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OS X Lion: Meh, meow.

Reliability is the most important feature.

Alright, anyone who has said more than 3 words to me knows I am a huge fan of everything Apple. They've continued to wow me with every new release, whether that be an iPhone or the new OS X. This one is no different, or at least it started out that way...

Upgrading was nothing short of a breeze. Click, agree, download. Once downloaded, I simply restarted my computer and went from there. What "Wow'd" me here is that I was at work, installing Lion on my server at home (which in my defense was simply clicking OK 3 or 4 times) doing all of this remotely. An OS install that you can monitor remotely. That was a first for me. I bought the Server upgrade and installed it. Now it was time to see if Apple managed to keep my CardDAV and CalDAV services intact or if I was going to have to set it all up again. I expected failure on this one and Apple proved me wrong. It all worked with no additional configuration needed!

So, I played with the new OS, trying to familiarize myself with it. I love the UI tweaks, I can no longer live without Mission Control. Launchpad on the other hand, well, I'll let that one slide. The new Mail is incredible! But what about the big programs? The ones that allow me to do my job, namely Adobe CS5, Textmate, Transmit, Angry Birds (just kidding), etc. Well I found a website that is designed to tell you if an app is compatible under Lion or not. All of my important apps checked out to be just fine.

So the question is: do I install Lion on my main laptop? I mean, let's be honest, Apple hasn't exactly had a perfect track record with "point zero" releases. If this were Family Guy, I'd now fade to a memory of people screaming at every point zero release of every version of OS X. But they've gotten far better since Cheetah so should I wait for the reviews over the next couple of weeks or do I go for it? Jump in head first and enjoy the ride? Ya! Let's go for it!

Once again, install was perfect and the upgrade appeared to be flawless. I once again played with the key features and all seemed right with the world. That is until I tried dragging a folder from my desktop into another folder. It wouldn't drop! It would drag but it refused to let go of my cursor! I tried clicking 50 times, right-clicking, Escape key, alt-tab, everything and this freaking folder would not drop! Finally, I have no idea why, but it dropped and went back to it's original location. That was weird, let's try it again. Crap! Same thing. I did find a solution, which I outline below to those suffering from this same ailment.

Ok, so that's an annoying bug. I don't know how that one was overlooked. So, I didn't see any other issues and all of my programs were working nicely so time to call it a night and see how it fares tomorrow at work. 9AM, external monitors plugged in, no display on them. Oh I bet I have to get a driver for these (they're USB-driven). I installed the new drivers and the monitors all came to life! Isn't that a pretty sight.

I begin moving my apps around, Mail over there, Transmit here, iTunes mini-mode, good to go. I check out dashboard, and go back to Mail. Cntl+N to compose and...nothing's happening. Cntl+N. Cntl+N. My mouse still moves but my keyboard is dead? Let's use my built-in keyboard. Nope, it's dead, too. Holy crap. I can't type. this may be a problem *sarcasm*. After restarting about 10 times, I decide since I had no issues last night that it must be related to USB or the use of external displays somehow so I ditch all 3 of my external displays and everything that used USB and worked the rest of my day on my 15" screen just so I could get something done.

I'm two BIG bugs in and still trying to justify keeping Lion on my computer. Everything else works fine but quite frankly, it was like saying "My car runs great but I just don't have a steering wheel right now." Let's go home, do some logical brainstorming, figure out who owns these processes and come up with a solution. Heather left for work and I started testing. I cleared out preference files related to the Mission Control bug, I reset keyboard shortcuts, tested the new shortcut and thats when it happened. Keyboard died again. After a couple more tests, I determined that using the keyboard shortcut to navigate Spaces is the culprit. I also found a solution, once again detailed at the end of this post.

Problem #2 solved. Let's fast-forward one week. I am sitting in the living room with my oldest boy (11 yrs old) and I'm telling him about my first computer. I restart Lion in Single-User mode and was showing off what computers looked like on my first computer. No GUI, just text. I restarted my computer and bug #3 appeared. When I logged in, the default dock and desktop loaded. "That's not good." I restarted to see if it was just a random glitch. Sure enough, my correct dock and desktop appeared. I didn't think another thing about it, until it happened again. And then a third time. The third time was special though because not only was it showing default desktop and dock, I couldn't even get to my files!

Needless to say, I tried out the new Recovery partition. Worked great, by the way. I did a full permissions repair, restarted and it was still broken. After a quick investigation, every one of my user folders was set to no access, although the Get Info window showed my user with read/write privileges. So I selected my username, set permissions they way they should be, and applied to every enclosing file and folder. After that was done, I restarted and everything was back to normal again.

I figured since it was back, I'd run TIme Machine and let it take a snapshot and that's when problem #3 was far larger than I thought. Time Machine said "Backing up 2.3GB of 171GB". There were far more unknown changes than just my user folder. My Safari top site thumbnails were gone every time I'd restart Safari, Errors saving preferences when closing Photoshop, all kinds of crap. Well, this is all no good for me. If I can't depend on my OS, I'm absolutely screwed.

So here's where I'm at. I'm currently spending my entire Sunday restoring my Macbook Pro. Not to Snow Leopard, but to pre-file structure meltdown backup of Lion. I'm going to run all of my little tools and utilities on the drive and fix anything that may be wrong. If it happens again, I guess I'll have to suck it up and give Lion the boot. I don't have the time or energy to troubleshoot things that I feel Apple should've resolved long before release.

It's so hard though because Lion is great! The UI upgrades for Mail, and even the stuff like the iOS scroll bars, new UI element updates, resizing from all sides, Versions, Resume, Mission Control, all of these things are fantastic but without reliability, they're absolutely useless to me.

Yes, I still love Apple but from a self-proclaimed Apple advocate, they failed me in the most important category: reliability.

SOLUTIONS
1) Drag and drop will not release item:
Put the computer to sleep, wake it back up. Problem solved. Weird, right?

2) Keyboard dies "randomly"
Here is what I posted to Apple's Support Communities. Short version: disable the keyboard shortcuts (System Prefs > Keyboard Shortcuts > Mission Control) or keep Activity Monitor handy and kill the Dock when your keyboard dies.

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about chris

My name is Chris. I live in Broken Arrow, OK. I am a husband. I'm a proud father of two boys. I'm a Mormon. Boomer Sooner.

journals
This is a log of my daily life, although I rarely have the opportunity to update it daily, or even weekly. Most of the time I include pictures of the events I talk about in the entries.

thoughts
My passions live here. Topics that I'm particularly passionate about, interested in, or whatever else I deem worthy to live here. It can get pretty scary in here.

media feed
Random pieces of my everyday life will be here. These could be pictures of my son playing football, recording of my wife playing on the Wii, or audio of my playing drums. If I want to share it, here's where it'll be!

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