Lion’s grey sidebar is a Jedi mind trick

These aren't the files you're looking for...

And a poor attempt at a Jedi mind trick at that. With the now grey and lifeless sidbar in Lion Apple is trying to visually say: “these aren’t the files or folders you’re looking for”. It’s as if they want us to become so turned-off to this grey apocalyptic version of the sidebar that we yearn for iCloud where our data lives in the apps and those pesky file and folder structures cease to have any relevance in our workflow.

Reality check Apple, you won’t change our habits overnight, nor overturn what is a completely valid way of working with your computers.  You will not endear us to the iCloud experience by also crippling the Finder’s look and feel. Although I do thank you for returning the ability to have large icons in the sidebar, which you took away in 10.5, the grey-ification of the icons and the exile of Devices to the bottom of the list has truly hobbled any usefulness the Finder had. Oh, add the fact that mounted volumes no longer show as a Device, but rather you have to add them manually to favorites has also irked me. Why should I have to open up Shared, click the server then find the volume I want. It’s ridiculous when you couple that with having the default Finder behavior to not show mounted volumes on the desktop. Fine you hate files, folders and drives, we get it, but not all of us agree… “the rest of us”, as it were.

Here’s a compromise I could live with Apple:

At least give us a choice Apple!

Thankfully, a very bright Mac developer has made a plugin to return color to the Finder sidebar. Now I normally do not like using SIMBL plugins because code injection and method swizzling makes me nervous. But having color on the sidebar is worth it. You can find all the info for doing this at OS X Daily along with installation tips.

Colorful Sidebar by CVZ

So, file those Bug Reports with Apple and let them know their Jedi mind trick isn’t going to work. These are the files and folders we’re looking for and color would greatly help us find them. (I’d consider this a regression fix rather than a feature request.)

Postscript on (not) using Finder:
A quick note for the purists out there who don’t even run Finder. You intrepid folks take a road less travelled but not one that not everyone wants to embark down. Now, Rick of Rixstep will argue that Finder is an and abhorrent holdover from OS 9 that should have gotten the axe or at the least been completely recoded into 100% Cocoa, all of its Carbon cruft put out to pasture, its very existence is retarding OS X, and to run Finder on your system is akin to self-trepanation. OK — fair enough actually on most points! :D However, until someone else comes along with a Finder replacement that is 100% Cocoa and has full feature parity, then we put up with the Finder. (And most businesses would be loathe to spend money on licenses for Finder replacements like XFile or PathFinder, it’s hard enough to get them to spend the extra dough up-front for a Mac!) Wah wah :/ So we commiserate with others on the discussion boards and plead our case to the Designers Gone Wild at Apple.