Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Things I'm Looking Foward to in Lion

Tomorrow I expect to receive a text. It will be from my cousin, wanting to know if he should spend the money to upgrade to Lion. It will be the first time of many I will have the conversation over the coming weeks. At $29 it's an easier upgrade than the old $129 prices we used to pay. Still, it's worth looking at what Lion will bring.

First up is a pretty significant upgrade to Address Book. For me the integration with iPhoto is long overdue, as is the ability to add yearless birthdays and connect my address book to facebook profiles. Once connected to the right profile, facebook is more persistent than phone numbers or email addresses, providing a way to contact someone if all the info you have is out of date. Others will find the Yahoo! integration awesome, but since I don't use Yahoo it's pretty irrelevant to me.

Versions is about being able to revert to old copies of your documents. I love this. When editing large documents versioning can help you recapture information you removed long ago and suddenly realize you need... The Vax had this by default years ago, it's nice to see it finally hit the mac.

If FileVault really can encrypt my data with an "imperceptible performance impact" I will definitely use this on my laptop. The value here is if my laptop is stolen, my personal data is secure and protected, even if someone connects to the drive via firewire or some other method. Sure, encryption is breakable given enough time, but generally I think the average stolen laptop buyer will simply format the hard drive rather than spend the time and effort to recover my data...

I'm really looking forward to simple things, like merge folders, keep both files, and the return of the drag files behavior from NeXTstep (yes, I used and liked NeXTstep long ago, and have a NeXT at home in the garage). These small changes in the finder will make day to day use simply better and working with files easier. Little fanfare, but real improvements.

Mail has a lot of changes on the way, and I think they will be good. I find that I prefer mail on the iPad over mail on my mac, hopefully Lion will change that.

Mission Control - Spaces was a nice start, but I think Mission Control will really help people who have lots of open windows manage everything quickly and easily. Only time will tell if this is as good as its marketing...

Preview - Add your signature. This is a long overdue feature. Hold your signature up to the camera on your mac, and it will add it to a PDF document for you. Finally signing PDF forms is simple and easy!

There are also some things about Lion I'm not as excited about. For example, Launchpad gives your mac an iOS interface. Not for me, thanks. Likewise, the multi-touch gestures are not likely to be high on my list of what I use.

Thankfully, the stuff they have marketed is not all that changed in Lion. There is a LOT of good functionality for the $29 upgrade price, and it's totally worth it. As soon as I solve my dependence on Quicken and get a solution for my Canvas documents (import to something else or a VM that can run Rosetta apps) I will be making the move.


1 comment:

C said...

I'm not that cousin. But I knew he was my brother as soon as I read this. As we were talking about the upgrade decision, we realized that the Mac in my basement is maybe 12 (he says 15) years old. Interestingly, that puts it about halfway between today and our old Commodore 64. While that amazing machine beat the pants off of my friend's Vic 20 and cassette drive (!) I have to say that from a sheer functionality perspective, I think the computer industry made more progress from '81 to '96 than from '96 to the present. The word processor, spreadsheet, and other tools I use on the Mac downstairs are light years ahead of the old homemade BASIC word processor I programmed on the C64.


10. INPUT A$
20. PRINT A$
30. GOTO 10

Yes, there is this thing called the internet and this iPad thingy I'm typing on, but - in my view at least- those advances pale in comparison from the standpoint of basic functionality.