Friday, January 06, 2006

Suck it Microsoft

Wherein I pass along that which makes us kool-aid gulping Jobsians smile just a little

Brian Tiemann says "Neener Neener Neener" to Microsoft but isn't completely negative. Reviewing Vista Point:
Yes, yes, I know—the chances that I, or any Mac nerd who wants to retain the favor of the faithful, would react positively or without derision for Vista are bound to be pretty small. They could clone OS X entirely and we'd only mock them for the unoriginality, not applaud the implicit vote of confidence for Apple's implementations, let alone consider switching to Windows. So all the foregoing ought to be taken at least partly in jest; I'd be doing the same things if I were Microsoft, and as their implementation of the Exposé idea illustrates, sometimes copying a feature that's well-established is nothing more than the acknowledgment of a good idea. And Mac people ought to be quietly pleased with that state of affairs and go about their business.

Still, though, one can't avoid a sad shake of the head at the examples in this slideshow that show that in a lot of areas Microsoft still has a Cargo Cult approach to user-interface, and (as we can particularly easily see from the weird translucency effects) they've put in a lot of geegaws not because they see them as adding utility for the customer, but because it shows off something cool they can do. OS X's Genie effect serves a real purpose, for all its goofiness—it shows you where a window is going when you minimize it. Same with the drop-shadows—they help you differentiate windows—and the Cube transition, which (it can be argued) supports a tangible metaphor for a desktop or a set of slides. But having the controls on an active window be embedded in a semi-translucent, blurred-out UI pane that surrounds an opaque content pane (as in the above image)? If someone can explain the justification for that in terms of a real metaphor or demonstrable customer utility, I'll applaud the hell out of him.

Also, behind the scene at Stevenotes.

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