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The Icon Bar: News and features: Why ex-RISC OS users should get a Mac
 

Why ex-RISC OS users should get a Mac

Posted by Alex Singleton on 20:43, 22/12/2006 | , , , ,
 
Like many readers of The Icon Bar, I started off computing with a BBC Micro. In 1991, I upgraded to an Acorn A3000, which was great because unlike Windows 3.0, you could print to a dot matrix printer and the printout would be just as it appeared on the screen. Then in 1994 I got a Risc PC, shortly after taking up the freelance role of Business Editor of Acorn User which I did for just over a year. Back then there was something about Acorn's RISC OS that made it a really good operating system. But the truth is that for many of us, using RISC OS has not been practical for some years. I loved the neatness of the ANT Internet Suite in 1996 but the internet world has moved on and despite important projects like Peter Naulls' Firefox port, I was a RISC OS user because I like the way how things just worked.

I'm a PV. I'm a Mac.It seems to me that many of the reasons RISC OS users liked Acorn's operating system in the 1990s are reasons why people should consider choosing Mac OS X over Windows. What's more, unlike the RISC OS market these days, the volume in which Macs are selling make serious software development commercially practical: Apple, for example, sold 1.61m Macs last quarter alone, which means the Mac platform is extremely successful attracting the world's leading software developers like Adobe, Avid and MYOB. And of course Microsoft produces Office for the Mac.

I've used Windows extensively, from Windows 2 in 1989 right through to XP. But I chose Macs for where I work because we do not have an IT Department and I didn't want to spend my time fixing computers that have become infested with viruses and spyware, or just where Windows has messed up. We have very bright students who come for a few months to do research fellowships and the nice thing about Macs is that after the students stay with us, you get the computer back and you don't have to do anything with them. But with Windows machines, in the few months they have become slower, you find incomprehensible error messages on start up which you can't obviously remove, and you end up having to waste an hour reinstalling Windows.

The threat of viruses and spyware under Windows is well known. As the person who "knows about computers", I'm often asked by relatives and friends if I will have a look at their computers and one of the things I've concluded is that Windows machines and families with children really don't work well together. The computers quickly get infested. My Mac friends never ask for my help on spyware or viruses - they sometimes ask me what programs I would recommend.

Like RISC OS, the feel of the windowing system in Mac OS is quite 'loose'. In Windows, people tend to use the maximise feature and whatever application you are using fills up the whole screen (apart, normally, from the task bar). People tend to have only one window visible on the screen at any one time - you have Word open full screen, and then you switch to Access full screen and back to Word full screen. But when people use Macs, just as on RISC OS, it's much more common to have multiple overlapping windows. In a world of increasing monitor sizes, especially widescreen ones, I think the Mac approach is more sensible, and one that RISC OS users will find more satisfactory.

What you like in graphical user interfaces is often determined by what you are used to. What would ex-RISC OS users find most familiar? The Mac OS X Dock is more like the RISC OS iconbar than Windows' taskbar - it is application-centric rather than document-centric. In fact, I actually prefer the Mac Dock out of the three of them because it is very customisable - like a RISC OS iconbar on steroids. The Windows taskbar is designed to be document-based - each item on the taskbar represents a different loaded document. The problem is that if you have several programs and windows open, the taskbar quickly runs out of space (especially because each icon has text to its side) and the taskbar groups all of your Word or Excel documents into one icon, effectively switching to an application-centric approach. I also rather like Exposť on Mac OS which lets you press a button and it "instantly tiles all of your open windows, scales them down and neatly arranges them, so you can see what's in every single one". This is the sort of clever user interface design that was once the hallmark of RISC OS, making it easier to navigate programs and documents in Mac OS than under Windows.

RISC OS benefited significantly from its inherent elegance. The modular design of the operating system was good for its reliability and responsiveness. Today's Mac OS has very elegant approach under the bonnet because at its core it is a Unix-based operating system. Apple calls this Unix base Darwin; it is based on FreeBSD. The result is that the Mac is more stable than Windows. It was Acorn's intention to bring pre-emptive multitasking, multithreading and real-time quality of service support (which prioritises programmes that are time-sensitive, like video-conferencing) to its next generation RISC OS, codenamed Galileo. Thanks to the Mac's Unix-based core, the Mac offers these features, making the OS very responsive.

For the RISC OS user looking for another platform, there may be good reasons to go for Windows. But it seems to me that the Mac generally offers a better match. The Mac's user-interface more like RISC OS than Windows: as ex-RISC OS user John Hoare wrote on this site "using it has become pretty much second nature to me, in a way that Windows never did".
 
  Why ex-RISC OS users should get a Mac
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mark stephens Message #96179, posted by markee at 10:37, 23/12/2006
Member
Posts: 8
its also worth noting that with Parallels or Fusion you can run Windows, Linux and Solaris at very respectable speeds. So get a large hard drive!

I actually run VirtualRPC inside Windows on my Mac and copy files from my Iyonix across for when I need a RISCOS laptap.

OS X is very pretty (and Itunes is very nice on the MAC), but it can feel sluggish at times (he says with with 2 gig MacBookPro with 2 gigs of memory).

Its also stil a second class platform in several respects (Java 1.6 for the Mac when?) but it is a nice GUI. So you have to weigh up the pros and cons.
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Rob Kendrick Message #96182, posted by nunfetishist at 11:56, 23/12/2006, in reply to message #96179
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 484
I can't be bothered to point out how much is wrong with this article :-/
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Andrew Message #96184, posted by andrew at 12:14, 23/12/2006, in reply to message #96182
HandbagHandbag Boi
Posts: 3439
"For the RISC OS user looking for another platform, there may be good reasons to go for Windows. But it seems to me that the Mac generally offers a better match."

Hang on - I thought this article was for /ex/ RISC OS Users? This is almost looking like a concerted attempt to wean people from RISC OS.
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hEgelia Message #96190, posted by illuminatius at 19:19, 23/12/2006, in reply to message #96182
Member
Posts: 44
I can't be bothered to point out how much is wrong with this article :-/
Indulge me.

From where I'm coming, it certainly seems completely agreeable. Only yesterday I've spent an hour or two explaining to two friends that the crap Windows throws at them is not necessarily normal. At the end of the evening, and after some bottles of beer, they are really convinced of the Mac choice. So they're getting a MacBook.

I know Windows has come a long way and is, usually, quite stable. And if someone takes the considerable time and effort to learn how it works, how to keep it secure and satisfied (maintenance), and especially what not to do - then, yes, Windows is quite nice. The thing is, most people don't feel they need to adhere to these Windows 'laws' and don't take it too seriously until the system becomes unstable and confusing. I actually know people who only do simple, repetitive tasks because they're afraid risking to 'break' something! And why do so many people want to rely on that 'computer-savvy' person to fix things? I agree that for many people the Mac is an excellent solution and one that is often perceived as bringing back the fun and productivity to computing.
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Rob Kendrick Message #96202, posted by nunfetishist at 23:56, 23/12/2006, in reply to message #96190
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 484
hEgelia: I'm not refering to the spirit of the article, just its technical content.
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Paul Vigay Message #96203, posted by pvigay at 00:06, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96202

Posts: 200
"Multiple overlapping windows" my arse!! :)
Mac OS is just as bad/irritating as Windows in that sense, in that windows jump to the front as soon as you click on them, and can be a pain to move around.
Sure 'expose' is quite nice and might even be worth writing a small module to add that to RISC OS, but the Mac OS GUI is just as irritating as Windows. It's just that the underlying system is more reliable and secure than Windows which makes it a better alternative to Windross!
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Alex Singleton Message #96206, posted by alexsingleton at 01:47, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96203
Member
Posts: 11
The Mac and RISC OS windows do work differently in that respect. But it's worth noting that moving a window by selecting and dragging its title bar with the Apple key pressed down leaves the window in its current place in the "stack".

Personally, I find it quick handy that when you start working in a window, it comes to the front of the screen so you can see what you're doing - and I suspect most users would prefer that arrangement given the choice. At the end of the day, it's perhaps one of the those things where what you are used to using determines what you think's the "correct" approach.
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Alex Singleton Message #96207, posted by alexsingleton at 02:01, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96202
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hEgelia: I'm not refering to the spirit of the article, just its technical content.
I can't think what you're objecting to. Would you care to enlighten us?
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Jeffrey Lee Message #96208, posted by Phlamethrower at 09:47, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96206
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15057
Personally, I find it quick handy that when you start working in a window, it comes to the front of the screen so you can see what you're doing - and I suspect most users would prefer that arrangement given the choice. At the end of the day, it's perhaps one of the those things where what you are used to using determines what you think's the "correct" approach.
Personally, I prefer the way RISC OS works. Since most of my time is spent editing source, I can easily fill my screen with filer windows, and/or windows containing source code. Having partially obscured windows pop to the front whenever I scroll them, edit them, or try to open a new file would typically result in some important information being hidden.

Having said that, it would be nice sometimes if there was a way to bring a window to the front by clicking anywhere in it, instead of just the title bar/adjust size icon. I know there are 3rd party programs to do this, but my point is that RISC OS would be just that bit much better if they'd included it in the OS.
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George Greenfield Message #96209, posted by Bucksboy at 10:30, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96208
Member
Posts: 62
The day I turn into a seal, I might consider switching to Macs. No-one has mentioned the single overwhelming drawback (IMO) of Mac use: the totally restrictive mouse design. The power and flexiblity conferred by the RISC OS 3-button design with its instant menus and the ability to right click on options and leave dialogue fields open is streets ahead of the Mac implementation.
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Andrew Poole Message #96211, posted by andypoole at 10:48, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96209

Posts: 5552
The day I turn into a seal, I might consider switching to Macs. No-one has mentioned the single overwhelming drawback (IMO) of Mac use: the totally restrictive mouse design. The power and flexiblity conferred by the RISC OS 3-button design with its instant menus and the ability to right click on options and leave dialogue fields open is streets ahead of the Mac implementation.
I have a three button mouse attached to my mac.. Mac OS X happily allows you to right click on things if you so wish to.. OK, it doesn't work as nicely as it does in RISC OS with regards to being able to leave menus open, etc, but it's hardly restrictive IMHO..
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Alex Singleton Message #96214, posted by alexsingleton at 11:15, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96209
Member
Posts: 11
Apple is shipping the Mighty Mouse with its new Intel-based iMacs:

http://www.apple.com/mightymouse/

They have left and right buttons, plus a 360 degrees scroll ball - it lets you scroll up and down plus left and right.

Though there is a certain simplicity about a one-button mouse - good for novice computer users.
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Andrew Message #96221, posted by andrew at 11:32, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96211
HandbagHandbag Boi
Posts: 3439
The day I turn into a seal, I might consider switching to Macs. No-one has mentioned the single overwhelming drawback (IMO) of Mac use: the totally restrictive mouse design. The power and flexiblity conferred by the RISC OS 3-button design with its instant menus and the ability to right click on options and leave dialogue fields open is streets ahead of the Mac implementation.
I have a three button mouse attached to my mac.. Mac OS X happily allows you to right click on things if you so wish to.. OK, it doesn't work as nicely as it does in RISC OS with regards to being able to leave menus open, etc, but it's hardly restrictive IMHO..
It certainly sounds more restrictive than both RISCOS and Windows!
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Richard Hallas Message #96225, posted by Richard Hallas at 11:52, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96209
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Posts: 12
First of all, I'd say that broadly I agree with Alex. I disagree with him about the 'windows jumping to the front' not mattering; this is a brain-dead design feature, and RISC OS is the only OS to get it right. But he /is/ correct that it's less of a problem in Mac OS than under Windows, and since Mac OS and Windows are alike in this respect it's what everyone in the real world is used to. And yes, you can Command-drag a window to move it without bringing it to the front on the Mac.

I also disagree with him that the Mac's Dock is better than the RISC OS icon bar. Sorry, but it just isn't. It /is/ prettier, certainly, but it's just not as well thought out. For a start, the more icons you put in it, the smaller they get, to the point when they almost vanish out of sight. A configuration option to let it scroll (like the icon bar) would be a useful enhancement. More importantly, it's an add-on to the system rather than a fundamental feature as in RISC OS. You can easily use the Mac without touching the Dock at all if you want to. In RISC OS, its integration has been better thought out. RISC OS is consistent in letting you click icons on the icon bar to open main windows, create empty documents and so on, and you can drag documents to icon bar icons to open them in new windows, or drag them into open windows to insert them into existing documents. Mac OS doesn't have this consistency of approach. As for the menus, RISC OS will, at minimum, offer Info and Quit options on its icon bar menus, and probably other useful 'global' options like access to preferences. Mac applications have Quit options on their Dock menus, but beyond that there's generally very little that's useful. In general, the Mac OS X Dock can't really decide whether it wants to be an application launcher or an access-point for running applications; it tries to do both and isn't ideal for either. Iconised windows go there too (as they can, but don't have to, on RISC OS). The other thing that irritates me about the Mac OS Dock is that, if you have it at the bottom of the screen (mine is at the left edge), the file-related icons (folder shortcuts etc) are at the right-hand side, which is exactly the wrong place for them to be useful. If you pop up a menu from a folder in the Dock and start to navigate into sub-folders, you run out of screen space almost instantly, and have to navigate from right to left, which is stupid. Apple should have put file-related things at the left of the Dock and application-related things at the right (as on RISC OS); it just makes better sense.

Having said all that, I agree with Alex that the Mac OS X Dock is far more like the RISC OS icon bar than is the horrible Windows taskbar, and vastly superior to the poorly-thought-out Windows effort.

Personally, I just like the way in which Mac OS X works, where I do /not/ like Windows. Windows still feels clunky, and there's far too great a level of abstraction. You feel like an unwelcome guest on your own computer with Windows; you don't know what half the files are for, you don't have control over the contents of your own disc, and installing an application feels like a dangerous process in which files are injected into your computer, and you don't know what's going where and what's going to break. Then you end up with shortcuts everywhere, and don't know what's actually been installed or where it's gone. (I'm not saying you can't find out; I'm saying that it's a messy, black-box approach.) Mac OS X is a lot like RISC OS in that (a) you can, to a large extent, organise your discs how you want them, and (b) many applications are installed by simple drag-and-drop. They're usually self-contained items (which you can open up and explore inside), just like RISC OS applications. Even in cases where installation is more complex, and there's an installer, you can still usually find out what's going to go where easily enough. The approach is just more open and friendly, as well as being neater.

George Greenfield is wrong in his comment about the mouse under Mac OS X. His opinion dates back to 'classic' (pre-X) Mac OS days, and is now out of date. Mac OS X supports multi-button mice in very much the same way as does Windows. Left-click is a 'normal' click and right-click brings up a context menu, just as in Windows. In fact, these days Apple supplies the Mighty Mouse with new Macs, which features left-click, right-click, middle-click (on the 'scroll pea') and squeeze.

He is, of course, entirely correct in his assessment that the RISC OS use of the three mouse buttons is vastly superior to Mac OS and Windows. My point is just that Mac OS and Windows now have very similar mouse interfaces (except that the Mac can still be used with a single-button mouse if that's what you've got). RISC OS is hugely superior by design in this respect, however.

My own personal bugbear about Mac OS is its menus, which are in many ways even worse than those of Windows. I understand that Apple would have found it hard to move away from the 'menu bar' model that it pioneered, for political reasons apart from anything else (everyone knows that Macs have a menu bar across the top of the screen; they wouldn't be Macs otherwise!). But the Mac is even worse than Windows from this point of view. If you've got your application menu across the top of the screen at all times, then you are, by definition, bound to be working in a 'paged' application environment, with a 'current application' and other 'background applications'. The beauty of RISC OS has always been that there's no such thing as a 'current application'; aside from the fact that only one window can have input focus, there's no need to distinguish between applications in this respect (as there shouldn't be). Even Windows confines the menus for each application to the window of the application itself, which is a better approach than Mac OS. Both Mac OS and Windows, though, permanently waste screen space by having their top-level menu options visible on the screen at all times.

The other thing I dislike about Mac OS is its context-menus, which are a hopeless mess. They generally have little thought in their organisation, it's hard to find your way around them (you have to read through all the items to find the one you want), and applications and plug-ins can insert extra items into context menus, many of which will appear even when they're useless and unwanted.

So RISC OS wins hands-down for its approach to menus. Under RISC OS, there's only one type of menu (no rigid 'main menu' and messy 'context menu'), the menu only appears when you want it, and it's fully context-sensitive whilst also being extremely well-structured and hence easy to navigate. Moreover, you can drag RISC OS menus around, hang dialogue boxes off them and keep them open in order to select multiple items, none of which is possible on Windows or Mac OS. And the final really great thing about RISC OS menus is that no mouse travel at all is involved in accessing them, because they appear right under the pointer. On the Mac, you have to fling your pointer right up to the top of the screen to get at the menu; on Windows you have to aim carefully at the menu title you want. Neither of those operations is efficient.

Did I mention save boxes? The less said about those the better. RISC OS gets them right; Windows and Mac OS both have stupid little things that you have to navigate in a cumbersome way (though I feel that the Mac OS X versions are superior to Windows in various aspects).

A word should perhaps be said about the Mac OS community. Since Mac OS X was launched, I feel that there has been a great deal of enthusiasm in the Mac market which has reminded me of the early days of RISC OS. Back in the days of 'classic' Mac OS, Mac software used to be really expensive, and all the freely downloadable stuff you could get was surprisingly expensive shareare. These days, though (since Apple has given away its exceptionally high quality developer tools with every Mac), there has been a huge increase in the amount of really high-quality freeware and inexpensive shareware that's available on the Mac. In many cases you can also contact the developers on a personal level and get a useful response, just as always used to be the case with RISC OS. The overall 'scene' is far more RISC OS-like than at any time in the past. The Mac is still enough of a minority platform for there to be a dedicated enthusiast following who write excellent software that's either free or extremely cheap. But the difference is that the Mac is a big enough (and growing) platform for all the important applications (like the Adobe stuff, Microsoft Office and so on) to be available for it too.

Bottom line: Mac OS X is not Windows, but it's not RISC OS either. I think that in terms of user experience, Mac OS X is sort of halfway between RISC OS and Windows. It does have some really nice and surprisingly RISC OS-like features that mean that, overall, I do enjoy using it. But it also has some pretty brain-dead features that make it regrettably Windows-like as well. On balance it's an OS that I do like a lot, and it's by far the nicest mainstream OS I've ever used. It doesn't make me want to stop using RISC OS, and I will (and do) continue to use RISC OS for many things. But for a RISC OS user who wants another platform as well, I agree entirely with Alex that Mac OS X is a vastly superior choice to Windows.

And as has also been said, you can also install Windows (and other OSes) on an Intel-based Mac and hence have multiple choices on a single machine. Quite honestly I can see few reasons now for anyone to buy a PC. Most folk would be far better off buying a Mac and using it as a PC if and when they need to. With (the free) Boot Camp from Apple, you can reboot into Windows and use it as a fully-compatible PC with no performance loss. Or with Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion, you can run Windows (or some other OS) within Mac OS X for only a small performance hit. And Macs are really good value these days, too, compared with similarly-specced PCs, so you don't have to pay through the nose for them any more either.

I've just realised that this reply is longer than the original article. Good grief! ;-)
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Phil Mellor Message #96227, posted by monkeyson2 at 14:09, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96225
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
And the final really great thing about RISC OS menus is that no mouse travel at all is involved in accessing them, because they appear right under the pointer.
Only if the pointer is where it needs to be for the appropriate menu. If you want to open the choices for an app, you have to move the pointer to the icon bar anyway, just like the Mac.

I prefer the contextual menus in OS X to Windows, if only because they provide more useful/relevant options more of the time. After using the Mac/Windows contextual style for quite some time, I can find the RISC OS method annoying - menus which have File, Edit, Select, Thingy, Something Else in the root - it just means I have to navigate a fiddly horizontal slide into a submenu containing the options I really want.
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John Hoare Message #96228, posted by moss at 14:20, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96227

Posts: 9346
The RISC OS menu system was a real problem back in the days of Mode 12/15 (and, indeed, 27/28) - you quickly ran out of screen real estate for the menus, and they ended up getting very fiddly as they overlapped.

With larger screen resolutions, I still prefer the RISC OS menu system, though. But I've got used to OS X's very quickly, wheras with Windows, at the top of each application window, it *always* felt fiddly.
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Alex Singleton Message #96229, posted by alexsingleton at 14:20, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96225
Member
Posts: 11
Did I mention save boxes? The less said about those the better. RISC OS gets them right; Windows and Mac OS both have stupid little things that you have to navigate in a cumbersome way (though I feel that the Mac OS X versions are superior to Windows in various aspects).
The ability to bring up a save dialogue box and drag the file to another application on the icon bar is one of RISC OS's neatest features. But it is worth bearing in mind that those dialogue boxes did have their detractors. I remember Peter Bondar saying that one of the most common complaints Acorn got from schools was that children found using them difficult. They would open the program's menu, get to the save as box and then not know what to do. Or they'd then realise they need a filer window, click on a drive icon and the save box would simply disappear. I seem to recall that Colton Fireworkz had somehow "sticky" save boxes to get round this.

Where today's Mac implementation of the save dialogue box works better than Windows is that it actually emulates the look of a Filer window - or, rather, a "Finder" window to use the Mac lingo. Put a Finder window in column view and then open up a save box and you'll find the save box has the same design but with a header and footer letting you type in your filename etc.
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VinceH Message #96233, posted by VincceH at 15:02, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96229
VincceH
Lowering the tone since the dawn of time

Posts: 1583
Or they'd then realise they need a filer window, click on a drive icon and the save box would simply disappear.
A few years ago on csa* I suggested a partial-solution to this, and I've used it in the save dialogues for the unfinished/unreleased WebChange rewrite. Simply put, there is an icon in the save dialogue which, when clicked, opens a directory.

It's not a perfect solution, especially in conjunction with transient save dialogues - and if the save dialogues are persistant, there'd be no need for it. Ho hum. :)
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Dave Wisnia Message #96237, posted by dswis at 16:00, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96214
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Don't you like the way you can scroll and pan at the same time (over a large graphic or weather map for example)using the RISC OS right mouse button on a scroll bar? Is that implemented elsewhere?
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Andrew Poole Message #96238, posted by andypoole at 16:05, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96237

Posts: 5552
Don't you like the way you can scroll and pan at the same time (over a large graphic or weather map for example)using the RISC OS right mouse button on a scroll bar? Is that implemented elsewhere?
Now that's a feature I miss from RISC OS occasionally...
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Peter Howkins Message #96255, posted by flibble at 18:21, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96179
flibble

Posts: 864
Q: Why ex-RISC OS users should get a Mac?

A: Because it will make Alex feel like he's made the right choice.
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Alex Singleton Message #96259, posted by alexsingleton at 21:37, 24/12/2006, in reply to message #96255
Member
Posts: 11
Q: Why ex-RISC OS users should get a Mac?

A: Because it will make Alex feel like he's made the right choice.
Yeah ;-)

I also have a Dell too, though. But it's the Mac I prefer to use.
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Jess Hampshire Message #96695, posted by jessh at 14:12, 5/1/2007, in reply to message #96259
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Posts: 12
If only there was an OS X version of virtual acorn. (for sale that is, rather than just on ROL's iMac)
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Phil Mellor Message #96696, posted by monkeyson2 at 14:21, 5/1/2007, in reply to message #96695
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
If only there was an OS X version of virtual acorn. (for sale that is, rather than just on ROL's iMac)
Has that been seen in action yet?

The last two Wakefield shows I went to, it was installed but didn't run because the licence key had expired. :(

It's strange that they won't release it. They could have benefitted from nearly two years worth of purchases and upgrades from me if they had.
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Mike Message #96715, posted by MikeCarter at 17:39, 5/1/2007, in reply to message #96696
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It was running at the Midlands Show, but PM didnt like talking about it much.
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GuestX Message #96717, posted by guestx at 17:47, 5/1/2007, in reply to message #96202
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Why not just debunk the whole "move to Mac - it's great!" zealotry which strangely mirrors the output of the RISC OS scene's favourite celebrities? First, there's the Windows bashing whilst conveniently ignoring the user interface ritualisation in the Apple scene since the dawning of the Macintosh era (yes, the whole one button mouse and drag-to-trash thing, but that just scratches the surface). Then there's the lifestyle thing: "I'm just so much more creative because my shiny iBook looks so lovely!" (vs. "I'm striking out for British innovation!" )

Apple vs. RISC OS: it's more instructive to look at the similarities and observe that a switch to the Mac is like jumping into a larger pond with all the same ecological issues. First off, apart from the dubiously regarded open source licence of the Mac OS X kernel, Apple's stuff is mostly proprietary, and whilst Apple aren't likely to have an operating system development staff of just one person, who knows what their priorities will be in future? Secondly, there's the proprietary hardware - sure, they switched to commodity Intel hardware, but they're doing all they can to prolong the top-to-bottom lock-in which is their hallmark - and the reliability (and ecological) record isn't something to shout about if you listen to some of the reports out there (battery recalls excluded). Thirdly, Apple have some antisocial tendencies around services and content distribution which would probably be copied studiously by some of the RISC OS scene's once-major players had they not seen jumped ship and started writing for Windows instead.

Certainly, Mac OS X is "UNIX enough" to support decent development tools, but the user interface is overrated (as it always has been). People who care about openness should move to other platforms instead, notably GNU/Linux or one of the BSDs. And people should care about openness, as all their documents from the nineties become gradually inaccessible due to those legacy, undocumented formats which were just so fast to load and save back in the days of the ARM 2, but whose applications now fail to work without an emulation environment that provides some access to past glories, but no acceptable way forward to future glory. But I suppose the article was just suggesting the next teat to suck on for those people who can't believe computing can be done without some overbearing corporate master telling you what to buy at every turn.
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Andrew Duffell Message #96719, posted by ad at 18:13, 5/1/2007, in reply to message #96696
ad

Posts: 3229
If only there was an OS X version of virtual acorn. (for sale that is, rather than just on ROL's iMac)
The last two Wakefield shows I went to, it was installed but didn't run because the licence key had expired. :(
Uh? It was working fine when I looked at it at the 2005 show :P
http://www.iconbar.com/news/wakefield2005/0505211244010864.jpg

[Edited by ad at 18:15, 5/1/2007]
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Richard Goodwin Message #96764, posted by rich at 22:47, 5/1/2007, in reply to message #96717
Rich
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Why not just debunk the whole "move to Mac - it's great!" zealotry[...]?
Go on then - spin it out to a couple of thousand words and email it to news@ :)
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RichGCheers,
Rich.
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Jason Togneri Message #96787, posted by filecore at 11:13, 6/1/2007, in reply to message #96764

Posts: 3867
news@:-)? That's a funny email address.
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Richard Goodwin Message #96796, posted by rich at 12:51, 6/1/2007, in reply to message #96787
Rich
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Posts: 6765
news@:-)? That's a funny email address.
Gah, you foolish person - there's quite obviously a space in the original address ;)
________
RichGCheers,
Rich.
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The Icon Bar: News and features: Why ex-RISC OS users should get a Mac