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One Thing I Love, and One Thing I Hate About OS X

February 18th, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

I wrote yesterday about how OS X makes all that UNIX fun easy to use. After a couple days of playing with Windows & Solaris Java Desktop, I was reminded of one thing that I really like about OS X, and one thing that I absolutely despise.

I love the way that OS X handles disk images, either ISO’s or .dmg files. You can just double click the .iso or .dmg and OS X will mount the image as a usable disk on your desktop. If the ISO is a movie, DVD Player will automatically launch and start playing the DVD. If it’s a data CD/DVD, then the Finder will open a window, ready for you to work with those files. Because mounting disk images are handled by the OS, these mounted images are available to other programs as normal volumes. For example, I copied an ISO I made of a DVD on my Windows machine (using DVD Decrypter), mounted it on my Mac, and then used MediaFork on the faux volume to encode to iPod video. On the Windows side, you have to install third-party software that will accomplish the same result, but is nowhere as simple to use.

One thing I hate about OS X is how you can’t tab to pull-down menus or radio buttons in a web browser or the keyboard in many modal dialog boxes. When filling out registration forms, it’s way more convenient for me to keep my hands on the keyboard and just tab through all the options. When I get to a pull-down menu, I can use the keyboard to arrow through choices or press a letter key to jump to the first option that begins with that letter (press ‘c’ twice to jump to CA and then CO when choosing the state in my address, for example). This works great in Windows, but in OS X I have to switch to the mouse because tabbing will jump right past radio buttons and pull-downs. Also, when Firefox prompts me to remember a password in a web site (a modal dialog box), I have to switch to the mouse. In Windows, I just hit ‘r’ for “Remember” – much more convenient.

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  1. February 18th, 2007 at 19:21 | #1

    I found solutions to the issue that I hate about Mac OS X. First if you’re using Safari, my friend Nick tells me that in the advanced options you can select “press tab to highlight each item…” to get that to work.

    My real problem was Firefox because there is no such option exposed in the preferences UI. Another suggestion from Nick, and a little digging around though and I found the solution. The option isn’t even exposed in about:config, but you can override the default setting by entering your option in a user.js file. By default, this file doesn’t exist so you’ll need to create the file and place it inside your Firefox profile folder (Users:[user]:Application Support:Firefox:Profiles:[profile name]:user.js). Inside this user.js file, enter the line…

    user_pref(“accessibility.tabfocus”, 7);

    That’s it! Now there’s one less thing that I hate about OS X. :)

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