Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Apple Snow Leopard - The Problem Child

If you visit the Apple support forums you'll find three sorts of people: the first lot have problems with their upgrade to Snow Leopard - the latest version of Mac OS X; the second lot are metaphorically shouting at the first saying "there's nothing wrong with Snow Leopard it's you"; the third lot are making genuine, and sometimes successful, attempts to help the first lot.
From my point of view Snow Leopard is a great leap forward that is threatening to be a PR disaster for Apple. Many of us, with faith in Apple, upgraded early. Apple was very keen to get us to upgrade and has been shouting Snow Leopard from the roof tops for weeks. Being nice and sensible I pored over the various lists of incompatible software and where I couldn't find an answer I contacted the manufacturer. Having decided that all my key software was compatible I then did a big spring clean of the Macs. Finally I set forth and upgraded one Mac and used it for a while. All seemed well and so I did the rest.
  1. Various applications began crashing randomly. The vast majority of these were Apple apps that were updated with Snow Leopard. Things like Safari, Mail, iPhoto, and despite Microsoft's protestations that it was ready - Office apps crash too;
  2. Various bits of software for no apparent reason begin to hog CPU cycles. This in turn creates load on the CPU which begins to heat up and then the fan speeds up to keep things cool. Meanwhile whatever is hogging cycles just keeps hogging until you kill the process. What's that about? The worst is Safari and the Flash plug in Safari but there are others too. Your Mac sounds like a jet taking off;
  3. Printers cease to function. I had a perfectly good printer connected by ethernet to my Airport and it had been working with no problems for months on the various iterations of 10.5. The upgrade to 10.6 has killed things stone dead. Despite two full days of working through a vast range of possible solutions NOTHING works and nothing prints. Even though there isn't a specific driver for this printer - a GCC - in 10.6 it should still work using a generic driver. Well it doesn't and it isn't even visible on the network. I can't even ping the fucking thing;
I won't bore you with all the other minutiae that are causing me grief - including the broken iSync Bluetooth process. I've zapped PRAM, fixed permissions, re-installed Snow Leopard, doubled the RAM in my system, blitzed caches...and nothing helps.
I've come to the view finally that this was a cynical piece of marketing by Apple. They rushed Snow Leopard out the door early so that they beat Microsoft who are releasing Windows 7 in october apparently.
Well all that's done is leave a whole bunch of us out in the cold with Snow Leopard and freezing our tits off.
Apple the least you can do is get your arses into gear and start releasing updates to fix some of the issues. Snow Leopard and your other apps need some fixes, why don't you fix them?
In the meantime if you haven't already updated to Snow Leopard then my advice is don't be stupid like me: wait for a couple of updates before you do.

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