Eclecticity: Dan Shafer's Web Log : Where author, poet, sports fanatic, spiritual teacher, and dabbler in things Pythonesque and Revolution(ary) Dan Shafer holds forth on various topics of interest primarily to him


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Problems Begin Cropping Up With OS X

A couple of days ago, I left my office for a few hours. When I came back my stunningly beautiful Mac OS X screen saver had been defaced by a bunch of weird-looking text. On further examination, it became clear that in my absence, I'd experienced my first system crash since I installed OS X. Not a pretty picture. A bunch of Unix-type error messages and cryptic codes.

The machine was, in any event, frozen. I restarted and the reboot went cleanly. Things have been fine since. Still, it was a scary experience and one that reminded me -- as if I needed the help -- that OS X is still a new operating system that probably still has bugs and fragility lurking in its innards.

And ugly those innards are!

Prior to that crash and increasingly since, I've noticed that some of my trustiest OS X apps are starting to act flaky. Eudora 5.1 arbitrarily quits from time to time. Most of the time it seems related to address book editing but I can't be sure.

And sometimes, Word:x also crashes, usually preceded by a series of what I can only characterize as bizarre behaviors. For example, it will start opening new documents behind open documents! (Makes them bloody hard to find, especially until you get used to the idea that Word isn't behaving as expected). Also, menus begin to stick and not stick at random intervals, scroll arrows the same way, and scrolling becomes stuttery and sluggish.

I suspect that we are probably looking at slow memory leaks. This problems have arisen, so far at least, primarily after I've kept the same app open for a few days in a row. Quitting the app and restarting it seems to help most of the time, but not consistently.

What I really found interesting was my reaction to these crashes. It isn't a whit different from what it was when OS 9 apps crashed and took the entire system down. Oh, to be sure, it's nice not to have to reboot every time one app goes bonkers. But at the end of the day, the app crashes, I may lose data, I lose confidence in my ability to keep using the system comfortably, and stress enters the picture.

© Copyright 2002 Dan Shafer.
Last update: 11/13/02; 2:12:34 PM.

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