Sunday, February 27, 2005

Times, and Tastes Change

Back in the days of Windows 3.X I'd try various applications—either at work on other people's machines—or downloaded from magazine disks.

Try before you buy.

One of the, "Mmm, I could use this," criteria was: "How many toolbars does it have?" Having lots of toolbars up made everything look more professional; and often helped to justify the cost of some of the more elaborate programs. Word 6 was particularly good for this. You could turn on so many toolbars that there was hardly any real estate left for the document!

But time and tastes change. Recently I decided to change my computer—and at the same time I decided to change OS's from Windows to Mac. I decided to take advantage of that tipping point by also changing some of my computer usage habits.

Instead of being app-centric in my thinking, I chose to be task-centric; I'll explain what I mean. Under Windows I'd launch an app and do several things with that app, and then close it and move onto something else—it never really occurred to me to leave it up.

For some oh-so-subtle reason, on the Mac it just seems like the most natural thing in the world to leave an app Running All the Time and when I'm not currently using it—either close or hide the current window and bring the next thing into focus.

But what has this got to do with toolbars? Well, for some other oh-so-subtle reason, on the Mac I find myself staying on the keyboard far more and taking advantage of the keyboard shortcuts to do things I'd otherwise do with a click on a toolbar. It helps that once learned, these shortcuts are generally applicable no matter which application I'm in.

Ergo no need for the toolbars so out they go. The 90's it was more is good—the 00's it's less is good. Suddenly the iPod makes more sense aesthetics-wise.

Must get job to pay for all this...

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