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The Macintosh Webmaster Forum

Things OS X Cannot Do

 3:45 am on Feb 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Basic Things You Need Plugins For:

* Uninstall: Just dragging the application to trash doesn't delete the preference files associated with it.

 * Preventing your computer from going to sleep when you close the lid.

 * Resize your window from other than the bottom right corner.

 * Open Terminal in any folder from finder.

 * There is No Stereo Mix. Even with Soundflower, it's impossible to both redirect sound
and play them.



travelin cat

 5:52 pm on Feb 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Interesting list. I find it hard to believe that many people think any of those things are a barrier to using a Mac.

Most of the stuff listed is truly esoteric and if nothing else, silly.

Choose entire folders to be wallpapers?
Cannot selectively delete trash?
Can't calculate total size?
Bad selection of shortcuts?
Limited icon size?
Tabs only cycle over text boxes, not buttons or check boxes?
Dock takes up too much space?

I seriously doubt that 99% of Mac users care about 99% of the stuff on that list.


 6:30 pm on Feb 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree. Someone was really stretching to come up with that list.

The one that I agree is a deficiency is the no-resizing-windows except from the bottom right corner. I like being able to use any corner or side for resizing, like in Windows.

But as for the rest of it? Most of the items I wasn't even aware of, and I've been using Macs for 20 years now. Some of the items are simply the "Mac way" as opposed to the "Windows way," and I prefer the Mac way.

Some of the items are simply comical. "The Dock takes up too much space. If it's big, it's too big. If it's small, it's too small." Well, golly, the poor Mac just can't win for losing.


 7:06 pm on Feb 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

"The Dock takes up too much space. If it's big, it's too big. If it's small, it's too small."

Obviously written by Goldilocks (the notorious porridge thief).

She should use the slider that ranges between "Large" and "Small" to find something in between.

Then the Dock will be "just right".



 9:57 am on Feb 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

If that list is serious, then someone needs to take some relaxation classes.

Good link-bait.


 12:17 pm on Feb 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

She should use the slider that ranges between "Large" and "Small" to find something in between.

But that would have spoiled the rant. It's much easier to assert a false dilemma and knock it down, than to criticize the infinite variability of the size of the Dock.


 1:43 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

This article would have been better entitled, "Ways Mac OS X is unlike Windows XP."

Now, had the author mentioned how Mac OS X/Darwin can't quite decide if it's case insensitive or not, or how some of its directories are laid out differently generally accepted Linux/Unix conventions, I might be defending him right now.

But seriously, who puts stuff in the trash that they think they might want to keep?


 1:46 am on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

His complaint went a stage further in that once the trash was emptied he wnated to recover the files.

Actually, I've met a few users that put stuff into the trash that they might want to review later. No, really. Highly educated people for the most part.


 2:20 am on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is the Mac unable to selectively remove items from the trash? Or just unable to selectively delete items already in the trash?

I can see wanting to be able to selectively remove stuff accidentally placed in the trash. That happens to me occasionally with Windows.

But once I decide to delete the trash I want to delete it all. Otherwise I don't think it belongs in the trash. It should go in a temp folder pending resolution of its status.

And once it's gone, it's gone. What's the point in emptying the trash if you might want it back?

Once the garbage man carts away my rubbish it's gone for good. Isn't the that real life analogy supposed to be the same with the trash/recycle bin?

travelin cat

 4:32 am on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is the Mac unable to selectively remove items from the trash? Or just unable to selectively delete items already in the trash?

You can remove any item placed in the trash whenever you want. All items will remain in the trash until you empty the trash or remove it.

"Deleting" something in the trash is an exercise in redundancy. You have deleted it by moving it to the trash.... what else would you do with it?


 11:51 am on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Can't help but wonder if that author is on MSFT's payroll.

Writing the reverse article of things that Windows does "wrong" when you use a Mac as a standard would be a fun exercise. But then I doubt apple would pay you unless you were on the team making the pc vs. mac advertising.

Let's try:
- windows doesn't display X11 without additional software.
- windows doesn't have a UNIX CLI without additional software (and even then it's just a fake)
- windows using the wrong kind of slashes in it's CLI
- The concept of driveletters in windows is an aberration to the filesystem which is supposed to have a single view towards the user with a single root on which everything is mounted in the place as you need it.
- The windows resize handles that go all around the screen take up too much screen real-estate
- When you uninstall software on windows the registry is not cleaned out automagically
- ...


 1:01 pm on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

When you uninstall software on windows the registry is not cleaned out automagically

Even worse: Windows has the Registry.


 1:26 pm on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I still long for the days when installing software was simply a process of dragging an icon from a floppy disk or CD onto your hard drive.

Job done!

To remove software, simply drag it to the trash and empty.

Some Mac software still works like this and long may it do so.


 2:06 am on May 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I prefer Mac OS X. But I'm not going to go to a Windows thread and list a bunch of petty issues I have with Windows. Sorry.

I completely agree with the issues of Windows's filesystem and the Registry however. Haha!

Dragging and dropping programs to "install" them was probably so easy because programs didn't depend on obnoxious libraries to run properly.


 6:03 pm on May 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm a Mac user, and I agree with most of the items listed. Saying "Nobody cares about those things!" is just silly. There's no reason that Apple can't easily address most of these items. For that matter, there are things my Mac can't do today that my Mac could do in 1984, notably PUTTING FILE/FOLDER ICONS WHERE I DRAG THEM rather than in some other part of the window. Really annoying when copying 30 files which are nicely spaced at the source, and completely f*****d up once they're copied. And no, Clean Up, doesn't work, that command is a joke.


 7:13 am on Jun 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yep, I long for the simplicity and elegance of the pre-OS X Mac OS. OS X has too many marketing gimmicks (bouncy dock items for example) and not enough of the 'little things' that used to make it the best operating system around.

Mind you, it is stable, which OS 9 was not.


 5:31 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have been a Mac user/owner since 1984. I sold Apple Macs for a living for 10 years during the 80s/90s. Amazingly, I was still using OS9 up till 2008 because my workstation at home was just nioe and everything worked.

This year I finally upgraded to OSX. Yes, I know Im late to the game but I didnt need to upgrade all these years so I didnt.

I run Tiger OS and bought a used iMac (ILamp).

The computer works and generally everything is ok...BUT...

I am shocked of how bad OSX works. I mean I just sit at my computer some days and shake my head in disbelief that Apple did what it did to the OS.

I find OSX to be the opposite of Ease-Of-Use. I find myself clicking endlessly just do do the simplist things like saving files or moving files around. If I have several apps open, I find it awkward and clumbsy going back and forth between apps. Just real simple things seems to take 2 or 3 times more clicks than OS9 would have. And the whole LOG-IN stuff. Are you kidding me? If I wanted to be annoyed by all that junk, I would have a windows machine. Yes, I set my settings to make my life smoother on the machine etc. Again, I have been a Mac person for 25 years, owned about 12 Macs in my life.

Its just that I cant believe how UN-Simple this OS is vs OS9. Its like the programmers said, "well, how can we take simplicity and make it like a windows OS". I got to tell you that I think less on my windows machine at work than I do with my Mac at home.

Will I ever buy a Windows machine at home? No. Of course not. I love Apple. Im just sick about what they did to OSX and how it works.

I see the OSX Operating system as awkward and cumbersome. Instead of making things simpliar, they made things to cutesy and lost their core simplicity that they had for 15 years.

And you know, I couldnt believe this use Mac which I bought was still using a one button mouse. I had to go to eBay and buy a 2 button mouse. I mean come on...a one button mouse was easier to use in 1987 but in 200X, I need to right-click every 5 seconds for some menu access. Its common sense!

OSX Sucks. That said...I love my Mac. lol


 5:38 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Oh, and another thing...this iMac I think is 700mhz. My old MAc was 400Mhz. This mac which is twice as fast, cant play videos off the Internet. They are just choppy junk. How is it that my old 400 mhz mac played videos perfect off the interent and this twice as fast mac can barely even play the videos? I mean seriously! I go to NFL.com and try to play videos and its like im back in 1985. How does the computer get twice as fast but performace is twice as bad. Very confusing. Im embarrassed to tell anybody that my Mac wont play Internet Videos well. That would be a joke.

travelin cat

 6:06 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)


Do you have QuickTime Pro installed on both machines?

If you have it on the newer machine, make sure you go to the System Preferences, click on Quicktime, then click on "Streaming". Check to see what your settings are, I have my machines set to "Automatic" and do not have "Enable Instant-On" checked.


 7:47 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)


I'm sure the need to log on is a setting:
On Leopard it's in:
system preferences / accounts / login options / automatic login

To switch apps there's a number of ways. I don't actually remember what the old mac used, but you have a.o.: command-tab, clicking on the app in the dock, F9, ... and you can configure much of it through expose

2 button mice, I never use one (I have a few, never use any), there's plenty of other ways to get the contextual menu (double tap, control click) and even in os x there still is no need to get to it in most -if not all- applications.

But the thing that got me fully over and into a mac isn't the gui alone. It's the ability to have a gui that works, the applications like adobe CS, a true unix command line under it, X11, all in one laptop at the same time. Add then in later years the ability to use parallels to get to IE to test my sites and there was no more need for windows machines at all.


 6:23 am on Aug 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

I feel your pain Slinger.

For me, it's the fact that it took Apple so long to fix lots of basic GUI issues, like date updating in the Finder (not fixed until Leopard), that shows me that the priorities have changed from OS 9 days. The desktop as metaphor is gone - don't even get me started on the Open and Save dialog boxes (although these are better under Tiger and Leopard).

a true unix command line under it, X11

See, for me those are about as useful as a chocolate teapot. I only use the Terminal when I need to disable some irritating new 'feature' that Apple have decided to throw in to some software (such as the Microsoft paper clip-like messages that are creeping into various parts of the OS.

The message behind OS X seems to me to be something like "Hey look serious IT people who used to hate Macs, we're using Unix now. But don't worry kids, we're also throwing in all these cool bouncy icons and anything you plug in is just going to work."

So yes, the technical achievements are great. But the basic usability principles which designers used to love, appear to have a low priority these days.

From personal experience, even the crash-proofness is beginning to slip somewhat. Having to go away for 5 minutes until the spinning beach ball lets me back again is better than having to reboot the whole Mac. But, the 'force quit' function seems to be getting less and less responsive with each OS upgrade.

I'm looking forward to Snow Leopard though. I believe it was billed as primarily a compatibility and back-end technology rewrite. We shall see.


 7:09 am on Aug 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

[quote}I'm looking forward to...[/quote]

Me... Looking for barbecue and a beer. EVERY OS has problems. After all, they were written by humans. Where's the quality control? :)


 1:37 pm on Aug 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree, Tangor. Where is the quality control on humans these days?


 10:16 am on Aug 31, 2009 (gmt 0)


When did you stop learning new things?

OSX is not OS9 it is different and you do some things differently but it is worth it for all of the gains that you make when you have learned how to get the best out of it.

Learning new stuff is very satisfying.




 8:57 pm on Sep 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Here's another thing I could do on a Mac in 1984 which I can't do today: Clicking the grow box in the Finder would expand the window to the minimum size needed to get rid of the scroll bars. When I do this today (up through 10.4), the window gets a little bigger but often not enough to get rid of the scroll bars. I'm forced to manually resize the window myself. And when I do so, the Finder often requires that I have a *ridiculously* large window with lots of useless white space in order to get rid of the scrollbars. Ugh.



 9:17 am on Sep 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

The 'zoom box' function on a Mac is mind-bogglingly surreal. (At least for Apple apps. Third part apps appear to have their own set of rules. Firefox, for example, will expand to the full window - which is what you would expect.)

Under OS X the behaviour for Apple apps appears to be completely random. On a dual monitor setup it's always especially interesting to see which part of the screen Safari is going to end up in, and also what size the window will shrink to. If there is a user interface reason for any of this, I'd love Apple to spill the beans one day.

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