Getting accustomed to Mac: a short list of peeves

Switching to a Mac has been unexpectedly easy. I can do almost everything I would want to do with the exception of watching streaming NetFlix movies – and that will hopefully be resolved soon. Besides that one nagging issue, here is a list of things I need to get used to.

1) No Home or End key on my MacBook Pro. I’m in the habit of pressing SHIFT+HOME/END to select all of the text on a line. On the Mac keyboard – which doesn’t have HOME/END keys – I must press CMD+SHIFT+LEFT/RIGHT to select the text. Same thing with just moving the caret to the end or beginning of the line. You need to press COMMAND+LEFT/RIGHT instead of just HOME/END.

2) Safari will not maximize to the screen width. This bugs the heck out of me. If I press the ‘+’, or maximize icon, safari only takes up the vertical space. It does not fill the width of the screen. 

3) Installing things often results in kruft left on my desktop. I know this isn’t a Mac issue really. Any software company can litter your desktop with installer detritus. I just get annoyed that some of the Mac installations “mount” a file to the desktop during installation and then don’t clean it up. 

4) Highlighting contents of a text field with the track pad, without clicking to finalize the selection, results in a delayed text entry. Ok, this one is kind of complicated and took me a while to figure out. Suppose I want to type something in, say, the URL field in Safari. If I click and drag to select the current URL, but then just start typing, and the mouse is no longer hovering in the text field, but outside slightly over the chrome, the text does not appear. If I then move the mouse over the field, suddenly all my typing appears. O_o

5) The title bar thingy sticks around if you close the window on an app. I don’t get this one, yet. If you close Finder by clicking it’s ‘x’ icon. The title bar still says “Finder”. OK, maybe Finder is a bad example – but it’s the same for Safari or Netbeans or anything else you want to choose. If I close the last window of an application, ditch the title bar thing. At least that’s what my expectation is. I don’t want to click Address Book -> Quit Address Book. I just did! I closed it. Go away!

Author: Eric Holsinger

Eric Holsinger is a software professional and photography enthusiast in Southern Maine.

2 thoughts on “Getting accustomed to Mac: a short list of peeves”

  1. Ah… you’ve been surprised by the difference between docking and quitting an app. It takes getting used to, but it’s awesome. Clicking the red X doesn’t close an App, it docks it. It’s still running on your dock, that’s why there’s a little light under it, and that’s why the menubar is still active for that app. To really quit an app, you have to actually CMD-Q it.

    It seems weird at first, but it works for me because I usually have one instance of each dock app running anyway, so combining the launch and task-switch aspects kinda makes sense.

  2. 1. What program are you using that requires HOME and END keys? The only program that works that way for me is Dreamweaver. Mac apps should use CMD – arrow combination. It just takes getting used to, in my opinion. I don’t see one as being necessarily better… but I understand the memory involved.

    2. This is a common complaint I’ve heard. The issue is that the maximize button on the Mac tries to expand just enough to show all the content. This works wonderfully for apps like Photoshop. Why would I want to maximize the window when I just want to see all the image? In Windows, you’re much more apt to work in full-screen mode… the Mac is much more about multiple windows. It takes getting used to. I think in some ways the Mac way is better and in some ways it is not.

    3. Installing an app actually mounts a disk image. That is the cruft. So, it is like you’re inserting a virtual CD in the drive to install. You’ll notice that the apps will show up in the sidebar of the Finder as mounted volumes. If you rebooted, the drives will not be mounted. But you do have to unmount them before deleting the image file which is kind of a pain. So, technically, it isn’t installing anything on your desktop… just mounting a volume if that makes sense.

    4. I would have to see this behavior… I have never experienced that. Unless you have a mouse driver that changes the behavior, if you’ve clicked in the address bar of Safari it should retain the focus and accept typing. I just tested and can’t replicate that… One nice thing about Mac mouse focus is that you can scroll anything you are hovered only… including windows in the background.

    5. The way to think of the red circle is that it closes the window and not the app. To me, this makes much more sense. I don’t like how, in Windows, the program’s menus are part of the document window. On the Mac you will always know where the program’s menus are. It unifies the UI, in my opinion. Just get used to using CMD – Q to quit. The placement of those keys is also very natural to hit (unlike ALT-F4). I understand that if you close the Address Book window that you most likely want to close the app… but that would not be the case if you have three Word documents open, for example. The Mac OS is about consistency… if it works one way in one app, it *should* work that way in other apps.

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