Underwhelmed

As I write this post, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to post it in the traditional way.  My internet access is provided by “Canada’s Rural Internet Strategy”.  They’re currently down again.  They were down yesterday afternoon as well.  It’s frustrating.

Yesterday morning, I decided that I would upgrade my Macbook Pro to the latest operating system, version 10.10.  It looked like it wasn’t going to be a nice day outside so installing an upgrade and then poking around learning it seemed like a good idea.  I checked the update and it would take approximately 17 hours to download the 5.13GB upgrade.  That’s more than I was prepared to devote to this activity.  Fortunately, my daughter has a speedy internet connection through Cogeco – she was working – so I asked to do my upgrade at her place, got approval, and I was off.

Normally, I’d wait for a week or so for bug fixes to be made available but I think this version of Mac OSX should be different.  It appears to have been in Beta testing for a long time and with so many brave souls.  I had a feeling that it might be a pretty safe release.  And, it’s free.

After stopping for a coffee on the drive in, I sat down to do the download and two hours later, I was ready to go.  Now, it’s not like I needed to do the upgrade – I was quite happy with the way things were running – but the common wisdom is to stay with the latest release for security and functional reasons.  Plus, I have nothing by the highest admiration for the programmers who manage to weave their magic through the code to make things even better.

So, after the installation and reboot, I was interested to see what was what.  If you read the Apple fanboys, this is the greatest, most beautiful release of the OS ever.

Unfortunately, my first impressions are anything but that.

TITLE/MENU BAR
Starting at the top…

I did like the fact that the menu bar at the top can be turned black.  So, instead of the bright white strip that we’ve become so familiar with, it’s now darkened and considerably less harsh on the eyes.  There’s a new font in use which is functional and that’s OK.  It does have a bit of an Ubuntu Ambiance look to it but I think I prefer Ambiance’s look.

At this early juncture, many of the icons are either now invisible, having blended into the black, or are barely visible.  Look for upgrades once word gets out.

INTERFACE
This leads to the most noticeable change when you first log in.  The whole interface has changed.  Quite frankly, it’s not a look that I took an immediate like to.  I suppose it’s Apple’s answer to Microsoft’s Modern UI but, with it’s bright childish looking colours, it’s very much like the new commercials on television.  Is it to attract a younger environment?  It certainly is a departure from the professional, finished look in previous versions.  I use the Graphite interface which isn’t too radical a change.  Switching to Blue really is shocking and not attractive at all, to this eye.

In fact, looking at some of the icons, I harkened back to the fruit-coloured iMacs.  Bright, and they really stood out.  Everything since then has been professional looking silver and black.  Now the icons…

    

The translucent menus are an interesting effect.  I wonder if that’s also taking some processor power to work.  Under Accessibility, there’s an option to reduce the amount of transparency.  I think I’ll give that a shot and see if it makes a difference.

HANDOFF
The early reading I’ve done states that “Handoff” is the biggest game changer in the upgrade.  So, if I’m working with Safari on my laptop, I can hand off where I am to another iCloud device.  My first reaction was to ask when I would ever use that.  But, I guess I’ve been using a similar functionality with browsers for a long time.  Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox will let you synchronize histories across browsers on different devices.  

NOTIFICATIONS
The notifications panel is a nice looking addition.  I added in my location and no longer have to look at the outdoor thermometer.  If I was using the calendar, events would pop up there.

SPEED
Whenever anything changes the interface of anything, you need to take a look at any hit in performance.  With one day of messing around, I do notice that performance has taken a hit.  After looking around, I see that my Time Machine is doing a backup so that’s understandable that there may be a hit there.  I’m also guessing that perhaps Spotlight is indexing my computer?

SPOTLIGHT
Speaking of Spotlight, this is an area that everyone needs to take a look at and consider carefully.  When Ubuntu added search to the Dash, there was a big uproar that searches weren’t limited to your computer by default.  With Spotlight in 10.10, the warning is right up front.  Read all that you can about Privacy.  Your search results, including your location, are sent to Apple to help “improve” your results.  Are you OK with that?  I’ve got to think that one through and so have turned it off for the time being.

ITUNES
I’ve never been a real fan of the old iTunes.  The way that it worked never seemed all that intuitive to me.  But, it was the only game in town so I learned to use it.  This new makeover however does seem more friendly.  The mind is a funny thing; I don’t know if it’s that much different or whether it’s a tweak to the old that’s just ringing bells with me.  Oddly, it doesn’t take on the graphic colours for the minimize, close, full screen buttons.  It’s only using the Blue theme.  Did that slip by consistency control?

OTHER TITLES
I thought I was rather smart in heading in to town to use the fast internet there.  I’ll confess that I didn’t think it through completely.  I expected that everything Apple that I owned would have been upgraded.  It was only later when I got home that I saw the notifications that things were waiting in the App Store for upgrades.  Pages, Numbers, iMovie, etc. all had been upgraded because they were “influenced” by the new user interface.  So, I downloaded them to stay on top of things. Argh.

But, the App Store is having difficulties keeping track.  Even they were updated, they’ve now been flagged again today as having an update!

I suppose that the new look and features will grow on me with time.  With the huge download, I’ll confess to being underwhelmed.  Nothing has reached out and grabbed me yet as being worth all the time and effort that I put into the upgrade and then poking around looking for new features.  I suspect that my weeks ahead are going to be filled with upgrades as all of the other software on the computer are revised to work with 10.10.  If we learn from the experience with iOS8, there will undoubtedly be upgrades and bug fixes in the near future.  

I can’t wait until I get internet access restored so that I can read what others are experiencing.  In the meantime, I’ll just tether my laptop to my Android phone and get this post online.

If you’ve upgraded, I’d be interested in your experiences and thoughts.

Advertisements

4 Replies to “Underwhelmed”

  1. Hey Doug,

    Thanks for the detailed thoughts on the upgrade. I don’t have a Mac, but I’ll be sure to direct others to your post if they’re curious about the changes.

    We’re rural also, and although the speed is fairly good the price is not. We’re using the cellular network (the only other option is satellite, which is simply not capable of serving us). Prices have come down in the last few years, but I still have to monitor our usage carefully as we pay in monthly tiers (<5GB, <10GB, <20GB) and then per megabyte if we exceed 20GB (I think it's $0.05/MB, or about $50/GB).

    So I nervously check our family's usage statistics as we approach the end of each billing period, switch the phones to cellular instead of the home WiFi, and head to town to borrow other connections for anything big. Family cable connections come in handy, as does our school board's BYOD policy (when things aren't blocked, and software updates are usually okay).

    It sounds like I'm complaining, and I suppose there is a little of that sentiment, but I realize we have come very far in a few years, and that I'm actually paying less per month now for better service than I had in 2009. That's a big step in the right direction.

    But I would sure love a connection that didn't have limits 🙂

    Like

  2. Haven’t updated yet, so I appreciate your words of reflection on all this. Maybe overnight would be a good choice for me! 🙂 Hate the thought of a slowdown in performance though…hmmm…what to do?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s