Is your printer supported by OS X Lion?

Before upgrading to OS X Lion, it is wise to check if your printer is supported by the new operating system. Printers that are supported by Snow Leopard should run the same under Lion. Apple has published a support article that lists the supported printers under OS X.

Apple supplies third party printer drivers via OS X Lion’s System Update. Do not install printer drivers from CDs supplied as part of the printer as it is probably not updated for OS X Lion. Before you connect your printer to a Mac, run the System Update to install any available system updates. Connect your printer to the Mac, and OS X Lion will automatically download the necessary printer drivers.

OS X Lion, Mac OS X v10.6: Printer and scanner software

Safari improvements in OS X Lion

Safari 5.1 is available for both Snow Leopard and Lion, but there are notable improvements in Safari for Lion that makes it a better browsing experience. These Lion only improvements are made possible due to the new features in the underlying OS X Lion, and are good enough reasons for some to upgrade to Lion from Snow Leopard.

safari-lion

Using Safari in full-screen mode is just a pleasure. Each window and its tabs occupies one full screen, and you quickly switch between multiple full-screen by a quick three-fingers swipe. You can have one or more Safari windows in full-screen mode with the rest remain as original size within one desktop.

gesture

Multi-touch gestures gets an overwhelming emphasis in Lion with new gestures for switching spaces, access the mission control and launchpad etc. For Safari, new in Lion is the ability to double-tap to zoom and magnify part of a page. This is similar to what you can do on iPhone and iPad. You can also use the two-fingers swipe left-right to navigate forward and back the visited pages. And you switch between full-screen mode and other full-screen spaces by swiping three-fingers left or right.

When you mouse over a word, you can bring out the dictionary and thesaurus of the word by simple tapping on the word with three fingers. This is more convenient than the keyword shortcut Control-Command-d.

downloadpop

The Download window is a popover window for Safari on Lion. You access the download popover by clicking on the download button on the right of the search bar. This is how download window should be.

Besides all these changes from the Snow Leopard version, we notice Safari on Lion uses less memory. We have not conduct any actual test, but based on our normal browsing pattern, Safari for Snow Leopard consistently hits over 800MB to over 1GB of memory usage. In Lion, the memory is hovering in a healthier 500MB-700MB range. This is not a conclusive result, as memory usage depends also on how many and what type of plugins you are running within Safari.

We have to conclude that Safari is the best browser right now for Lion with its full-screen mode, multi-touch gestures support and features such as Reading List and Reader.

How to disable Dashboard as a space in OS X Lion

Spaces, introduced in OS X Leopard, gives you virtual desktops to organise running apps. OS X Lion improves Spaces with the introduction of Mission Control and full-screen apps. Together with new trackpad gestures, Spaces is now an integral part of how you interact with apps in OS X Lion.

When you turn an app to full screen mode, OS X Lion will put the app into its own Spaces. To switch between Spaces, you swipe on the trackpad left or right with three fingers. You can add or remove Spaces directly from Mission Control (run the Mission Control app or swipe up with three-fingers on trackpad).

By default, Dashboard appears as the first Spaces. If you are not a Dashboard user, you can hide Dashboard from appearing as Spaces.

launchpad

In OS X Lion, Spaces is part of Mission Control. Open the Mission Control settings in System Preferences to disable Dashboard as a space. Uncheck the settings “Show Dashboard as a space” to hide Dashboard as Spaces.

How to change the computer name in Mac OS X Lion

Your Mac’s computer name is setup automatically by the OS X Lion install program. It uses the name you type in for the registration form during setup, combine with the model of your Mac. For example “Sarah’s MacBook Pro”. This is the name that will appear when you or someone is browsing your computer network.

It is common to name the computers in a network with names from a series, such as Toy Story characters, fruit names or name of constellations. Under Mac OS X, it might not be obvious where are the settings in System Preferences to change the computer name.

changename1

The setting to change the computer name is hidden under “Sharing” in System Preferences. Those with MS Windows experience tends to look for it under “Network”. Open System Preferences and click on the Sharing icon.

changename-2

Click on the box beside “Computer Name” and enter the new name for your computer. That’s it and it is that simple.

Java for OS X Lion

java-lion

With Mac OS X Lion, Apple has a change of direction in terms of Java runtime support. Apple has stated that it is returning the development and support of Java runtime back to Oracle. Java runtime is not bundled as default in Lion as in previous Mac OS X. Instead it is a separate download. Apparently the transition of Java runtime codebase back to Oracle is not ready. Thus Apple is still providing its own version of Java for Mac OS X Lion. You can download Apple’s Java for OS X Lion from the link below.

Download Java for OS X Lion

OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive available at Apple online store for $69

osx-lion-usb-thumbdrive

Apple has started selling OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive at its online store. The physical drive is for those without a broadband connection, as the digital download via Mac App Store is the recommended way to get OS X Lion. At $69, OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive is about $39 more costly than the download from Mac App Store at $29.99. Check out our article on how to obtain Mac OS X 10.7 Lion boot disk for a list of options.

OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive at Apple online store

Missing features in Mac OS X Lion

Apple is slated to release Mac OS X Lion 10.7 later this month. Mac OS X Lion boosts over 250 new features such as Mission Control, Launchpad, Versions, FaceTime HD, AirDrop, Multi-Touch Gestures, Resume, Auto-Save, Full-Screen Apps etc. At just $29.99 for the upgrade, Mac OS X Lion is a no brainer upgrade for Mac users.

Apple also drops some features out of Mac OS X Lion compared with Mac OS X Snow Leopard. These ‘missing features’ will be kept intact If you’re upgrading from Snow Leopard. If you install Mac OS X Lion from scratch, these tools will be gone.

iSync

iSync is the utility that allows you to sync the information on your Mac with Bluetooth devices. For example, iSync plug-in software is used in order to sync calendar and contacts info on your Mac over to your Nokia phone. Apple uses iTunes for its content sync, iSync is meant for supporting third party hardwares and it meant little for Apple to support iSync further.

Front Row

Front Row is the TV-oriented media center playback app for your photos, music and movies in iTunes. Front Row was released in 2005 together with an IR remote to control its functionality. Apple has stopped bundling IR remote with iMacs and other models, signaling a lack of interest in Front Row.

It is not a surprised that Front Row is dropped from Mac OS X Lion. AppleTV is the device of choice for streaming iTunes content, and Front Row functionality is now the interface for AppleTV.

Rosetta

Rosetta is the piece of system software within Mac OS X that enables software compiled for PowerPC processor to run on Intel Macs. Rosetta is not supported in Mac OS X Lion, thus PowerPC software such as Appleworks, Office 2004, Quicken 2007, Photoshop CS 4 etc will not work under Mac OS X Lion.

Java runtime

Java runtime used to come preinstalled in Mac OS X, but it is no longer the case with Mac OS X Lion. Apple no longer maintains and supports its version of Java runtime for Mac, instead Java for Mac will be part of OpenJDK going forward.

When you attempt to run a Java app, Mac OS X Lion offers to look online for a version it can install.

Adobe Flash

Similar to Java runtime, Mac OS X used to come preinstalled with Adobe Flash and plugins. Starting with Mac OS X Snow Leopard for MacBook Air, users are advised to download Flash software from Adobe website if required.

Retail box

Mac OS X Lion will be available only from Mac App Store. There is no retail box that you can buy.

Mac OS X Server

There is no separate Mac OS X Server for Lion. Lion Server will be an add-on to Mac OS X Lion. There will be a $49.99 download of a software bundle of server components directly from the Mac App Store. The pricing is a sharp contrast with $499 for Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server.

Core 2 Duo 64-bit processor required

Mac OS X Lion requires 64-bit CPU, with a minimum Core 2 Duo processor. Any Mac bought within the last 5 years should have the Core 2 Duo CPU minimum. Snow Leopard is able to run under older Core Duo.

USB 3

There is no official USB 3 driver under Mac OS X Lion. Understandably as there is no Mac with a USB 3 port yet as Thunderbolt is the next-gen device interface for Mac.

Mac OS X Homepage