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I just keep thinking… the fingers do the rest

First and foremost, how is it that there have been so many covers of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah recorded? If the file sharing networks are to be believed, the most popular of the bunch is Jeff Buckley’s — though Hollywood’s preference is clearly with John Cale, whose recording has appeared in Basquiat, Shrek, Scrubs, and god–knows–how–many–other movies and TV shows. Then, of course, is the Rufus Wainwright version (appearing on the Shrek sountrack… though the movie itself features Cale’s), and the sixty–or–seventy other cover artists I’m omitting for the sake of brevity. It’s the kind of song that just occasionally pops out of the clear blue to rock your small, self–centered universe… like Israel Kamakawiwo'ole’s Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World (Finding Forrester, 50 First Dates, amongst others). Outstanding.

Second of all, what’s the deal with the rash of stock icon sites that have popped up on the web? I’ll admit ignorance for a moment and reveal that before the IconFactory’s own StockIcons.com was born I’d never even heard of stock–iconography, but since that time I’ve been keeping tabs on the icon houses about the place… and there’s something weird about the lot of them.

While their prices and licensing terms vary wildly, the icons themselves are all–but–identical. Somehow those five different–colored balls in the collection (aqua–riffic balls, to be sure, but ultimately useless spherical orbs nonetheless) are considered five unique icons, with dittoes on all those arrows pointing in different directions; flags of different colors; otherwise–identical discs badged with symbols like play, pause, and plus; chat bubbles that variably say nothing, “hello”, or “!”; and a panoply of other duplicates dressed up as “unique” icons. Honestly, the fact that your icon collection contains some seventy–something icons really doesn’t mean that much when half of them could be re–created with a little Hue/Saturation adjustment in Photoshop… I’d sooner have you tell me that your set contains six icons —each in eight colors and four orientations— and feel less like I was being deceived.

Also of note is that there is still no consensus on what a ‘Save’ icon should look like. A floppy disk? A hard drive? A folder? How about a piggy bank? To be fair, it’s good to see that they’re trying (except for those diskette guys… Macs haven’t even had floppy drives since 1997), but it seems like wasted energy. How many applications occupy their toolbar space with a Save icon anyway? I was led to believe Save was a dead concept nowadays; like it would be better titled “give this document I’m working on a filename, I’m sick of seeing ‘Untitled Document 4’ up there in the title bar… and you’d better be saving it every two minutes automatically for me because I’ll be super pissed if anything goes wrong”. I dare say saving is something of an afterthought for most people — you’re closing a document window when it drops down a sheet and reminds you you haven’t saved it, what do you ask yourself? Did I actually want to keep that? Or was I just dicking around in TextEdit and really wanted to close that window full of brain fart?

You don’t save the changes you’ve made in the Finder, you don’t save the changes you’ve made in iTunes, you don’t save the changes you’ve made in iPhoto, you don’t save the changes you’ve made in iCal, and you don’t save the changes you’ve made in iChat. It would seem that saving is now the exclusive domain of text editors, desperately holding on to it like a weary grampa who yearns for simpler times. Garrett is on the bandwagon… where the hell is everyone else? Even Apple Mail’s “Save as Draft” button makes more sense than just plain ol’ “Save”… after all, Mail is quietly saving your draft in the background the whole time just in case your shit gets ruined: Save as Draft is a simple courtesy for those people who start emails and then figure it was a bad idea before they hit Send, like all those angry emails you wrote your Republican brother–in–law after Bush got reelected.