Monday, December 19, 2011

Mac OSX Lion - Apple loses the story

I have been a fan of Apple for a long, long time. I have been running Mac OS X since March 24, 2001, in other words I installed it the day it was released. It ran slowly on my 400Mhz G3 (state of the art for the day) but it was worth it to be running the future, not the past. With every release, Mac OS X has gotten consistently better until 10.7. With Lion, Apple lost the story of what makes a successful OS.

Behind the hoopla there are some serious problems with Lion, and they have not been addressed and we are at version 10.7.2. The first I have written about before, and that's the ability to lose data on network volumes. It still exists. Don't believe me? Copy a photo onto a network volume. Open it with preview and crop it. Quit preview. Try to get back to the original. Note that you can't. It is lost, gone forever in the interest of making things "simpler" for new users. 

When you try to work on a document on your own system you often get a message about the document being "locked" and requiring you to either unlock it (and make permanent changes) or duplicate it. What if I don't want to duplicate it, I just want to rotate it and print? Mac OS X inserts itself in your workflow. You cannot choose to work on something and not save it. It must. be. saved. 

Ok, so what if you want to put confidential information in a temporary document and then destroy it after you are done with it. Well, it might be hidden in a version. How nice for you. 

Today I discovered that they removed "bounce" from mail. Why? Who cares! It's a feature that some people used, and they took it away. 

I didn't begrudge Apple removing Rosetta until I went on vacation and wanted to take a few old mac games with me. I have a soft spot for Starcraft, and I never did get around to finishing Warcraft III. Guess what, both of those are PowerPC apps. In fact, I don't have a single intel native game. So my laptop can no longer play games since I installed Lion.

So, I have lost the ability to work the way I want to, I've lost the ability to control when files are altered or not, I've lost the ability to bounce email, and I've lost the ability to run any games I own. 

What have I gained?

(1) A version of Address Book that was supposed to be better, but is actually worse than the one in Snow Leopard.

(2) FileVault that I don't use because what Apple calls "imperceptable" is an unacceptable performance penalty in the real world.

(3) Finder changes. I don't notice any of these.

(4) Mail. I lost bounce, haven't noticed anything better. 

(5) Mission Control - I like this, but it totally doesn't make up for what I've lost.

(6) Preview - Add your signature. Never used it. I fear preview because it permanently alters documents I don't want it to. It freaks when you run something from a CD because it can't change it. It is far worse than the old preview in almost every way.

(7) Launchpad - Pointless

In short, Lion is a complete pile of Vista.

I think I'm going to downgrade for the first time in my Apple using career, spanning all the way back to the 128k mac. Sad days, sad days indeed.


Monday, December 5, 2011

What have we done to thanksgiving?

“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,” - Psalms 92:1–2 ESV

In September of 1620 the pilgrims landed in Massachusetts. What followed was a brutal winter in which about half of them died. The remaining people set about making a colony, and after a successful harvest they organized a feast, starting a tradition of taking time out of the fall season to give thanks to God for His incredible provision for us. 

Nearly four hundred years later we still celebrate Thanksgiving, and taking time to stop and give thanks for all that we have is still a great idea, just like it was in 1621.

I don't remember when I first heard the term "Black Friday" but it wasn't as a kid. What was always quietly acknowledged as an important shopping day has taken on a life of its own with the era of the internet. 

Each year the frenzy of black friday has increased a little more over the last year. Stores that used to open at 5 am started trying to out-do each other until this year it finally happened. Stores were going to open at midnight, and then Wal-Mart announced that they were opening at 10pm.

It's happened subtly, but now the time of giving thanks has become a time to look at the ads and think about all the things we DON'T have, and plan to buy them. This year people were camped out in front of Best Buy for days to buy a $200 tv. 

How long before we supercede Thanksgiving altogether with a day of "early bird" sales?

When we value a great deal more than we value giving thanks for what we have, we have seriously lost focus on what matters.