I’m not going to lie.  I think OS X Lion 10.7.0 is a buggy release.  Is it buggier than some other releases of OS X?  Possibly.  Can Apple fix the bugs, most certainly.  But bugs aside, there a few design decisions Apple made that don’t seem fully baked.

First, lets touch on some of the bugs I’ve noticed so far.

Finder is one of those things in OS X that is almost universally disliked for one reason or another.  Finder in Lion has a new feature where it just stops doing things at all.  At times disk usage stops being updated and it won’t actually copy files.  While a restart of Finder resolves this issue, it’s odd that it is there at all.

Wi-Fi, formerly known as AirPort, has a strange tendency to just not connect after resuming from sleep.  That said, when it is connected I find it to be more reliable with more stable throughput.

Launchpad, the iOS like view of your installed applications has a tendency at times to lag heavily when launching an app.

There are a number of other smaller bugs that exist in Lion that are a bit grating but I have faith that Apple will fix them in short order.  Leopard was initially, at least in my opinion, unusable after the initial installation and I found myself going back to Tiger a couple of times.  Apple fixed those issues and then some.

But what really gets me are the things Apple will probably never fixed because they are working as designed and my real issue is that I don’t like the design.  Gestures for one are a cluster.  Many were changed from Snow Leopard and worse is that a good number of them contradict what a person would have learned.  Four finger swipe up now produces mission control rather than show desktop.  The show desktop gesture has now been replaced by a more awkward five finger gesture.  All in all, I spent the most time tweaking gesture settings on Lion than anything else after install.  Between the available options in System Preferences and BetterTouchTool I think I have things where I want them.

More annoying than the gestures is the addition of “natural scrolling.”  Natural scrolling reverses the scrolling direction when using the mouse wheel so that to scroll the page down you pull your fingers down on the trackpad or mouse.  The naming of this option is also interesting because unchecking the natural scrolling option says to the user they are about to enable something that is less natural.  I don’t think this could be further from the truth.  Like flying a plane, it’s natural for your body to want to push the stick forward to cause the plane to pitch down, but you push left or right to pitch left or right.  Natural scrolling makes complete sense on touch device where it is more like you are pushing a sheet of paper around.  At any rate, my issue comes in when you disable natural scrolling.  Not only does it reverse scrolling but it also reverses the direction used for changing spaces.  With natural scrolling off, using four fingers left causes you to go to the space on the left and four fingers right brings the space on the right into view.  In writing this makes sense, but in practice it feels awkward.

Lion also lacks the kind of polish I’ve come to expect from OS X.  Parts of it down right ugly.  Mail.app for example has a new layout which is great except for the hideous message count badging, shown below:


There is just something about the numbers that make them appear to be off in some fashion.

The boot process, at least what you see on screen, has been revamped some and I can’t help but feel that it all looks very clunky.  While the fading and moving the Apple logo from the center of the screen to above the list of users on the login screen is very clever, the steps required to move from boot splash to getting this animation setup is jarring.  The boot process basically boils down to showing the typical boot splash screen with the Apple logo which is then replaced with an image that looks the same and is ultimately used during the final animation that reveals the available users.  This transition just isn’t the kind of smooth and elegant thing a person would expect from Apple.  Couple that with the sometimes jarring color correction applied just prior to the animation effect and you have what is in my eyes a really poorly done boot sequence.  The shutdown process is also odd in that the desktop goes way and is covered with a plain gray screen.  The blue screen used in previous releases was much better and if it had to be replaced at all it should have been replaced with black.

All that said, there is a lot to like about Lion.  I find the autocorrect to be a fine addition.  I like Mission Control a lot, resume is a great feature, Mail.app’s new layout is superb and the refinements to iCal and Contacts are welcome.  I know Apple will fix the real bugs in the software but I can only hope they provide better System Preference options for customizing gestures.

I’m also surprised that none of the reviews I read seemed to point out the shortcomings of Lion and gave it glowing reviews.  As I said, there is a lot to like but it certainly isn’t perfect and I think Apple deserves to hear about it.  Lion isn’t Apple’s Vista by any means, but it’s obvious to me that Jobs had less input in this release than previous releases.

A lot of people think Apple is replacing samba with their own version because of the GPLv3 and patents.  I’m not so sure that is the case and I think this comment is more on the mark

The reason is that binaries in /System are signed with Apple’s keys, which the haven’t made public. As far as I know this is also disallowed by GPLv3.

Of course it might also be that Apple isn’t satisfied with the progress of samba.


Amazon has launched their Appstore for Android devices.  Aside from the eight step install process I think Amazon stands a better chance than just about anyone else in having a successful store and not just for themselves but for developers as well.   Like Apple, Amazon has a well established music, video and book presence with millions of credit card holding consumers.  What developer wouldn’t want to take part in that?

While the eight step install process on android devices is annoying today, imagine if Amazon produced a their own tablet with their store already loaded on it.  I once said on twitter that for Android to really be as successful as iOS someone would have to take it and rebrand it as their own and build a great ecosystem around it.  Amazon has that ecosystem, they just need a mobile platform to sell on.

If Amazon were to create that mobile platform, and it included a phone and a tablet, I think Apple would truly have a competitor to worry about.

Seeing reports of owners of the new 2011 Macbook Pros having issues with them locking up under load.  Anyone else seeing this? I know I initially had issues with my work laptop (2010 13″ Pro) but I am pretty sure it was caused by having an NTFS partition (Windows installed) and the spotlight search system.  Since removing Windows I haven’t had a hard lock since and in fact have over 40 days of uptime.

Reading headlines like this really emphasizes just how lost Microsoft is right now

Microsoft Tablet OS Not Due Until 2012

This tells me two things.  One, Windows Phone 7 was nothing more than a reaction to iOS.  Two, they had no further strategy than that.

Apparently it simply didn’t occur to them that Apple might take their new mobile operating system and bring it to a tablet device, the same type of device Microsoft has been trying to create *for years* and have failed.  Unfortunately for Microsoft, and everyone else for that matter, Apple doesn’t just have a great mobile OS, they also already have an entire supporting ecosystem adding tremendous value to their mobile OS.

Clearly Microsoft, who has been trying build a tablet people actually want to use for years, simply doesn’t know what they’re doing.  “Redmond, start your copiers” is really real.  You have to feel a little bad for Microsoft.  They’ve been trying for years and Apples launches one out of the park on their first try.  But the difference here is that Apple has their own vision.

I’ve been putting a lot of time into this little project. Nobody uses it (yet?) and truth be told I barely use it in the house but it’s been such a great way to learn a number of different things including python, mDNS (bonjour), creating installer files for debian and OS X systems and even git that I can’t stop working on it.

I’m now releasing version 0.3.0. This version brings a few changes but most notably the Linux client is now ready. The next release will be coming shortly and will focus on making the client the more robust about how it deals with network disconnects.

You can read more about the 0.3.0 release at https://github.com/dustinrue/Dencoder/wiki

I’ve updated Dencoder to use Bonjour to find the Dencoder server. Visit http://blog.dustinrue.com/projects/distributed-handbrake-queue-dencoder to access the latest version. If you’ve previously installed all three packages, you only need to grab the new RabbitMQ Installer and Dencoder Client.

This update means one less config step is required when setting up your distributed encode environment. The clients will now find the master server using bonjour rather than a hard coded value. This should be useful for DHCP environments where the master server’s IP address could change.