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  • 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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