Two weeks after installing OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion (ML) on my Mac, it’s time to share my thoughts on using it. For starters, ML has been an incredibly stable OS. Not that I experienced a lot of crashes before. I just have an impression that it’s speedy and solid. However, among all its strengths and improvements, I’ve run into a bunch of bugs and glitches, especially in Mail.

In order of discovery, following are the bugs and changes I’ve observed so far:

  • Inconsistency: Mail’s behavior of choosing which message to select after deleting a message seems inconsistent. iOS Mail is always consistent; when it’s not, I restart it and it works as expected again. In ML, upon deleting a message, Mail goes to the message below the one deleted if it is unread and the one above is read (like iOS Mail) and also the message below if neither surrounding message is unread (unlike iOS Mail); previous versions always went to the one above.
  • Appearance: The U.S. flag icon on the menubar seems to have more subdued colors than before. Has anyone noticed color changes of other flags in the input menu?
  • Request: I was wishing for a keyboard shortcut for Nofitication Center since I prefer to use my Magic Mouse than my built-in trackpad. ML doesn’t have a Magic Mouse gesture for Notification Center; I hope Jitouch updates soon to support it. Macworld came to the rescue with the discovery that Notification Center is part of Mission Control and users can set a keyboard shortcut in its section of Keyboard preferences. I chose F5, which is unused on my Apple Wireless Keyboard, sitting right next to Dashboard. Still, it’d be nice to have a gesture.

    Wait, I just realized I can set a Jitouch gesture for it to key F5. Yay! I set Swipe Three Left, matching the trackpad gesture. Functionality is a little inconsistent so far with permitting swipes to the right when that gesture isn’t set and restricting them when it is. Also, when hiding Notification Center with the gesture, the front window loses focus, requiring a click. (Command+` doesn’t help in this case.) So, again, it’d be nice for Jitouch to officially support Notification Center.

  • Inconsistency: Since Software Update is now fully integrated in the App Store, there is no more link to Software Update preferences from App Store. Users can only get there from System Preferences. Also, I think some have pointed out an inconsistency in displaying software updates. When simply showing the Updates pane of App Store, updates of Apple software not purchased from the App Store (like iWork ’09 and iLife ’11) don’t show up or at least don’t work. However, selecting Software Update from the Apple Menu shows updates to these apps in the App Store that do work. Weird. Also strange for an Apple application that App Store doesn’t have any preferences of its own. Photo Booth is another of these rare examples.
  • Inconsistency: Like Lion, and I think Snow Leopard before it, after installing ML, my MacBook Pro restarted with keyboard backlighting on even though I had it turned off before the upgrade.
  • Inconsistency: Mail was last in full screen mode when I started the upgrade. However, on first launch in ML, it started not in full screen mode. Was this because it had to upgrade its database first. Other previously full screen apps started full the first time.
  • Feature: When did Apple bring back Sosumi? I think it was removed from Snow Leopard or Lion. I had added it back manually from another source, but the new version features better quality sound. Was it remastered?
  • Request: I saw my first banner notification. I realize there’s a delicate balance between readability and unobtrusiveness, however I would prefer more contrast between text and background colors.
  • Feature: The updated Stocks widget adds two more sections of stock info: numbers and news. The textual elements of the main panel look bigger, too.
  • Bug: Is there a bug with hiding details of the top Mail message in a thread?
  • Bug: When I mouse over some Mail message text that is recognized by a Data Detector and then invoke Dashboard, which displays as an overlay rather than a space, an equally sized square of whatever widget covered the detected text remains on the screen for a fraction of a second after dismissing Dashboard.
  • Bug: The barber poll in the Time Machine preference pane doesn’t move.
  • Feature: With magnification shortcuts turned on in Accessibility preferences, holding Control+Option shows a magnifier frame on the screen wherever the cursor is. However, I turned these shortcuts off because they interfered with my SizzlingKeys shortcuts for rating songs in iTunes.
  • Bug: I cannot select sequential messages in Mail by dragging up and down. This is a major productivity blunder.
  • Feature: App Store now displays notifications when there are updates.
  • Feature: TextEdit can now save Word .docx format.
  • Bug: If I’m adding a calendar event via a data detector in full-screen Mail and I switch to another app to check something and switch back, Mail forgets to keep keyboard focus on the Calendar popover. Any keyboard input goes to the window content behind the popover.
  • Bug: In Mail, if I activate Find while the message body has the cursor and then escape Find, the cursor disappears and no field has keyboard focus. The same thing happens when I embed a link in text. I have to click or press Shift+Tab to return the cursor to the body, but of course only a click returns it to the same position it was before.
  • Bug: Time Machine, when it finally completed its first backup in ML, did a lot of cleanup of old backups, deleted all of my backups from before a year ago, and left a lot more free space than I expected. Time Machine also required me to remove and reselect my desired backup disk before it would work.
  • Feature: In the Finder, Option+Space jumps to QuickLook full-screen mode.
  • Inconsistency: The Time Machine menu now has ellipsis after Cleaning Up, which is inconsistent with universal uses of ellipses in the interface. Always, they appear after menu commands that, when clicked, push the user to some further action or reveal additional interface. Cleaning Up is a notification that is not clickable, so adding ellipsis here where there was none previously makes no sense.
  • Inconsistency: Now that Apple has gotten most of us used to pushing screen content up and down with gestures, I’m left to wonder why the down arrow moves static content (like in a web browser) up and the up arrow moves it down. Hmm…
  • Bug: When duplicating a file in an application, such as Pages, and saving it in a new location, the app leaves the dot in the window close widget that would normally indicate unsaved changes. One must make a change and resave to remove the dot. Closing the file does not warn of unsaved changes, since there truly aren’t any. On a related subject, after duplicating a file, the OS offers the ability to give the new file a name. However, if I want to use the same name in a new location, I must escape the title bar and manually save the file to get there.
  • Major Bug: I cannot click and drag to select text in a message nor drag an attachment to a desired save location unless I open the message/thread in a new window. Any drag behavior otherwise drags the message itself, as if I had clicked it in the list.
  • Bug: I had occasion to export a Pages document to Word because I needed to make a Word version of my résumé for a particular hiring firm. I had used a few simple character styles in Pages. Strangely, when I opened the export in Word, all the style-infused text appeared correctly, but all the plain text was invisible. It wasn’t just colored white; it was completely transparent. The only way to make it appear was to tell word to remove all styled formatting from this text.

    I gave up on this document and copied and pasted the text from Pages to Word. It all appeared correctly that way, which the exception of my only bulleted list, which I had to tab and indent differently in Word than Pages.

That’s all I have so far. I’ll be submitting the bugs and inconsistencies to Apple. If you’ve noticed them, too, or if you’ve found other issues that bother you, please send Apple feedback.

I’ve always wished for the opportunity to help Apple test it’s software before release, but I’m content to do so after the fact as long as change appears in updates. It usually does. I’m pretty sure enough others are reporting similar experiences and I hope you do, too. I’ll also continue to document my findings and post them to share and solicit your observations, too.