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Don’t Rush To Buy OS X Lion Just Yet

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On Wednesday, Apple finally made their new OS Lion available for download exclusively through their App Store for $29.99.  This price was comparable to their previous system, Snow Leopard, and is very similar in terms of the amount of changes and modifications.  However, the release differs in the way they chose to sell it to the public.

If you’re like me and have been waiting for this upgrade, you might want to hold off a bit and read through some of the troubles and bugs I’ve encountered.

The process of upgrading is relatively painless, but there are definitely some things that you need to know before you attempt the upgrade.  Apple has worked diligently at making the process as simple as possible, but installing a new operating system can still seem like a daunting task. 

Make sure you meet the basic system requirements of Mac OS X Lion. The minimum specifications you need in order to run Lion on your Mac are as follows:

  • A Mac with an Intel processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • Snow Leopard 10.6.8
  • 4GB of free hard drive space

These were not a problem for me as I had just bought a new Macbook Pro eight months ago. However, that didn’t necessarily immunize my computer from bugs and issues.  

Here are some problems I’ve run into so far:

  • All of my programs in Microsoft Office Mac 2004 don’t work.  I realize my version is very old, but I’ve had little to no interest in upgrading only because I’ve had to spend money on other things, and these programs have been working just fine. So the Lion updated affects all the Word documents I’ve got on my computer– a bummer when you’re a writer.   Because these things were missing, I now have to make .doc files open by default in Pages.  
  • I had to import my messages from Gmail into Apple Mail 4, because Entourage (the Office email client) no longer worked.  It felt weird waking up this morning and finding a notifcation stating I had 4300 new unread e-mail messages waiting for me!
  • I also used the Calendar feature in Entourage, which I’m sure there’s a way to export, but since my computer no longer recognizes Entourage, I haven’t figured it out yet. I guess I’m going to be forced to use Apple’s iCal, which, in four years I’ve personally never been bothered to use. 
  • I’ve discovered a few other programs that Lion seems to think don’t exist anymore or can no longer run on my system after this update, including the free audio recording and editing software Audacity.   Fortunately, re-downloading the program directly from the site seemed to fix this problem. 

Overall, the Lion update offers a nice interface, though the touchpad has had some change in its functionality. I’ve read several people explain that it resembles the iPad and iPhone’s interface a lot more, but personally that’s of little concern to me. The up and down scrolling has been reversed, and although it seems like pushing two fingers up to make the page go down may be more intuitive, my brain is used to doing it the reverse way and this is taking a lot of getting used to.  Also, when swiping three fingers to the left and right, you can view different desktops of what you’ve got running on your computer. It’s neat, but I don’t understand the point.

Other features include Launchpad, which is a button on your dock where if you click on it all your programs show up on your screen allowing you to scroll to the left and right and view all of them (depending on how many you have).   However, I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem to find applications easily without Launchpad, since OS X Snow Leopard update provided us with a featured called Stacks.  It seems to me that you could open all of your applications in one space and window from the dock if you made an Applications stack.  So the Launchpad, though thoughtful, doesn’t really solve a problem for me in the ability to find my applications in one key stroke.

The other feature on your dock is something called Mission Control, which has the same function as if you pushed the F3 command key on newer macbooks prior to this update. Perhaps, there was a demand for this on the dock? I don’t know.  

At any rate, Apple’s Lion OS is a nice update, as long as you don’t run old programs Apple no longer supports.  My recommendation would be to wait a little while until some of these bugs get worked out, and then when you upgrade, enjoy it!

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About Steve Bremner

  • Shinmigami

    I was thinking about upgrading too. My macbook meets the min requirements, but I want to upgrade my ram from 2 to 4 and I am saving up for that before I do the upgrade.

  • http://barbarabarnett.com barbara barnett

    You can change the scrolling direction easily in Preferences. I haven’t found a lot of changes, however, I really like the mail program (far superior to the old one) and the calendar is excellent. I have Office 2010, so no problems at all using them under the Lion OS X