More molehill than mountain
I used to use Windows, since before it was called Windows. But a few years ago, after much prodding from friends, I tried using a Mac. Specifically, I tried using a Mac which was slightly less powerful than my PC, and discovered that it ran Lightroom seven times faster. Good enough for me and I switched. Never regretted it, and although I have a Windows 7 install for gaming, I am happy to use a Mac for everything else.
Last week saw the release of Mountain Lion, the latest OS from Apple. Just as Snow Leopard improved on Leopard, Mountain Lion is a revised version of Lion rather than a completely new experience. Still, at $19.99, it would be churlish to bitch about the lack of significant changes.
What you do detect is a continuation of the theme to bring the world of the tablets and phones close to world of the desktop, and to keep all your devices in line. Apple’s iCloud storage is much more prominent now, and as a mechanism for keeping everything in sync across multiple devices it can be useful. Start writing a seminal blog post on my Mac Pro and SWMBO announces a trip to a coffee shop. Abandon my word processor (no need to save, that just happens) on my Mac Pro and then, once in the coffee shop, open up the same application on my iPad and there is my blog post just as I left it on the computer. Once iOS 6 arrives, I will be able to do similar with my browsing; opening currently active Safari tabs on my iPhone on my iPad, for example. Not earth-shattering, but useful. At least it would be if I didn’t use Firefox.
The other theme is sharing, with the ability to share almost anything in a number of different ways (although not yet to Facebook, coming soon). Finish processing The Tweak on a photo in Photoshop and save it. Right click it in Finder and I have an option to send it straight to my Flickr stream (or Twitter, or email or a message).
There is a neat notifications panel, improved gestures for laptop users, messaging, better security and many other things I have yet to find or will never discover. But best of all, like all new releases before it, Mountain Lion feels faster than Lion.
Buying an operating system from Apple is now the same as buying “Anomaly Warzone Earth”, you go online to the App Store and buy it. It then downloads and you install it. So there is no point going to your local Apple store and looking for a box on the shelf, because there aren’t any.
I told myself I would wait several weeks to allow any bugs to be discovered and fixed before buying it. As usual, that resolve lasted a couple of days and I acquired it on Saturday. It’s all very convenient buying an OS online; until your hard drive fails and you need to reinstall and you don’t have the traditional DVD in a box available. Of course you can download it again at no charge; but you are going to need a working computer to do that. Catch 22.
So the first thing to is to acquire an 8GB USB stick, write “Mountain Lion” on it in your best handwriting, and then use a utility to set up the USB from your downloaded OS. Full details here. Now you have a stick which can use to re-install the OS should you ever need to do so, or to install on any other Mac computers you may have (which is legal under the licence agreement, not that I have read it and not that you care).
That done, find the Mountain Lion Installation in the applications folder and give it a good hard click. Hello, says the installer, this will take 31 minutes. Lying bastard, I came back in about ten minutes and it had finished (thank you SSD). No 23 character licence keys to mis-type, arcane options to choose from or “click to continue” messages. It just does it and you are back as you were when you left, albeit with a new operating system.
Is it worth $19.99 and ten minutes of your time? I am probably not the best person to ask. Real people have appointments and friends and alerts and all sorts of social shit going on. Some real people have laptops. Some people use their computers for many more diverse tasks than I do. They will probably like the new alerts system, the improved gestures etc. I like some of the little things, have found nothing to dislike and am enjoying the generally more snappy experience.
Roll on Korat Cat, or whatever the next release is to be called.
Comments are closed.