In order to make computers into more ideal machines, this is the route that we ultimately have to take.
No, what’s happening to PCs is very similar to what has happened to cars over the last 20 years. In order to be more powerful, more efficient and more streamlined, the products not only require less user interaction – they inhibit that interaction.
If you buy a car today, you can’t self-service it the same way you could in 1992, let alone 1972 or 1982. The machines are much more complex. As a consequence, you’re less likely to locate a guy who charges 1/10th the price of the dealer to fix your 2004 Volkswagen. It’s just the way it is.
In terms of historical user interface traditions and conventions, Unix and the Mac could hardly be more different, but there is one similar philosophy shared by both cultures — a preference for using a collection of smaller, dedicated tools that work well together rather than using monolithic do-it-all apps.
Susan Kare designed the original Macintosh Control Panel “with no text whatsoever.”
We needed a way to control various system parameters like the sound volume, or the mouse scaling parameters. We decided that a desk accessory would be perfect for that, since it would be easy to access no matter what application you were in. So the last desk accessory that I worked on before shipping, in November 1983, was the Control Panel. Susan Kare came up with a beautiful, highly graphical design (with no text whatsoever) that I implemented using a separate purgable resource for each section, so they didn’t have to be in memory at once. It had a little rabbit and tortoise to represent a range of speeds, and lots of other graphical embellishments; after the Mac was released, one review described it as a crib toy, which I took more or less as a compliment.
— Andy Hertzfeld
Nice overview of the alpha release of TextMate by Kevin Lipe. The best part of the release for me, as Lipe echoes, isn’t actually part of the software; it’s knowing that my favorite text editor hasn’t been abandoned. (And still loving that new icon!)
It’ll be familiar to you and still feel new and exciting. It’s not ready for primetime yet. It crashes weirdly. Stuff breaks. But, more than anything, it feels good to know that it exists, and that it really is a major evolution of the things that made the original TextMate so good. I’m going to keep using it for real work until I run into an issue that forces me back to the old version. Time will tell how well I get along with the half-baked bundle editor, but I’m sure it’ll get better.