OSX User Interface – Kickin it Like Harry Potter!

Filed under: Editorials | Tags: |

If your desktop is like mine, you have windows on top of windows. So you do your best to have windows sticking out, just a bit so you can click on the window you want.

SS1

However, you don’t want to click the “close” button! Think about it: how many times have you clicked on a background window to switch to it and accidentally closed it, or launched a new email, or switched the view in that window — when all you wanted to do was to get to that app?

Apple, I know you have ways to get to the program…. but they suck:

  • Alt-tab is too slow unless the app is the next app in the list. And if I pass the icon, I either have to go all the way around or play finger twister with shift-alt-tab!
  • Mission Control is fine, but invoking it on a mouse is doesn’t feel right: the mouse jitters, trying to two finger tap twice, but not click is like a little game of DDR for your right hand. The three finger swipe works well, but it means moving the hands off the keyboard mouse combo.
  • Dock? Come on! I don’t want to have to try to find the icon. I just want to get to the program that’s right there (without closing it)!

And sometimes, you aren’t sure which app is sticking out beneath your active app: is that bar for Mail or Finder?

So, how about this Apple: you already allow scrolling in apps that don’t have focus, how about when the mouse is over a background window, you have that window slide out a bit, or have a little tab appear (that doesn’t close, or do anything in that app) to let you select that app? Or both:

SS3

It would be a bit like the group photos in Harry Potter where people rearrange themselves so you can see who is in the back row. If I move over the cursor over an bottom app, it moves out from under the top app to provide a better view. If I want the app, I click the tab (or some other “white space”), that doesn’t close the app, or launch an email, or anything else, other than letting me select the app. How about it?


Social Security Application book drafted

Filed under: Editorials | Tags: |

I’ve been working on a “how-to” book providing a walk-through of the Social Security online disability application. This was meant to be a “brief interlude” between working on the BIG Social Security Disability book which I’ve started several times, but was always a bigger project than I could satisfactorily complete. The Application book was meant to be a smaller project and chance to learn iBooks Author app.

It is now about a year later and I am finally done with the writing. The book is not done by any means. However, it is now goes on to technical editing and proof reading. Which means it is largely in other people’s’ hands for a while. This also puts me in the position of having to figure out publishing, finalizing a title, and hiring someone to design a book cover.

I am trying to break this down into segments.

  • Technical edit and cover design.
  • Final art.
  • Proofing and final edits.
  • And finally publication.

I have no idea if this is a good plan or not, since I have never done this before. However, it keeps me from being overwhelmed.

After this is done will come the conversion of the manuscript into something that will work on the much more widely used Kindle format. At present the book is heavy on screenshots. Considering Amazon’s $0.15 per megabyte “delivery charges,” under the 70% payment option, and I could easily image myself out making any money at all from this project. I could take the 35% payment with no delivery costs, but it sticks in my craw. Still, I may need to be bite the bullet and take the lower percentage to avoid the delivery fee.

Another thing that stops me in my tracks is the fear that no one may be interested in putting down cold hard cash for the book. So, I am trying to stay busy and have started a second book, which is a return to the Social Security hearing tips idea. Over the last few days, I have been working through an outline of the book. Having a skeleton in place makes me feel much more confident that I will be able to get a second book written. And, since it will not require screenshots, it will be a lot easier to distribute through a variety of channels.

photo by: holgabot*