wow. i can’t believe it hs been 6 days since i’ve posted anything. i feel like i’m out of some kind of loop and i’m not sure that’s a bad thing. summer’s coming to a rapid close and there’s much on the plate.

i guess it’s time for the blatant dumping of bookmarks into the annotated bookmark bin. first, a review of nautilus 0.1:

“Start with the Macintosh Finder. Borrow some good ideas from Windows Explorer. Package everything as components. And then toss in some ideas that have been floating around Apple for years (but never got shipped).”

“Eazel has taken the Windows Explorer metaphor and pushed it even further. Nautilus has the usual forward and back buttons, a history list, and the ability to view web pages. But it’s got some spiffy new tricks, too.”

here’s an interesting response from the slashdot crowd regarding any claims that review of nautilus is ‘revolutionary’ :

“I’m following in the footsteps of an earlier poster in saying that I’m disappointed to see Apple and NeXT’s best and brightest come up with… a file browser. I’m just as disappointed as I was five years ago when I signed up to be one of the first fifteen-hundred BeBox developers, after I discovered what their idea of “revolutionizing” the operating system was.

To quote Alan Cooper, from About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design:

Even though the file system is an internal facility that shouldn’t–by all rights–even affect the user, it creates a large problem because the influence of the file system on the interface of most programs is very deep. The most intractable problems facing user interface designers usually concern the file system and its demands. It affects our menus, our dialogs, even the procedural framework of our programs, and this influence is likely to continue indefinitely unless we make a concerted effort to stop it.

Currently, most software treats the file system in much the same way that the operating system shell does (Explorer, File Manager). This is tantamount to you dealing with your car the same way your mechanic does. Even though this approach is tragically bad, it is an established, de facto standard
and there is considerable resistance to improving it.

Fundamentally, I’m a bit tired of hearing about how everyone’s “revolutionizing” everything, when they’re really not. Look: revolution and revolutioniz e both imply “sudden, radical, or complete change”. The American colonies didn’t fight the Revolutionary War to install a local king. The French Revolution wasn’t so they could hire a newer, prettier cake-eater.

The file system, fundamentally, is an implementation detail. It’s an artifact of how “things have always been done”. It’s a drag on doing real, substantive improvement to the way computers work for people. There are millions of people out there who have never used a computer, and have yet to learn. They don’t need to learn what a filesystem is, or to navigate it. They need to be able to find and use the information and tools that are important to them, period.

If we truly want to revolutionize the user interface, the user experience, etc., then we really need to start with a more fundamental re-thinking of how things work.”

of course – the irony is that nautilus can’t be ‘revolutionary’ if it hopes to have any chance of conquering the desktop. it must match the ‘windows’ metaphor perfectly and reduce the ‘cost of switching’ or it will end up the trashbin of good ideas that were too painful to accept.

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