At the end of my review of Spaces yesterday, I mentioned an article over at 37signals. Like me, David identified the need to open separate application windows on different spaces, without being torn from one space to another.

I followed his link to Mac OS X hints, and adjusted the Dock accordingly. But even with that fix, I ended up being so frustrated that I turned off Spaces all together last night. Why? Because the “fix” ended up breaking Alt+Tab.

I still maintain that the best way for Spaces to be effective is to maintain truly separate Desktops; including, separate files on each Desktop, separate Docks for each Desktop, etc. However, that isn’t how Spaces operates today. Accepting this fact, I still find myself determined to reap the potential productivity benefits.

After the jump, I discuss why I’m obsessed with Alt+Tab, how Spaces is breaking Alt+Tab, and how I’m using Mozilla Prism to make Spaces meet my needs a little bit better.

Read more…

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 228 user reviews.

I’ve been excited about the prospect of Spaces for quite some time. Perfect for someone who wants to multi-task: I can have one space for email and chatting, another for blogging and photos, and still another (or two or three) for side projects. Brilliant!

In some cases, applications will be nicely confined to one space. IM clients, for example: I will only chat in one space to prevent from being distracted in others.

Web browsers are another story. I need them everywhere. For email. For blogging. For arranging photos on Flickr. For researching that tricky programming issue that has me pulling my hair out. But I don’t want email on my programming space. That’s the point of separating it out – I don’t want to be distracted by something that isn’t contributing to the task on that space.

So let’s take a simple scenario, and explore how Spaces supports it.

Read more…

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 227 user reviews.

OK this incident was just freaky. Whilst I’m freaking out and asking Julian to help me recover my iTunes library, I was noticing that none of my IM emoticons were showing up. Instead, I just got the standard Apple “I don’t know what this image is” question mark:

The Apple broken link question mark

Perplexed, I decided to go into the Preferences menu and see if I could sort something out. And then I was really perplexed. My Preferences menu looked like it had died during the upgrade:

The Adium menu still has the labels for the different sections,  but all of the images and content are missing.

If you run into this, simply trash the current version of Adium and reinstall it. In my case, the preferences remained intact, so reinstalling fixed all my problems without any additional setup work required.

Anyway, this will be the last Leopard Chronicle about an application hiccup. I just couldn’t resist showing off that Preferences window, since it freaked me right out.

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 151 user reviews.

Shame on me for believing Apple when they say that their new Leopard OS “works with the software and accessories you already have.” I’ve already mentioned that Leopard didn’t play so nicely with Safari. It turns out that it doesn’t play well with iTunes either.

Read more…

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 258 user reviews.

I got an email from one of my credit card companies today saying that my card has been upgraded! Because, in case you haven’t heard, credit cards are software too.

I chuckled at first when I saw the message at the bottom about how to take advantage of the offer:

A snippet from my credit card promo email that says,  Just call (this number) and start using your card.

On the one hand, it could simply mean that after I call that number, the upgrade will take hold. All I need to do is use my card.

On the other hand, I haven’t used this card since I got it. Perhaps this is them pleading with me to actually make a purchase so they can start charging me interest. Ah, the joys of cards with no annual fees.

Maybe the ambiguity is all in my head, but I got a kick out of it anyway.

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 289 user reviews.

I’ve been watching the blogosphere and waiting for the latest version of Mac OSX to reach a level of quality that most people seemed to be happy with it. With update 10.5.2 that seemed to happen, so I bought the disc and set it up on my machine.

And my first experience with Leopard was so special that I just had to share it with everyone:

An error dialog box that says,  You cannot use the application Safari with this version of Mac OS X.

Take a moment to let that sink in. It’s not saying that I have an old version of Safari, or that the Safari I’m referencing can’t be run on Leopard. It’s telling me Safari can’t run on Leopard. Period.

What it means to say is that I’m trying to open the version of Safari left over from my Tiger installation, and that version doesn’t run on Leopard. That’s just not what it actually says.

And whether or not I figure out what the error means to say, it’s still pretty jarring to hear that Apple’s browser doesn’t work on Apple’s latest operating system.

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 255 user reviews.

Edit: This post deals with a theory about the movie Fight Club. In discussing the theory, the ending is revealed (after the jump). If you haven’t watched Fight Club… well, why haven’t you? But you may want to avoid reading this until you have.

As someone who has an outside-the-norm view on a few movies, I really enjoyed reading this interpretation of Fight Club. It’s almost seven years old, but it was new to me, and I thought it was great.

The idea is that the movie Fight Club is a continuation of the Calvin & Hobbes comic strips, some 15-20 years later. The author offers a lot of great comparisons, and overall it’s very enjoyable reading.

Read more…

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 268 user reviews.

One of the health-related blogs that I follow had an article today about a new Welch’s ad in People Magazine that allows you to actually lick a panel on the magazine to taste the product.

I’m not sure what I think about this new marketing strategy… but I’m curious to see if it will catch on.

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 162 user reviews.

Given how popular both of these games are in the blogosphere, even suggesting something negative about either one makes me think that something like this will happen to me in the near future.

But as a designer, I’m constantly faced with people suggesting (often quite obscurely) that software should be more like a video game. There was even an article in the New York Times last year to that effect.

So here we are in 2008, and Spore and Super Smash Brothers Brawl are two of the most anticipated games of the year. What can they tell us about UI Design? My first impression is that they are each taking on quite a bit, albeit in different ways. Software designed this way is sometimes referred to as bloated, suggesting that the scope is too broad and not user-focused. Bloated software often falls victim to slipping on its release date, as well (Cough. Cough).

Time to scope out these games. Is the future of video gaming aligned with the future UI design? Or are these games falling victim to the same usability issues that UI designers have known about for years? I’m diving in after the jump.

Read more…

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 182 user reviews.

One of the first things you learn in an Information Design curriculum is how to communicate a message across different distances. What do people notice from far away? Are they compelled to come in for a closer look? How do you hook your reader into coming closer to examine the entire piece?

I’m always impressed by pieces that can do this without using any words… they establish a compelling macro view that is equally interesting at a micro level, when you’ve stepped right up to it. Yesterday, I received a link to some recent Chris Jordan work, and I was really impressed by the message behind these visualizations. They can be enjoyed as they are, but they become even more powerful when you read the caption associated with each piece.

Enjoy!

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 214 user reviews.