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On upgrading to Mac OSX 10.7 “Lion”

So, I finally got around to upgrading to 10.7 from 10.6. I had deliberately held off for a while, to see if there were any major hassles before committing myself to it. Apart from the reverse-scrolling thing, which a lot of people didn’t like, but which you can quickly get used to, I hadn’t heard anything apart from the occasional app that wouldn’t run, which was usually because the app was using the now-discontinued “Rosetta” technology to run.

Therefore, I took the splurge yesterday and upgraded. It took a little while, mainly because my ADSL was flakey as hell yesterday, but eventually it completed, and I’ve been using it since then. It did not get in the way of my PhD research this morning (which at this early stage mostly involves me doing a literature review anyway, that is, searching article databases for relevant academic papers and taking notes).

Some observations;

  1. The reverse-scrolling thing on the trackpad or magic mouse surface takes only a short while to get used to. I am pretty much used to it now after a bit more than 24 hours.
    You just have to think of it as if the surface of the pad as pushing the document about, not the moving the view port. So you push “up” to move the document up through the window, rather than “down” to move the view port down the document, just like you do on an iPhone or iPad. Like that experiment where they put the inverting-prism glasses on a guy who at first staggers about wildly, but quickly learns to adapt (and when they take them off, having to relearn to see the world “normally”), you quickly get used to the new paradigm. … BUT … and there always was a “but” coming here … the keyboard behaves just like it used to. The “up” arrow moves the view port (or the cursor) up to the top of the document; Page Up likewise. There’s a disconnect here; the keyboard moves the view port, and the mouse and trackpad surface moves the document. For someone like me who spends a lot of time at the keyboard, both for coding, and for writing, this could be a bit of a gotcha, switching between these paradigms.
    This is not the first time Apple’s has this type of disconnect either. In Pages, the arrows move the cursor/selection as you’d expect, but the Page up/down keys move just the view port. I’ve found myself caught out before while writing a long document (as you tend to do quite a bit when you do postgrad study in a historical discipline!) when I’d hit Page Up a couple of times, saw the text on screen I wanted, then hit one of the arrow keys to adjust the view of the text slightly, only to find myself two pages down the text only a line or two from where I started!

  3. Spaces is gone, replaced by Mission Control. I don’t think a lot of people will miss Spaces. I used it a lot, but then I’m coming off a Linux and X-window background, where the concept of multiple “virtual desktops” was not uncommon. I don’t find a lot of other 10.6 Mac users using Spaces much – my wife doesn’t seem to use it much on her iMac. Mission Control is nice, although I did prefer the  “2D” approach of Spaces, to the “1D” approach of Mission Control. But Mission Control’s view of the open windows when you press “F9″ is just gorgeous. I did find it however rearranging the order of the Desktops, from 1,2,3,4 to either 1,3,2,4 or 1,4,2,3 and I only found out later what was triggering that (the preference “automatically rearrange spaces based on most recent use”). You can just drag them back into any order you want. You can also create and destroy additional desktops easily. The short cut keys ctrl-1 to 4 don’t seem to extend past the first four desktops (i.e. ctrl-5 doesn’t get you to Desktop 5 if you create it).

  5. Choosing a desktop picture seems randomly screwy. You have to configure it for each new desktop. Often when I go to change it it insists that I had previously selected a picture I hadn’t selected and is not showing. Sometimes opening the Desktop Picture system preference pane changes the picture on the Desktop straight away (often back to the “default” photoshopped Andromeda galaxy). I can’t select pictures from Aperture anymore, I assume because I’m still running Aperture 2 (the ver 3 upgrade is running as I type).

  7. I ran Launchpad once to look at it and quickly shut it off. If I wanted a desktop full of application icons I would have created one years ago. I know that it gives its a more “iOS” feel but I mostly use Spotlight to find programs I want to run (and I’m tending to even use search on my iPad to locate apps rather than flicking about for them).

  9. The biggest, fattest, and ugliest p-ss-r is still the way that you can’t properly integrate iCloud calendars and address book to the Google versions of the same.
    I’m a dedicated Gmail user and I’m sticking with Mailplane. The Mac is much improved with some cool features, although the new threaded conversation view totally sucks (wrong order guys, the oldest message should be at the top of the conversation)! Therefore  I still want the Gmail interface which I know intuitively and even more importantly, the use of the powerful Gmail filters, of which I have very many. While the Gmail tags can be exported via IMAP to look like regular mail folders, it’s not the same thing. The iCloud calendar, like the “upgraded” mobile me calendar before it, just hates to be also synced with something like Google. You can have a Google Calendar or an iCloud one, but you can’t apparently share between them. I was using Spanning Sync to sync “local” calendars to the Google ones but it doesn’t work anymore for iCloud-based calendars. For the moment I am going to try to use iCloud ones and see how it goes. The ability to add a calendar entry on my iPhone and have it sync automatically with everything else without having to do a sync is just too powerful a pull for me. I know that Google is now Apple’s mortal enemy, but guys, some things you just gotta cooperate on!

The Calendaring issue has existed for some time with mobile me anyway so I’m used to it being a bit fiddly. I was (probably naively) hoping that in Lion and iCloud they would have improved Google integration a bit.  Overall I’d rate my experience so far as 4/5.


  1. Scot Mcphee wrote:

    UPDATE: It also ate my Java installation! However I opened up a terminal and on a current project typed “mvn clean install” then it detected Java was missing and offered to install it. Which it did and then the command ran great;

    java -version
    java version “1.6.0_26″
    Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_26-b03-383-11A511)
    Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 20.1-b02-383, mixed mode)

    Sunday, October 16, 2011 at 21:52 | Permalink
  2. Scot Mcphee wrote:

    Solved the Calendar Issue but using the one Google calendar that iCal will import for my account and leaving the others in iCloud. If I create a calendar entry in the default calendar on Google I can move it onto an iCloud calendar (e.g. my uni timetable) in iCal or on my Iphone. Hopefully that will be enough.

    Sunday, October 16, 2011 at 22:39 | Permalink