Posted by TJ on 7/26/2012Tags: Annoyances, Opinion, OS X, ReviewsHere Kitty Kitty

Even though I’m not installing Mountain Lion on my primary boot drive just yet, I did install it on an external drive for testing purposes. I need to make sure Final Cut, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Coda, and many other applications are working as expected and not somehow broken by the update.

I should be working on a website, but the server is having some issues so I’m taking some time to test out Mountain Lion today. Here are some of my initial thoughts (this is just a collection of random musings and not a focused review).

First Impressions

It is clear that after the buggy release of Lion, Apple didn’t want to go down that road again. There seems to be far less bugs so far than I had encountered with Lion by this time. So we are definitely off on better footing on that front.

Having started my computing life proper with Windows 2000, I am always amazed at just how little effort and time modern versions of OS X take to install. I didn’t time it exactly, but it was roughly 35 minutes from click on installer to Mountain Lion desktop. This of course was a clean install on an external drive so your mileage may vary, but I remember when that process was longer and took more steps to get there.

Final Cut 7

Because I’m an editor, and still need access to Final Cut 7, the first thing I did was test this application which Apple is no longer updating, to make sure we weren’t on the short road to complete obsoletion. To my relief I would say Final Cut 7 functions better on Mountain Lion than it did on Lion. There were some minor annoying bugs with FCP 7 on Lion that are not present on Mountain Lion.

Other Pro-Level Apps

As expected, Final Cut X functions fine in Mountain Lion, as does Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Motion 5, and After Effects.

iCloud

During the shorter then ever before set-up process after the install, but before getting to the Desktop, I was asked if I wanted to set up iCloud. I entered my iCloud ID and password, and almost everything to do with iCloud was set up for me. Strangely Mail was not set up, but a quick trip to System Preferences and a tick of a checkbox corrected that problem. It was strange that Mail was not turned on by default, but not a huge deal.

I look forward to more and more settings carrying over through iCloud. I’m thinking here of wallpaper, dock icon arrangement, 1 general system preferences such as mouse speed, keyboard key repeat speed settings and more.

Notes

The new Notes application is exactly what I have been wanting for many years. Simple, easy notes, with folders and completely cloud syncing. And it actually works very well. Of course I changed the font to something manageable (the default is Noteworthy, which is utterly horrible).

One minor annoyance, there is a nag dialog every time I want to delete a note and no preference to disable it.

Space Theme

Seriously, the space themed default wallpaper is getting ridiculous and old. I changed it to something much more manageable almost right away.

Twitter

Tweetbot uses Twitter’s official authorization API of course, which means sending me to the website, logging in to Twitter and authorizing. Upon successful authorization, OS X asked me if I also wanted to add the account to the system preferences. This I felt was a nice touch.

Reminders

Moving Reminders out of iCal Calendar and to it’s own app is great. And of course still synced with all devices via iCloud.

Medium annoyance: I wish there was a way to view all reminders — in both iOS and OS X. Only being able to view them by list is a little annoying.

iCal Calendar

The calendar list sidebar makes a triumphant return and thank goodness. I complained about the pop-over introduced in Lion so I am very glad they fixed it.

The Dock

The new, more subtle, almost blurred look is welcome. The reflections, the gloss, everything about the Dock is much more subtle, and that’s good. I liked the new 3D dock when it was first introduced, but it soon started to feel a little too garish. In fact I find that a lot about things like this. Don’t get me wrong, I love polish and beautiful interfaces, but it can be overdone. This is just more of the refinement process that OS X has been going through to tone down the more garish aspects of the interface and it’s welcome change.

One interesting and nice refinement to the Dock is that you can’t just drag apps out of the Dock by accident anymore. You have to drag up a little further from the Dock than you would expect, and hold for a moment before the “poof” cloud appears and you can let go to remove the icon from the Dock. This will save me a lot of frustration and headache, as I imagine it will most users.

Notifications

Great to see native, Growl-like notifications coming to OS X, but as with notifications on iOS, I wish there was a way to see when there are unread notifications. A badge on the icon in the menu bar or something.

Notifications did bump spotlight from it’s place of glory in the coveted left hand space of the menu bar, and that feels little odd. Somehow it feels off that spotlight hangs out so close to the side, but not docked to the side. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

Total Finder

Total Finder brings some great enhancements to the Finder and I like it. It seems to work fine in Mountain Lion.

Safari

The loading progress bar is… interesting…

Software Updates

All software updates that previously went through the stand alone “Software Update” application now go through the App Store. I think this mostly brings unity to the user experience, but there’s still “some” strangeness. Like getting my Final Cut Pro 7 updates through the App Store was a little weird from the stand point that the software didn’t originally come form there.

System updates coming from there make total sense however.

That’s all I have for now. More will follow in the weeks to come I’m sure. Still not sure when I’ll update my primary boot drive.


  1. Yes, I realize that Dock syncing was a part of Dotmac and Mobile Me, but it was so poorly executed as to be useless. I kept it turned off because it would frequently re-arrange my dock or remove icons that I had placed there. It was nightmarish.