Mac OS X Lion is OK by me. Except for all the changes that give my daily workflow speed bump pimples.
Yes, Apple, I know I’ve complained about the Finder since way back in the last century, but I didn’t expect you to actually change it, you know? Apple messed around with the Finder, Mail, and Safari, and that’s put a serious damper on my Mac mojo, causing me to think before I click. Really? Who does that?
Installing Lion Over Snow Leopard
The real question to answer when Apple releases a new cat, is, “Which Mac should I install it on first?” My Mac, upon which my livelihood depends? Not a chance.
How about putting Lion on my kid’s Mac? No way, Jose mi amore.
If something went wrong with the install and disabled their precious Mac, then I’d have to pay attention to them, maybe even talk to them face-to-face. Nope. I need to have their Mac working at all times.
That left my husband’s Mac as the digital guinea pig. He was at work, so, while the dog was away, the cat could play (it was tempting to put something in that phrase about mice, but I took a restraint pill this morning). All it took was a couple of clicks and OS X Lion downloaded to his Mac and began to install.
I won’t bore you with details on the Lion install process. It’s something you have to experience yourself to fully appreciate. If you appreciate a nap, then you’ll appreciate installing Lion on your Mac. They’re one and the same. A short-lived snooze fest.
In the end, the Mac cranked itself back to life and promptly prompted me to learn how to scroll again. Scrolling was just the first herky jerky, new feature infection from Apple’s iPhone and iPad iOS inspirationalpalooza.
What Of Finder, Safari, And Mail
Change is inevitable, right? I’m just glad that Lion was only $29. If it was $129, I’d be writing email to Steve Jobs to tell him what a bad day I was having with his new Think Different™ Lion interface.
Finder – First on my list of grumpy complaints about Lion was what they did to the Finder. Apple actually did something to the Finder. We customize our Macs Finders so we can bounce from one Mac to another without so much as a raised eyebrow.
Where were all those little touches I put into the Finder’s Toolbar? Some app icons were simply gone, making the Toolbar look more like a smiling Tea Party supporter from Kentucky.
Wait. The Sidebar is all wonky. My Mac devices, which used to be at the top, were at the bottom. Colorful icons, which once graced the Finder’s Toolbar, were now blandly gray iPhonesque buttons.
Did Apple spill Clorox bleach on the Sidebar? Where’s all the color in the icons? Hey, wait a minute. What’s that Arrange button do? Cool. It lets you arrange all the items in a folder. All is forgiven. For now.
Safari – To be fair, I didn’t expect Apple to change much in Safari. It was at version 5.x and went to version 5.1. Big whoop, right? How much can you change just moving the score up a little?
Safari looks like Safari but has a bunch of changes hiding in a back closet. The WebKit2 rendering engine features some kind of page sandboxing which makes Safari more secure. Downloads gets its own Toolbar button which tells you what happened to the download. Click it to see what’s been downloaded. Or, just click it for the animated iPad-like pop down effects.
Whatever rocks your boat.
There’s also a small eyeglasses icon which triggers’ the new Reading List feature so you can save a page to read later. Fashionista Alert!. Boy, are those Reader icons ugly.
Except for one, really subtle but dangerous button, Safari mostly looks and feels and behaves the same way. Dangerous button? Safari is a full screen app. In the upper right corner of Safari’s window is another iPad inspired full screen button. Try it. Click. I dare you.
When you click the Full Screen button, Safari takes over the whole screen. All of it. It’s not a full screen app for nothing. In slow motion, Dashboard Widget inspired animation, Safari pushes the Dock out of site, pushes the Menubar out of site, and goes all colonialist on your screen. It’s just you and Safari.
Move your mouse pointer to where the Menubar used to be, and it drops down, and reveals a blue non-Full Screen button which, in slow motion animation again, puts everything back into place, avoiding a digital perestroika. That action also brought up the new, built-in, iPad-inspired pop down dictionary.
Mail – Last, but not least, and not without a scary moment, is what Apple did to Mail, the app we love to hate. You know, like my rich aunt, Pedrolina. The one with the puffy lips and obvious windy day inspired facelift.
Mail gets a facelift. And it’s not like Joan Rivers or Kenny Rogers or Goldie Hawn. It’s a facelift like Jennifer Lopez. Mail is nice to look at, easier to use, and not a hint of Mark Anthony legacy features anywhere around. Be forewarned. When you first look at Lion’s Mail you wonder where everything went.
There’s a Toolbar, but in Lion’s now colorless motif. Borders are as hard to find in Mail as Borders bookstores will be next week. Count ‘em. There’s a three-pane view. And, the aforementioned full screen mode.
Threads? Did I mention threads? Threaded messages stack like accordion paper in the main pane. Rich text abounds; suitable for a mini-word processor. Accounts are set up just as in iPad or iPhone. Easy peazy. Mail is improved and pretty.
My only grumble is that creating a new message pops it up on screen far to the right of where I’m looking. I could adjust my seat, yes, but my Mac should know that I sit to the left, leaning to the right, not the other way around. What good is that iSight camera if Mac OS X isn’t paying attention to my posture?
All things considered, Finder, Safari, and Mail are noted improvements. Full screen, distraction free mode in Safari and Mail (and other apps) is a welcome addition as it pushes Lion out of the way entirely. It seems as though we bought Lion so it would get out of the way. Apple truly thinks different.