Pogue: Vista is a Mac copy cat. Computerworld: Mac needs 15 improvements

Interesting juxtaposition of commentary out there. While the NYT's David Pogue spots the lengths to which the developers of Vista went to imitate OS X.

Interesting juxtaposition of commentary out there. While the NYT's David Pogue spots the lengths to which the developers of Vista went to imitate OS X.  Although some of those lengths turned out to be not long enough, aspiring to OS X is apparently a good thing for users of Vista if I read Pogue correctly), Computerworld points out there OS X is lacking in 15 different areas. Wrote Pogue (registration may be required to read it):

Windows Vista is beautiful. Microsoft has never taken elegance so seriously before. Discreet eye candy is partly responsible. Windows and menus cast subtle shadows. A new typeface gives the whole affair a fresh, modern feeling. Subtle animations liven up the proceedings....If the description so far makes Vista sound a lot like the Macintosh, well, you’re right. You get the feeling that Microsoft’s managers put Mac OS X on an easel and told the programmers, "Copy that." 

He goes on to prove his case. Verdict? Probably guilty. Microsoft has been chasing after Apple's innovations ever since Windows 95. Back then (gosh, it has been more then 10 years already), on the day that Windows 95 was officially launched, I remember strolling across Microsoft's Redmond campus with Brad Chase (then a veep overseeing Windows 95, here's a real interesting interview of him) as he asked for an honest opinion of how well the new OS stacked up against Mac OS. The target goal was pretty clear (although I'm not sure if they used the same easel that Pogue referred to).

Meanwhile, perhaps the developers of Vista should have visited with Computerworld's Scot Finnie and Kevin Mingis before pressing the compile button for one final time. If they did, perhaps they could have come away with a bunch of ways to out do OS X. Not only have they written the 20 things you won't like about Windows Vista, now, they've documented OS X's biggest shortcomings. In order, they are:

  1. Dynamic Finder refresh
  2. Finder's hobbled "cut" command
  3. A horizontal scrolling problem with Finder (in the context of an app)
  4. Finder's column sizes don't dynamically adjust to folder name lengths
  5. Adjusting Finder's column sizes, requires "grabbing" a small point instead of entire column separators
  6. Problems with laptop screen dimming configuration
  7. Gun-metal gray here. Brushed metal there. Shiny scroll-bars in one place. Dull scroll bars in the other.
  8. Confusing printer setup
  9. Idiotic implementation of delete and backspace (DB: I wholeheartedly agree with this point)
  10. The dock is "disrespectful" to less used (but still needed apps)
  11. Retarded window resizing (compared to Microsoft Windows)
  12. Dock should do better job reflecting multiple app and document instances
  13. Inconsistent use of context menus
  14. OS X Desktop: the "No-Widget Zone"
  15. Date not displayed in the UI (same problem in Windows. DB: But not in Linux!)
Then, for extra measure, they threw in some reader peeves.
  1. Over-protective error shutdown trapping
  2. Renaming isn't easy
  3. Secondary mouse button

So, basically, the top five mean that whoever is in charge of Finder needs to go back to the drawing board. But #6, #9, and reader comment #3 (something I've been slammed for complaining about) would probably be solved by the same solution that would cause me to return to OS X as my primary OS. Let some other PC companies, perhaps Lenovo, make hardware that can run OS X. Just because I (and apparently others) prefer two mouse buttons (or even three) doesn't make us idiots.

And touchpads give me RSI. If a notebook's keyboard doesn't have a pointing stick (what Lenovo calls a TrackPoint on the Thinkpads), then there's little or no chance of me ever buying it. As a touch typist, I like the fact that, in order to move the mouse pointer, my forefingers only have to travel a few millimeters from where they normally rest over the "F" and "J" keys. You may not care. But that's what ergonomically suits me (and, like the the dual-mouse button issue, it suits others too). 

Apple may see hardware design as some sort of religious issue. But, in a bet with Steve Jobs, I'd be willing to throw away Windows forever in favor of an existing MacBook (in other words, eat crow) if allowing Lenovo or some other big time notebook maker doesn't cause OS X's market share numbers to edge up a few notches. I'm relatively sure that if OS X was married to some other hardware, we'd see a big jump.  After all, the hard work (porting OS X to Intel) is already done!