Lion has brought a frustrating new feature even if it does make sense. Since first using Lion I’ve noticed that moving the mouse doesn’t reactivate the screen if it’s in power saver mode. Since I first encountered this on MacBooks with trackpads I simply tapped the spacebar to wake the machine. Barely a stretch from the trackpad.
But then I put Lion on my desktop Mac Mini and the feature became a frustration. The Mini shares a keyboard and mouse with my Windows 7 machine via Synergy,. The mouse/keyboard are physically on the Windows 7 machine which is the Synergy server. So the problem was the shared mouse wouldn’t activate the Mac Mini screen and the Synergy keyboard was ignored with the display asleep. I do have a keyboard and mouse always attached to the Mini, but they’re tucked away so it was a pain to tap that keyboard.
I found that clicking the mouse (or trackpad) wakes the screen, at least when the mouse is physically attached. But Synergy is still a problem. Even though the mouse appears to go over to the Mini’s screen, tapping a key or clicking the mouse won’t wake the Mini. But a least it’s easier to keep the trackball under the monitor so I can click it rather than digging out the keyboard. So it’s a partial solution.
I certainly see the benefits of this behavior since it would prevent waking the computer with an accidental brush of the mouse. But I wish there was a way to turn this off since it’s the exact opposite of my usage as I’m more likely to want to nudge the mouse to activate the screen. Personally, I rarely nudge the mouse and accidentally wake the PC. In addition to the Synergy annoyance,
Another tip is to use the application Caffeine to disable automatic sleep for a specified time, or indefinitely. This doesn’t solve the problem, but it can avoid power saving while I’m working at my desk. Caffeine is freeware and available from the Mac App Store or from the website.