Greg Ferro - Work to Live

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My Personal Mountain Lion Review

Overall Opinion

  • Works.
  • Faster.
  • Overall better.
  • nice incremental upgrade with some neat features
  • Microsoft Word is not reliable on Mountain Lion - crashes often and loses data. No other software problems. Can cause complete OS failure and require reboot (several times so far).
  • Having some problems when connecting external monitors. Current thinking is the Nvidia GeForce 650M video can run high resolution external monitors and the video is not switching properly. Manual workaround is possible.
  • Limited number of visible changes.

Apps I specifically updated

  • LaunchBar Version 5.3
  • Dropbox Experimenal Version
  • Little Snitch 3.0 (Paid upgrade. Lots of new features that are worth the upgrade price. )
  • There were App Store updates to Pages, Numbers, Keynote in previous weeks. And GarageBand, iPhoto got updates on the day. No new features other than iCloud support.
  • Apps that failed compatibility - One. Snapz Pro but it's only a specific function that doesn't work (which I don't use) so I'm still using it anyway.
  • Install took 30 mins or so on my fancy MBPr. Painless.
  • Safari looks different on Mountain Lion compared to Lion. The loading bar behind the URL is very good feedback and looks good. Safari 6 overall better.

Retina is stupendously good

The Retina screen is so much easier to work with. The quality makes the usability of the laptop something extraordinary. I find that I'm reading screen easier and more often for research. This is a very goodthing™.

Safari 6

  • Have switched completely to using Safari 6 instead of Chrome after about 6 months of Chrome use. Still use Chrome for Flash playback as needed.
  • When copy/pasting the URL from the Safari URL bar it retains the full URL instead of using the reduced form shown in the bar.
  • The "three finger pinch" to switch between Safari tabs is surprisingly useful. More commonly I use ⇧⌘[ or ⇧⌘] to move right/left in the open tabs I find that the trackpad swipe works well when I'm in a certain mood.
  • RSS Subscriptions have been removed from Safari. I have used this Safari Plugin to provide a subscribe to RSS feature in Safari 6.

Apple Mail 6

  • Apple Mail got a lot of small changes. Nothing that seems to cause me pain. And one huge feature that has improved my workflow - VIP Mail. At any given time I will have a group of about ten to maybe twenty people that I am regularly emailing with regards to my current projects. Otherwise I get a lot of email related to Packet Pushers etc.
To make someone a VIP, you just move your pointer to the left of the sender's name in a message header. A star appears, and clicking the star makes the person a VIP. You can also click the person's name in a message, then select "Add to VIPs" from the pop-up menu that appears. [](
  • In previous versions of Mail, if you clicked on your own message in a thread or in the Sent folder and hit reply (⌘-M), the new message would be addressed to yourself, not the original person replied to. Apple fixed this oversight in OS X Mountain Lion. If you select your own message in a thread or in the Sent folder and reply, the new message will be addressed properly to your previous recipients.

Hibernate / Sleep / Power Nap

  • Waking from sleep mode is fast. Visibly faster than Snow Leopard. I hear that power save/hibernate was a big focus for Mountain Lion and this is the result of that. So far, I've had a couple of flaky hibernate problems when I have my dual external displays connected.
  • The Power Nap feature means that when I collect my laptop in the morning, I no longer have to open, sync, wait for the download, before I head out the door to the train. I almost didn't notice this happening.


  • I've used Growl as a notification system for many years and Notifications is pretty much the same. Growl has better software support but I suspect that will be fixed as developers as Notifications support to their apps. I would prefer to have Notifications use the top-right corner of my screen. I can only have Apple's choice of top right.

Notifications Pause / Delay

Notifications: Pause display of notifications by press the Option key while clicking on the Notification icon in the right end of the menu bar. Reactivate by

  1. Option-click the same icon again;
  2. display notifications at the right of the screen by clicking on the Notification Center icon, then toggle the Show Alerts and Banners switch from Off to On;
  3. or just wait until tomorrow, when they’ll go back on automatically.

Notifications Gesture

  • There is a gesture you can use on a trackpad to view Notification Center: swipe with two fingers from the right edge of your trackpad to the left. This works on a laptop, but with a Magic Trackpad, this really isn't easy to do, since your fingers can't slide from a surface next to the trackpad.

Time Machine

  • I have two drives for Time machine backups. A 1.5 TB 3.5" drive in a SATA-USB cradle and a 1TB portable USB drive. I use the portable drive when I am travelling and the SATA drive when at home. Time Machine now supports two backup drives at the same time. Now with more backup than every before.

Changes or Problems or Concerns

  • Apple Mail is no longer able to read RSS feeds. I've always used Reeder or NetNewsWire to read RSS so this doesn't matter at all.
  • Harder to accidentally delete icons from the dock. You must drag the icon about 6 cm off the dock and hold before the deletion cue (a little trash cloud) shows under the icon. (grumble about people sitting on my home office desk…..)

Onyx / System Adminsitration

Get the latest version of Onyx from Best software for managing the grumpy bits of Mac OSX and avoid using commercial tools. Does things like clean log files, boot caches and other nerd knobs.

Best Online Reviews

John Siracusa’s review at ARS Technica (epic),

John Gruber’s review. (targeted, succinct)