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In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle

Jumping to Lion.

Friday night, somewhat on a whim, I decided to upgrade my Mac Pro to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Lest that seem haphazard or foolhardy it wasn’t quite that spontaneous. A Mac Pro has four drive bays and I always have a full clone of my primary HD with the OS. I also made sure that my key software would be compatible and I jumped through all the hoops one normally would with an OS upgrade. My HD was freshly cloned, I repaired permissions, I made sure to unhook all external hard drives, and I copied all of the settings for my printers and the color profiles I have added to the system.

My Mac Pro was one of the first Intel Xeon models, a 2x – 3 GHz dual-core. It has performed well and I am amazed (knock wood) that it is still running and viable.  Next fall it will be six years old. I will most certainly get a new one when the Mac Pro gets a refresh (the line hasn’t been updated since 2010) but until then I’ll tweak things a bit to get whatever boost out of it that I can.

Earlier in the day on Friday I had swapped out its OEM HD (a WD 250gb 7200rpm) with a new 2TB Hitachi drive. I didn’t need 2TB but this drive is highly rated and tested to be one of the fastest. The change proved easy (there were no permissions or software registration issues) and it provided a small but noticeable speed bump. Certainly to be expected with a ’11 drive vs. an ’06 one.

I think the ease of that switch along with an inkling to get going on Lion now that it is 10.7.2 and to jump into some iCloud features prompted me to make the leap.

Installation of Lion (you buy it via the Mac App Store) was quick and painless. It was done within twenty minutes. Instantly my system saw a big increase in speed. Booting up which took a couple of minutes (? – I never timed it) or plus another 30-45 sec. for email and my web home page to be up, running, and fully functional; now is done within 48 seconds with everything good to go. Programs open quicker across the board. Scrolling and other actions are lightening quick.

I like some of the new visual simplicity of Lion. All windows, scrolling, and GUI items seem to be tuned to making the content the king. It takes some getting used to what feels like reverse scrolling. This is similar to an iPhone or iPad where you scroll in a more logical/correct way, e.g. to scroll down the bottom of the page is pulled up. If you don’t like that behavior on a desktop you can always switch back to the old way in System Preferences. Similarly, moving back and forth between pages viewed in Safari is now done with a one finger swipe across the mouse, much the same way you would leaf through pages. The iOS influence doesn’t stop there, you can double-tap on an image or text in Safari to make it fill the window.


-Immediately upon installing Lion I had one screen issue. Black boxes and bars where showing up as the mouse or a window was moved around the screen. Turns out this was because I had my desktop set to a jpeg image (flat grey, at 100, 100, 100). Switching that to an official desktop choice of dark grey (very close at 95, 95, 95) in the System Preferences corrected the problem.

-In prior OS upgrades information like custom saved printer settings, custom color profiles, software registration, and monitor calibration profiles were often lost. That is not the case with Lion.

-The only big bug I have hit so far is that Aperture would not send files to the trash bin in the dock. They would disappear into the ether. Some searching shows this to be a common problem and one thread in Apple Discussions has the solution. A reset to the trash bin needed. In my case, my Aperture library and all of my image files are on an external raid. To correct the problem the trash bin on my main HD had to be reset.

***Update 12/19/11 – Fix doesn’t hold. Problem reappears.***

-I have two Epson printers (a 3800 and a 7800) plus an Epson scanner (Perfection 4870 Photo). All work fine under Lion. The printers had to be deleted from the System Preferences list and then reinstalled. Both of the printers are connected via ethernet and the 7800 had to have its ethernet cable disconnected and the reconnected to get it to appear as a new printer.

One note about the scanner and Photoshop CS5. The scanner works fine running under Apple’s scanner import or Epson’s “Epson Scan” but you will no longer see the scanner show up in PS CS5. This was the case before Lion. PS CS5’s scanner interface, twain importer, no longer ships with CS5. You can get it from Adobe and install it but it will not appear within PS unless you force PS to run in 32-bit mode.

-I have a third printer, a Lexmark laser printer, and it had no hiccups. It was there working with no need to delete and reinstall.

-Canon DPP looks to work fine in Lion but Canon EOS Utility does not. For those of you shooting tethered you’ll need another route (e.g. tethering via Aperture). Canon is promising a Lion compatible EOS Utility in the first quarter of 2012.

***Update 02/13/12 – EOS Utility has been updated for Lion. I have not tested it but tethering via EOS Utility & DPP should work fine. Go to your camera, “Drivers & Software,” to access EOS Utility.***

-A quick check to FCP 7 along with Soundtrack Pro showed them to open and work fine. I was able to open an old FCP project and everything was intact. FCP X, of course, is fine as well.

-X-rite, née Gretag-Macbeth, Eye-One Match is not compatible with Lion. I knew that going in. X-rite has a listing of compatibility and upgrade paths here.

***Update 02/13/12 – Turns out that you can download i1Profiler and it will calibrate your monitor (ext. or laptop screen) without having to pay for an upgrade. This will not give you access to paper profiling (you’ll have to pay for that.) The monitor profiling works very well and adds auto luminance, something that Eye-One Match never had. It did a great job of calibrating my laptop. Use this link to download i1Profiler.***

-NEC Spectraview II works fine but you’ll need to set it to save profiles to “per user of this computer.”

-Saving the best for last, hard to believe on an almost six year computer, but the speed bump in Aperture going from 10.6 Snow Leopard to 10.7 Lion is ~25%. Processing out the same 206 raw files (Canon 1Ds Mark III) to jpegs averaged 13.73/min in 10.6 and 17.17/min in 10.7.

Updates added 12/19/11 and 02/13/12.