Good 90s Tech Ideas

That might not be so out of date!

Amazing as it seems there are still features from the late 90s Mac OS that work better than the current operating system. Why is a mystery but I hope they come back!

Pop-up folder windows

This was super handy. The bottom of the screen was totally empty since there was nothing like the MacOS X dock or Windows taskbar. This meant you could drag the title bar for a window to the bottom and it would turn into a tab. These tabs could be dragged around or spaced apart however you wanted to organize them for whatever project you were working on. Dragging a folder to the bottom now just gives you a blank folder icon with no label as of what is inside of it. What do you do if you have five folders? You just have to guess. Before it was as easy as clicking on the title of a tab in your web browser.

Stacks Image 73

Stacks Image 125
Stacks

There was an update to how you interacted with folders in the dock in 2007 called “Stacks” and yet again still doesn’t catch up to the way 1998 Classic Mac OS works. The Classic pop-up menus allowed you to select multiple files at once but stacks will only let to select one file at a time. In order to select more than one you would need to scroll all the way to the bottom and click “open in Finder.”

Why can’t they just re-create all the Finder operations right within stacks as was pretty much the case before? When the feature came out in 8.5 it was already very close to working right on the first try. They didn’t have to undergo countless tweaks to get it right yet despite almost perfecting it they removed this functionality after 9.2. At the time some people kept saying Classic Mac OS was falling behind but to me that criticism ignores advantages it had then and still has today.


Open and save menus

in Mac OS 9 would have a separate dropdown for favorites, recents, and network. As of 10.0 these were all lumped into one dropdown which I feel is usually too many things grouped together. There are mediocre third party add-ons that try to address this problem but they add a lot of extra interface components around the window. This solution doesn’t have the nice balance between minimalism and functionality. Apple is sometimes guilty of making things so simple that it actually makes it more difficult to use. This is one case of that. They dumped favorites into the sidebar but it is already too full with things.


Scrapbook

This tool was for copying and pasting items into a temporary holding spot so that it wouldn’t just be the last thing you copied but would store several copied items. Thankfully today there is a very good replacement for this called Pastebot which offers the advantge of being able to upload your copied text and images to the cloud.

There have been countless times I copied to Pastebot right before my comment got deleted or a program crashed; it is a lifesaver for sure! That is why I think it is so essentail for a tool like this to be built into the OS. Having to purchase and install it on whatever computer I may be on at the moment is nuts. Copying and pasting isn’t some niche operation only done by a few, everybody copies things!