So you’ve huddled around a glaring blue download bar of the App Store for nearly 4 hours, taken a full bootable backup of your Lion setup, diligently sat through the install process and are now basking in the glorious roar of Mountain Lion.
Now what? Here are 5 things you might want to check out or fix straight away.
Upload some documents to iCloud
Over the coming weeks and months you’ll find more and more apps with iCloud integration, but for now you may need to be content with iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) and TextEdit. Luckily, my favourite writing app – Byword – is already updated. To get documents into the cloud, just open up any supported app. The new Open file dialog is now built into the main application window (as opposed to a modal popup) and looks like this:
Simply drag a file into the app space to have it uploaded and available on all your Mountain Lion devices (as well as iPad and iPhone if the app is available there too). The file will also still be revealed when doing Spotlight searches, and shown in All My Files from the Finder. You can create folders in the same way as you would with iOS apps – by dragging the files on top of one another.
However, you should know: documents in iCloud are associated with the app that uploaded them. You cannot share data between apps; so TextEdit cannot access things you uploaded in Byword.
This can lead to some confusion: if you try to attach an iCloud document from within the Mail app, you won’t find any documents – this is because iCloud in Mail only sees things Mail has placed into iCloud. To send the file as an attachment, open the original application and find the universal Share icon on the bottom:
Some people are going to find this frustrating and limiting, but so long as you separate functionality between apps (for example, writing articles in ByWord, coding in Sublime Text), then you shouldn’t have any issues working with documents in iCloud.
Change your notification settings
Do you like to be productive? Notification center may be about to ruin your day, but luckily you can adjust the settings easily. Open up the Notifications Preferences either from the Preferences panel, or the new shortcut that resides directly in the bottom right of the actual Notification Center (yes, it is very hard to see)
For those of you with a deluge of mails every 5 seconds (did someone say FreeCycle?), you may want to turn them off completely. Banners appear momentarily, but if you’d rather that messages from certain apps stayed in the corner of the screen, switch them to Alert style.
Play some multiplayer games
Until now, multiplayer gaming remained somewhat elusive to Apple desktop users, but Game Center has arrived to change all that. Assuming the iCloud servers aren’t overloaded as they are at this precise moment, try a cerebral game of chess – which has been built in Mac OS-es since the dawn of… something, I wasn’t a Mac user back then – but now it lets you play genuine human opponents over Game Center. If chess isn’t your thing, let me recommend Ticket To Ride – a fantastic cross platform implementation of a popular board game that sees you building train lines across America, pitting you against Mac, iPhone and iPad players alike.
Start dictating your memoirs
Now that you’ve decided to store some files in the cloud, it’s about time you got around to writing your memoirs – the new dictation features should be perfect for this.
I’m not sure if this is disabled by default, but if you’ve upgraded as I did, dictation functions don’t appear to be enabled immediately. You’ll probably want to go turn that on, from the new Preferences panel. You can also change the shortcut key, but two taps of fn is the default. Hit that twice, anywhere there is a text input, and the “Siri icon” will appear. Dictate, then hit enter or done. (Sorry about the photo, but Siri doesn’t like having her picture taken apparently)
Bear in mind that your recordings are uploaded to Apple’s servers when you dictate and the grunt work is done there, not on your local CPU. This means you need an always on Internet connection, but your system performance won’t suffer.
How are you liking Mountain Lion so far? Personally, I’m really liking the new Safari – but more on that another day. Does anything jump out so far as being incredibly annoying? Or do you think it actually manages to fix a lot of the shortcomings found in Lion? Sound off in the comments!
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