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The Lion Bites

July 29, 2011
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I’ve had my Macbook Pro for a whole week and a half now.  That’s total time.  I’ve had Lion since the morning of the 20th, when it came out.  It was strange going to Lion after using Snow Leopard for almost a year before that.  The gestures were strange, Mission Control was stranger and Launchpad just seemed useless.

In my days of using it, though, I’ve learned to either deal with them (Mission Control) or embrace the change (the “natural” scrolling/navigating).  Hell, I’ve even started using Launchpad instead of the dock to keep it from being too cluttered.

Screen Shot 2011 07 29 at 1 43 01 PM

(Mission Control being utterly useless when it comes to minimized windows.)

Screen Shot 2011 07 29 at 1 48 31 PM

(Launchpad has two pages of stuff I use a lot, one page of utilities and two pages of shit.)

It’s been a different experience that I knew I’d come to get used to just like I got used to Leopard after using Windows for so many years.  In fact, I had pretty much gotten used to it until it used one of those hidden 250+ “magical” features that they like to talk about and just stopped working last night.

It wasn’t a full on crash, but something happened where it completely killed the Mission Control and Expose animations.  I don’t know what you guys think, but OS X is pretty useless when it comes to fast app switching if it doesn’t have those features.

Let me explain what I mean by killed the animation of those features because if I don’t, I’ll just sound like a graphics whore which I partially am, but not when it comes to something that is just plain vital to productivity.  It could look like a dog shit smear going across the screen as long as it’s fast and efficient.  This, however, was both ugly AND killed productivity.  I would do the three finger swipe up to go to Mission Control and the whole computer would momentarily freeze, my wallpaper would then have the normal scaling back animation and the windows would still be in the same spot for a couple of seconds before “magically” appearing where they were supposed to be on screen.  If you had clicked anything while these hang ups would happen, the window that was supposed to be there in Mission Control would then pop up like the animation actually happened.

Pretty bad, right?  Well, I didn’t think so since I’ve been used to Expose since the Leopard days and I figured I would just switch back.  The same thing happened on Expose…  Command+Tab it is until a patch, then, right?  RIGHT?!

No.

That Mission Control glitch was just the first of many it seems.  Not long after and a lot of reboots including safe mode and single user mode boots, all hardware acceleration from the Intel HD 3000 and the ATI card seemed to have just stopped working.  Launchpad would take literally a minute to swipe between pages, the screen would have tearing when switching between desktops and fullscreen apps and finally it got to the point where I couldn’t do anything from opening a Finder window to launching iTunes without serious lag.

What is very important to keep in mind through all of this, though is that I was able to launch full 3D games (my test being the fantastic concept build of Pirates of New Horizons) and it would work flawlessly.  It was only in the OS itself that I would run into these problems.

Finally at about 1:00AM, I made a Time Machine backup (which said it would take about 3 hours to backup 50 gigs of data) and this morning when I woke up re-installed Lion.  It was painless since I had that time machine backup, but still.  Eight days.

You might be asking why I re-installed Lion if it crapped out on me so fast.  Well, I remembered how long it took me to re-install Snow Leopard from a disc way back when and thought since Lion was on a partition instead it would go a hell of a lot faster.  Apparently, I was wrong again.

The partition Lion made for itself wasn’t actually the OS, it was just some basic tools like the Disk Utility.  When you click to install Lion, it has to re-download the entire thing again.  It took about two and a half hours to complete and get back up and running.  Snow Leopard would have taken less time.

So, I got Eight days until the system decided to turn to shit.  The only possible thing I can think of that would have made this happen was Starcraft II having a patch because I didn’t download anything else yesterday.

Lion Sort of Works

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