talented people on their Mac team. So I suspect that it's simply an issue of lack of time, as opposed to laziness or incompetence.

[I just checked, and while I hold the mouse down, a web page still renders. I think that Microsoft may have fixed a large portion of these problems with IE 5.1]
post #14 of 41
all I want is for Apple to take chances and make inroads in UI design. they haven't. they put a gumdrop them on platinum and stuck a huge icon dock at the bottom of the screen.

is apple not able to think for themselves or innovate in the operating system at all.

OS X played catch up. now its time to take the lead and they don't seem to be making any radical advancements that would give them the lead
post #15 of 41
I, personally (as dumb as it may sound) want Apple to buy connectix, and incorporate VirtualPC (an Apple takeoff of course) and integrate it into the finder, so one could somewhat easily, without buying extra programs, go from OS X to Windows, and then with XFree one can also use any unix system. Switching between the three major OS's on one simple computer would be very helpful, well to me.
post #16 of 41
[quote]Originally posted by applenut:
<strong>all I want is for Apple to take chances and make inroads in UI design. they haven't. they put a gumdrop them on platinum and stuck a huge icon dock at the bottom of the screen.

is apple not able to think for themselves or innovate in the operating system at all.

OS X played catch up. now its time to take the lead and they don't seem to be making any radical advancements that would give them the lead</strong><hr></blockquote>

what sort of radical advancements do you speak of?

examples?
post #17 of 41
[quote]Originally posted by Jonathan:
<strong>

what sort of radical advancements do you speak of?

examples?</strong><hr></blockquote>

hey, I'm not a visionary. Apple pays people to come up with stuff, not me
post #18 of 41
[quote]Originally posted by Jonathan:
<strong>

what sort of radical advancements do you speak of?

examples?</strong><hr></blockquote>

Better handling of metadata for one. In this aspect, they could really learn something from BeOS. But even better would be an SQL-based file system.
post #19 of 41
Thread Starter 
what sort of radical advancements do you speak of?

examples?


The NewtonOS had basic AI functionality. For instance if you just wrote "Dinner tonite at 8pm with Janis", it would understand this was an appointment and automatically remind you when appropriate.

That was 5 years ago. Could such functionality not be added to OSX?

I know you guys are dreading a "paper clip" type implementation. However, done right, this could truly be a killer feature.
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post #20 of 41
Thread Starter 
But even better would be an SQL-based file system.

I don't know about that. That's where MS is heading with BlackComb... I don't know if SQL has been designed with the stress a Multimedia OS can put on a file system in mind...

Leveraging meta-data certainly is one aspect that I'd like to see in OSX more and more. Being able to set arbitrary attributes, ala BeOS, in the Finder would be great. HFS+ already allows this, it's just the Finder that blocks us.

[ 12-26-2001: Message edited by: SYN ]</p>
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post #21 of 41
[quote]Originally posted by applenut:
<strong>all I want is for Apple to take chances and make inroads in UI design. they haven't. they put a gumdrop them on platinum and stuck a huge icon dock at the bottom of the screen.</strong><hr></blockquote>

True, true, and look at the flak they got for changing just that.

I'm interested in non-desktop metaphors for GUIs, new ideas, but I'm waiting for someone else to do it -- it's not going to be Apple. (MS are in fact doing this but they have yet to impress me with their direction.)

PS: and I have no compliments for that old perspective-room-as-cube-multiple-workspace-thing people always bring up. I'm not interested in a 3D GUI until our displays project into 3D too.

[ 12-26-2001: Message edited by: BuonRotto ]</p>
post #22 of 41
12 hours later...

Raskin always talked about that idea of the GUI-as-airport (not the product, the place). I have qualms with it, but anyone care to add to that idea?

I wonder if the GUI can be more or less split into simple "slop space" and "closets" for all things, apps, docs, etc. A studio metaphor. I suppose it's too un-tidy for the computer to handle -- probably too complex to handle for the metaphor's own sake.

Or perhaps a building metaphor? Core, skin, fit-out. Walls, and floors all under one roof? Eh, methinks I'm being a bit too literary with this.

What was the Amiga workbench like?
post #23 of 41
Having used 10.1 since the weekend it was released , I can honestly say I think Apple has done a pretty good job of making this OS truly usable since the initial release. I didn't use X before 10.1, though I had chances to tinker around with it on other people's computers. The reason was pretty simple - it lacked polish. The interface wasn't flexible enough, there weren't that many good shareware widgets out there to address said problem, and the OS itself was pokey on all but the fastest Macs.

I think those issues were all resolved within a month of 10.1's release. The release itself provided the added stability and speed increases, as well as some minor additions in terms of workspace flexibility. Then came all the great shareware tools (something we didn't get much of with the legacy Mac OS until it was very mature (old)). TinkerTool allowed me to place the dock where I needed it and customize the way in which certain applications displayed fonts. Windowshade X does the obvious...brings back the ability to assign various window-reducing behaviors (including our long-lost favorite) to any window's title bar or minimize button. And there's even a Teminal script out there that allows you to remove the Dock's background texture and / or make it more transparent.

In short, interface-wise I now find OS X to be just as comfortable a working space as I found OS 9 to be, and more so in certain respects. I never thought I'd learn to like the Column Viewer for example, but now I use it all the time and not because I'm forced to but because I like it. My only gripe is that Finder windows still don't remember all of their size parameters correctly (mostly as related to column widths). That and it doesn't allow you to sort by type within a column (or even all columns by default). But these are relatively minor things in my mind.

Obviously improvements need to be made still. The afore-mentioned (and often requested) Spring-loaded folders will be a *very* welcome addition to the Finder. Some method of visually labeling folders would be nice too as having more than a couple in the Dock at once makes for an obvious problem design-wise / visually. I also think a more radical approach could be taken with the Dock. Perhaps the ability to have it use two sides of the screen rather than one...I could put all my app icons along the bottom left of the screen and all my folders and documents along the bottom right for example. Or even allow (upon preference selection) the folders and documents to "slide" across the bottom left corner so that the Dock forms and "L" This would mostly be useful for freeing up space for Adobe-style Toolbars. Naturally such ideas have their drawbacks too (I'm just thinking up examples of how it could be more flexible) but such changes could work for some people - people with 20+" screens for example. Or multiple screens (even better if we could "split" the Dock)!

As for the Control Strip and Apple Menu everyone used to bitch about, I don't miss them one bit (and I used the Apple menu all the time for launching apps and accessing extensions (what are those?? ). I do miss the basic "Find File" application and its simplicity. Sherlock sucks, plain and simple. The indexing features are terribly inflexible and drag-ass slow, and as far as web searches, I'd rather use Google. I find what I need 90% of the time (on the first try) anyway.

As far as Services, I honestly haven't found much use for them. I don't know if this is simply a matter of old habits dying hard, or if perhaps they are superfluous. Can someone explain to me why I'd rather use Services to send and email or open a screenshot vs. the tools that were meant to perform those tasks? I think I'm missing something because to me it just seems like an equally time-consuming way to do things I already do - just using a different procedure.

All in all, I think OS X has matured into a much more usable product. It still has to be polished in some areas and perhaps re-evaluated in others (file systems and such) but overall I think Apple has given us and our developers something very good to work with. For me, Office X is responsive, stable (so far) and has some nice additions...especially where graphing and image display are concerned. And, though I haven't used it much yet Illustrator 10 also has some nice additions which previously would've been difficult to implement under OS 9.

I think we've come a long way since March, and that we're still moving at a good clip towards something even more elegant and user-friendly and useful (given recent leaked builds of 10.2, Photoshop 7 and others). I for one see a lot of promise and commend Apple for putting a lot of effort into making this system work better and better with each update (minor or major). They still have some serious work to do but the point is their work is showing. We're not just left hanging the way we were with the 500Mhz fiasco (though that was more MOT than Apple, even though they put themselves in position to be harmed by MOT).

In short, I'm a couple Adobe releases away from not even giving OS 9 a second thought. Did I mention I've not had one kernel panic or forced restart since installing 10.1? Definitely don't miss that....

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post #24 of 41
[quote]Originally posted by applenut:
<strong>all I want is for Apple to take chances and make inroads in UI design. they haven't. they put a gumdrop them on platinum and stuck a huge icon dock at the bottom of the screen.
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Let me join BuonRotto in reminding everyone of the incredible outrage that met such relatively small things as the removal of the Apple menu and the menubar clock. There are still folks claiming they can't be productive in OS X without spring loaded folders; hell, there are people claiming they can't be productive without an Application Menu and a Control Strip (IOW, without absolutely everything they were used to in OS 9). Severing all ties with the old Mac Desktop metaphor would have left the platform stillborn: everyone (exept a few forward-thinkers like you and Raskin) would've hated it, would've refused outright to have anything to do with it. Apple would then have had to embark on a long and costly backpedaling process ... provided they survived long enough to complete it.

What I've heard leads me to think that Apple's UI designers are very much open to introducing new metaphors into the personal computing experience. The MacNN thread Syn alluded to had some very interesting and intriguing glimpses into what Apple might do five or so years down the road. It simply isn't the time yet. They need to get their hardware situation in order, getting their desktops competitive with PCs again; they need to migrate a large user base as quickly as possible, in the process asking developers to unlearn years of knowledge in order to embrace a better way of doing things. They need to combine new, stronger hardware with a polished, industrial strength OS to refresh their current market share and to expand into new areas. Once that groundwork has been laid, it will be time to begin to move everyone into the next phase.

That said, I don't think there's a great deal left to be done with the GUI, not as long as we're still using alphanumeric keyboards and mice. The "innovations" MS is planning to bring into Windows are basically aimed at turning the desktop into a web portal, in which the distinction between local, user-stored content/apps and central, MS-stored content/apps will be (deliberately) obfuscated. Innovative maybe, but decidedly not where I want to go today (or tomorrow).
post #25 of 41
[quote]Originally posted by Nonsuch:
<strong>That said, I don't think there's a great deal left to be done with the GUI, not as long as we're still using alphanumeric keyboards and mice. The "innovations" MS is planning to bring into Windows are basically aimed at turning the desktop into a web portal, in which the distinction between local, user-stored content/apps and central, MS-stored content/apps will be (deliberately) obfuscated. Innovative maybe, but decidedly not where I want to go today (or tomorrow).</strong><hr></blockquote>

Specifically, the last morsel of Blackcomb I saw was primarily a web-site layout (sidebar especially -- no problem with that per se) that was driven by a sort of hunt-and-peck approach to computer intelligence: there were a bunch of buttons which spawned other areas of buttons to narrow down what it thought you wanted to do. It was essentially all wizard-driven. Very poor design from the standpoint of user control.

In our cousin thread on features wanted in 10.2, someone pointed out how the BeOS Tracker worked with metadata. In the future, I'd like to see perhaps this idea mirrored or flipped such that we have a handful of specific "trackers" or Finders for certain kinds of data, with a general find/search tools being what our current Finder evolves into (i.e., integrate Sherlock among other things). The idea here is that Apple provides solutions for things like music like what iTunes is now, plus pictures, movies (Hm, maybe QT 6 with a search/browse function linked to your Movies folder in the filesystem), etc. However, the idea would be that any app worth its salt could do this. So Photoshop 8 could manage your pictures folder and such. And other apps (3D apps, web editors, whatever) would manage their own data. All would have to be linked 4 ways: 1. the generic "Finder" app, 2. drag-n-drop, 3.cut and paste and 4. Services/scipting (which is also something I think should be tied together).
Good idea? Bad idea?
post #26 of 41
I agree completely that Microsoft's idea of "GUI innovation" is more laziness / greedy than anything else. The whole active desktop concept is a joke...the worst sort of marketing gimmick. And I'm sure whatever additions they've got planned for it are equally pathetic. They basically want to make the web your interface for everything (because it frees them up from actually having to design anything), and then naturally, they want to control the web and all the information that flows through it.

They aren't designing their interfaces to make computing easier, they're making interfaces that help to collect their users' information easier. OS X trounces any version of Windows that I've seen, in so far as GUI ingenuity. More stable than any Windows OS I've used too - by far.

Per usual, Micro-shaftware is about as elegant as a sewer rat on crack, with the obvious exception of Office X which as far as I'm concerned is the only thing MS does right. Mac BU is a company unto itself IMO. Not to hijack the thread or anything. Just displaying the "AI Spirit"

[ 12-27-2001: Message edited by: Moogs ]</p>
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post #27 of 41
Thread Starter 
This is exactly what rm-rf /etc alluded to a while ago in the threads I pointed out at the Macnn forums... However, it seems to me there are only a handful of us interested in such features, the threads gathering the most posts on Macnn are threads discussing the importance of being able to interact with the background of icons...

I think the problem here is not Apple, it's the mac user base... They just don't seem to care about such features. They're prepared to petition to have the control-strip back, but most of them don't grasp the importance of such features...

And this is why Apple has got geniuses working around the clock, and why we are just end users. Apple should simply decide that the time has come for us to discover something new. But the "conservatives" quite probably wouldn't allow that... sigh...
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post #28 of 41
[quote]Originally posted by SYN:
<strong>This is exactly what rm-rf /etc alluded to a while ago in the threads I pointed out at the Macnn forums... However, it seems to me there are only a handful of us interested in such features, the threads gathering the most posts on Macnn are threads discussing the importance of being able to interact with the background of icons... </strong><hr></blockquote>

I enjoyed ol rm-rf /etc dreamy interface visions too.

Too bad the faucet got cut off. I dont know about everything he said, or how much was true, but the philosophy behind his UI visions was thought-provoking. It makes one wonde just how secretive Apple is about even the philosophy behind their work, let alone the work itself.

Apples UI team definitely has a number of agendas, and not all of them visible.

Anyay, I get the feeling a number of ideas epoused by rm-rf /etc either were or will turn out to be genuine, but have been delayed to be implemented in 10.2 or 10.5.

By the way... anyone else note the Find button in the toolbar in the leaked 10.2 screenshots...? Not Sherlock, but Find?

Interestin.
post #29 of 41
Thread Starter 
By the way... anyone else note the Find button in the toolbar in the leaked 10.2 screenshots...? Not Sherlock, but Find?

hehe, hadn't seen it until now... check this out from rm-rf /etc's great <a href="http://forums.macnn.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=39&t=002568" target="_blank">thread</a>:

[quote]Apple's Sherlock will return in a much more powerful form... There is now a background Sherlock demon which indexes every document upon saving! File find has been decoupled from Sherlock! Search field is back and it is much like the field in Mail.app and iTunes, it starts to display results even before you've finished typing the key words, quite stunning. Indexed 7200 files in home directory &lt; 2 minutes, although I'm not sure if these were partially indexed and the index was only updated... Instant matches to your documents in the finder window! Rudimentary support of grep syntax in search field...

Sherlock.app now features an interface more in tune with OS X. Gone are the icon wells replaced by a sleeker toolbar! Far more sites, the Reference section now supports Encyclopaedia Brittanica and OED (Brit NeXTers should be happy...). Much faster app launch time, and more responsive UI. Shopping features are beefed up also..<hr></blockquote>

could this be it?

[ 12-28-2001: Message edited by: SYN ]</p>
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post #30 of 41
Couldn't there be a way for Apple to implement some of the great little UNIX toys we've inherited into the OS's functionality? I mean, I always use "find ~ -name "nameoffilehere"" from the terminal when I'm looking for a particular file. It's faster and it just works. There are a ton of other options that can be added too. This is a tool that's already there, but needs a GUI front-end. I'm sure that's what their doing with the "find file" option. But what about the other things? There are hundreds of things under the surface that are never going to be used by 95% of the user base if they are not brought to the forefront. Just bringing these features out would be a major step forward.
post #31 of 41
Isn't "grep" a unix-y kind of Sherlock at least as far as the indexing goes?

And dammit, I just tossed those screenshots of 10.2, but I'll take your word for it.

Nice to have a Finder that can find things! Moving Sherlock more exclusively towards 'net searches and shopping is fine by me. I understand the desire at one time to blur the boundaries of the internet and the local machine, but it was, after all, not much of an internet search as much as a web search. The other kinds of internet searches are taken care of from apps like the Address Book, iTunes, the Finder (for network drives at least -- let's hear for the Network Browser), etc.

Hint to Omnigroup: perhaps a toolbar item to open Sherlock or do a quick search with it in the future? For that matter, how about Apple adding a few quick Sherlock searches to Services. Of course, scripting already can do this, and if services were combined with scripting, it would already be taken care of.
post #32 of 41
Thread Starter 
I can see it already, when you press the "find" button in the toolbar:



the window transforms itself in a blank window, changes dimensions, and displays the results of your search real-time... You're even able to save your search, but the contents aren't saved, only the query is... ie if you looked for all .movs over 20MBs in size, everytime you opened the query, the results will be up to date...

Oops, that's the BeOS...

Seriously though, this is quite possible already with the built-in UNIX locate (check the app Xlocate on versiontracker), all you need is to make the database update itself everytime a file is saved, and hack a few features around it...

[ 12-28-2001: Message edited by: SYN ]</p>
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post #33 of 41
Of course, we're assuming a lot considering there already is a "Find" button on the finder toolbar; it opens Sherlock of course.

I eventually found this thread's sister on MacNN, and mentioned that a kind of traditional Finder that simply displays the filesystem in some graphic form would still be useful to many, like how a terminal/console app is useful to many today. It wouldn't be there for everyone, but the power users.

The trick is with the idea of multiple Finders/browsers/trackers is to limit their number, plus the decision to either integrate them into their target applications like iTune's browsing feature is up to debate. Photoshop has a file browser now, would other third-party apps that replace or improve on the basic Apple ones provide their own kind of browser, or would there be a plug-in for those apps to use the built-in browser, an API to create a browser (there sort of is one now), or would it be a separate app? It comes down to what Apple and developers can agree on.
post #34 of 41
I guess the spirit left because rumors only really circulate around unreleased products. And though we're all eagerly awaiting each new update to OS X, the meat and bones are all there, and it's the little tweaks and subtle advances that are of interest now - details which can't really be substantially backed up as being possible because there aren't teasers offered in developers notes, at conferences, or in the general buzz that surrounds an imminent launch.

I don't know about everyone else, but I'm still pestering Apple fairly regularly via the OS X feedback form, looking for little tweaks - I desperately want an option of color banding in list and column views, as in iTunes. It makes life so much easier when you're going through folders and folders of FCP material.

I agree that Sherlock needs a major overhaul. The reason I don't really use it because it's hidden away as an application. I prefer Google for internet searches (and have a search shortcut in OmniWeb), and always have a terminal open for finding stuff. I think Apple would be advised to find a way to integrate the various parts of Sherlock into the Finder.

Oh, and one of my favorite shareware apps right now is LaunchBar, which makes finding files so much easier!
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post #35 of 41
[quote]Originally posted by Belle:
<strong>And though we're all eagerly awaiting each new update to OS X, the meat and bones are all there, and it's the little tweaks and subtle advances that are of interest now</strong><hr></blockquote>

We sometimes try to make threads about these little tweaks we'd like to see, but they get side-tracked and we talk about XP vs. OS X or NeXT vs. Apple and such.

I kept a laundry list of this stuff that now I can't find. Maybe we could try with a thread just with bullet points, no explanations or editorials.

PS: Launch Bar is sweet stuff. The other shareware I use is DropIcon for converting all my old pictures' icons into the 128 x 128 ones. Makes cataloging and browsing much easier.
post #36 of 41
Thread Starter 
yeah, it's the little things...

For instance, I'd love to see a simple graphical representation of how full a disk is. This is available with the BeOS' OpenTracker:



I could think up a hundred little things that'd make every day usage of the OS more pleasurable... However Apple probably wouldn't incoporate them... Maybe it's time for an Open-Finder, what has Apple got to lose?

edit: Belle glad to see you here!

[ 12-30-2001: Message edited by: SYN ]</p>
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post #37 of 41
[quote]Maybe it's time for an Open-Finder, what has Apple got to lose?<hr></blockquote>

I would readily support opening everything behind the interface, but I feel that if Apple open sourced the whole thing, the Finder interface could get nasty very quickly.

If the Finder were to be opened in some capacity, Apple would either have to keep the Finder interface closed or, preferably, manage public input in a tightly-controlled fashion. I would love to see more of the innovations and refinements that come from the Mac community work their way into Apple products; just not at the whim of software engineers.
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post #38 of 41
People can always make replacement Finders. Take <a href="http://www.cocoatech.com/" target="_blank">Snax</a> for example.

[ 12-30-2001: Message edited by: BuonRotto ]</p>
post #39 of 41
Thread Starter 
True, but it's only an app, and the level of intergation woth the system is not nearly as high as that of the Finder.

I think that if an Open-Finder effort is properly organized, along with the lines of the Open-Tracker, ie only one codebase, it could work out to be pretty interesting. Apple could incorporate whatever they wished in their regular codebase, and geeks could use the full-blown Open-Finder. If one looks at the state of the Tracker for an example, it has lost almost nothing since the source was opened. Localisation was done by hobbyistst, and many features, such as the above live icon, have been added...

An Open-Finder is but a dream, unfortunately
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post #40 of 41
One thing that I haven't heard much talk about is the Speech capabilities in OS X. I think that Apple should focus on that a little more.

Just imagine a computer that, when you turned it on for the first time, greeted you with a voice and allowed you to speak responses into it? That would surely make a good impression upon the user.

What Apple should do is work closely with IBM and license ViaVoice, or a subset thereof, and implement it into the OS. It would be really nice if i could use the correction features in, say, Microsoft Word without having to do anything except to install Word onto the computer if it wasn't there. The system should also fully support voice navigation to the point where a keyboard and mouse would be unnecessary for normal usage.
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