Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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More Panther comments

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The Panther is a week old now. Of course my previous comments remain and many more have been and will be made. My selection of findings:

There we go. Some of the many comments that have been made on X.3 in the past week. Let me add a few more observations that I hadn't made before.

Developer Tools
Of course, XCode is the biggest change in X.3. I didn't really use it so far and only played around with it. It left a good impression as it seems to be more responsive than ProjectBuilder. Having a fast help browser is good as well, although I'd still prefer Safari which doesn't use Times New Roman and lets me keep the documentation for several classes open at the same time using tabs.

Next are updated Human Interface Guidelines, containing information on the new look of tabs, new rotating sliders and keyboard equivalents. There'll be an extra post on that topic.

Moreover, InterfaceBuilder now offers readymade table cells in its palettes. Which is nice as it saves manual subclassing.

And there's this Controller Layer thing which has already been criticised. I haven't tried it yet. But judging from what can be read on the web and playing around with InterfaceBuilder, this looks like it could save people from writing lots of boring code to fill tables and fields. It may not be the ultimate high-end tool but it certainly looks like it may be helpful for lazy low-end programmers like myself.

Cocoa's AppKit seems to have seen numerous updates, including a fix to the redundant redrawing that NSView did and finally a lovingly crafted numbering scheme for untitled documents again:

NSDocument now names untitled documents in such a way that each new untitled document is given a number that is one larger than the largest number used in any currently open, untitled, document.

Hehe, everyone's favourite. Nothing like leaning back and watching different tasks complete in 'F9 mode' just to see who finishes first. In fact, I think 'F9 mode' may make an interesting screen saver – giving you everything at a single glimpse and letting you select the window you want to continue working in.

Mor fun 'features' can be seen when pressing F11 while the screen saver's password dialogue is on screen. The screen saver stays in place as it should but the password window will slide away – and not return. You may want to enter your password before doing this. Or try applications' full screen modes with Exposé. They all work differently... Preview has a full screen mode now, btw. Joy for those people doing PDF presentations.

Another neat thing: Open a folder on your desktop, 'F11' Exposé. Then double-click its icon: The folder's window only will reappear on-screen. Nice. That probably means that not all applications are equal for Exposé.

Window placement
Windows sometimes appear in strange places on the screen since I updated to X.3. They have a particular affinity to the menu bar. Is anyone else seeing that effect? On the other hand, window placement and sizing by X11 seems to have improved.

Fast User Switching
I don't really need fast user switching regularly. Although I think it's nice to have around for visitors who should be able to play around with the computer to their liking without me fearing they mess up my workspace or them being irritated by the quirks of my settings. So having the feature around is handy but it's not worth sacrificing your best menu bar real estate for it, wich Apple insists you do – hoping to complete their mission of rendering all screen corners useless. Remember the Apple menu that was abandoned for no good reason?

Anyway, there seems to be a workaround: Make sure the System Preferences application isn't running and remove the fast user switching menu item. Poof. Don't open the 'Accounts' preference pane as that may give you back the dreaded menu item. The fun thing is, that the screen saver's password panel will still offer you to log in as another user, i.e. fast user switching still works. – Nothing like a moronic workaround for an intentionally broken feature.

System Preferences
Those categories in the system preferences just make less and less sense. Why should any 'personal' preference require authentification? What has QuickTime to do with the network. (In particular when observing that you don't need any fingers to count the number of times that QuickTime successfully tried to retrieve a missing codec from the net – *laughs bitterly*.)

Why is 'easy access' 'system' rather than 'hardware'? Why are my personal startup items mangled with account management? Why does the 'date and time' control panel display a locked lock when I can still manipulate the looks of my menu bar clock? Where's the 'menu bar' control panel to keep tabs on the zillions of menu bar extras?

November 1, 2003, 1:17


Trackback “2003/11/01 13:38” from 2lmc spool:

Cory Doctorow on iCal

November 2, 2003, 12:49

Trackback “Panther remainders” from freeform goodness:

. Even Times New Roman seems less ugly [probably still too ugly for Sven, though ;) ]

November 2, 2003, 22:07


Comment by Nicholas Riley: User icon

Window placement Windows sometimes appear in strange places on the screen since I updated to X.3. They have a particular affinity to the menu bar. Is anyone else seeing that effect? On the other hand, window placement and sizing by X11 seems to have improved.

I have noticed this only in Carbon apps; I think one of the Carbon automatic window positioning functions (perhaps a resource-based one as introduced back in System 7? :) has broken. Since I don’t have any Carbon apps of my own I haven’t bothered to track it down.

November 1, 2003, 20:19

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