New Thing #155: Magic Trackpad



I’ve been using Mac OS X Lion for over a week now and I’m still getting used to it. And I’ll admit that it’s been growing on me. But one thing that’s become clear to me, this OS really wants to integrate touch input into the experience something fierce.

Luckily I got a taste of it wiht my Magic Mouse. Unfortunately, gestures on such a small and rounded surface just feel awkward and clunky. So I broke down and bought myself a Magic Trackpad today.

I’m happy to say that fullscreen apps, Launchpad and Mission Control make so much more sense now. I love swiping between full screen apps at a breakneck pace. I love pulling up Mission Control seamlessless. I love being able pinch outwards (if there is such a thing) to scatter all my windows off my desktop at once. Because when these gestures in Lion work, they work very well.

There’s only one problem, selecting text is a colosal pain in the ass. Sure, double tapping selects a word and triple tapping selects a paragraph, but what about when I just want to select a sentence in the middle? I have to awkwardly press the Magic Trackpad with one finger and then drag with another. 

So it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The trackpad makes interfacing with the OS simpler, smoother and genuinely makes you feel more connected to the hardware. But editing type with it is for shit.

PS. I don’t think there’s anyway I could use this for design work, so I won’t be throwing my mouse out the window just yet. 

PPS. I just accidentally found out that all you have to do is slide three fingers across the trackpad to select text. I take it all back. Steve Jobs can keep my money…again.


New Thing #145: Mac OS X Lion



Some might say that I’m an Apple Fanboy, and for the most part, they’re probably right.

Sure, I surround myself with Apple products and try to convince people to come over to the other side whenever I can. But I also admit when I don’t like something they’ve done. That’s why the new Lion operating system is a really weird one for me to talk about.

On one hand there seem to be a ton of little improvements that I think will make my life easier when I’m working, on the other hand there’s features that I just don’t get.

What I do like is that, for $30 and a quick install, my old MacBook Pro feels snappier than it has in years. I might actually use Spaces now that they’re essentially married to Expose and some of the new Finder views make it much more powerful that it used to be. It might actually be worth the $30 just to get the new Mail app. It’s instantly the best email client I’ve used. Sorry Sparrow.

But then there’s Launchpad, which is essentially an iPad view for your apps which just feels, well, stupid. I already have all the apps I use in my dock and I usually launch them a keyboard shortcuts anyway.

I’m going to give this new method of backwards scrolling a week or two to see if I can get used to it, but I don’t quite get what was wrong with the old way to begin with. Scratch that, I’ll give it another day, it’s already driving me nuts.

Full screen apps seem like a great idea, but it’s funny that we’ve come full circle back to my Amiga multi-tasking days. My Magic Mouse now seams to serve a purpose as a few handy gestures have been built into the OS, so that’s a bonus.

All told, it seems pretty good, but nothing here is blowing me out of the water yet. 

UPDATE: I’ve just switch scrolling back to normal.

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