Breakfast with the Lion

Updated October 9th, 2019.

I installed Mac OS X Lion onto my MacBook last night. Once installed, Spotlight began indexing my hard drive, and that’s a pretty intensive process that really slows everything down (except for the fans inside the MacBook, which were going full-speed). Considering the “About 10 hours remaining” in the following dialog box…

…I thought it would be better to leave it alone, have dessert, go to bed, and try it again in the morning. With breakfast. Which is what I did. Here’s how it went.

Let’s Get Started
The first thing I noticed about Lion is how clumsy I am with it, especially with the scroll bars and window resizing. This is going to take some getting used to. I will probably have something to say about the new Finder, and it will probably not be totally positive, because my first impression with Lion’s Finder is it’s not as good as Snow Leopard’s Finder. Quite a disappointment.

Main Course
The Apple apps all seem to work just fine, as you would expect. Mail upgraded my old Mail and it’s better than the old mail. iChat works. Safari works. Address Book works but I like the old one better. Spotlight works but needs configuring (somebody, remind me to write about that). Pages and Numbers ’09 work (but man is it weird to see Pages say “saving” when I quit without saving! That’s Lion for you.)

Third-party apps, including Microsoft Word 2011, Microsoft Excel 2011, and Microsoft PowerPoint 2011, seem to work fine. I launched them all, made a new document with them all, and printed from them all. Nothing fancy, and of course I can’t test every feature in every program so there may be something that does not work. But, at least for the basics, Office 2011 seems to work.

Office 2008 (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) open and print. AutoUpdate DOES work (choose “Check for Updates” from the Help menu of any of those three apps). Microsoft’s AutoUpdate used to be PowerPC code, and it is probably hanging around in your Applications folder, a mistake by Microsoft’s installer– it looks like this, and it won’t work in Lion:

(when you see it in Lion it will have a circle and a slash through it). The version of AutoUpdate that works looks like this:

and it lives in a totally different place (see below).

You don’t need to know where it lives, but you do need to know that it works. So, basically, if you have Office 2008 installed already, you’re probably good to go. If you’re only up to Office 2004 (which definitely does not work), you should probably buy Office 2011. Note: contrary to what I thought I knew a few days ago, Office 2008 can be installed under Lion. I tested that first-hand here. I had my doubts about the installer but I was able to install Office 2008 on my Lionized MacBook without any trouble.

Outlook 2011 works (part of Office 2011 if you pay for the Business version). Entourage 2008, which you really ought to ditch anyway (Microsoft did– that’s why they ship Office 2011 with Outlook instead), doesn’t work very well for me. In fact, it won’t do anything other than launch and crash. Your mileage may vary but if I’m having trouble, who’s to say you won’t too?

FileMaker Pro 11 seems to work, more or less. It isn’t as fast as it was in Snow Leopard but that may be due to increased RAM requirements. Look at these screenshots of FileMaker Pro 11’s opening screen– the first, under Snow Leopard, the second, under Lion. Seems to be having some problems.


Other issues in FileMaker include an inability to export files in Excel’s “xls” format (requires Rosetta, which is not available in Lion). This is not such a big deal because you can export to the “xlsx” format (the newer one) without Rosetta. However, if you have a FileMaker database with scripts that call on the xls export step you are going to have some work to do changing things over.

If you use Evernote, which I do, you will be sorry to hear that as of this writing Evernote’s Safari Web Clipping button does not work. They know about it, and they’re fixing it.

Fujitsu’s ScanSnap scanner works, hallelujah. This is the greatest time-saver and desk-cleaner-upper ever… scans both sides of a sheet of paper in seconds, one-button operation, and if you couple it with Evernote you can search for items by their content! No more worrying about naming things perfectly or filing them perfectly. Very handy, and I’m thrilled that this works fine in Lion.

I Think I Will Have a Second Cup, Thank You
Lion is more or less working here. Apple will probably have an update of their own soon– my advice would be to wait for that first Apple update, at the very least, before installing. Most likely Apple already had a list of things they wanted to fix but they couldn’t wait forever to get Lion out the door. Let them get that first update out before you make your move.

UPDATE: Here is Microsoft’s official statement about Office 2008 and 2011 and Lion. According to them, everything more or less works, and updates are on the way– for Office 2011 first, then for Office 2008. (I like how they say that such and such action “may” result in a crash. I think I would bet on it.)

Copyright 2008-2023 Christian Boyce. All rights reserved.

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