Technology at Geneseo Community School District 228
I consider myself and early adopter of new OS’s and programs, and have thus waited to make any judgement on products until there has been ample time to release bug fixes etc. Having now used OS X Lion since its release day and now having waited until 10.7.2 for a 2 week period, I must admit that so far this OS fails to meet what I think was its intended vision. OS X Lion takes some beginning steps towards simplifying the OS like iOS and appears to be prepping the user for perhaps a touch based iMac (I predict we are probably 12-14 months away from such a device).
The upgrade process is simple and straightforward I give Apple another A+ in the category. Overall speed and performance seems on par with Snow Leopard so no real issue here. Changes in Finder and in the OS itself are where things don’t go so well. For example, one program I used all of the time in OS X (Tiger, Leopard and Snow Leopard) is Preview, great program to shrink a PDF, re-size a full directory full of images, create icons, etc. Apple’s new feature of Save a Version which replaces the old Save As button is a step in the wrong direction. I am confused why Apple did not choose to include both as options or at least give the preference option to disable Save a Version. Save a version is a built in mini time machine that time stamps files so that can be restored to previous versions, this can be useful for programs such as Pages, but the reality is most of the time I am creating a second copy of a file for a reason. Save a version and Save as are not the same thing and thus they are meant to accomplish very different tasks, having the Save As feature is a necessity and the Save a Version is more of an add on that some users may like. Luckily third party software has not incorporated this and programs like Office and Adobe CS 5 still have the Save As button. Another issue with the OS is the default to lock in and remember program states. Here I think again and overly simplistic approach is to think that when a user closes a program the he/she wants the exact same windows back open. I think the opposite is true, if I go to File Close on Safari it means I am possessively closing all windows and do not want my 20+ tabs back. Apple does include a command for clearing this state simply hold down the SHIFT key when starting a program and it will open a fresh copy. Issue here is for most users I think that this should be flipped by default, a closed program should open a default blank state and perhaps by holding down SHIFT you could invoke the ability to remember your last session – OS X has this backwards.
(Save a Version – Features needs to be removed or at least a toggle to turn off)
iCloud – Overall I don’t find this that innovative, if you think about it iCloud is really just Mobile Me 3.0. This is a great feature in how it syncs applications and contents to IOS devices – in this aspect Apple gets another A+. How it syncs calendars and contacts and more importantly how it fails to offer disk storage is a different story. Multiple issues with duplicate calendar entries, contacts being messed up and more importantly where is just the raw disk storage like DropBox? It is a shame that Apple did not close the deal and acquire Dropbox because honestly this kind of finder disk space / sharing functionality is really the number 1 thing missing from iCloud. Being able to save only iWork and selected documents to iCloud is kind of a let down – integrating as a background service does not cut it as well, users want to be able to store what they want in the cloud.
At the High School I went ahead and loaded a full 30 unit computer lab with OS X Lion and decided to watch how users reacted to the new OS X. Overwhelmingly students indicated that Snow Leopard was better, ran better and was more user friendly. I even overheard students say “agghh you mean we have the new lab”, After running 10.7.2 for about 3 weeks I decided to reimage the lab back to Snow Leopard – problems solved. This is honestly the only time where I felt it was appropriate to do this but until a few more kinks are worked out (AFP’s authentication protocol – WebDav Authentication protocol are not working correctly in Lion as of 10.7.2) Snow Leopard is a better OS. Another issue is Software and Device support, surprisingly a lot of software (Epson Network Projection software, legacy software, etc) is incompatible or simply not working thus making the transition difficult.
Apple’s work with OS X Lion Server has fared unfortunately even worse. It has one great new feature with is the Profiler for IOS and OS X, other than that it appears Apple may simply be exiting the server business. Do not need to go in depth just take a look at the reviews in the Mac Store for this product.
It seems both Apple and Microsoft are looking to integrate a unified platform that can run on both Tablets and Desktops, use Cloud integrated storage features, and utilize a touch based interface. I am excited about this future and believe a Minority Report style simplified yet power interface is coming – problem is that we are not there yet. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft similar attempt fares in early 2012 with Windows 8.
(Just read some reviews on OS X Lion Server)
Good news is that the issues with this platform are being voiced and that their is still plenty of time to correct them. It may turn out that I have not been patient enough and that by the time 10.7.4 comes around OS X Lion will be the best OS X yet, at this point running 10.7.2 I feel like I am running a beta version and that Apple is still looking for feedback.