We've said it before, and no doubt we'll say it again: these are trying times for Macintosh "traditionalists." We know, it's human nature to be resistant to change-- and so we've always tried to keep an open mind about the vast departures from the past that we Mac users have been force-fed from above. When faced with a massive paradigm shift, we try not to condemn it simply because it's different. Instead, we try to evaluate it objectively on its own merits, and then condemn it because it sucks. Okay, okay, they haven't all been negative; some changes, like the abrupt shift to USB, were slightly painful at first but ultimately a Good Thing. Others, like the seemingly egregious elimination of the Apple Menu in Mac OS X, are a bit more... questionable.
What really has us concerned, however, is Apple's apparent strategy of forging new trails into the future at the expense of the comfortable, well-walked paths of the past. Mac OS X represents a gargantuan change to those of us who have been happily using our Macs for years; its interface is no more like the current Mac's than, say, Windows's is (with the notable exception that at least it isn't butt-ugly). Now, given that Apple's future essentially hinges on whether or not Mac OS X is a hit, we'd have expected that Apple would want to assuage our anxieties of the unknown by including as many familiar elements as possible. Not so. As Go2Mac pointed out a while back, the ultimate Mac mascot is apparently completely absent from Apple's new operating system. Yes, people, Clarus the Dogcow has been put out to pasture. May we please have a moment of silence, followed by a hearty "Moof!"?
Now, a farewell may be premature, since Mac OS X is still in beta and there's time yet for Clarus to sneak into the release version. But given the overall vibe from Apple in recent years, we're not holding our breath; Clarus represents the Old Apple, and as such it seems that Uncle Steve feels there's no room for her down-home mammalian warmth in Mac OS X's glitzy, lickable Aqua world. If Clarus indeed loses her gig helping end-users through the Page Setup process, here's hoping she finds gainful employment elsewhere. Gateway would seem an obvious, though unfortunate, choice.
Skeptical that a long-standing Apple mascot would be forced to seek employment elsewhere? Perhaps the Mac "smiley" logo will change your mind. While he's lucky enough to have been retained in Mac OS X as the leftmost icon in the Dock, evidently he had to accept a pay cut to stay on staff. As faithful viewer Thomas notes, a very familiar face appears to be moonlighting at USSEARCH.com, working part-time as the site's new logo. Sure, his colors are a bit different, he's holding a rounder, more relaxed pose, and he's looking to the right instead of giving us a hint of his left profile, but make no mistake-- that's him, all right. Just another sign of the times, we suppose.