Was the transition easy?

Well its great to see so many new faces reading and posting comments to my blog. thanks for checking it out and please tell your friends about it. i'm writing this as much for therapy as for the knowledge of others. I am really enjoying the blog thing. a general question I have been getting is "was the transition easy?" well here we go: the transition for Aqua to Luna, or OS X's to XP's UI is pretty simple for me. i'm not a spring chick when it comes to working on a windows box. I have been breaking Windows (ha ha, now you know were the name came from - but I can usually fix what I broke) for years. For the longest time we had a Windows NT file server for our mostly Mac college newspaper. for 2 years or so I administered NT 3.5 to 4.0 on that box. we also used it as a print server. and man that NT Server had to be babied a lot. we now have an OS X Server running as the file and print server. we have gotten rid of the PCs (which were used in advertising, now they use iMacs). So I am not new to Windows, I am however new to using it on a day to day basis to get my own critical work done. I have also used Windows to great extent the years I worked at the Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology training faculty and staff how to use computers and various software. There are plenty of OS X derived skins available for Windows, and most of them suck. I have tried them, and I think it is just wrong to do that to a Windows box. it is just plain confusing. you start to want Windows to work like OS X, and that's just not gonna happen no matter how hard we all try. lets see here lemme think (brain starting to hurt) of some UI things I like and don't like about Windows
  • when you mouse over the sides or corners of any window in Windows you get double arrows to move the window, not just the move widget in the lower right of the window, although that is there too. This is a very nice Windows feature to be able to move the window in from the right, or down from the top, without having to move the window around to resize the window, or only be able to resize with the resize widget as you do in the Mac OS.
  • although I miss the Dock from OS X, I am not about to install a Windows look-a-like. there is one thing the dock takes up which I do not care for and that is screen realestate. the Windows Task bar is a fine replacement for the functionality of the Dock. As a matter of fact the way I see it the Task Bar is an Apple Menu (Start Menu) a Dock (Quick Launch tray and open window/app tiles) and Menu Bar Icons (Notification Tray) all wrapped up in one. yes folks I like the Task bar a lot. I really like that XP groups like items when it gets a big congested down there.
  • Microsoft's PowerToy "M$ Virtual Desktop Manager" is a very nice implementation of a multi-desktop environment. I like it a lot more than even the ATI Hydrovision that comes with the ATI 9700 Pro. Hydrovision has 9 desktops but it is aimed more towards dual monitor setups. my main beef with Hydrovision is the Task Bar keeps disappearing even when you save changes. try using Windows with the Start Menu and Task Bar, its not fun. there are some multi-desktop environment out for OS X, but none are very polished. I am a huge productivity geek when it comes to getting work done on my computer, and to have multiple desktops is very nice.
  • I am growing very font of the ALT keyboard shortcuts (ALT plus the underlined letter, whatever that term is) although some are ridiculous like ALT+F>W>F in Windows Explorer to get a new folder. I miss the simplicity of Command+Shift+N in the OS X Finder. There is a lot to be said about the simplicity of many of the UI elements and functions of the Mac OS X Finder. Mac OS X 10.2 now has full keyboard navigation akin to the ALT letter keyboard navigation of Windows, but it still is not as nicely done as it is on Windows. On the Mac this feels like a disability feature afterthought (it is in the disability preference pane, and it for disabilities anyway) but it just seems like an afterthought when it has been a feature of Windows for a long time.
  • the New submenu of the right click menu is a very nice thing in Windows. you cant just make a new blank document on the desktop in OS X.
  • the fact that Windows does not save the folder view of every window is annoying. it only saves a handful. the others will reset. I have found out that the folder view preferences are saved in the Registry. In Mac OS X folder views are stored in a file called .DS_Store, this way they are always the way you want them. also Windows Applications do not remember the folder view you have set for that application, nor - in some apps - do they remember the last place you saved a document.
  • I really like Column View in OS X, it is one of the best UI improvements in OS X over OS 9. I miss Column View to root through my HD in Windows. there are some folder views in XP that are really nice. Filmstrip view is very nice - there is nothing like this in OS X, and Tiles view is very informative. New to OS X 10.2 is something similar to Tiles View, but id doesn't have as much info as Tiles. I like that Tiles view tells you what type of file it is as well as other info such as file size. It would be nice in Tiles View to show the number of files in a folder, you can have OS X tell you this information in Icon View.
  • Even though Column View is not in OS X, "tree view" or whatever you call it is not in Mac OS X. XP calls it Folder View, it looks to me like a tree view of the hard drive. it is very useful and I have always liked this feature of Windows. The left pane of all Windows Explorer windows is very handy. all of them are, the folder view, search box and the related commands view.
  • In programs setup like Photoshop were you can minimize all your documents and they stay within Photoshop and within the workspace - that is very nice. Mac apps do not behave this way at all. they are programmed not to, as per the rules setup in the Apple Human Interface Guidelines. I talked about Multiple and Single Document Interfaces in an earlier post.
  • In Windows Explorer if someone could please tell me how to turn on View > Status Bar by default i would be greatful. this is very annoying to have to turn this on all the time, and having that information at the bottom of a window is something that is very handy.
This is all i can think of right now, i might add some later.

Comments (3)

[-gfxvision-]:

yo,

Actually, you CAN get windows to run just like OSX. i have seen it done. i'm not sure which gui progs you're using, but just to let you know, you can change pretty much all of the gui to behave exactly like X (stardock's line is very good at this). It takes a little work, but if you really want to (yeah, i dunno why anyone would want to either) it can be done.

:)

Hey GFX - yea i have the stardock line of stuff. i bought it for one thing actually, seems silly for the $50 price tag, but i bought it for the util that gives spring loaded folders to Windows. well i also bought it for ObjectBar as well, I am putting that to good use. i have installed the OS X skins and i just dont like Windows looking like OS X. that is a personal preference.

there are a couple apps, including ObjectBar that do a dang nice job of emulating the Dock, but ya know what, Windows doesnt need a Dock.

Also it takes a lot of applications to actually emulate the OS X UI, im talking 6 or 7 different stardock components. and i dont care how fast your machine is that is a heafty load on the CPU.

[-gfxvision-]:

true Ken... and OD is a VERY nice package indeed.

As for the Dock, there IS an actual dock, ObjectDock (the full version might be out, but you can also download the beta for free at http://www.stardock.com/products/objectdock/). However, you're right. Windows doesn't need it. Whether on Windows or on OSX, i find the Dock obtrusive and annoying (so do people who exclusivly use macs, i've read). It just gets in the way, and isn't incredibly flexible. The more i use it, the more it seems like a big, fancy, jazzed-up version of the quick-launch bar in windows (which has been around since Win95, i guess).

:L

yes sometimes i set the Dock to autohide in OS X cuz it is obtrusive. it is a shame that every time you kill the Dock process it is relaunched :( heh those guys over at the Register relly hate the Dock with a passion. the start bar has been mainly unchanged since Win95 - not that that is a bad thing tho. - meancode

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