My employer has given me a Mac, a MacBook Pro to be specific. I haven’t updated my blog in a while so I thought I would use this as an opportunity to make a new post and get used to the keyboard. The thing is, I’ve been using a Mac for a while, on a daily basis. Not as long as I’ve used Linux or Windows, but enough so that I can form an opinion – and the conclusion I have come to is that Macs are goofy.
I know some people who read this are already angry and I don’t care. This is my opinion and of course, everyone has different tastes. I’d like to mention that I don’t think I’m a fanboy or a hater – I use the best tool for the job. Windows is best for gaming, Linux is best for web servers, and Mac OS is good for… uh, developing iOS apps. I’ve found that none of these OS’s have any superior advantage over the other, generally speaking.
So what makes Mac OS X goofy? Well I think it’s Apple’s desire to live up to their “Think Different” slogan. Let me explain with a few examples. The first is scrolling. Mac has a default setting called (un)natural scrolling. What this means, is by default, when you scroll your mousewheel down, or use two fingers on a touchpad and move them down, the page or content you are viewing moves down with it. This feels wrong the first time you do it and it continues to feel wrong when you use Windows and Linux as much as you do on Mac. The first thing I do when I get a new Mac is reverse this setting so the scrolling behavior is consistent with the other two operating systems.
Another example and setting that I change immediately – the control and command keys. On Windows and Linux and you press CTRL + C to copy something. On Mac it’s COMMAND + C. Why? Every time I use a Mac for the first time and try to copy something with CTRL, I feel like a goof. I have to think differently (see what I did there) in order to do something as simple as copying and pasting. Luckily Apple must think deep down they’re wrong and they allow you to swap the function of both these keys.
I think the above two issues would be fixed if they were consistent with the other two operating systems. Then again, I’m sure some trendy goofs have gotten used to doing Apple’s way of things, so it could just be a matter of preference.
Window management is something that needs improvement too. Windows has this nailed down pretty much perfectly. On Windows, you know exactly what programs you have open and where those Windows are. On Mac, when you press the red button in the top left, it only closes the window and not the program itself. So now you have a program running in the background eating up memory unnecessarily. On top of that, try finding the window you want for a program you have open. I usually have around 3 Finder windows open when I am working and it’s always difficult to find the one that I need. The only way I can get to the right one is to use Mission Control and attempt to click on the window that I think is the one I want.
Whilst I’m on the subject of Mission Control – what a mess! The arrangement of the windows are never consistent and like I said before, I have to guess which window I am getting when I have multiple windows open for the same program. It might make it a little easier if you could rearrange this screen, but that’s only a small step towards making Mac a little less goofy.
Doing something similar to what Windows does would fix the above issues with windows. When you click on a program’s icon, it could popup a small display, similar to what shows up when you hover over program icon in Windows. This popup would show a preview of the windows open, making it easier to get to what you want.
There are a lot of other little things that I dislike that make using the operating system feel weird, but I won’t go into everything right now. Despite what I have said, OS X isn’t terrible. It’s built on a solid foundation and there are a lot of things that are very easy to use. With some tweaking to a few of the features, I think OS X would feel a lot less silly at times. That and a huge reduction in the price, one of the larger issues that stop me from actually buying my own Mac.