A Week on a Mac

By Deane Barker on January 14, 2005

A Windows user spends a week with a Mac: This is from last year, but it’s a good essay about transitioning from Windows to Mac. It seems balanced, and it reinforces my overall feeling: six of one, half dozen of the other. I think Macs are pretty, but I doubt I’d be any more or less productive on one.

I am, however, wicked jealous of this feature:

The “spring-loaded folders” feature is something I will miss in Windows. Pickup an icon and drag it over a folder, if you keep holding down the mouse button, the folder will open, you can then hover over child folder, which will open. You can repeat this process indefinitely, making it easy to navigate deep into a folder hierarchy. Then, when you finally drop the icon, it is deposited in its final location and all the windows you opened close. It works well.

Man, I’d love that. Why hasn’t Windows ripped this off yet? Conversely, I thought this was pretty funny:

Another annoyance: while icons have nice visual transparency, they also have tactile transparency. This basically means that if an icon has a hole in it, and you click in the hole, you haven’t clicked on the icon. What!? The Internet Explorer icon is a good example: the gaps in the “e” (not to mention all the white-space around in icon) are mouse-click dead zones…



  1. “You can repeat this process indefinitely, making it easy to navigate deep into a folder hierarchy.”

    This is a great feature, but one annoyance is that if your cursor drifts outside a window that has popped open, all of the folders close back up. Really annoying when you’ve tunneled down several layers to get to your target.

    One thing that isn’t mentioned that the Mac OS has and Winders doesn’t have is when viewing a folder as a list you can click the triangle to the left of the folder to show the contents of that folder within the same window instead of double-clicking to open it. Granted, you can do something similar in Winders Explorer with the little plus sign, but why not in any old window you open?

  2. Huh. Great tip. It’s a little clunky — the folder opening delay is a little long — but it essentially does the same thing that what was described above. I wish, however, that you could do this from the Desktop — drag an icon over My Computer, then C:, etc.

  3. Well, the shortcut way to view the folder bar is to hit the Folders button on the standard button bar (the one with the navigation buttons…), the menu option is only there for backup

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