First Week with Mountain Lion

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Well, it has been practically been a week since I upgraded to Mountain Lion, no matter how one looks at it. I was considering continuing to review the Detective Conan (Case Closed) episodes, but I thought that something different would be more interesting. Today, I thought that I would talk about how my experience with Mountain Lion has been so far.

I have to say that I really like Mountain Lion. Most of my apps worked without any tinkering and such. All I had to do was plug in the USB, which one must create themselves somehow, since Mountain Lion is not officially sold on USB, and run the installer. I was expecting it to be a clean install, but the install via USB turned out to be just an upgrade, since user accounts and settings were still present and my apps were all still there. Microsoft Office 2008 worked without any problems right now, which is great, since I would not need to get a new Office suite in order to continue writing books and such. My copy of the game Let's Golf 2 also worked without a hitch, as did The Sims 3 with all expansion packs up to Showtime. Although I lost Flash in the upgrade to Mountain Lion, It did not really bother me because Chrome was still fully functional. Another plus was that the command line tools that I installed myself in Snow Leopard, such as wget, also seemed to work without flaws. VLC had no issues either, so I could still watch in whatever player I wanted. Calibre, my favorite ebook manager, also works without a hitch, even though it is still running at version 0.8.24. Another plus was that my wireless printer worked even better with my computer than under Snow Leopard. When I scanned images in Snow Leopard, it always created a file with some sort of default name. However, in Mountain Lion, when I scan an image, it does not automatically create that file, at least one that can be seen, and allows me to save it as whatever I want. Unfortunately, I cannot say if this is true across the board, just in the preview application. Speaking of Preview, when I had to scan in Snow Leopard, I had to look for networked scanners in a submenu in the Preview app. On the other hand, in Mountain Lion, my wireless printer showed up automatically under the file menu. That certainly decreases the number of places I need to go to perform the scan. For those that do not like Mission Control, there is a touch gesture that can be performed, at least on laptops that will bring up everyone's favorite capability from Snow Leopard and earlier. However, I like the fact that I can just tap something with three fingers to look something up in the dictionary, which only seemed to work in Chrome and Safari, since I did not test Firefox or Camino, so I am not sure if Gecko-based browsers can do it too, but Microsoft Office 2008 sure cannot. I find that functionality much easier than using the keyboard shortcut though. Some functionality from the Snow Leopard days is still present, but other things were made much easier. Most apps worked without a hitch, but not all apps could use all the features of Mountain Lion.

As much as I liked the experience so far, there were some issues. First, Front Row is gone. Many people already know about this and I was prepared to move to XBMC at some point anyway. However, because of it, my Apple remote does not function exactly as it did. Back in Snow Leopard, if I hit menu on the Apple Remote, Front Row would come up. However, after installing XBMC and making sure it works with the remote, which it did, pressing menu on the Apple Remote does absolutely nothing when XBMC is not running, except for the volume. I have had other issues with XBMC and the Apple remote, but those had to do with XBMC itself. Another issue I had was that none of my Adobe apps worked immediately after the upgrade saying that they needed Java, which I knew would also be lost, so I downloaded and installed OpenJDK 7, thinking that all my issue would be resolved, including the need of a JDK for Android development. However, I kept getting the message that I still needed Java. I am not too sure where the problem was, but I do not see why I would need Java 6, when I have Java 7 installed. Of course, after installing, everything, including Dreamweaver CS3 worked without issues. Also, I lost the ability to use the command line tool GCC, so that meant I had to update XCode anyway to get it back, so not everything transferred over from Snow Leopard. Apache was running by default though after the upgrade was nice. In fact, speaking of Apache, even though it was running out-of-the-box after upgrading to Mountain Lion, I could not access it via a browser and it was just a huge headache to fix. When I did get it working, things like my wiki and my blog, which I have local copies of on my computer, did not work, but Scuttle sure did. I fixed those to apps by punching in the loopback IP where needed, which seemed kind of pointless since they had localhost in their configuration files. The worst thing by far though is the scrolling. Having had used Snow Leopard and earlier, I was used to scrolling down to move down the page and up to scroll up the page and so on. However, in Mountain Lion, scrolling works like iOS devices, which feels very weird when using it on a laptop. Of course, it would be even weirder for somebody who did not use an iOS device before. The next thing that irritates me, but not as much as scrolling, is the software updates. Since everything has essentially moved to the Mac App Store, which was introduced in late patches of Snow Leopard, things seem to be easier to be in one place. However, every time a software update rolls around, I need to give an administrator password and fill in my Apple ID credentials. What does an Apple ID have anything to do with a software update? Yes, XCode was being updated too, which I had to download via the Mac App Store, but if it is going to be like that for all updates, it just seems ridiculous. Another thing that seems dumb is the notification center. At first, I thought it was going to be useful, like it is in iOS, but it does not even notify me of incoming e-mail unless the mail application is running. Also, it only works with Twitter, and Facebook to come soon. I gave up on Facebook and I prefer Google+ over everything else out there, so why can't we just have something like XBMC and add the social networks we want? The final thing that I dislike is that RSS and ATOM feeds are no longer supported in either Mail or Safari. While not a big deal to most, since there is Calibre and web-based feed readers, such as Tiny Tiny RSS and Google Reader, many require a publicly accessible server with something other than a LAN IP address, so that means that feeds cannot be tested in order to see if they appear how we want before pushing it out to the public. Also, I find it great to receive feed updates in the same application as I get my E-mail, which I think that Thunderbird is now one of the only programs that have such functionality now. No more of that in Mountain Lion it is either go web-based or find a dedicated client. Mountain Lion has so many annoying things about it that make me want to go back to Snow Leopard or use non-Apple software.

Based on what I have encountered so far, I cannot really recommend people to upgrade from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion. In fact, for those that deal with web design or development, I strongly recommend either staying on Snow Leopard or moving Linux. If you are very dependent on iTunes to get content, especially video, I also recommend staying on Snow Leopard, since XBMC requires everything be DRM-free to be able to play your media. For Developers, unless you develop for iOS, stay with Snow Leopard, since Java and GCC are removed, even if a previous version of XCode is installed. For everyone else, Mountain Lion seems pretty decent and some things are definitely easier, but watch out for the major change to scrolling functionality that many of use grew up with.

What was your first week on Mountain Lion like? Did you encounter the same or different issues that I did? Are the things that I hate annoyances to you too? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.