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Well, I finally made the move to the new Lion OS.

I waited to install the new Lion OS due to software issues. My email client; never update to the first version of OS software, wait for the dot update; and if your prime, must have every day software is not compatible with the new OS update, the new OS update can wait.

It took about 40 minutes for the Lion app to download onto my computer from the App Store. The download goes directly to your Applications Folder titled "Install Mac OS X Lion." The only indication I saw that the download is taking place is that the "Buy App" link from the App Store app reads "Installing", then "Installed" when it's done.

Before intallation I copied the installer .dmg file to a thumb drive and ran Time Machine, just in case I need the file later. And, of course, I did a full backup with Super Duper beforehand. After the download and lauch of installer, it took an additonal 30 minutes or so to install.

My first steps were to go the Finder > View to get the desktop icons back to the settings I had before. I don't want large icons randomly placed on my desktop, as the default setting places them. I then ran the Lion OS update that was recently released.

Then, noticing that my trackball cursor was moving painfully slow, I saw that Kensington does not have a MouseWorks driver update for Lion. But on their site was a new "TrackballWorks Beta Software for Mac" driver, posted 6/21/11 for Leopoard and Snow Leopard. So, with nothing to lose, I downloaded and launched it anyway to give it a try. A slow cursor is not acceptable. Happily, once installed into the System Preferences, it worked perfectly to get my trackball settings back to where I needed them.

On to the Adobe Creative Suite software. I launched InDesign, and was greeted with this message "In order to run InDesign 5.5 you need to install Java Runtime…" O…..K…… So, I did. I'd been asked a question about Creative Suite 5.5 apps running into problems on Lion, recently, so this message surprised me a bit. After Java Runtime installed, I launched a few of the Creative Suite 5.5 apps and they ran fine. Happy, happy.

Then, I launched a program that I'd spent a lot of time in lately, but just couldn't stay with; Mail. Lion updated the old Mail app to the new version. I liked the new layout of viewing email, similar to how it's viewed on the iPad. Other than that, I spent no more time in Mail. I'd upgraded to Entourage 2008 a few days before this install. There are a few features in Entourage that I've found I can live without but can't work without. So, for the time being, Entourage is my email client of choice.

Something I didn't and still don't like is the monotone look of some Finder interface items, like the sidebar (and scrollbar). I've purposely customized some of my folder icons with different icons and colors and placed them in the sidebar for quick-easy discerning and access. Now, even though the folder icons are customized, they display only as monotone/generic when placed it the Finder sidebar. I'll be looking for a way to change this fast. If you know of any, please post.

As some Lion users have also found the Library folders no longer appear in the Finder sidebar. For the Library folder, there's a Terminal command you can use that will turn this visibility back on. Or you can locate them both in a Finder window, from the Go menu, and then drag the icons to the sidebar. This will give you quick and permanent access until you remove them from the sidebar. For some, hiding the Library folder is no big deal, for others it's a nuisance that should be a checkbox somewhere to deselect..

The Finder window and dialogue boxes have a different feel to them. They have a 'fade-in/out" animation quality about them instead of the past just appear/disapper animation.

The issue with Safari not cycling through all of the open windows using the long standing, as long as I can remember, Command+tilde keys is fixed/resolved/unbroken.

The missing/hidden scrollbars can be turned back on from the General > System Prefs Pane (It wasn't broken Apple).  I don't mind the scrollbar arrow icons being missing in Safari. I can use keyboard shortcuts like:

  • Pressing the Spacebar to scroll down a full page
  • Pressing Shift-Spacebar to move up the page
  • Using the arrow keys on the keyboard to move incrementally

but in the Finder windows and all the other applications, i can't use those shortcuts, so I do mind this change to the interface. Scrolling doesn't work as precisely as we need to at times. The arrow icons help that. Scrollbars give the instant visual indication that there is more info on the page. There should be a checkbox in the Prefs to turn the scrollbar arrows back on.

For a view of applications that you may have on your system that no longer work because they are PPC, go to the Apple menu > select "About this Mac" > More info button. The System Profiler application will launch. In Lion, there is now a "System Report" button to select. Select the Software category from the left > then select "Applications." This will show you all the applications on your computer. There will be a column (Kind) that displays whether the application is PPC, Intel, or Universal.

My Epson Scanner still works, though only under Image Capture. It stopped working with my upgrade long ago to Photoshop CS4, unless I would set Photoshop CS4 to open in Rosetta. Now with Photoshop CS5.5, and Rosetta a distant memory it's still working just fine with Image Capture in Lion. My Fujitsu ScanSnap is still working too under Lion with no updates needed.  So far my key applications were working, and I've had to only update one piece of software.

Lion has a new feature, Launchpad, which places icons on your desktop. Some say iPad like, I say too Windows-like. With this, how are we now to justify telling users not to place all those icons on the desktop becuase it gives the Finder headaches? 🙂 Does anyone remember Launcher from OS 7? This is what Launchpad brings to mind for me.

Has Lion made an impact for me? Sure. I've had to abandon software, update software, squint more and scroll more. Could I have waited to update? Yes. I didn't because change for me was inevitable and I had nothing that was a deal-breaker. Do I like all the features? No. This is par for the course as updates go. 

Do what you need to do.

:::

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  • Tim

    Good, straight forward review. One of the better ones I have read about Lion.
    Still on the fence about it. No real need, but do know I will have to at some point.
    Is there a ‘family’ licence or one download per machine? We have two in our house.

  • Excerpt from: Mac OS Lion: What you need to know
    http://www.macworld.com/article/160434/2011/06/lion_faq.html?lsrc=top_1

    What if I have multiple Macs? Can I install it on each one?

    As with any applications you purchase from the Mac App Store, you’ll be able to install Lion on any Macs that are authorized with the Apple ID you used to purchase the OS. Which means that if your family has four, five, six, or more Macs, a single $30 payment will let you install Lion on every machine.