Lion: First Impressions

Tip: before purchase, run Software Update.
There’s a last minute fix for the Migration Assistant from Snow Leopard.
Install via App Store takes awhile: about 30 minutes to download and 30 to install.
Here are some impressions I have registered so far.

  1. I may no longer store native Apple apps in an Applications sub-folder.
    Try to move them, and the Finder only makes a copy of the app.
    So, now the Apps folder is a mess, instead of 15 clearly labeled sub-folders.

  2. my name now sits on the far right top menu, announcing that I am running this computer.
    Since I am the only person who ever runs it, I’d like to turn that off. Can’t find the preference.

  3. Performance is slow. All apps take a while to launch. Maybe that will improve.

  4. Junk that Apple slops into the Dock. I at once killed Launch Pad and FaceTime.
    I much prefer using OverFlow, where I can arrange the apps by function.

  5. Address Book looks creepy. Takes a while to figure out navigation and editing.

  6. Mail takes a while to update and migrate the database. 3-pane interface, meh.
    I’ll try it for a while. Preferences does allow “Use classic layout”

  7. Calculator looks the same, but check out the menu options Convert & Speech.

  8. Safari took a long time to reload Top Sites. New Reading List feature looks good.
    All extensions working OK. Some stronger settings in Preferences: Privacy.

  9. There’s a new version of iWeb, which is odd since MobileMe expires in 6/2012.
    And iCloud will not support web publishing.

  10. All the iWork '09 apps (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) run fine, with no changes.

  11. Ditto for the iLife '11 apps (iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, GarageBand)

  12. iTunes was slow to load, and at the moment I can’t access the iTunes Store.

Overall: I don’t see 250 heart-stopping improvements, but it’s an OK update for 30 bucks.
Especially since I can upgrade all my machines without paying additional fees.

Thanks druid. On the basis of what you say, I may wait a while.

Update: just found a nice feature in Safari.
On the trackpad, a two-fingered swipe shifts between previous and later page views.
That saves mousing up to the Before and After arrows in the upper right corner.
Also, kind of a neat visual effect.

Hey Druid

Thanks for the info re Lion. 2 question, what hardware are you running on and how are third party apps running on the new OS?

:smiley: :laughing: :laughing: :wink:

Vic, thanks for your eagle-eyed proof-reading.
I was clearly out of ordure! :blush:
Since corrected.

It’s a 2008 iMac with 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, memory 4 GB 800 MHz DDR2 SDRAM

All third-party apps OK, except one weather widget, which I replaced.
On installation, Lion creates an “Incompatible Software” folder.
Mine contains two kernel extension files, both from web-streaming software.

The speed seems to have picked up. First time an app loads, it’s a bit slow. Afterwards, fine.


You have any Adobe CS3 stuff on your system? I’m itchy to upgrade to Lion, but am saddled with a corporate edition of Adobe InCopy CS3 that Must Run.

This is actually an old one, but it sounds like the preference has reverted to default. It’s been there (and capable of removal) since they introduced fast switching back in Jaguar or Tiger (I don’t remember, but it’s been a while). Anyway, you can remove any of Apple’s menu status items by holding down the Command key and dragging them out.

Yeah, and it might be a transient thing if Spotlight and Time Machine are both running at full speed. There will probably be a breaking in period where caches need to be rebuilt, too. Wiping out all caches as a troubleshooting step always slows down everything for a few hours. That’s probably your Safari problem; without caches it has to reload every single resource from every single site in your history to generate the previews—that can be a lot of material in these days of wasteful web site sizes.

I don’t much care for Launch Pad either, but you can organise things within it, if that interests you. It’s just like on the iPad actually. Just drag an icon on another to make a “folder”.

In the Viewing tab, there is a “Use classic layout” toggle. This is disabled for you? It works for me, but I’m still on the GM pre-release. It’s one of the first things I changed as well. I really don’t get the appeal of seeing 15 messages instead of 50, though the conversation merging is nice and reminiscent of Gmail.

I’ll agree with that. It’s priced right.

For all the geeky ins and outs of Lion, Arstechnica has a very thorough review up… … 10-7.ars/1

See this discussion:

I like it. Mostly.

While it was initially a bit sluggish, it seems quite snappy now. I’ll keep monitoring.

First the cons:
Some legacy apps are now, compulsorily, retired. For me they were occasional use games; old favourites, but I’ll live without them. To Lion’s credit, it marks these apps very clearly with a watermark to indicate they won’t run. In the grand scheme, a minor loss.

Launchpad is awful. Truly awful. While it is clearly mimicking iOS, it has the same limitations (can only move one app at a time, and only by dragging); it is slow, awkward and, well, awful (I think you get the idea). At least on my iPhone I can rearrange things with a little less angst in iTunes, but no such relief with LaunchPad. This represents the only absolute fail in Lion, although I will concede it might be helpful for newbies who have only ever used an Apple iOS device.

It’s very monochrome. While this provides a consistent look, it comes at a cost. The dearest cost, to me, is in the sidebar of the finder. In Snow Leopard I had a few “favourite” folders there, each with a coloured custom icon. While Lion has kept the folders, their icons and colour have gone, and with them the visual cues that made them so easy to find. While Apple’s built-in folders have their own special icons, there doesn’t seem to be anyway to add similar icons to your own folders. This is a frustration I guess I’ll have to wear, but it does bug me.

Still in the finder’s sidebar, devices (such as external drives) have moved to the bottom. In small windows this requires scrolling to see them. I preferred having them always at the top and wish I could put them back.

iChat has taken a big step backwards. Apple seem to assume that we view all the message services the same and has collapsed them all into one window. I, for one, don’t view them the same and use the different chat services for different tasks (AIM/MobileMe for work & family, FaceBook for social, etc). But now that they are all in the same window, I found it very difficult to differentiate the different services from each other, and hence the contacts within (or rather, between) them. As I don’t use it heavily, it’s probably not a big loss, but it irritated me all afternoon.

A couple of issues with apps: My virus checker needed updating, but it’s own update app refused to acknowledge it was installed (and their website was terrible, but that’s not Lion’s fault). I think I’ve updated most of the apps I’m likely to use. I also had a bit of a scare with Scrivener - no data lost, but a few anxious minutes waiting for it to “rebuild” after a restart. I’m going to try and recreate it tomorrow before I post bug submission, as it could have been just bad luck associated with a system restart triggered by another app’s update.

You can’t access the Library folders anymore - at least not without knowing some “tricks”. Probably a good thing for the average user, but since some apps store user files in the Library, it was helpful to be able to get there easily. Some app developers may want to rethink their file storage plans.

I like the new scroll, especially using my touchpad. I’m still getting used to “pushing” the page instead of “pulling” the scrollbar, but it is more intuitive with touch and I am adapting quickly. A little harder to adjust with the mouse (more years of muscle memory too) but I don’t think it will take long.

Mission Control is great! Very easy to navigate between applications, windows, spaces and fullscreen apps all with a gesture. Very nice and very well done.

Fullscreen in supporting apps is nice. I like removing distractions and this does it nicely. It provides the benefits of spaces without the fuss. I really like the way Keith has implemented it with Scrivener (but that belongs in a different post).

iCal - I might be the only one, but I don’t mind the new look. I especially like the new year view and the revised day view with an agenda view of the dates ahead, full plan of the day and list of tasks. Nicely done.

Ease of installation. This was by far the easiest OS upgrade, and probably the fastest, I’ve done (and I’ve had every version of OS X since 10.1). Kudos to Apple for making it so simple even my dad could do it.

System preferences have been rearranged/renamed and, I think, make more sense.

I like the version of Safari, particular the new download icon. Nicely done. I’m not sure why people are making a big deal about swiping through Safari’s history - that has been a part of Safari (and other native Apple apps, including the Finder) for a while. The new animation that accompanies it is kind of cool though.

I really like the way that apps, and the entire system, will restart where you were. Installed an app in the background and it wants to restart? Just let it. When it’s done, all your windows will reopen where you were and you can continue as before.

Reserving judgement:
Mail. Generally, I think it’s OK. As a heavy user of smart folders, it’s slightly less intuitive than the old style. But the one thing I truly miss is a message count. The only way I can tell how many messages are in the current view is to select them all. I never realised how important that information was until it was gone. But threading messages is good and it is very easy to set up new email accounts.

Address book looks very different. While I kind of like the visual address book metaphor, I was initially at a bit of a loss without the groups. Clicking on the red “book mark” displays the groups, which is helpful if not at all intuitive. I do miss the three column view, but will reserve judgement until I have tried it more.

Help seems unreliable. Sometimes it takes an age to load and then struggles to find anything relevant, while at other times it just launches and search is blisteringly fast. I can’t work out a pattern, so for the time being I’ll chalk it up to the transition. If it doesn’t improve within a couple of days I’ll move it up to the cons list.

Ditto for Spotlight.

Overall, despite my misgivings outlined above, the gains far outweigh the losses and Lion is a big step forward. I think Lion is definitely a positive upgrade and great value for the price.

Thanks for sharing your viewpoint. Sad to say, but the more I read about Lion, the more the cons outweigh the pros for me. Most likely I’ll stick to the old rule “don’t change a running system”.

Which is still the old Leopard in my case. :confused:

The longer I use Lion, the more I like it.

Good points:
The swiping of pages in Safari, instead of using arrows.
The new “hidden” buttons on each letter in Mail, and the preview of a URL.
I get lots of e-mail with links; this lets me view pages quickly, without launching Safari.
Spelling auto-suggestion in Mail, helpful with some long words.
Address Book is fast, and it calls numbers via Adium, FaceTime, or Skype.

Bad point, and it’s a stinker.
Cursor insertion and letter- or word-selection has become difficult.
If you want to change just one or two letters, be careful.
A second click selects the whole word. A third selects the sentence.
And you can’t back out of that sequence, except by moving the cursor far away.
It’s happening in Scrivener and every other program in which I type.
And I can’t locate any System Preference that will turn the “feature” off.
I’m fairly sure this behavior was missing from Snow Leopard.

I like it a lot so far. The only problem so far is that it seems I can’t access the dictionary via spotlight.

There’s a new feature in Lion: Control-Select a word and you get a new command: Look Up.
It gives you Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Wikipedia entries; click on the one you want to read.

For me, Spotlight is showing a Dictionary search as Look Up.
Nice feature: hover the cursor on a Spotlight item, and you see a preview of it.

I’m seeing Look up now under spotlight, down in the list. Strange… It wasn’t there earlier today, and it used to be the first or second result in the list with snow leopard. Control-click is interesting, way easier than going through services, thanks!!

Another single-click in the same spots starts the sequence over. This has been selection behavior for some time, I believe (at least I’ve used it for years).

As for Spotlight, it bugs the heck out of me that, when I select “Show All in Finder,” the view completely reorders the findings. For example, I have multiple copies of an item and want to know which one I am selecting (i.e., its path). To do this I have to show all in finder, then re-find the specific app or item I’m looking for. PITA! (That’s not new, by the way, but I was hoping there would be some improvement.)

Lion in general: I’m still getting used to it, but I do like the Mission Control. One gripe: I used to use an app called “Hyperspaces,” which has been taken over by the new spaces in Lion, but the old one allowed me to hide all icons on certain spaces, giving me a clean view of the desktop. That’s gone now (or I can’t find out how to do it)–and I miss it.

Scrivener in Lion is GREAT! I’ve set up a space with my document in the Scriv “Compose” view (which I prefer to the Lion “Full Screen” view), and I can pop in and out of that space with ease. I know I could do that before with Spaces, but this just seems easier and I therefore use it more consistently.

That’s been standard text behaviour for as long as I can remember - at least as far back as Jaguar (OS X 10.2), possibly even back to OS 9 and beyond. Single click inserts the cursor, double click selects the word, triple click selects the paragraph. One more click restarts the sequence. I just tested on my system and individual clicks works as normal (i.e. simply moving the insertion point) - it’s only double and triple clicks that select text. Perhaps your double click speed is slower now than it used to be (meaning a double click is triggered more readily)? This can be adjusted in preferences.

I agree with you about the web-preview function in Mail. I love it! :slight_smile:
Same also for the auto correction (which just fixed “teh” in this sentence) and spelling.
I’m also adjusting to the new version of the in-line dictionary (Ctrl-Cmd-D) - by default it now displays dictionary, thesaurus, Apple words and Wikipedia. All in a pop-up. So far, I think it is an improvement.

It was so bad on the wireless mouse that I went back to wired.
You’re probably right, it’s the click speed, but where do I change that?
The preferences for Mouse only affect tracking speed, which I slowed a little.