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Remove unnecessary System Preferences icons

#15 User is offline   bastion 

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 06:27 AM

View Postsensel, on 31 January 2012 - 10:23 AM, said:

Can't you just right click and remove a pane?
That is how I do it in Snow Leopard.


As someone else noted, this only works for 3rd-party pref panes. Additionally, there's a difference in result. This technique will actually remove the plugin from system preferences. Gone. For all users. What the article describes simply hides the icon in the main view for a single user. They pane is still available by icon to everyone else and by other methods for the user performing this process.
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#16 User is offline   bastion 

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 06:30 AM

View Postjpmhughes, on 31 January 2012 - 01:12 PM, said:

View Postsensel, on 31 January 2012 - 10:23 AM, said:

Can't you just right click and remove a pane?
That is how I do it in Snow Leopard.


You can only remove third party pref panes this way.

However, you can delete a preference pane by going to /System/Library/PreferencePanes.
Drag whatever you want to delete to a folder on the desktop or anywhere you want to hold it, a copy will be made.
Then delete the original, you'll be asked for an administrator password. That's it.
To re-enable the pref pane simply put the copy back into the /System/Library/PreferencePanes folder.
This also works in 10.5.


A couple of caveats here:

The first is that /System is Apple's playground. Any manual modification you do in there is at your own risk, much more so than any other part of the file system.
Additionally, be warned that some preference pane files actually export multiple panes. It is not common but it does happen. For this reason I would recommend even greater caution about deleting stock prefpanes than I do in general about messing around in /System.
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#17 User is offline   sensel 

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  Posted 01 February 2012 - 07:45 AM

This demonstrates a number of prime examples of annoyances Apple continues to put on its users.
The system is still an obfuscatory black hole to normal people with none or some or even a mid level understanding of it (can change oil, maintain it, know the parts in a novice way but would never build it from scratch or heavily modify it).
I like the Mac and have used it for 24 years and taught design on it for 20. You can ignore the guts except for keeping it healthy with Disk Utility or third party tools. But the System is now unnecessarily un-described by Apple when it is accessible. Look, even regular people might want to do things with the System Prefs. Indeed, if Apple did not want us to, they would seal it off totally. But instead, it remains a confusing mess (except for all the nerd types who will now say I am wrong).
Then Apple does something in an OS update that changes the chemistry of this issue. Probably for the better. But instead of making it obvious, you have to know the secret to get at it. And it is not in the previous OS.
Don't get me started on iCal…
For more on what I am talking about, watch this excellent Macworld panel discussion. It is not so much about Apple but is indicative of what I am talking about.
http://www.macworld....rc.twt_macworld
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#18 User is offline   bastion 

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 09:17 AM

View Postsensel, on 01 February 2012 - 07:45 AM, said:

This demonstrates a number of prime examples of annoyances Apple continues to put on its users.
The system is still an obfuscatory black hole to normal people with none or some or even a mid level understanding of it (can change oil, maintain it, know the parts in a novice way but would never build it from scratch or heavily modify it).
I like the Mac and have used it for 24 years and taught design on it for 20. You can ignore the guts except for keeping it healthy with Disk Utility or third party tools. But the System is now unnecessarily un-described by Apple when it is accessible. Look, even regular people might want to do things with the System Prefs. Indeed, if Apple did not want us to, they would seal it off totally. But instead, it remains a confusing mess (except for all the nerd types who will now say I am wrong).
Then Apple does something in an OS update that changes the chemistry of this issue. Probably for the better. But instead of making it obvious, you have to know the secret to get at it. And it is not in the previous OS.


I understand what you're saying, but buried inside it I think is a little conundrum. To me your complaint is that Apple doesn't make obvious to normal users things that normal users almost by definition don't care to do anyway. I know you say "they might" but I'll counter that in my experience they *don't*. By the time a person gets to that point they're not really a novice any more and they should have the skills by that point to find out if what they want can be done and how.

I also think you're giving the built-in help system short shrift. In the past it hasn't always been especially useful, but at least since 10.6 there's been a lot of stuff in there that is, honest and for true, helpful.

One problem here: You can have absolutely stellar documentation - the best reference work in the history of the written word - and it won't matter a bit if the user doesn't read it. And, frankly, a lot of them won't; can't be bothered to double-click a read-me document. If you recognize that as a developer it's time to decide whether you're going to support those people proactively by cluttering up the interface with things that the user won't need after the first exposure or two, or support them retroactively by accepting the reality that they're going to write to you asking how to do something that's clearly documented.

Let me lay out a real-world scenario for you and see if you can identify ways to improve the user experience. I have a free product that presents a sort of heads-up display of certain system status information. The window is persistent, not transient, and translucent and it floats above document windows by default. You can click anywhere on the window and drag it around to position it. Some users, once they get it positioned, want it to be non-interactive. Clicks will pass through it (translucent, remember) to whatever happens to be underneath. Of course, at some point they may want to restore interactivity so I provide a mechanism for that as well. The method to restore interactivity is clearly described in the documentation. It is also summarized in an on-screen dialog at least the first time click-through is activated. (Future appearances of that dialog are at user discretion.) The actual mechanism, while unobtrusive, is visible on-screen at all times while click-through is active. About every other day I get a message from someone who wants to know how to disable click-through. I don't even want to get into the users who write to me furious about something "my software" did when the reality is it was a Finder or System pref that they changed themselves just days ago.
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#19 User is offline   jpmhughes 

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 05:08 PM

View Postbastion, on 01 February 2012 - 06:30 AM, said:

View Postjpmhughes, on 31 January 2012 - 01:12 PM, said:

View Postsensel, on 31 January 2012 - 10:23 AM, said:

Can't you just right click and remove a pane?
That is how I do it in Snow Leopard.


You can only remove third party pref panes this way.

However, you can delete a preference pane by going to /System/Library/PreferencePanes.
Drag whatever you want to delete to a folder on the desktop or anywhere you want to hold it, a copy will be made.
Then delete the original, you'll be asked for an administrator password. That's it.
To re-enable the pref pane simply put the copy back into the /System/Library/PreferencePanes folder.
This also works in 10.5.


A couple of caveats here:

The first is that /System is Apple's playground. Any manual modification you do in there is at your own risk, much more so than any other part of the file system.
Additionally, be warned that some preference pane files actually export multiple panes. It is not common but it does happen. For this reason I would recommend even greater caution about deleting stock prefpanes than I do in general about messing around in /System.


Good points, I have been using Mac's for so long sometimes I forget about the potential dangers to people less familiar with the os.
That being said, I have not personally encountered any problems and if someone does encounter any problems make sure to restore the aforementioned pref panes to the proper locations.
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#20 User is offline   jpmhughes 

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 05:30 PM

View Postbastion, on 01 February 2012 - 09:17 AM, said:

View Postsensel, on 01 February 2012 - 07:45 AM, said:

This demonstrates a number of prime examples of annoyances Apple continues to put on its users.
The system is still an obfuscatory black hole to normal people with none or some or even a mid level understanding of it (can change oil, maintain it, know the parts in a novice way but would never build it from scratch or heavily modify it).
I like the Mac and have used it for 24 years and taught design on it for 20. You can ignore the guts except for keeping it healthy with Disk Utility or third party tools. But the System is now unnecessarily un-described by Apple when it is accessible. Look, even regular people might want to do things with the System Prefs. Indeed, if Apple did not want us to, they would seal it off totally. But instead, it remains a confusing mess (except for all the nerd types who will now say I am wrong).
Then Apple does something in an OS update that changes the chemistry of this issue. Probably for the better. But instead of making it obvious, you have to know the secret to get at it. And it is not in the previous OS.


I understand what you're saying, but buried inside it I think is a little conundrum. To me your complaint is that Apple doesn't make obvious to normal users things that normal users almost by definition don't care to do anyway. I know you say "they might" but I'll counter that in my experience they *don't*. By the time a person gets to that point they're not really a novice any more and they should have the skills by that point to find out if what they want can be done and how.

I also think you're giving the built-in help system short shrift. In the past it hasn't always been especially useful, but at least since 10.6 there's been a lot of stuff in there that is, honest and for true, helpful.

One problem here: You can have absolutely stellar documentation - the best reference work in the history of the written word - and it won't matter a bit if the user doesn't read it. And, frankly, a lot of them won't; can't be bothered to double-click a read-me document. If you recognize that as a developer it's time to decide whether you're going to support those people proactively by cluttering up the interface with things that the user won't need after the first exposure or two, or support them retroactively by accepting the reality that they're going to write to you asking how to do something that's clearly documented.

Let me lay out a real-world scenario for you and see if you can identify ways to improve the user experience. I have a free product that presents a sort of heads-up display of certain system status information. The window is persistent, not transient, and translucent and it floats above document windows by default. You can click anywhere on the window and drag it around to position it. Some users, once they get it positioned, want it to be non-interactive. Clicks will pass through it (translucent, remember) to whatever happens to be underneath. Of course, at some point they may want to restore interactivity so I provide a mechanism for that as well. The method to restore interactivity is clearly described in the documentation. It is also summarized in an on-screen dialog at least the first time click-through is activated. (Future appearances of that dialog are at user discretion.) The actual mechanism, while unobtrusive, is visible on-screen at all times while click-through is active. About every other day I get a message from someone who wants to know how to disable click-through. I don't even want to get into the users who write to me furious about something "my software" did when the reality is it was a Finder or System pref that they changed themselves just days ago.


I want to add to Bastions excellent points here. You seem to be comparing OS X to previous versions of the os, that of system 9 and below. The previous operating systems were hardly any better as far as novice user interaction. We, those of us who bothered to learn the os, knew that the primary problem was usually related to a rogue extension or corrupt preference file or.... The point is that even then you still had to have a rudimentary understanding of the os. To be honest I like Apple's approach now. I have had to many occasions in the past where I was pulling system files out of the trash because the user was trying to "clean up" his or her computer making it barely able to start up, if at all. The truth is if you don't want to learn how to change the os to suit your needs beyond what customization Apple allows, you have to learn about the os or app whatever it may be.
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#21 User is offline   ltphilpot 

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  Posted 06 February 2012 - 05:47 AM

I've only been a Mac user since 2007, and I'll be honest I don't understand all the fuss, especially about Lion. My first Mac had Leopard and each iteration has made my experience better. I'm a desktop support technician for a large company and I love comping home and being on my Mac and getting a break from Windows computers in the evening.

Thanks Macworld for this tip!
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#22 User is offline   puertoricanmac 

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  Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:52 AM

Is there a way (Lion) to make the 'sidebar' icons color? (Finder/Preferences/Sidebar). If I were to open a 'Downloads' window, the sidebar will appear on the left with monophonic icons, is there a way to make them colored icons?
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#23 User is offline   puertoricanmac 

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:55 AM

View Postpuertoricanmac, on 16 February 2012 - 07:52 AM, said:

Is there a way (Lion) to make the 'sidebar' icons color? (Finder/Preferences/Sidebar). If I were to open a 'Downloads' window, the sidebar will appear on the left with monophonic icons, is there a way to make them colored icons?



http://osxdaily.com/...finder-windows/
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