Because of what I consider totally braindead behivour in the OS X Finder I appear to have lost about 60 pictures from my trip. When I offload pictures from card I generally drag the
100PENTX folder from the card onto my desktop and I leave things in that folder until I have a chance to compress the pictures, divide them into days, and upload them. Well OS X does this crazy thing where when you drag the folder onto the desktop it asks you if you want to replace the folder with the same name. On Windows I always say yes and it just adds the new pictures to those already in the folder. In OS X it apparently means delete the folder that’s already there with no way to recover it and replace it with the one you’re dragging. This happened to me a few times and I couldn’t figure out what was happening, luckily though I had backups on my iPod. Unfortunately going back over the pictures from the trip it seems a day is missing. Fortunately it was a day of mostly travel so I’ll live, but still a bummer. Updates: John Gruber weighs in, and here’s the exact message in Windows.
New update: Robert Scoble put me in touch with Bob Day who had this to say:
If the question is just “Why do merge by default?”, there are lots of
1. Because it maps well to operations that users are likely trying to
accomplish (see the scenario of dropping a picture folder from a
2. Folder replace can be done by deleting the destination folder first,
and then copying. If you have replace be the primary method, then merge
becomes a very tedious process.
3. Because it is less destructive?
Please realize that having a camera that uniquely assigns picture
numbers until you reset them becomes very important with this merge
behavior. If your pictures are all uniquely named, the default of
replacing files with the same name will allow you to not lose any files.
Also realize that this is a complicated scenario for most users. Almost
any choice is going to be bad for some users.
And yes, the behavior is a concious choice. We had to implement this
feature in Windows 95.
I followed up that “So before that [Windows 95] folders were deleted and
overwritten?” Bob responded: “I need the source code to Windows 3.1 to confirm. Anybody remember “File
Manager”? wow, that is old.” And dug up:
Ok, archeological discovery over. (wipes the dust off his sleeves)
Win3.1 would say the same thing for folders as it did for files:
with file ”
And if you said “yes” for a folder, it would try to delete the
folder first, which would error out if the directory
wasn’t empty. Not sure what the error message is there.
I would love to get similar background for the Mac OS X behaviour.