Dear Steve...

With the NY Times article, perhaps now is the time for this forum to collectively pen a “Dear Steve” letter letting Mr. Jobs know how much the Mac OS X text engine sucks (a poetic term) and how it hinders such creative and innovative tools as Scrivener. Seriously.

Here goes:

Dear Steve,

1 - It’s unable to delete a word forward in any logical manner.
2 - …

Option-delete (⌦)

Yes, but:

1 - This only properly deletes a space + word; it can not delete word + space. If the cursor is at the beginning of a word (the logical place for editing text) two spaces are left behind after the delete.

2 - If the cursor is after the period in a sentence, and there is a bunch of spaces, and a few paragraph breaks before the next sentence, this “delete word” action always takes out the first word of the next sentence rather than just getting rid of all the garbage.

I’m not just being picky here, other applications get this right, including MS Word.

  • This is not a criticism of Scrivener, of course, but the text engine it has to rely on - an embarrassment that Apple has left it in such shoddy shape compared to all the snazzy new features in Leopard. Don’t get me started on the clunky style feature…

That weirdness happens with backwards deletes, too. If you have the cursor at the end of the word you wish to delete, you’ll get two spaces left over, but if the cursor is at the beginning of the next word, the space and the word will be deleted. I think the reason for this is that Option-Arrow navigation moves the cursor in such a way that the existing space+word delete pattern works without an intermediate cursor move. I do agree that it should take care of the redundant space when you are right next to it thought.

I’ve always just used ⌦ (or Ctrl-k if there is trailing whitespace) twice to join paragraphs (or once if you single space them).

Or you could think out the “mac way” that was a Job’s edict from the '80s.


Now as a shortcut key addict (I am a unix guy) I think that sucks. On the other hand I don’t climb into my caddy and complaint that it doesn’t drive like a honda. So seeing that macs are supposed to be graphical, mouse driving compute environments where the keyboard is used for BASIC input I am not sure that these are legit complaints.

So much for devils advocate. I personally hate the way the mac input differs from winblows and unix. I have serveral VM running in parallels for my day job and have to constantly check what os I am in (coherence is both a god send and a demon). It would be nice if apple just conformed in this one area.

Have you tried looking for a KeyBindings.dict modification? That will make most of the operating system behave any way you like. I’m sure somebody has thrown together a Windows or *NIX style mod. There are already some Emac-sy keyboard shortcuts defined by default, and I know I’ve seen at least one dict file that takes that even further. I’ve even seen some for a modal Vi style of input. Kind of strange to have to enter input mode to type in a search box, though. :slight_smile:

believe it or not I have gone the other way. I am mapping all the non mac systems to be more mac like. You may be thinking “this cook is nuttier than vic-k on laundry day!” but let me assure you I am not. here is why.

Mrs tells me “I like you. Here is a pile o’ your money back. Go buy a laptop”
I being the unix guy that I am start looking at linux/solaris based systems. After a while (30 seconds or so) I say to myself “Dang self, those suckers are as over priced as an apple!!”

Now at that point myself says to I “you know those super pretty, shiny, glow in the dark, might even make you (but not vic-k) look cool apple macs are based on BSD these days. That is daddy unix and you really like it.”

Now I is smarter than myself, so I goes into the office, calls up a staff meeting (i have one of those, helps with walking) and say “Listen all you pieces of dead wood. I want to do an ROI study on converting our winblows laptops to linux, leaving them on winblows, and moving to Apple.”

It was at this point that my boss suggested some meds, but he did allow me to utilize a few of our corporate tools to do a study for an internal interview presentation (I am going for his job so they like to use fake ideas to keep things neutral). Now we both thought that this was so ridiculous that it would get some laughs and no one would seriously consider it. And the bonus of knowing what laptop to buy.

I goes and starts collecting data and putting together his presentation. Meanwhile myself keeps bringing up the Vendor supported *nix that will reduce home support time, system interoperability, and the sheer “cool” factor.

At the end of the list cost of a MBP 17" saves ~$20K/yr once you consider the elimination of misc hardware and associated support contracts. Yep, you can buy a CAR using the amount of savings generated by one MBP 17" replacing 1 Sun b150, 2xdell D620, 2x IBM Think Pad t60 and 1 dell XPS (those were my daily use machines).

So 4 VM later and a raise in my pocket (boss is letting me keep some of the savings) and an up coming presentation to corporate management to move not just the laptops for *nix support but ALL THE LINUX SERVERS all my systems will conform to me, myself’s and I’s new bestest buddy.
</proof that while not clinically insane I should be>

I’ll let you all know how the real presentation goes. Not only did my interview go off well, the management pannel mentioned it to upper and after a cursory vetting of the info I presented they actually want to review the possibility. I offered to let one of the more polished presenters do the presentation, but apparently I am a bit passionate about this stuff and it falls to me.

BTW I am using scriv to build the supporting docs. I wonder if I owe KB a commission?