History of The Beachball

Discussion in 'macOS' started by dops7107, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. dops7107 macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

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    #1
    I've had little experience with Mac OS prior to OS X, but I do recall the little wristwatch mouse-pointer indicating "think time". In OS X, this has largely been replaced by the delightful spinning beachball. However, sometimes the wristwatch rears its ugly head.

    What's the relationship between the two? Is there a historical or programming reason why the wristwatch appears? I thought OS X was completely new wrt OS 9 and earlier - why contine with the relic wristwatch?

    Just curious! :rolleyes:
     
  2. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

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  3. dops7107 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

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    #3
    Good old Wikipedia! - thanks for the tip Mitth :eek: - never occurred to me to look there... though to be honest it doesn't explain to me why the wrist watch still appears. unless it's for "thinking" (application still responsive) whereas beachball is for unresponsive.
     
  4. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

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    #4
    I didn't read that carefully, but it didn't seem to mention NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP. The beachball was there (in 2D) way back in the day, though it was obviously gray on the mono boxes.

    Edit: Aha! It mentions it here. Didn't know that 10.1's cursor was identical to the old school one (ie, not Aqua-fied).
     
  5. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #5
    I haven't read the Wiki thread but I thought that the beachball appeared for Cocoa apps while the wristwatch appeared for Carbon ones.
     
  6. dops7107 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

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    #6
    Could be true, I don't know enough. For Photoshop 7, the watch appears while it is processing, but if I use my external HD for scratch and the disk has to wake up, I get the spinning ball. Though I suppose that's an OS function, waiting for a disk to wake, rather than Photoshop's.
     
  7. joepunk macrumors 68030

    joepunk

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    #7
    Thanks for saving precious few seconds of my time by providing the link Mitthrawnuruodo . I still like to call it the "spinning beach ball of death" for those unfortunate times :p even though it happens much less now.
     
  8. HiRez macrumors 603

    HiRez

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    #8
    The difference is that the spinning beach ball is triggered automatically by the operating system (OS X's Window Server) watching over the application, whereas a wristwatch icon or spinning progress indicator or other cursor is put up by the application when it expects something it's doing to take a while. Applications are supposed to detect lengthy operations and change the cursor themselves, but if they are bad little applications and don't (or can't because they've hung), the operating system may step in and do it for them (with the beach ball). It will also put up the beach ball when an application cannot respond to events anymore (such as mouse clicks, typing, etc.). In this case the application may be unable to put up a cursor itself.
     
  9. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #9
    HiRez has it covered, but I'll add that applications that use the old-fashioned watch cursor are generally very old Mac apps that never bothered to update their "wait" cursor since way back when. Most modern apps either use the better multithreading of OSX to allow you to do something else while an operation is occurring, or at least give you a progress window sans-beachball. Those that don't will end up with the default beachball unless they've specifically overridden it with something else.

    Eudora, for example, still uses the ancient pendulum cursor when it's doing something. They apparently never properly set the speed it "ticks" at under later OSes, though, so it now thrashes back and forth at frightening speed during some operations.
     
  10. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

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    #10
    Good info.
     
  11. dops7107 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

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    #11
    My question is answered! Thanks Hirez et al.
     

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