It’s Sunday and I’m really trying to fight off the urge to go take a nap instead of finishing up my little series on Lion. Over the past couple of days I’ve written down my thoughts on Mission Control; the Mail, iCal, and Address Book apps; and changes in Finder, spelling auto-correct, and some miscellaneous preferences. This final post will concern the new Application/OS Resume, Auto-Save and Versions, and a couple of miscellaneous applications for which I didn’t have enough to say to warrant creating another post.
You know, I really thought I had more to write in the “miscellaneous apps” category. It turns out I only have a few things written down, and one of them is really just a product of App Resume that goes away when disabled.
- Preview–the sidebar opens on the left now, instead of the right. I have no idea why you would change this, but it’s not that big of a deal. One of my coworkers mentioned that it looks a lot more like Adobe Reader now, which I guess it does.
- Terminal–previous scrollback history should not persist when Quitting and restarting the app. You guessed it, this was actually because of App Resume. After disabling that, Terminal no longer exhibited that behavior.
- TextEdit refuses to abide by my App Resume setting for one very important case. There are times when all I want to do is open TextEdit, throw some text in there for about five seconds (say, to remove formatting or use it as a scratchpad), then quit the app without saving. With the new TextEdit in Lion, quitting the application without first closing the window (using Cmd-W) will just save whatever text was in the window and display it again the next time I open TextEdit. If I left App Resume enabled, I could see this being correct behavior. However, I disabled App Resume in System Preferences. So why is it saving this data between sessions? It’s getting very annoying.
App/System Resume is one of those features that sounds great on paper, but ends up being less-than-useful in practice. The idea of being able to start an application–or your Mac–and immediately start where you left off is pretty cool. The problem lies in the reason why I restart applications: I actually want a clean slate. Turns out this is the same reason I reboot. (Well, okay, mainly that’s to patch the OS…or Safari, but don’t get me started on why a browser upgrade should ever need a full system restart.)
So, I like the idea of being able to resume an application right where I left off, but I really don’t want it to be the default behavior. What I’ve found (through spelunking the web) is that you can now use Cmd-Q and Cmd-Opt-Q to quit apps. Governing their behavior is whether Resume is enabled or not in System Preferences. When Resume is enabled, Cmd-Q will quit the app and save state, while Cmd-Opt-Q will quit the app cleanly. When Resume is disabled, however, the two shortcuts are reversed. This means that I can disable Resume by default, but if I ever want to save the application’s state, I can quit using Cmd-Opt-Q. I could see being this very handy for those marathon Wikipedia sessions where I look up after five hours and realize that a) I have four hundred tabs open to Wikipedia articles in Safari; and b) OS X would like to patch itself. With Resume, I can just Cmd-Opt-Q quit Safari, patch OS X, reboot, and reopen Safari to continue “learning”.
Of course, System Resume is pretty much the same thing but on a grander scale. When you log off or shut down / restart, you’re asked whether or not you want to resume your apps when you reboot. What I haven’t found is a way to default that little check box to disabled (to not save state), which seems to frustrate one of my coworkers a bit. I haven’t decided if I mind yet, having only rebooted a total of one time after the upgrade.
Auto Save and Versions
This early in the game I really do not have that much to say about these two features. I was actually afraid that Apple had taken the ability away to arbitrarily save in apps that support Auto Save, but I realize now that that is not the case. What I find interesting is that (at least in TextEdit) the Lock, Duplicate, and Browse All Versions commands are nowhere in any menu: you have to click on the title of the document in the actual window to get to those features. How very un-Mac-like. I was also apprehensive about what the auto-save / versioning thing would do to the size of files, but (having read nothing yet about how these two features work) it looks like version data is stored somewhere outside the document. (What I was really apprehensive about was what a plaintext document created in TextEdit would look like with the command-line utility cat(1). It looks fine.) One thing that does bother me is that when I quit TextEdit, it does not ask me whether I want to save my changes, it just does it. Many times I’ll modify a document knowing full well that I don’t want to keep the changes. Perhaps I just need to build a string out of text already in the document. (Yes, this is probably a “dangerous” practice, but I’ve done it since something like 1990 without any major repercussions.) With Auto Save, it seems like I’ll be forced to change the way I work. I don’t view this as a plus. I do not like it when my tools force me to work a different way.
I’ve now had Lion installed for three days. My world has neither stopped nor really sped into the future with this latest release from Apple. I have identified a few things in Lion that I do not care for at all, yet have also stumbled upon a few other things that may make using a computer just a little nicer. At the end of the day, I have to remind myself that…well, that I probably need to get out more. :-) It’s been kind of fun writing these posts up. Hopefully they will prove useful to someone other than me.