Thoughts on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion After One Week of Regular Use

I installed Mac OS X 10.7 Lion on my MacBook 5,1 just over a week ago, so I have had plenty of time to get to know the latest cat in the Apple OS family. Overall, I like the new features of Lion, but I have hit a few snags along the way to adopting the newest Macintosh operating system.

After some trouble learning the natural gestures for trackpad and Magic Mouse, I like these features a lot. I like flicking my way between full screen apps, the Finder, and the Dashboard. It did take me awhile to retrain my brain to use natural finger movements to scroll in documents, and I cannot say that I am completely out of the woods on unlearning the mechanical scroll wheel paradigm of document navigation. This is particularly interesting, because I have owned an iPhone since their introduction and I also own the first iPad. Both of these feature a natural way of navigating document windows by placing your finger down and moving it as if you were sliding a paper around beneath a framed window. However, my brain would shift modes when I used my trackpad or mouse, and I would fall back into the scroll wheel paradigm. Now, I have nearly integrated the natural paradigm with my MacBook.

As much as I love the new gestures, I have had difficulty getting them all to work properly on my MacBook’s trackpad. Occasionally, the four finger flick between apps movement doesn’t work and I end up inputting an unexpected gesture. This might result in my Safari window zooming in or out, or it might navigate to an earlier web page. Another gesture that I have only had work once after much practice is the thumb and three finger pinch out to the Desktop. I think this is a good gesture, but I can’t get my trackpad to pick this up correctly. Usually it interprets my gesture as the four finger upward swipe to Mission Control.

I have noticed Safari hogging a lot of RAM, which may explain some of the sluggish behavior that my Mac exhibits as compared to Leopard and Snow Leopard.

I like the look of the new full screen Mail.app. However, I find that it, like the iPad version, occasionally has trouble finding emails that I can easily locate when I login to Gmail.

I turned off the typing autocorrection feature that is built into Lion. This became a problem when it was autocorrecting real words that it apparently doesn’t have in its dictionary with alternatives.

I would recommend users visit the Security Preference Pane and activate the firewall, which is deactivated by default.

I haven’t noticed this with my trackpad, but I have noticed this with the Magic Mouse: the mouse jumps to the corners. I have tried turning down the tracking speed, but it still does this occasionally. This is new behavior that I had not observed before with this mouse and Leopard or Snow Leopard.

I helped a friend do a clean install of Lion on his MacBook Pro, which went off without a hitch. After performing the installation, we restored his documents and applications from his Time Machine backup. For him, he still has all of the older, Apple desktop pictures. My fresh Lion install only has the few desktop pictures that came with Lion, because I did not backup my entire system with Time Machine (I perform manual backups of my files).

Other applications that I use regularly seem to work fine: VLC, Jview, Microsoft Office 2011, and iPhoto 09.

Have you installed Lion on your Mac? What have your experiences been like? Leave a comment below.

I am a professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on 20th/21st-century American culture, science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology.

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Who is Dynamic Subspace?

Dr. Jason W. Ellis shares his interdisciplinary research and pedagogy on DynamicSubspace.net. Its focus includes the exploration of science, technology, and cultural issues through science fiction and neuroscientific approaches. It includes vintage computing, LEGO, and other wonderful things, too.

He is an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY (City Tech) where he teaches college writing, technical communication, and science fiction.

He holds a Ph.D. in English from Kent State University, M.A. in Science Fiction Studies from the University of Liverpool, and B.S. in Science, Technology, and Culture from Georgia Tech.

He welcomes questions, comments, and inquiries for collaboration via email at jellis at citytech dot cuny dot edu or Twitter @dynamicsubspace.

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