Mountain Lion First Impressions

Safari – feels faster, cleaner. I like the URL/Search field unification and new loading animation. Training my brain not to immediately hit Tab after opening a new Safari window to do a Google search is going to take some time, however. Now you can click and hold on a bookmark or folder in the Bookmarks Bar to quickly rename it. This is extremely handy.

There are little improvements all over, but they are subtle. Cleaner scrollbars and window edges, progress bars in file icons during transfers, cleaner preference panes in System Preferences. This attention to detail is nice, and what I’ve come to expect from Apple.

Save As… is back. Just hold Option and click on the File menu, or use the keyboard shortcut Option+Shift+Command+S.

New Mission Control option to disable “Group windows by application”. This gives me back my pre-Lion Exposé one-click view of all open windows again. Hallelujah!

Dictation is great. It’s fast and accurate. Works in every app I’ve tested it in, even apps not updated in several years.

Notification Center – love being able to preview emails as they come in and know immediately if it is a critical issue or not. No more having to switch to the Mail app to see who the message is from and what the subject is. Having other notifications collected in one place is going to be handy as well.

Documents in iCloud is awesome. This will save me from the Desktop clutter of 10-20 random lists, notes and other TextEdit documents I juggle around. It works as advertised, is seamless between all Macs and I’m sure less experienced computer users will appreciate not having to deal with file management. My parents will directly and immediately benefit from this. No more “Where did I save that document I was working on last week?!”

Preview – the Annotation button is gone, and a new Show Edit Toolbar button is in its place. This new edit bar has a few new tools:

Preview also now allows you to fill out PDF forms. It will automatically detect places where text should be filled in, so you can just click and type. It will let you check checkboxes and make other edits, too.

The battery icon in the menu no longer has the option to show time left. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’ve always used had that feature enabled and have come to rely on it. Maybe I would get used to it, but for now I’m glad to have iStat Menus to re-enable it.

I’m still immediately trying to tab over to the non-existent Search field in new Safari windows and tabs. Oh boy, this is going to take some getting used to…

Screen sharing is much better now. I remote into my server all the time, so I can really appreciate things like automatic clipboard getting/sending and drag-and-drop file transfers between the screen sharing session!

Now you can drag-and-drop to rearrange the categories in the Finder sidebar. This is a nice touch.

Gatekeeper may become annoying, but I’m sticking with the default setting, at least for now. It is important to know how to manually bypass Gatekeeper on a case-by-case basis, so it doesn’t have to be outright disabled. Just Control+click or right-click on the application and select Open from the menu. This gives that application a pass, and only needs to be done once. Double-clicking will launch the app from then on.

Hello AirPlay video and audio mirroring! I’ve been waiting for this ever since AirTunes came out back in 2004. Then the Apple TVs came out with AirPlay, but it all only supported content through iTunes. Now it works for everything. Goodbye cables, hello future.

Performance feels a bit better, but this may just be the polish of UI and animations. All I can say for sure is Mountain Lion is extremely zippy.

Overall…

I feel like Mountain Lion brings a level of polish that Lion was missing. It just feels more seamless. The ability to share documents, media, apps, settings and more across all Apple devices is nothing short of a miracle. The Dream is to have all of our content on all of our devices, whenever we need it, wherever we need it. Mountain Lion brings us much closer to that dream.

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