The problems with OSX

I’ve recently bought a MacBook Pro 13″ for work and because I thought it’d make the music process much easier. Windows and Linux are fun for hacking/games, but sound stuff usually results in spending time on configuration rather than things just working. Anyhow, I’ve had a couple of weeks, and although the Macbook Pro is a nice machine, I have some gripes about the OS:

  • No consistent method for a keyboard shortcut to beginning of line or end of line. Seriously guys, what’s up with that? There are ways to go to start and end of lines, but some apps interpret these actions as start/end of buffer, others ignore them. Even Apple software isn’t consistent with this behaviour. Same goes for page-up and page-down short-cuts.
  • Control and command keys. Given that their names are almost synonyms, the extra key is kind of annoying because it’s often used in place of where Control would be used in any other OS. Difference for the sake of difference does not make you a beautiful and unique snowflake. And yet, Apple goes to all this trouble to simplify and allow the interface to be controlled with one mouse button, or to remove apparently superfluous home/end/pg-up/pg-down keys.
  • No consistent policy for click-through (what is click through? See a anti-click-through person here. As far as I can tell it seems to be about making the computer nanny you, for me… the general lack of click-through (except in rare cases) means I have to click an extra 200 or so times a day. I could get used to that… eventually. But some (Apple) apps don’t follow this policy. So it just ends up as a confusing mess. It’s even less productive than having direct mouse focus.
  • I thought Apple just couldn’t program multi-threaded applications on Windows. iTunes would stall frequently… turns out that’s normal. Clicking the help menu in most app also causes the menu to lock up (And not just the first time… everytime you click it seems to be regenerating an index or something. This leads to clicking elsewhere while waiting and then having to wait AGAIN. Exasperate the user looking for help? Not exactly a smart user relations design!)
  • A money grubbing $50 for a miniplug to DVI adaptor. Another $50 for VGA adaptor because they don’t give you a DVI-I with your DVI adaptor. Also the miniplug doesn’t support audio if you get the DVI to HDMI cable. My 1.5 year old Dell has HDMI out with audio and VGA (the only difference between HDMI to DVI is the plug and HDMI also supporting audio, so a basic HDMI to DVI cable is all that’s needed). For $50 an adaptor, I’d at least expect the adaptor to match the style of the Macbook Pro’s aluminium case, instead of being plastic white thing that clashes.
  • Try to move a file using finder without having to drag things. You can’t, cut and paste commands are disabled. In fact, why even have a cut item under the edit menu? It’s always greyed out as far as I’ve seen, as if to taunt anyone that’s used a decent file browser! Instead it’s “NO, YOU ARBITRARILY CAN’T DO THAT.” Thanks Apple, I love you too.

Maybe my expectations were too high, and maybe I’ll get used to the quirks of Apple software, but I currently miss Ubuntu. If anybody can point me somewhere that solves these issues though, then I’d be most appreciative.

Having said all that… things I like: multi-screen support done right, dock is pretty cool, the Macbook feels nice.


#1   Robert Ancell on 12.03.09 at 2:35 pm

No anti-click-through link…

#2   Joel on 12.03.09 at 2:53 pm

Thanks – have fixed it now.

#3   Trond Nilsen on 12.04.09 at 1:44 pm

My pet hate is the inability to tab through all fields in a form, specifically checkboxes and radio buttons. It seems you’re meant to use the mouse for those.

I _really_ feel your pain on the first point. I was a Mac user (at work) for about 4 months in ’07. I’m not one anymore, and have no desire to go back.

#4   Joel on 12.06.09 at 9:58 am

That’s kind of bad too 🙁

What’s with the OSX obsession of using a mouse for everything?

#5   Will on 12.08.09 at 10:51 am

OSX lets you tab through all fields in a form, including checkboxes and radio buttons.

I don’t believe it’s ever been missing this feature: it’s baked into the UI toolkit.

#6   Rob Hunter on 12.28.09 at 8:23 pm

OS X does indeed support tabbing through all fields in a form, with an option called “Full keyboard access”. I have no idea why this feature is off by default.

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