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Mac OS X: Another View


I was going through my Mac mail yesterday, and I noticed a note from Alan Graham (who is writing our Aqua column that debuts on April 20) pointing out this interesting post he had found about Mac OS X.

Alan and I have this ongoing discussion about how negative many of the Mac OS X articles are -- particularly stinging have been the criticisms about it lacking the bells and whistles that the well-seasoned Mac OS 9 includes. Alan forwarded this post by Scot Walker to me as food for thought. I thought it was a banquet.

So I wrote Scot and asked him if I could reprint his post, and he cheerfully gave me permission. So without further rambling by me, here's Scot's "What I Like About OS X."

What I like about OS X

  1. No extensions -- no more playing "Where's Waldo" with the Extension Manager trying to find the extension that is crashing your Mac.
  2. All of the applications I use every day are faster in OS X than in OS 9.1 on my system.
  3. No more out of memory messages.
  4. I never have to select "Hide Others".
  5. I never have to manually allocate memory to my applications.
  6. I never have wasted RAM because I allocated more memory than my application needs.
  7. I don't have stuttering or stopping while I type in this message window while I am downloading a file and listening to an MP3 at the same time.
  8. When I click on the menu bar or hold down the mouse button my computer doesn't stop working.
  9. I don't have to go to the Chooser to switch between my ink jet printer and my laser printer.
  10. I don't have to go to the Chooser to mount a computer on the network.
  11. I don't have to purchase Dave or PCMacLan to network to my PC.
  12. When an application freezes or fails, I don't lose all of my unsaved work in my other running applications.
  13. When an application freezes or fails, I don't have to restart my downloading of a large file.
  14. I don't have to wait for my favorite applications to be written for dual processors.
  15. I like the Dock. I can easily launch my applications and switch between them from anywhere with a single click. I like how it displays information like how many unread emails I have.
  16. Applications are bundled with their system files into a single file. I have never had to install an application in OS X and I never have to search for files to delete when I want to get rid of an application.
  17. I love the open/save dialog boxes in OS X which show me customized favorites and recent places I've been.
  18. The Unix underpinnings bring new talent to the Macintosh developer community and a better chance at enterprise adoption.
  19. I love the new Finder with the toolbar. I instantly jump between all of the folders I go to - Applications, Utilities, Documents, Downloads, Music, etc. I can drag applications from the Downloads folder to the Applications icon on the toolbar and it gets moved there without the proliferation of windows.
  20. No 128 font suitcase limit.
  21. Global spell checker.
  22. I love the PDF display. OmniWeb is the best looking Web browser I have ever used because of this technology.
  23. I don't have to buy Adobe Acrobat to save anything to a PDF.
  24. I love being able to see which QuickTime movie is which just by clicking on it in the Finder without opening it.
  25. I love being able to hear which music file is which just by clicking on it in the Finder.
  26. I love how my external FireWire drive works without having to install software.

That's a fairly impressive list of differences between Mac OS X and OS 9. Just for the record, Scot knows his way around a Mac. He owns Scot Walker Productions in San Francisco where he creates multimedia CD-ROMs, Flash movies, and other productions for corporations.

Also in Mac Dev News Roundup:

Flying High with AirPort

Total OS X Preview

iPhoto Scripts and Plug-ins

Sneak Peek at Canvas 8 for Mac OS X

Rootless X Server on Mac OS X

So I think there's room for an interesting discussion here. It looks to me like Mac OS X has some real improvements, and that part of our challenge as Mac users is just getting used to something new. Does it seem that way to you?

Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit

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