My experience with OS X 10.8 is off to a bad start. Apple officially launched Mountain Lion on July 25, 2012. But unfortunately, I didn't get to use it until today. The installation was hindered by slow download speeds and an unusual hard drive glitch. After those frustrating issues, problems persisted. At first, I was looking forward to this upgrade. But soon after the installation, I was contemplating a switch back to Windows. What's wrong with Mountain Lion?
I can understand a slow download. Apparently, the update is popular. Before I could even log into my iTunes account, Mountain Lion was already the number one app on the Mac App Store. With so many people hitting Apple's site, such a delay is to be expected. What I didn't expect was a bizarre error. The Mountain Lion installer told me that my startup disk could not be used as a startup disk.
Part of the problem was figuring out the issue. Initially, I thought that my hard drive needed more space. That wasn't it at all. Apparently, I was supposed to open up the "Disk Utility" application and slightly reduce the size of disk partition. I really had to struggle to install the software — and I used to be a Mac system admin. Even with nearly two decades of Mac experience, Mountain Lion confused me.
Mountain Lion was almost dead on arrival. I probably could have looked past that issue, but lots of little issue ruined the fun. After two episodes of Burn Notice, my Mac Mini still wasn't finished with the update. I even watched some of the 10 o'clock news, but the install kept going. I went to bed and tried again. The next morning, I awoke to further disappointment. The install was complete, but my machine felt slower. The speed issue eventually went away, but only after all of the background activity subsided. It didn't matter, my mood was worsening. There was plenty of reason to be pessimistic.
An example is with the Dictation feature. Internet is required. Why doesn't this work locally? Apparently, Apple wants my voice — and the voices of millions of others — to help improve the dictation feature. I'm not so trusting. I'm reminded of The Dark Knight (2008). When I watched Batman defeat the Joker, by collectively listening into the cellphones of Gotham's citizens, I didn't see the harm. What's the big issue? Batman's the good guy, right? Yet, the movie portrayed it like it was something so sinister. But now that this sci-fi technology is essentially reality, what's the difference?
That's a big problem that I have with Mountain Lion. It wants to know everything about my Mac — AND ME! What's it's location, what are your contacts, what's your email login (Thunderbird handles my email, no thanks Apple.), what are your documents and more. Am I just supposed to expect a company, that just took a serious hit in the stock market, to forever remain benevolent?
Even that issue I could look past, as I understand that certain personal information is required for cool features. I didn't mind Apple knowing the location of my phone when I lost it. Yet, I was really starting to get angry when I loaded up Safari.Ugh... BIG... GOOFY... TABS!
Safari in Mountain Lion is a battle of first impressions. In addition to the oversized tabs, my search bar is gone... and my meticulously arranged bookmarks (in the bookmark bar) got screwed up.
Apparently, Apple added a lot of features to Safari that I hate... features that I am unable to disable. Apple seems more obsessive about remembering my passwords. Instead of a blanket rejection towards saving passwords, I now have to reject each website individually. How is this an improvement? If there is an option to disable password saving for all websites, I couldn't find it.
Ah, but now I have iMessage. Now I can send text messages from my desktop. Of course, they're not received because the recipient is "not registered with iMessage." Notifications is a nice feature too. I can quickly access Notification Center messages to reveal a "No New Notifications" message. It's not Apple's fault that I have no alerts, but something is clearly wrong with Game Center. On load, an empty message box appears. Attempts to login appeared to have failed.
Unfortunately, my favorite Mountain Lion (10.8) features are the ones from Lion (10.7). Fullscreen mode is nice.
I think if I struggled hard enough, I could find something else nice to say about Mountain Lion. But other than the cheap price, Mountain Lion has disappointed me. Maybe that's what happens by being an early adopter — but I thought Apple software would be more polished than this.