Mountain Lion: Agog with business as usual

Posted on by Mike Evans

I feel I should be writing something about Mountain Lion. Time was when a new version of OS X was a triumphant affair. I remember when I would queue round the block at Apple’s Regent Street store to be among the first to get the shiny new CD. Now everyone can have it at the same time without stirring from home.  In some ways, the undoubted convenience of being able to download the update has rather taken the gloss out of the whole process. 

Yesterday I was very busy and crawled home about 9 pm, so naturally the first thing I did was buy Mountain Lion for £13.99. I did have the opportunity to upgrade free (on the new MacBook Air) but I couldn’t cope with all the hassle. Furthermore, I need to install the OS on four machines, so I reasoned I might as well have the paid version. All was installed without a hitch other than the usual problem with the odd bit of incompatible software which had to be updated subsequently.

Although I was tired I did have a little play and, as anticipated, I like the new Reminders app and appreciate the Notes app, although I probably won’t use it because I have dozens of other synching notes products. It’s nice to have Calendar and Contacts to match the iOS names, but the jury is still out on notifications. I find them a bit of a nuisance on the iPhone and I could well end up turning this facility off completely.

I intend to spend some time tweaking Reminders. It’s no OmniFocus, of course, but it is a nice, simple task manager that has the supreme advantage of instant update on all your devices. It can be used as a simple project manager or as a list maker, and I have great hopes for it. With Reminders and Notes added to the traditional Apple PIM set of Calendar and Contacts, Apple has provided the opportunity for third-party developers to develop more sophisticated project management applications that rely on the underlying databases.

iCloud, too, deserves a bit more of my attention. As a long-time Dropbox users, accustomed to knowing just where my files are located, I found iCloud’s implementation in Lion rather disappoinmen. I mentioned before that it was a bit of a loose canon. Worse, there was no easy way of synchronising documents between Macs and iOS devices. All this has now changed and I look forward to exploring the possibilities.

I know there are hundreds, if not thousands of tweaks and improvements in Mountain Lion and there are many good in-depth reviews out there.  But for me, Mr. Average User, the overwhelming impression is one of business as usual. This is probably as it should be: A process of gradual improvement and sophistication without dramatic shocks to the system. 

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