Originally Posted by groverat
I disagree with the idea that there is “a
way”. You’ve got to account for different types of user. Some will embrace the whole “cloud” style of file management and will happily Spotlight/WDS their way through life, paying little attention to filenames and nested folders. Others (like me), will spend a great deal of time in the file management system organizing things and sorting them for ease-of-access and ease-of-backup.
A winning file management OS will be simple/powerful enough for the anal user and accommodating enough for the casual file manager. Spotlight/WDS is essential. A good file manager is also essential. Unfortunately, the Finder sucks and has since OSX 10.0.
You're reading into what I said. "a better way" simply means improving the system, not one way of doing something. Invariably, "a better way" will mean someone will get left behind, but such is the price of progress. It doesn't mean the system is inflexible though.
Neither file system is terribly helpful for file management. The best solution (in my opinion) for both OSsin a multi-user environment are folders in the root (“Hard Drive:Music” or “C
Actually, I'm talking more radical. Time Machine and Lifestreams are interesting ideas, but they still can't be implemented well yet. Time Machine did Lifestreams one better by making the dimension of time more natural and manageable. I'm imagining more of an infinite canvas with horizontal panning/scrolling as a time axis and the vertical scrolling as the place to put your sutff. Every time a file is touched/saved/moved/changed, they'd appear in the canvas in some way. Kind of a similar thing for your web browser sites, emails sent, IM sessions, etc where everything is recorded. The user is free to organize the files on the canvas anyway they want. They can group in folders, all in one big list, use spatial organization without folders, piling/stacks, spatial organization of piles, whatever. A time machine like UI where time is controlled with buttons could also be used so that both axes of the canvas could be used could be done too. Of course, who knows how someone will solve what time increment to use, how often, how major of an action, etc.
That'll be one aspect of it. I'd like to see a pseudo natural language interface (not necessarily voice, but written on keyboard) for communication with the computer for the purpose of searching, helping with things, and for creating of things (scripting aspect). I'm saying "pseudo" because it'll take a while to do the full natural language interface. With pseudo a vocabulary would have to be learned, kind of like a much much much easier Applescript.
I'm assuming the usual, all computer system entities (file, directories, programs, objects) have gobs of metadata, there'd be shortcut systems, launching things, and such. Music programs, video programs, document programs all could be used to interface the entirety of one's specific type of files.
For app design and navigation, I've already said that file menus should be taken out of the MenuBar. I think the use of [mouse/trackpad] pointer feedback is entirely underutilized. Every UI object should have a pop-up menu or some representation of an action/highlight. I'd like many more window actions to be available (max, min, close, zoom, half-screen, quarter-screen, all four sides/corners can be used for sizing the window). I'd like a "host window frame" type of thing so that I can place say a web browser in one side and a word processor on another side or a presentation view in one and a spreadsheet view in another. I think the use of palettes should just go away.
The Dock’s overwhelming girth is a big problem for widescreen monitors. There’s a low bang:buck ratio as far as its size and utility. At least that’s my experience on my progression of widescreen 15” Apple laptops (from Powerbook G4 to MacBook Pro). I’m never happy with its size and magnification or how applications and their windows treat it. On the other hand, the Windows taskbar just disappears in daily use. (All of this is subjective user testimony and not meant as anything more.)
I just set the Dock to autohide. I also do that for the taskbar too. I also never put applications into the Dock, and just use stacks. In windows, yeah, I have to use the quick launch toolbar because the start menu button is awesomely slow and terrible for navigation. Hit targets are much much bigger with stacks. I just need a recently used documents stack functionality now. Also more fine grained control of stacks too.