Rolled the dice and went Mac OS X 10.7 today on my office computer. Zero problems in upgrade. Nothing broke.
Wish I had positive things to report after my first few hours, but just like anybody facing change in tech, we tend to notice the rough stuff first. First impressions? Here are a few of my unfavorite things:
- Cannot possibly live with “natural” scrolling – turned it straight off. Might be better with a trackpad, but my mental model is so not capable of reversing 33 years of muscle memory on a Magic Mouse. Also turned visible scrollbars back on. Moving back and forth between operating systems makes this one a non-starter for me. I’ll leave “natural” scrolling to my kids.
- Miss aqua lozenge buttons and blue scrollbar thumb, but I guess I’ll get used to iOS grey and back to the future System 7 rounded rectangle buttons.
- Really hate the anaemic sidebar icons in Finder and Mail (tip: System Preferences:General to reduce sidebar icon size back to normal). Find myself searching around where colour used to cue me straight to my target. Let me reiterate: really hate this amateur hour design. Based on the twittersphere activity I wont be surprised if there ends up being a massive online petition about restoring the cool colour icons from 10.6.
- Feel like a philistine for saying this but full screen ‘mode’ (remember when Macintosh was about modelessness?) eerily reminds me of a world before graphical interfaces – a blast from the past of 3270 terminal days. Zero interest in this.
- Mail’s new message viewer is pure shock-of-the-new but am resisting going back to classic view in the hope I’ll acclimatise. Trying to like new search UI too, but not yet familiar enough. Plus mail search is now different to Finder search. Both are spotlight, so this is mildly irritating.
- Launchpad? It’s a dysfunctional version of the dysfunctional “Program Manager” from Windows 3.1 days which was so completely sad in comparison to Finder’s spring loaded folders, aliases and drop targets. And you can’t remove apps from it. So I have hundreds of Parallels VM apps from Win7 showing up. Like that’s useful. Not. I will never use this thing over the beautiful, elegant sufficiency of the dynamic duo of the Dock+Spotlight
- One thing I really liked was signatures in Preview but even then the digitisation trades off quality of image capture for automatic alpha transparency. So the function is good, but the signatures it captures look pretty pedestrian. Still, I signed my first document with it in seconds.
- Autosave and Versions of course entirely depend on developer adoption to become useful, but I’m not convinced of the value of versions that aren’t explicitly identified from my past life in an ECM product company. In Lion there’s no way to identify a version except by date. And Preview, at least, no longer offers Save As at all – what’s up with that? I’m so not sold on Versions tech simply because it’s yet another area of ‘specialness’ specific just to some apps on one operating system. Resource forks, a great idea from System 1.0, just made life hard when crossing platforms. I see the same potential here, and document formats aren’t something that should be mucked around with.
So, all in all, sad to say, honestly see little compelling in Lion – so far – other than it was a flawless upgrade and seems to work right out of the box. OK, OK I like the circle shape of user icons, and my disk is happily encrypting itself away with FileVault2 in the background which is nice. Yes, alright, I absolutely love the heatmap year view in iCal 10.7. Let’s hope it actually works properly and stops throwing errors with Google ActiveSync as it does in 10.6
Crossing my fingers that DFS works (a huge thing for us) and Profiles are useful, and I can find somebody else running 10.7 to try AirDrop with. More work is needed to check these things out.
It was, I admit sheepishly, nice to come home to Snow Leopard tonight. I sound like I’m old, saying the kinds of things here that would have seen a younger me label my current self as “too old to get it”. Maybe, but I’m struggling to sip the Lion kool-ade, let alone see the value in backing a massive campus upgrade. Of course, when it comes to operating systems there’s little choice…
Like It Or Not.