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View Full Version : The desktop OS with its 25-year-old paper-based metaphors is due for a reinvention



the8thark
02-23-2011, 06:12 AM
The desktop OS with its 25-year-old paper-based metaphors (folders, trash cans) is past due for a reinvention.

Do you agree with this statement? And if so what'd you base the new version of Apple OS on?

Chris H.
02-23-2011, 08:33 AM
Folders should be renamed to…hmm…

Trash can? nah..we call that the…hmm…

Good points! I can't think of anything. (A lack of sleep might be the problem, buuut…)

ZachUSAman
02-23-2011, 10:11 AM
....
nobody these days really knows what "save" icon represents...:(

iggibar
02-23-2011, 10:43 AM
I don't think it's necessary to change them. There's nothing wrong with them the way they are. They might be old, but changing them to something, just because they are getting old isn't right. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

RavingMac
02-23-2011, 10:44 AM
I would split the Trash icon in two.

1) A trash compactor to compress and temporarily archive files you might need again. Have it auto empty on a user set basis (say weekly).
2) Laser Blaster to zap files you want to be gone immediately. Hopefully accompanied by flames and lots of smoke! :) (Be a good way to let off frustration)

EDIT: As far as folders, I would dispense with them altogether. Tag every file loaded on the system with type, date etc (as well as user assignable). Then have a series of tabs or drop select menu in finder to display files that meet the filter setting.

robduckyworth
02-23-2011, 11:11 AM
I renamed my trash can to "The **** Bucket" :)

baggss
02-23-2011, 12:06 PM
I almost think that this is what Apple is trying to do with iOS. If there is some sort of iOS GUI implementation in 10.7, which I think Apple has confirmed, then I would view it as the first steps to take the desktop GUI in a new direction.

That being said, I disagree with the idea that it "needs" to be changed, change for the sake of change is silly.

the8thark
02-23-2011, 12:22 PM
We are just renaming everything here. A trash can now called a lazer file zapper is still just a trash can with a fancy name. Maybe the whole lot needs re-invention. No more folders, no more trash. A totally new system.

But there is one downside to this. Old it may be but people who just learnt the system are not going to be happy to learn a new system.

cwa107
02-23-2011, 12:45 PM
We are just renaming everything here. A trash can now called a lazer file zapper is still just a trash can with a fancy name. Maybe the whole lot needs re-invention. No more folders, no more trash. A totally new system.

But there is one downside to this. Old it may be but people who just learnt the system are not going to be happy to learn a new system.

I think what you're saying is that in this day and age, the "desktop" metaphor is no longer necessary or modern. I think in some ways that's true, in others it's an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of proposition. We still use mice and keyboards, and although it we have touch on our phones and tablets, touch is not such a great thing on a laptop/desktop, where fingerprints can mar your screen.

Until display technology reaches the point of "Minority Report", I think the desktop metaphor is still most efficient.

Sawday
02-23-2011, 01:20 PM
Perhaps it is about time to move forward. I've never been happy with the desktop analogy (my wastebin (we don't use 'trash' in UK) sits on the floor and holds my rubbish that I can retrieve until it's emptied; my shredder deals with documents I want to annihilate right away; my folders are kept in a filing cabinet; my photos are in albums but they sit on a shelf; ...).

'Workspace' sounds a promising replacement.

MYmacROX
02-23-2011, 01:43 PM
Until display technology reaches the point of "Minority Report", I think the desktop metaphor is still most efficient.

Agreed. It's fine the way it is. ...for now.


Workspace' sounds a promising replacement.

Ahh, but not everyone uses their computers for work. Desktop makes the most sense (to me). ;D

I foresee a gradual move away from this conventional way of organization/storage. Maybe one day we won't use any of these terms anymore. Or maybe we will only use 1 or 2 of them. But I'm guessing it won't be some big "We have a new naming system" type of announcement. It'll just "happen"...slowly.

ZachUSAman
02-23-2011, 02:09 PM
dont fix what aint broken...

osxx
02-23-2011, 06:49 PM
I would like to see Trash have the option on the dock to empty securely or normal.

zewazir
02-23-2011, 07:14 PM
"Trash" and "folders" not geeky enough?

Would you prefer "recycle bin" and "directories"?

fleurya
02-23-2011, 08:07 PM
....
nobody these days really knows what "save" icon represents...:(

That's a sobering thought!

nidirom
02-23-2011, 08:15 PM
I would split the Trash icon in two.

1) A trash compactor to compress and temporarily archive files you might need again. Have it auto empty on a user set basis (say weekly).
2) Laser Blaster to zap files you want to be gone immediately. Hopefully accompanied by flames and lots of smoke! :) (Be a good way to let off frustration)

EDIT: As far as folders, I would dispense with them altogether. Tag every file loaded on the system with type, date etc (as well as user assignable). Then have a series of tabs or drop select menu in finder to display files that meet the filter setting.

1 - not great for SSDs doing a lot of re-writing
2 - i like the name!

EDIT - you mean... smart folders?

the8thark
02-23-2011, 11:46 PM
I would split the Trash icon in two.

1) A trash compactor to compress and temporarily archive files you might need again. Have it auto empty on a user set basis (say weekly).
2) Laser Blaster to zap files you want to be gone immediately. Hopefully accompanied by flames and lots of smoke! :) (Be a good way to let off frustration)

1. Already exists. We call it time machine.
2. Already exists (without the flames and smoke) and we call it "Secure Empty Trash".

roflitskyle
02-24-2011, 03:38 AM
I couldn't imagine what would replace Folders. Leave it up to Apple to think of something crazier though.

McBie
02-24-2011, 04:07 AM
In would like to see iOS move away totally from having to manage a file system. The apps should take care of all file management activities. We should not be bothered where the files are stored, as long as the application organises them and they can easily be found from the application..... No more finder stuff ... Spotlight YES.
Next step is to move away from the concept of ' documents '... And concentrate on 'content'... Accessible by all browsers.
You have people who create content and people who view content to make decisions... 2 different animals requiring 2 different set of apps and iOS behavior. iOS devices are great for viewing content, less so for creating content.
At the moment , the implementation of 'the cloud' is still in it's infancy, but I would keep focus on that , sort out the legal implications and laws..... The cloud is the place where iOS devices can be beneficial for companies.

My 2 cents.

Cheers ... McBie

RavingMac
02-24-2011, 11:06 AM
1. Already exists. We call it time machine.
2. Already exists (without the flames and smoke) and we call it "Secure Empty Trash".

1) not quite - Time machine backups continue to occupy space until the target drive is full
2) the flames and smoke are essential to the user experience :)

schweb
02-24-2011, 11:17 AM
Of course you're also making the specious assumption that just because something is old it is no longer correct or relevant.

Changing for the sake of change just because something is old isn't really the right thing to do. Change for the sake of genuine improvement is something altogether different.

technologist
02-24-2011, 11:29 AM
Of course you're also making the specious assumption that just because something is old it is no longer correct or relevant. You, sir, are a bad American, a bad consumer, and a bad Apple customer. Shame on you for suggesting such ridiculous nonsense.

It's people like you who are holding back our economic recovery.

RavingMac
02-24-2011, 11:54 AM
Of course you're also making the specious assumption that just because something is old it is no longer correct or relevant.

The same assumptions our teenagers have made about us BTW. :)

IvanLasston
02-25-2011, 10:35 AM
Content and the ability to find it is what is important. Yes we are all used to organizing via folders - but if you think about it the paradigm is horrible on a computer. I do still organize via folders but I want to find stuff quicker. Consider 3 programs, puneka, tagger and default folder x. Here is an article on puneka and tagger.
Quick File Tagging in OS X with Punakea (& Tagger) : hasseg.org (http://hasseg.org/blog/post/146/quick-file-tagging-in-os-x-with-punakea-tagger/)
They all have a way to write into spotlight comments - tags, like you would with delicious and bookmarks. Thus with a browser like puneka your often used tags will start to organize themselves (just like delicious) Then you can either click on a tag in puneka to see all documents you tagged with something like recipes for example. Or you can use spotlight to find all files tagged with recipe. I think once people realize you can organize via tags, then you just dump everything into documents and tag the file. Sorting yourself will become passe.

Secondly I agree very much with the content comment. One issue I have with iOS devices is that it isn't always easy to share content between apps. People keep asking for a file system - but what they really want is a way to share content between apps. Some kind of super clipboard would probably be all you need. I.E. - I create a movie. Put it to the clipboard. Open it in some effects app. Do some effects. Save that off - and put it on the clipboard - go to my twitter app and be able to post that video on some sharing site. Now all the apps are in control of their data. So to find the original video I go to camera. To find the modified video I go to my effects program, etc,etc. This is what OSX and iLife are already trying to do. The app manages the data and you don't need to know the file structure. But you can share the data between apps.

Anyway - computers are much more powerful than when they came up with this file system/desktop paradigm - use the power with search is the initial step. People much smarter than me are coming up with UIs that are much more intuitive. Just play with the kinect on the xbox 360 or any of the open source apps they made for the kinect. You are talking about no controllers and voice command, with old hardware (the 360 isn't that impressive as far as specs) Stuff like Watson from IBM is probably another layer for interface so we can ask free form questions.

baggss
02-25-2011, 12:39 PM
Content and the ability to find it is what is important. Yes we are all used to organizing via folders - but if you think about it the paradigm is horrible on a computer. I do still organize via folders but I want to find stuff quicker. Consider 3 programs, puneka, tagger and default folder x. Here is an article on puneka and tagger.
Quick File Tagging in OS X with Punakea (& Tagger) : hasseg.org (http://hasseg.org/blog/post/146/quick-file-tagging-in-os-x-with-punakea-tagger/)
They all have a way to write into spotlight comments - tags, like you would with delicious and bookmarks. Thus with a browser like puneka your often used tags will start to organize themselves (just like delicious) Then you can either click on a tag in puneka to see all documents you tagged with something like recipes for example. Or you can use spotlight to find all files tagged with recipe. I think once people realize you can organize via tags, then you just dump everything into documents and tag the file. Sorting yourself will become passe.

Secondly I agree very much with the content comment. One issue I have with iOS devices is that it isn't always easy to share content between apps. People keep asking for a file system - but what they really want is a way to share content between apps. Some kind of super clipboard would probably be all you need. I.E. - I create a movie. Put it to the clipboard. Open it in some effects app. Do some effects. Save that off - and put it on the clipboard - go to my twitter app and be able to post that video on some sharing site. Now all the apps are in control of their data. So to find the original video I go to camera. To find the modified video I go to my effects program, etc,etc. This is what OSX and iLife are already trying to do. The app manages the data and you don't need to know the file structure. But you can share the data between apps.

Anyway - computers are much more powerful than when they came up with this file system/desktop paradigm - use the power with search is the initial step. People much smarter than me are coming up with UIs that are much more intuitive. Just play with the kinect on the xbox 360 or any of the open source apps they made for the kinect. You are talking about no controllers and voice command, with old hardware (the 360 isn't that impressive as far as specs) Stuff like Watson from IBM is probably another layer for interface so we can ask free form questions.

I pretty much disagree with that whole statement.

IvanLasston
02-25-2011, 02:59 PM
I pretty much disagree with that whole statement.

First off - what I said is my opinion and you are welcome to yours. In Soviet Russia you'd only get 1 opinion and you'd have to share that with 5 of your comrades. That being said did you read the article I linked to? Do you use delicious and tagging? If you think tagging is just a fad that is fine, but many services are moving to it. Check out blekko for example - slashtag searching.
blekko | slashtag search (http://blekko.com/)
Tom Tom has enabled crowd sourced mapping. Etc, etc, there are a myriad of applications that are moving to tagging by humans.

On the file system - what is it about looking through folders that you find interesting or fun? Try browsing pictures with finder. Now try it with iphoto or picassa or bridge or any other dedicated browser. Also note that a file browser that tries to be everything is what got Microsoft into trouble. Nothing like letting the Web into your computer through your browser. My point is a file system was a way to organize when computers weren't fast or good at finding things, and you don't want a central place to attack like Microsoft Explorer did to that OS.

I forgot to mention that a super clip program has already been implemented. On something with limited resources like iOS you'd probably have to implement it through linking or some such. I got this program called clips which runs on OSX - which stores everything you cut/copy/paste. It is a resource hog which is why I say if you were to do a light version it would be better for an iOS device.
Conceited Software - Clips - Your Mac OS X clipboard reinvented. (http://www.conceitedsoftware.com/products/clips)

nidirom
02-25-2011, 07:50 PM
First off - what I said is my opinion and you are welcome to yours. In Soviet Russia you'd only get 1 opinion and you'd have to share that with 5 of your comrades. That being said did you read the article I linked to? Do you use delicious and tagging? If you think tagging is just a fad that is fine, but many services are moving to it. Check out blekko for example - slashtag searching.
blekko | slashtag search (http://blekko.com/)
Tom Tom has enabled crowd sourced mapping. Etc, etc, there are a myriad of applications that are moving to tagging by humans.

On the file system - what is it about looking through folders that you find interesting or fun? Try browsing pictures with finder. Now try it with iphoto or picassa or bridge or any other dedicated browser. Also note that a file browser that tries to be everything is what got Microsoft into trouble. Nothing like letting the Web into your computer through your browser. My point is a file system was a way to organize when computers weren't fast or good at finding things, and you don't want a central place to attack like Microsoft Explorer did to that OS.

I forgot to mention that a super clip program has already been implemented. On something with limited resources like iOS you'd probably have to implement it through linking or some such. I got this program called clips which runs on OSX - which stores everything you cut/copy/paste. It is a resource hog which is why I say if you were to do a light version it would be better for an iOS device.
Conceited Software - Clips - Your Mac OS X clipboard reinvented. (http://www.conceitedsoftware.com/products/clips)

The filesystem is an important hierarchal structure that is central to a lot of software... most central in that argument being the OS. iFile gives you access to that sort of thing if you have defected to the "dark side," but you're right in some aspects. It certainly isn't an intuitive file system that should necessarily be understood by every consumer user. Tagging is a good idea. However, having a zillion unorganized files in one dump location is infuriating.

Chris H.
02-26-2011, 01:15 PM
However, having a zillion unorganized files in one dump location is infuriating.

Kind of like some people's Documents folder, or Pictures folder if they're THAT lazy…


Thankfully there are folders in which to create and dump stuff in. People don't realize that sometimes. I've seen it before when I've had to repair computers (especially when looking for the BOOT.INI file in Windows). I don't know who are more unorganized - Mac users or Windows users.

Sonicjet
02-28-2011, 04:16 PM
Personally, I'm convinced on Google's solution, Why would someone even need an desktop or an collection of hand installed apps, why not just sync everything with the cloud, and how many users do anything other than use the web anyway? Yes, you are going to have the artist who needs Photoshop and yes you are going to have the random person who plays Crysis...but what about 90% of all users? Food for thought...

-A CR-48 owner and enjoy-er.

robduckyworth
02-28-2011, 05:47 PM
Personally, I'm convinced on Google's solution, Why would someone even need an desktop or an collection of hand installed apps, why not just sync everything with the cloud, and how many users do anything other than use the web anyway? Yes, you are going to have the artist who needs Photoshop and yes you are going to have the random person who plays Crysis...but what about 90% of all users? Food for thought...

-A CR-48 owner and enjoy-er.

im not convinced with this cloud phenomenon. i dont trust my internet connection; how will i get to do anything if its all cloud based?

Sawday
03-01-2011, 06:14 AM
im not convinced with this cloud phenomenon. i dont trust my internet connection; how will i get to do anything if its all cloud based?

I'm with you on that one.

the8thark
03-01-2011, 09:54 AM
I second the cloud issues.

Can we trust our internet connections to be stable enough to be able to access the cloud anytime we want?
How can I trust my data is safe in the cloud?
Can I trust the cloud is reliable enough not to handle the number of users it'll get and be online all the times I need it?

All questions I don't have answers for now.

IvanLasston
03-01-2011, 12:03 PM
Conversely

How do I access all my data without carrying around a bunch of hard drives?
How can I trust my house won't burn down, get burglarized, get caught in a flood, etc, etc?
Can I trust my home computers won't crash, won't have a hardware problem, won't get a trojan, virus, malware?

My point isn't to argue but to point out that a combination of cloud plus personal is going to be around for awhile. You can't fully trust the cloud but your data at home isn't 100 percent accessible or safe either.

I throw pictures on flickr as yet another backup, but they are on several hard drives at home and at work.

the8thark
03-01-2011, 12:12 PM
I agree. The point is not which option is 100% safe cause neither are. The issue is which is more reliable for my data.