Lion Mac OS – Apple’s Vista

I did it. I couldn’t wait. t joined the ranks of Apple Fan Boys. I installed Lion OS X the day it came out. I had 30 bucks in iTunes gift cards sitting around. It was dumb. I learned from my mistake. Enough said.

If I were to write a product review of Lion, as a user, I would give it a thumbs-down. It feels like a very raw attempt at bridging the gap between the mobile and the desktop computing paradigms. Apple promised to bring all the best of iOS to my laptop and it didn’t work. I don’t have an iPad or an iPhone so I’m not used to some of its concepts. And when translated to my MBP, they just don’t feel natural. The full screen experience of Mail, the Mission Control, the “natural” scrolling and the multitude of new gestures just don’t translate well to the desktop world. I’m slowly getting used to some of these things, but the reason behind them still escapes me. The concept of the Launchpad sounded nice in Apple’s marketing, but is pretty useless in real life. I launch my apps from the Spotlight search, not from a desktop icon.

Overall, while touted as a major release of the OS, Lion feels like nothing more than a point release with a bunch of UI “enhancements” that I could do without. It reminds one of Windows Vista. To paraphrase one MS fanboy’s statement about Vista, Lion is not bad enough not to upgrade. Unfortunately, it is also not good enough to upgrade. If going back to Snow Leopard did not involve reformatting your drive, I would do it.


Apple in the Enterprise

Last week PSC was invited to participate in the global IT summit held by one of our clients.  We had a couple of hours to facilitate a discussion and to present our view on several topics.  One of the “hottest” discussions was centered around Apple in the organization.  Users (executives) want it, IT is afraid of it.

The ever expanding presence of Apple device in the enterprise cannot be denied.  And it is no longer just the creative and marketing departments that are using them.  People are increasingly becoming Mac, iPhone and now iPad users.  And if they have these devices available to them at home, they want to use them at the office.  When the company executives are asking to be able  to use them, the IT department is hard pressed to say no to them.

The IT response to Apple is fairly standard: we’re a Windows shop, we’re a BlackBerry shop, iPhone is not secure, I can’t join you to the Active Directory domain — in short, we don’t support Macs.  But that’s a position that is becoming increasingly hard to maintain, so I’m seeing more of my clients providing some form of support for Apple in their enterprise.

Once the IT gets over its initial fear of Macs, support for Apple devices generally come in two flavors: organizations either completely outsource all Apple support to a 3rd party Apple consulting shop or, if the Mac contingent is substantial enough, hiring staff dedicated to supporting Macs.

The one mistake a lot of IT departments make is trying to treat Apple computers the same way as they treat Windows machines, expecting them to require constant feeding and care, where the contrary is more of a case.  Macs generally don’t require a lot of maintenance and support.  Sure they experience occasional hardware issues, just like any piece of equipment would.  But on a day-to-day basis, Mac users don’t require a great deal of attention.  In fact, once these machines are setup and configured, they just sort of run.

Mac OS and software updates are much less frequent than those of Windows and are generally pretty safe, they don’t cause things to break.  Viruses are nearly non-existent in the Mac world.  Applications are easy to install and remove and they don’t step on each other, breaking an enterprise application with a newly installed piece of some freeware.

So unless you have a crazy power user who likes to poke around with command line parameters and explore hidden directories, having a few Macs in your organization is pretty safe and rather painless.

Macs are definitely not Windows and problems arise when you need Macs to run the same software, or you trying to make them function just like a Windows machine.  This happens  when you have a large number of Mac users and your software vendors offer none to limited support for them.  I’ve seen these situations with everything from common Microsoft Visio and Project products to SAP clients, IBM/Lotus Notes clients and Lotus Notes desktop managers (CooperTeam Desktop Manager and Panagenda’s Marvel Client).

When this happens you need to be prepared to offer your users compromises.  The options include the obvious of not buying software that doesn’t support Macs; running Windows (VMware Fusion, Parallels, Bootcamp) on the Mac; finding Mac-specific versions of software in question; offering Terminal services (Citrix or Windows) or, of course, simply not using a Mac.  Your particular answer will differ based on the situation, software or user in question.

In either case, you should be prepared that one day your users will ask to use a Mac at work.  And to keep your users happy, you should know how you’re going to answer that question.

My fan is driving me crazy

This is slightly dissapointing…  The right fan in my brand spanking new MacBook Pro is making noise.  It’s very low but very noticeable.  More so late at night when all is quiet and not even a mouse is stirring.  So I’m off the Apple store tonight.  Luckily there’s one right across the street of where I’ll be this afternoon.  Hopefuly they can do something about it and quick.

And in the mean time, hurry up, Time Machine.  Back this puppy up.

Waiting… Anticipating…

And I’m waiting…  And anticipating…

Sadly my new MacBook Pro won’t get here until middle of next week, exactly when I’ll be in Boston.

What Mac applications are a must-have?

As a brand-spanking new Mac user I found myself a bit at a loss.  I knew what applications I always use on a Windows machine: there are the standard IM clients, MS Office, OneNote, Visual WebDeveloper Express, etc.  But what should I use on a Mac.  Jim, the same Jim who was the cause of my downfall from a Windows user, a long-time Mac user, gave me several applications that he uses.  So now I have Adium, iStat menus, Growl, AppTrap, Dialectic, MS Office for Mac. They work for me.  But I can’t help but wonder what else is out there.

What Mac applications absolutely positively you can NOT do without? What apps do you install on every Mac as soon as you login for the first time?

Me — a proud Mac user

What started as an idle curiousity question on November 17th if Apple ever has sales, thanks to Jim, responding with this Link to AppleInsider, ended as a trip to my local BestBuy store.  Long story short, I walked out of the store carrying an all too sexy little box labeled Macbook.  It’s been 2 weeks now and not once did I regret my decision.  Not only this 13.3″ laptop looks awfully terribly cool, it also works well.   In fact, it works so well and so intuitive, that at times, when turning back to a Windows machine, I find myself at a loss. (Why 2 fingers on the touch pad don’t scroll the page?)

I can go on and on about all the cool things about a Mac: from ease of use to all the out of the box features.  But I won’t.  Enough of that is said out there anyway.  The only thing I’ll say is that I miss the availability of open source and free software for Windows.  There is a ton of software out there for Mac, but, more often than not, you have to buy it.

And lastly, I don’t like that same applications that exist on Windows and Mac are often implemented just ever so slightly different on a Mac.  But I quickly forget about it every time I open the cover of my sleeping laptop and… Boom!…  it is on just like that and connected to my wireless network — no waiting!  Love it

Does Apple ever have sales?

Does Apple ever have sales or do I have to shell out $1750 for a Macbook?

I am in love with the new Macbook.  It is so gorgeous.  I have never felt this way about any piece of equipment, let alone about a Mac.  But this feels like true love, a love from first sight.  The moment I saw it on my coworker’s desk, I knew this was it — this could be THE Mac that makes me take the plunge and join the other side.

So, before I take the plunge and drop $1750 on this beauty, what are the chances that Apple will join other retailers in the annual Thanksgiving/Christmas madness and offer 50% as a part of some crazy sale?  Or is Apple truly recession proof?

Honda is in cahoots with Apple

As I finally get my brand spanking new shiny Acura TSX, I am itching to try out the iPod interface.  My biggest worry: will this thing recognize and display Russian characters that I use for my songs from the Motherland?  I even took my iPod and its USB cable with me to go pick up the car.  As I drive mine, mine, all mine car away from the dealership, the first chance I get, at the first red traffic light, I plug my iPod in.  This is followed by a second of suspense and… the words “Unsupported version” appear on the display.  What kind of crap is this?!  My 3G iPod is not supported?! I have to get a new one?!  I swear, this is all a part of a giant conspiracy that Honda entered into with Apple to encourage more sales of iPods.  I hate to think that I have to upgrade mine, but I know that I will.