Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Mac User - Day 398 - The "dock" just isn't doing it for me

Last year I posted a "new Mac User - Day 1" entry on my blog with my first impressions. Well, it's been 398 days since then, and I know a bit more about the mac now and figured it was time for a follow up.

I suppose it's more like, one year later now...

Topic: The Mac "Dock"
It's the one thing that right away, when windows users look at, they say "what the heck is that?".

It's Mac's equivalent to Windows taskbar, and it works a bit differently. The Mac universe seems to love this thing ... I don't really understand why.

First, the good:
  • I really like that when I want to open up a certain app (say, firefox or iphoto), the button that opens it, whether it's open or not, is always in the same spot. Very handy (whereas in windows, apps resort themselves on the taskbar whenever they get opened.)
Now, the bad:
  • The doc takes up way to much screen real estate, especially on modern widescreens. It may have made sense with the traditional screen aspect ratio, but it doesn't on my little macbook pro screen (even worse on a macbook). GAH.
  • Windows can only be resized by clicking the bottom right hand corner of them... but sometimes large windows get stuck BEHIND the dock and I cant get at the re-size button without accidentally opening another application. ARGH.
  • Minimizing windows to the doc is pointless because unlike the windows taskbar, you can't clearly see what the minimized application is, it's too small. BLECK
    As a result, I don't ever minimize these days, I just let my desktop get all cluttered up and find my apps with expose (which, is super handy BTW)
  • The dock get's really confused when the same app has multiple windows associated with it. My biggest pet peeve is with firefox. Lets say you downloaded something at somepoint in the day, and you have minimized your firefox window. Later on in the day, click on firefox on the dock and it opens up your list of downloaded files, with firefox itself nowhere to be found. I click like mad on the firefox button, and nothing pops up but this silly download list (until I close the download list). YAR.
I get the feeling that the "dock" is there on the Mac simply because it is "different", not because it's particularly functional. I have moved my dock to the right side of my screen instead of the bottom to get it out of the way, which makes it a bit less obtrusive (but makes minimized windows even more impossible to figure out).

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