The Art of Inaction, Part 1

by Barrett

Tiger, Leopard, and Snow Leopard have finally been shown the door by Apple. Lion rules. Losers get to stick out their tongues.

Some people just absolutely have to have the newest gadget. And for many of them, they go through great effort to wait on line to be among the first to own it.
(Apple products tend to generate this level of enthusiasm.)

It is a badge of honor for these new tech adopters to be on the bleeding edge of consumer tech. (if only for a few days)

Remember when your friend or colleague came in with that first iPhone a few years back? It didn’t matter that it cost $500 for the entry-level 4-gig model, or how slow it was by today’s standards.
These consumer tech trailblazers flaunted their status as near demigods, and for anyone slightly interested in technology, we marveled at their status. And we all drooled with envy. (Well, at least I did.)

Hedge Your Bets
There is an irony with this approach to buying consumer technology, because common tech wisdom says to never buy the first of anything. And you should also wait a while till new software or updates are proven to operate properly. Who really wants to be a guinea pig?

A lot of the time, new tech has glitches. And if you’re one of those who must own it immediately, you’re really not more than a canary in a cage deep in a mine.

But if there’s new OS or IOS system software available for your Mac or iPhone/iPad, some folks sprint out the door, or press the download button without thinking.
Who cares if it’s still a little buggy?

The hedge says, wait a few weeks. That’s all.

The Tao of Total Caution
But there’s another tech wisdom that lives on the completely opposite side of the spectrum of caution.
It says, don’t upgrade unless you absolutely have to.

I know some techies who live by this rule, and they do make a compelling argument. If you’re happy with your tech, why mess with a good thing?
So don’t do it.


The web is filled with horror stories from people who failed to get to the finish line with their software upgrade. And if it’s an entire operating system, that means big trouble.

Love and Fear
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m no tech slouch when it comes to computing.
I’ve got my 2-year-old iMac and iPhone 4S. My wife has the new Mac Book Pro and an iPad. I feel we’re reasonably current at home with tech.

In an early post, I confessed my inaction towards the necessary iCloud switch over.
Maybe I didn’t use the proper word, but I’ll admit to it now.

It’s fear.
I’m afraid I’m going to destroy my happy home-digital-homeostasis.
This fear has kept me in the camp of total caution.

See, it’s not only about losing MobileMe and my photo/video sharing functionality. It’s something much more critical.
I feel a very real primal threat to my precious iMac and all its contents.

I love Apple, but I don’t feel the stability of the relationship I really want. Apple has always had a focus on the next big thing, and they are a wildly successful company. Part of that success requires them to cut loose products and functionality that don’t fit into that vision.

My Leap of Faith
When MobileMe goes away in June, the only way to sync your data between devices will be through iCloud . And you’ve got to upgrade to Lion to use iCloud. That’s it. Everyone else on Tiger, Leopard, and Snow Leopard- it was nice knowing you.

I’ve been very happy with Snow Leopard as an operating system on my
2.93 GHz Intel Core i7 iMac (That’s what it calls itself.)

There is always a risk when you upgrade to a newer operating system that not all of your software will be compatible. And there is also the risk your computer won’t reboot after the upgrade.
There are a thousand reasons why.
(Again, the web is filled with stories…)

But Lion has been out since last July, and the reviews are all positive. The vast majority of Lion users are seemingly doing just fine.

I knew I really had no choice.
So yesterday, I decided I had procrastinated quite enough.

Beyond the fear of wondering if my iMac would survive the upgrade, I was particularly concerned about one program making the transition. Final Cut Pro.

FCP X’s New Brain and Lost Heart
A few years back, I made the jump from iMovie to Final Cut Express, and then to Final Cut Pro.

My story is hardly unique, but with the new version of Final Cut Pro X, I know I can’t continue to use my current editing projects from Final Cut Pro 7.
FCP 7 is a dead platform that Apple abandoned when FCP X premiered last summer. You can’t up convert your old project files to the new platform.
(See you later, lover, and please leave your keys on the table on your way out.)

There’s been a lot of chatter on the web about how horrible FCP X is.
For now, I’ve decided not to make a decision on that dilemma.
(And no, there was never a FCP 8 or 9.
Apple skipped over those two numbers.)
The real problem I’m stressing about is whether FCP 7 works with Lion.

I know that FCP 6 and Lion don’t play together at all, but the web didn’t offer a unanimous perspective on FCP 7 and Lion. That said, my research suggested it would probably work.


So what’s so important about preserving my ongoing editing projects on FCP 7?  Two family history videos.
I’ve been working on one with my father for the past four years. (It’s amazing stuff. You all should be doing this to bridge family history detail across generations.)
And I’ve been documenting the first years of my wonderful two-year-old son.
Say no more.

How would you feel at the prospect of losing all of that?
I call that fear.

Making the Go/No-Go Decision
But I had everything backed up. As a worse case scenario, I figured I could always throw myself down at the mercy of an Apple Genius and hope my digital world could be restored.

So with the knowledge that I really had no choice, I prepped my iMac in disk utilities by verifying the integrity of my hard drive and disk permissions, did a final Time Machine backup, and then downloaded Lion from the Mac App Store.

$30 and 30 minutes later, it sat there on my desktop.
The Lion icon stared at me. I think it was angry I had waited this long.

I move the cursor with my mouse to hover over the word, ‘Install.’

I hesitated for a moment more.

And then I clicked the bu