The Big Cat Has Arrived
Well, the day has arrived. Yes, folks, OS Mountain Lion is now here. It was released by Apple as of this morning. You can purchase it through the Mac App Store for $19.99 and upgrade over both Snow Leopard or Lion.
I will be putting a few podcasts up in regard to Mountain Lion as the days pass. I have one done and am just waiting for my webmaster to upload it. Also, I added some new material to the
How to for the Mac and OS X pages for Mountain Lion
I am, so far, quite impressed. I always love installing a new operating system and exploring it and messing around for the first time. I am, when it comes to this stuff, like a big kid at Christmas time opening my presents.
I will mention a few of the features and additions that I have noticed. By no means is this a detailed description, but you will find a lot of information already all over the internet. The great folks at Applevis are already putting up a bunch of podcasts on Mountain Lion
Also, there are 3 books in the Take Control series from Tidbids Publishing that will be very helpful and useful to you. They are, “Take Control of Upgrading to Mountain Lion 1.1”, “Take Control of Using Mountain Lion 1.1”, and, “Take Control of Mail in Mountain Lion”. You can find these books
Alternatively, my good friends at Mac-access.net also have the entire series of take control books available. Please give them a look.
If you are familiar with using the dictation feature on the iPhone or iPad with SIRI or the like, the feature is now available on the Mac. The keyboard command can be changed, but by default, tapping the FN key twice to start and then stop dictation will work in any area in which text can be written. For example, it can be used in a Mail message or a Text Edit document.
I am already loving this feature. Its accuracy has been quite impressive, and I have dictated a few email messages already.
As is available in iOS, the Notification Center has come to the Mac. You have the ability to configure your notifications for individual apps, and even completely disable it if you need to.
One of the cool aspects to it is if you have Mail open, but are in another application, the Notification Center will read the subject and first couple of words of an incoming message. It will also announce any reminders or calendar events too. I’m sure that a lot of third party applications will take advantage of this facility, though I don’t know how this will effect the folks who develop Growl.
This might not be important to all, but the documents part of using iCloud and sharing documents across devices using a supported application is quite handy. For example, I started a document on my Mac Mini in Text Edit and saved it to iCloud. I could then access that document from my Mac Book Pro and make editions that showed up on the Mini.
I am also sure that third party developers will take advantage of this feature in the future. I have to test Pages, but I am pretty sure documents created on the Mac will be available if you have Pages on your iPhone or iPad.
Yet another application that comes from the iOS devices is the Notes application. This enables you to create notes that you can be synced across devices or shared via email or text message using the Messages application.
Sharing in Safari
There is a nice Sharing popup menu in the Safari toolbar that allows you to, for example, send a webpage to a person via email or even share a link to a site via Twitter. Also, on the subject of Safari, you now can share open webpages in Safari across devices through iCloud.
Of course, Apple has not forgotten about VoiceOver. There are some new features or improvements that one will find as well. These include:
- Improved text selection on the web
- Sorting and arranging columns
- An improved drag and drop feature, which includes adding modifier keys to the action and dragging and dropping items to hot spots
- More options for resizing windows, which I have found to be a handy feature in moving them around the screen
- Relating to resizing windows, there are also more ways to obtain information about windows in elements, such as hearing an element’s size or position on the screen
- Fast forward and rewind options when reading text. This can be used with the read all command, but you will have to assign specific keyboard commands for these features in Keyboard commander or Numpad commander.
- VoiceOver now sees third party items in the status menu. Yes, folks, if you are running Dropbox or Boom or some other third party application that places items in the status menu, VoiceOver now can access them
- Press and hold buttons using the VoiceOver and spacebar command
- Additional Braille display support
A few other things to be aware of that come to mind are:
- The Calendar application now replaces, iCal
- The iChat application is now simply, Messages
- There is a separate Reminders application for creating reminders, as is present on the iOS devices
- You can upgrade from Snow Leopard or Lion to Mountain Lion using either a direct upgrade by installing over your current operating system or by doing a clean install of Mountain Lion. If you choose to do a clean install, be sure to back up your existing system disk in some comprehensive manner either by Time Machine or, even better, utilizing a third party cloning package like Super Duper or Carbon Copy Cloner
Undoubtedly, you will hear about or encounter bugs. As always, it is recommended that you report bugs directly to Apple accessibility so they can be dealt with. Any new operating system is going to have its share of bugs, but let’s not make them into federal cases or personalize an issue you might be having into a world event though. I have found a couple of oddities and problems as I have worked with Mountain Lion, but I am not screaming from the roof tops claiming that Apple has dropped the ball with accessibility or other nonsense I have read on the users lists in regard to iOS 5.
Get Prowling and Growling!
Overall, if you are considering downloading and installing Mountain Lion, Go For It. I highly recommend it. I am enjoying my experience thus far, and I have not encountered any issues that would lead me to tell folks to wait until the first maintenance update. Of course, that is a choice you, as the user, must make for yourself, and if you choose to wait a while, it is understandable. I can only say that I have no regrets at all in downloading and installing Mountain Lion.