Thoughts on Lion

July 27, 2011 at 6:55 pm
filed under Technology
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I don’t think I’ve documented my Mac apostasy by this point. I feel like I should, but maybe another time? The point is that for everything but video games, I prefer MacOS, which recently saw an upgrade, 10.7 aka Lion.


I didn’t realize this was going to be as big a deal to me as I thought. Actually, I’d forgotten about it entirely until I started writing a couple of blog posts. Thus I was pleasantly surprised when I realized the built-in autocorrect is actually pretty handy. The vast majority of the time it does the right thing! Were I using Vim to do most of my writing, it might not matter so much; Vim has so many handy motions that it’s easy to jump between words, sentences, and lines in order to fix mistakes quickly. For a standard (read: less arcane) input method like this one, though, I’ve only got the standard ctrl-a, ctrl-e, alt-left, alt-right, and so on. Having the OS correct the litany of stupid typos I make regularly helps.

I had sort of wondered why this wasn’t an OS feature in the first place. Input fields are common as mud and autocorrect has been a feature in word processors for a long, long time. So why isn’t it in the OS? Who knows? It is now.

Irrationally, I worry that a feature like this will erode my typing accuracy.

fullscreen apps

To some extent, I’m being conspicuous when I use them. There’s no real reason that I need to use Safari fullscreen while blogging. After all, Chrome is my main browser. But it does have a nice way of focusing my attention. I’m also trying out Apple Mail, and segregating it to its own space means I’m less likely to fidget with checking it.

mission control

I was a litte worried about Mission Control doing away with Snow Leopard’s way of laying out windows via Exposé. Leopard laid out windows sort of haphazardly and without obvious consistency. Snow Leopard made it into a grid layout, which made it a little harder to figure out which window was which but looked a lot neater and cleaner overall. Mission Control looks to restore it back to a semi-haphazard layout, grouped by application, which seemed like a loss of functionality.

What rescues it is the presence of a gesture for application-level Exposé. With that, I don’t have to Cmd-` my way through two or more Chrome windows. I’m not sure how useful Mission Control’s facility for selecting one or more of an app’s windows is, though.


It’s pretty! I’ll give it that. But I am not sure how useful it is.

It looks like it finds all of your apps, which is a good thing overall. It’d be dumb if it didn’t.

However, putting them into iOS-style folders and whatnot is odd. For example, I’ve got a bunch of git clients (Tower, GitY, GitX, GitHub) sitting in my Applications folder. There’s also a Development folder in Launchpad. Except it actually corresponds to /Developer. When I moved my various Git.* apps around in Launchpad, it created /Applications/Developer which had only the Git.* apps in it.

Call it a leaky abstraction, I guess. Or a corner case, given that the majority of apps go under /Applications in any case.

scrolling, gestures

I’m fine with the new scrolling. I guess I’ve lived with it for a week, like I said I would, and I don’t feel like turning it off.

The gestures are kind of messed up out of the box, though. Two finger swipe for fwd/back is fine in theory but it doesn’t work at all in Chrome (expected; I presume they’d have to make a code change) or even System Preferences (!). It’s easy to switch it back to three finger swipe, and I did that.

I like the new scrollbars, although once again they’re hideous in Chrome. Chrome still has the old scrollbar gutter, and the gray scrollbar is always present. The Chrome team is working on it, or so I hear.


That’s all I’ve got for now.

I sort of want to write something about Resume and whatnot, but I’m out of steam at the moment. Perhaps another time. John Siracusa’s excellent review of Lion covers this in more detail, and he probably says it better than I would anyway.

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