Friday, September 22, 2006

Learning to Love the Dock

I'm a dual-platform user though I started as a Mac user and still am fond of the Mac over Windows. However, when OS X arrived and started becoming more like Windows, I lost a lot of my fervor for the Mac because the line between which was better started to blur for me.

I know this is a huge point of contention for Mac users and I'm inviting argument by asserting Mac OS X has become more Windows-like but you can't deny that a lot of the changes on the Mac since OS 9 have been geared toward making it more Windows-user-friendly. For example, non-contiguous Mac selection used to be made with the shift key and now it requires the command key just as Windows requires thecontrol key. The Mac also now has the same infuriating shut down confirmation dialog box that Windows has...treating the user as if he or she were such a nitwit lacking in manual dexterity that he or she often selected "shutdown" by accident day-in and day-out.

Anyway, one of the biggest Windows rip-offs that I've disliked has been the dock. That is, I disliked it up until I connected my Mini to the T.V. All of a sudden, the dock looks a lot better than the taskbar.

On the computer screen, you can see everything clearly but, on the T.V. screen, it's pretty blurry, or at least it is on my old T.V. Since the dock can be made larger and provides a launching point for all applications, it makes things easier to see on television.

Additionally, one of the most annoying effects of the dock on a computer screen suddenly became useful on T.V. The bulging magnification effect helps a lot on the T.V. screen because you can follow the cursor's progress across the dock much more easily as well as drag files on top of an application's icon with greater ease.

I'm pretty sure Apple didn't have how the screen looked on television in mind when they designed the dock but I'm rather glad to finally find that the dock can beat the taskbar functionally in some cases.


Roy said...

Hmmm..this post should get a lot of comments from Mac lovers like your brother in law.

I try to remain unbiased when it comes to Mac vs Windows. That discussion can sometimes get as emotional as democrates vs republican.

Shari said...

Heh, heh. I think Luis knows there are some points where OS X could use some polish. I can always placate him by telling him (truthfully), that from now on, we'll likely only be buying Macs.

I don't tend to get too worked up anymore platform arguments though I'll admit I used to. ;-)

タニア said...

I agree with you Shari. I used to like the MacOS a lot thinking it's more superior in many ways especially the graphical icons and all the cool apps that came with it. But I have been a full-time Windows and Solaris based user for the last 10 years and I don't miss the MacOS a bit. The Apple Store and my iPod Video do not excite me and I think iTune still has a lot to improve. I definitely think Apple has lost a lot of its charm, at least for me.

Shari said...

Hi, Tania. Thanks for commenting!

I think that OS is mainly a matter of what you absolutely need and personal choice/experience. After using both the Mac and a PC pretty much full-time over the last 4 years or so, I can say both have definite strengths and weaknesses but many of them aren't the ones most Mac/PC advocates spend a lot of time crowing about.

Leo said...

I thought OS 8.1 was the best they had when it came out and it went downhill with 9.x. While I like OSX and I 'm pretty comfortable using Windows, Mac and the particular Linux distribution I use, you're right that each has their own strengths and weaknesses. That being said, I do miss my PowerBook and OS X.

Shari said...

Hi, Leo. :-)

I actually liked OS 9 but not 9.1 or the initial release. There were a lot of bugs at first and then a lot of problems as a result of assisting it in running under Classic. There was a sweet spot somewhere in the middle (possibly 9.01) and I still run that version on my antique orange iBook (which I still use to run Pagemaker 6.5J).

Laptops are a much more complex issue in the Mac/PC debate, at least for me. I've had 5 Mac laptops and my husband has had 2 Windows ones - a Dell and an Acer. The Dell was a complete piece of crap. The Acer is relatively new and so far is okay. Both have the unfortunate tendency to overheat and just shut off, even when they are on a laptop riser to allow air to circulate and their vents are clear of dust. Mac laptops never did that to me but I haven't bought one with an Intel processor so it could be about the heat produced.

I'm just glad that you can have both on one piece of hardware now so the choice becomes a lot easier for dual-platform users like me. Of course, I'm pretty far away from buying a new machine. ;-)