Early thoughts on Lion, Launchpad and Logic

Published July 26, 2011

The new Apple operating system, Lion, was released last week and I volunteered to be the test pilot for our house. At first, I wasn’t that fussed about it but gradually, the more I use it, the more I notice, and there are some bits and bobs that have caught my attention. Here are five of them:

  1. Natural scrolling. I turned off the natural scrolling straight away. They can call it natural all they like, but it doesn’t feel natural to me. Thankfully, this is something they give you a preference option for, so it was easy to switch back.
  2. Missing buttons. I was busy editing a podcast and thought I was going crazy when I kept moving my mouse in search of some left and right buttons on the scrollbar and they weren’t there. After too many muscle memory moments, I checked with Mr C and he quickly ascertained that I wasn’t mad, they were gone. I hadn’t even updated the software but lo and behold, something had been changed without telling me. Apparently, the idea is that everything in Lion is geared towards gestures on the trackpad, so who needs buttons when you can swipe two fingers left or right? I can’t stand the trackpad.
  3. Autosave. At first, I was mildly concerned about the concept of autosaving. It’s been gradually more prevalent in software, but usually with the control still ultimately resting with the user to save. The way it has been done in Lion seems interesting, and it’s not that often I need to go back on a version anyway, so I can’t see it being a huge problem. It does annoy me that sometimes a document can be a bit sticky as it’s working out where it is in terms of saving, and I opened up something that said it was locked because I hadn’t used it for two weeks. Like it’s my operating software’s business how often I open my files.
  4. Launchpad. I do love the new little Launchpad icon. It’s like a Windows Start button but for my Mac. That is something I’ve missed since switching, and having it right back is excellent. Accessing the Applications folder at the click of a button is brillo, although it may take me a while to organise the stuff within it into groups I like.
  5. Little upgrades. There are nice little features tucked away that don’t get shouted about, like the way folders unfurl when you open them within finder, or the preview that appears when you search for something in Spotlight. Any way of making Spotlight more useful is good in my book.

Plenty more still to learn, I’m sure, and I envisage getting angry and being pleasantly surprised in equal measures as I continue to uncover new stuff. For now, it’s a pretty smooth transition to Lion, but I do think the heavy emphasis on gestures is going to get annoying.

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