Monday, October 24, 2011

When a UI is too smart for our own good

I'm tearing my hair out at Apple's latest user experience faux pas: gestures on the desktop.

Now, they seem really cool at first. But a few of the gestures really interfere with my experience in incredibly painful ways.

The most painful so far, is the idiotic choice to make a rightward swipe equivalent to the Back button on the browser. This is such a completely brain dead idea that it actually makes me question the competence of Apple's UI team.

Years ago, some other patronizing UI designer decided to make the Backspace key an alternative trigger for the Back button action. The overloaded behavior meant that countless almost-completed forms were at risk of being wiped away by an obvious response to a typo.

Yes, there are programmatic workarounds, but they shouldn't be needed. Backspace-As-Navigation-Button is a potentially destructive action tied to a control that has a completely different function, and that is

JUST PLAIN WRONG 

Apple not only did not learn the lesson that overloading controls is a really bad thing to do, it copied this  egregious example of pathological UI design and made it worse by tying it to leftward scrolling. 

Fortunately, Apple does give the ability to turn off the gestures. Just go into System Preferences, into the Trackpad settings, and choose More Gestures. Uncheck the Swipe between pages checkbox, and your experience in browser forms will be much less problematic.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mac Marginalia

I'm fiddling with getting my resume up on my Web site, and getting diverted by sundry tweaks.
Might as well note the tweaks here, as they seem to be handy. 

This Picture Has Nothing to do with the post.
The resume is kept in a git repository. The repos are all kept under ~/workspace (and sometimes mirrored to GitHub, Dropbox and/or pushed to the Web.) 

Problem: 
  • Dropbox appears in the Finder "Favorites" sidebar, but ~/workspace does not. 
  • So I go looking for it repeatedly. 
  • That's annoying. What to do?
Solution: 
  1. Open a Finder window. 
  2. Navigate to ~/workspace. 
  3. Press Command-T to add ~/workspace to the Favorites list. 

Problem: 
  • git status in a terminal shell window at ~/workspace/resume reveals a .DS_Store file.
  • Mac OSX pollutes folders with .DS_Store files to hold Finder information. Call 'em lazy. 
  • That file doesn't belong in the repo. That's annoying. What to do?
  • If you remove the file, it will just come back. That's annoying. What to do?
Solution:
  1. Go to the terminal shell at ~/workspace/resume 
  2. echo '*.DS_Store' >> ~/.gitignore_global 
  3. git config --global core.excludesfile ~/.gitignore_global

Problem: