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.

 

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Mac Mail – 1 month later

So it’s been a little over a month since I took the plunge and switched my email from Domino to Exchange.  All this time I’ve been trying to exclusively use Mac’s native tools for my email and calendar.  After being a Lotus Notes user for longer than I remember, using Mac tools was a bit of an adjustment.

The good thing about these Mac tools is that they all integrate seamlessly with Exchange: mail, calendar and address book — even free/busy checking.  Configuring and setting them up was a snap.  They all sort of just found the Exchange server and configured themselves.

The best thing I like about Mail is how it consolidates multiple accounts in one interface.  I have my Exchange, Gmail and the old Lotus Notes mailboxes all in one place.   I can drag and drop messages between accounts.  I can read an email from one account, but reply to it under a different account by just changing the From drop down list.   I can open an old message from Notes and reply to it through Exchange.  I even have different signatures configured for different accounts and by changing the From value, the signature automatically changes.  Being able to switch identities and reply to emails from different accounts was always a big problem in Notes.

I kind of like how Mail automatically closes the open email when I reply to it.  But if you hold the Option key when clicking Reply, the original email stays open.

Calendaring though is a little weak.  I miss having Richtext event descriptions and being able to edit them.  Any lengthy description in iCal just ends up being a long run-on text.

Scheduling events with people from outside the organization doesn’t work very well.  Schedule changes, information updates and meeting acceptances don’t always know which meeting they are related to.  A bit of a mess.  Guess that’s where Tungle could be useful.

Now, Address is a bit of a mess.  Not so much on the computer, but more so when it comes to BlackBerry synch.  For some reason I keep losing email addresses.  They are there in the application, but not there when the contact is synched to my BlackBerry.  It takes a few edits to the address to get it to synch correctly.

The best thing I like about all of these applications is that they do the simple task of email and calendar and do it pretty well, without extra overhead and complications.  They load fast.  Very fast.  They don’t generate silly error messages about failed provisioning.  And they don’t have a progress bar at the bottom indicating some odd background process doing something.

How to uninstall iStat Menus

In my quest for removing iStat Menus from my computer, I came across several forum posts asking how to cleanly remove this program.  Deleting it from the Applications folder didn’t do the trick.  Unlike most Mac programs, it partially stayed around.

The answer is simple.

  1. Download the latest version of iStat Menus from http://bjango.com/apps/istatmenus/
  2. Unpack the zip file and launch the iStat Menus program.
  3. As a part of the installer, there’s an option to cleanly remove/uninstall iStat Menus.

Much simpler than navigating Library folders for buried files.