Upgrading to Apple’s OS X Lion 10.7 – One Graphic Designer’s Experience

This past week I started the process of upgrading to Mac OS X Lion 10.7 by updating all software and system upgrades and completing several stages of backups—both local and cloud-based. Once all software and system updates had been completed, and I felt that my backups were significantly up-to-date… I started the actual upgrade process.

Tip: When looking into upgrading your Mac to OS X Lion, be sure to check out www.roaringapps.com for the latest information in application compatibility.

As you may know, Apple decided early on that Lion would be sold exclusively through the Apple App Store—a decision that many Mac users frowned upon (myself included). So with that in mind, my first step after downloading the OS from Apple’s App Store was to create a bootable version of for later use.

Traditionally, Mac OS has been sold in an optical format allowing users to perform clean installs or reinstallation as needed. The downloadable installer from the App Store doesn’t allow for this type of flexibility unless one knows how to successfully burn a bootable DVD from the installer provided. Those of you who follow CP&D or myself on Facebook, you may already have read the appstorm link I shared back on July 22 entitled: How and Why to Make a Lion Boot Disk

Once the bootable DVD had been burned I proceeded to install Lion OS X. The installation process itself went very smoothly. The installer took just over 30 minutes to complete the installation and my iMac rebooted with no noticeable problems. All previous system settings were intact and from all preliminary observations it was a successful install.

Upon further inspection, I found a few “problems” that I had not anticipated.

1. iTunes had been downgraded.

It seems that the App Store installer for Lion comes packaged with an older version of iTunes than what is currently available. This meant that after upgrading to Lion, I couldn’t open the iTunes database until I re-updated to the latest version of iTunes. Not a big deal, just a unnecessary hassel. Apple should be more vigilant to update it’s installers sold through the App Store.

2. Adobe CS5 Droplets did not work.

For those of us who are designers and have a tendency to automate certain tasks performed in Adobe Photoshop in the form of droplets—Make Note!,  you will have to rebuild those droplets before you can use them under OS X Lion. If you have the original action that your droplet was generated from, this will be a very quick fix. However, if you have deleted the action, than you can expect to either abandon the droplet or rebuild the action all together.

3. The dang scroll is backwards!

If you don’t keep up with the latest Apple news than you may be unaware of one of the more controversial changes Apple made to the most basic functions of the UI—reverse scrolling. In my opinion, there is nothing natural about the change that Apple made to the default scroll behaviors and you can bet that it was one of the first things I corrected. If you’ve experienced backwards scrolling after upgrading to Lion and it’s annoying the heck out of you—follow the steps at WhyPad to restore scroll to it’s traditional behavior. It’s a quick fix!

4. Some apps lost their registration or don’t work at all.

This was very rare, but in two instances I had apps that either lost their registration or had to be reinstalled completely. I will say that both the apps I experienced this problem with were non-standard or less than mainstream apps that I had downloaded for free. The problems were solved after reinstalling them. See www.roaringapps.com for more information on app compatibility.

5. Font conflicts, font conflicts, font conflicts.

As with any major upgrade, there were fonts installed to the system font library that needed to be properly managed.

If you are a designer, and you deal in print media, you’re aware of the need for diligent font management and you probably have come to realize the headaches that it can bring. Lion is no exception and my one big tip here is to be aware of your fonts prior to installation. Meaning, take inventory of system fonts, library fonts, user fonts and managed fonts prior to installation so that you can properly restore these sets to their original state and keep things running smoothly. If you don’t you may end up trouble shooting font conflicts for hours—even days to come.

6. Launchpad has no shortcut!

This is just a small thing, but one that I’ve seen much conversation about online—Apple’s iOS-like Lion feature, Launchpad, has no built-in shortcut. Out-of-the-box the only way to invoke Launchpad is through a trackpad guesture or from the dock. For those of us who don’t have (and don’t want) a trackpad, this is a bit of an oversite by Apple that can easily be corrected. Just go to the System Preferences to Keyboard Shortcuts and add the shortcut command of your choosing. Still, why should I have to do this?

Last but not least…

7. Launchpad is too limited and has some really annoying habits.

Ever notice how your iPhone limits the number of apps you can store in a grouping? Well the same limitation exists in Launchpad and that’s just stupid. Why the heck would you limit the users ability to organize their apps into groupings? Never have understood this… Oh, and something even worse is you cannot remove apps from the Launchpad—every app on your computer is in Launchpad by default (even registration and un-installers). This forces people to organize these minor utilities into some kind of junk-drawer, but keep in mind only so many items can be stored in the “junk-drawer”. Just annoying.

Conclusion

These things which I have listed are all minor problems I experienced with OS X Lion and in no way are meant to deter anyone from upgrading their Mac. On the contrary, I have found many positive things to the upgrade—a few of which I will share with you later this week.

That said, I will stand by my original statement regarding OS X Lion on July 24th, which was, “Am I the only person that thinks Lion OS is a disappointment?”. To explain, there’s just nothing really striking about OS X Lion and in all honesty it leaves a slight feeling of disappointment. As a “power-user” OS X Lion just seems a little light-weight on the advancement side of things, but still well worth $29.99, and that is all that matters when considering the upgrade. Is it worth the thirty bucks? Yes.

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