Category Archives: Windows 7

Mac OSX Lion: the very skinny

I met my first Macintosh computer in 1992 during a proofing assignment in Midtown Manhattan. Years later, I learned to use Quark on a Mac OSX 9. In 2005, I purchased my first Mac laptop, a used and seriously underpowered iMac G3, which I loved to pieces. In 2007, I went for something with more muscle and OSX 10.4 with my first iMac (a 24-inch beauty of a desktop computer). In early 2010 I purchased my current 17-inch Macbook Pro, which I took to Córdoba, Argentina for a brief period. Argentina’s customs office at the airport applies tariffs without mercy. Curse you, customs!

The Macbook Pro came with Mac OSX 10.5 preinstalled. I installed Snow Leopard shortly afterwards. Migrating my old applications from a Time Machine backup was a 20-minute breeze with Snow Leopard. However, Snow Leopard caused a small glitch on the Security panel in Systems Preferences. I had to reinstall the operating system and only essential applications to restore my laptop to an acceptable working condition.

(Re)installing OSX Lion

Excited about the upcoming OSX, version 10.7 (Lion), I purchased it the day it appeared on the brand new App Store. The download was pretty fast (with AT&T U-Verse’s 20 GB download/5 GB upload rates) and my 10.6 OSX system was easily upgraded to Lion. As Lion comes only as a 4 GB download (a $60 USB solution is or will be available from Apple), I wanted to create a recovery disc with the installation file. Alas, the .dmg installation file for Lion was nowhere to be found in my machine.

After scouring the Web for solutions, I found a nifty solution in the form of an Applescript here. But I will go back to this topic after I give you a short review of Lion from a regular user’s standpoint. I will limit my review to three features:

Inverse scrolling

Much has been said about the new feature for the trackpad, inverse scrolling. It is not as cumbersome as some point out (Jason Gilbert does it here); it just depends on your personal scrolling style. Other trackpad gestures are quite useful, such as pinching out the pad to clear out the screen (it does not close any applications), which is useful for many things, such as downloading and installing applications or opening a work file without having to minimize any of the active windows. Inverse scrolling is quite intuitive because all you have to remember is the “new”  logical sense of the scroll bar’s direction: brush fingertips up if you want to see the top of the page, down if you want to advance to the bottom.

Launchpad

This is another feature that reminds me of my iPhone (and the iPad my roommate is testing at work). This particular functionality unifies the Apple family of products with a consistent metaphor for navigating applications. I tried to repeat some of the trackpad’s gestures with the Magic Mouse at a local Best Buy, with little success (maybe because I do not use a Magic Mouse). I find the trackpad to be a more practical solution for my needs.

Another advantage of Launchpad is how it displays all my applications. Because I have relied on the dock for accessing frequently used applications, I have yet to adopt Launchpad as a new platform. At least, it serves as a visual inventory of applications.

I would like to conclude this brief review with a comment on a big minus: Lion no longer includes Front Row. From what I have read in Mac blogs recently, Front Row was excluded from version 10.7 of the OSX because it was an underused application. Lion does not include anything similar to Front Row. So, if you are used to checking movie trailers and surfing your iTunes library on Front Row, there is one way of installing Front Row in Lion. More often than not, iTunes 10.4 and later will not work. Click here for the steps to executing a Front Row installation under Lion.

Let’s return to the (re)installation of Lion. If you want to preserve the .dmg file containing the Install Mac OS Lion app (a 3.76 GB file), do the following:

  • Open the App Store in your Mac and click on the Purchased icon. You will notice that the Lion download shows a greyed-out Installed button.
  • Close the App Store. Now reopen it and select the Purchased icon while pressing the Option key. Now the Lion download will show an active Download button to the right.
  • Click on Download to download the Lion installer app. This app will be temporarily saved to your desktop or Downloads folder as a .dmg file. Do not install Lion. Click on Cancel.
  • Proceed to create an image with the .dmg file for further reinstallation of the Lion OS according to earlier instructions.

For more information on this topic, click here. Enjoy!

UPDATE: I read today a good piece in Macworld regarding the reinstallation of Lion. The article announces Apple’s offering of the $69 USB Lion install thumb drive. Click here for more details.

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Filed under Mac OSX Lion, Windows 7