blog the new os x same as the old os x

The new OS X, same as the old OS X

This past Monday morning, Apple reported that their latest version (10.8) of OS X, called Mountain Lion for those still running System 7, had been downloaded over three million times in its first four days of release. As the owner, builder, and curser of a Hackintosh, I’m happy to say that I was one of those three million. Of course, you don’t have to install 10.8 just because you downloaded it (you’re actually downloading the installer app), but that’d be an odd use of $19.99.

I only waited two days past the OS’s release to take a stab at forcing it onto my Core i7 Sandy Bridge-based Hackintosh. The boards over at the (newly redesigned) were awash with success stories—and more than a few issues with systems that were, luckily, fairly dissimilar to my own—and new versions of install utilities UniBeast and MultiBeast, so I dove in. For you people. After cloning my system drive, I first tried installing Mountain Lion on the clone. Upon rebooting, everything seemed fine until I checked the "About This Mac" tool, which informed me that my system had somehow been downgraded from 10.4 to 10.2. No joke. As best as I can figure, UniBeast used an older, zipped Lion file that was still in my Applications folder from which to build its installer. After I moved that file, everything worked according to plan, including installing Mountain Lion on my main system drive.

Two odd side effects: First, the eject key no longer opens the door on my optical drive. This development would be more disheartening if it were 2007, but I’ll survive using the physical open/close button on the drive itself every six weeks or so. Second, Apple changed how the Finder shows the file structure on a camera’s SD card. So if you like poking around for you movie files, you have to click on what was once a folder—but is now a giant package file—and Show Package Contents. Some people have surmised that it has something to do with iCloud and photo synching or some such. Some people have too much time on their hands.

And so, Friday afternoon, I was chugging away on Mountain Lion, back writing words for money instead of attempting to crash the computer I use to write said words to make said money. And now, after a week of using Mountain Lion, I can give this update a very enthusiastic "whatever, dude." (As always, this is an opinion and not a full review. There are 66,400,000 hits on Google for such reviews. You come here for the words you love to hate, if past commenters are any indication.)

It’s not that Mountain Lion is a bad update. It didn’t break (completely) anything of import, from what I can tell. And a few of the new bits are quite useful in everyday use. Among them:

Notifications. I already use Notifications in a way I never did with Growl. (I know some people swear by Growl, and I appreciated what it does, but I just never could embrace it. Not unlike water polo. But wholly unlike synchronized trampolining.)

Dashboard improvements. Widget management has finally moved into the modern era with folders and Springboard/Launchpad-type icon arrangement. Mainly, this highlighted the number of unused widgets I had from Puma, but it’s still nicer than the old way.

Mail improvements.
Setting VIPs in Mail is nice, especially when combined with Notifications. Setting your first VIP automatically creates a VIP smart mailbox and emails a virus-laden chain email to people who use the term "automagically." Sweet.

Minor niftiness. Preview finally lets folks fill out PDF forms. Time Machine lets you encrypt backups and have more than one destination drive. And after finally getting Messages Beta to sync conversations will all my devices just two days before Mountain Lion was released (timing!), the official Messages release has worked right out of the box. If it had come in a box instead of part of a four-gigabyte download. Thank God for my HST.

Otherwise, I haven’t encountered a lot of bits that matter to me. Reminders might come in handy once I upgrade to the iPhone 5 and start having Siri remind me to love my children on a fortnightly basis. AirPlay Mirroring would be nice in certain circumstances, but doesn’t work on my particular flavor of Hackintosh. Dictation doesn’t work very well if you can tell from the sun. (Yes, I dictated that. Well, not that. You get the idea.) The new Share button is nice, but would be nicer if it bullied its way into non-Apple programs. I’m not going to switch back to Safari just for that. Or for its iCloud tab syncing (which I already enjoy with Chrome). Or its Offline Reading List, since I didn’t pay to not use Instapaper for nothing, folks.

Honestly, though, the best of the 200 dubiously counted features of Mountain Lion goes to Fuzzy Pinyin input. Not only is it a great band name, but it’ll also help my kids practice communicating with their eventual employers/robot overlords.

And if that isn’t worth sixteen quid*, I don’t know what is.



*Unpredictable balm failed to cure my Olympic fever. Sorry.

0 responses to “The new OS X, same as the old OS X

  1. As a Pro Tools user I’ver found its wise to wait a good year or so before changing OS. I did it once too quickly and descended into computer hell for weeks.

  2. I say the only problem with Civ V (expansion or no) is the difficulty system and stupidity of the opponents. Other than that it’s great

  3. I haven’t bought G&K yet, I’m in sort of a “fool me once” mood right now. Maybe at $10 or less.

  4. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly know gaming on a PC is superior, but all things told I don’t actually do much gaming, just Civ 5 and Starcraft 2, so that’s another reason I’m not inclined to dual boot OSX and W7 on my MacBook. I did, however, try to make myself a dedicated gaming rig at one point, but I’ve had constant issues with reliability and it was costing me too much money to try and fix

  5. [quote<]or stay away from macs altogether because they're unholy and vile and the scum of anything technological[/quote<] There's nothing wrong with OSX at all, and it's a great OS for just about any use case. Unfortunately gaming is the one big exception though, and Windows has far better games support (both in quantity and quality). Certainly gaming on OSX is getting better in recent years (with the backing of Valve for example) but it still has a long way to go to catch up with Windows, so for the time being if you really want the best PC gaming experience you are stuck with Windows.

  6. I don’t actually play in diety, I was just making a comparison 😛 I actually play on…..Prince? I believe, it’s the first difficulty level that starts giving bonuses to the other civs. I’m not nearly good enough to be above that yet. But the method they use for increasing the difficulty is too artificial and doesn’t add enough depth to the game IMO. Diplomacy is basically just trading luxury for cash early on and, in the later stages of games where you’re a real powerhouse, just buying cities off your opponents.

  7. I play on immortal, not deity, as i win on immortal, and don’t on deity. It’s true, but that’s how it goes. obviously you’ll be able to out think the computer, there’s not much else they can do besides give them a handicap. i usually only get 1, MAYBE 2 of the early wonders, as i have to rush one, and then HOPE to get it at that level. Later it only gets worse. late game i’m usually over 1k science a turn, but it’s hard keeping up on immortal, nm deity.

    you’re right, it’s not perfect, but what game is (besides hon)? i think a bigger issue is the addition of faith removing the unhappiness from city building. you can easily get +5 happiness per city with religion, so you can expand much quicker than in vanilla. It’s more fun to play multiplayer anyway, as it’s a better challenge.

  8. Playing as Egypt with a source of marble and the tradition ->wonder building bonus, as well as the ancient/classical wonder pantheon leads to some ridiculous build times for the first few wonders, and makes me think that something is a bit OP about Egypt when all of those are combined

    The massive early game boost to wonder construction merely becomes annoying when you find all of the wonders amazingly constructed a few turns before you complete them, due to the massive bonuses the rather stupid AI gets instead of simply making it a more tactical, smarter, and dynamic opponent

    I always thought of playing Civ 5 diety as like playing chess against a brand new player who’s given all queens and you have to play the game with all pawns

  9. personally, i prefer v’s combat enough to put up with it’s other shortcomings. I like G&K even though faith needs a heavy neuter. it’s still an excellent game.

  10. I’m expecting you to either say downgrade back to Lion or stay away from macs altogether because they’re unholy and vile and the scum of anything technological, just based upon the general attitude I see towards macs from those who don’t actually use them.

  11. Do you really need anyone on this site to give you the correct solution to this problem? (No, it’s not a technical solution related to OSX.)

  12. [quote<]...and new versions of install utilities UniBeast and MultiBeast, so I dove in. For you people. [/quote<] What do you mean...[i<]you people[/i<]? :-p

  13. I don’t have enough space on the SSD in my Macbook to create a proper Windows partition, and my system was expensive enough without tacking on the $200 cost of Windows onto it. Besides, before OSX 10.8, Civ 5 ran perfectly acceptable on the hardware I had, so I had no thought nor reason to spend a couple hundred dollars to be able to up the detail levels a bit

  14. …why would you even bother with Civ5 on OSX??? It runs much faster on same exact hardware on Windows 7 (installed using BootCamp), where you can actually install latest videocard drivers (in my case, Nvidia’s drivers). Same goes for just about every game which is available for both OSX and Windows…

  15. I only noticed 2 things when I upgraded to Mountain Lion, both of them negative

    1. It disabled the option to scale down my 2560×1440 monitor to 1920×1080 (it gives me other options, just not that one)
    2. It completely broke the performance of Civilization 5. The game will run at maybe 1 frame every 2 seconds and will crash every few turns, but I give up long before a few turns has passed with that performance.

  16. I had trouble with my hack as I could not remember how I actually installed it. It was running 10.6.8 but the app store refused to accept as a mac. Its a GA-EP45UD3 so I was a little frustrated then I remember the hack I made for my daughter who had a mac book pro 17 but early 2GB ram is the max. The one I made had a similar board and 8600 video card but used Kakewalk. Since I wanted ML to try as my real mac is the 2007 MacPro (already using one of hidden Sata ports for the lower drive; the one with 32bit EFI.
    Kakewalk was slick as I made usb stick and installed 10.7.2 on a new drive and successfully accessed the app store and paid the 19.95 for ML.
    Once I got ML I copied the InstallESD and made a new boot stick. Erased the 10.7.2 and did a clean install. No sound as in the 10.6.8 I had both sound plus digital optical working. I did a quick search and found out use TonyMac86 Multibeast to install sound with DSDT. Darn thing works and use migration from the son leo drive. All my production software works. Once I feel comfortable I may make the 2007 MacPro into hack.
    I was teaching a class in the spring and people noticed this black peecee case with a white Apple Logo. Explained I like macs but but I am too old to carry the beast up a flight a stairs so I built a “Hackintosh” and branded it with an Apple Logo.

    Lou Cioccio

  17. You should use a picture of your actual Hackintosh and/or desktop screenshot instead of an MBA picture.