OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Review
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OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Review

It has been a bit of adventure for me to upgrade my month old MacBook Air to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. It was a pretty quick..less than 15 minutes and thankfully not very exciting glitches and n fact my Air looked pretty much the same as it did before the upgrade.

Before we get to what you get with Mountain Lion you have to make sure your computer can be upgraded..the requirements are:

  • 64-Bit Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better required
  • Ability to boot into OS X 64-bit kernel
  • Advanced GPU chipset required
  • Internet connection required to download and install OS X 10.8

To simplify things, the following computers should meet these requirements:

  • MacBook Pro – 13″ from mid 2009 or later, 15″ from late 2007 and newer, 17″ from late 2007 and newer
  • MacBook Air – late 2008 and newer
  • iMac – models from mid 2007 and newer
  • MacBook – 13″ aluminum from 2008, 13″ from 2009 and newer
  • Mac Mini – early 2009 and newer
  • Mac Pro – early 2008 models and newer
  • XServe – early 2009 models and newer

Mountain Lion Desktop

The upgrade installation couldn’t be much simpler..fork over $19.99 at the app store..or if you are like me and obtained your Mac after June 11, 2012 then go to to get a free download code.

It is about a 4.5Gb download so it coud take a while depending on your Internet connection and traffic on the Apple servers..mine was pretty slow on Wednesday. Once the download is might be an idea to back up the file to a USB drive because it is deleted after the installation..that done press the button and should take about 15 minutes on a SSD equipped computer like mine or 45 minutes to an hour on one with a regular hard drive. After the last reboot your desktop should look the same as it did before..but don’t worry there are quite a few changes.

Apple claims more than 200 improvements in this upgrade but not all of the will mean a heck of a lot to you. I like the way David Pogue put it in his New York Times column.

Now, Apple claims “over 200 new features.” But some of them are tiny tweaks (Safari checks for software updates every day! Ooh!) or techie-only treats (“Xsan, the high-performance cluster file system”). Fifteen are improvements for Chinese customers, which is great for Apple’s world-domination plans but irrelevant to non-Chinese speakers.

Many of the tweaks are aimed at owners of multiple Apple devices..If you own an iPhone, and iPad and Apple TV  there is a lot to love here. One great new feature is the ability to sign in through the Setup Assistant with your Apple ID and sync all your settings along with your apps. Your e-mail, contacts, calendars, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and more will automatically be synced up with other devices and made ready for use on your Mac by entering your Apple ID. This will be a welcome feature for iOS users setting up a new Mac for the first time because right off the bat you’ll immediately be able to take advantage of all the new sharing features in Mountain Lion. Facebook integration will come in a free update this fall.

Safari seemed quite a bit faster to me and I really like that Apple has adopted the universal address bar common to most other browsers..gone is the separate Google search enter searches and addresses in the same bar and safari figures out what you want. The new sharing features are in a share button to the left of the address bar. One cute feature I liked..hen Safari starts downloading a file, an animated icon jumps from Safari to the Downloads icon on the OS X dock, and a small progress bar appears beneath that icon

As part of my transition from Windows to OS X I still use Dropbox so I haven’t fully explored iCloud integration..if you use it you will be impressed. iCloud is more deeply integrated into Mountain Lion in a way that has profound implications for the way you work. Apps such as TextEdit and Preview are able to save documents directly to iCloud. Those documents are then pushed to your other devices, as long as they’re online, so you can pick up your work anywhere.

One of the most obvious new features is the notification centre. A straight lift from iOS The new Notification Center works pretty much the same way it does on iPhone/iPad. It’s a dark gray panel that slides onto the screen when you click a button at the top right of the menu bar or drag two fingers onto your trackpad. Here you will find all the nags, messages and alerts that your programs have issued, consolidated into one tidy, customizable list: today’s appointments, incoming messages, software updates, Twitter updates and so on.

Just like iOS For each app, you can choose one of three “alert styles:” the self-explanatory “none;” “banners,” which slide down from the top right corner of your main display and disappear in a puff of smoke after a brief pause; and “alerts,” which stay on the screen until you dismiss them. Think of banners as transient—best for information that you might want to know but isn’t critical. Alerts stay pinned to the screen until you deal with them; these are best for important things like reminders or appointment alerts.

I am most impressed by AirPlay Mirroring now available to my PC with Mountain Lion. The computer wirelessly transmits whatever is playing on my Mac desktop to my Apple TV, which then shoots this mirrored content to my HDTV via an HDMI cable. Display settings are automatically determined by my Mac, so I don’t have to adjust the resolution over and over again. This means anything you see on your computer can now be on your big screen, a no brainer..but think of all those free videos available only to a PC..Hulu TV..most network allow you to stream programs to your now if you miss an episode of your favourite need to watch it on the can AirPlay it to your TV. This could change the way we watch TV.

The upgrade changing iMessage to Messages is cool. Now, whether on a Mac or iOS device, you’ll be able to take advantage of Apple’s no-cost texting features with iMessage, and the ability to send a text to an iPhone from your Mac is certainly convenient. Messages (as opposed to iMessage) will also let you communicate with the same services you did with iChat, including AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk, and Jabber.  Combine message with the new feature Dictation means you can simply speak your works  well and is quite accurate. To bad you have to be connected to the internet for it to work.


Last but not least is PowerNap..only available on  SSD drive equipped MacBook Air models from Late 2010 onwards, and the new MacBook Pro with Retina display. While in sleep mode the computer barely wakes sounds. your Mac can be busy backing up to a Time Capsule, keeping documents in iCloud up to date, and receiving emails and pictures via Photo Stream. It will also download software updates.

Those are the features that struck me..a Mac newbie..there are many more and I’m sure you have your favourites..let me know in the comments section below…It is certainly is well worth the 2o buck price.


Bob Benedetti

<p>Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal</p>

  • Wade Staddon

    The new Mac OS really is a good upgrade that is well worth the minimal cost. Improvements to Calendar and Contacts are two that I’ve seen and like. As a long time Mac user and admitted software slut, the upgrade does generate a lot of software upgrades for third party applications but these have been trouble free as well – just be prepared for a few surprise notifications for this after the initial post-upgrade start-up of the new OS, as well as the time required to install these upgrades. Note too that some software upgrades generate a warning that they are not blessed by the App Store and require you to override a warning (initial start with Option key pressed was required) – the Macworld site has a series of good articles on getting up to speed with Mountain Lion.

    July 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm Reply
    • Bob Benedetti

      Thank you Wade for the additional insight..especially the warning about “unblessed” apps thanks to the new Gatekeeper feature. You can turn it off at security and privacy settings by selectinbg anywhere..but it is probably better to leave the default setting and do the occasional overide for installs of apps you trust.

      July 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm Reply
      • Wade Staddon

        Hi Bob – I was just about to add the info you gave on this option here but you beat me to it.

        July 28, 2012 at 1:46 pm Reply
  • Wade Staddon

    Another surprise was the end of RSS support in Safari 6.0 – clicking on my saved links fired up my OmniWeb browser, which asked me to subscribe to an RSS service. I’ve now switched to NetNewsWire, which is a nice app.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:44 am Reply
    • Bob Benedetti

      9 to 5 Mac offered the following to recover the RSS subscriptions you may have lost from Safari or mail:
      Mountain Lion tossed RSS out the door in both the Mail app and Safari without giving Mac users a chance to save their feeds. Here is a handy tip, however, for recovering them (Macgasm offered an unverified variation of this tip, but this is a faster workaround):
      1. Go to Finder, type Command+Shift+G, and then paste ~/Library/Mail/V2/RSS/ into the search field.
      2. To renew feed subscriptions (requires an RSS app): From the newly opened RSS folder, open the info.plist file. Look for the string in front of RSSFeedURLString, double-click on it, copy it, and then paste the string in to the new RSS reader.


      July 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm Reply

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