Some 10.7.1 Odds and Ends

August 18th, 2011

History shows that Apple will generally follow up a major OS upgrade with a .1 maintenance release within the first month. So it came as no surprise that 10.7.1 appeared in the Software Update app for OS X Lion users on Tuesday afternoon. Developers may have been disappointed, since Apple supposedly never released a version for them to test.

Regardless, the ins and outs of 10.7.1 are brief and to the point:

  • Address an issue that may cause the system to become unresponsive when playing a video in Safari.
  • Resolve an issue that may cause system audio to stop working when using HDMI or optical audio out.
  • Improve the reliability of Wi-Fi connections.
  • Resolve an issue that prevents transfer of your data, settings, and compatible applications to a new Mac running OS X Lion.
  • Resolve an issue in which an admin user account could be missing after upgrading to OS X Lion.

This is all pretty straightforward stuff. It was also a surprisingly small update, starting at 17.4MB for older Macs, but much larger for this year’s MacBook Airs and Mac minis, which contain extra fixes. If you download the update directly from Apple, it totals 79.29MB, presumably to accommodate a number of different models. But compared to the usual weighty Apple update, the download is reasonably quick, perhaps because not a whole lot was fixed.

As usual, the early chatter is mixed. Some suggest that other problems were also addressed, such as a curious crash on some Macs, particularly this year’s iMac, when you play a video after the unit wakes from Sleep mode. It’s too early for this fix to be confirmed, though one of my colleagues, commentator Kirk McElhearn, says his iMac seems to be working properly now. He’ll continue the testing in the next few days.

Other Mac users complain that the irregular Wi-Fi connections have not been fixed, although truth to tell, wireless networking issues have come and gone over the years.

I do notice somewhat snappier performance, and a little sleuthing shows that some system processes seem to be grabbing fewer resources. Maybe Apple just fine tuned the code, or the update cleaned up some faulty relics of the original Lion installation on my late 2009 27-inch iMac.

However, I also noticed a peculiar loss of Spaces functionality. Now Spaces, a somewhat flaky virtual desktop feature of OS X, has always seemed to lose its memory of the apps you store on a particular desktop. Apps seem to move from one desktop to another, or unaccountably become available in all desktops. Well, after 10.7.1 was installed, all of my Spaces setups were gone. I had to reestablish them again. You might suggest that the preferences got mangled, but I deleted them after the original Lion install just to start from scratch.

Or maybe Spaces is still too buggy for prime time, though I like the concept of being able to configure separate workspaces to reduce screen clutter. In any case, I have again deleted the two Spaces preferences, logged out and in again. I’ll let you readers know if these steps fix what ails that troubled feature. I still like the concept, if only the bugs can be ironed out.

One problem evidently fixed is the occasional loss of streaming audio when I’m listening to a feed from a radio station in Safari. One of my favorites is a Phoenix talk station that doesn’t travel well over the air to this part of the valley, and thus I depend on the online stream for decent reception. On occasion, the audio would drop out. The station’s webmaster even responded to my complaint, saying he couldn’t duplicate the problem, but it hasn’t returned since 10.7.1 was loaded.

From here, all eyes are on 10.7.2, which is expected in September to coincide with the release of iCloud. Already there are published reports that developers have been testing 10.7.2, but evidently are focusing strictly on iCloud issues. But another month would give Apple additional time to clear up the loose ends in Lion, not that I’ve encountered many.

As OS X releases go, Lion appears to have come along quite well from the starting gate. It wasn’t without trouble, but one frequent poster’s complaint that 10.7 is another Windows Vista in the making is way over the top. Every single Mac OS or OS X upgrade was originally labeled as fatally flawed, in need of serious repair. Somehow Apple survived all the teething pains, such as they were. There were even a few potential data loss issues along the way in some of those releases. But it’s also true that no amount of testing can guarantee a perfect user experience for everyone. If you’re skeptical of Lion, no harm in waiting for a few more maintenance updates before you decide whether it’s worth the download.

I’m more interested at this point in getting the expected Lion-savvy updates for some of my favorite apps, so I can start to rely on Auto Save, Version, and other promising 10.7 features.

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5 Responses to “Some 10.7.1 Odds and Ends”

  1. rwahrens says:

    I’ve used Lion on a new iMac 27 inch 2.7 gHz unit since Sunday, and I have to say that it is the best version, navigationally, that Apple has released yet. Moving around in separate spaces for the full screen apps is dead on simple and quick. The gestures used are intuitive and easy to remember, the space moves across that 27 inch screen quickly and easily, and I can even pause it in mid-swipe to compare data between screens if necessary!

    I have not used many non-Apple apps yet as part of Spaces, so I can’t say I’ve experienced your problem with Spaces forgetting stuff, though. It is early in my ownership of this new box, though, so there is still time!

    I did experience some instability after buying and downloading Aperture. While importing my 22,000+ photo library from iPhoto, and web surfing and emailing in the meantime, I found two issues. First, 4 gigs of RAM while performing such a memory intensive task in Aperture is just not enough. It slowed the entire system to a crawl. (So, I’ve ordered 16 gigs from OWC, it’ll get here today and we’ll see how much that helps.) The other issue is that while doing that import, once while web surfing and once while sending an email, Lion experienced a grey screen system shut down which I assume is either similar to or is an actual kernel panic, forcing me to force quit the iMac.

    I’ve not had one of those since at least prior to Tiger, or maybe an early version of Tiger. It’s been so long I’ve forgotten which version it was!

    Now that could have been a memory issue or something else, but it forced me to start the entire import over, once after 95% of those 22,000+ photos had already imported! Aaarrrg! So the third time, I just imported overnight and left it alone, which worked fine.

    So, I can’t claim Lion is as stable as earlier versions of OS X, but again, that could have been either Aperture, or Aperture on Lion…

  2. Matthew Culmore says:

    Using a mid 2009 MBPro that ran Snow Leopard extremely well, had a very smooth transition to Lion, noticed a few of the common issues, mainly slowness, WiFi slow to re-establish a connection after sleep, icons in Launchpad forgetting where they were, huge wasting of resources and RAM that needed a utility to free it up regularly the most prominent.

    I think if i did not swear by Disk Warrior I might have gone back to SL. But DW made it acceptable.

    10.7.1 really helped release those resources, RAM, and generally led to a much speedier Lion. The icons still stray, but not as bad, only two keep moving. WiFi has only dropped out once, and I think that was Comcast and not Lion.

    Still the best performance comes after Disk Warrior has been run and the number of files out of order even show a marked decline. 10.7 usually reported a minimum of 40-50,000 files in disarray compared to under 10.7.1 the number under similar use is less than 25,000 after several days use.

    Overall, as you stated, a little code clean up and that was it. But well done. Lion is definitely a keeper now and I really look for the 10.7.2 to see more roar from this kitty.

  3. Sponge says:

    I’ve encountered one Spaces oddity in Lion, but it’s with a new app so I can’t say for certain if it’s Lion and not the app. I just started using a magicJack for phone service in my new place, and wanted to have the magicJack app on all desktops. I used the Dock icon menu to select All Desktops and everything was fine. Later however (and I may have restarted the machine in the mean time) the app only showed up on my main Desktop. I checked the Dock icon menu and All Desktops was still selected. Switching to This Desktop and then back to All Desktops fixed it, but I haven’t had the issue with other apps, which makes me think it may not be (solely) a Lion issue. Haven’t gotten around to doing another reboot to see if it happens again.

  4. ViewRoyal says:

    The first few months of any new version of Mac OS X is always a period when the bugs are shaken out.

    Being aware of this, if you are the type of person that must have the latest and greatest as soon as it comes out, and you are not bothered by the kinks that you will have to live with, then go for it.

    But if you are the type of person that gets annoyed easily by these bugs, and will end up complaining about them, there is a simple solution. Wait a few months until all of the bugs have been dealt with, and then jump in to installing Lion on your Mac.

    The same goes if you buy a Mac at the same time as a new OS comes out. If you only want a completely stable, debugged OS, wait a few months before you buy that new Mac.

  5. jimmy says:

    10.7.1 certainly fixed the WiFi drop-outs on my 2011 macBook Pro 13″.
    It was REALLY getting old, having to turn WiFi on & off…

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