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Mac OS 10.7 Lion is here

This a purely techie post, so I apologize. It is good fun when there's a new OS to try, and Lion is now live.

There's lots of changes, from the install to scrolling to swiping. The more time I spend with it, the more changes I discover. The best changes to note are:

  • Mission Control, which is a nice way of switching applications and virtual desktops;
  • The new full-screen mode, from which you can swipe in and out of (note: apps must be written to use this technology);
  • Auto-saving of files, along with versioning (again, apps must be updated to use this);
  • Backups of files for laptops that happen without the external drive present;
  • The OS handles your open apps, to the point that you don't need to worry about quitting them. It will deal with applications that are unused and can be shut down. (This is really hard for me, as I am so conditioned to cycle through and quit unused apps to free up processing space.) The OS also preserves an application's status, so that launching them takes you immediately to their prior state.
  • The Mail application is really slick. Very fast, very pretty.

Many of the stylistic changes seem to be an attempt to get things out of the way. Colors are muted (what one commentator calls "the color vampire"), folders in Mail are hidden, and full-screen applications block everything but the document you are working on (even the system-wide menu bar is hidden). It is a grand experiment with learning from iPhones and iPads, and incorporating the iOS into the computer. It will take time to decide how useful these changes truly are, but they certainly make the user re-think how a computer works, especially in regards to saving files and quitting applications.

A word to the wise: if you are going to install Lion on more than one machine that you own, you will want to abort the installation process and copy or move the installation file, which is in your documents folder and named "Install OS X." Otherwise, the installation process will automatically delete this file, and you will have to download Lion all over again for your other machine, and it's nearly 5 GB in size. Once the installation file is moved, it can still do the installation from wherever, and it won't get deleted.


Apologies Are Meaningless