F10 Launch Studio

I’ve been using F10 Launch Studio a bit. While I think the concept is very solid, there are some issues with the interface that prevent me from using it full time.

1. The order of the groups cannot be rearranged. Why?

2. Items cannot be sorted into rows – they can be ordered, but that order is used for a continuous left-right, top-bottom layout. This makes it hard to subdivide a group. For example, the Internet pane would much more useful if I could create several rows (or columns) in which similar items were placed.

Row A: Browsers – OmniWeb | Mozilla | Safari | iCab | Opera
Row B: Chat clients – iChat AV | Proteus | AIM | Fire
Row C: FTP/SSH – RBrowser | Transmit
Row D: P2P – Poisoned | XNap | mlMac
Row E: Misc. Utilities – URL Manager Pro | Safari Bookmark Exporter

I imagine one of the problems the designers encountered was with icon sizing and horizontal scrolling – the app is designed to offer scalable icon sizes and ONLY vertical scrolling, a la iPhoto. This would create a problem if a group of icons were confined to one row. The solution: limit the maximum icon size when using grouped rows!

One of the features I’ve found very useful is the hot-corner activation – I’d like to see the corner be used to both show AND hide the launch window, saving a bit of mousing if it is accidentally activated.

I think these changes would make a good product great. Then again, what do I know?

File copying UI

Having used Gnome a bit, one of the features I found much to my liking was the method used to show the progress of file copying. Rather than using a chunky, clutterific progress window, the file’s icon label updates (in real-time) the filesize until the copy is complete. On completion, the filename is displayed as normal.

I think this would be a welcome addition to OS X. A number of the Eazel people who created Nautilus are (back, in some cases) at Apple. They may well have ideas about how to improve this feature, possibly taking advantage of the graphical features of Quartz to give the user additional visual feedback. Perhaps a gradual fade-in of the icon?

I would not advocate using this method in all cases – it is best used ONLY for file copies initiated in the actual file manager. Downloads started from FTP clients or browsers would have no easy way to indicate that a download has begun as requested. This is how it works in Nautilus/Gnome.

In this corner . . .

I have been using Greg Schueler’s CornerClick on my iMac. An interesting implementation of Fitts’ Law. While it is true that the corners of the screen have infinite depth, there are only four of them. Using modifier keys is a good way to expand the manipulation possibilities, but forces the user to remember the key combinations. CornerClick used in conjunction with the upcoming 10.3 release with Expose might greatly alleviate the need to use the Dock.

In A Silent Way

The Complete In A Silent Way Sessions is great as music and as a way of seeing the direction that so many of the musicians involved in the recordings would go on their own. The early sounds of Weather Report (Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul), the Mahavishnu Orchestra (John McLaughlin), Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, and Tony Williams’ Lifetime, and Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi (not to mention Miles Davis’ own groups of the early ’70s) are all heard on these tracks.

IE6 and JavaScript

Just when you think you have a problem solved (pop-up window navigation), IE6 comes along and screws it up.

<a href=javascript: history.back()">Back</a>

Does not seem to want to work. At all. Regardless of syntax.

As for why, it would appear to relate to this securityfocus.com listing. Rather than FIXING it, they disabled the code. FABOO!!

I’d appreciate anyone correcting me if I’m wrong in saying that this is Microsoft’s fault.

Letter s p a c i n g

According to Apple’s documentation, Safari 1.0 supports the letter-spacing property. Unfortunately, this is one of the tables which Dave Hyatt rightly pointed out as giving a view of breadth, but not of depth. Something about the CSS we are using causes the property to be ignored.

Cursives! Foiled again

The installation of Safari (version 1.0) on my iMac does not render the text beneath my weblog title in the system cursive font, as specified by my CSS. This is somewhat ironic as my iMac is the machine my weblog is actually on. D’oh.

Other installations of Safari on our home network render it as they should. Very odd. Also, OmniWeb (4.5b3) on my iMac renders it fine! It uses WebCore too, so this is somewhat befuddling.

Safari lacks the detailed font configuration of Mozilla and IE5, making this an irritant of greater size than it should be. I have tried flushing the user and system caches w/Cocktail and resetting Safari, all to no avail. Google searching has revealed nothing as yet.

Unsupported CSS in Safari 1.0

It appears that Safari does not support the text-decoration property within a span that is set to display: none until hovered (on which it is set to display: block, a la Eric Meyer’s css/edge).

I’ll post the files which revealed this issue in a day or two.

I also have seen some problems with the word-spacing property, which is supported, according to the MacEdition CSS2 support table.