Lion Increases Productivity, iCloud an IT Nightmare, Google Launches New Look for Gmail, and More
This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News
News & Opinion
- 'Lion Really Has Made Me More Productive'
- The Problem with Lion's Duplicate Command
- Forrester Research: Time to Repeal Mac Prohibition in the Enterprise
- iCloud: An IT Nightmare?
- Apple Again Dominates PCMag Readers' Choice Awards 2011
Steve Jobs' Spirituality
- Steve Jobs' Last Words: 'Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.'
- What Do Steve Jobs' Last Words Mean?
- Steve Jobs' Private Spirituality Now an Open Book
Products & Services
- Gmail Launches New Look
- Make Lion Roar with 2 New Books from O'Reilly Media - Mac OS X Lion: The Missing Manual and MacRuby: The Definitive Guide
- MCE Bundles Mac Blu-ray Player Software with Blu-ray Recordable Drives
News & Opinion
AppStorm's Matt Reich says he's always looking for ways to be more efficient with his work and had decided to make a conscious effort from the beginning to try to utilize OS X 10.7 Lion's new features.
Reich likes Lion's Mission Control replacement for the erstwhile Exposé and Spaces and says that while he had grown quite attached to Exposé, there were times when he found its usefulness questionable, and he had never been able to get himself used to Spaces - it always seemed to him more cumbersome than helpful to deal with multiple Spaces.
Reich notes that Mission Control combines the functionality of Exposé and Spaces while completely rethinking the problems those features were trying to solve, noting that being able to easily see groups of application windows, intelligently grouped based on the application, helps greatly in staying organized making it much easier to find the window you're looking for, while the new Desktops feature in Lion is the closest equivalent to Spaces - and one that he thinks makes the concept much more usable, noting that managing applications on multiple Desktops is very simple, such as setting applications used regularly to only open on certain Desktops.
Reich has also embraced Lion's expanded repertoire of gestures and says that while this has required a major rethinking. After three months' use, they've become second nature.
He also likes being able to use full screen mode with Lion, which he thinks has taken a big step towards becoming more of a human extension and less of a tool.
Editor's note: Reich's view of Exposé and Spaces is the diametrical opposite of my experience. I use Exposé a bit, but have used Spaces intensively since it was first offered in OS X 10.5 Leopard.
Reich's report underscores the perceptual rift that has opened between Mac OS traditionalists - who mourn the loss of real scroll bars and the file-centric Save As function, prefer traditional keyboard and mouse input conventions, and consider having multiple applications visible simultaneously key to their productive efficiency - and those who are happy with the iOS-style modes that have been grafted on to Lion. cm
TidBITS' Jeff Carlson notes that Mac OS X Lion's new Auto Save feature is one of the highlights of Apple's latest OS X revision, especially for inexperienced users, obviating the need to remember to manually save documents in progress. Instead, Lion automatically and continuously saves every change to disk, and Auto Save works alongside the new Versions feature that facilitates restoring part or all of an earlier draft of a document.
Unhappily, a casualty of Auto Save has been the traditional Save As command, which Mac users have employed to create and work on new file versions beginning with the same contents as the original. Carlson observes that Save As has been replaced by a cumbersome duplicate-and-then-save behavior, and he's not happy with the change, venting on Twitter: "Apple, really, Save As worked perfectly well. This whole Lion make-a-duplicate-and-then-save model is a pain in the ass."
Carlson says that other Mac veterans have told him that Auto Save is one reason they're not yet upgrading to Lion, but that others have taken him to task because he's a power user and not in touch with regular Mac users who don't know the difference between Save and Save As.
There's that digital divide that's opened up between power-user traditionalists and "consumer" Mac users with the advent of OS X Lion asserting itself again.
Carlson elucidates in detail how Auto Save works, and why he misses Save As, noting that Lion's replacement Save, Duplicate, and then Save again requires a more cumbersome two steps, where Save As was just one, constituting annoying extra work, and noting that there are times when the new regime can result in lost data.
He suggests that this points to a future in the Mac OS where filenames will be afterthoughts, single-application mode becomes the norm, possibly with no Finder at all and no user access to the filesystem organization level at all. Not a happy prospect for a lot of Mac users.
Publisher's note: Save As has been part of the Mac OS for as long as I can recall, and I know it was part of System 6, the version that came with my Mac Plus 20 years ago. I use it all the time when I want to duplicate a template file and give it a new name, take a Photoshop project in a new direction, etc. I would feel lost without it. dk
PR: People are bringing Macs to work, whether IT departments like it or not, and it's time to end corporate anti-Mac discrimination. That's the finding of a new survey of more than 500 US and European companies by Forrester Research, which found that end-user computing professionals steeped in two decades of Microsoft management traditions are either prohibiting Macs on company networks or limiting their support to executives only, despite the fact that they typically report evidence of a significant increase in use of employee-owned Apple notebooks.
"Mac users are drinking furniture polish in back hallways, getting their fix from fellow bootleggers who have blazed the trails around IT's prohibition," says survey team leader David K. Johnson in an executive summary of the $499 report, who recommends "an empowered, laissez -faire approach" in order to forestall insurrection.
"It's time to repeal prohibition and take decisive action," says Johnson, a Forrester senior analyst, whose report is the first in a collection in which Forrester Research will introduce a new class of Mac users, explain why they matter to the business, and share how firms that are successfully managing Macs are doing it. Later installments will explain the management tools available and drill into the specific technology approaches for managing Macs in a PC environment.
InfoWorld's Bob Lewis says that if Apple's iCloud has anything to offer IT, it's that iOS 5 works just fine without it, and that while Apple's iTunes has won Advice Line's prestigious "Software Most Likely to Crash My Computer Award" for five years running, its worst offense is forcing him to reboot when it gets in a bad mood.
However, he allows that iCloud is nowhere near that benign, noting that if you install it on your Windows/Outlook system, it takes your carefully organized contacts, moves them into a single iCloud contacts folder, and leaves your old Outlook Contacts folder empty - with you wondering how to reverse what it has done - all without asking your permission once you check the sync contacts and calendars checkboxes in the iCloud control panel and press Apply.
Lewis is an iPad user but criticizes the iOS's lack of file management access, noting that Google's Android by contrast offers plenty of configurations that work the way you need them to if you're willing to put in a bit of effort. If you're running an enterprise and want to maximize user capabilities, you'll find the best collection of core technologies still come from Microsoft, and that Apple's "It just works" doesn't work well enough for business, observing that while iCloud might rely on 21st-Century technologies, it caters to a 20th-Century attitude.
Publisher's note: It's not only Windows users who have issues with iCloud. Apple has put Mac users between a rock and a hard place as well. In the past, services such as .Mac and MobileMe supported multiple versions of Mac OS X, so you could use OS X 10.4 Tiger on one Mac, 10.5 Leopard on another, and 10.6 Snow Leopard on a third and have some ability to sync contacts, calendars, bookmarks, and the like. With the advent of OS X 10.7 Lion and iCloud, those with older versions of OS X are left in the cold. dk
PCMag has posted results of its yearly survey of readers' product preferences, and as has been customary for going on two decades, Apple products once again score a blowout in user satisfaction ratings.
Category: Laptops & Netbooks
Overall/Work/Home/Less Than a Year Old: Apple Inc.
PCMag notes that Apple once again has incredibly high overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend ratings in every category it competed in, notwithstanding a high number of units needing repairs.
All Categories: Apple Inc.
"No other company's satisfaction ratings come close to Apple," says PCMag. "Even its satisfaction with repair rating is unmatched, despite a big drop this year."
Category: Mobile Platform Awards
"There's little question that Apple's time tested iOS, paired with an unparalleled selection of apps, a great music player, gaming, and overall reliability is the favorite among PCMag readers."
Category: Mobile Phones, AT&T
Actually, Apple's iPhone finished in a rare runner-up spot in this category behind Samsung's Focus smartphone using the brand new Windows Phone 7, but PCMag says longtime leader iPhone is far from out, and people still love their iPhones, even if they don't like AT&T.
Category: Mobile Phones, Verizon Wireless
Still on top at Verizon, the editors note that the iPhone is a hit with Verizon smartphone users, leaping ahead of Android phones in the ratings.
Category: Network Routers
Apple again, racking up satisfaction ratings that can't be touched by any router company.
Publisher's note: This category includes Apple's AirPort Extreme Hub and its Time Capsule backup hardware, which includes an AirPort Extreme Hub. dk
Apple is on top again in tablet computers, but interestingly not by the wide margins it enjoys in other product categories. Nevertheless, the Apple iPad 2 is rated the cream of current tablet products by both PCMag editors and readers alike.
PCMag does note a decline in satisfaction with Apple repairs, with a 7.6 rating this year down significantly from last year's 8.3. However, they observe that Apple's repair rating is still better than those of any other vendor, as are all of its other major ratings, and once again, Apple receives their Readers' Choice award.
Steve Jobs' Spirituality
A eulogy for Steve Jobs by his sister, novelist and English Professor Mona Simpson, and published by The New York Times, says that as he died surrounded by his family at home on October 5, Jobs' final words were: "OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW" (rendered in upper case in Simpson's article).
Simpson relates that when she first met her brother, who had been given up for adoption, as a 25-year-old woman, she didn't know much about computers and was still working on a manual Olivetti typewriter. Jobs told her it was a good thing she'd waited, because he was making something that was going to be insanely beautiful.
Publisher's note: That would be the Macintosh, which was introduced in January 1984. dk
WSJ blogger Christopher John Farley suggests that "Oh wow" could have many meanings, noting that people are fascinated by last words, both as summing up of a life by a person who has nothing left to gain, and imbued with a mystical question of whether the person uttering them can convey insight or information about what's really on the other side.
Farley cites several examples of other famous last words, including Beethoven's "I shall hear in heaven!", and Inventor Thomas Edison's "It is very beautiful over there."
Farley notes that in a recent 60 Minutes interview, Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson related that in his final encounters with his subject, Jobs had began to talk more about his thoughts on God and an afterlife. So, he asks, was Jobs' final "wow" somehow connected to that?
Editor's note: An Apple Web editor friend of mine who is Catholic says he's heard that as Jobs neared death, he confided to others that he was beginning to believe more and more in God and the afterlife, although he doesn't don't know how far Jobs took that, while another Apple enthusiast friend, also a devout Catholic, thinks "It's a happy death for Steve. He had time to say his sorries and repent. 'Oh wow,' - it's really a thing to say if you're seeing paradise. He made the world a better place anyway, such love for mankind from an imperfect instrument of God." cm
Writing for USA Today, Religion News Service's Daniel Burke observes that another irony in the legacy of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs is that since his death on Oct. 5, the famously private man's spiritual side has become an open book, with his sister reporting his last words for The New York Times, a new biography tracing his early quest for enlightenment and lifelong appreciation for Zen Buddhism, to everyone from ABC News to India Today pondering the link between Jobs' religious interests and business acumen.
Products & Services
Google User Experience Designer Jason Cornwell blogs that Gmail users are being offered an in-depth look at the Webmail interface's new design. If you like what you see, over the next few days you'll be able to switch to the new look by clicking on Switch to the new look in the bottom-right of Gmail. Personally, I like it.
Conversation view has been redesigned to help you read through email threads. You'll now see profile pictures for your contacts, so its easier to keep track of who said what. Google also stripped out as much extraneous clutter as possible so you can focus better on communicating with friends and colleagues.
Google's engineers know that people use Gmail from a variety of screen sizes and devices, so now the spacing between elements on the screen will automatically change based on the kind of display you're using. If you prefer a denser view all the time, you can change your density manually in the Settings menu.
New HD themes
Themes have been completely rebuilt to enable Gmail to bring you a new set of high resolution themes with imagery provided by iStockphoto. They've updated most of the old favorites as well and your theme will be automatically carried over to the new look. You can go to the Settings menu to look at alternate themes and choose one that suits you best.
The navigation panel on the left keeps your labels and chat contacts in view at all times. It's also more customizable: you can resize the labels and chat areas if you want to see more, or hide the chat area entirely via the chat icon in the lower left. You can also use the arrow keys to navigate around the interface.
Click the dropdown in the search box to see a new advanced search panel, which makes it easier and faster to find exactly what you're looking for. You can use the same panel to create a filter from any search in just a few clicks.
Cornwell says Gmail will be bringing these changes to everyone soon, but if you'd like to make the switch right away, they're rolling out a "Switch To The New Look" link in the bottom-right of Gmail, now available to everyone. Refresh Gmail if you don't see the link to switch.
Make Lion Roar with 2 New Books from O'Reilly Media - Mac OS X Lion: The Missing Manual and MacRuby: The Definitive Guide
PR: "The Lion upgrade . . . is classic Apple: innovative to some, gimmicky to others, big leaps forward, a few stumbles back," wrote New York Times columnist David Pogue in a July 20, 2011, review of the new OS. As an Apple expert, Pogue should know. Now Pogue returns to his highly popular Missing Manual series with the book that "should have been in the box."
Once you've got your Lion settled, move on to create great new apps with MacRuby by using Matt Aimonetti's new Definitive Guide.
Mac OS X Lion: The Missing Manual by David Pogue
With Lion, Apple has unleashed the most innovative version of Mac OS X yet, and once again, David Pogue brings his humor and expertise to the #1 best-selling Mac book.
Mac OS X 10.7 completely transforms the Mac user interface with multitouch gestures borrowed from the iPhone and iPad, and includes more 250 brand-new features. This book reveals them all with a wealth of insight and detail - and even does a deep dive into iCloud, Apple's wireless, free syncing service for Macs, PCs, iPhones, and iPads.
Ideal for newcomers, the book provides crystal-clear, jargon-free introduction to the Dock, the Mac OS X folder structure, Safari, Mail, and iCloud.
Go in-depth. Learn how use key new features such as fullscreen apps, Mission Control, the new Mac App Store, Launchpad, Resume, Auto Save, Versions, AirDrop, and more.
Are you even more of a power user? Learn to set up a network, make a Lion flash drive, and even learn the basics of Lion's underlying Unix.
MacRuby: The Definitive Guide by Matt Aimonetti
Want to build native Mac OS X applications with a sleek, developer-friendly alternative to Objective-C? MacRuby is an ideal choice. This in-depth guide shows you how Apple's implementation of Ruby gives you access to all the features available to Objective-C programmers. You'll get clear, detailed explanations of MacRuby, including quick programming techniques such as prototyping.
Perfect for programmers at any level, this book is packed with code samples and complete project examples. If you use Ruby, you can tap your skills to take advantage of Interface Builder, Cocoa libraries, the Objective-C runtime, and more. If you're a Cocoa developer, you'll learn how to improve your productivity with MacRuby.
PR: MCE Technologies, LLC (MCE) has announced that, effective immediately, all internal and external models of its currently shipping 12x Blu-ray recordable drives will include Mac Blu-ray Player software. Mac Blu-ray Player playback software, claimed to be the first of its kind on the Mac, allows for playback of commercial and noncommercial Blu-ray movie discs on the Mac under Mac X OS 10.5.2 or later, including Mac X OS 10.7 Lion. Previously, the only method for watching a Blu-ray movie on the Mac was to reboot the Mac into a Windows operating system partition installed using Boot Camp and then use PC Blu-ray playback software. The MCE 12x Blu-ray Internal Recordable Drive for Mac Pro and Power Mac starts at $149, and the MCE 12x USB 2.0 and eSATA Recordable Drive for Mac is $199. All models include the Mac Blu-ray Player playback software and are available for immediate shipment.
"We're thrilled to finally have a Mac Blu-ray Player software that runs natively on the Mac and to be able to bundle it with our 12x Blu-ray recordable drives," says MCE president Arnold Ramirez. "This software completes our Blu-ray recordable drive solutions and, in addition to now being able to watch commercial Blu-ray movies on the Mac, enables those who author Blu-ray movies to stay within the Mac environment from start to finish."
Mac Blu-ray Player playback software, bundled with MCE Internal and External 12x Blu-ray recordable drives, can playback commercial and private Blu-ray movies in high definition and stereo sound directly on the Mac simply by loading a Blu-ray movie into the drive and launching the application. Subtitles and language options as given can be selected as well as the ability to watch any bonus material present on the Blu-ray disc.
System requirements for playback of Blu-ray movie discs using Mac Blu-ray Player playback software are: Mac X OS 10.5 or later, an Intel 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo or faster processor, and minimum 4 GB of RAM. Bundled Mac Blu-ray Player software consists of the software and a One Year License that permits use of the full version of the software for one full year. After one year a lifetime version of the software may be purchased at a substantial discount from the retail price of $59.95.
Publisher's note: MCE has been making Mac accessories and upgrades since 1996.
PR: Sleipnir 3 for Mac, an "alternative" Web browser, lets you glide from tab to tab smoothly with Swipe and Pinch-In gestures. It was designed from scratch and purely dedicated for the Mac, offering both a simple interface design and gestures, so you can focus in pursuing your primary purposes in Web browsing.
Easy Tab Switches
- TiledTab - Pinch-In on the trackpad to view all tabs (TiledTab). You can easily spot a webpage you want. Swipe right to left in TiledTab mode to switch 6 tab groups.
- Tab Switch - Swipe right to left to switch tabs. If you want to go Back / Forward, please Swipe while command key is pressed.
- Hide and Appear Address - Address is usually shown small in the upper right. You can enter and edit either by clicking or command + L.
- Download Progress Bar - A small progress bar appears in the upper right only when downloading files. The shown progress is sum of all files but you can confirm progress for each file by clicking the progress bar.
- Open Bookmark from New Tab. Pull down a new tab button right side of a tab, and you can open bookmarks.
- You can gain more browsing space by hiding bookmark bar.
- Colored/Monochrome Bookmark Bar - Bookmark Bar is usually shown monochrome but colored only when approached by cursor for you to concentrate on web contents.
- Lion Full Screen Mode for spacious web browsing.
With a free cloud service, FenrirPass, Sleipnir bookmarks are synced among Mac/iPhone/iPad/Windows/Android.
Publisher's note: Sleipnir is an 8-legged horse from Norse mythology (four front legs and four rear legs) described as the best of all horses. By extension, perhaps Fenrir is trying to position Sleipnir as the best of all browsers. dk
PR: The Pixelmator Team has released Pixelmator 2.0, the latest version of its image editing tool featuring new drawing and retouching tools, Content-Aware Fill, a Healing Tool, a Smudge Tool, and more. Designed from the ground up for OS X Lion, Pixelmator 2.0 now supports Full Screen, Versions, and Auto Save, and is available from the Mac App Store for $29.99.
"With tons of exciting new features and support for OS X Lion, this new version of Pixelmator is the easiest, most enjoyable way to experience the best of image editing," says Saulius Dailide of the Pixelmator Team. "Pixelmator 2.0 gives everyone the tools they need to unlock their creativity and boost their productivity, all for just $29.99."
The new drawing tools in Pixelmator allow users to add, create, combine and edit vector shapes easily. In addition to Pen and Freeform Pen tools, Pixelmator now also includes pre-drawn shape tools for quickly adding triangles, lines, circles or rectangles into compositions. Fill and stroke settings for created shapes, as well as shadows, can be easily adjusted in the new Shape Settings palette. Drawing tools in Pixelmator are useful for creating buttons, icons, web page elements, illustrations or any other items for use in image compositions.
A breakthrough new Content-Aware Fill technology in Pixelmator allows users to "magically" get rid of unwanted elements in images, as if they never existed. By choosing either the new Healing Tool or the selection tools, a user can select wrinkles, blemishes, image damage or any other details present in images, and with just one click let Pixelmator seamlessly fill the selected area with similar nearby image content.
The new retouching tools in Pixelmator 2.0 include a Sponge Tool for adding more color or taking color away from areas of an image by painting on them; Burn and Dodge tools for naturally darkening or lightening areas of an image; a Red Eye Tool for easily either automatically or manually fixing the redeye effect in images; and a new Smudge Tool for smearing paint or rubbing out blemishes or any other details in images, as realistically as using one's fingers.
Other new features of Pixelmator 2.0 include an easier-to-use interface, a new Eyedropper Tool, a new info bar, a convenient tool options bar, a fully customizable Tools palette, a new Type Tool, a Pixel Tool, and a number of other minor improvements.
- Mac OS X 10.6
- 17.3 MB Free Space
Pixelmator 2.0 is available from the Mac App Store for an introductory price of $29.99 (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide through the Mac App Store in the Graphics & Design category. For existing Pixelmator users who purchased the app from the Mac App Store, the new version is available as a free upgrade. Full system requirements and more information can be found at Pixelmator online.
PR: Surgeworks, Inc.'s Bible App is easy to navigate, and you don't need to be a scholar to use it. It's the Bible reader for the rest of us. The beautiful, elegant user interface allows you to dive into the Holy Scriptures without the clutter of Websites.
From the Divine Office Catholic Ministry, developers of the About.com "2011 Best iPhone, iPod and iPad Catholic Apps," this beautifully crafted, simple to use Bible App is a perfect companion for daily inspiration and spiritual nourishment. Use it to keyword search and compare specific verses from 20 editions in 6 languages.
Access twenty English, Latin, and Greek versions:
- New American Bible, Revised Edition (NAB-RE)(*)
- Douay-Rheims Bible, Challoner Revision (DRC)(*)
- American Standard Version (ASV)
- American King James Version (AKJV)
- Darby Bible (DBY)
- King James Version (KJV)
- World English Bible (WEB)
- Young's Literal Translation (YLT)
- (Latin) Biblia Sacra Vulgata (Latin Vulgate)(*)
- (Greek) New Testament 1550
- (Greek) New Testament 1894
Read passages in five other languages:
- German: Luther 1545 (Letzte Hand), Elberfelder 1871
- Italian: Giovanni Diodati 1649, Riveduta 1927, La Bibbia CEI 74(*)
- French: Martin 1744, Bovet Bonnet 1900, Traduction del Louis Segond 1910
- Spanish: Reina-Valera 1569
* Includes the full set of 73 books from the Catholic Canon.
Compare multiple translations of the Bible by using the contextual menu and selecting Open same passage in another bible, or immerse yourself completely in the Word of God using the Fullscreen mode.
Use the internal search engine to look inside all the versions. Drill down to bibles in a specific language or a particular selection of your choice. You can search for a specific keyword, an exact phrase or a passage using a standard notation (such as John 1:1-18).
Highlight verses and access all selections from a convenient, dedicated screen where all your selections are organized by bible version and date.
"For the Word of God is Living and Active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
New in version 1.2:
- Now Includes The Official New American Bible, Revised Edition
- Enjoy the full English translation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, with all the latest 2011 corrections and improvements
- Navigation improvements:
- You can now select a chapter clicking on the current chapter number in the top right of the reading screen
- You can now select a different book clicking on the book title in the reading screen
- You can switch bible from the bible title in the reading screen
- You can now set a default bible which will be preselected for searches and be shown as the first bible in your collection
- The commands for each verse are now grouped in a menu that stays out of the way until you need it
- You can now select a single word and look it up in the Dictionary or on Google
- Search engine improvements:
- You can now search for multiple keywords, separated by spaces or comma (such as Jesus, Mary);
- You can now search for an exact phrase enclosing it in quotes (such as "Let there be light");
- You can now get an entire chapter using standard notation (such as John 1);
All footnotes and introductions will be visible in the next 2.0 version of the Bible App.
System requirements: Intel, Mac OS X 10.6 or later
The Divine Office Catholic Ministry, in partnership with Surgeworks, Inc., is the developer of several apps including Divine Office - Liturgy of the Hours, an iPhone, iPod and iPad app for the universal prayer of the Roman Catholic Church. Divine Office was selected as the recipient of The NY Times Company's About.com Readers Choice Award 2011 for The Best Catholic Website, The Best Catholic iPhone App, The Best Catholic iPad App and The Best Catholic Podcast.
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