All posts by mike

Bête noire — et morte

I just wrote a singularly witty little rantette about the inability of Apple’s Mail.app to show you the target of a link in an email as a way of doing a quick filter. “Why,” I had lamented, “can Notes — Notes — do this when Apple can’t?”

Of course, if you hover over a link in Mail.app, you get a little tooltip that tells you what the target is. Maybe it takes a fraction of a second too long to pop up — I know I get horribly irritated by this in Eclipse, which has perfectly sensible tooltip timing on WinXP, but needs a written invitation on Leopard — but I perceive it as taking something like the standard time for tooltips on OS X, rather than the week I wait for SWT. And generally Apple have good form (at least in my opinion) when it comes to HCI and timing…

All of which has deprived you of the debatable benefit of my pithy wit this time round. There are at least three distinct conclusions I could draw from the whole sorry affair:

  • I am an unobservant muppet
  • Generally, tooltips on Leopard take just a little too long
  • Notes’ UI is so poisonously bad that obvious things are obscure after using it

I tend toward the last with a little of the second; natural reserve prevents me from prejudicing your views in regard of the first.

Placeholder

Placeholder is one of my least favourite terms, not least because, in code, it has a tendency to mean both “permanent feature” and “oh, I’ll do it properly later”.

By all means do it the simplest way possible — in fact, we’ll have words if you don’t — but please don’t abandon your professional self-respect: it’s the placeholder stuff that will haunt you at 2am in three years’ time, not the polished production code you slaved over for three days to refactor into shining elegance.

I should know. Not only have I written my share of placeholder code… but an article called “placeholder” is just asking for trouble.