Admittedly I've taken a very slow approach to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. This is probably the longest it's taken me to fully adopt any Mac OS in history. I cautiously installed it on two of my Macs. I installed it on my personal MacBook Air (2010 model) and my iTunes iMac Media Server. These are probably my two least mission critical Macs. The main reason for my hesitation is because everything I do works perfectly in 10.6.7 (I've had a few issues with 10.6.8). The second reason is that I haven't seen anything in Lion feature-wise that would make me want to take the plunge and deal with potential problems on my work/production Macs. Sure there are a few nice enhancements like the new Mail interface, being able to resize a window from any side (about time), AirDrop, and some of the new gestures are cool. However, none of those features are must haves for me. Also with each cool new thing I could name I could also name a change in the New OS that annoys me. I have no doubt that over time I'll eventually migrate the majority of my Macs over to Lion, but for now I have no immediate plans to do so.
Taking Lion on the Road at the Last Minute!
Last week I headed to Adobe Photoshop World in Vegas. This was also after coming off a 6 week sabbatical. It was my first week back to work. Knowing that we were going to be announcing Adobe Carousel at this show I decided to get my Mac, iPhone and iPad ready to show this new product/service. Little did I realize at the time that the Mac client required Lion! I now had a decision to make. My choices were to install Lion on my work MacBook Pro, Take my MacBook Air (which I had never demo'd on before) or simply not be prepared to show Carousel. I figured the easiest option would be to get the MacBook Air (MBA) ready for not only my Carousel demo, but the rest of the demos and classes I was teaching. I checked first to make sure that my MBA could boot off the same OS that my MacBook Pro (MBP) was running. Luckily it could boot off 10.6.4 or higher. Next I used SuperDuper! to clone my MBP's (10.6.7) drive onto the portable external drive I travel with. This way, worse case scenario I'd be able to boot off that drive if I forgot to set something up on the Lion drive. I copied my demo files onto the MBA's hard drive in a new Demo User Account that I setup and I headed out the door.
Each night before the next day of classes I tested everything that I planned to show in class to make sure it worked and it did. I never had to boot off my external. I'm glad I brought it though because there were a few things that I had forgotten to copy off of it. Everything worked fine in Lion. No problems with Photoshop CS5, InDesign CS 5.5, Illustrator CS5, Lightroom 3.5 RC & of course Adobe Carousel.
What annoyed me most
There were three things in Lion that I had to change. Although I really don't have a problem with the "natural scrolling", I end up turning it off because I spend more time on Snow Leopard than I do on Lion. Going back and forth between the two operating systems is a lot easier when they both scroll the same way.
The second thing that annoyed me was that every time I'd launch an App it would also re-open the last document I was working on. While that may be a feature for most, it was a problem for me. If I want the document I was working on to be opened, I know how to find it and open it.
Lastly I really don't like the Lion feature that shows all your recent files (All My Files) in the Finder sidebar. Luckily you can Command-Drag to drag it off the bar (or right click on it to remove it).
The forth thing that annoyed me that i don't seem to know how to restore or if it's even possible is that in Lion it doesn't show you the number of files or how much available space you have at the bottom of the Finder window! Why would they take this away?
UPDATE: This problem is also solved by choosing View-Show Status Bar (Thanks Brad!)
One thing I forgot to bring. I'm so used to being on WiFi or having Ethernet built-in that it wasn't until Friday when I had a presentation in the Adobe booth and I needed to connect to the ethernet network at the demo station. That's when I realized that I didn't bring my USB-to-Ethernet adapter. We worked around it by setting up another MacBook Pro and using Internet Sharing over WiFi. Lesson learned! I'll make sure I always have this little adapter.
The Bottom Line
Once I tweaked a few preferences in Lion I had no problem using it the entire week. Also battery life seemed noticeably better on the plane rides. I landed in Vegas with a 54% charge! While everything worked fine, I still didn't see any real advantages either. It felt like I was losing more than I was gaining. For that reason I'll take my time going to Lion. What I did learn from this past week is that my MacBook Air is going to be going on more trips with me even if I need to demo as long as I'm not going to be demoing a ton of Creative Suite apps simultaneously (since it only has 4GB of RAM). I'm also now drooling more than ever over the 2011 model with the Core i7 processor. If it had more than 4GB of RAM I'd upgrade in a heartbeat.