Bored with the lack of interesting happenings in the Mac scene right this minute? Well, nothing spices up a dull party like a healthy round of heresy! The Register's Tony Smith evidently just installed a new mail server and decided to stress-test it under a worst-case scenario, because he has officially gone on record with his stated opinion that Mac OS X's Aqua interface "isn't as innovative" as the "Luna" user interface in the upcoming Windows XP-- an act which, as you all know, is tantamount to dousing one's genitals in steak sauce and then repeatedly flicking the ear of a sleeping Burmese tiger.
Not that we think you should flame ol' Tony, because if you actually read his reasoning, he makes some good points. Aqua, at its core, is the same old point-and-click routine we've all been using for donkey's years; sure, the Finder got wacky and has a "new" column view (which is itself at least a decade old and virtually unchanged from NeXTSTEP), the Dock makes us look at the bottom of the screen instead of clicking in the upper-right corner to view our running applications, etc., but for the most part, these are all just slightly (and sometimes arbitrarily) different ways of doing the same old things. That's not necessarily bad-- unless there was room for improvement and Apple didn't really make things better.
Luna, on the other hand, may be Aqua-inspired though ugly as sin (Tony likens it to "what you'd get if you told a colourblind guy to copy a Monet"), but it apparently also adds just about the last thing you'd ever expect to see coming out of Redmond: what appear to be some honest-to-goodness functional innovations. In particular, Tony points to the "My Pictures" folder as an example. Mac OS X's Finder includes a nicer preview option over previous Mac OS versions, but it still only lets you see a thumbnail of a single file at a time. In contrast, Windows XP's "My Pictures" folder "provides a slideshow feature" and a variety of ways to preview the images contained within; other basic consumer-oriented tasks such as compressing a photo and emailing it to Grandma are just a click away (via tight "integration" with Outlook Express, we'd wager).
So instead of flaming Tony (who is a Mac user, by the by), think about the number of steps your mom might have to take to email you copies of the digital pictures she took if she were using Mac OS X 10.0.3. Assume that the camera is even supported by Mac OS X in the first place; after transferring the images, she'd probably have to locate them via the Finder, preview them one at a time to find the good ones, switch to Mail, create a new outgoing message addressed to you, and then drag in the pictures she wants to send-- oh, and hopefully they're already email-friendly JPEGs instead of uncompressed TIFFs.
The process isn't brain surgery, to be sure, but we have to admit, Tony's description of the way "My Pictures" will supposedly work does sound simpler. Here's hoping that Steve's whole "digital hub" strategy will extend to super-simple, consumer-friendly digital photo processing (among other tasks) come Mac OS X 10.1 next month. We've long had to endure goofy claims that Windows's interface is "almost is good as a Mac's"; in October we don't want to have to start hearing people say that it's better.