It's not that I hate OS X 10.7 Lion. It's an excellent operating system. It's just that there are a bunch of things that make me throw up my hands and say, "What were you thinking, Apple. Are you trying to make the MobileMe Operating System?" Are there no OCD slave-drivers left at Infinite Loop any more making sure that each OS feature is absolutely perfect?
So I'm going to take a few deep breaths. I'm repeating this mantra: "Lion is meant for iOS-to-Mac switchers." There's plenty to love in there, but maybe not as much for veteran Mac users to latch on to.
Now, let's get on to the complaining.
- [*] On Lion, the default behavior for scrollbars is that they disappear when you stop scrolling (check 'Always' in General Preferences to show them in perpetuity). It's cleaner, right? Simpler, right? Not if you do any text editing on a regular basis. GUI elements shouldn't pop in and out of the screen. It's disorienting and ugly. Scrollbars give you context -- important context, at that. On mobile systems scrollbars may be extraneous, but on desktops they're not. Whenever you want to ask yourself, "How much of the file does this visible portion represent?" -- a scrollbar answers with a glance.
- Who killed my "Save As" menu item and what are these odd imposters they replaced it with (check out TextEdit to see what I mean)? Save a copy? Save a version? Export? Duplicate? Did someone design this system after too much Nyquil? What was wrong with the old options? People want to save their work or create a copy. When they move between paradigms, they should be able to export to a new format. Beyond that? Not so much. The new autosave and versioning features may be powerful and snazzy, but Apple might have forgotten to think of the actual user experience here.
- [*] I miss choosing "Don't Save" from the keyboard. You used to be able to use Command-D in Snow Leopard. Not in Lion. It's the fine touches that got tossed from the OS. Something helpful, handy, and obvious to anyone who does enough editing that their hands want to stay centered on the keyboard without reaching for a mouse. (Thanks to everyone who pointed out Command-Delete. You guys rock!)
- I hate Lion's zooming windows. To get the full effect, jump into TextEdit or Safari and type Command-N a few times in a row. Drives me batty. Brings on migraines. No way to disable it that I have found -- and oh how I have tried. Can't find any good preferences to tweak on that.
- In the New and Improved QuickTime Player, you can no longer go Full Screen on just one screen. Instead of turning my second monitor into a full playback device, the way I used to with Command-F on the external, QuickTime Player insists on blacking out both my screens and moving playback to my primary monitor. Yuck. It's Command-3 for now, I suppose. I miss the automatic black backdrop and full zooming.
- [*] Bring back the Lozenge -- that small button at the top-right of Finder windows that hides and reveals the sidebar. I miss it. There's a workaround (right-click/show-hide) but it's all a matter of recall, not recognition, that key component of user design. A lozenge offers an affordance, an object that invites interaction and provides a helpful feature. Forcing users to remember an obscure menu option is less friendly and more frustrating, especially when condensed windows offer no clues as to why they're "broken."
- [*] Reversed scrolling is horrible. Bring me a touch-screen Lion and we'll talk. But for regular Lion installs, especially on iMacs and minis equipped with good old mice vs. touchable trackpads, it just doesn't make any sense. (To switch to the old scrolling, go to your Mouse or Trackpad system preference and uncheck 'natural' scrolling.)
- It's gray. Everything is gray. Gray, gray, gray, gray. Ugly gray scrollbars, ugly gray toolbars, it's like the entire OS was designed by a Communist-era Soviet committee four years behind on the next five-year plan. Grey linen is *not* the new Aqua.
- [*] Autolocking my files, Lion? That's not cool. I don't want Lion to prevent me from editing files that I rarely access. Lion does *not* know better than me, so stop protecting me from myself. That's why I have Time Machine in the first place.
- [*] Lion hides my Library folder. I know what the Library folder is and I want access to it, thank you. (chflags nohidden ~/Library/) Again, Lion's trying to protect me from myself. Not surprising, considering that there are millions of potential iOS-to-Mac halo switchers out there who don't know better than to mess with the Library's contents -- but not cool.
- You cannot access Safari's new Downloads popover unless you are either actively downloading something or save at least one prior download in the list. As with Snow Leopard, you can still paste a URL in the downloads pane to start a new download -- but *not* if you cannot access it. Unfortunately, customizing the toolbar only produces a disabled button unless you have that single prior download. So frustrating.
- An angry NYC cabbie doesn't have as many gestures as Lion. Many gestures contradict each other in various apps/OS areas. And there's no way to naturally discover them. If there isn't some natural correspondence between what your fingers do and what happens on the Lion screen, it's broken.
- Farewell to thee, blithe Rosetta. Thou wert too much needed, too easily overlooked, too little loved, too late appreciated. Among all the now-unavailable PowerPC apps, two will be sorely missed... RIP Eudora 6 and Quicken for Mac. I loved you guys.
[*] I've managed workarounds for all starred items, and mentioned a couple of the most critical (lack of scrollbars and/or backwards scrolling might actually make you throw your computer out the window, if you're the irascible type). While some are simple preference settings, other workarounds may involve ugly UI scripting (I used QuicKeys), editing defaults at the command line, and so forth. I'll be detailing these in upcoming posts.
[**] Okay, so that's slightly more than 10. I didn't realize I would be graded on math.