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MISSION CONTROL, LAUNCHPAD, and FULL SCREEN APPS (one month later)

1888 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Sep 2, 2011 11:17 AM by Chooky Growler RSS
Jerome Del Ray Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Aug 27, 2011 6:09 PM

I'm pretty good embracing a new thing when it comes along.  I downloaded LION the day it come out, which was over a month ago at this point. On that day, I immediately found MISSION CONTROL and LAUNCHPAD both uninituitve and pointless.  Unhandy iCandy.   And of FULL SCREEN APPS?  Not necessary on an iMac anyway.

 

So I quickly sought out quick solutions to 'fix' these new features.  Launchpad and full screen apps have the advantage that they can be simply ignored.  This is a good thing.  Mission Control, on the other hand, got in the way of a beloved feature for me:  what was once SPACES and EXPOSE.  That is, I couldn't simply ignore MC because I still needed the previous helpful features in Snow Leopard.

 

My solution was kind of surprising and eye-opening.  It's complicated to explain but I thought I'd share.  This conclusion is likely best suited for someone not using a small screened Mac.  It turns out that most users (with big enough screens) don't really need Mission Control, Launchpad, Spaces, or Full Screen apps. 

 

At all.

 

Let's go through that conclusion, one by one:

 

FULL SCREEN APPS

 

If you have a relatively big screen (20 iMac for instance), why do you need Safari full screen?  Unless you intend to sit across the room from the computer, no reason.  And there's lots of bright empty space when you do this.  Do you need the Mail app full screen?  If you need reading glasses, maybe, but otherwise, nope.  I find it's easier just to stretch out an app pretty big and leave it at that.

 

Full screen apps DO offer a nice feature which is making your desktop, menubar, and dock go BYE BYE.  I can see where sometimes this is a useful feature, but typically -- NOPE.  Typically I want access to my dock (to switch between open apps without the added step of cancelling full screen first), and typically I want access to my menubar so that I can glance up and see what time it is or find an app menu quickly.

 

The only feature I find worthy of praise with full screen apps is that they hide the clutter on your desktop.  But there's an app in the Mac App Store which makes your desktop icons vanish with the touch of a button (CAMOUFLAGE).  I mean, what's the point of a wallpaper if you bury it with desktop clutter or eliminate it with full screen apps?  If it's a busy and distracting wallpaper, umm... you picked bad wallpaper.

 

LAUNCH PAD

 

LAUNCH PAD offers an iOS experience inside OS X.  At first I thought it was completely silly.  After a month now, I kinda get why it's there.  Kinda.

 

You see, before LP, to duplicate it's functionality, you'd have to organize folders yourself.  Put folders of various apps together.  Place them somewhere in the finder heirarchy.  Then drag those folders into the part of the dock with the trashcan.  Then you could click them open and have access to similarly themed folders of apps.  The problem here, of course, is that unless you're a power user, you'll never do this.

 

So Apple thought, AH-HA, we'll just drag into OS X a paradigm that users already get from iOS.  Clumping apps together any way you like them.  The misfire, if you ask me, is not allowing users to drag the new iOS folders straight into the dock when finished.  That is to say:  copies of said organized folders.  It's as if Apple's software people have complete contempt for the dock -- and are desperate to have users abandon it.

 

My problem is that I like having folders in my dock of stuff I need.  It just works, as Steve says.  Going to the same EXACT place every time I need anything is more intuitive and graceful than ADDING an app called Launchpad that launches you into a different finder altogether.  Makes zero sense and THIS is why I say, like FULL SCREEN APPS, LP can basically be abandoned.

 

By the way:  need proof that Apple has complete contempt for the Dock?

 

MISSION CONTROL/SPACES

 

A month has passed since MC was introduced and SPACES was eliminated.  I dare anyone to tell me why either is needed at all.  Before you get iMiffed, humor me for a moment and hear me out.

 

The notion of SPACES was that it's a neat way to keep like minded open apps together.  I totally bought into this, back in the day.  So much so that I was iMiffed when it was gone in Lion.  But let's look at this closer.

 

The REASON why we needed SPACES was that we could have WAY too many windows open at once on a Mac.  Right?  A big mess of windows covering each other up.  Suppose you're surfing in Safari but need iTunes?  But iTunes is hidden.  So what did you do?  You went to Spaces as step one, moused over to your iTunes space as move two, and then clicked it as move three.  Seems like a great solution until the day you discover that you could simply click on iTunes in the dock as move one and arrive at iTunes.  As one step.  Period.  Really simple, right? 

 

Why have Spaces and apps dance around when you can just click the app you want and be done with it?  That's the critical observation to make in order to follow my entire line of reasoning.  Sure, it may look really cool and make Windows machines look like junk, but at the end of the day, why add two steps to something you might do 100 times a day -- switching between apps.

 

So why OH why did Apple add Spaces?  Simple:  because too many apps were visible at once in one 'desktop' window.  So if you can build many new desktops, there might only be one or two in each.  Great solution.  Right?

 

Wrong, as it turns out.  Because we still have the two extra steps.  It's a weak solution.  And it's in complete contempt of the Dock, which as it turns out, offers the strongest solution.

 

The strong solution would be that only one app is visible in your Mac's window at all times.  Say you're in Safari.  Despite having 12 other apps open, you only see Safari.  Your dock tells you that you have other apps open, but nothing else sits in your window BUT the app you're using.  So you want to go to iTunes?  So click on it in the dock and Safari vanishes and iTunes emerges by itself.  No other windows.  What could be simpler?  (This app is freeware known as ISOLATOR.)

 

If you download and try ISOLATOR, you'll say, umm, okay, but wait:  sometimes I do want more than one window in view.  Okay, fine, turn it off then.  From the handy menu bar menu.  I find that 98% of the time I need ISOLATOR on.  Mileage may vary.

 

So let's recap.  One third party software removes distracting desktop clutter, the other removes distracting app windows.  Both can be toggled on and off from the menu bar.  One is free, one costs $2.  These two solutions remove the only real feature of FULL SCREEN APPS and make SPACES and it's newfangled cousin MISSION CONTROL pointless.

 

Need that last one explained?  Well, what's Mission Control but a variant of spaces?  To invoke MC and switch to the needed window are those same two annoying steps Spaces added into the mix.  Nothing was fixed.  Plus, like spaces, you must invest time and energy organizing such spaces.


Why bother?  And so I ask again:  can somebody who's read and tried the above carefully explain to me why Mission Control, Launchpad, and Full Screen Apps are really needed at all?  (Outside of small screened Macs.)  Doesn't the dock and these two sharewares together solve most problems?

 

Am I missing something?

iMac, Mac OS X (10.7)
  • bluepaua Level 2 Level 2 (170 points)

    I agree with everything you said about full screen apps, mission control and launchpad. For apps that made sense to run full screen, they already could under SL. Launchpad is totally unnecessary and Mission Control is a mere shadow of Expose and Spaces.

     

    However, I feel you have not given due credit to Spaces. The point of Spaces is to let one organise logical desktops for different tasks, not just a way to reduce the number of windows on display. For example, I have a Space for software development where I run Xcode and the iPhone simulator, a Firefox window showing perhaps documentation or some other websites pertaining to software development, a Finder window that is opened in the folder with my design docs. I have another Space where I have the remote login sessions, yet another Space with another Firefox window where I do general surfing and emailing. I can switch between these spaces using a keyboard shortcut, which is much quicker than having to lift my hand off the keyboard, move it over to the mouse, move the mouse pointer over the Dock, find the app and click on it, only to find that it has switched to the wrong window of the app.

     

    Without Spaces, organisation of my desktop is disrupted each time I want to switch task, whereas Spaces allows me to drop everything I am doing, go and do something completely different for a while and go back to my exact previous environment. I have a 27" iMac so am not short of screen space but I use Spaces extensively. BTW, switching Spaces using a keyboard shortcut is a lot faster on SL than the equivalent on Lion, thanks to the gratuitous screen animation of the latter.

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,355 points)
    The REASON why we needed SPACES was that we could have WAY too many windows open at once on a Mac.  Right?

    I agree with most what Jerome Del ray and bluepaua said.

     

    I also use spaces to create different desktops for each project, and a project for me means a collection of related tools and document - not only one dedicated application. I frequently need to copy and to drag and drop between windows from different application, so neither a cluttered desktop nor a full screen application is useful.

    For each project I need different Finder windows - unfortunately so far I have not figured out how to assign different Finder Windows to different spaces and to make them stick to those spaces. Any suggustions?

  • bluepaua Level 2 Level 2 (170 points)

    You cannot pre-assign different Finder windows to go into different Spaces, but any Finder window you have moved to a Space will stay in that Space. It should just work.

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,355 points)

    Thank you, bluepaua, I'll try it that way.

  • woodmeister50 Level 4 Level 4 (3,690 points)

    I also agree with most of what you have said.  Like others

    have mentioned I too "occasionally" used Spaces and

    now use Mission Control.  Keeping groups of related apps

    in seperate desktops is exremely usefull.  In my opinion,

    I kind of like the way mission control works vs. spaces.

     

    As for Launch Pad, pretty useless for my work type Macs,

    but trying to use it with my Mac Mini media center.  It does

    make getting to apps easier when leaning back in my recliner,

    instead of leaning forward and squinting to see the icons in the

    dock.  It would be nicer if you could pick and choose the

    apps you wanted to be displayed in Launchpad.

     

    Full Screen Apps is just trying to emulate iOS methodogy.

    If I wanted apps to take up the whole screen and more than

    one, I just created another space/desktop for it. 

     

    The real test of Lion in my opinion will be once Apple gets

    iCloud online and how well it allows multiple Macs to be

    "the same, i.e. synchronized" from a user account standpoint.

    This is one issue that I always have, owning 3 Macs and an

    iPod Touch, having my iTunes, Mail, Address Book, Safari

    bookmarks, etc. the same.  The Cloud seems to have the

    potential to do this, but we will see.  Perhaps iCloud will

    turn into Skynet and the machines will take over the world.

  • bluepaua Level 2 Level 2 (170 points)

    woodmeister50 wrote:

    The real test of Lion in my opinion will be once Apple gets

    iCloud online and how well it allows multiple Macs to be

    "the same, i.e. synchronized" from a user account standpoint.

    This is one issue that I always have, owning 3 Macs and an

    iPod Touch, having my iTunes, Mail, Address Book, Safari

    bookmarks, etc. the same.  The Cloud seems to have the

    potential to do this, but we will see.  Perhaps iCloud will

    turn into Skynet and the machines will take over the world.

    Most of the features you mentioned are already available today via other cloud-based services. For example, you can access gmail via IMAP - this will give you the same view regardless of which computer or device you are on, what type of email client you choose to access your mail, including using the web interface. Similarly, if your contacts are kept on Google and synced to your Mac/iPhone/iPad address book, they will always be up to date. Ditto for calendar entries. Services like Dropbox already provide transparent file syncing across multiple machines. You could put your iTunes library on Dropbox if you really wanted to. My point is that you don't need a new operating system to get this kind of functionality - they all work under SL and work very well. There is no technical reason why a cloud service of this kind can only be made to work with a new and specific version of an OS - it is just Apple's way to force people to "upgrade".

  • Chooky Growler Calculating status...

    How the **** do you get the main itunes window to appear in the main space again? I don't want it on some other space...

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,355 points)

    try the following:

    - ctrl-click the iTunes icon in the Dock

    - select: Option -assign to Desktop ->none

     

    Then switch to the main Space

     

    - ctrl-click the iTunes icon in the Dock

    - select: Option -assign to Desktop ->this Desktop

     

    Hope that works

  • Chooky Growler Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey, thanks for reaching out...

     

    No luck. It just seems to stay over on space 2...

     

    I tried a bunch of different combinations... but couldnt get it back on the main desktop...

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