The moment I saw the notification that Lion, Apples new path-breaking operating system, was available for download for Rs 1,329, I opened the App store on my iMac.
I had been waiting for a week, checking every day. On Wednesday the Mac Application Store was shut for several hours; so I was sure that it was being readied for Lion. Sure enough, on Thursday there was a picture of a Lion in all its glory with the words OS X Lion. Download today.
The size of the file zapped me. It was 3.76 GB. And today of all days my BSNL broadband connection was playing truant, telling me it would take 10 hours to complete the download. Normally, it should not take more than four hours. Then an idea struck me. My Vodafone 3G connection was much faster. I immediately took out my iPhone 4. Opened Personal Hotspot. This uses your iPhones Internet connection to connect your computer to the Internet. This is also known as tethering. The download took just about two-and-half hours and the installation about 35 minutes.
At first sight it seemed there had been no change in the iMac. Even the wallpaper was the same. When I was asked to restart my computer the changes became apparent. In Lion, a linen texture is displayed prominently as the background for the restyled login screen, now featuring circular frames for user icons. Also the menu bar status icons are visible in the top-right corner of the screen on the linen texture.
I then checked for whether Lion had native support for Bengali. I had been coaxing Apple for years to include Bengali in their system instead of us relying on third parties. I went to System Preferences and then to Languages and Text. Clicked on the tab, Input Sources. To my great surprise I found two versions of the Bengali keyboard — Bengali for India and Bengali QWERTY for Bangladesh. I chose the one for India. The command for changing keyboards is Command+Option and Command+Option+Space.
I opened pages, chose the font Bangla MN and typed a few sentences. They came out perfectly. There are two other Bengali fonts, Bangla Sangam MN and GeetananjaliUni. This was a major personal victory for me because I went to the highest levels in Apple lobbying for native support for Bengali in Macs. They obliged for their mobile devices, but that was just for display. You could not write in Bengali with the keyboard missing.
Having won one battle, let us explore the other great features of Lion. It is faster, more flexible, and easy to use. I would say the navigation and apps opening in full screen through the Launchpad are very much like the iPad. You even have to scroll through your applications horizontally.
I think that OS X Lion is a precursor to greater things. The nifty features of Lion are being used to keep users engaged as Apple slowly makes a technological shift with the coming of iCloud this fall. It is then that everything will fall into place.
Documents get saved automatically as you work on the Lion. So you never have to save a file and can recover previous versions effortlessly. Also, applications automatically start up in the same state they were in when you closed them. That combines to make OS X both the most convenient and the most powerful operating system ever.
A persistent headache for ex-Windows users is also finally eliminated: when you copy one folder over another with the same name, Lion lets you choose whether to merge or replace the existing folder instead of simply overwriting the existing folder and its contents. Similarly, when you copy a new file over an existing file with the same name, Lion asks whether you want both versions or only the new one.
A typical multitouch gesture is one in which you pinch" two fingers on the surface of a trackpad in order to zoom out of an image, or spread two fingers in order to enlarge it. By default, Lion, like the iPad, and unlike earlier OS X versions, does not display any scroll bars (those bars on the right, and sometimes the bottom, of a window that you drag to scroll through a document) until you either put down two fingers on the trackpad and swipe them up or down to scroll through a document or move the mouse to the part of the window where you know a scroll bar will be.
Scrolling up and down a document has changed. If you want to go towards the end of the document you swipe your mouse or trackpad upwards. Similarly, if you want to go to the top of your report you swipe downwards.
A new iPad-like design makes it easier to read, find and follow your messages.
It is a single-screen overview of everything thats happening on your Mac. At the top are small images of your Dashboard (the screen that contains widgets that are running all the time) and your desktop, with a tab that lets you create multiple virtual desktops.
This lets you send files to any other Mac with Lion install within 30 feet with no network or setup required.
Despite Lions great advantages it is still a cub. It has its share of glitches and bugs, which I am sure, will be fixed by software updates. Although I smoothly loaded Lion into my iMac, I could not install it on my more powerful MacBook Pro. I would still recommend that you upgrade to Lion, especially if you are using other Apple gadgets.
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