Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Define... "upgrade"

Mountain Lionn. 1. a predatory cat that inhabits higher elevations. 2. Apple's new operating system.

Um. Yeah. About that. Sure, it's $20, inexpensive for an Apple OS upgrade (half the price of Windows 8, hahahaha, another idea stolen poorly by MS). And yes, it adds some more features (Apple claims over 200) especially from its younger sibling, iOS. But really? AirPlay? Notifications? Messages? Hello? Am I just an old fuddy duddy, or am I missing something here? Operating System, people! So Apple, tell me, how is OS X 10.8 going to help me be more productive? For heaven's sake, my computer is a computer, not a telephone!

So I went onto Apple's website and found the page where is explains all the changes. Let me pull out a few for you and you can decide if it's worth the upgrade. I will scale them on the basis of productivity usefulness from 1-5, 1 being "useless" and 5 being "can't live without."

Auto-save 
Sure, this is a good thing for people who are unaware of the Save menu or CMD-S keystroke or who are just plain lazy. And Apple has bundled a few more goodies into this category like Rename from the title bar, Revert to last saved, Prompt to save when closing, and keyboard shortcuts for Duplicate and Save As* (which no longer means what you think it means...).
Score – 3

Finder
Inline progress indicator for server and connected drive copies, easy encryption of drives, Share button (whoo-hoo... sarcasm), Sidebar customization, 3-finger tap for Quick Look (if you are using a laptop or have a track pad, it may be useful).
Score – 2

iCloud
There are some improvements in the setup and adding of accounts as well as sharing, viewing and sorting, but really, all I use iCloud for is syncing my contacts, calendars and bookmarks. Dropbox, Google Drive and Skydrive are all alternate and possibly better options for storing your files in the cloud.
Score – 2

Mail
VIPs, notifications, inline find, that dreaded "s" word again (sharing) and interface enhancements, but, in my opinion, really nothing of significance to aid in productivity.
Score – 2

Preview
Ack! If they mention sharing again, I might loose it right here. However, filling out PDF forms and inline notes, as well as insert from scanner are actually useful. Not "can't do without" material since Acrobat can also perform these functions, but for a free app, very nice.
Score – 4

Quicktime
The addition of AVCHD video previewing and editing are definitely useful, especially if you have a camera or video camera that uses that format, but they don't mention iMovie support directly, though I would assume that's a given.
Score – 3

Safari
No, I will NOT mention sharing here. Let's just say that like the cartoon character Savoir Faire, it is everywhere. They have finally caught up with all the other browsers and combined the URL and Search fields, better working with Passwords (but you should be using 1Password instead), Do Not Track plugin, Rename bookmarks in the bar, and overall speed and rendering improvements.
Score – 4

System
Full screen on any display (I couldn't do that before?), and drag and drop in screen sharing is nice. Xsan is a very specific feature which most people won't use. X11 on demand is like a one trick pony, when you do it the first time, that's it (like Rosetta was). Expanding scrollbars, and the rest of the features are all eye candy, nice but not a great aid to your productivity.
Score – 3

Time Machine
Two items here, encrypted backup and backup to multiple locations. For the paranoid (uh, I mean, secure-conscious) user, these will be very useful. I myself have never made use of encryption for my files, but I can see certain situations where it would be handy and the multi-location backup also nice to safeguard your data.
Score – 4

I really came across no "can't live without" features going over the entire list, but some goodies here and there that would be nice to have. Based on a total possible "usefulness" score of 40 of just the features I mentioned, the update weighed in at 27 – so it achieved about a 67.5% useful score. And you could make slight adjustments based on whether your primary machine is a desktop or laptop (the laptop being a more appropriate target for the iOS features), and if you have a track pad.

*Apparently, Save As now saves a copy of the currently saved file, not if you, for example, make some edits and want to save a copy of those in a new document. Solution? Perform the Save As before playing around with changes, or use the Versions option to see prior saved versions.