the walkin' dude

I have devised and incredibly witty tagline, but there ain't enough sp

December 31, 2011 at 4:30pm

Cmd F, the broken shortcut

Apple should be the go-to company when it comes to consistency, right?

Well, here’s a thing I don’t understand.

In search-enabled apps, as everybody knows, Cmd F has always been the shortcut that enables you to Find something (no shit, Sherlock).

Now, iTunes being a search-enabled app, what I would like to know is: what is the point in breaking the convention and making Cmd F be the shortcut to make iTunes go full-screen?

This is the kind of thing that introduces inconsistency in a system.

The Chrome guys did it right with ^ Cmd F.

Truth to be told, this isn’t the only weird thing that iTunes does: anybody remembers the vertical buttons that appeared when it hit version 10? Sure enough you could fix that, but it made me wonder why exactly Apple would do something like that.

It almost looks like iTunes is developed by a team outside of Apple!

What’s more, in the current version if iTunes (10.5.2 at the time of this writing), there is no shortcut at all to move the focus to that goddamn Search Music box (at least none that I could find).

And I can’t help but wonder: why? Why would you do that? And more importantly, which groundbreaking usability enhancement does Cmd F's behavior in iTunes buy us?

Lastly, who’s gonna keep iTunes full-screen anyway (unless you’re watching some iTunes U stuff, that is)?

December 30, 2011 at 4:30pm

The brain-deadness of the mandatory email address field

Here’s another thing I hate: having to give my mail address to someone in order to download something.

Sibelius Scorch is a free plugin that allows you to view guitar tablatures directly in the browser, play them, change key and tempo and print them out.

To be clear, it’s one of those cases in which you prepare a document with some software you have to purchase, and distribute it to others that can view it with some other piece of software that’s available for free.

Well, these guys want your email address before they allow you to download the damn thing.

Of course, as you can see, I know about services such as mailinator:

It’s just that refusing to allow the download until you have an email address is bound to piss people off.

How come they—and many others—don’t understand that?

At the very least, if you really want my email address, you cold put some effort in giving me a stronger visual clue that the email field is required. Which, in this case, they obviously didn’t.

It’s like with the Subversion project: you want to download the friggin’ command line client binaries (from Collabnet, of course)?

Yo, walkin’ dude, I’m really happy for you, and Imma let you download ‘em, but first you have to register with me.

Oh, and just for the fun of it, try giving them an illegal wrong email address. They will redirect you to a whole new page just to tell you that the email address you provided was illegal:

Maybe giving users some kind of inline visual clue, like many others do, was too much of a hassle.

But wait, it gets even better.

After clicking Back, I’ve been shown this modal crap:

Holy cow, look at that! I’ve been randomly selected to participate in a customer satisfaction survey! Ain’t that sheer luck?

I may have given them my feedback, if only they didn’t try to bullshit me.

That modal dialog reminds me of what Microsoft used to do when you visited MSDN a while back: essentially the same thing.

But that was back when it was so awfully slow that they should have been able to figure out why it sucked so bad on their own, without the need to ask for user feedback.

Thankfully, they have been able to improve it a lot, to the point where it does what a documentation system is actually supposed to do: show you the information you want as fast as it can, and maybe with an aesthetically pleasing layout.

It’s easy to piss people off with poor UIs and brain-damaged policies, and yet a lot of companies don’t seem to care about it in the least bit.

December 29, 2011 at 4:30pm

Dual-monitor, Mac OS X Lion and full-screen

I have, like many others, a secondary display attached to my iMac.

All’s fine and dandy, at least until you go full-screen.

When you do, you have to stand back in awe at the horror of the solution they somehow have come up with.

It baffles me that, after all these years, Apple still has to figure out how to do full-screen right.

Hell, if I make full-screen a window that’s shown on the secondary display, I expect it to go to full-screen in that display, not on the primary.

It’s Apple’s idea of full-screen that’s flawed when it comes to dealing with a single monitor setup; the fact that a full-screen application acts as a desktop that only contains the maximized window, works fairly well if you only have one display.

As soon as you have more than one display, though, things get definitely awkward.

The principle of

full-screen app == one separate desktop 

gets confusing.

I mean, what’s the point of having a secondary display if an app always goes full-screen on the main one, leaving the other with Lion’s default background texture (which, by the way, reminds me of one of those kinds of fabrics from the late 70’s/80’s)?

After all, you know, odds are good that, if I have gone trough the trouble of attaching a second display, it’s actually because I want to see more than one window at a time.

Clearly, as you can see in Mission Control, the app-generated desktop is only one for both of the displays, and that is—in my opinion—the problem.

Sure, decoupling the desktops, making one for each display, would be too confusing (or outright stupid, depending on the use case we’re considering).

I guess the only solution that makes sense is maximizing the window to full-screen on the screen that the goddamn window belongs to, leaving the other display free for the user.

That being said, I think that this full-screen thing is something we could have done without in the first place. Sure, it’s nice to have, but Apple’s paradigm according to which each window used to take up just the screen real estate that was really needed made sense to me.

It made sense to me as in: it really made sense to me, much more than the current broken full-screen mode, in a setup with multiple displays, does.

December 28, 2011 at 3:44pm

Samsung Kies sucks

I’ve come to the realization that Samsung Kies for Mac is high on the list of the most idiotic, crappy and useless pieces of software ever conceived.

Version doesn’t even realize that a device is connected while it’s running. I have to restart it, and only then does it detect my Galaxy S II.

And even when I see my phone among the Connected devices, I can access everything but Basic information, Sync and Import/Export; of which, of course, the first two are what people care about the most.

And let me tell you about that Connected devices caption, ok? It doesn’t make any sense, does it?

Nope, it doesn’t, and that’s because it’s another case of UI bullshit.

It’s UI bullshit because, as far as Kies is concerned, there are two states in which a device can possibly exist: connected or not connected, hence the uselessness of the word Connected, goddamnit.

And hey, the updater sucks too. It still has the default Mac app icon, the one provided by XCode when you create an app. And it has just crashed. And it asked me for my password twice because LUI wants to make changes to the system.

LUI? What the fuck does LUI even mean, anyway?

Most of all, do they really think I care about seeing every single file that the updater downloads from the Internet? Every single nib, every single resources file?

Plus, it’s slow as fuck.

Srsly, Samsung? Is this the best you can do?

You made a phone I’m happy I bought, but the companion software sucks donkey balls through a straw.