Monday, December 14, 2009

From dual diagnosis to partial hospitalization to...

It turned out that the second dual-diagnostic unit, at a facility specializing in substance abuse, was a "high point" in our story, even though they were more restrictive about visitation. Our son's case supervisor, Rose, who we never got to meet personally, was a caring, patient individual who spent as much time as we needed on the phone, advising us on what to expect and how to advocate for our son. We were allowed a visit with our son in the presence of another case supervisor (Michael), who clearly knew the background of our son's case and facilitated a conversation about how we could secure the best future for our son. I can't thank these people enough; Rose has been a valuable resource even after Greg left their care.

The "plan" was to move our son into a residential facility; e.g., a group home. He seemed to be looking forward to that, inasmuch as it represented a path to less restrictive setting and eventual employment.

Unfortunately, the insurance company seemed to have different ideas; the result was a move to a "partial hospitalization" program in a facility much further away from our home. In this program, our son receives therapy for six hours a day, and lives in housing on the hospital campus the rest of the day. He is able to sign himself out of the facility at will; in fact, he was required to do so, because he medication was prescribed by the facility but he was responsible for having it filled at a local pharmacy, even though he had been transferred there without his wallet, which had been taken from him much earlier in the custody chain. Fortunately, the pharmacy accommodated him until we were able to deliver his wallet, and even give him a ride to fill the prescription.

The "ride" was our first opportunity to spend unsupervised time with our son since he was arrested and subjected to the emergency evaluation. In a way, it was disappointing: he seemed very "down" on himself and unwilling to accept the diagnosis. But I think we were able to communicate to him how much we care, and much we don't blame him (any more) for our past crises.

Our major frustration with the current facility is that they seem to be insisting that our son be the point person in arranging the next stage of his own care, and, frankly, we don't think he's up to it. He's never been well-organized in arranging such things (after all, he has a thought disorder), and his communication skills are also lacking. He has been emphasizing his (history of) substance abuse as his dominant problem, mainly, we think, because it enables him to ignore his other diagnosis.

We were recently informed (by our son) that his insurance coverage for his current facility will lapse on December 22nd, before we have had any chance to discuss what the next stage of his treatment should be. We're reluctant to bring him back home without substantial support services (which we haven't been able to line up, yet). We have an appointment to talk with him and his case supervisor in a couple of days (almost a week after he arrived at this facility); we're hoping we can establish a plan for well-supervised care when and if he comes home with us.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Moving from dual diagnosis to... dual diagnosis

Our son is being moved today from a dual-diagnostic unit in a psychiatric hospital to a dual-diagnostic unit in a facility that specializes in substance abuse (which we do not think is our son's primary problem), but which offers relaxed levels of care that we can hope he will move into sooner rather than later.

All I know is that the rules will change for us; stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Early stages of treatment

Where are we, and how did we get here?

As I have mentioned, my son was thrown out of two colleges, moved into (and lost) an apartment, and moved in with us. In late September, he was fired from a job at a local fast-food restaurant, and on that evening he got horribly drunk (on nearly a fifth of bourbon) and became belligerent. We eventually called the police, who placed him in protective custody for the night.

His behavior deteriorated since then: more episodes of talking to himself, often in our presence, and not interruptible. An increasing reluctance to go out of the house and be seen in public.

A couple of weeks ago, he found another reason to get drunk again (not a common occurrence), became belligerent again, and again we called the police. This time he (apparently) took a swing at a cop, and instead of protective custody, he was under arrest.

On the advice of court officers, I filed a request for evaluation for substance abuse problems (for which he has a history). It turned out that he was "pink slipped": sent to a local emergency room for a psych evaluation by a local mental health agency. Their findings (unknown to me at this time) resulted in sending him to a psychiatric hospital's "Adult dual diagnosis" unit. "Dual diagnosis" alludes to a combination of substance abuse and additional psychiatric problems; not unreasonable in my son's case.

The doctor's at the hospital applied the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 4), and reached a diagnosis of schizophrenia. We were shocked and in denial at the diagnosis, but when we read the diagnostic criteria, we recognized our son in 12 out of 12 criteria.

Our son was prescribed Zyprexa, one of the second generation "atypical anti-psychotic" drugs. He resisted the treatment at first, and has continued to deny that he has a condition that requires treatment, but he has markedly improved. His speech is clearer, he makes eye contact in conversations, and he will acknowledge that the treatment seems to helping, even while denying that he has a condition that requires help.

He will probably have to move out of the dual diagnosis unit (since, thankfully, he doesn't have an active substance abuse problem), but we're on pins and needles wondering where they will decide he belongs next. We don't think he should come home yet; the issues that triggered his belligerence here twice have not been resolved. And he doesn't freely acknowledge that he has a condition that requires continued treatment. But what will be proposed?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Schizophrenia is my new cause

I'm a survivor of colon cancer (11 years). My wife and I have contributed liberally to the American Cancer Society since then, although it is only recently that I started to get caught up in more active support (via the Walk for Life).

It's a great cause, but I'm re-thinking my personal priorities.

As I noted in my last post, my son has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Prior to the diagnosis, he had been thrown out of two colleges, in trouble with the law, fired from several jobs, thrown out of his apartment, and unbearable to have back at home with us. He had been seeing counselors on a regular basis, but things only continued to get worse.

Since his diagnosis, which was harder to hear than my own cancer diagnosis, my wife and I have been frantically trying to learn about this illness, and we know understand that the behaviors that have disturbed and angered us are not his fault. We're also discovering that schizophrenia is badly misunderstood, ignored, and under-funded.

Some facts:

The Prevalence Rate for schizophrenia is approximately 1.1% of the population over the age of 18 (source: NIMH)

NIH research spending in the US is less than $75 per individual affected by schizophrenia, vs. about $169 per person for colorectal cancer and $2,240 per person with HIV/AIDS.

As many as one in five (20%) of the 2.1 million Americans in jail and prison are seriously mentally ill, far outnumbering the number of mentally ill who are in mental hospitals.

The vast majority of people with schizophrenia who are in jail have been charged with misdemeanors such as trespassing.

Approximately 200,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness are homeless, constituting one-third of the approximately 600,000 homeless population

I should point out that I lean right politically, and therefore might be thought of by some as a heartless bastard. But I think we, as a nation, can do much better than we have been.

In the single case of my son, we have an individual who anyone (including himself) might justifiably call a "loser". But if we had known a couple of years ago what we know now, we might have prevented the costly failures and the hours in court. Shouldn't we be trying to do that as much as possible?

I don't have any solid answers, but it seems obvious that with earlier detection and treatment, we can divert people from jails and homeless shelters into productive lives, and save a few bucks along the way.

So the American Cancer Society will be seeing a bit less of me, while I devote some time to a neglected illness that needs some positive attention.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My son has schizophrenia

On Friday my wife and I learned that my son has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. The first reactions were shock and grief; now we're trying to learn a whole new landscape. I'm hoping that chronicling this experience will help someone (including myself and my family).


My wife and I have two children, both adopted from Korea: a daughter, 25, and our son, 23. Our son was an active, happy child who seemed to light up at the simple pleasures in his childhood. He was diagnosed with ADHD in second grade, and it was sometimes a challenge to guide him through school. But what I most remember is the happy, outgoing child who charmed strangers on sight (and maybe then wore them out with his endless energy).

Eleven years ago, I was treated for late stage colon cancer. I bring this up only because I'm finding parallels in my reaction to that diagnosis and my son's.

My son made it through high school OK, although there seemed to an increase in anxiety during senior year, especially after graduation. At the time, we attributed it to the normal anxiety of choosing and preparing for college.

He entered college (a quasi-military school) and seemed to thrive, but got into disciplinary problems mid-year and was under considerable stress for the remainder of the year. He ended up flunking out, and we learned (later) that he developed a considerable substance abuse problem during that spring.

After that, he was nearly intolerable to have at home (by abusing the privilege of being at home alone), and he "couch surfed" for a while until he ended up in an apartment with a couple of friends while he held a reasonably steady job. Eventually the job and apartment situations deteriorated, and he ended up back at home.

We worked to prepare him for another try at college: he started seeing a counselor, and was accepted into a new school. We delayed his entrance until the second trimester on the school's schedule, in hopes of stabilizing him further (via counselling). The signs weren't all positive; he lost a couple of more jobs during this period.

Three weeks after starting school again, he was arrested for drug possession. We turned him out of the house; he couch-surfed a while longer until his court date. When he was given two year's probation, we helped him get a studio apartment of his own for the benefit of his probation (and our sanity), and he started getting counseling again (mostly at our expense).

After a year in the apartment, he had lost a couple of more jobs as well as the lease on his apartment (due to unacceptable behaviors on his part). We took him back into our home (mainly to keep him out of jail for probation violation). He landed a job at a local fast-food restaurant a.

In just a few months, his behavior deteriorated to the point that he lost even that job. We were starting to suspect depression or even bipolar disorder, and were encouraging him to follow up on psychiatric care referred by his counsellor, but he resisted.

Finally, we reached a breaking point where we had to call the police to our home (not for the first time), which eventually resolved itself into a court-ordered emergency psychiatric evaluation; he was referred to a psychiatric hospital for a more complete workup, which resulted in the diagnosis of schizophrenia. At this writing, he's still there, starting on medication.

Our Reaction

Many friends and family members have wondered why we had put up with so much misbehavior over the past four years. Frankly, we were at the end of our rope; we hoped to keep him from violating his probation and landing in jail, but could not envision tolerating his behavior past May (when he would have completed two years). We had even started on counseling of our own to try to figure out how to manage the situation, because May seemed a long way off...

[Thankfully, my wife and I have been mostly on the same page in dealing with our son throughout the ordeal; we've been slightly out of sync at times, but, for the most part, we've supported each other. We're lucky: I have friends whose marriages have broken up over similar ordeals.]

When we heard the diagnosis on Friday, my reaction was bewilderment (frankly, I didn't understand what "schizophrenia" really meant), and my wife's was denial; she had read up on depression and bipolar, fearing those outcomes, but had not entertained anything as serious as schizophrenia.

The next stage, as predicted by the case supervisor, was grief. Our expectations for a happy life for our son, even adjusted by his failures, were shattered. Frankly, I think we also feared how this would affect the remainder of our own lives.

At the advice of the case supervisor, we quickly purchased the book "Surviving Schizophrenia", by E. Fuller Torrey, and started some web research of our own.

Our denial was quickly dashed: on reading the informal diagnostic criteria, we realized that they described our son's recent behavior exactly.

The next stage was recrimination. Although we had suspected mental illness in some form (like depression or bipolar), we completely missed the depth of his real problem, and, in retrospect, were perhaps aggravating it by pressuring him to get out, find a job, etc.

Next came resolve: he needs help, and we're going to get it for him. The prognosis for schizophrenia can be pretty daunting, but there are treatments, and there is hope, and we are going to pursue it. I expect that this blog will be mostly about this journey.

We drifting back into recrimination: we found some journal entries and other writings by my son from the past few years, and they paint a stark picture of his dawning recognition of his mental illness, and the despair he felt when the people around him (including us) failed to recognize his pain. There is much discussion of suicide in these writings; I can't imagine the guilt I would have felt if he had acted on those impulses and we had found these writings after the fact.

Looking Ahead

My son is hospitalized and has been receiving medication for a few days. It's too early to expect any positive effects, although he is noticing the sedating effect expected in the early days and not liking it. It doesn't help that he refuses to acknowledge the diagnosis, although we understand that this is not unusual at this stage of the process.

In the next week or so he will be transferred into a different level of care (we don't know what that will be yet), with a new cast of caregivers (which will afford us a second opinion, although we have few doubts). We will continue to encounter his denial of the diagnosis and the rejection of the treatment we believe he needs.

I wish we knew how to talk to him. How do we encourage him to accept the treatment? When he resists, should we persist or back off? Is confrontation helpful or harmful at this stage?

We have tried to contact local support groups, but have had no response yet; until we can talk to someone who has been through this, we're flying blind, and I fear the consequences of well-intentioned action with unintended negative consequences.

There's lots more to talk about. I will fill in the rest of the history (hopefully in an organized manner), and provide updates on our progress.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Claim chowder(*), of sorts, in the face of WIndows 7

When Apple announced the switch to Intel, I speculated that Apple would benefit from the purchase of Macs by Windows users. I was wrong about some details (like the ability to run Windows apps under OS X), but things did develop along those lines.

Apple changed the game a bit (in my favor) with the announcement of Boot Camp, and I refined my prediction a bit, speculating that Windows users would, to some degree, be inclined to buy Mac, even for the purpose of running Windows, and that even a small percentage of "switchers" would be a huge gain for Apple.

A few years later, I claim vindication, with both anecdotes and facts:

* The "Windows apps on Mac" problem has been addressed, to some extent, by Parallels and VMWare Fusion, which do not require booting into Windows (to the exclusion of OS X) to run Windows apps.

* I have many acquaintances who have switched to the Mac, in spite of distinct aversion to the Mac before OS X and the Intel switch.

* There are a lot of PCs at my current employer that are Macs running Windows all the time, including, I'm amused to note, machines on the desks of our IT support staff. OK, they're running Windows, but they are (high margin) sales for Apple.

* Apple is enjoying greater market share,

Windows 7 may convince Windows users to stay with Windows, but that does not exclude them from buying Macs to run Windows 7, and there are still good reasons to buy a Mac even to run Windows 7: it's elegant, high-performance hardware for your needs, and, should the need or desire arise, there is no need to buy new hardware to run OS/X.

Yes, you could buy cheaper hardware to run Windows 7, and many (most?) will, but it has been demonstrated that Apple does have a price advantage at a certain (high) level of feature specifications, and, not accidentally, high margins.

It doesn't have to be a lot; as I said way back, a small number of Windows user, even if they choose to remain Windows users, is a big percentage boost to Apple's hardware share, and to their bottom line.

(*) Apologies/tip-of-the-hat to John Gruber at Daring Fireball

The iPhone can't multi-task... yet.

There seems to be a theme developing that the iPhone is at risk from Android because it "can't" run background processes.

Case in point.

C'mon; it's OS X under there. It's not that Apple couldn't support background processes, it's that they chose not to, probably for reasons related to power consumption and stability.

I see one of two likely developments:

* Android phones demonstrate longevity or reliability problems when loaded with apps running in the background, and Apple's decision looks brilliant.

* Android does OK, and Apple wakens the background capability that's always been there and they've been fine-tuning all along, and the Android advantage is nullified.

I can't accept the possibility that Apple can't support multi-tasking in an OS that's already good at it.

I have always laughed at the notion of an "ideal" laptop, because a portable, battery-powered platform is ultimately an exercise in compromises. Performance, longevity, screen size, capacity, and features are always at odds with cost, compactness and weight. The same tradeoffs apply to phones. Apple and its competitors are working under the same restrictions, and the best any of them can do is advance one set or more features at the expense of one or more limitations. Apple is demonstrably good at this game, and any time they appear to be beat on one feature axis, one should look at where the tradeoff has been made.

The Droid has not been tested in the wild yet. I'm waiting until we have a real head-to-head comparison, and Apple's response.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How Should Mac Apps be Distributed?

John Gruber has a thoughtful piece on Daring Fireball (easily my favorite blog), reflecting on another "thoughtful piece" by Alexander Limi; the topic is how Mac apps are installed on the Mac and how the process might be improved.

I have two thoughts on the matter, which touch on topics raised by John but which I had formed before reading his piece. (You'll have to take my word on that.)

1) The Mac should have an interface dedicated to finding and launching applications, probably accessed from the Apple menu. The interface should take guidance from the iPhone home screen(s), displaying all of the applications accessible to the user (regardless of where they are installed), organized to the user's preferences. (Maybe a third-party app opportunity. Hmmm.) It could be layered on top of the existing scheme, so none of the flexibility of the existing model would be lost.

2) How about a Mac app store? For those well-behaved Mac apps that don't require an installer, this is a no-brainer, and I suspect many of the factors that dictate an installer (contributions to the Frameworks, Application Support, or other common destinations) could be accommodated fairly easily. This would eliminate most of the room for user error cited in the two blogs.

Might be a good use of that new datacenter Apple is reportedly building...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Let's aim for Mars"

I can't say it better than Buzz Aldrin, but I can add this:

I am a member of the "Sputnik" generation: I was in elementary school during the Mercury and Gemini programs, and Neil and Buzz walked on the moon before I was a sophomore in high school. I dreamed that I could aspire to be on the first manned mission to Mars.

Now I wonder if this will happen in my lifetime; or ever. This is a damned shame, and may mean that we're squandering mankind's best chance for an almost infinite legacy, as opposed to following the dinosaurs into oblivion.

Some people bemoan the cost, and I have thoughts on that I will share at another time; for now, please just pay heed to Buzz's aspirational message.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

So much for the stimulus

From here, via here:


[Pardon me if the image isn't posted; MarsEdit and Flickr appear to be having a disagreement. Visit one of the linked blogs to see the chart.]

Brief explanation: The chart shows what the Obama administration expected unemployment to be without the stimulus, what the expected it to be (lower) if the stimulus passed, and what it actually became (higher) in reality.

This administration is a disaster.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Microsoft can catch up?

In this interview, Steve Ballmer suggests that Microsoft can catch up to Google in search if it only persists, as it did with Windows:

A. No. No, Windows 95 was a basically mostly interesting and successful concept that came to full fruition, right? This is not Windows 95. It’s more, I don’t know —

Q. Windows 3.1?

A. 3.0 maybe even, right? It’s more, hey, we’ve had some early tries, kind of like you might call Windows 1, and I think there was something called Windows 2 in there, and Windows 386 in the late ’80s, but it’s far more like Windows 3. People say, aha, I see the vision. It pays off but it won’t fully pay off the vision in its first incarnation.

But it’s like Windows — the most important thing I just said in all of that is it’s important like Windows is important. It’s important like something that we really care about, we really think about, we’re going to stay persistent with, we’re going to invest in.

If you stop and think about it, Windows 95 came 12 years after we started working on Windows. We’ve been working on search five years. I’m not saying it should necessarily take 12 years, but in a sense what we’re trying to do is accelerate the pace, and see if we can’t get there.

This is bogus to the point of being laughable. Google (the company) dominates search. In the 80's and 90's, PC operating systems were dominated by... Microsoft.

There is a common perception that with Windows 95, Microsoft finally "caught up" to Apple and Mac OS; Ballmer seems to be referring to this.

But the reality is that the Mac was never ahead of Microsoft's OS in terms of market share. The IBM PC, running Microsoft's DOS, blew past the Apple II in 1982-1983, well before Apple rolled out the Mac. PC's outsold Mac's all along; I remember all too well, as a Mac developer (by choice, when I could) working for Lotus during those years. MS-DOS had dominance when Windows 3.x was finally able to start displacing it; that's why these were Lotus' "golden years", as a seller of MS-DOS software.

So if Windows 95 represented Microsoft "catching up" to Apple, I'm left to conclude that Ballmer is asserting what a few of us know all along in the 80's: the Mac OS was superior to Windows.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Thought for the Day

From the Notebook of Lazarus Long:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded--here and there, now and then--are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.”

- Robert A. Heinlein

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thoughts on the Maersk Alabama piracy case

Captain Phillips is safe, and I am elated, because of incidental ties to many of the players: U.S. merchant seaman from Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and the U.S. Navy. They represent values and standards thought by many to be passe; thank goodness they are still alive and well in some parts of our society.

As my brief bio mentions, I attended the United States Naval Academy for several months in the 1970's. I entered in 1972, when respect for military service was at a low. At a time when service people were being spat on in airports, my classmates and I got our heads (nearly) shaved and started learning how far we could stretch ourselves, and the importance of being there for our classmates (and knowing it was mutual).

I got through plebe summer and the first academic semester, which I was told was "the hard part." Although I chose to leave, I left with an enduring respect for the service and the people who comprise it, reinforced by first-hand experiences with the officers and midshipmen I was privileged to know.

Fast forward thirty-plus years. My son applied to and entered Massachusetts Maritime Academy. MMA is part of the state college system, with major differences. The school is organized as a military academy: incoming freshmen endure an intense two-week orientation modeled in part on the national service academies, then continue the regimentation into the academic year, with morning formations, inspections, uniforms, and the like. The goal is to instill the responsibility and dependability into men and women who will someday have to depend on each other in trying or hazardous situations at sea.

It amazed me that non-military college students were willing to put up with it, but they do, and as civilian college students they are in a class unto themselves. MMA students are rightfully proud of their educations, and great representatives of the school with core values sadly lacking among their contemporaries from more "respected" schools.

[I'm sad to say my son flunked out of MMA, but I think he now recognizes that he learned valuable things there and earned pride in accomplishments nobody can take away from him.]

Moving to the present, I see all those ideals, treated with "derisiveness" (to quite Obama) by modern liberals, lived out by Captain Phillips and his rescuers. Captain Phillips put himself at risk on behalf of his crew, and you could see the mutual loyalty reflected in his crew after they had been freed and he was still captive. The Navy SEALs put themselves in harms way to position themselves to rescue Captain Phillips, and, when the moment came, all acted decisively and courageously.

I am thankful to live in a society that can still produce people such as these, in spite of the popular sentiments of the day, and proud to have been a member of the community even for for so short a time and so long ago. I resolve to be more worthy of the sacrifices they are willing to make, and remember, when the air conditioning isn't working right or bonuses aren't being paid, that there are more meaningful definitions of "adverse working conditions."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dealing with the Somali pirates

From the New York Times, April 11, 2009 (I'm not linking because it requires registration to read):

"But any effort to wipe out Somali pirate dens like Xarardheere or Eyl immediately conjures up the ghost of “Black Hawk Down,” the episode in 1993 when clan militiamen in flip-flops killed 18 American soldiers. Until America can get over that, and until the world can put Somalia together as a nation, another solution suggests itself: just steer clear — way clear, like 500 miles plus — of Somalia’s seas."

Fuck that; as the column points out, the U.S. Navy cut its eyeteeth on fighting the Barbary Coast pirates, and since then has never been afraid to show the flag in any international waters. We need to get over — not forget, get over — "Black Hawk Down", grow a spine, and put an end to this.

Unfortunately, I don't think the Obama administration has that kind of spine.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Can the Mac survive success?

[Old entry that apparently never made it to the blog. Still relevant.]

This column, way more articulately (if somewhat obscurely), raises a point I have hoped to worry about for years.

From the beginning of the Macintosh, Apple promoted user interface guidelines to encourage developers to accept and adopt common look-and-feel for common operations. The premise was that users of applications should be presented with familiar interfaces for commonly performed operations, so that the learning curve for adopting a new application would be as shallow as possible.

A simple case in point is file-open and -save dialogs. Apple strongly promoted adopting a standard user interface to this common operation, so that users of new applications would not have to learn new ways to perform a common operation. This was drilled into early Mac developers, and accepted as common wisdom.

By contrast, when MS-DOS developers became Windows developers, there was less of an ethic for consistent user interfaces. I distinctly remember Windows developers at Lotus seeking to implement "better" file-open and -save dialogs than those standard to Windows.

This sounds trivial, but it's fundamental: in those formative days, Mac developers defined themselves by how well (and, sometimes, creatively), they could adopt the platform standards, and Windows developers focused on how they could perform common operations "better" (i.e., differently).

As time went on, the Mac community, users and developers alike, embraced the guidelines and held developers accountable. I remember this as a developer of Lotus 1-2-3 for Macintosh, presenting the product to users at MacWorld Expo and listening to their critiques. I saw it again as the architect of Symantec C++ for Power Macintosh, representing the product to our customers (other developers), and being held to the same standard.

The Macintosh community, users and developers alike, mandated adherence to platform standards, and became informed judges of what was acceptable innovation. From my point of view, this worked to benefit of all Mac users.

Today, the Mac is being adopted by large numbers of former Windows users, and there is a lot of pressure to accommodate those users by addressing their sensitivities. In other words, there is a point of view that the Mac platform should adjust itself to the expectations of the legions of former Windows user who are now adopting the Mac.

I understand the logic, but I think it's a horrible idea.

People who have been attracted to the Mac have, by definitions, accepted a certain degree of change. I don't think we, as Mac developers, should give into the temptation to accommodate the expectations of neophytes.