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Deon Garrett
I make computers smarter. Very slightly smarter. Almost imperceptibly smarter.
I make computers smarter. Very slightly smarter. Almost imperceptibly smarter.


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The eclipse in Reykjavik this morning reached 97.5%. I stopped for half an hour or so on my walk to the university and took a few photos through a pretty dense ND filter.
3 Photos - View album

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South Africa
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Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my home state of Arkansas.

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Graffiti near my home in Reykjavik...

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I'm not sure you really have to speak Icelandic to find this sign funny, but it probably helps.

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And one with a real camera...

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I can't be the only one who has noticed/been-driven-slowly-insane by this, but my Google-fu is failing me.

I absolutely hate the Mac OS focus behavior, but generally, I understand what they're going for. It's a feature, not a bug, and I've learned to live with it. However, there's one aspect that feels like a bug, I'm just not sure whose fault it is. I believe it to be Apple's fault (and it seems like one of those things that was probably a conscious design, albeit a poor one).

The problem is that there seems to be a discrepancy between how apps interpret click-to-focus versus a double-click, and it drives me crazy. The resulting behavior mostly bothers me in Sparrow, the mail client I've been using, but it seems to happen pretty universally. Sparrow is just the one where the effect is the most infuriating.

A little background: Sparrow shows your mail like a Twitter feed. You get a thin scrolling list of messages, and you can expand and contract the window using the right and left arrows to actually read a message. You can also swipe left and right on the trackpad to perform this same action. Double-clicking a message opens a new window to display the message instead of sliding out a panel in the existing window, which I almost never actually want.

With all that out of the way, here's the problem. Let's say I'm browsing the web in Chrome (Chrome has focus) and a new mail comes in. I see Sparrow update to show a new message in the list, but the currently selected message in Sparrow is still whatever I read last. So what I'd like to do is click on the new message in Sparrow and quickly swipe to expand the window to see the entire new message. But the first click on the Sparrow window isn't passed to Sparrow -- OS X eats it and uses it to switch focus to Sparrow. So now Sparrow has the focus, but the old message is still selected. So a quick click-swipe shows me the wrong message.

OK, so instead I click a second time on the new message to select it inside of Sparrow. But if I'm reasonably quick about it, OS X interprets it as a double-click instead of two separate single clicks, and the double-click is passed to the app, in this case causing Sparrow to open a new window, which I did not want.

The only solution seems to be to either click twice very slowly, thus avoiding the double-click detection, or else dispense with using the mouse to switch focus anyway.

It really is infuriating far out of proportion to its importance, but beyond that, it just bothers me for the jarring inconsistency with my expectation. It's like violating causality -- I did something that you didn't detect, and then I did something else that changes the past allowing you to detect the thing you didn't detect 100 milliseconds ago.

For what it's worth, most apps I've tried have exhibited the same behavior, which is why I think it's simply the way Apple coded the Finder to behave. Interestingly, Finder windows are the notable exception; it receives the initial focus-click as well as a double-click, which I suppose makes sense since it's the Finder that's basically in charge of dispatching all these clicks anyway.

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I just heard that, after a long illness, Dennis Ritchie (dmr) died at home this weekend. I have no more information.

I trust there are people here who will appreciate the reach of his contributions and mourn his passing appropriately.

He was a quiet and mostly private man, but he was also my friend, colleague, and collaborator, and the world has lost a truly great mind.

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Completely misleading. This is nowhere near everything that's wrong with America. The rest of it is dead on of course...
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