• Sign in to Neowin Faster!

    Create an account on Neowin to contribute and support the site.

Sign in to follow this  

Mac Mini vs. Comparable Spec PC

Recommended Posts

JK1150    0
If you miss-clicked on the close-window widget for the bottom window in each of the scenarios the Windows machine would happily quit word and lose your document where the mac would only bring word to the foreground.

Edited for clarity.

585637220[/snapback]

actually, this is something i like about windows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BajiRav    2,137
Under any OS (Linux, Windows, or OS X), the file has to be saved somewhere on your computer for it to be used as wallpaper.  Yes, IE does hide this fact from you when you set a picture as your wallpaper, but it saves it to your hard drive somewhere.

585636600[/snapback]

I have used Windows or computers long enough to "know" that :laugh: but IE/Firefox/Opera all use only single file in Windows...every time I change wallpaper it just replace the old one.

For IE I think its in

c:\Documents and Settings\<User>\Application data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Internet Explorer Wallpaper.bmp

It is transparent to me and thats what I like about it,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BajiRav    2,137

The common menubar also creates situation when the menubar may not have anything to do with the visible top window! I think this is better explained by the screenshot where the only window visible is Firefox but menubar belongs to Adium. (actually after taking the screenshot, I exported PDF-->jpg using preview...close preview and then started typing :rofl: only to realize that I still had adium on top. I know the window controls will be grayed out but seriously do you really look for such small hints in the UI when you are simply doing you work ?

Also windows taskbar/start button use the same Fick's law on which Apple menu is based and both have their pros/cons I guess. when using an application say like a Word processor...the apple menubar has larger distance to travel but bigger target to click on (infinite height) whereas the Windows menubar is exactly opposite. so technically speaking none of them follow that law truthfully.

:laugh: In any case one of the biggest example of Fick's law's deficiencies is the start button in Windows. where even with a really big target...people had no idea what to do with it so MS had to put "start" over there...same manner my windows friends fail to notice that the apple on left-top is actually a menu! so.....

Also one of the weirdest thing about OS X is that 2 files of same kind/type "can" open with different applications since you can do that !!...this might be useful to some people but I think most people will find it confusing. I was once surprised to find Mplayer launching when I double clicked a WMV file. Although this usually happens with files coming from outsite my computer.

post-62693-1111216631_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
macssuck    0
Actually it's entirely dependent on the software developer's implementation, for both systems.

For the most part, controls respond to clicks regardless of whether their parent windows have the focus.

Exceptions can be found for both systems:

Which is why I compared the default/common action. Anybody can find examples of bad interface design - what is important is the number of steps that a developer would have to take to create a bad (risky) interface. In Windows it's easier for a user to commit a dangerous action by mis-clicking than it is in Mac OS X because it is more simple for a developer to create such an application.

On the Mac, finder windows don't respond to clicks on their forward/backward buttons.

Toolbar buttons should not respond to click-through events in OS X (by default). You could argue that exceptions should be made for "browser" like functions and I wouldn't complain, but in this case the default of doing nothing is less dangerous than a default of responding.

The default behavior for Windows common controls is to always accept clicks - which is something that I personally prefer. 

That doesn't mean it's not dangerous.

That's quite a contrived situation you have there.  In order for that dialog to appear, the user must first choose to exit the program (either in the menu, alt-F4, or clicking the big X). 

Obviously: I was trying to show the differences.

You would have to somehow trigger the window to close, then switch to the finder/explorer in order to browse the file system to make a folder, backup an older version, etc. Maybe they're distracted by an IM conversation, or they wanted to change songs in their MP3 player. The "yes, destroy my work" button could be the confirmation of any dialog, or a toolbar icon with a dangerous action. The window that you miss-click could be anything too.

When they do, the dialog immediately jumps to the foreground and a sound (or visual alert) is displayed. 

The user has not been obligated to acknowledge that dialog since the early 90s. Just because a program demands your immediate and undivided attention doesn't mean it's going to get it. When a user specifically chooses to ignore such a request (as indicated by their switching windows) the interface should be more cautious in order to prevent a user from accidently triggering an action they may not even be aware is awaiting their confirmation.

If the user ignores the question, and then later clicks on a button that says "No" without reading the dialog...  They're kind of asking for it.

They weren't clicking "no", they were trying to close a filesystem browser window - do do anything but click on the button. Thats what a miss-click would be: an accident.

Mice are far from being perfect input devices, and human beings are far form being perfect machine operators. The operating system should take steps to prevent a user from accidently destroying data. The above is a clear example of a place where OS X is less likely to do something shocking (lose data) than Windows. According to classic interface design principles (specifically the least-suprize doctrine) what Windows does by default is a "Bad Thing?", but that doesn't mean you can't like it better that way.

The common menubar also creates situation when the menubar may not have anything to do with the visible top window!

The menubar (in OS X) is a child of the active application, not the front most Window. There are situations where you will want an application and it's menubar available without having any document windows open.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BajiRav    2,137
The menubar (in OS X) is a child of the active application, not the front most Window.  There are situations where you will want an application and it's menubar available without having any document windows open.

585637449[/snapback]

I am not getting this point...an example would help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
macssuck    0
I am not getting this point...an example would help.

585637465[/snapback]

Some applications do require a menubar but will not require a window to be presented on screen.

A common example is an IM application: windows will pop-up and be closed seemingly at random, the only interface that a user will really need to have constant is a way to quit that application, a way to bring up that windows specific windows (Rendezvous and AIM buddy lists, application preferences) a way to show/hide windows, a way to see the help file, etc. The menubar is all you need to access all this functionality so that's all that is displayed.

Windows has a different series of constructs (as does Linux) so a similar approach would not be appropriate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
shodan    0
One of my biggest sticking points when it comes to the Mac UI is definitely the "active window owns the screen" philosophy.  In my mind, this makes it much harder to work with multiple applications simultaneously. 

For instance, if I'm writing an e-mail in an Outlook/Word window, and I decide to do something like change my away message in Trillian - I can already see the "File" menu in the Trillian window - click on it - and have the option I want.  I can see before I click on anything what menu options Trillian has.

If I were on a Mac, I could see the Trillian window, but I wouldn't know what menu functions it has.  If I want to click on the "File" menu, I have to first click on the application window (or press some other key combination until that window is active) first. 

It may seem like a small difference, but in my mind it adds a huge layer of seperation between applications - which is something that I do not like one bit.

585634584[/snapback]

True, but not right in the end....

The method you describe is just one of the possible, and I could say, the one anybody use.

The simplest thing will be to command-click (or click a little longer) on the trillian icon that's in the dock, a contestual menu will appear, and you can choose from there "Choose Away Message".

You see, maybe all your complaining about OSX interface are because you've never tried it as long as you need to manage it... that's is not a fault of course, but simply a fact.

Cheers, :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BajiRav    2,137
Some applications do require a menubar but will not require a window to be presented on screen.

A common example is an IM application: windows will pop-up and be closed seemingly at random, the only interface that a user will really need to have constant is a way to quit that application, a way to bring up that windows specific windows (Rendezvous and AIM buddy lists, application preferences) a way to show/hide windows, a way to see the help file, etc. The menubar is all you need to access all this functionality so that's all that is displayed.

Windows has a different series of constructs (as does Linux) so a similar approach would not be appropriate.

585637542[/snapback]

but in such a case a menubar attached to main window is better or as described below...a menu appearing from dock icon. Also such is a case with all applications like preview, itunes, firefox/safari etc etc.

True, but not right in the end....

The method you describe is just one of the possible, and I could say, the one anybody use.

The simplest thing will be to command-click (or click a little longer) on the trillian icon that's in the dock, a contestual menu will appear, and you can choose from there "Choose Away Message".

You see, maybe all your complaining about OSX interface are because you've never tried it as long as you need to manage it... that's is not a fault of course, but simply a fact.

Cheers, :)

585637594[/snapback]

guess you mean Ctrl+click or right click. I agree that I've not used OS X long enough only 3/4 months sicne I've been a regular. But one thing I know for sure now is that nobody's better, OS X has its share of problems same as windows....only windows has few more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Menge    33

guys! the "accepting focus switching click as a valid command click" in OS X is totally a developer decision you know? i read thta in the Apple GUI Guidelines a while ago. though apple recommends devs not to accept them as actual commands for toolbar buttons.

i dont know in windows, however.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
macssuck    0
but in such a case a menubar attached to main window is better or as described below...a menu appearing from dock icon. Also such is a case with all applications like preview, itunes, firefox/safari etc etc.

There are two reasons for this:

  • Potential additional items include [in addition to hide, quit, show all]:
  • Common commands to initiate actions in your application when it is not frontmost
  • Commands that are applicable when there is no open document window
  • Status and informational text

Dock menus are designed to supplement the main menu bar, not replace it.

  • The menu bar reflects the principles of perceived stability and aesthetic integrity. It provides a stable location where people can look for commands. Each application, including the Finder, has its own menu bar consisting of a few standard menus, application-specific menus, and menu extras. The menu bar:
  • Is always visible and available, except in circumstances such as a slideshow (see discussion below)
  • Always has the Apple menu (provided by the operating system); the application menu, containing items that apply to the active application as a whole; and a Window menu
  • Can also contain File, Edit, and Help menus, as well as application-specific menus

The HIG explains why and how menus are are supposed to work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Heyo    0
See, you're simply stating how you prefer the methods employed by Windows, which is fair enough - you don't really know Mac OS X too well.

So you're wrong in thinking that once a program is running, ALL that the dock has to represent that, is the Application icon in the dock, and also the triangle that naturally represents an Application that is running.

If you choose to minimize Windows to the dock, they fall to right hand side of the dock (there's a clear divider).

585633999[/snapback]

Sorry for not responding for a while guys.. work committments.

Steve I assume you were referring to me with this post.

Can I just summarise.

I am not saying I necessarily prefer the methods employed by Windows. I've said over and over I am just stating what I find irritating with my brief exposure to OS X as a new user.

I find the Dock's behaviour of arrows and adding new icons dependent on whether the application is already in the Dock or not exceedingly inconsistent and confusing, but this goes without saying really.

I find the arrow is anything but a natural representation of a running program. Even in your screen shots, arrows are also confusingly used by the interface to represent slide out menus, so I guess in OS X an arrow will vary in meaning based upon its' orientation and position in the interface. Sorry, but I think they could have done alot better than that.

I did find the arrows are hard to see. The OS X dock scales dependent on the number of icons present. I was viewing a "fresh" OS install. The large icons, relative to the arrows (as I've mentioned over and over) were very distracting for me.

There isn't a clear divider on on the Dock in my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Heyo    0
I guess you can argue what optimum size is, but it will always scale to show all the text. For instance, Preview defaults to opening PDF documents to fit one page at a time on your screen (the way it should be). If you zoom in, and resize, it will adjust the horizontal size to fit all the text on the screen.

585633968[/snapback]

Na, to me this is totally a naff way of doing things.

An application should be able to remember how I want to see things whether it be one page, two pages or three pages side by side.

The OS should be able to remember the size of my windows... how I like them.

That's how I like to work. Of course.. my opinion only.

Can I ask another question about the interface that I found confusing? The "Finder" window (at least that is what I think it is called) had a strange button in the top right from memory that actually changed the appearance of the window signifantly- not just a resize. My friend told me it was to switch the view back to an older version of the Finder interface. Was that correct?

It will always have an arrow. What he said was, if you launch a program that you don't have as a shortcut on the dock, the icon (with an arrow) gets added to the dock. You can then by right clicking on the icon add it permanently to your dock if you wish, or when you quit the program, it will disappear.

585633968[/snapback]

Yes, I almost get it now. Between that, the added document icons, "minimised" icons, hidden windows, simulated right-clicking by holding down the brain-dead single button mouse to get my pop up menus, then it's no wonder I was confused with the Dock's behaviour. LOL

F9 F10 and F11, or it's under System Properties, you can set it up to activate through Hot Corners. In fact, if you friend you mentioned before couldn't figure out how to use Expose after that, he probably couldn't change his wallpaper either  :happy:

585633968[/snapback]

Yes, I hit all those buttons. This was with a very new version of the OS btw, so not sure what went wrong. I was very excited about trying out Expose, so you can imagine my frustration as I banged away at those keys on the keyboard expecting magic to happen only to be left dissapointed! LOL

Oh, and my friend did figure out how to sell the Mini on EBay, so changing the wallpaper isn't an issue for him now. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Heyo    0
Thanks for that last comment.  You will find that most of the Mac users here really do try to help others.  It's only when we are confronted by obvious trolls that we get hostile. :cool:

585634543[/snapback]

Cheers. :)

Just wanting to make sure I don't come off as being overly negative. As you guys are explaining some of the features of OS X I'm sort of going "Ahhhhhhh, ok I get it now. That's cool." to myself and not necessarily responding back in agreement or anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Southern Patriot    962
Also windows taskbar/start button use the same Fick's law on which Apple menu is based and both have their pros/cons I guess.

585637353[/snapback]

Not exactly. In Windows, there is a buffer zone between the taskbar buttons and the bottom of the screen, and there is a buffer zone between the top of the screen and the menu items, even if a window is maximized. Those are major violations, since the taskbar buttons and menu items don't have "infinite height" as they do in OS X. You can put your mouse pointer all the way at the top edge of the screen and still select a menu item in OS X, and you can put your mouse pointer all the way at the bottom edge and still select a Dock icon. You can't do this in Windows.

edit: Oh, and by the way, it's "Fitt's Law", not "Fick's".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Southern Patriot    962

Can I ask another question about the interface that I found confusing? The "Finder" window (at least that is what I think it is called) had a strange button in the top right from memory that actually changed the appearance of the window signifantly- not just a resize. My friend told me it was to switch the view back to an older version of the Finder interface. Was that correct?

585647518[/snapback]

Sort of correct. That button can be used in other applications as well (it is used in the original OS X BitTorrent client, and several other programs that I use). What it really does is show/hide toolbars. Since the Finder window you were looking at (obviously on 10.3) has toolbars (and the sidebar) by default, clicking that button does have the effect you described of changing the appearance of the window (no longer "brushed metal").

As for why Expose' wasn't working correctly on your friend's system, it could have been a number of things, the most likely would be that someone had changed the button settings in System Preferences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Heyo    0
Sort of correct.  That button can be used in other applications as well (it is used in the original OS X BitTorrent client, and several other programs that I use).  What it really does is show/hide toolbars.

585653276[/snapback]

Sorry about the slow reply again. Full-on time at work lately.

That button is another thing I found really, really confusing as a new user. It was like I could see the window changing, but I couldn't easily identify what it had changed or why. Perhaps if I hadn't been in Finder I wouldn't have been as confused, but I just placed it in the same bucket as my percieved deficiencies of the rest of the interface.

I'm off anyway now. I've finally gotten the refund on my non-arrived Mini some 2 months after ordering it... and as one final insult, sales drone #4 I've had to deal with couldn't seem to distinguish between the seperate concepts of "refund" Vs "charge" and decided to hit me for the price of the Mini again rather than refunding me!

I'm not sure I'll be back to try again soon given my attempts at buying a Mac has turned out to be one of the most horrid retail encounters of my life. I'm sure you understand...

Cheers anyway and thanks for answering all my questions. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5Horizons    1
In Windows, there is a buffer zone between the taskbar buttons and the bottom of the screen

585653233[/snapback]

No there isn't. The taskbar buttons do have infinite height, and so does start button and quicklaunch. When it comes to Fitt's law, the taskbar is a great example - that's why it's so quick and efficient for task switching. Even with Expose, I can still switch tasks much faster on Windows than on my Mac because all I have to do is "throw" the mouse pointer at the task I want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Southern Patriot    962
No there isn't.  The taskbar buttons do have infinite height, and so does start button and quicklaunch.  When it comes to Fitt's law, the taskbar is a great example - that's why it's so quick and efficient for task switching.  Even with Expose, I can still switch tasks much faster on Windows than on my Mac because all I have to do is "throw" the mouse pointer at the task I want.

585702341[/snapback]

OK, the last time I checked, there was a buffer zone. I guess that is something they fixed with XP (I use Windows 2000 more often than XP). Most things I have read previously about Fitt's law had mentioned that as one of Windows' deficiencies. I hadn't really noticed that this had finally been fixed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
topher1078    0
No there isn't.  The taskbar buttons do have infinite height, and so does start button and quicklaunch.  When it comes to Fitt's law, the taskbar is a great example - that's why it's so quick and efficient for task switching.  Even with Expose, I can still switch tasks much faster on Windows than on my Mac because all I have to do is "throw" the mouse pointer at the task I want.

585702341[/snapback]

That's interesting, because I've found the exact opposite to be true. I only switched to a Mac three weeks ago and have found Expose to be a much better method of switch programs. I have the hot corners set, so I just throw my mouse in a corner and expose is activated. The difference is that my eyes never have to search the bottom of the screen for the correct program and don't move from where I'm already looking - in the time Expose is activated I find the correct program and immidiately switch to it. With more programs that becomes more difficult, but the same is true for windows as the taskbar gets more and more crowded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.