Laptop Thoughts: OS X Lion From A Different Vista

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

OS X Lion From A Different Vista

Posted by Eric Juillerat in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 08:00 AM

Then Came Lion...

You can imagine my excitement regarding OS X Lion. Early adopters like me wait days in lines, stay up late into mornings, forego facilities (bathrooms), food, and hygiene, all to get at the latest, newest, shiniest "thing" known to man people. I couldn't wait. I purchased and upgraded just as soon as my 25MB connection would let me. And this is where my story begins - this is bullet-time my friends. This is where it gets serious. So, I am left here wondering where to start. What I can tell you is that, my excitement with Lion has worn off; and worn on me.

Perhaps I'll just start with the headlines of the typical Lion reviews, and those of fan-boys and their counterparts in the blogosphere. I new much about the new Launch Pad, Mission Control, and move to 64 bit architecture. I had read the prose on the lack of Rosetta (backwards compatibility), reverse scrolling, no keyboard auto key repeat, and the issues with the iOS-like auto-correction. The fan-boys applauded these ‘features' while their counterparts demonized them; some that hadn't even upgraded to Lion. I even remember laughing at those who were calling Lion Apple's "Vista." Having been through all that, I felt confident that the upgrade would be smooth and I would come to love (Big Brother) the OS just as I had the others before it. After all, we were gaining security, speed, data safety and integrity, and 250 new features! But, alas, there were features I did not know about that haunt me to this day. Kernel panics, boot loops, app crashes, and seriously slow speed, make me regret moving forward with this first iteration of Lion.

Reverse Scrolling

I tried to like this, I really did. In fact, it was pseudo-intuitive on a track pad/Magic Pad. But I use multiple input devices, from the on-board track pad, to the Magic Pad, Magic Mouse, track ball, Wacom tablets, and professional grade mice. It depends on the task and my local ergonomics. Reverse scrolling is a real downer when using scroll wheels. I just couldn't get used to it. Changing back and fourth between the many devices became confusing and frustrating. While I'll admit, Steve has turned the PC world upside down; I don't understand why he had to mess with my scrolling. So I turned Revers Scrolling OFF.

Auto-Correction

Lion uses an iOS-like version of Auto-Correction. Those of you who have iPhones and iPads know how frustrating this can be when typing quickly and in deep thought. It never works, and instead of having six you end up having sex, and while that might sound good on LCD, it causes a lot of problems in the office. Lion carries this frustration over to your desktop. So, I turned it OFF.

Keyboard Auto Repeat

This one was a head scratcher? Why would Apple disable the ability to hold down a key on your keyboard and have it repeattt????!!!!! I have no idea, but was able to find a Terminal work-around code that re-enabled it. I once again reversed a new feature. You may be noticing a pattern here.

Launch Pad

In a word confusing. Ok, so I'm a power user. I already had Launch Pad. I had already dragged my Applications folder to my dock. Works the same, but easily scrolls through all of my many applications. Launch Pad is Apple's attempt at dumbing down the desktop to iPhone functionality; interesting idea, but what a pain. When launched, iOS style icons populate the screen. You swipe through your apps just like you swipe through screens on your iPhone or iPad - great if you have a track pad, not so great if you have a mouse. Problem is, if you don't do it right (whatever that means) you end up launching an unwanted app, or minimizing Launch Pad all together - requiring a re-Launch and another attempt at find your desired app. This new feature didn't seem to port from the iPhone well. I did get a cool little rocket ship icon on my dock though...I like rockets.

Mission Control

This is the new Expose. I just don't like it. That being said, I haven't used it a whole lot yet. In Expose on OS X Snow Leopard, I had VMWare Fusion power up Windows in another space. This was useful. I have similar functionality in Mission Control, but for some reason it feels constrictive and clunky. The scrolling from one space to the next is one-way. It doesn't loop like Expose did. If I go all the way right, I have to go all the way wrong to get back to the start. In Expose I could always be right and still get back to the beginning; and I like being right. Instead of choosing different spaces to work in, I have to add desktops and choose those desktops. It just seems like there are more steps to perform, and that it's half as intuitive as Expose. It feels like Mission Control was the BETA version of Expose. Mission Control? Hardly - Houston we have a problem. Did I mention I like rockets?

Beyond The Thunderdome

What is really troubling about Lion is way beyond these ‘features'. It's the crashing, the booting, the slow speed, and unexpected stalls. It's all the things I hated about Vista; and it's causing reoccurring nightmares. (While I'll refer to my issues as ‘features' in Lion, that's really not fair and you should be bigger than I am and overlook my sardonicism...look it up!)


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