Terrance Heath

That's Just How We Scroll

Filed By Terrance Heath | September 24, 2011 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Geeks, Living
Tags: Apple, Mac, scrolling, trackpad

MacbookPro.jpgWell, I now have an answer to a question that's been bugging me ever since I upgraded to Mac OS X Lion. What's up with the scrolling?

In July, Apple released its new operating system, Mac OS X Lion, and pulled a Frank Lloyd Wright. The architect would return to the homes he had designed and rearrange the furniture as he saw fit, often in the middle of the night. You like the piano there? Too bad, it has to go in the center of the room! Similarly, 1 million Apple users downloaded Lion the first day and noticed something odd when their computers restarted: Down was up, up was down. Apple had decreed that "natural scrolling" was the new standard, overturning 25 years of convention. This was more discomfiting than rearranging furniture. This was pulling out the chair as you were taking a seat.

With natural scrolling, a trackpad or a mouse wheel no longer follows the direction of the scrollbars. Rather, the pointer responds as if your finger were touching the screen. One reason Apple made the change is to integrate the way we interact with our iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. The secondary effect is to bind us more closely to the Apple way of computing. The trackpad is rapidly developing its own complicated sign language; I'm addicted to the two-finger swipe to flip between web pages. Using a Windows machine with a mouse suddenly feels very 1997.

OK. At least I know it's not just me.

(Crossposted at The Republic of T)

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It didn't take me that long to figure out that the scrolling in Lion mimicked scrolling on the iPhone and iPad, since a few of the other additions to Lioin were also ports from iOS. In fact, it got me wondering if at some point Mac computers will incorporate touchscreens, like the iPhone and iPad. If that's the case, it's probably a change that will make more sense further down the line, and since Apple knew they would have to introduce it anyway, and some people would hate it no matter when they rolled it out.

Unlike the author the Slate article, I didn't find it all that bothersome. In fact, it took me a short while to get used to it. Now, I have to remind myself to use "normal scrolling" on my Windows machine at work.

I'm not surprised, however, that some Mac users don't like the change, but at least there's a way to turn it off.

I've decided to just leave it the way it is. After all, at this point the only time I use a Windows computer is at work, and even then I end up working on my MacBook Pro. I already have an iPhone, and will probably (finally) get an iPad soon. So, why not just get used to it?


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Typical Mac-Sheep reaction, Terrence. Swallow whatever the great god Apple hands you, irregardless of how ridiculous it may be. Pay three times the price to be told by a corporation what you can use, and how to use it.... I could go on like this for ages.

To be honest with you, I've been an IT person for over 25 years, have built the damned things for 22 years (and have the solder burn scars to prove it), and have worked in IT support and administration for the past 7. I've been both amused and disgusted with the dumbing-down of the computer by all the major players in the industry, and Apple is the worst of the lot when it comes to this.

It may have broadened the acceptance of computers in the marketplace, it may have accelerated the spread of computers and the Internet into our homes, but it didn't necessarily make the computer (or the Internet) "better." Especially not when I still get support requests from people who don't know how to turn the idiot-box "on". No, I'm not kidding. I'm not even being a drama-queen (for once). I don't know if you've heard the joke about "...tell them you're too stupid to own a computer" or not, but believe me - it's no joke. After two decades in the IT industry, I can say with real authority there are, indeed, many many people who are just too stupid to own a computer. Frankly, I don't know why some are allowed crayons - let alone sharp, pointy things like pencils or pens.

OK... so, can you tell it's been one of "those days" at work? Sorry, Terence, but your "...why not just get used to it" stomped on my last frazzled nerve. I think a hear the Stoli calling me...

I could go on like this for ages.

Yeah, hyperbole is pretty easy that way. XDD