Sunday, April 18, 2010

Too smart for our own good

Like I've said, though I love Apple and their products, sometimes (not often, fortunately) they're a leeeeeettle bit too smart. A classic example is the circular mouse which came with the original iMac. It looked kewl, but you couldn't feel which way it turned, so you had to look every time you grabbed for it. :-)

Here's another: I just looked at the surely fine "Pages" word processor (and desktop publishing app) which I bought for the iPad ($10, super-bargain). I just wanted to see if the app would open a JPG I had placed in its documents folder from my Mac. But Pages already had a document open, one which was a Getting Started document about Pages.
... And I couldn't figure out how to friggin' close it!

I tried everything to close the document. I tried all the things I have learned so far about the touch-screen interface. I looked up the help file on Apple's site. Nothing helped. The document which was open talked about a Tool Bar, but there wasn't any such thing visible anywhere, and no amount of tapping or holding or sliding or singing Hello Dolly helped.

Then came one of my Insight(R) moments, when I extrapolate something from how computers/programmers think, and it works: I rotated the blamed pad to vertical position... violin, there was the gold-durned tool bar!

Clearly, in their brilliance the programmers had decided that the landscape format view is a Full Screen view, and there's nothing you can do to get out of it, except turn the device. And no hint that this has happened.
Where do I get hold of the programmers to Talk to them about this? Ah, never mind, they are probably hanging out down in the Tool Bar with the other tools.


Monsieur Beep! said...



Timo Lehtinen said...

Where do I get hold of the programmers to Talk to them about this?

While at it, please also ask them why they still maintain this silly "App" model where users need to "Open" and "Close" documents.

Outside of the clumsy computing model introduced by Apple (and copied by MS), what does it even mean to open/close a document?

Object-oriented computing was invented in 1968. In it, users don't need to launch "apps" any more than open/close documents. Wouldn't it be high time that Apple took advantage of this "modern" idea and get rid of this opening/closing business?

Timo Lehtinen said...

To neutralize the brain hurt you get when you realize that Apple has single-handedly stopped all progress in computing for the last three decades, here's some footage of me with some friends.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I love you, dude, and usually you're very sane and intelligent, but try to consider if sometimes, just sometimes, maybe you rant a little?

Timo Lehtinen said...

You are right. This is an inappropriate forum for computer scientific rants.

It's just that it is impossible to comment on an issue such as this without pointing out that the premise is wrong. (I.e. the true design flaw in the problem you encountered is not that closing the document was difficult. It is the fact that there is a need to close it at all.)

And after literally decades of observing the cluelessness abound in this, I no longer bother to watch my language.

However, it is always possible to refrain from commenting at all. And this was my mistake. I am sorry. I will shut up now.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

De nada.