Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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I am not the only one who was amazed by the little flies painted into the urinals at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. Maddog did as well and took a photo and gives explanations for this. And I won't be tired of repeating that Amsterdam is my favourite Airport. Above all it's very plain and easy to understand, while being large enough to have many planes that fly to interesting places. Few airports can claim that.

There are many other interesting stories on his site as well, including one on appropriate tipping - as any good guidebook would, and probably explaining why, say, U.S. American berkeepers tend to thing Europeans are stingy and another with a compelling reason to behave environmentally friendly: Save a plastic tree. Yet another site worth wasting my time on, found through Matthew Thomas site.

Maddog also repeats the Myth that ejecting a disk on a traditional Mac is a hard thing to do.

For instance, the Mac lets you delete files by dragging them to the garbage can. The only way to eject a diskette (when Macs had them) was to drag the diskette icon to the garbage can. This sure looks like discarding all the files on the diskette, or something. It's learnable, but the first time I used a Mac, I spent 20 minutes trying to get my disk back.

I seriously doubt this statement. Judging from his writings, I assume that Maddog isn't all stupid, so he must be making this up. The main point here ist that the statement is factually wrong. Dragging a disk to the Wastebasket is the most convenient way to get your disk back. But there are others.

The only thing that makes getting your disk back slightly confusing is that there are two ways of doing this - and these two ways are different. You can Eject the disk (or Command-E), meaning you physically eject it, without unmounting the file system. Being able to do this allowed you to use multiple disks concurrently with just one drive in the early days. This feature has always been readily discoverable in the Finder's Special Menu. It would give you your disk back but leave a 'shadow' of it behind on your desktop. This is the confusing bit as most people assumed that physically ejecting the disk is equivalent to logically removing it from the computer. To do that, you'd have to use the slightly more obscure Put Away command (or Command-Y) in the Finder, which would unmount and eject the disk and is equivalent to dragging the disk's icon to the Wastebasket.

Sometime around MacOS 8.5 or 9, Apple actually changed the default behaviour of the Finder's Eject command, to the expected unmounting and ejecting - as hardly anybody needed to use two disks in one drive in the days of huge hard drives. Dragging disk icons to the trash would still work of course and all Mac people used it. Also, the documentation must have included a description of this for computerssince System 7, i.e. more than ten years ago.

The solution for ejecting disks wasn't ideal - agreed. But needing 20 minutes just to get the disk back - sounds a bit like a story made up, frankly.

Oh, and the Put Away command was one of the best and most under-advertised features in the classical MacOS Finder. Eject a volume? No problem, just choose Put Away. Drag a document on your desktop for editing and want it back in its original folder? No problem, just choose Put Away. Your little brother re-arranged your files randomly in the Wastebasket? No problem, just choose Put Away.

Of course in OSX, they came up with an even better solution that will please Maddog: Start dragging a disk's icon and the Wastebasket's icon will be replaces by an Eject icon as known from your CD Player or VCR. That makes it quite obvious. There's also the Eject item in the file menu and most keyboards have an eject (or F12) key.

Mad Dogs normally makes me think of T-Shirts, though.

January 24, 2003, 23:25

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