I found myself on the receiving end of a brand new Apple 64-bit G5 computer today. I carefully unwrapped each of the components that were lovingly, individually wrapped, put the system together, started it up, faked the requisite demographic/marketing data when Mac OS X demanded that I enter it in order to get to log into the OS, and then I was all set, but not before insisting vociferously that I really did not want a trial account on .Mac. Looking at the computer itself I had a nagging feeling like maybe it was supposed to have an optical drive. It had a rectangular region on the front panel that looked like it might serve such a purpose but it did not seem to open up. I emailed my friend Gregg, old college pal and part-time Mac lover, and he advised me to try the F12 key. That gives me the current weather in Cupertino, CA. Seriously. Failing that, he told me to look for a special key on the keyboard. Sure enough, there is something that resembles an eject symbol over on the numeric keypad which causes the optical drive to breathe life.
Now, see, I believe this to be clearly outside the realm of what a keyboard is chartered to do. Further, it reminds me that there truly is no justice in the world as evidenced by the fact that Steve Jobs was never made to stand trial and answer for his company’s crimes against usability in the form of Apple’s QuickTime Player v4.
The second greatest crime against user interfaces, second only to Winamp. Click here for an in-depth review of the usability deficiencies.