Mac News Review

How to Use Substitition in Mountain Lion, Wozniak Sees Dark Side of the Cloud, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.08.10

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in iOS News Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

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News & Opinion

How to Use Mountain Lion's Built-in 'Substitution' Text Expansion Feature

Substitution text expansion in OS X 10.8 Mountain LionOne of the best features brought over to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion from the iOS is basic text expansion, what we used to call text macros in the old days. There are a variety of third party text expansion solutions - including TypeIt4Me, Typinator, and TextExpander - but the iOS has the basic function built into the OS itself, and now so does Mountain Lion, with Apple calling it Substitution.

Lifehacker's Adam Dachis has posted a handy tutorial on how to how to set it up and and get you started.

Restore Classic Exposé Behavior in Mountain Lion

MacFixIt's Topher Kessler notes that the option to view all windows onscreen in Exposé is back as a system preferences option in OS X Mountain Lion's Mission Control feature that succeeded the Exposé and Spaces features introduced in OS X 10.5 Leopard. Unfortunately, Mission Control left out some of the simple approaches to Spaces that users had become accustomed to, such as the ability to view every open window in one Exposé view, regardless of what application it uses. With OS X 10.7 Lion Mission Control, Apple only allowed windows of a single program to be presented in Exposé view, showing windows for separate applications in groups, supposedly offering a more intuitive approach for viewing all windows, but many users disagreed.

Anyway, in Mountain Lion, Apple has restored the ability to view all windows in Exposé view, although default Exposé behavior is still as it was in OS X 10.7.

Publisher's note: Pet peeve as a writer and as a one-time book designer - the final e in Exposé is accented. If you don't include the accent, the word is expose - even if you capitalize it as a proper noun. It's easy to type on the Mac: press Opt-e followed by e (much easier on Macs and iDevices than in Windows or Linux - an oft forgotten Mac advantage). We should expect better from Cnet or any professional website. dk

Apple's Modern Document Model with Auto Save Frustrates Some

TidBITS' Matt Neuburg says that in Mountain Lion, Apple has done something he thought they'd never do - backtrack. At least sort of, in listening to and acting on objections expressed by users to a major feature of OS X 10.7 Lion. Not completely backing down, of course, but changing the interface and providing an increased range of user choices and capabilities.

Neuburg, author of the book, Take Control of Using Mountain Lion, says he likes Mountain Lion much more than Lion, and that the feature in question, which Apple calls the Modern Document Model, is the way documents are saved and handled by applications that have been rewritten to adopt certain technologies introduced in Lion, notably Auto Save, the heart of the Modern Document Model, means that documents open in these applications save themselves automatically as you edit them, with Mac OS X clearly trying to imitate iOS behavior, constituting a revolution in how users had to work with documents through applications. Neuburg notes that for many users, it wasn't a revolution they liked.

For example, the "Save Changes?" dialog upon quitting an application with unsaved open documents was no more, so if you had altered a document by mistake due to a copypaste error or your cat stepping on the keyboard (which happens to my wife all the time) or some such, the dialog could be a lifesaver, letting you correct any unintended changes. Under Lion, there is no dialog and no warning; with any accidental changes saved without your knowledge and possibly contrary to your desires, as I've found to be the case too many times when composing and editing on my iPad. (Technically with Lion you might be able to retrieve your lost work via the Versions database, but that is a kludgy and frustrating solution. cm)

Neuburg also cites the matter of experimentation; deliberately playing with a document experimentally, knowing you could close without saving to restore the document's previous state unaltered, perhaps incorporating unsaved changes into a different document with Save As. Lion, like the iOS saves your experimental changes behind your back and against your will, although there's another clumsy workaround in the File > Duplicate command, should you remember to use it. However, happily Mountain Lion adds two checkboxes in the General system preference pane that let you opt to keep changes when closing documents with the warning dialog appearing when you close an unsaved document, although Auto Save is still lurking behind the scenes even though the interface gives the illusion that it isn't, and the second checkbox activating close windows when quitting an application.

He concludes that for him, these changes have made Mountain Lion usable and acceptable in a way that Lion was not, at least simulating pre-Lion document behavior, although he says he's still not entirely happy with the Modern Document Model and thinks Auto Save is itself a massive mistake that he would still prefer a way to turn off altogether, and that the changes might even entice users who never really updated from OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard to Lion (in which number I include myself - cm) to make the switch to Mountain Lion more or less full-time.

Steve Wozniak Perceives Darkness in the Cloud

A report by AFP's Robert MacPherson says that Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak is predicting "horrible problems" in coming years as cloud-based computing's ascendency to data storage dominance continues.

MacPherson cites Wozniak commenting with regard to the shift away from hard disks and towards uploading data into remote servers:

"I really worry about everything going to the Cloud. I think it's going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years."

Wozniak is further quoted adding:

"With the cloud, you don't own anything. You already signed it away" through the legalistic terms of service with a cloud provider that computer users must agree to. "I want to feel that I own things. A lot of people feel, 'Oh, everything is really on my computer,' but I say the more we transfer everything onto the Web, onto the Cloud, the less we're going to have control over it."

Products & Services

Wiley Announces 7 New OS X Mountain Lion Books

PR: To support Apple's announcement of the release of their latest operating system, OS X Mountain Lion, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. is bringing to market a series of new instructional books covering the topic for every level of user.

OS X Mountain Lion for DummiesSeven titles are publishing from Wiley on the topic of OS X Mountain Lion including:

  • OS X Mountain Lion For Dummies (ISBN: 978-1-1183-9418-2, August 2012) by Bob LeVitus
  • Teach Yourself Visually OS X Mountain Lion ISBN: 978-1-1184-0140-8, August 2012) by Paul McFedries
  • OS X Mountain Lion Bible (ISBN: 978-1-1184-0143-9, September 2012) by Galen Gruman
  • OS X Mountain Lion Portable Genius (ISBN: 978-1-1184-0142-2, September 2012) by Dwight Spivey
  • OS X Mountain Lion All-in-One For Dummies (ISBN: 978-1-1183-9416-8, September 2012) by Mark L. Chambers
  • OS X Mountain Lion Server For Dummies (ISBN: 978-1-1184-0829-2, September 2012) by John Rizzo
  • OS X Mountain Lion Simplified (ISBN: 978-1-1184-0141-5, October 2012) by Paul McFedries

Mountain Lion books"With over 200 new features in OS X Mountain Lion, users will be able to quickly gain knowledge on everything the new operating software has to offer through Wiley's latest books," says Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus, author of OS X Mountain Lion For Dummies, "From For Dummies guides to the OS X Mountain Lion Bible, Wiley is one of the first publishers to market with their extensive list of books on Mountain Lion, offering something for every level of end user."

Mountain Lion booksWiley's new OS X Mountain Lion books will be available for purchase online and at retailers nationwide in both print and all ebook formats.

Available from Amazon.com and eligible for Super Saver shipping if order totals $25 or more:

Software

Carbon Copy Cloner 3.5.1 Released

PR: Carbon Copy Cloner is an easy-to-use backup/cloning utility that has recently made the transition from donationware to $39.95 commercial demoware. It remains to be seen whether the market will justify pricing a one-trick-pony backup utility (however excellent) at twice the price of Apple's OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion upgrade.

With Carbon Copy Cloner, your data and the operating system's data are all preserved impeccably on a bootable volume, ready for production at a moment's notice. Should disaster strike, you can simply boot from your backup and get back to using your Mac, replacing your failed hard drive or whatever at your convenience and then letting CCC restore your contents to the new drive.

Subsequent backups copy only the items that have changed since the last backup. Merciful default settings protect against accidental loss of files on the destination. You can schedule backup tasks on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and configure a backup task to run when the backup device is (re)attached to your Mac.

New in version 3.5.1:

  • Fixed an issue in which CCC was unable to save scheduled tasks after being updated.
  • Resolved a permissions issue related to accessing some files on source when the destination was a network volume.
  • Made some minor UI adjustments in the Documentation window.
  • Fixed an intermittent exception at the end of a scheduled task that would result in the "Task finished" window disappearing early and failure of email notifications.
  • Fixed an exception that would cause a hang during the creation of a Recovery HD volume.
  • Non-admin users will no longer be prompted to authenticate when launching CCC on Lion or Mountain Lion. This authentication was leveraged to collect information about the Recovery HD volumes attached to your Mac, but CCC was unable to give that indication prior to the authentication dialog being presented. To avoid unnecessary concern, we chose to not collect that information when a user is logged in to a non-admin account.
  • When LateNite Software's "Clusters" software makes changes to .DS_Store files on the source volume, those changes can lead to errors during the backup. These errors are now suppressed.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.6 or later

Publisher's note: We've been using SuperDuper to clone our production hard drives and update those clones since 2004, a feature Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) didn't have back then. At $27.95, it's 30% less than CCC, and I've been very happy with it. (See our review, SuperDuper: Quick, Easy, Efficient Backup for $20 - and it's only improved since then.) Older versions of CCC for earlier versions of OS X remain available, although it's not clear from the website whether these are commercial demoware or donationware. dk

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