So, this is a first post and I'm very new to Linux (2nd day of tinkering) and I'm a Windows power to expert user.
I'd just like to point out that I'm making this post as someone who very much agrees with the ideal of Linux and would like to transfer more and more of my PC usage time towards it (especially once the Steam Beta comes out), but am just vexxed sometimes by certain aspects of the user experience/interface.
Now I've read a lot about Linux for years now (without going past a LiveCD), and the whole concept of having a "Windows Brain" and that one should not be rude and assert "why isn't this like in Windows" in a Linux forum expecting help/friendliness, so know that I'm aware of that, but yet, this issue in particular I find myself unable to restrain myself from lambasting.
This is a post about me wanting to encourage the improvement of the Maya Cinnamon taskbar clock UI, not about me saying "Linux sux, this is garbage I'm not using this!" and saying I'm done with Linux, in a huff.
I intend to stick with it for awhile, even dealing with issues I find, as I say, vexxing, to determine if there is some sense behind them that I haven't yet grasped or that they are being improved/fixed. Also, this might not be the best place for designers to receive feedback I suppose, I'm not sure yet as I'm still new as I say, but I'll give it a try for now.
And I'm aware that this is a free operating system created with the donation of someone else's spare time, and I'm appreciative of that.
But all that said -
The Maya Cinnamon clock UI is terrible. At least for any sort of novice user or from the standpoint of trying to encourage new users into using the OS (and I know some people think that's a debatable goal in the Linux community).
1. It is set to military time by default. Leaving aside a discussion of the merits of a 24 hour clock, the fact is that most people in the world (and the "world" in general I'd argue) operate from a 12 hour clock, and that's just a fact, making this a bad default design choice.
(This however, is a very very minor issue, or well, it would have been if it were easy to figure out how to fix.)
Now some things I DO like about the clock, the default display of the time as "Wed Sep 5" I appreciate, couldn't do that in Windows (I think), and that's how I say the date (and it's nice to know the day of the week at glance without having to click into the calendar as on Windows).
And the calendar aspect itself is nice and clean looking with a simple but effective user inteface.
However, this all breaks down when you get to changing the time format.
Basically, this is one of the first issues I've been trying to solve in personalizing my Linux desktop so that it runs the way I want/expect it to. Why on earth, would you design a clock with a such a system that the user would need to check online in order to be _simply able to change the time format_?
I understand that Linux users like being able to completely control and customize their system, and that's a good thing (one thing I find appealing about Linux), and I'm not saying you shouldn't have that option here, but why can't it have 2 ways of doing this? A hackable-esque way and a simple, basic way for everyone else (and purely for speed imo as well).
Personally I don't see why there can't be a dropdown list in the UI for the day/month/year time format display with some of the most common arrangements, like Windows (again, as an option, if you want it the way it is, then fine, be able to do it like that too, I mention "like Windows" for a simple reason: because the way they do it is a good idea. I mean, I don't even think that's a Windows idea, you see that everywhere.)
But that's one thing, but what I CAN'T STAND, is a lack of such a simple solution for changing between 24hr & 12hr, I mean, there are only -TWO- options! Why, instead of having a simple check-box/drop down list for that option would you require the user to type in some sort of variable code signifier of the format instead for such a simple 2 choice scenario?
Now I saw the "Generate your own date formats" link, and clicked it, and from a quick scan of it I saw some code letters for the day/month/etc. format, but nothing about how to change th 24hr format.
Is this really good design? A drop down box/arrow for shifting formats _inarguably_ would be quicker, and easier I'd think, particularly for someone who is new to the environment.
Also, even if I did miss the code on the page and it was there (and I admit I didn't bother to do anything on the page beyond reading the initial one), what this implies is that I _should need Internet access_ in order to simply be able to figure out how to change the damned 24hr time format of the clock!
Certainly you can't just look at the code already there in the box and figure out what you need to type in (not to mention as I say, I think this is also a slow & stupid, if precise I grant, way of doing things, certainly when it's the ONLY option).
So I'm sorry to have to say, but the only thing I can say about the calendar UI in Cinnamon right now, is that it's not just bad, it's simply incompetent (and utterly baffling as a design choice, if not eventually in the way you actually make it work). And that's true even if Cinnamon is new (which, it's old enough to solve this issue imo) and the dev team is super busy, this is just a simply a no good excuse bad design implementation.
This is some honest new-user feedback if the devs. are interested (as I say, perhaps not the appropriate place, I will look into pointing the Cinnamon dev-team to this page later).
What is worst about this though, is for a brand new Linux user/Windows convert, if you are in fact trying to gain those, this is the FIRST task, and problem, I had upon using the operating system. Well, bascially. With any OS, the first things I do are:
Install -> connect wifi/configure password -> adjust the clock
To leave me baffled (and annoyed) as to how to do this, and require me to go to the Internet for a solution, basically immediately, on the first, and such a basic thing to do, it's just, well stunning you know. Job _not_ well done on this particular issue.
To anyone else: I'm aware that this would be, I guess a Cinnamon issue, and may not be present in other DE's like Gnome 3/KDE/XFCE, etc (all of which I tried in LiveCDs), so I'm not lumping any negative experience in with Linux just yet/because of this, just with Cinnamon I realize.
I would like to say though that overall so far (and the reason I chose it), I'm quite pleased with the Cinnamon desktop environment, it's slick, simple, seems well set up and semi-configurable (from what I've read, comparitively speaking), and relatively Windows-y, which is the predominant environment I'm currently comfortable with, it's just little issues like this calendar thing that sometimes pop-up that make me see why some people say it's hard to get into Linux.
If anyone wants to say I'm wrong on this issue, well, I don't see how you could, since evidently I'm not the only user who had an issue, the facts (of speed & usability), and the fact that I said I have no problem with the current highly-customizable implementation for changing the time (though honestly I think you could do it -exactly- as powerfully with just the GUI there too, and quicker) as long as there's a quick & basic option there as well. I mean, the way it currently is, it makes me wonder to a certain extent, well then why even have a GUI? Not for making changes so much as display apparently, in this case.
(*Edited for spelling/grammar)
LinuxMint 13 (Maya) 32-Bit, Cinnamon, Intel Atom Netbook
Last edited by JMSNorthern
on Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:24 am, edited 2 times in total.