I’m bored waiting to get sleepy enough to crawl into my empty bed in a house that’s too quiet. I went to blo.gs and checking out all the recently updated sites, and stumbled across Daring Fireball. Interesting Mac-related stuff. The guy’s on a crusade against the Mac OS X Finder, and he makes some excellent points. I have noticed some real problems with it in 10.2 that I hadn’t noticed before. It’s fine for “simple” tasks like finding and opening single files. It’s OK for moving single, or a few files between two windows. It breaks down when trying to move large numbers of files from a single directory to another. Recently, I’ve been moving hundreds of pictures around. If you highlight more than twenty (I’m guessing, it’s usually more than fifty that I run into this) and go to the File menu (like to see the combined size of the selected files), if you move the mouse over Open, Finder likes to freeze, crash and bounce itself, making the system very unstable.
The troubles I’ve had recently with the Finder remind me of something I either came up with or heard when I started using Linux. I started a looo-oooong time ago with RedHat 5.2. I didn’t actually use the system for anything… it was too hard. After moving out here, I got a copy of RedHat 6.2 and went to town. I quickly realized though that using the file manager was a pain and I could do things faster in terminal. When typing your commands into terminal is a more efficient and painless way to get things done, there’s something seriously wrong with the application. Terminal should be a last resort, especially in OS X. The thing I love about OS X in general is that it doesn’t create work for you. It lets you think about what you want to do, not the gymnastics you have to do to accomplish it. I spent so many years wrestling with Windows, and all its poor usability and learned work-arounds (that just make you THINK Windows is easier…), that when I started using OS X (with 10.1, 10.0 and 10.0.4 were… unpleasant) it was a revelation. Things just work. Installing Movable Type? Drop it in /Library/WebServer, run chown and chmod (in Terminal, but I can make exceptions, it was MUCH easier than trying to install it in Windows) and voila – DONE. Managing photos? Plug in camera, turn on camera, iPhoto starts up, click import – DONE. And now iTunes has even caught up (they fixed my biggest problem with it, not putting track number at the beginning of the filename) and is extremely easy to use. There are some things missing from OS X, but for the most part (I don’t like some of the keystrokes, and I miss having a backspace and delete key), I can do everything I want with it without worrying about it working.