OS X Lion Was My Idea

Several months ago Microsoft had an ad campaign where they would have an average Joe or Jane talk about some cool wizbang feature of Windows 7 and how it was all their idea.  It was one of Microsoft's better ad campaigns, and was actually understandable by the average person without requiring the viewer to know industry inside jokes, or to understand Jerry Seinfeld, to be able to "get" the gist of the commercial.  It also employed some cute gimmicks, such as when the person was remembering back to how they thought up the wonderful new idea the directors used a different actor who was younger, thinner, cuter, handsomer, and had way better hair than the real person.

A few weeks ago I realized that I had the same experience with Mac OS X Lion.  Way back in 2007 I wrote a post in this blog about some of the things that annoyed me about OSX.  Two of them were finally fixed in Lion, and it only took 4 years!  Here is the first one.

Can only resize from 1 corner

It bugs me that I can only resize windows from the lower right corner. I often find myself wishing that I could resize from any edge or corner as I've been doing for nearly 20 years on every Windows, OS/2 and X-Windows system I've ever used.

We can now grab any corner or side of most windows and resize the window by dragging the mouse cursor.  Yay!  For you non-Mac users out there, until you're not able to do that you may not actually realize how much you do it. For example, if you have a window that you would like to make wider and have it grow to the left, then on Macs running an earlier version of the OS you would first have to move the window to the left, and then you would have to move the mouse cursor down to the bottom right corner and drag to the right.  That's lots more effort than it should require, and now, thanks to me, you don't have to go through all of that! 😉

Can't change mouse cursor

You'd think that with how important the visual appeal of the OS seems to be with Apple that they would not have let something this ugly slide through their QA department for so long. Since I usually have multiple computers with multiple screens active at once, I like to increase the size of the mouse cursor a bit, or replace it with alternate cursors that are more easily visible. I've tried options for things like giving the cursor a comet trail of fading arrows behind it, or what not, and I hate them all after a few minutes. For me, just increasing the size and/or using a colored arrow that is easily visible does the job and doesn't get in the way of my work. However on Mac OS X you can't use custom cursors and all you can do is scale the image up in the Universal Access section of System Preferences. And being Apple you might assume that it would be a nice scaled up anti-aliased rendering of a vector image, but NO! They simply take the original 16x16 pixel image and stretch it to fit the new 64x64 or whatever size. Anyone who has used a photo editing application more than a few times knows you can't take a small image and enlarge it very much without it looking like crap! It embarrasses me too much to run a Mac with a cursor stretched up to a monstrosity like that, so I suffer with the itty-bitty one that occasionally gets lost among the dozens of windows on my desktops.

Next up is the lack of ability to have a nice looking mouse cursor that is larger than normal.  At least that's the way it was prior to Lion.  Now when you change the cursor size it scales up very nicely, probably because they are using some scalable image format now instead of a small 16x16 bitmap image.  Unfortunately if an application uses some non-standard cursor images they are still poorly scaled up into a jagged edged ugly blob.  Also unfortunately I haven't been able to find a screenshot program yet that will capture the new enlarged cursor so I can show you the difference.  They all end up with the small default cursor in the screenshot instead.  Weird.  Anyway, I'm no longer embarrassed to have a larger than normal cursor on my Macs because they are no longer so dang ugly.  Thanks to me you can also have a purdee big cursor too! 😉

Now the only question remaining is who should Apple get to play the younger/fitter/handsomer version of me while filming the flashback parts of my "OS X Lion Was My Idea" commercial, what do you think?