Is Snow Leopard The New XP?

Like a lot of people, I purchased the Lion upgrade on the first day of availability from the Apple App store.

I upgraded two late-model Mac Minis along with an older 17” MacBook Pro. The Lion upgrade solved a freezing problem on the Mac Mini I use as an HD-DVR. However, it created a number of serious problems on the MacBook Pro – Lion would not work with my Verizon USB aircard, it would not back up to my HP Windows Home Server, and it would not work properly with the Ubercaster podcast recording application.

After living with these Lion-induced problems for more than a month on the MacBook Pro, I downgraded it back to a prior (and fully functional) Snow Leopard backup image. Everything is now back to normal, with everything once again functioning the way it should.

My MacBook Pro is no slouch, yet it seemed a bit sluggish running Lion compared to Snow Leopard.

If you have a Mac that’s more than a couple of years old, and/or you are running a variety of software and hardware that Lion likely won’t support and/or that may never be updated to run properly on Lion, I would strongly suggest skipping the Lion upgrade.

I found the Lion interface changes mostly annoying. On a computer (as opposed to an iPod), I prefer normal scroll bars. In Lion you can turn the scroll bars so that they remain on, but they are thin little gray lines that I have a hard time seeing and grabbing with the mouse. I don’t like the changes Apple made to the Finder in Lion, nor do I like the changes they made to the Spotlight Search functionality. I found the changes to the Mail program to be of dubious value, as well as the cosmetic changes to the Address Book adding no functionality.

Snow Leopard runs perfectly well and just might be the new XP.

My Initial Review of Lion

LionThis is not full review of Lion, but just my initial look. I downloaded Lion as soon as it became available in the Mac App Store. I know that some of you are saying you should have waited, but when it comes to OS I like to live dangerously and try the newest thing when it becomes available. It took about 55 minutes to download, there was one glitch when it stopped downloading and said please try again, I hit resume and both the download and my heart restarted. Once it finishes downloading it then starts the install process. At this point you have to agree to the EULA and fill in your user id and password. The installation itself takes about 35 minutes, once it is done the computer restarts. Clearly this not something you want to do if you are in a hurry.

At this point click on the Assistant Icon in the Dock, you can read about gestures, at the bottom of the text it will say continue to Lion, click on that. At that point the OS will tell you if you have any applications that are not Lion compatible and move them to a special folder. I had one, TotalFinder which fortunately I don’t use. At this point Lion starts up. The first thing I did was go into Magic Trackpad in System Preferences and check what gestures were available, you can uncheck the ones you don’t want. If you use a mouse, then go to the mouse icon under system preferences. While doing this I determined that Lion makes the MagicPref app I had installed to use with [Snow Leopard](http://www.apple.com/macosx/snow leopard) unnecessary. Opening up. Apple Mail also lead to another discovery, many third-party add ons may not be ready for Lion. I have both Mailtags and Mail Act-On installed, neither of them show up in Apple Mail under Lion. Mail Act-on does have a prerelease version you can download. If you have a favorite add-on you may want to check to see if it is ready for Lion, before installing Lion. Another thing I noticed right away was in the upper right hand corner in the menu, was my user name. Now you can easily switch users, this is great if you have multiple users using the same computer. The finder window also allows you to view your files, folder and application how you want including by category. This can be quite helpful if you have a lot of applications or files and folders.

Do you need to download Lion right away, no there is no reason to be in a hurry. Is there any major reason to wait (other than application and add-on incompatibility) I say no. The final decision is up to you, do the research and make the best decision based on your circumstances. As for me I am happy I installed Lion. How about you have you installed it, what do you think. If you haven’t installed it and you are on a Mac why not?