Mac OSX Lion Review
This review of Mac OSX Lion comes to you using the Fair to Flair Woo/Boo system. Everything Woo makes you feel like your computer loves you, and everything Boo scrolls in the WRONG GODDAMN DIRECTION.
EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL AND NOTHING HURTS
This is the most beautiful, easiest to use, gift from God of an operating system you’ll ever buy. Almost nothing wasn’t improved from the previous release, and almost (ALMOST) all of it is an order of magnitude better. Remember when they released Snow Leopard with zero new features and you figured they were done with the Mac because it was super stable and pretty neat, and there was this idea that nothing else could be done? Well, here you go.
At first, nothing looks different. Your dock is the same. Your bar up top is the same. The finder has a new coat of paint, but pretty well operates as it did. But then you move stuff around (everything bounces, just like on the iPad) and look a little closer and realize every single detail has been improved. Scroll bars are just gone, that is, until you begin to scroll. Check out About My Mac. It’s gorgeous what they did in there. Tap on Launchpad, the ipad-like app launcher. That shit be pretty. Full-screen motions are eye-popping. And, even though some people hate it, I really like the move to uni-color icons. Makes the whole thing look sharp.
FULL SCREEN APPS
I like to focus. I like to get things done. Full Screen apps take away annoying mail and rss and all that garbage and just lets you work. It’s only available on Apple stuff at the moment, but the API’s are there for anyone to take advantage of. I can’t wait for full-screen Scrivener.
APPLE HAS A LONG MEMORY
You remember that old Switcher ad from the late 90s with the girl who was absolutely high? She lost her paper on a computer, and she switched to Mac because Mac’s don’t lose your paper. Except, of course, that up until yesterday, Macs lost people’s papers all the time. They might have crashed less than Windows, but you still had to hit Save, pick a place to save, and remember where the hell that was the next time you picked it up. People may have had thirty years of practice with this relatively simple personal accounting, but apparently the problem is still big enough that we have to switch things up.
With Lion, your stuff saves. All the time. No matter what. You don’t actually have to do anything. If your Mac is connected to an external drive for backing up, everything you do backups using Time Machine? Not connected? Your machine makes a virtual Time Machine until you plug one in.
Not only is everything saved, but every version is saved. Did you delete a paragraph yesterday that you now realize was brilliant? Go into versions and get it.
NEW FOLDER WITH SELECTION
Simple thing, but it rules. Select a bunch of garbage. Photos, Docs, Torrents, whatever. Right-click. Click “New Folder with Selection.” Boom. All that stuff is in a folder now. Messy desktop solved.
ALL MY FILES
For the last ten years, when you opened the finder, the top-left item would be your hard drive. You could go in there, drill-down, and find anything. Now, your hard drive is way at the bottom, and if you put any folders on the left as shortcuts, you can’t even really see it.
What’s on top now? A thing called “All My Files” which lists (by type) the last files you opened. What were you just looking at? Now you know.
SCROLLING IS BACKWARDS
Ever since we’ve been able to scroll on a trackpad or mouse, the direction has correlated with the direction of your intention. Scroll down, and the content moves down. Ever since we’ve had touch-enabled devices, going the opposite direction has made sense. Swipe your finger up on your phone, and the page moves down. Both UI decisions made sense. So WHY has Apple decided that all of a sudden, scrolling should be the same thing as swiping?
The first time you open a browser and try to scroll, it doesn’t work. You have to do the exact opposite thing you’ve been doing for years. It’s not only difficult to get used to, it’s frustrating and makes you want to throw your mouse across the room, hopefully hitting your Steve Jobs temple right in the ijunk.
Thankfully, it takes three seconds in system preferences to turn this abomination off and go back to your regularly scheduled life.
WE HOPE YOU LIKE UPDATES
You have to update your computer before you upgrade to Lion. I don’t mean like if you updated in the last month or two you’re okay. They shipped an update the night before launch, and you need it. After you install Lion, a Cbunch of stuff doesn’t work (All Adobe products, iWork, etc), so you need updates to get those working. After you update those things, a few more updates show up. It only takes 30 minutes to upgrade to Lion, but the background updates can take up half a day.
YOUR OLD SHIT WON’T WORK
If you have an app on your computer you bought before 2007, it probably won’t work. Fears of Apple’s own products (such as iWeb) not working are ill-informed. 11th hour updates to iWeb and a few other apps ensure they open just fine. This isn’t a boo for me. I think my oldest app is Adium, which I think I’m going to dump because iChat isn’t a pile of useless garbage anymore. But much like how you can’t run Lion on any computer made before 2007, the chances of apps working from before that date are slim, too.
I’ve heard no reports of slow Lion installs. The app will either install or it won’t, which makes it an easy recommendation. Blow the $30 (cheap!) and enter the VIP room of computer systems.
Oh, and buy anApple trackpad. A lot of the multi-gesture stuff is just wonky on a mouse (how do you do three-finger movements on a mouse, exactly?) It’s better for your wrist, too.