The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Wednesday, 31 December 2003]

Windows and back again

With all the RSS stuff I’ve been thinking about lately, it seemed like a good idea to check out the reader situation on the Windows side of the fence, so for the first time in I don’t know how long, it was time to fire up the Windows box.

Downloaded RSS Bandit and the .NET 1.1 frameworks, exported my subscriptions from NetNewsWire (NNW), imported them in RSS Bandit, and was off to the races. RSS Bandit is a pretty nice feed reader, and if I had to use Windows more often, I wouldn’t have any problems using it. It’s got a lot of nice features I’d like to see in NNW, like canned styles (even though it uses XSLT transformations rather than CSS sheets) and it automatically strips the abomination that is including CSS in RSS feeds.

As it’s been so long since I’ve used Windows, though, what most struck me was the completely different design philosophy from NNW. Even though they do the same thing, which is let you subscripe to RSS feeds and view them in a three-pane interface, everything else is quite different. NNW goes to great lengths to hide as much complexity as possible from the user, instead making the defaults as good as possible, while RSS Bandit takes the opposite approach and makes as much of the plumbing as possible visible and user-editable. They’re both doing the Right Thing–one approach is the Dao of the Mac, the other the Dao of Windows.

This goes a long way to explain why Windows users tend to underestimate the power of the Mac, and why Mac users shy away in horror from the nested-tab monstrosities preference panes tend to become in Windows applications.

Music: “Ren 2” by Photek

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