The other day, icons started mysteriously disappearing from the Mac OS X dock on the Mac we have at home. First, the Microsoft Office apps disappeared. I added them back, but then a little later in the day a few of Apple’s iApps (iTunes, iPhoto, iChat) icons disappeared, too.

Sometimes its easy to drag something from the dock accidently, so I didn’t think too much of it. But then last night I noticed that every icon in the dock was gone except for the Finder, the Trash can, and the two apps that were currently running (which can’t be removed).

My girls had been playing on the computer a little earlier in the evening, so I brought them in and started the interrogation:

“When you girls were playing on the computer tonight, did either of you drag some of the icons from the dock down here?”

Zoë, my youngest, started looking a little sheepish, so I asked her, “Zoë, were you playing with some of the pictures down here?”

“I like the poof!” she exclaimed.

…and I knew exactly what she was talking about. When you drag an icon to remove it from Mac OS X’s dock, the icon disappears in a little puff of smoke. It’s a cute little UI touch. So cute, in fact, that Zoë wanted to see it again and again.

This got me thinking. I don’t think an operating system should do anything even vaguely cute or entertaining when you are deleting, removing, or formatting anything. If, when you formatted the hard drive, a rabbit appeared on the screen and danced about singing “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,” our hard drive would have been toast a long time ago.