A social animal

Nandagopal Rajan        Print Edition: November 2012

Mac OS X Mountain Lion
Price:
$19.99

It is hard to put off a Mac OS X update, especially when the company entices you with a new bunch of goodies. The OS X Mountain Lion too has the stuff to make Apple users take the plunge as soon as possible. The only stumbling block in the upgrade was the 4GB download which took close to 15 hours to download over a 750 Kbps connection. During the duration of the download you have to ensure that the Mac is on power. Thankfully, Internet interruption did not affect the download, which just resumed from the point the connection got terminated. The installation took another 30 minutes or so. Here is a look at what is new and how we liked it:

THE POWER OF CLOUD
Like iOS, iCloud is now an integral part of the Mac OS X. So as you type new notes or add a reminder, the same gets added to your cloud account and gets synced on your other devices as well. For instance, with notes the syncing is almost real time. Safari too gets its share of the cloud in the form of a button that shows all tabs open on your other devices.

YOU HAVE AN ALERT
At the top right of the Mac screen, you now have a notifications icon which shows a list of the latest mail, social network and app store updates as well as Facetime and iMessage status. New updates appear as a small window at the top right corner and fade away in seconds. You can click on them to open the mail or Tweet. While it is a great feature for regular users, those who are hyperactive on Twitter would dow well to switch off that facility.

TALK TO THE MAC
As people who write a lot, we were most impressed by the new dictation feature. Start the dictation on a note pad and just speak your mind-you will have to iron out your accent for better accuracy-before clicking done to convert your thoughts to text. This is different from other speech to text software due to its ability to punctuate when you say 'full stop', 'comma' We had a 80 per cent success rate with our broad Indian accent.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
In a sign of the times, Facebook and Twitter are now integrated into the OS. So be it a new photo that you tweaked on Photo Booth, or something interesting that you stumbled upon while surfing on Safari, you can share the same then and there. However, you might not get the same experience with third-party software like Chrome.

EVERYTHING ELSE
There is a lot more to the Mountain Lion, like iMessage for people who want to keep in touch with other Apple aficionados, Game Centre to keep you on top of the game even on the Mac and Power Nap that takes in updates even when the Mac is sleeping. Safari now has realtime search built into the address bar, while there is a Gatekeeper in setting that lets you decide what all software can be installed. However, the new features, most of which are working behind the scenes, seems to have taken a toll on the battery by drinking up at least 10 per cent of the juice.

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