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Apple OS X Lion First Look: Mission Control

If you need one reason to upgrade to OS X Lion, our reviewer says Mission Control is it.

BYTE -- Mission Control in OS X 10.7 Lion is like Expose on steroids. It gives you a mile-high view of everything in your system--including the Dashboard and your full-screen apps.

I'm impressed. Mission Control, in my view, is pure genius and the highlight of this upgrade. Now that I've built it into my daily workflow, I rely on it. And I highly recommend it. In fact, if you need just one excuse for upgrading to OS X 10.7 Lion, Mission Control is it.

Here is an example of Mission Control in action. Notice it displays pretty much everything: The dashboard, my current desktop, Mail running full screen and a button to add another virtual desktop on the far right.

At center, you see all the apps running on the current desktop, which is the one in the center at the top of the display. Safari is displaying two separate windows. At the bottom you have your dock.

You can see below I've added another virtual desktop, represented by the thumbnail at the top right "Desktop 2." Also, I moved my Twitter and Skype applications to Desktop 2. Moving them is simple – just drag and drop them onto the virtual desktop thumbnail wherever you want them in. Immediately, there they are.

Initially, I noticed Dashboard is now integrated with Mission Control and that widgets appear on their own virtual desktop with a solid background. It seemed strange at first.

I was scratching my head at this at first. I thought it meant that now I couldn't overlay my widgets on other applications, which is the whole point of them. What was Apple thinking?

Then I found a single mouse click on a check box labeled Show Dashboard As a Space in the Mission Control preferences. That was all I needed to fix it back up.

So if you love your widgets, don't despair. It is still possible to make them transparent.

What a relief to find I hadn't lost my widgets. I made the flub so you don't have to. But I sure wish Apple was clearer about it. Strange how it defaulted that way. Perhaps Apple will fix this in an upcoming 10.7.1 bug fix?

Based in Houston, David Martin is a technologist at BYTE. Follow him @David_W_Martin or email him at

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