Mercury News columnist Jon Fortt says Mac OS X’s Aqua interface makes other operating systems look “homely.” Though some folks have criticized the interface of the next generation operating system as being mere eye candy, Fortt says it was the beauty of Aqua that made them take the plunge and see how he liked using nothing but Mac OS X and applications built for it.
His main uses for the Mac: surfing the Net, sending e-mail and instant messages, creating documents, and fiddling around with music files. He gives Mac OS X passing marks in three of those four areas.
“The experience with OS X was a mixed bag; it was like moving into a beautiful new home that’s still under construction,” Fortt writes in a
Mercury News column. “You have to do without your favorite couch and your dining room table for a while.”
He said that, overall, connecting to and surfing the Internet and surfing wasn’t a problem. The Mac OS X AOL Instant Messenger works reasonably well. Messing around with music files also went relatively smoothly, particularly after Apple’s Mac OS X update that allowed ripping, mixing, and burning of CDs.
“Things weren’t perfect, though; I ran into a couple of bugs in iTunes for OS X,” he said. “One, if the screen saver comes on while a song is playing, the music is interrupted when you call the screen back to life. Apple software chief Avie Tevanian says some in his legion of 1,000 software engineers are fixing that now. Two, if you try to play a song while it is being ripped from a CD, the song will sometimes play erratically. Tevanian said he hadn’t heard about that bug yet, so maybe I get credit for finding it.”
However, he gives Mac OS X its worst grades in the area of document creation, which breaks down in the printing arena. A lot of ink jet printer drivers aren’t yet available for Mac OS X, and there’s still not compatibility with some external devices, such as Palm OS devices (which won’t sync).
Fortt’s experience with Mac OS X started with the public beta — and he wasn’t impressed, mainly because Classic kept freezing. Also, he missed the traditional Apple menu in the upper left-hand corner and it seemed slow. However, Fortt is much happier with the latest version of Mac OS X. For one thing, it’s very “Mac-like” despite some radical changes, he said.
However, he says there are some things in OS X that need tweaking. For example, he thinks Apple should make it easy to customize the desktop by moving the Dock to the side. Fortt says, “top folks at Apple tell me they’re considering adding features like that.” Though the columnist still doesn’t feel Mac OS X is ready for mass consumption, he thinks it will be soon.
“Yes, the house is under construction, so move in at your own risk,” Fortt said. “Once it is finished, though, it should make for pretty fine living quarters.”