Thursday, July 21, 2011

Upgrading to Lion

As much as I know better than to rush to new technology, I couldn't resist upgrading to Lion right away.

I wasn't really paying attention, but it took about an hour to download the 4gb update from the App Store.

I knew I had four machines to update (my iMac and MacBook, and Shelley's iMac and MacBook) so I looked up online how to update multiple machines from a single download.

The trick is that there is a disk image inside the download that you can use to make a bootable DVD or USB drive. But you need to do that after you download, but before you install. One of the better explanations was HOW TO: Do a Clean Install of OS X Lion

Without thinking, I started burning a DVD, only to realize that the MacBook Air's don't have DVD drives. So I grabbed the thumb drive I had handy and tried to use it. But it was only 4gb and the image didn't fit. I thought I'd have to get a bigger thumb drive but then I remembered I had a small USB hard disk that I use for backing up photos when travelling. It was more than big enough.

The install went smoothly. Again, I didn't time it, but it was something like half an hour.

The next morning, when I tried to start Eclipse to do some programming, I got "no JRE installed" and it asked if I wanted to install one. I said yes and after quite a long pause (30 seconds?) it installed one and Eclipse started. Not bad!

I needed to reselect the JRE in Eclipse. Then a test failed because I'd forgotten to enable asserts on that JRE. But after that, all the tests passed. So far so good.

Then I found Mercurial was broken. A quick internet search found Mercurial SCM (hg) fix for OS X 10.7 Lion. Even better, I read to the bottom before I tried the fix and found there was an updated installer for Mercurial on Lion. I downloaded and installed it and Mercurial was back in business.

It did take quite a while to re-index for Spotlight searching but that happened in the background.

iTunes gave me a rather frightening message about not being able to save my music library, but it seems to be working fine.

Those are really the only problems I've had so far. Not too bad, considering.

I updated my MacBook using the USB hard disk. It went smoothly also.

One change that is going to take some getting used to is the reversing of the scroll direction. Admittedly, the old way does seem backwards - pulling your finger down to scroll up. Now it's the same as the iPhone or iPad, with a metaphor of dragging the page around. But old habits are hard to break and I keep trying to scroll the wrong direction. And I still use Windows at work which will be the opposite way, although with a mouse wheel rather than swiping on a Magic Mouse.

I can't imagine Microsoft having the guts to make this kind of change. Nor can I imagine Microsoft users standing for it - they would just flip the setting to "Classic" mode. (The same way most of my staff immediately switched new versions of Windows to the old Classic appearance, despite my protests.) It would be interesting to know how many Mac users switch it back to the old way.

There will probably be other issues I haven't run into yet, but so far it's been a pretty smooth update.

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