Anyone who is remotely concerned with technology will know that Apple’s most recent big cat emerged on the prowl from Cupertino this week. I, like one million other eager users around the world, downloaded it on the first day and here are my thoughts so far.
I’d backed up my system using an app called carbon Copy cloner that is free ware. It’s easy to use and Voiceover friendly before buying the new instalment of OSX. So if all should go wrong, I still had shiny snow leopard to rescue my precious mac book pro from the doom of the upgrade. However, so far snow Leopard hasn’t been touched although it shall remain on my external disc for a while I think. So, off I went to the mac app store which is, hey, you guessed it, on my doc. Found Os Lion sitting there and I hit buy and confirmed my install, entered my password and jumped over to my purchased screen to watch the download happen. After around 45 minutes, it had downloaded and started to install. It asked me to reboot and I did, hit command F5 to monitor install and after a further twenty minutes or so, it rebooted and I waited, and I waited and then a horrendous noise came out of my mac. Don’t worry, I didn’t break it, but the compact irritating tones of Daniel was speaking instead of my beloved Alex. I was amazed by the ease of all this and because it installed over the top of SL, all my apps and settings were where I had left them before the upgrade. That amazed me. I know most people like to do a clean install but because my machine is so new I wasn’t too worried about that. I’d be interested if anyone has managed this but I hear Apple says it’s not possible.
I disliked Daniel’s compact sound and quickly ran to VoiceOver Utility to change Alex and discovered a customise option within the voices menu. I clicked and discovered, yep, new voices. Whoohoo! I have a choice of Daniel, [uncompacted], sarina, emily, which are the British voices, Tim, Alex, [who we all know and love], Samantha and Gill who are the American voices and Lee and Karen who are the Australian gang. They’re not terrible voices, I actually like most of them. Minus one little glitch. The new voices have a random tendency to change pitch. I have no idea why and have emailed apple to let them know about it. I can’t replicate it but know some others have seen this, hope it can be fixed very soon. But will test more to see what the deal of the random pitch change is. Its sort of off putting when sarina sounds like a drag queen during the middle of a tweet. I have found the OS very responsive and very fast. Safari’s good with many VoiceOver improvements in regards to way more navigation. The UI of Calendar, address book and mail have changed and I have to say I like them. Sure, they all take some getting used to but the Calendar especially has impressed me.
This is one feature I was very much looking forward to. Activities means you can customise Voiceover to do different things across your system. so for example, you can have Emily read your mail with very low verbosity while samantha will read your work in pages with a medium level of verbosity but with all your punctuation and attributes read and Daniel will read your news in News Rack or your chosen RSS reader at a faster speed so you can get things done and Tom will take care of your tweets with certain user names being pronounced correctly. It is a great addition to VoiceOver and very highly customisable.
Yes, it’s got better in this version too. Now, in safari, you can navigate with single keystrokes so h is next heading, shift-H is previous heading with a whole host of other navigating short cuts to delight the power user. I have to say, I didn’t use quick nav that much but in Lion I sure am using it a lot more.
Drag and Drop
This looks good in principle, although so far I haven’t managed to make it do anything. I keep getting told that the item isn’t draggable for a variety of reasons but I’m hearing from other users it’s working great so I have faith I’ll be using it with a lot of success very soon.
Not So Good Things
To be honest, there are some things that at a glance are not a good move on apple’s part but the fab news is that you can change these things very easily.
Library has Gone? System and Hard drive too?
It looks that way but nope, the library is still there along with your hard disc and system files. Apple has hidden these for probably very good reasons. But those of us who like to have access to such hierarchy of files have managed with no problem at all to reclaim our system files, library and Macintosh disc without an issue in finder.
All Files? Bugger off!
If you want to see every goddamn file you’ve got on your system at once, great! You now can. I on the other hand, like my files/folders organised, call me anal, I don’t care but I like to know where things are. Personal choice of course and Apple is all about choices so bye bye all files. I’ve switched back to my home folder being the default new finder window view.
When this was announced, I liked the idea of it. After using it for three days, I’ve turned it off. On my iPhone and iPad it’s welcome but as a writer, I don’t need a computer telling me that I mean “man” when I’m trying to write “MSN”. I do have to say I found it obnoxious. Safe to say, that can be turned off too in system prefs.
I could go into immense detail but seriously, I recommend you buy Lion for yourself. I’ve noticed no ground breaking negative results and the ones I have noticed that irritate a tad, I’ve let Apple know. Everyone has an opinion and this was only mine. Well, done Apple again, work out the bugs and everyone will be more happy I’m sure. Oh, and to those bitching about bugs and the “drastic changes” go back to Snow Leopard until the bugs have been fixed or if Apple’s that bad, go get Windows 7. Seriously, this is a good solid Os and show me a product at release without bugs. So yes, in my humblest of opinions, Lion is now King of the Apple jungle!