Thursday, July 21, 2011

For Mac users: Lion installation and migration

I really couldn't help myself, call it a bit of a weakness, but I decided to take the plunge and update my Mac's OS to Lion. I knew there would be problems, but frankly I don't think I've ever encountered a serious problem in the past so, heck, full steam ahead.
The last time Mac users went through this process it was to move from Leopard to Snow Leopard and what users got on the other end of the update was less not more – that is, a smaller, faster operating system. I loved it. What a concept: Apple actually did the opposite of Microsoft by leaving their users with more hard disk space after the install than what they started out with. Sure, there were few new features, no real obstacles to updating the OS, just a smoother, faster, better Mac after the move.

This time, however, it is a completely different experience.

For one thing, as Mac users have learned, the process takes place all online – no boxes, no trips to the store, no way to do this at a discount through! For $29.99 one downloads and installs the OS through the Mac App Store. It's massive download: 3.49 GB, and so some users have complained about slow download times, and the fact that it is hard to know for sure how much longer their download will take.

For me, the entire download took 28 minutes from start to the first reboot of the computer. Another 30 minutes later the installation was complete and the adventure began.

The first and only real challenge for me is email. I've been using Entourage for years, but I admit that I hate just about all Microsoft products. Because of this I haven't updated my version of Office since purchasing Office 2004. The problem: Office 2004 was written for Intel-based Macs and since Lion gets rid of Rosetta, Office 2004 will not run.

But then, who needs email, right?

The easy answer is to, of course, upgrade Office, and that is what I'll probably do. For now I simply downloaded the trial version of Office 2011 and imported the old Entourage database. In the meantime I fired up Mail and created the accounts. I try out living without a Microsoft mail program for awhile, if it works I will be completely free of Microsoft programs.

Thanks to upgrade Creative Suite a year or so ago I don't seem to have any other application issues so far.

That leaves learning how to scroll again. No kidding.

But if you really want to know anything about the new Lion I strongly recommend reading this review from John Siracusa, it's truly epic, sometimes massively geeky, but essential.