[NTLK] Cars and computing [WAS: "Re: Delurking and intro"]

Aaron Brigati abrigati at gmail.com
Mon Nov 21 09:09:12 EST 2011

On Nov 21, 2011, at 8:45 AM, G Y wrote:

> Sorry I cannot get into the Amiga personal computers. 
> Amiga OS 1.x looks like someone took a bad LSD when they designed the workbench software. No menu bar, icons oversized, etc. Amiga OS 2.x was not that much better with the elongated icons. To me everything looked like not much forethought went into it. From a graphic design perspective, yuck.

AmigaOS 1.x has a menu bar, and the icons aren't all that large. Perhaps they look large in hindsight, but they kind of had to be big to be visible on monitors of the day - the initial Amigas could use a TV as a monitor. Running in 640 x 400 on a 'real' monitor they weren't much bigger than a Mac's icons.

Well, system-supplied icons. The Amiga allowed custom icons of any size, and some software companies kind of went nuts with it for their programs.

I'll grant, however, that the color scheme of 1.x was crack-induced. 2.x's mostly-grey with blue was much nicer than 1.x's hideous blue and orange.

Mac System 6 and Atari's GEM were similarly ugly. As was GEOS. It wasn't a very pretty time for GUI design.

There's one thing the Amiga did that nothing else does, and I wish something did. On most computers, clicking in a window focuses on that window, and it raises the window to the top. In X11 (Unix/Linux) and some others you have the option of 'focus follows mouse' - having the mouse pointer in a window focuses it, but moving the pointer moves focus. The Amiga had 'click to focus, but click does not raise'. It was easy to keep focus on the window you wanted focus on, but you could work in a window that was behind something else. (Keeping a reference in the foreground, for example.) Double-clicking would raise a window. I really wish I could get my Mac and/or PC to work like that.

Pretty much everything else the Amiga was famous for has been surpassed, but that One Thing was spiffy.

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