Just Three Things

On January 3, 2007, in Opinion, by Bruce Black


Back in May of ‘04, I wrote about why I felt that it was time for Apple Computer to finally introduce a two-button mouse for the Mac. As most folks know by now, they finally did just that. The Apple “Mighty Mouse” retails for $49.99 (hard-wired version) at the Apple store. I’ve tried it, several times in fact, at my local Apple stores in Burlington, MA. Hmmm,,, Sorry but no thanks. That little track ball is difficult to control, and the buttons? I just cannot seem to get them to feel right. I know, I know; it must be me. Consider it said.

At the moment, my mouse of choice is the Kensington optical Pilot Mouse. Now, this is what I call a fistful of mouse. It’s good sized, and has nice rubber grips on the sides. The scroll wheel is pretty precise, when I’m not using my Griffin Powermate. (Damn, those things are addictive!) This is what a mouse should be, in my own strange opinion. If Apple’s mouse works for you, well, knock yourself out.

So here we are, a new year, and on the brink of Macworld ‘07. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I’d like to see Steve Jobs bring out from behind the curtain. I can think of a lot of things, besides the much-wanted, much-anticipated Apple iPhone. I probably have too many things on my mind to list here. So, I’ve narrowed my list down to three items. I’m hoping that any and all respondents will do likewise. Can you think of three things, either new hardware products, or goodies in Leopard that you’d like to see? C’mon, you know you can. Give it whirl. Here are the three things I’d like see at the next Macworld.

A better mouse. I’d like to see a mouse that compliments Apple’s hardware and the interface of OS X. So, how about the same form factor as the present mighty mouse, but in a silver aluminum finish that compliments the Mac Pro. Two real buttons and a real scroll wheel between them. The Apple logo facing the rear, illuminated by a small blue LED. That would be worth my $49.99. I realize that this is probably kicking a hornet’s nest with this. If you disagree, good for you. We have the freedom to disagree.

Themes. This has been talked about a lot, in the various on-line forums and blog areas. Remember themes? There were supposed to be a lot of them included in the OS, as far back as the turbulent days of OS 8, but they were pulled at the last moment. I have always heard that themes were supposed to have originally been included in various major releases of OS X, but it has simply never happened. Yes folks, I’m well aware that you can have themes with third-party applications such as Shapeshifter, but I feel they should just be built in to the OS, by Apple. Toss in a “It looks like OS 8!” theme, for the old timers out there who miss it. I could go for a really cool NeXtStep theme. ( I only saw a NeXtcube in service one time, circa 1990. It was one of those really cool things you just never forget.)

A printer test sheet. Believe it or not, I have taken some ribbing from my windows-using friends(?) over this. The fact that I have to use whatever document is handy, to see if a networked or locally connected printer is working and talking properly. Windows has a decent (I won’t say cool, because it’s not) built-in printer test page. So do the various commercial releases of Linux I’ve encountered in my travels. Now, why doesn’t the Mac OS? The operating system of choice among the graphic arts professionals should have a built in test page, and it should be the best looking test page in town. It should include a really nice Apple logo, the information about the printer, including the printer name, and its IP address if it’s networked. It should include which computer the test page was sent from, the printer driver version, and a good showing of fonts. Make it colorful, or perfectly usable if the printer is black and white. How would I like to use it? I’d like be able to launch the Printer Setup Utility, select a printer, and click on “Print a test page” from the tool bar. Is this asking for too much? Heck, why not include it in the next service upgrade for Tiger? It would be nice, for those of us who don’t plan to upgrade for awhile.

So, there are my three things. What are yours?

 

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