Paul Thurrot's take on XP Longhorn and OS X

Discussion in 'Community' started by Laslo Panaflex, Nov 26, 2003.

  1. Laslo Panaflex macrumors 65816

    Laslo Panaflex

    May 1, 2003
    Here is a very interesting article by Paul Thurrot that praises XP and Longhorn, and doesn't say much about OS X. He may have a point, but at the very end of the article the guy lost any credibility that I may have given him.

    "Mac OS X is attractive, and arguably "better looking" than Windows XP, though that's a subjective declaration. But it is most certainly not "easier to use". And that's not "Apple bashing," it's just the way it is."

    This comes from the guy that runs the Win Super Site, dedicated to windows fanboys, claiming not to be biased towards windows. . .
  2. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    How could it be easier to use without all those wizards? I mean come on people! WIZARD POWER!
  3. Laslo Panaflex thread starter macrumors 65816

    Laslo Panaflex

    May 1, 2003
    yeah, that's exactly what I thought, wizards are soo lame, and once the user gets passed the initial first time user stage, they become pretty insulting...
  4. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    XP, fine, i don't agree with his conclusion (because i've done my own research around the web and found many evidence pointing to the superiority of X) but how can longhorn be part of the comparison? it doesn't exist. how can something be easier to use when you can't even use it yet?!

    (yeah, beta... whatever...)

    i guess i will have to see how it's implemented. but i personally can't see how task based interface is superior the way he describes it. hiding all the functions of specific apps into a wizard sounds very good to beginners whose needed task lists are short and rigid, but how about others?

    the way he described it, the only difference seems to be:

    -in X, you pick the app you want to use to accomplish a task

    -in XP and longhorn, you pick the file you want and a task you want to accomplish (how flexible is this choice?) and an appropriate app (in form of a wizard) will be launched for you.

    i'm obviously biased, but it sounds like just another attempt to merge OS and apps together. it will be critical for M$ to do this right, otherwise, it will be one heck of a inflexible bloat...

    one more thing... wizard is a terrible concept, in general. it's not about making things easier for the users, despite the claims. the best way to make things easier for the users is to find a way to let the user be in control of the situation and gently guide him in the right direction when he's not doing things right. wizard does not accomplish this. wizard is a poor excuse to limit the choices the user is presented so the programmers can limit what can happen...

    what is the user supposed to do if he wants to do something not listed on the wizard as a choice? OS should never be making decisions about the tasks its users would want to do.

    in longhorn, apparently, you don't need to think about the app you want to use - because the choice is already made for you. clicking on the start button is rubbish. X can do the same by basically labeling "Applications" folder alias on the desktop as "click here." when you click on the start button, you basically get the same information as the dock - access to applications.

    having to learn what app to use is a very small hurdle any user has to overcome once. having the OS decide for you what tasks you can do and the pre-determined app to do that task is scary. if you didn't know what app to use, why would anyone know that the real player can be used instead of a windows media player to play music? i think it's all a pretty poor justification to allow M$ to bundle apps tighter with the OS and extend their control...
  5. Thom_Edwards macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2003
    this guy is WAAAYYYY off!

    he's telling me that in windows, i can set an application that will be used to open the file, and it will happen that way every time! imagine that!

    did you know you *have* to open itunes to open an mp3 file? please, whatever you do, don't just double-click the mp3 and let it open with that non-existent default app on a mac. it won't work!

    and these magical wizards in windows that help you print. can you imagine having to go through 5 windows in this futuristic/must-be-better "task-based" system?

    my favorite sentence in the whole article is this... "And in Longhorn, they will stop having to worry about "where" that file is. It's a natural evolution of the honestly good UI work Microsoft has been doing for years, and not getting a lot of credit for. It's curious."

    hmmmm. i wonder why microsoft hasn't gotten credit for something that doesn't even exist yet! also, even though it's in a product that doens't exist yet, microsoft has been doing it for years!

    i could go on and on, but i won't.
  6. Fukui macrumors 68000


    Jul 19, 2002
    Oh no...not the inductive user interface again...
    Sounds nice on paper, but in practice, I don't think its practical. Somehow I think things that would simply take a single click would end up buried under many clicks to "Next" button, looking for that one option or whatever.

    We'll have to see, but I think the speed advantages of a simple but easy to understand interface (like iTunes or even word for that matter - minus the hidden menus and stuff) and all its speed advantages, and slow everything down by having to click through stupid wizards again and again and again.

    Also, I think that when he touts the "greatness" of the simple actions people use in XP as being intuitive because MS integrates into the File System (actually Explorer), he forgets that what he is basically saying is that for that "Task Based" UI to actually be benificial, it has to be done by MS, and integrated into the Explorer program. Hmm, where do third partys fit into this???

    And then when he claims apple hasn't done anything in the past 8 years in UI, I can just laugh an say OpenDoc. But alas, that was pre-steve and I knew it only in post-mortem. Oh well....
  7. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    not to contradict my previous post, but the intent behind WinFS is a good one. by incorporating more information in the file system structure itself, it takes some of the burden off the OS. however, coupling that information into automated and pre-determined applications is not a good idea.

    would you want your washer/dryer to automatically wash your clothes, dry them, then match your socks and put them away in your dresser? yes, of course, that would be fantastic! you don't have to do anything and you will know that the dresser will have all of your clothes, clean, dry and organized.

    above is fine as long as you want the same thing done all the time. otherwise, it must have some flexibility to allow for intrinsically fuzzy nature of human tasks. what if i just want to dry my clothes? what if i didn't want my socks to be matched? i'm missing a sock - where is it? how can i find out?

    in order to address these potential issues, washer/dryer and dresser must be aware of all the possible things that can happen - quite a feat, if not near impossible. but at the same time, it must not burden the user with enormous choices. instead of programming the entire washer/dryer/dresser chain to do something specific, its sometime easier for us to simply start the washer on our own and yank the clothes out mid-cycle if we change our mind and just wants to half wash them...

    computers can't read out minds and no amout of prior thought will be able to determine everything we might and might not do in a task.
  8. etoiles macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2002
    Where the air is crisp
    "a bit technical" ???? How on earth are you going to find the photo to edit if you don't look for it ?

    aha, now I get it: you don't organize your images, Longhorn does it for you. Longhorn knows what is good for you. Longhorn is your friend. Longhorn loves you. But I still need to friggin navigate/browse through my photos to pick the ones I want to work with, probably setup some sort of hierarchy or groups by adding meta data, so what is Longhorn exactly doing to help out here ?

    And I forgot, nobody has to use Photoshop on XP (lucky them), they just right click-print... wohooooo :rolleyes:
  9. Dale Sorel macrumors 6502a

    Dale Sorel

    Jan 12, 2003
    The next time I see a talking paperclip I'm going to throw my 'puter across the room :mad:
  10. judith macrumors regular


    Jul 27, 2003
    Mt. Baker - Washington State USA
    I love this too! Not only an admission that one has been worried in the past, but... "stop having to worry".
    I give them plenty of credit for evolving, sure, but honestly good? If someone tells you that kitty litter is a yummy treat, even tho in your own personal experience you think it tastes like s**t, will you eventually like to eat it? What if they told you a thousand times? Would it ever be true? What if it were premium, clumping litter with pretty blue crystals that smelled mountain fresh? C'mon!
    XP has been more stable for me than any of it's predecessors - (which isn't saying much) true. But it has been downright maddening for me to seek out under 5 levels of garbage, a preference to turn their crap off! Much harder to set my preferences than in former versions!
    When I installed iTMS, I answered YES to the would you like this to be your default app?, etc. (mind you I've choosen Qtime as default prior to this as well) Yet still, WMP popped it's ugly little head. I had to uncheck the WMP functions in THREE different menus to get it to go away! And yet, pop in a disk, and know don't you? Yes, thats right AUTO RUN ahhh with WMP!!!! How does one kill this app??? (do not suggest the unthinkable: that I remove it completely, as I have learned in the past that in so doing bad things happen)
    This is just one example of how those with preferences other than those chosen for them by the WIN OS have to spend literally hours setting the damn machine up the way they want it.

    :mad: :mad: :mad:

    Another example of a (seemingly) simple preference choice becoming a user nightmare is when I open a folder, and Windows decides that I want to view icons of Word documents, even tho I have switched my view preference to LIST a thousand damn times. I even chose to display all folder views as a list even tho I dont want them all that way, but to no avail, my system gets a wild hair whenever it pleases and re-chooses the view for me.

    If you can't even get the OS to understand that the app you've defined is the one that you do in fact want to use, then how can you possibly expect said OS to improve user-friendliness by removing the option to choose? Granted, having NO choice would make things easier...

    Just a few panes that should give those of you lucky enough to use a Mac exclusively very, very thankful!
  11. 5300cs macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    One thing that I was extremely happy about since the introduction of OS X, was the standard placement of the Preferences menu under the application's title in the menu bar. I cannot tell you how much easier that makes things. Have a look at the preferences for any of the Office applications on a windows system and get out the Asprin (and eye drops.) Going from Word to Outlook Express to IE, they're all in different places (last time I checked) and make a real mess of things.

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