You know when you used to have no choice but to use Windows XP, either because you couldn’t afford a Mac or you had to use a PC at work? Well, you must remember, then, how annoying it was to have the same bugs and weird glitches happen over and over again; those endless days and nights trying to work on something important when, no matter how many fingers you crossed and cracks in the pavement you avoided, you knew once error message X appeared, crash Y and endless pop-up Z would inevitably follow and there was nothing you or anyone else could do to avoid the inevitable restart / reinstall / dance on one leg chanting, “I’m a little teapot short and stout”.
No amount of closing that self-opening “Something has gone horribly wrong” error box would save all that work you’re still able to look at, but not save. At first you threw tantrums and screamed expletives at the top of your voice, about how Bill Gates was going to “pay for this”, but eventually you just resigned yourself to the fact that it was happening and decided life’s too short to care. “One day”, you said to yourself, “I will own a Mac and all of this will be in the past”.
At one point, when Windows Vista was announced, you hoped beyond hope that all, or at least most of these nightmares would end. But that day came and went with no change. Sure, Vista wore a different perfume to cover the stench and yes, the ‘aero’ interface wasn’t so bad after all. But, underneath it all, was the same pustulating tripe that had ruined your life for the past millennia and, to make it worse, you knew for a fact no-one at Microsoft lost any sleep over it. “This wouldn’t happen if I owned a Mac”, you said. “Just you wait, Steve Ballmer, me and my mate Steve Jobs will show you good and proper, one day… one day!”
And then, it arrived. You magic’d that pay rise at work into Cupertino’s finest export quicker than you could say, “I need it for work” to your wife and “I don’t play games anyway” to your kids. “It’s here!”, you exclaimed. “I can’t believe an actual Apple Mac is in my house and it’s all MINE!!” You unboxed it like a kid at Christmas, pealing back each layer of the delicious packaging; smelling the inside of the box like a wine expert on a major four week bender around the French vineyards.
But wait! What’s this? Four years have passed in the blink of an eye! “Ohh! A new Mac Operating System, OS X Lion is coming out! Yummy, I’ll have me some of that!” you gushed!
Well, how stupid do you feel now? You drank the Kool-Aid and, for a while it refreshed the parts other sugar water can’t reach. But then, like realising in the middle of a stage hypnotist’s comedy act, that while you thought you were eating an Apple, you were really munching an onion, this happened:
Control + Scroll screen zooming randomly turns itself off.
Even basic Spotlight Searches in a window (Command + Shift + F) crash Finder.
Mail crashes all the time.
Safari has been replaced by a pile of turds. When it isn’t refreshing inactive tabs from the network instead of cache, so you lose everything you’re uploading, it’s secretly closing windows for no rhyme or reason when you’re not looking.
iTunes boot time is measured in aeons.
The “Something has crashed, send a report to Apple” window might as well be your Desktop Picture.
Finder periodically decides you don’t need to see all your windows any more.
The list of applications that no longer work, if printed out, would stretch from here to the moon.
Launchpad is pointless. Utterly and completely pointless.
Opening Mission Control is like walking through molasses with cream cheese in your socks. It doesn’t support a second display and the graphics layer tears through the UI like a hammer through porridge.
Fullscreen apps have a habit of just vanishing. They’re running, but they’re not showing.
Video playback in iTunes defaults to fullscreen but the playback controls go missing if you switch to another app without coming out of fullscreen first. Handy.
Command + Control + D pop-over dictionary takes a week to load and mysteriously insists on spinning up all your USB hard drives—as does unmounting all your USB hard drives.
Garage Band now hates you. So does Steam. And Pages. And Photoshop. And Automator. And Call of Duty. And Tweetdeck. Oh and you know how half the reason you put your Mac in your spare room was so you could use FrontRow as a media centre? Yeah, that’s gone now. You can’t do that any more. Sorry. You have to buy an Apple TV.
Question: Most of us would agree, without sounding sycophantic, that the MacCast is one of the premier Mac podcast anywhere on-line, yes? So, in the last, say, two years, how many Mac users who comment here, e-mail Adam and otherwise engage in the extended Apple community on a regular basis, have you heard say something like, “I hope Apple subtly change all the things that are already perfectly fine, before they fix all the things that have been broken since OS X Tiger”?
By way of example: Drag and drop a selection of JPEG files you want to upload to your image hosting service of choice, from the Finder into the Open box in Safari. If the wind is blowing from the North and it’s the second Tuesday of the month, the destination path will change to the location you’re dragging the files from and the selection you want to upload will be highlighted, so all you have to do is click Send and await for the transfer to complete. But, if it’s half past 4 and your second cousin twice removed is called Jennifer, they spring back into Finder and Safari looks at you like, “Pfft, since when have I been able to do that?” So you try again. Same thing. You try a third time. “Oh!”, says Safari. “THAT kind of drag and drop! I thought you were losing your mind, you silly user! Sure, I’ll do that for you!”
It’s just a litany of silly little frustrations, which have always been there, but are now ten times worse. The most frustrating part being, someone, somewhere at the world’s largest computer maker; the richest company in America, if not the world, has signed off on each and every one of these things as if they’re ready for prime time. Senior department heads and top management—Jobs, Ive and Schiller included—the very people who RUN the company with more cash in the bank than the US government—has looked at each of these pointless tweaks and decided they’re good to go!
It beggars belief. They should be paying us to beta test this for them, but because they were so afraid of having to delay it, because it just isn’t ready, we’re expected to tow the party line, nod politely and ramble on about having a slightly different User Interface, as if that somehow makes up for the fact iPhoto still sucks.
I mean, why on earth do I still have to open a music player to sync photos to my phone? And why couldn’t they have done something about that, before they changed the way TextEdit Finds and Replaces text, so it’s now harder to use than it was before?
Goofy scrolling, by default? Really? Let’s put it like this. How many Windows users, with their sloping brows and their smug determination never to switch to Mac, have walked into an Apple retail store, in the last month, idled up to a spare machine and had all their preconceptions about the Mac being esoteric and “weird” confirmed in ONE touch of the upside down mouse?
Why do I now have to click three times to autofill my information on a form in Safari, when before I clicked once?
Why can’t I Command + Shift + L any highlighted text to search for it on Google anymore? Which “genius” thought turning that feature off was a wise move? Yes, I know I can redefine my own shortcut key in System Preferences. No, I don’t think that makes it OK. What does my Dad do when that no longer works? I tell you what he does, he rings me and says, “That bloody Mac you told us to buy keeps going funny! It won’t search Yoogle anymore!”
Simply put, who, at Apple, in the full knowledge of their line manager, went into the source code for Finder and thought, “You know, I really should spend this month figuring out why Finder has been crashing every time you create more than 50 shortcut files at once, ever since OS X Panther, but I think what I’ll do instead is disable the shortcut key that turns the volume up and down by single units instead of ten at a time.”
How is turning features OFF an ‘upgrade’? In what reality is OS X Lion worthy of the Apple name? IT’S A DOWNGRADE! Apple have become the thing they fear the most. They are the new Microsoft and Lion is their Vista. There, I said it.
Oh, sure, you’ll come back at me with some pithy retort about Versions and Autosave and how “awesome” it is to swipe your fingers across a £60-a-pop mouse. But the fact remains, they’ve tinkered with things that weren’t broken and ignored or made worse things that have needed fixing for nearly 10 years. You know it. I know it. We all know it. I think it’s about time we started staying as much out-loud and force Apple to put this thing right as soon as possible.
Since writing this article OS X Lion 10.7.1 has been released and it does address some of the stability issues with Safari and Mail. I also note that Boxee for Mac is a vast improvement on FrontRow and works well with the Apple Remote Control. I’d also like to thank whoever submitted this to Hacker News, but for the record I do not carry Google ads on this blog.