Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Mountain Lion first impressions

Screenshot of Mac OS X Mountain Lion installation

I installed Mac OS X 10.8 (better known as Mountain Lion) last night. Here are my first impressions of the installation and a couple of hours of using it.

  • Despite what the screenshot says, it doesn’t take around 3 minutes to install – that’s just the installer preparing itself. After the reboot, it took the best part of an hour to install, after which my mac booted straight into Mountain Lion. There was no additional welcome screen, just my desktop.
  • Font rendering has changed a little, and bold fonts seem quite a bit chunkier than in Lion.
  • Despite the couple of posts I made about apps not working when Gatekeeper is enabled, I have yet to see any warnings about launching apps that haven’t been signed, even though Gatekeeper is apparently enabled. This includes new applications downloaded after installation. Not sure what’s going on, really.
  • If you use Dropbox, you will need to update to version 1.4.12 to enable all of its features; Dropbox should do this automatically shortly though.
  • Notification Centre looks interesting and may be worth more attention once more of my apps use it. There’s a new button on the far right of the menu bar, which, when clicked, makes the screen shift to the left to reveal your notifications. It’s very smooth.
  • iCal is now called Calendar, but is largely the same as before. Ditto Address Book, which is now Contacts.
  • Launchpad has search, at long last. Makes it so much easier to find things.
  • iSync is dead. However, you can still synchronise contacts with Gmail, although I found this feature turned off. Naturally, Apple would probably prefer you to sync with iCloud.
  • One of the advertised features is Twitter integration and you can add your Twitter account in the ‘Mail, Contacts and Calendars’ pane in Preferences, and tweet from Notification Centre. But you can also now add a Flickr account and this allows you to share images from Preview, for example. And there’s Vimeo support as well, although YouTube support is strangely absent.
  • As well as the Share button appearing in various apps, it’s also a sub-menu shown when you right-click a file in Finder.
  • Reminders and Notes are two new apps, although their features aren’t new to OS X. Reminders has been detached from iCal, which now just does calendars, and Notes has been detached from Mail where it was somewhat hidden and never really made sense. Both use iCloud sync to work with the equivalent iOS apps, although I prefer Evernote for note-taking.
  • Messages replaces iChat (there are now far fewer apps on OS X that begin with an ‘i’) and as well as incorporating iMessage there’s also support for Yahoo! Messenger now, it would seem. No support for Windows Live Messenger or Facebook chat, although Facebook sharing is promised in an update to co-incide with the release of iOS 6 so this may still come.
  • The text-to-speech feature again has new voices – this time, it’s the ones used for Siri. Which for UK users means you can now type ‘In that last round, Neil was the weakest link’ and have it spoken to you by the same voice actor as The Weakest Link, Jon Briggs (although the voice is called ‘Daniel’ in OS X). It is an additional 300 MB download, however.
  • Game Centre has also made the leap from iOS to OS X, in a separate app which functions very much like its iOS counterpart. Alas, only games bought from the Mac App Store will work with Game Centre which means it doesn’t integrate with any of those that I already have installed.
  • Software Update is another app that has gone in Mountain Lion as it is now fully integrated with the Mac App Store. So there’s only one place to check for updates to apps, not two. This does, however, mean that the Updates tab in the App Store app takes a long time to display anything After installing Mountain Lion, there was just one update for one of the text-to-speech voices; I also installed an update to iPhoto at the same time as Mountain Lion so presumably other iLife ’11 apps will have updates available.
  • Performance-wise things seem a little more sluggish than on Lion, but it’s early days and probably to do with the epic Time Machine backup that took place after the upgrade. I’ll see what it’s like once it has settled down.

Update: I have written a follow-up post with some more observations.

One Comment

  1. Nice writeup. I was going to upgrade last night but time just seemed to get away from me, I’ll try again tonight. Because I’m on a MacBook Pro late 2008 model, I was primarily concerned about performance and the fact that you mention it being a little sluggish doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling. Maybe I’ll do a light spot of googling & twitter searching to see if performance issues are being reported after upgrading.