I am pleased to report that I am much happier with Mac Finder (the Apple not-quite a file manager) as of today than when I first started using it. My happiness comes from two sources. First an internal finder tweak. The finder main menu, under View provides two items that can be unhidden, the status bar which gives the file count in the current folder and total remaining space on the disk at the cost of no extra room consumed in the window, and the path bar which shows the full path to your current location from the root down and allows you to change your location. This last is much more important and while still not as good as having an address bar to type a location in is much better than nothing as a navigation tool.
More important than those two tools is a free add-on for Finder called XtraFinder. XtraFinder installs inside Finder (so to speak) and you still use finder as before, except it now has some totally sane additional capabilities. What capabilities you ask? How about permitting you to make folders list before files (there is not much more annoying than searching for a folder through a long list of files). Then there are tabs, yes a tabbed interface so you don’t have to clutter your desktop with finder windows. And dual pane goodness is a command-u away.
Things are definitely looking better.