Idea: Partial fullscreen

Both Microsoft (with Windows 8) and Apple (since OS X 10.7 “Lion”) are moving towards a paradigm in their desktop operating systems that encourages the use of full screen apps. Whether you love it or hate it, this seems to be the way things are moving in the near future.

Even for those that like it, there are certainly some drawbacks. Some programmes just work better when they can be used on top of others. Note-taking apps like TextEdit or Notepad can work great over the top of a full-screen web browser, and it would be nice to be able to call up an IM window without having to switch over to another space if you’re working on a full-screen document.

Apps could use a partial fullscreen API to specify that they are suitable for being used on top of fullscreen applications, and then any windows open in them would appear in a menu after opening a drawer that is on one edge of the screen (perhaps some form of gesture or keyboard shortcut could also be used, or it could auto-hide, to preserve screen real estate).

In Windows 8 this could be added to the Charms menu, in OS X, I would say a three-fingered swipe from the very edge of the touchpad, but really any method could be used if the drawer were to be hidden when not in use.

When you pull out the drawer, a menu of all installed apps that can use partial fullscreen would appear, and upon clicking on the one you want, it would appear in the place of the drawer at the edge of the screen. Perhaps there could also be a simple tabbed system to switch between different partial fullscreen apps, such as different text windows, IM windows, etc.

People could benefit from something like this in a variety of ways:

  • Note taking while browsing websites for research purposes
  • Instant Messaging/chat while browsing the web
  • Audio libraries during fullscreen production or web browsing
  • Watching video while browsing the web

Fullscreen applications are great. You get more screen real-estate, they can help to minimise unwanted distractions. The problem is there are some cases where you want to be able to see more than one window at a time, for a variety of purposes. Partial fullscreen would help get the best of both worlds.

What do you think about partial fullscreen? Leave a comment down below.

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Follow up: Mac start-up problem

As I wrote about in a previous post, I was having trouble getting my new Mac to start up. This is just a quick follow up to say that it’s now working. In fact, shortly after I posted my last one, I tried again to shut it down, and it finally turned off!

I turned it back on again, and held option, but it didn’t work, but this time at least it shut down. Then I tried C, and then D, but they didn’t work. Hoping that I could at least get the disk out, I tried holding down the trackpad, to remove the disk on start-up. The disk was removed, and the computer started up correctly. I have yet to shut down the computer again, but will update this post once I have, to see whether or not I have the same problem again, but I expect not to.

Macs never have the problems Windows PCs have? BS!

A little while ago I got my first Mac: a second tier, 13-inch MacBook Pro. I’ve really been enjoying using it, and, due to the faster speed in booting up and the portability, among other things, I have been using it more than my Windows desktop.

 

Yesterday, I decided I was going to go ahead with my plans to dual-boot Ubuntu Linux onto it. So I went onto my desktop, and did a little bit of research, and came up with this site. Armed with the comment by “cyberdork33”, I went to my MacBook Pro and opened Boot Camp. I

 

started following his instructions, until it came time to install Ubuntu. I chose to install it, rather than run it off of the disk, and it started doing something that looked like it must be installing, but then it came to a black screen with white text. It had some code, and said to type “help” for a list of commands I could give. I did this, but none of the commands seemed useful.

 

I gave up, and decided to forget about Ubuntu — I’m happy with Mac OS anyway, all I was going to do was mess around with Ubuntu, I had no plans to use it as my primary OS. So I held the power button, and it didn’t shut down. After a few times of doing this, it finally did loose

power, and I booted up again under Mac OS X. Using boot camp, I restored the disk to a single partition under Mac OS X. I continued using the computer until I went to bed, shut it down, and left it on to charge over night.

 

The next morning, after I get up, I go over to it and turn it on. I notice it stays on a blank white screen for longer than it should, but I’m doing other things, so I ignore it and let it boot up as normal. When I get to the computer, I notice it has a black screen with white text, saying

 

No bootable device — insert boot disk and press any key

 

Typically, given this screen, pressing any key would get it to do something, and even if there is no disk inserted, it will tell you as much. However, when I press any key (in fact, I pressed every single key on the keyboard, from the function keys, to letters, to modifiers), it simply ignores my press. I notice that pressing “caps lock” does not cause the light over the caps lock key to turn on.

Because there is a disk in the drive — and I can’t eject it — I try to power down the device by holding on the power button. But no matter how many times I do this, or how long I hold the button down for — short, long, or just tapping it — it won’t power off.

 

If I could get it to power off, there are many things I could try. From holding down option to make sure it’s booting off of the correct partition, to holding down “d” to run the Apple hardware test, to make sure there isn’t a problem with the hard drive. However, all of this is irrelevant, since I can’t get the computer to turn off in the first place. I can’t even follow the instructions and insert the restore disk, since there’s a disk in the computer I can’t get out.

 

I’m trying to power down the computer by killing its battery, but if that doesn’t work, I’ll try taking it into an Apple authorised repair service, and hope that all those people who talk about how great Apple Care is are right.

 

Don’t read on if you’re concerned about inappropriate language.

So to all you people who say Macs don’t suffer from the same problems that Windows PC users get, I say to you: Bull. Shit.

Let me know if you have any suggestions, or if you’ve had a similar experience. As always, any comments are appreciated.