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Author Topic: I figured something out about Apple's device restrictions: file management.  (Read 5687 times)
superboyac
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« on: December 08, 2010, 03:45:51 PM »

Now that I have my first Apple device, the ipad, I am discovering what truly distinguishes Apple from Windows based devices.  Now, i know this will sound obvious to everyone, but it's really not.  I'm talking about fundamental things here.  OK, here it goes.

I was trying to figure out what is the true distinguishing feature between the differences among Apple and Windows stuff.  From our perspectives, Apple is obviously much more restrictive in what you can do than Windows.  But how is this accomplished.  A long list of reasons can be given, and they are all correct.  But the root of it all is file management.  With Apple, file management is the control headquarters.  They do not allow it.  They've built layers into the Mac to make it seem like file management is possible, but it's a few abstraction layers above the Windows experience.  In Windows, we can do anything with our files on the hard drive, including the OS files themselves.  In Apple, you just can't.  That one thing by itself is the big difference.  In my life, I have DOpus open 100% of the time and I am doing file management constantly.  All problems and solutions and work that I do on the PC centers around my ability to be able to do what I wish with my files.  It's the real reason why we can pretty much do anything we want to with Windows.  In Apple, every single frustration and restriction that I have run into had file management at the root of it.  I can't move this file here.  I can't copy this file there.  Where are the files?  Where are the folders?  Where is the OS stored?  What happens to the files I transfer to the device?  How come I have files in one app that I can't access from another app?

It's the root of everything.  I can even extend the discussion beyond the devices themselves and to the users.  When we look at non-computer people and get frustrated or wonder why they don't get this or that which are simple ideas to us, it's because they have no idea about files and folders and what they are how they are used.  it has nothing to do with their general level of intellect.  It's a file management issue.

It's how Apple can keep it's closed system going.  It's why it's so easy to hack Windows and windows software.  We are able to access a level of abstraction (files on the hard drive) that is one level below the actual software and OS.  They can do all they want with protection and keys and what not, but the simple fact that we have access to the hard drive itself means that they can't ever completely hide it away.  With Apple, they never allow access to begin with.  That's why you have to jailbreak stuff to do things like simple file transferring.

It's also the reason why Apple UI is so nice.  There is no NEED for file management.  They've taken care of it for you.  Now, we would like to customize it and we can't, but we're in the minority.  For most people, the UI is extremely nice and easy and, frankly, it's awesome.

But whenever we run into an issue with Apple that feels liek, "Argh! Why can't I just do this?!" it's because you are not allowed to do file management.  That's the reason.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2010, 05:02:14 PM »

While I believe that Apple wishes to treat the user like an idiot by "protecting" them from the file system ... There's a part there that you're missing. Apple's file management is crap.

In Windows if you merge two folders with the same name by copying one into the other, the contents of both folders appearing in the target is the result. Which is the logical outcome that anyone (with at least half a brain) would expect, because two plus two is supposed to equal four...

On a Mac if you try to merge two folders with the same name by copying one into the other, the result is you lose all of the data in the target folder...(e.g. 2+2=2)...Brilliant huh?

Being that it's too hard for tech support to explain to sheeple why that is an "expected behavior", it's "best" to just keep them out of "dangerous" places.
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superboyac
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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2010, 05:31:15 PM »

Well, that's exactly what I'm talking about.  There is NO true file management with Apple.  There can't be.  It's not that treat users like idiots, it's more that Apple NEEDS to retain its closed system.  Without the closed system, Apple will not be able to do most of the things it does.

Now, you are coming at this from our perspective.  We are so used to being able to have pretty much full control over our files, that as soon as you take that away from us, we run into all sorts of issues and frustrations IMMEDIATELY.  It's the heart of what we do.

back to your point, yes, I'm sure Apple's file management is subpar.  But that's because it's something they don't want you to have control of.  And most Apple users don't ever run into file management issues because they don't do that and they don't think about it.  They just press buttons and go.  So there's not as much demand for good file management, so you are not going to have the loads of options and alternatives that we have in the pc world.  The userbase isn't really there, and there aren't many developers focused on it.  But the bottom line is that Apple stuff doesn't really need file management.  We run into this because we are trying to use Apple like we use pc's.  It's frustrating, yes, but that's why we're pc people.  Apple users are frustrated by pc's for the same reason.  They don't care about file management, but you have to have SOME skill with it if you want to be productive with Windows.  Most people are not, and that's why when they use Windows, they have such hard times with drivers, installers, adware, crashes, etc.  They have no idea how to manage their files to prevent such things.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2010, 06:00:38 PM »

So you're saying that in Windows all roads lead to Rome ... and that's "bad"
.
And on a Mac all roads lead no where and are unidirectional ... and that's the "wave-of-the-FUture".

Bloody Hell, I'm gonna go back to being a mechanic. ...Before "they" start recommending that I cut off a few fingers so I can type faster on tiny keyboards.


...Yes I'm a bit cranky this evening.
 cheesy
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superboyac
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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2010, 06:09:37 PM »

I understand man.

I don't think I'm saying Windows is bad.  I love Windows and I'm totally a pc guy.  Here's what I'm saying:  Apple is having a great streak going lately.  If more people start using Apple as we are seeing, they will eventually start compromising their closed system.  Eventually, they will become more and more like the pc stuff.  It's just a matter of time.  Or they will stick to their philosophy and remain closed, but if they do, their growth will eventually plateau.  So I'm assuming they will want to grow.  As more people use it, they will try to do more things with it.  When they run into Apple's wall, they will look for ways around it.  Jailbreaking, hacking, etc.  Apple will have to counter, and that means they will have to relax their restrictions in some way.  But when they do, they will lose some of their control.  There will be more things people will be able to do with Apple products.  There will be more users, more developers, more hardware, more software, etc.  At some point, Apple just won't be able to have control over everything.  It's impossible.  The laws themselves don't allow it.  If Apple's stuff were as common as everything in the pc world, it means that Apple has a monopoly over ALL computing: hardware, software, OS.  It's impossible.

Again, I recommend we stop thinking of Apple as evil and somehow against us.  They don't care.  They just care about retaining their closed system, which is the key to their success.  There's nothing wrong with that.
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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2010, 06:25:52 PM »

i'm going to have to side with fellow member stoic joker's feelings.

i somehow can't get myself to the point were i can adopt the "just lie back and enjoy it" mindset.

;-)
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2010, 06:27:46 PM »

Actually I suspect you might be coming at it from the wrong angle - Apple don't lock access so we can't do the things we think we should be able to, rather I suspect they do it because they think their way of doing things is the best (understandable) and because if they didn't they'd have a hard time explaining/justifying their logic (we already know that the iArmy are happy to put up with whatever apple serves them in order to be able to carry the cool badge that apparently comes with their devices).

These 'functions' are also fundamental to their existing OS, so changing these behaviours would no doubt have far reaching implications.

Seems to me unlikely that they are likely to make those changes, or to relax their control - a more likely scenario is a more restrictive environment to try and protect their 'products'
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2010, 06:49:03 PM »

Hmm, a Mac sounds perfect for my dad.  He can't even figure out how to send a page link with Opera Wink
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superboyac
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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2010, 08:43:31 PM »

Seems to me unlikely that they are likely to make those changes, or to relax their control - a more likely scenario is a more restrictive environment to try and protect their 'products'
We shall see.  As I said previously, my prediction is the opposite.  We can look to this thread to see who was right! Thmbsup
I don't see how Apple will be able to grow at the rate they are currently growing at without making some concessions.  I think if they become MORE restrictive, as you say, they will fail AND there's no way the userbase grows at this rate.
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« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2010, 08:46:35 PM »

superboyac, I really appreciate you sharing what you're finding about Apple through these posts. It has educated me.

I have this fierce attitude that MY system is mine; that MY files are mine; that most of what I do is file management! But if the computer is not a tool, but a toy (or just another gadget to carry around), then files are the same as viruses. I'm sure Apple will go the cloud way and soon suggest: Let us control, er, take care of them for you: just upload them to OUR servers!
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« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2010, 09:22:40 PM »

We shall see.  As I said previously, my prediction is the opposite.  We can look to this thread to see who was right! Thmbsup
I don't see how Apple will be able to grow at the rate they are currently growing at without making some concessions.  I think if they become MORE restrictive, as you say, they will fail AND there's no way the userbase grows at this rate.

could well be, after all, what do I know - having said that, I'm sure that the exact same predictions were being made years ago, and they've succeeded against all expectations, with a product range that looks spiffy, but offers limited functionality (huh, that sounds a bit like my resume...)

 
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« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2010, 10:22:13 PM »

I fully understand restrictions on system files. But their restrictions on data files are a pain, to put it mildly.

If I want to transfer a pdf file to the ipad I have to rely on whatever method the 3rd party app I'm using has devised to accomplish this. I have tried several apps - they all seem to have devised their own methods for transferring files and most of them feel like backdoors/hacks that Apple has grudgingly allowed. I don't see how this makes for a good UI.

What's more, if I've imported a file to the device using app-A and now need to work on it with app-B, I need to import it all over again. Once again, not so much a good UI as a big f*** you to the users to safeguard Apple's intere$ts.
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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2010, 10:50:26 PM »

Rixstep has utilities that give you much better control of files etc on Mac.

http://rixstep.com/4/0/xfsystem/

Expensive, but guess these are unique in themselves

SKA

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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2010, 11:06:33 PM »

I have tried several apps - they all seem to have devised their own methods for transferring files and most of them feel like backdoors/hacks that Apple has grudgingly allowed. I don't see how this makes for a good UI.

Funny, but I remember reading a review of the iPad (fruit pad) just after it came out that vilified it for just that reason. User experience was hampered greatly by the medley of horribly inconsistent interfaces found in the myriad of apps. There is no consistently structured file open menu or system of/for controls, everything is just helter skelter with artsy fartsy buttons and other controls making it impossible to find or operate anything new quickly.

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« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2010, 01:43:04 AM »

And on a Mac all roads lead no where and are unidirectional ... and that's the "wave-of-the-FUture".

Freudian typo slip?

tongue
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JavaJones
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« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2010, 02:57:02 AM »

It's not that treat users like idiots, it's more that Apple NEEDS to retain its closed system.  Without the closed system, Apple will not be able to do most of the things it does.

I continue to believe this is *not* the case and have yet to see compelling evidence to the contrary. Apple could, if they desired, provide the "best of both worlds". In some senses they do, with a BSD-based OS and a shiny GUI on top of it. But their consumer electronic devices are much less accessible than that, and they are where you actually see most of these restrictions. But they're *not* necessary to maintain the user experience or anything. Tell me, what value is there in renaming all audio files copied to an iPod to obscure file names with 0 useful info, and messing up the Id3 tags? How does that help the user, how is that necessary to make the iPod or iTunes experience better? It isn't. Just one example. There are tons.

In other words I think "Target" may be right on, er, target... cheesy

I also don't think that file management on Windows is any more "necessary" than on a Mac. What you're probably seeing is different levels of users, of user demand, and of productivity requirements. There are plenty of Windows users I know who don't organize their files, ever. They have messy computers. But I would argue actually that Windows users who don't bother with file management are inherently likely to have more easily accessible files, from an objective standpoint, than Mac users. At least on Windows there are good predetermined organizational structures that fit most people's basic needs (Docs, Pictures, Music, etc. and now on Win7 the handy Libraries). On a Mac almost *everyone* has a messy computer, even more "power users". Period. This is because, as others have said, the tools for organization are crap, and all the Mac apps try to organize data in their own proprietary way. iTunes wants your music where it wants it, same with iPhoto. Try to find your iPhoto photos with another photo app. Good luck. So as long as you're doing it Apple's way, yep, you're fine. But think about this: maybe the reason people *don't* do this stuff isn't just because they don't want to, but because Apple makes it *hard* to do so. One time installing an alternative photo management app and trying to find your iPhoto archive and finding out it's either impossibly lost, or none of your data transfers over, and you can bet you'll never try that again. And it gets ingrained in the culture, because all Mac users over time get trained to work this way and accept it as natural and teach others the same, until nobody expects anything different. It doesn't make it better and it doesn't mean it's necessary for the value that they do indeed provide (nice UI, ease of use, etc. - theoretically at least).

And yes, this is precisely because Apple think their way is best. Because of this attitude and the inherent laziness of most computer users, people - especially Mac users - tend not to bother with file management at all (and I'm not talking about advanced stuff here like changing OS files). This is why Apple can get away with issues like the "2+2=2" problem which, frankly, is inexcusable. Yes, few people actually use file management for anything but *finding* files on Mac (as opposed to *moving* files), but that doesn't mean they should experience unexplained data loss if they do! Apple's attitude sucks.

What keeps coming up in these threads is interesting for me though: almost everyone, whether Apple user or not, tends to equate Apple with "easy to use" and "pretty" and "nice UI", etc. But I wonder quite often whether that first aspect, "easy to use", is really true, or if perhaps there is some level of "shiny" that overcomes most people's ability to see unintuitiveness. Quite frankly I feel this really may be the case. In other words if a device has a sufficiently smooth, slick, *cool* UI, it will give the strong impression of being "intuitive" even if it is not, or is only partially so. In fact I have run into many concrete examples of this, certainly not just in Apple devices. There are many good examples already in this short thread about Apple specifically, and there are tons more I've come across. How can anyone say with a straight face that Apple's devices are "intuitive" given comments like Nosh's about simple file management and re-use? Sure, you could say that's an "advanced" use, but then you really need to be clear that Apple's products are "intuitive to a point" or "intuitive for easy stuff". Which I guess is great, but a lot less of an accomplishment. Basically we're back to the "most Apple users are idiots" thing - they do a good job of making things easy for people who know nothing and don't want to learn anything. Is that good? Maybe.

And then all you may be getting down to is: remove enough flexibility and function and it's easier to make things intuitive. If that's Apple's secret, then I'm not interested in knowing it. It's not revelatory, and not where I want to see computing going. Then again some classic wisdom of design says that removing all but the most vital elements is the way to the best design, so what do I know. Apple certainly has that down to an art. Everything they do handles a narrow problem set with a high degree of polish, and then you hit a wall. Just pray you fall within that narrow problem set that the system is designed for and that you *never grow beyon it*.

- Oshyan
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« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2010, 05:00:37 AM »

after reading all of the above, i can say, once again - i hate Apple even more now. in these cold winters days, this burning hatred is keeping me warm inside. thank you.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2010, 07:06:34 AM »

And on a Mac all roads lead no where and are unidirectional ... and that's the "wave-of-the-FUture".

Freudian typo slip?

tongue

Actually it did start as a typo, and then I realized it was the most perfect flaw to express my sentiments. Wink

after reading all of the above, i can say, once again - i hate Apple even more now. in these cold winters days, this burning hatred is keeping me warm inside. thank you.

Damn Straight! JavaJones nailed it... Hell if I wasn't at work, I'd be standing up and cheering!
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« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2010, 08:53:46 AM »

Hmm, a Mac sounds perfect for my dad.  He can't even figure out how to send a page link with Opera Wink

Except that my parents have been using Macs for 13 years (OS 9 through Snow Leopard) and they can never find anything on the damned things! They have no concept of File Management, accepting and trusting that Apple knows where their files and documents should go. Of course, Searchlight or Quicksilver make finding the files fairly easy, but every so often I have to dig around to find stuff for them. Infuriating - I'm always trying to get them to use folders but most stuff winds up on their desktop...

OK typed the above and then kept reading the thread - JavaJones nailed it! My parents have a friend who WILL.NOT.SWITCH.TO.WINDOWS but who has ENDLESS problems with her iMac running Leopard - e-mail settings, printer drivers, print settings, iPhoto... Actually, Java's comments about iPhoto resonated because I've been called out a couple of times to find her pictures for her - she moves them onto her PC from her Canon point and shoot and they disappear. I set iPhoto to scan her harddrive and find them, but then she's stuck with a database of thousands of icons and gets mad because she can't GET to her photos, which are buried somewhere in the database. It's crazy!

I bought my parents first a Compaq netbook running XP Pro with 2GB of RAM and then a Gateway ultra-portable notebook with Windows 7 64-bit and 4GB of RAM. The netbook went to my mum about a year ago and the notebook to my dad in August. They both love them, but I've had to spend time training both of them about Windows file management "idiosyncracies"... At the very least, they appreciate both OS's and can see the strengths and weaknesses of both whereas prior to my dad getting the Windows 7 machine they really assumed that the Mac was easier to use and more secure. I'm rambling.

Superboy - thank you for starting the thread. It's very thought compelling. I have an iBook running Tiger and I've tried a myriad of the third party file management solutions available for it. The ones I liked are EXPEN$IVE and ultimately never overcome the lack of flexibility inherent in how Apple does things. I never did buy one of them because it seems simpler and more cost effective to "go with the flow"... but the point is, that alternatives do exist, as SKA pointed out (and XFileSystem is one of the ones I tried and like). Incidentally, one of the other things that pissed me off about OS X 10.x is that with every release third party developers drop suppport for earlier versions. So there are lots of apps out there that for which paid users are frozen at a particular build because support for their flavour of OSX is no longer supported. One could argue that with Apple's much more reasonable upgrade pricing this wouldn't be a particular problem. However, Apple has a tendency to drop support for earlier hardware means that users with older computers are not able to upgrade the OS, either. What's the end result? Apple sells shiny new computers to the Apple faithful fairly regularly (at least, those who wish to keep their systems up to date). Of course, this also means that Apple does not have to worry about shipping their latest OS with a huge number of drivers so that they can control the hardware and drivers effectively and provide the "it just works" experience they brag about. As noted, it just works as long as you keep the whole eco-system up to date. Try connecting a ten year old printer to a new Mac!
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superboyac
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« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2010, 01:13:55 PM »

Some great discussion happening here.  I'm going to have to respond later.  I have to study for a big promotional exam for the next two days.
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« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2010, 11:10:33 PM »

Hehe, glad my thoughts resonated with some of you. I'm particularly curious what people think of the idea that a certain level of positive "feel" (from things like UI, industrial design, aesthetics) can overcome potentially large negatives in *actual usability* (especially long-term and/or non-surface usability). I really feel like Apple's products *are* often easier to use *at first* but the longer you have and use them, the harder it gets because you want to do more and more stuff, or if you ever want to deviate from your usual pattern you're locked in. The iPhoto issue is a perfect example. And I think by that time people are maybe so used to Apple and the positive things about it, that even though negatives start showing up, their existing investment kind of biases their overall perception. Thoughts? Agree, disagree?

I mean the simple fact that we can point out a high number of flaws in *normal* - not high-tech, geeky, or advanced - usage scenarios says to me that there must be some kind of "cognative dissonance" going on here, eh?

- Oshyan
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« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2010, 04:19:04 AM »

it's great to see a really informative thread about apple and how-it-works (OS) Thmbsup

I dont really think it's really important why people defend/ignore problems with a product. I mean it's interesting from a psychological & cultural point of view, also how both 'sides' act and react - but it's veering fairly off-topic too :-)
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« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2010, 12:34:54 AM »

superboyac, I really appreciate you sharing what you're finding about Apple through these posts. It has educated me.

I have this fierce attitude that MY system is mine; that MY files are mine; that most of what I do is file management! But if the computer is not a tool, but a toy (or just another gadget to carry around), then files are the same as viruses. I'm sure Apple will go the cloud way and soon suggest: Let us control, er, take care of them for you: just upload them to OUR servers!
OK!  I'm done with my test.  By the way, if I get this promotion, I think I will make a nice donation to DC here.  Anyway, now I can get into this discussion.  I won't be able to answer all the issues right now, so I'm going to start with Zaine's because he's the man.

So, Zaine, you don't have to hate Apple for this file management issue.  We have to take a step back and psychoanalyze ourselves a little first, because this topic always gets emotional very fast.  I've been practicing this lately.  Nobody is forcing you to buy Apple stuff.  Nobody is forcing you to pick it over a PC.  So you only have to use Apple products if you CHOOSE to, as I have.  Now that I've gotten it, am I any less of a pc person than I was before?  No, not at all. The way I think about my purchase, the ipad, is the EXACT same way I think about purchasing any software/hardware accessory for my PC.  I don't think of my computers individually.  I think about all of my computing equipment as individual components of my computer system.  My Windows desktop happens to be my headquarters, my homebase.  My ipad is an extension of my headquarters.  I'm not committed to any brand.  I choose the best product for my specific need.  The ipad filled in (almost perfectly) my need for certain mobile computing applications like GPS.  It was by far the best product for it.  So I got it.  I think of it exactly the same way as I do, say, my logitech mouse.  Sure, there are some things I don't like about the mouse, but overall, it was the best one for me.  It doesn't really affect anything else in my computing life, it just extended it and added certain capabilities.  So we don't have to act like if we buy a Mac or a iphone that we are all of a sudden not using Windows anymore and we're stuck with Apple.

Now, let's consider this specific issue about owning files.  Yes, I don't control my ipad files anywhere near the way I can on my PC.  But where did those files come from?  My PC!  They are just copies of it.  So my solution is awesome!  I still have all the control over my files, but I still get to use the ipad when I'm out and about.  Yes, there are certain workarounds I have to do to accomplish certain things, but they are no different from the workarounds I run into with Word/Excel issues, or file conversion issues, or anything else I do with the computer.  So it doesn't bother me at all, because in the end I DO control my files because I am using the system that lets me do that: Windows on my homebase.

Now, other less hardcore users will get Apple products and it WILL be their main computing equipment.  But these people DON"T CARE about file management, and control.  They don't even think about if their files are backed up.  They don't care about computers, gadgets.  But everyone needs a computer these days, so they get the one that's the least headache for them.  And it is the least headache, let's not pretend like Windows is easier to use than a Mac for most people like this.  We don't have to project our particular desires and frustrations on people that really could care less about this stuff.  And that doesn't make us smarter people, or better people.  We're just different.  I'm not a Home Depot DIY guy.  Does that make me dumber than those guys who spend all weekend tiling their bathroom?  No.  Does it make me better?  No.  He spends all day thinking about tiling and grout and what not, and I spend all day thinking about drivers and file management issues.  So if someone gets an Apple thing because it's awesome looking and doesn't ever think about computer stuff, it's perfect.  It's not an evil Steve Jobs plan.  He's giving them what they need.

Do I complain about Ford for not making cars the way Toyota does, which I prefer?  No!  I don't think about it.  So why do we complain about Apple when we don't have the slightest motivation to use their products?  Why is it OUR competition?  Why are we on teams for PRODUCTS?  There are a gazillion options for computing out there.  Do I get mad at you for becoming a Linux guy? (I won't lie, I was initially slightly disappointed, if nothing more than losing the great list).  Do I consider you on a different team now?  No way.

I'm sure there's more to come.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2010, 02:29:41 AM »

You're still really not getting it. You're still repeating "they get one that's the least headache for them", and I'm debating whether that's even really true. I guess it's "least headache" if A: your demands are extremely low (which in this hypothetical users case they may be, at least to start) and B: you are willing to accept the Apple way and all its limitations (which this hypothetical user is likely to be). The problem is that there are still issues, inconsistencies, *bugs*, which really do detract from the user experience. Many have been mentioned in this thread, but continually ignored. Why?

If you move files from one place to another and folders with the same names are overwritten without asking and without backup, can you really say this is OK, or that average users could never run into this? This is *still* a problem, or at least it was until very recently: http://www.mac-forums.com...y-replace-lost-files.html And this is only one example. Want another? How about the fact that the button on all windows that will often minimize/roll-up the window is a fricking + sign. This makes no damn sense, intuitively speaking. Not to mention the fact that it does different things depending on the app: http://www.davidalison.co...ls-mac-os-vs-windows.html So much for Apple's legendary UI consistency, right? Can you still say with a straight face that Macs are intuitive or "least headache"?

Ignoring the + button is a learned behavior to work around a UI issue. The same thing happens on Windows. Neither platform is currently genuinely superior. It's all about learned behaviors, what one is used to, and what values of a UI one prioritizes. I prioritize intuitiveness, functionality, customization, and power (not necessarily in that order). What do Mac users prioritize, and what do these issues of Mac UI design say about those priorities and how they're reflected in design decisions on Apple's part?

- Oshyan
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« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2010, 08:21:10 AM »

Crap! IE just crashed and took my lengthy response with it (the DC faithful breathe a collective sigh of relief).

So why do we complain about Apple when we don't have the slightest motivation to use their products?  Why is it OUR competition?  Why are we on teams for PRODUCTS?

Speaking for myself, there are two elements to this issue. First, there is the general nit-picking that we all do with regard to any of the OS's that we encounter (Windows, Linux, OSX, Android, etc.). I don't think that this is a problem. The other element has to do with the "culture" that has been built up around Apple and the pass that they seem to get with the press. Seriously, if MS had released the iPad they would have been excoriated everywhere for the lack of output ports and expandability, the 4:3 screen, the lack of multi-tasking at launch, etc. and the product would have taken months to grow legs. My point is that the complaints about Apple that you read in DC and elsewhere are more reactions against the hype surrounding the products. Again, speaking for myself, I am pretty individulalistic - I like to make my own decisions and hate, HATE, H-A-T-E having marketing types and mouth-breathing assholes that I encounter on a daily basis tell me that I have to use a particular product/listen to a particular artist/subscribe to a particular world-view to be "cool", "accepted", etc. I like Apple products. I spent last night playing with an iPhone 4 and can see the attraction. I just reject absolutely the notion that there aren't equally fabulous alternatives out there. The Apple myth holds that there is only one way of doing things and every other way is wrong. I can't stand that mentality.

Right. I'll shut up now.

Superboy, good luck with the promotion and enjoy your iPad! I hope to be joining you in tablet ownership next year (I have an Archos 43 IT on order but hope next year to get a 7" or 10" tablet. I'm waiting to see what comes out).
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