OS X Usability - Good and Bad

Apple isn't perfect. There are always things that could be better. Here are just a few things they have done right, things they have done wrong, and a few suggestions for future improvements.

We'll start with the good. Ben Meyer, over on icefox.net, has a nice writeup comparing OS X with KDE. It's titled Nine things KDE should learn from Mac OS X and is worth a read. I especially enjoyed the points on identity, default application views, and having a capable viewer. I thought the screenshot of KDevelop was hilarious. I'm hoping it looks better on a bigger screen, but ouch, talk about confusing. I guess that's why developers get paid the big bucks, huh?

Now for some bad. My first complaint is that I can't show a date in the OS X menu bar. The checkbox in the Date/Time preferences leads me to believe I can, but as far as I can tell, I only get to see the date when I am using the floating clock, bah!

The other complaint comes from the process of getting the screenshot just above posted. I wrote a nice little Automator action to prompt me to drag out an area for capture and then post it to my iDisk for linking in blogs. It was working great. I say was, because it just quit one day. Today I got mad enough to go find out why. The problem appeared to be with my Keychain. Once I removed and added the iDisk Pictures folder, I was prompted whether I wanted Automator to update it's use of my Keychain. This Keychain prompt seems to occur after every 10.x.y update. Sometimes even more frequently. I have seen it many times with accessing WEP protected networks. The problem is, sometimes I have to reboot a few times to get asked whether it is allowed to update the Keychain! That problem showed here again where I had to go back in to Automator and screw with the action before it prompted me. Fix this Apple. The prompts aren't prompting like they should.

Finally, a couple of ideas for improvement. My target here is iPhoto. True, iPhoto isn't really a component of OS X, but it does ship with the device, so it is at least a part of the OS X experience.

* Camera Identity - iPhoto is smart enough to let you search based on a camera, but that isn't good enough. I want to be able to tell iPhoto that the Casio Exilim is mine, the Kodak EasyShare belongs to my parents, and the Nikon Coolpix belongs to my friend. This would make it much easier to sort out the origin of photos when I'm syncing multiple cameras and importing photos from CDs, thumb drives, and Bluetooth transfers. The camera data can stay attached to the photo. The identity of the camera can live in iPhoto because that is data that is relevant to me.

* Sanity Check the Dates - Isn't it amazing that I took photos in 2028 already! Wow, importing photos from 1995, are you sure? I had both of those dates appear on pictures in the last two weeks. Usually this is from a camera that had a dead battery or just took a dump for some other reason. This check could happen on the cameras as well, but I want iPhoto to be at least a little smart about prompting me about photos with dates that are way out of wack. If you are the type that will keep your computer to 2028, fine, we'll let you turn the sanity check off, but I'd really like to be prompted with "The photos you are importing from Ryan's camera appear to contain a date from the future. Would you like to choose a different date for these photos?"

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