The Anna upgrades to Lion report

So yeah! Decided after reading the ginormous Ars Technica writeup of Lion, and after reviewing my system this afternoon to see what PowerPC apps I still had (answer: nothing I couldn’t live without), I decided to go ahead and install Lion tonight. It was definitely the easiest OS upgrade I’ve ever done, I’ll give it that.

And in no particular order, here are things I’ve noticed about it:

One, once I rebooted into the new OS, things were quite a bit sluggish for several minutes–but there were two reasons for that. One, Spotlight went and reindexed everything on the drive. Two, I launched Mail as pretty much one of the first things, and that also needed to do significant updating of its database. So things were pretty pokey until both of these finished up their business.

Two, trying to launch iTunes got me an error message about not being able to open an iTunes Library file, but this was easily fixed by doing a quick check for software updates and downloading iTunes 10.4. iTunes then proceeded to load as per normal.

Three, goddamn, Mail is very… gray now. I’m not sure I approve of that, but we’ll see if it grows on me. Ditto for the new gray scrollbars.

Four, I quite like Launchpad, a new icon at the top of the Dock that’s basically a quick and dirty way to get at all of the apps on your system. If you’re an iPhone or iPad owner this interface will look very familiar, and it lets you swipe through it as well if you have a touchpad on your laptop like I do. You’re supposed to be able to organize the icons into folders like you do on iDevices, but I haven’t tried that yet. I like it less because of the similarity to iOS and more just because it means I can lose several less commonly used icons off my Dock.

Five, I discovered entirely by accident that you can set individual desktop backgrounds on the individual desktops available in the new Mission Control feature–which is cool. It’s a much nicer version of Spaces + Expose and even after playing with it for only a few moments, I’m grooving on it. And now I can go fwip-fwip-fwip-fwip through the Dashboard and all four of my desktops in a quick line, and I see LION! ELEPHANT! ISLAND! GREAT BIG SEA! It’s neat.

Six, if I have a Terminal window up and I’m connected to the MurkMUSH and I get paged, the icon starts bouncing at me and showing a little number on it indicating there’s something that needs my attention. Didn’t do that before.

Seven, hrmm, the Ars Technica review was talking about the dots on icons on the Dock that indicate which ones are launched going away. However, I still see mine!

Time Machine is now doing a massive 9.52GB backup–over our house LAN, no less, so this’ll be a while. But on the whole the upgrade appears to have gone swimmingly. I still need to verify that I can reboot into Win7 as needed, and that I can also launch Parallels to run that Win7 install as a VM, as before. (I did update Parallels since they deployed an update to talk to Lion, or so they took pains to inform users.)

Also still need to see if Safari’s new Reading List feature will seduce me off of Firefox, and what the new document handling model will be like once I get a hold of a version of a word processor that can talk to it. (Mac Word 2008 does not.)

But so far so good. And oh yes, speaking of Mac Word 2008–if you’re using Mac Office on your system, you WILL need 2008 or later if you want to upgrade to Lion, what with Rosetta support being removed. Be on the lookout as well if you’re at all reliant on Microsoft Query, which is part of Excel. That was one of my few PPC apps left on the system, and a bit of judicious Googling showed me that Microsoft has word out that they’re advising anyone reliant on Query to not upgrade yet until they fix that. They’re also reporting that Outlook is having trouble importing data out of Mail once Lion is installed, so people this might affect should keep an eye out for that.

AND! Since I am a Big Fish employee, it does behoove me to point out that older Big Fish releases, being PowerPC games, won’t run on Lion either. Be on the lookout for our powers that be to issue word on what Mac customers should do about those specific games. If there are particular games you don’t want to lose the ability to run yet, you might hold off a bit on the OS install.

More as I observe it! (And dammit, why don’t I have a Lion icon for posting to LJ and Dreamwidth?)

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Angela Korra'ti

As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.