OS X Mavericks bullet point impressions

Sections: Apple Software, Features, Hands On / First Looks, Mac Software, Operating Systems, OS X Mavericks

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I’m still getting used to the name “Mavericks.” Although I have no sentimental attachment to cats, and although I didn’t look forward to speculation on which member of the felid species would serve as the name of the next OS X release, they did make for some good box photos. Mavericks is a surf spot, or some such thing, I believe, meaning we’ll eventually get an OS X release called Supertubes or Hossegor.

You’re looking forward to that more than I am.

In the meantime, we have OS X Mavericks, which brings a lot of new functionality to the Macintosh. Most of it is pretty slick, some of it is quite intrusive, and a lot of it you’ll never even notice. I’ve been playing around with the new OS since soon after its release yesterday, and here are my initial thoughts.

  • Despite grabbing it almost immediately after it became available, the download went fairly quick (especially compared to the iOS 7 release). The install, however, took 40 minutes.
  • Something in the update altered the layout of my Finder, so the desktop icons wouldn’t fit where they previously did. To fix this, I had to view my Finder options and bump up the grid spacing. Not a big issue for anyone less fastidious than me, but I found it odd.
  • This matters a bit because the new Tags feature adds a dot to the name of your files and folders. I like the dot in file lists, as it’s easily noticed without being overbearing. I don’t like it as much on the desktop, but will grow used to it.
  • The changes and additions to Notifications are pretty slick, making it easy to keep on top of what’s going on around you without greatly interrupting your work. You can now reply to a text message, for example, right on the notification itself.
  • Thankfully, though, you can turn all of this off when you don’t want to be bothered at all (I know the names of the songs I listen to, iTunes, but thanks for trying to help out). Each app that supports Notifications gets its own control scheme, and you can even set Do Not Disturb to a specific time of day. I would like to see this expanded so you can set different times for different days like many alarm clocks apps now allow.
  • Folder Tabs is a neat idea. If you hold the command key when double clicking a folder in a Finder window, it creates a new tab with that folder’s contents. You can move folder contents by dragging them to a different tab. This makes it easy to manage content without opening dozens of windows, but I wish I could Command + double click a folder on the desktop and have it open in a tab on the Finder window I already have open. Currently, Folder Tabs only seem to work if you Command + double click a folder within a Finder window.
  • In Safari, viewing my history used to come with a search bar so I could quickly drill down to specific URLs. That search seems to be gone now.
  • You may recall that I hated Calendar in iOS 7. Still do. But I don’t mind the changes in OS X. More on that in a separate article.
  • I’m not as big, however, on the chances to Contacts. I’m happy the skeuomorphism is gone, but some color would be nice. Is a complete absence of design really still a design?
  • I like that Contacts allows you to AirDrop contact information to others, but it doesn’t seem to connect with iPhones. It’s either an odd omission or Apple just didn’t set this up well.
  • I like the concept behind iCloud Keychain, which can automatically suggest 256-bit AES encryption-protected secure passwords when asked to create them. They’re stored in the cloud and shared amongst all of your devices, and are kept secure with a four digit pin and your phone number for retrieval. Cool, but if you somehow lose or don’t have access to all of this, that’s a lot of crazy powerful passwords you couldn’t even guess at if you need them.

Those are all just my quick reactions to software and features I’ve used so far. For the most part, I’m pretty much stuck in my normal routine for navigating OS X. As I discover new ways of doing things and happen upon hidden features, I’ll report them here. In the meantime, if there’s anything you like or don’t like about Mavericks, be sure to let us know.

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  • Jim Halverson

    I’m very curious if Mavericks improved memory management so the frequent slowdowns/spinning beachball/pinwheel problems are reduced.
    I recently upgraded from Snow Leopard to Lion so I could use the latest version of Dashlane, a password vault. On 10.6 all I ever do worked fine. Rarely, if ever got slowdowns. (All I do is surf with Safari & Firefox, use iCal, Preview & TextEdit.)
    After “upgrading” to Lion, surfing for awhile makes the system annoyingly slow. Doing a command line Purge helps, but Lion is no Snow Leopard as I use it. Reboot fixes the problem for awhile.

  • Todd

    In the new Safari, if you view your browsing history with History -> Show History (CMD-OPT-2) you can search for URLs, titles, or other content. The search field is in the lower-right part of the window.

  • Murray

    New. to OS X and Mac. How do I type a bullet point in Pages?