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QA the UI: Time Machine’s backwards ghost

Here’s something that’s been bugging me for a long time.

Now, I know the folks at Apple work hard to make the small details shine. I’ve had a couple acquaintances who have been involved with great hardware design there over the years. I have heard stories about the wonderful keyboard design (the super fast keyboard that I’m typing on at the moment). I’ve heard about the great lengths engineers went to to sync the sleep pulsing light of the Mac monitor and the Mac tower years ago. And the “sleeping heartbeat” or “breathing”  pulsing LED itself that is on many of the Apple products is a patent that took some skill to pull off (I think it is actually blinking really fast since LEDs don’t dim the way incandescent bulbs do). See “Breathing status LED indicator” patent that describes “The LED indicator is energized by pulse-width modulated electrical pulses” that my friend Jory Bell helped invent.


So why is this strange little UI element so backwards?

When Time Machine is operating the Finder window sidebar icon and the icon in the Mac menu bar spin in opposite directions.  If that pulsing light makes the “sleepy ghost” in the machine feel alive then this detail makes the machine seem like the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

While I’m at it – here’s a fun old screenshot of debug mode in mobile Safari showing Apple’s own store and how it generated 2 errors. That’s all cleaned up now I see but when the Debug Console was first introduced it  was fun to turn that tool on it’s maker.

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