Apple releases OS X 10.8.4

Apple on Tuesday released OS X 10.8.4 aim at fixing a number of bugs. Apple KB lists:

  • Compatibility improvements when connecting to certain enterprise Wi-Fi networks
  • Microsoft Exchange compatibility improvements in Calendar
  • A fix for an issue that prevented FaceTime calls to non-U.S. phone numbers
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent scheduled sleep after using Boot Camp
  • Improves VoiceOver compatibility with text in PDF documents
    Includes Safari 6.0.5, which improves stability for some websites with chat features and games
  • A fix for an issue that may cause iMessages to display out of order in Messages
  • Resolves an issue in which Calendars Birthdays may appear incorrectly in certain time zones
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent the desktop background picture from being preserved after restart
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent documents from being saved to a server using SMB
  • Addresses an issue that may prevent certain files from opening after copied to a volume named “Home”
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent changes to files made over NFS from displaying
  • Resolves an issue saving files to an Xsan volume from certain applications
  • Improves Active Directory log-in performance, especially for cached accounts or when using a .local domain
  • Improves OpenDirectory data replication
  • Improves 802.1X compatibility with ActiveDirectory networks
  • Improves compatibility when using mobile accounts

This update is likely the last or second to last before the release of OS X 10.9 to be revealed next Monday at WWDC 2013.

You can get this update through the App Store.

OS X Mountain Lion adoption rate

At the end of July, I posted a graph showing the popularity of OS X Mountain Lion among my readers.

Six days after the release of the new version of OS X, a little bit less than a third of users were already using it.

Just a few minutes ago I ran the same report and this is the result:

Popularity of OS X Mountain Lion
Popularity of OS X Mountain Lion among macography’s readers

Two months after the release of OS X Mountain Lion, more than half of the visitors of this blog are already using the latest version of OS X.

Of course, this is not an absolute number that indicates the overall adoption of OS X Mountain Lion across the world. It remains a good indication of it though. I’d be curious to see if other fellow bloggers get similar results.

It is not a secret that fast adoption of technologies just released to the market is an important thing for companies because it drives revenue and in turn fosters additional innovation. In the case of Apple it also helps drive additional users toward technologies such as iCloud that are strategic to the future company’s growth.

iOS 6 and OS X 10.8.2 available for download

As I said this morning in a hopeful tweet, Apple today has released both iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2.  As I am typing this short post, both the iPhone and iPad are downloading iOS 6 (estimated time 7 minutes) and I’m about to click on update on my MacBook Air.

It’s going to be a long evening. Talk to you later.

OS X 10.8.2 to bring battery life to Snow Leopard levels

A complete set of battery life tests from OS X 10.6.8 to 10.8.2:

The big change came with 10.8.2, which is still undergoing developer testing. Using what was the latest build when the tests were run, 12C35 (a newer build, 12C43 was released September 5), we saw a tremendous increase in battery life, to the point where running time was a few minutes longer than even that of 10.6.8.

I’d love to see this.

OS X Battery Life Analysis from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion – The Mac Observer.

The iOS-ification of OS X

Many long time Mac users are uncomfortable with Apple’s decision to bring many iOS features into OS X.

Henry Taylor-Gill at writes:

When I upgrade to Mountain Lion, I’ll do my utmost to de-iOS-ify it, even though I know there is a limit to how much you can do. But as I said, if Apple’s next step after Mountain Lion/OS X is to simply port iOS to the Mac, then it’s the end of the road for me and the Mac.

There’s a distinctive rumble in many Apple forums about the design decisions made for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion. Like me, many users feel that the OS X apex was reached with OS X Snow Leopard.

I don’t plan to follow in Henry’s footsteps but I can feel his pain. Too much iOS in OS X is not necessarily a positive thing.

via Why iOS Should Get Out Of OS X, And Fast! (Opinion) | MacTrast.

OS X Mountain Lion delay when waking up from sleep

If you’re wondering why your Mac running OS X Mountain Lion sometimes remains unresponsive at the login screen for 3–4 seconds after waking up from sleep, the answer lies in hibernation mode.

You can actually reproduce this behaviour only if your Mac has been in sleep mode for some time. In fact, OS X Mountain Lion appears to put your Mac in hibernation mode to save battery only after about 70 minutes. On the contrary, if you wake up your Mac within 70 minutes from the moment you put it to sleep you can start working on it straight away.

When a Mac is in hibernation, the current machine status is saved on the SSD/hard-drive only to be reloaded into RAM when you wake up your Mac. This process of course takes some time, and this why your Mac seems unresponsive. While the status is being loaded what you actually see on the screen is just a screenshot of the login screen. It’s not that the Mac is unresponsive, it’s just that you’re looking at a static image.

It looks like that by enabling Power Nap on battery helps to minimize this time provided your Mac has at least 30% of charge available. [Edited: I’ve tried this for the past week and it hasn’t helped.]

I haven’t tried this out but I’ll keep you posted if this decreases the wake up time.

OS X Mountain Lion after one week

I am writing this post one week after installing OS X Mountain Lion and I would like to give you my first impressions of the new Apple operating system.

The readers who have been following me for the past year will remember that when OS X Lion was released, I wrote a first post about the new operating system merely 48 hours after installing it.

You might wonder why this year I’ve waited for seven days before writing a similar article.

Well, the reason I have delayed my post is because OS X Mountain Lion represents the operating system that I have been waiting for for the past 12 months. It doesn’t make much sense, does it? Let me elaborate on what I’ve just said.

In the past week, I have tried hard to find a problem with Mountain Lion. I really struggled to find something that bothered me enough to write about, maybe a user interface glitch, some unexpected crash, some incompatibility.

Beside the fact that iCloud is not there yet, I haven’t been able to find anything wrong with Mountain Lion. I even like the name, Mountain Lion, can you believe that?

To date, this is the best release of OS X that I’ve ever seen. In my tests it’s been totally bug free and this says a lot about the amount of QA that Apple have carried out with this version.

Animations are smooth, the responsiveness is better, and in a week I haven’t experienced a single beach ball, just nothing. How about the heat or the battery life? All fine, everything is better.

OS X Mountain Lion is a perfectly tuned and polished version of OS X Lion.

In contrast, this is what I wrote a year ago about Lion:

I sort of wanted this post to be different than it has turned out to be. I hoped to write about the cool new features of the last Apple OS but I am somehow reluctant to do so.

I’m confused. I’m confused in the same way when your favourite wine maker changes the wine you’ve learnt to appreciate over the years. It’s equally good – even better – but not quite the same. I’ve got the same feeling when you know that you were already happy with what you had before.

I’ve used Lion for 48 hours and twice already I’ve been tempted to take my Carbon Copy Cloner backup with Snow Leopard on it and restore it as the main OS.

To make matters worse, two weeks later I complained that Growl, Dropbox, ,Flip4Mac, Flash Player and 1Password still had compatibility issues and ended my post with this sentence:

All in all Lion is good. If you want to see Apple’s future, install it. Despite that, if you are happy with Snow Leopard and if your life is not tied to Apple ecosystem you can skip it for now.

The problem with software compatibility was a serious issue but that alone doesn’t explain why I felt like downgrading to Snow Leopard.

It’s true that the jump from Snow Leopard to OS X Lion was big but it’s also true that Apple is now doing things differently.

You’ll remember that when John Gruber flew down to New York to meet with Phil Schiller to be briefed about OS X Mountain Lion, the Senior Vice President of Product Marketing at Apple said:

We’re starting to do some things differently.

I think that this phrase also referred to the fact that developers would have the chance to use the new operating system earlier than the previous operating systems, hence increase the chance to update their applications in time for the GM version of Mountain Lion.

In fact, I haven’t had a single problem with any of the applications that I normally use.

This, coupled with the fact that I haven’t found a single bug in Mountain Lion makes me a happy user.

Last year OS X Lion left me with a sour taste in my mouth. This year, with Mountain Lion everything tastes better, finally.

iCloud documents and subfolder organization

With the release of OS X Mountain Lion, iCloud has gone from being a technology preview functionality in OS X Lion to a fully fledged function of the new operating system.

The question that I have been asking myself since OS X Mountain Lion was announced in February 2012 is whether I could benefit from documents in iCloud.

Documents stored on iCloud are now standard in many OS X applications, which means that we should be able to work seamlessly on the same files from different devices.

Over the weekend I read a post on the iA Writer blog about the flat organizational file system that iCloud forces us to use. I invite you to read it because it gives you a new way to look at how people manage their documents and how iCloud might solve a certain number of problems.

The author, Oliver Reichenstein, makes a compelling case against the folder/subfolder structure that all of us have been using for years:

Folders tend to grow deeper and deeper. As soon as we have more than a handful of notions, or (beware!) more than one hierarchical level of notions, it gets hard for most brains to build a mental model of that information architecture.

This is absolutely true. Throughout the years, I’ve created some very complex folder structures only to make my life difficult when I want to move a document in one of the folders. My typical problem is whether I should move say a pension statement to the folder General Papers or the one called 2011/Investments or something else. I could give you dozens of examples like this.

When it comes to create a folder structure, my doubts always revolve around whether I should file all my bills in a single massive Bills directory or split them by year, or even better by year and type of bill (2012/Gas Bills, 2011/Internet, …)? As you can see there are so many different ways to achieve the same result.

Oliver also writes:

The more experience you have dealing with notional systems, the more you know that there is no perfect information architecture, but only better or worse compromises. And making compromises is tiring.

The truth is, the more you tweak the folder structure, the more you end up working. It’s an endless game. You can achieve the same level of efficiency – or chaos, depending from the point of view – by organizing your folders in so many different ways.

As usual when it comes to making choices the more options you have, the less effective your decision is.

The author goes on to admit of seeing the light when Apple introduced default folders is OS X such as Music, Documents, Photos etc. These directories helped him to make a drastic decision which was to dump all files in Documents without following any type of subfolder structure. The combined efficiency of search and sort (like iTunes so to speak) turned out to be the best choice for him.

With the introduction of iCloud and app sandboxing, it’s as if Apple has decided to step in and solve the document filing problem once and for all. Gone are the complex folder structures more than one level deep. iCloud in fact allows you only one level of subfolders:

Using iCloud documents, the author states that:

  1. I don’t need to type file extensions into Spotlight any more. In general, documents belong to an app. While there are often several apps that can use the same document, we usually have a preferred app for each document type.
  2. I don’t need to drag documents into the app. I can navigate from app to app, and handle the documents right there.
  3. I don’t need to put files away. The OS does it all for me, and my documents are always at hand in the app that they belong to.

Which is entirely true. I also totally agree with Oliver’s conclusion:

The iCloud Document Library folders, restricted to one level, guide us to use a simple hierarchical system that mirrors our mental model. This makes them easy to understand, gives us peace of mind that the files are in the right place, and relieves us from our OCD compulsion to over-organize.

iA Writer achieves this very easily. As far as I know it’s the first text editor that allows you to manage iCloud folders on both OS X and iOS (Byword in contrast manages folders only in OS X. Their support was not that helpful when I contacted them on whether the iOS version will have the same features. The answer was a generic yes but without much more information).

I would really like to embrace Apple’s vision of document organization but I have two problems with it:

  • I don’t want to link my documents to a particular application.
  • None of Apple standard applications allow me to share files between iOS and OS X.

In fact, both and in OS X Mountain Lion make use of iCloud documents. They even go beyond that by displaying the iCloud storage as the default location the first time you launch them.

I find it funny that there isn’t an equivalent app in iOS that allows me to read a text file created in TextEdit and saved in iCloud.

How about if you want to have a single iCloud location for your PDF files? Apple doesn’t give you any solution to achieve that. doesn’t have an equivalent in iOS. Actually, iOS uses iBooks as a repository for PDF files. Guess what though? Because of sandboxing the two apps cannot share the same iCloud pool of documents. This is inconsistency at the highest level.

If you want to share PDF files seamlessly between iOS and OS X you can buy PDFPen for iOS and OS X that let you store all your PDF on iCloud. My question is why I need to use 3rd party software when both iOS and OS X are able to manage PDF files quite well?

As you can see from these examples, iCloud has been marketed as one of the big features of OS X Mountain Lion but the truth is that it still remains a work in progress. I hope that iOS 6, due to be released sometime this autumn, will improve things but I am not that optimistic.

Apple has embarked in a long journey with iCloud. One day it will likely supersede Finder. For the time being though, I cannot see how users can fully embrace the new technology without making huge compromises that ultimately affect their productivity.

After using OS X Mountain Lion for five days I can tell that one day I might extensively use iCloud documents. For now that functionality remains a grey area for me. An area that I’d like to explore but that Apple doesn’t give me the tools to leverage it. Until that moment I think that Dropbox will remain the solution for my needs.

One third of my readers are already on OS X Mountain Lion

MacRumors reports that Apple sold 3 million copies of OS X Mountain Lion in four days. That is an astounding number and according to Apple it makes the most successful OS X release ever.

Just a few minutes ago I checked what OS X version visitors of use. This is the result:

In six days almost a third of my readers have already upgraded to OS X Mountain Lion. This is really amazing.

Moneydance 2011 adds compatibility with OS X Mountain Lion

Moneydance 2011 for Mac has been updated with the developer digital signature required by OS X Mountain Lion.

You can download the updated version from this link.

The file you need to download is with timestamp 27th July 2012.

Other users and myself had initially some problems but it looks like that this latest build works fine.

The developer digital signing of applications is required if you have set the security setting on OS X Mountain Lion to this:

You can still force an application to launch even if it’s not signed by a developer by:

  • Changing the security settings to Allow applications downloaded from anywhere.
  • Opening the application by using the contextual menu (CTRL + click on the app and choose Open).