There's A Mountain Lion Somewhere In Shenzen


More Mac news from the Apple fanatics here at MW Web Design. Yesterday's headlines read Apple now the most valuable company of all time. How sweet it is — once the underdog and now the "top cat".

Apple's market value hit 623 billion dollars on August 20th, 2012 (the previous record of 618.9 billion dollars was set by none other than Microsoft on December 30th, 1999). With just three weeks to go before the new iPhone 5 is unveiled on September 12th, 2012, this news comes as no surprise. Way to go, Apple.

There are some fantastic things happening in the Apple world right now — lots of great new products and even more rumors of new Apple goodies just around the corner. But we'd like to very briefly talk about Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) in this blog. When I say "briefly", I'm dealing with Carpal Tunnel and my ability to sit in front of my Mac for hours on end doing certain tasks (like typing mile-long blogs) is killing me. I'll be seeing a specialist next month who will hopefully be able to relieve the pain.

A while back, we did a blog about OS X Lion and it was none too pretty. Lion wasn't my favorite Mac OS version by any means. In fact, it was my least favorite (aside from System 7.5.3). But Mountain Lion is a completely different "breed" as far as I'm concerned. I'm using it right now as I write this. Those of you Vancouver folks who know me as a Mac Technician will certainly be able to relate to my reluctance in recommending you to upgrade to Lion over the past year. I advised many of you to hold off.

Mountain Lion is what Snow Leopard was to Leopard. It's Lion with finesse. Lion to the tenth power. Lion the way Lion should have been. My e-mail just beeped — hang on a second, folks. Hey, my Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter just shipped from... where? Shenzhen, China. Should be here next week. Excrement! I mean, excellent! Designed in California but built in China (sorry, couldn't resist that one).

Okay, back to the blog. As I was saying — OS X 10.8 is a much more perfected version of OS X 10.7. It's not without its bugs but it's a great improvement over the previous Mac OS X incarnation which is still full of annoyances, mishaps, beachballs, freezes, headaches and generalized mayhem which none of us Mac users should have to contend with. Hey, where's that 10.7.5 update (see update below)?

I find Mountain Lion to be much, much faster although the one major drawback (which many other Mac users have noted in various forums on the Internet) is the way it loves to guzzle battery power*. My new MacBook Air darned near goes from 100 down to zero after I turn it on first thing in the morning, hop in the shower, have a quick shave, have a coffee (don't forget the throne) and then sit back down in my chair to see who's at war today in the Middle East on CNN. Just enough juice left to see that Syria's still on the map, Iran is still in one piece and Israel is still standing.

This battery drain problem is apparently going to be addressed in 10.8.1 from what I understand (the update was seeded to developers on August 10th, 2012 and I'm sure we'll see it released to the general public soon — see update below). Other than this one very noticeable flaw, I'd have to say that anyone who has been hesitant to upgrade should give it some serious consideration. I just love it (I never thought I'd hear myself say that after a year of whining about Lion).

Mac users will most certainly appreciate the new Notification Center which slides your whole desktop to the left, displaying notifications from Messages, Calendar, Mail, Reminders and other third-party applications in one list. It's really quite slick. Built-in Sharing is another cool addition and Power Nap lets your Mac go to sleep while keeping your applications up to date with the latest information (ie: mail, notes and reminders, etc.) when it's time to "wake up".

Messages takes a bit of getting used to, especially if you've been a long-time iChat user like myself, and there are still many questions being asked about the Save As feature (or bug). But overall, I'm very pleased with what Apple has done with Mountain Lion in such a short period of time.

You can read more about all of the new features on Apple's website rather than having me repeat them all here. Just don't be disappointed if that old Mac of yours won't run Mountain Lion. And don't forget them cool, useful features for China (so that's why my FireWire Adapter shipped from Shenzhen — quick, go get me that Chinese-American Dictionary).

I'm hurtin' pretty bad here folks so I 'gotta run. I'll talk you in September — hopefully in a tunnel-less state. My apologies for the shorter-than-usual post. Don't go pulling any shenzhen's on me in the meantime...

[Updated 08.22.12] I just checked UPS online to track the order for my FireWire Adapter. It left Shenzhen, China shortly after midnight and is now sitting in Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong. This will be one well-travelled product by the time it arrives in Canada!

[Updated 08.23.12] OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.1 has just been released. A fix for the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air battery performance problems we noted above isn't even mentioned in Apple's release notes. On a lighter note — late last night, my adapter was sitting in Anchorage, Alaska. It was shipped all the way to Mount Hope (Hamilton), Ontario this morning. Talk about taking the long way around. Farewell to Shenzhen.

[Updated 09.19.12] OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 is now available which is apparently supposed to resolve the battery performance problem which many MacBook Air and MacBook Pro users have been experiencing (ourselves included). OS X Lion 10.7.5 is also available today which fixes a wide variety of problems including improved Wi-Fi reliability for Late 2009 and newer iMacs. Lastly, Apple's new iOS 6 is available today.

[Updated 10.30.12] Since this blog was originally posted, I never realized that I had mis-spelled Shenzhen in a few places. The correct spelling is Shenzhen, not "Shenzen". Sorry about that, folks.

* This Apple Support Communities thread about Mountain Lion Battery Life is 84 pages long with over 1,200 replies and over 90,000 page views at the time of writing.

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