[By Nic Lindh on Thursday, 06 November 2003]
The school upgraded the computers in the lab where I corrupt young minds to Jaguar this semester, which is great, as I was getting really tired of OS 9 barfing all over itself. It’s also been very interesting, as most of my students fall in the “naive user” category. Nothing wrong with that, technology is not their field, and part of my task is to get them productive on the machines. That being said, it’s always an eye-opener to see how people interact with the machines, and how some things you take for granted are really not self-evident at all.
A few things I’ve noticed where Jaguar falls flat on its face usability-wise are:The open/save dialog boxes are incomprehensible to a surprising amount of my students. They all work off of Zip disks, and Jaguar wants to save everything into the “student” user’s Documents folder. So they must a) click the disclosure button to get a file structure view; and b) slide all the way over to the left to see the Zip disk. This has been alleviated a lot in the Panther open/save dialogs, and I can’t wait for the school to upgrade so I can observe how they work out.In the web design portion of the class, the students end up with a lot of documents on their screens: A few BBEdit Lite documents, a few browser windows, a few Finder windows, and it’s a cacophony. Minimizing and bringing back windows helps, but not enough. So I find myself missing Expose. Can’t wait to see how it flies with this sort of user.The default Dock behavior of exploding–ahem, magnifying–icons demos really well, and looks very cool for about five minutes, and after that it’s a huge pain in the rear end. Sure, it can be turned off, but I doubt most technologically innocent people know how to do that. It would be really nice if the default behavior was to ship with the exploding icons off, so that the three people in the world who like it can turn it on.People who are used to Windows get frustrated when they forget to eject their Zip disks before shutting the computer down. No manual eject button, so you have to boot the machine up to get it to spit the disk out. It would be really nice if there was a setting to make the machine eject removable media when it’s being powered down. Perhaps I’m growing senile, but I want to remember that some long-ago version of the Mac OS did eject media upon shutdown. If so, makes you wonder why they took the option out.These things apart, Jaguar is working out really well in the lab, and having the solidity is an extremely nice change of pace.
Music: Another World (Extended Mix) by DJ Shog
We are entertained by feline drama during quarantine.
It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.
Back once again with the sci-fi and general calamity. Includes The End is Always Near, Eat the Apple, A Memory Called Empire, Gideon the Ninth, Infinite Detail, Permafrost, Fallen, and The October Man.
Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.
Is there reason to upgrade from a 3 to a 5?
Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.
Often injustice lies in what you aren’t doing, not only in what you are doing.
After all these years, Nic still can’t understand the American attitude to healthcare.
The big thieves hang the little ones.
A sci-fi and fantasy heavy installment that includes The Valedictorian of Being Dead, The Mastermind, Broadsword Calling Danny Boy, Tiamat’s Wrath, The Raven Tower, The Liberation, The Light Brigade and Cryptonomicon.
Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
Includes The Incomplete Book of Running, Aching God, The Murderbot Diaries, Lies Sleeping, The Consuming Fire, and Rendezvous with Rama.
Did you know Las Vegas is kind of nutty?
Includes Hollywood Dead, Tales from the Loop, Things from the Flood, The Court of Broken Knives, and Port of Shadows.
To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.
Nic has a retinal tear and has his vision is saved by a laser.
Includes The Storm Before the Storm, White Trash, Calypso, Tell the Machine Goodnight, Prince of Fools, and Provenance.
The Internet tells Nic to install Ubiquiti gear in his house, so he does, and now he has thoughts.
The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism.
—Sir William Osler#