Does anyone use “Flip 3D”?

If you’ve read my blog for long enough, you’ll know that I’m a happy Windows user.  That doesn’t mean that everything is roses, though, or that I’m content with every aspect of Windows.  I *do* prefer Vista to XP, and I *am* looking forward to the next release, Windows 7.  I wonder, though, if they’re going to re-think the Flip 3D feature.  Does anyone use it?  Honestly?


I suppose it looks kinda neat, but I don’t find any real reason to use it in my work/home computer use.  It seems to me that it was an answer to the much-loved “Expose” feature of OSX.  I could be wrong on that.  If it is an answer to “Expose”, however, then it’s a pretty poor one.

Just my $.02.

On that note, a buddy of mine who straddles the Windows and OSX worlds has sparred back and forth with me over the “Expose” feature.  He likes it and wishes that Windows had that feature. I argue that it was really an answer to an issue that Windows has not had:  a good view of your currently-running applications.  The taskbar in Windows has for years shown you at-a-glance what programs you have running, and given you the ability to quickly select one of them.  Alt+tab (or Windows+tab, for Flip 3D) gives you a quick way to switch between them as well.  The Mac-based “finder” was not graceful or productive, and thus “Expose” was born.  Windows, on the other hand, has made that information – your currently running programs — easily accessible since Windows 95.

I’m just saying.


3 Responses to “Does anyone use “Flip 3D”?”

  1. 1 Josh November 3, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    We’re fast approaching the day when we’ll be able to call up not only currently running applications but lost since forgotten files buried deep in our hard drives using our thoughts. For now you need to have a neural interface skull cap or a coaxial jack installed in your skull, but the technology is there now…

    Perhaps at some point the typing and mouse manipulation will rival and exceed that of the manual practice we engage in now. By then I bet we won’t need a monitor or speakers anymore…or an external computer for that matter. ;o) I’d hate to get a virus or dll error at that point though – lol

  2. 2 Matt Swann November 4, 2008 at 2:24 am

    The Mac OS X Dock is where you see currently-running applications, vis:

    …blue dots indicate active applications. Icons that don’t have blue dots are in the Dock because I use them frequently, so I’ve dragged them in there for easy access. Command-Tab switches between running applications, like Alt-Tab does in Windows.

    The missing piece is this: Mac OS X applications are typically MDI, where one instance of the app manages multiple document windows. In other words, you have one instance of Microsoft Word — many documents open in it, perhaps, but all owned by the same process and corresponding to the same icon in the Dock. There isn’t a 1:1 mapping between document and application.

    Windows applications are typically SDI and host each document in a separate process. Five Word documents means five icons in the taskbar. Whether this is better or worse is a matter of personal preference.

    Since clicking on application’s icon in Mac OS X doesn’t mean switching to a given document, Expose lets you quickly get between them. There’s also Command-Tilde to cycle through all documents in the current application.

  3. 3 yipcanjo November 4, 2008 at 5:38 am

    Ha ha! I *knew* that you couldn’t avoid commenting on this entry, Matt! 🙂

    Anyhow, I was on an OSX-based Mac today with several applications open, but I *NEVER* noticed any such blue-dot denotions of currently opened apps. Hmmm.

    Regardless of the MDI/SDI differences between Mac and Windows, my point still stands: the Expose feature really solved an issue that Macs have, and Windows does not. OS preferences aside, having an Expose-like interface in Windows would be nifty and all, but would really solve nothing — aka the “Flip 3D” view that I am bemoaning. It’s helpful in the OSX world — I’ll grant you that — but not on Windows.

    Also, under the Vista regime, opening several types of any one application will *typically* create a “group” for that application, if the task bar begins filling up….. but you knew that…. 🙂

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