Tag Archives: GUI

Apple and Ive Flat Design Assault

via Former Apple Design Gurus Criticize Apple’s Current Designs.

via “Flat Design”? Destroying Apple’s Legacy… or Saving It.

Apple-hockey-puck-mouse

Wake up, Tim! Many years ago, Apple used a great deal of research and creative thought to revolutionize, popularize, and consumerize “Personal Computing” by creating interface rules and guidelines that made most Macintosh applications work consistently, regardless if the application was written by Apple, Microsoft, or one of the hundreds of other software companies that have passed into obscurity at the hands of change and monopoly. (Remember WordPerfect? pfs:Write? ThinkTank? Aldus Pagemaker?) It wasn’t always that way.

The power of this innovation is lost today because—like so much of technology—it is taken for granted. Apple designers, most notably Jonathan Ive, have placed form far above function. The result is inconsistency in the interface, hidden interface elements, huge assumptions about users knowledge, or perseverance, or desire to explore, and the capacity of users to remember invisible elements and features.

If you struggle figuring out how to do something on your iPhone or iPad or Mac, especially something that ought to be simple and obvious, then you’ve encountered the new design philosophy. Learn more about how it ought to be – read the articles linked at the top of this article. And, heck, you could tell Apple what you think! (Maybe they’ll hear you.)

http://www.apple.com/feedback/

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Dealing with Bad GUI: Conversation View in Outlook 2013

In Outlook 2013 for Windows, in your Inbox > View by Conversation mail list, conversations are indicated by the little triangle, sometimes referred to as a “twisty”. The target area where you must click to display the conversation is about 10 pixels to the right of the "twisty" triangle. If you don’t know this, you have probably tried clicking ON the twisty—as you would expect from your experience on other programs and platforms. But that doesn’t work in MicrosoftLand. Keep trying, once in awhile you might get it to open, suggesting that the target is a single dot somewhere inside the twisty, but please, stop wasting your time!

Tip: Only click within the range suggested by the red box (below), starting about 10 pixels to the right of the twisty, and vertically in the row of the message. (Clicking on the triangle doesn’t work!)

Evernote helps you remember everything and get organized effortlessly. Download Evernote.

A Mac Tip for You

Are you spending way too much time trying to get something done? I’m talking about on your computer. If you don’t have the right tool—or you don’t know how to use it—you’re going to waste time. Time is your life. Don’t waste your life! I’ll focus more on that, next time, but for now, how about a hot Mac tip?

Keeping the “Desktop” on your computer clean and organized can be a challenge. Even for the most disciplined and organized of users, it’s still like the kitchen in your home. It accumulates stuff. Kitchen: Mail you don’t know what to do with, groceries you haven’t put away, dirty dishes. Computer: Files, folders, apps, stuff you haven’t decided if you want to keep or not.

I’m not going to tell you how to clear your whole Desktop, but I will tell you about one awesome, simple feature built into the Mac OS that every Mac user should know about. (Windows users, I can’t help you.) And this feature is so easy, so obvious, and so useful, to me it is a metaphor for the whole Macintosh experience. Check it out.

You’ve got files and folders all over your Desktop. It’s a mess. So sort it.

  1. Click on your Desktop
  2. In the Finder select View > Sort By > Name
  3. Everything on your Desktop is now sorted by Name. Not what you wanted? You’ve got other choices, try one of those, including: by Kind and by Tags.

2_Finder Sort by Name

Does that help? Now you’ve got a lot of organized junk on your Desktop. And that’s not my favorite tip. Go ahead and think about some of those files. Maybe you want to put all the photographs into one folder? Maybe you just want to put most of that stuff into a folder called “Organize Later” and get it out of sight. Either way, follow along…

  1. Select the files that you want to put in a folder. This is basic Mac stuff, you know how to:
    1. [Command]+[Click] to make multiple selections
    2. Use the mouse to drag a selection triangle over a group of files
    3. Or use [Command]+[A] to select All—everything on the Desktop—(but de-select any drive volumes, or this tip won’t work)
  2. Once you’ve made the selection, [Right]+[Click] with a mouse, or two-finger click with a trackpad…
  3. You should see a pop-up menu, with “New Folder with Selection (xx items)” at the top.
  4. Select that menu and, Walla! Watch everything you selected jump into a newly created folder on your Desktop called “New Folder with Items”. Without lifting your fingers from the keyboard, type a folder name and press [Return].
  5. Done!

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These are explicit instructions, but seriously, this is as simple as: Select files, [Right]+[Click], select menu, Name the folder. Oh! Did you make a mistake? Didn’t want that name? Didn’t want all those files in that folder? No big deal, in the Finder Edit menu, right at the top, you can UNDO.

To me, this is an elegant, mind-bogglingly simple function that does so much, and says so much about the Macintosh OS: Choice, flexibility, ease of use, speed, and downright utility! Not everything on a Mac makes this much sense, but if you explore, you’ll find there are many, many features like this to help simplify and automate your work. Because really, shouldn’t the computer be working for you?

Windows 10? Whither Nine?

What’s in a name?  Windows 10

Ironically and coincidentally—TechWite wrote only yesterday about “What’s in a name?” in relation to our favorite OS,  “TEN”, currently known as “Mavericks” and soon to be called, “Yosemite”.

Hey, Microsoft just announced they’re opening a “Microsoft Store” in Manhattan, about two blocks from—you guessed it—the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue. So now, instead of walking by the empty Microsoft Store with the bored Windows Geniuses at the Bridgewater Commons Mall, you can walk past the empty Microsoft Store with the bored Windows Geniuses on Fifth Avenue. This is just part of Microsoft’s long history of imitation. And they’ve done pretty well with it.

Today the TechWite Twitter feed is inundated, maybe obliterated, with short blather about Microsoft’s BIG preview and announcement of the next version of Windows, known as “10”. Does this sound weirdly familiar?

Microsoft decided to restore the “Start” menu, and “Search”, from the Start menu. They’ve decided that desktop users might prefer an interface that lets them use their keyboard and mice, as they have for the last twenty-five or thirty years, and still get to see those “Live Tiles” so loved by the Twix-snapping Microsoft  Surface (tablet) crowd. And, they’ve even added some nifty features like using multiple Desktops. (I know, Mac people, we’ve had that for years. Just cool it, and let me finish.)

Most of the snarky tweets clogging Twitter are about the version number. You know the current version of Windows is 8, and you know that your Windows computer is at 7, because, seriously, has anyone other than real Windows geeks and BDC Microserfs upgraded to Windows 8?? (The answer I’m looking for here, is “No.”)

Which brings us back to, “Where”, you might ask, “Did ‘NINE’ go?” Hence the blizzard of tweets from the confused twittersphere.

Guys, let’s do a quick review. Everybody knows that a “higher” version number is better than a “lower” version number. Right? So clearly, Microsoft is saying that Windows Ten is going to be WAY better than Windows 8. WAY. What’s the problem people? So they skipped Nine? This is not a big deal!!

Next time: Why you should expect the next iOS release to be number…

CLI

CLI: Command Line InterfaceHow people controlled computers PM (Prior to Mac). THERE WAS NO MOUSE. A “prompt” – that is, a colon, or carat, or some other obscure character from your (physical) keyboard – appeared on the screen. This was equivalent to your dog looking up at you with THAT LOOK. If you knew the commands, you could TYPE one in and probably press [Return] or [Enter], and the computer would DO something. For example, in MS-DOS, if you typed in DIR (which stands for “directory”), you would get a list of FILES, with names like: CONFIG.SYS, AUTOEXEC.BAT, WORD.EXE, and HELPME.TXT. Whoopee. Believe it or not, a lot of people STILL enjoy this kind of interaction with a machine. “Geek Speak Review”, February 5, 2001

Unpredictable Issue #5 

Obvious but Overlooked—Apple, Can I have the Date Please?

If you use an iPhone and want to know what time it is, no worries. Whatever you’re doing, the time sits on the Status bar at the top of every screen. But what if you want to know the date? It’s on my Mac Menu bar, Windows too. With OSX I can choose the format even. Why won’t Apple put the date in the status bar at the top of iOS? (And, yes, folks, I did make that suggestion, more than once, on their web site!)
On my iPhone, if I’m using another app, I have to open the Calendar or go back to the “Home” screen Dock to see the current date on the Calendar icon. You knew the Calendar icon shows the current date, right? Ok, did you know the Clock icon displays the current time? Look closely! It even has a moving second hand!

TIP: Put the Calendar and Clock icons in the Dock, and you can see the date and time from any Home screen.

Now, Apple, what about letting me see the date on my Status Bar??

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Yes, the Clock icon shows the accurate time – including seconds.

Oh Ess Ten – Why does the close button fail? – sometimes..

Oh Ess Ten – Why does the close button fail? – sometimes.

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 4.12.34 PM

Apple people OSX is not perfect. Macs are not perfect.

The Red “close” button fails. (Now, before you jump all over me, I know that on a Mac the red button is supposed to close a window, not an application. Thinking it should quit an application, is baggage that comes from the Windows world, not from the purity of Macdom. Just forget that. I’m talking about the red “close” button failing to close a window.) This usually occurs in Safari, but it happens in other applications as well. If you encounter this behavior often enough, you figure out that if you pick up the window and slide it around on the screen a bit, and then click the red button, it works! While you’re working, trying to close the window, just give it a shake. Do it often enough, and you’ll almost forget you are doing it. On a Mac! This is the kind of silly workaround you find yourself doing on Windows all the time, but on a Mac?? This should never happen at all. It’s some programmer’s idea of a joke. It’s bad system Feng Shui. The small things matter, and this is about as small and as annoying as it can get.

So I tracked it down.

Apple’s site had one or two posts on the topic: The solution is supposed to be: change the “double-click” setting in System Preferences to a faster speed. Obviously. You’d already guessed that, right?

Sure, give it a shot. Go right to System Preferences Accessibility> Mouse and Trackpad> Double-click Speed. Duh! (Why did I imagine it would be on the Trackpad setting??)

Accessibility

I made the change. I’ll try it out. Maybe I’ll even follow up this post with an update. But seriously, this should never happen. This goofy problem should never occur, and it shouldn’t require a treasure hunt in the catacombs of the System Preferences to apply a workaround.

You think that is an annoying ongoing unresolved issue with OSX? What about when I [Shift]+[click]+[click]+[click] in the Finder, to select multiple documents of course, and every 3rd click causes all the documents to open. Seriously.

This is TechWite, and we’ll get to the bottom of it. Eventually.

Thanks for stopping by!!