Matt's Mind

Friday, May 06, 2005

Windows ... not

Just as a followup to my whinge about Mac OS X previously, and to illustrate how Windows usually manages to bollix things up much more efficiently than OS X, here's a screenshot of Explorer on my XP machine - see if you can spot the mistake.

Yes, the tree on the left shows two directories under "work" while the list on the right shows, correctly, three. No amount of F5'ing would convince the bugger otherwise, even though this is a local NTFS filesystem where you'd think MS could get it right by now.

Later on, it got better. I decided to delete one of the three directories and got the dreaded "file in use" dialog. Windows users know this indicates that, no matter what, be they Administrator or even God, they will not be able to delete this file short of booting Knoppix and nuking it from orbit. The only other alternative is the "check every process to see if it might be using the file" mamba

In this case I knew damn well that no process was using the bugger - I had just created the thing. But, because I was desperate (I couldn't get any work done until I could reset that directory) I shut down all cmd.exe's, killed the virus scanner, closed emacs, everything. And still no dice. I went to get a coffee and simmer down ... and when I came back, without having done a damn thing, now I could delete the folder.

This sort of random crap: locked files, flashing icons on the desktop, endlessly scrolling Program menus and drivel-spouting pop-ups drive me mad when using Windows. Actually I shouldn't have mentioned the random pop-ups, for some reason they particularly elevate my blood pressure: Take a tour of Windows!? Hide inactive icons!? ... what I'd like is for you to f*ck off and let me get some work done, son of clippy.

XP came out in 2001, so for 4 damn years I've been putting up with this blizzard of shit every time I log into a new PC. Not mention the fact that turning off the fisher-price "task panes" and other crud has become an automatic process, no longer requiring higher-brain intervention.

Maybe Mac OS isn't so bad after all.

Spotlight ... not?

OK, I got all excited about Spotlight when I upgraded to Mac OS X 10.4 recently. I've been doing some research into making DVD's from recorded TV and keeping the results (links, text snippts, etc) in a folder. But this folder has gotten very full, so I assumed a better way to find stuff now is to use Spotlight to search for topics of interest, rather than page through it all.

So, I'm looking to see if I've saved any info on a tool called "replex". I go Ctrl+Option+Space "replex" ... nada. Which is odd because I know I saved an email recently (as a text file) on that subject. So I manually find the email. And here's a screenshot of the text file with "replex" in it with Spotlight failing to, er, spotlight it.

I also discovered, while trying to post the screenshot via FTP, that Mac OS X will happily mount an FTP volume (with username + password) but won't write to it. WTF?

Much as I love my Mac, things aren't perfect in Mac land right now.

Update: further investigation showed that Spotlight was only working for files that aren't in my home directory. I'm using FileVault, and I suspect this is related. After logging out and then logging in again, Spotlight is working fully. Let's hope that's fixed in 10.4.1. I'd report this as a bug, but after spending a lot of time trying to find out where to report a previous bug in iCal and then getting zero feedback, I'm not too excited about the prospect.