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What tiny thing in Lion makes you smile or has caught you off guard? (stackexchange.com)
68 points by acangiano on July 31, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 75 comments

My favorite new feature is the revamped FileVault. The old version of FV was a huge mess: it only encrypted your home directory, it didn't play nice with TimeMachine (since it saw your home directory as one giant encrypted file) and was generally a nuisance.

Lion's FileVault is full-disk encryption and operates at the file-system level. This means that every program sees your encrypted file system as just ordinary files, while HFS+ is transparently encrypting and decrypting on every read and write from the hardware. This makes full disk encryption so simple and problem-free that I recommend everybody turn it on, immediately.

Ars has more information on how this all works (http://arstechnica.com/apple/reviews/2011/07/mac-os-x-10-7.a...).

Agreed, this is my favorite too. And, after you encrypt your primary drive, you can either leave your Time Machine drive alone (which seems silly, but it's an option now, whereas before using FileVault created an encrypted disk image, which meant Time Machine could no longer backup changes-only, defeating the purpose of TM), or you can go into TM settings and encrypt your TM drive too.

You can also encrypt secondary disks on the command line. It all runs silently in the background until encryption is done.

There is a 20-30% disk performance hit (that I haven't noticed, on an SSD): http://www.anandtech.com/show/4485/back-to-the-mac-os-x-107-...

As seen on ArsTechnica, "Hey! OpenBSD's PacketFilter is in Lion!" - http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=115170...

I actually regret upgrading at this point mainly because of Mission Control. 2d spaces and painfully slow switch-screen animations has hurt my productivity.

After seeing the Lion previews, I thought the 2d spaces would be a problem for me as well. However I was pleasantly surprised when I found that my keyboard shortcuts still worked (I use Cmd+# to switch to a space). Since this takes me directly to a space the animations is no worse than that in Snow Leopard.

The difference is that you could disable the animation in Snow Leopard,

    defaults write com.apple.dock workspaces-swoosh-animation-off -bool YES && killall Dock
If anyone knows how to do the same under Mission Control please, please do tell.

Does anyone know how those settings are discovered? I've tried running 'strings' on a few binaries but haven't uncovered anything.

  defaults read
EDIT: Hmm, that shows all of the defaults that are currently in the system, but I guess doesn't show you what extra settings you could set. E.g. that setting in the grandparent doesn't show up in my defaults.

Yes...I filed a bug report over the slow animation speeds. I have become quite used to switching spaces from the keyboard, and watching my 8-core machine take several arbitrary seconds to do so is always frustrating.

This is not a criticism, just a curious enquiry. How does Apple manage to get so much support and discussion that seems very organic and grassroots in nature about its product releases, but somehow Microsoft and Windows get the short end of the stick? It is in no sense a scientific observation, but I did not notice so much interest when Windows 7 was released, even on Hacker News.

I think if Windows shipped with the ability mount an ISO, open a tar file, ssh client, virtual desktops, usable notepad, "Open with" doesn't make you hunt for an exe, drag to resize command windows, dialog boxes you can clip error messages off of, ctrl-a consistently selects all of the text in a field, that might be a start to getting positive support.


What is the "usable notepad" that comes on OS X? Are you referring to TextEdit? I guess I've never learned to use it properly because it just saves code as .rtf and blows it all up.

As far as I see it Windows requires getting Notepad++ and Mac requires getting something like Text Wrangler.

But Ubuntu, say, doesn't get all the buzz that OSX releases do, does it? It has all those things.

Indeed. There are also programs that have long been used for such purposes in the Windows world (i.e. Notepad++/Programmer's Notepad, WinRAR/7zip, Windows Powershell and Putty) which are likely to be better than anything MS can ever integrate into the system (err, excluding Powershell).

There is also the problem where if MS somehow integrate those features into Windows, even then they'll get flack for it for not being "good enough," so we still arrive at the original question.

The MS mind set is often unaware of subtleties, and doesn't see a reason to place much of any value on them... I think that's why they get flack all the time, despite doing what they were asked. They then get frustrated since it seems irrational to them. Like getting a doughy croissant vs. a flaky croissant, they'd just see you got a croissant, what's the problem?

I had a MS usability researcher (actually a whole team) come on site and during my interview tell me he will be "triaging my usage" of one of their popular non-technical applications. To which I gave him a blank stare, and said "you want to know how I use it?" Sort of reminded me of Feynnman asking the NASA engineers if by "pressure induced harmonic oscillation" they meant a "whistle" during the Challenger investigation -- albeit NASA engineers are allowed to be out of touch. ;-)

You forget that if they did integrate that stuff they're going to be called out for monopolistic tendencies. There was a massive whinge-fest when Microsoft Security Essentials came out from the AV industry.

Apple doesn't release updates where the window manager crashes and you have to do something like alt-f2, unity --replace to make it work again.

True, but they have nice updates which will freeze your Apple when put under heavy load...

For Linux on the Desktop it does quite well though...

> I think if Windows shipped with the ability mount an ISO, open a tar file, ssh client, virtual desktops, usable notepad, "Open with" doesn't make you hunt for an exe, drag to resize command windows, dialog boxes you can clip error messages off of, ctrl-a consistently selects all of the text in a field, that might be a start to getting positive support.

No, I bet if it could do all this things, it would get more lawsuits and BS. It's all about Steve Jobs famous distortion field.

Disclaimer: proud mac owner.

I think it's safe to say at this point that most "techy" people have moved to Macbooks - by "most" I mean over 50%. And if you happen to browse tech sites there's a good chance a majority of them are using OSX now.

I'd bet such Mac-proliferation varies greatly by country.

I agree: in Mexico, for example, all geeks run Linux (Ubuntu if they're not very geeky, Gentoo if they consider themselves hardcore). Geeks widely regard Macs as being not bad but only really useful to show off your wealth.

Varies a lot by country and by community/programming language/kind of job.

I think it's safe to say at this point that most "techy" people have moved to Macbooks - by "most" I mean over 50%.

Oh, Americans and their blinkered worldviews.

Windows 7 did get a lot of press but it followed Vista, an OS by my understanding that was hated by many. Thus the improvements were perceived as fixes rather than revolutionary.

Apple has spent decades working on its reputation. Success today depends more on what you were doing 5, 10 years ago.

They're a design-oriented company so attract people interested in the details.

It seems strange to me that you would associate design with the details.

Perhaps details of the aesthetics, but not the details of what's actually happening (i.e. the technical details).

Having said that, I set up an Apple Time Capsule today expecting it to be painful. The hardest thing was remembering my router password to turn the wireless off. I think that's probably a better reason why they get such press - that the user experience is more important than the features.

I figure anyone actively discussing tools has a certain bent for nerdery.

In fact there's a relevant Steve Jobs quote: "... That's not what we think design is. It's not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."

Microsoft probably has more casual users who don't really care.

This site should be renamed Apple Fanboy News, that's why. I'm tired of these worthless submissions. There are lots of things I like about my OS, but I'm not insecure enough to need to justify any love I might have by telling everybody on Hacker News about it.

It's actually a very good submission. I didn't know Leopard had all these neat features. Now I want to upgrade.

I also have a Windows box, and I wouldn't mind a similar SE about Win7 niceties, and of course Win7 having such niceties...

This is a fascinating goldmine of interesting little things for UI or UX people.

The spell checker auto-detects the language you're writing in and switches to the correct dictionary for a sentence. How cool is that?

Hah, looks like I touched a nerve here. -9 points and counting.

"How about ability to resize windows from all edges of the window. That alone is worth the 30 bucks."

That made me smile...

Love that you can hold option while resizing to change the size from the opposite ends. Very handy.

Or hold shift to keep the width/height ratio the same.

Ahh, very nice! It's crazy to think how many of these little touches are hidden in OS X.

My absolutely favorite feature is "Show related messages" in Mail conversations. 10 years after Gmail did it right, I can start using a desktop client again.

Pros: generally "feels" faster than 10.6 - repairing permissions seems to stick whereas 10.6 would always have 10000 broken permissions. cons: - Removed ability to use resize icons by clicking and dragging slider bar. now you have to set in view options - stubborn settings like having windows reappear upon restart despite disabling feature. - you STILL have to get plugins like totalfinder to set up finder with tabs. default is like opening up a new browser window each time you want to go to a new link.

The slider in finder is still there, but you have to turn on the status bar to see it

tnx for the tip. Turns out that opening finder was clipping off the bottom part where slider is. The only way I found out was by clicking and dragging the window downward an inch or two. Definitely needed that.

I really like Mission Control, specially two of it's features. First, creating spaces on the fly. Second, dragging an app icon and dropping in another space moves all of it's windows to that space. It's like Apple read my mind! Sweet.

Another thing is UI update as a whole. Aqua has been outdated for quite a while. Now all objects look and feel more real. Also I'm enjoying the new windows' subtle lighting and texture, they look like anodized aluminum.

But the top feature on my list are the new APIs, of course.

The Finder's "Arrange by Kind" has been updated to actually group the different files. Folders, Documents, Developer, Images, etc. I really like this.

The quality of the badges on apps seems very low right now, it seems really grainy on mail.app (to be fair I havent seen a badge of anything else).

Yep, the pixelation is something I've noticed all around. Hopefully it will be fixed in 10.7.1.

Thank you - I thought I was going nuts. I kept staring at it trying to remember what it looked like on SL, convinced that it had got worse. And the close/hide/zoom buttons in the top left are smaller too.

You can have different backgrounds on different Spaces. It's great to be able to organize a little mental model of your workspace by using differently colored backgrounds. I find I'm using the swipe gesture to change spaces frequently, and it can get a bit disorienting; every space looks almost the same except for a slightly different arrangement of rectangles.

That's true; although the desktop background pane in System Preferences can be quite buggy, to the point where it's far from obvious that it would even be possible to make the backgrounds different.

For instance, it will only appear by default on the displays you have on the desktop you're using, and it shows the background of that desktop in its mini-rendition even if you try to switch desktops. It can also sometimes show the wrong background in the preferences pane even after you've changed it. So although it does work, it hardly gives the user confidence.

The most reliable method seems to be to use the Finder's "Change Desktop Background..." contextual menu from the desired desktop, to force System Preferences to open in the right state.

Actually didn't realise how many things I like in Lion...

"When you do things right, no one will notice you've done anything at all"

Of all the "big features" Lion has, the one that I find a good reason to upgrade is Mission Control. Still, not being that big of a deal, I've been lazy about actually upgrading. Funnily enough, reading about some of the really awesome small details that people are talking about there really make me want to upgrade!

Anyone else have a problem with the clicking on the trackpad when waking from sleep? Sometimes when opening my air, the mouse is unable to click on anything - I can only move the cursor and right click. Closing and re-opening the lid will solve the problem, but it is pretty damn frustrating

You just need to press either shift key.

I love the "sign without printing" feature in preview. I've already used it to sign some legal docs. The one problem is my lawyer then asked for originals... d'oh!

If upsidedown smiles count, I would have to say that Launchpad makes me smile with its duplicate entrys and no intuitive method of organization/removal of entrys.

Do people like or hate that the order of labels has changed when sorting by label? (labeled items now appear first, but in a reverse alpha order)

I miss expose ...

Expose is gone in Lion? has it been replaced by something similar?

That method of entering accents seems really backwards to me. Why not a Compose key?

It has a compose key already in Option; this is more discoverable. (or can you figure out how to write ē easily on a US keyboard?)

Agreed. I don't have Lion installed yet, but in SL I can enter "ä" by typing option-U, then A. The article makes it sound like the new behavior can be disabled so I'm hoping that means the current behavior, which I'm very happy with, still works!

It does.

ü < crude attempt at a smiley face ;)

Everybody talking about little details of an otherwise not so significant update makes me smile (or has caught me off guard) ... you people are crazy and need to realise that you spend way too much time with your OS ...

The differences between products within automotive, fashion, industrial, interactive, and applications design are often in the details.

I'm very glad that people pay attention to the details. It makes the extra hours of polish worth it. And why shouldn't it? The product you are buying SHOULD have that amount of care.

Sure it's not a major update but it is the little things that makes an OS great. After being a long time power Windows user, switching to Mac OS made me realize how the little things can really improve productivity and workflows.

I'd argue that it is a major update when you consider the security features and a whole new paradigm for saving files. To me is seems like the beginning of a bright future.

No they don't ... if you spent this much time with your OS you are doing it wrong, sorry.

You know, some jobes are done on things called computers. And OS pretty much is required for them to be useful. And then when you spend some eight hours (too much, according to you) each day, small details suddenly are not so small and unimportant.

The GP didn't put it very eloquently but he has a point. Most days I start with booting my computer, start one application and the browser and do all my work in those.

When that happens I really don't care about the amount of polish the window manager has.

As if spending 5 minutes picking up some tips is a big outlay?

That isn't what I meant and I myself do read the docs. But: if YAGNI then YAGNI.

Ironically, with those small details I'll be able to spend even less time doing mundane tasks on my OS. :)

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