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Some Early macOS Sierra Chatter

So as regular readers know, I updated my work iMac to macOS Sierra (the first Golden Master) last week, ahead of recording an interview for The Tech Night Owl LIVE. As I wrote at the time, I was foolhardy enough to do something that I might have avoided were I not in the tech business. I always recommend that my readers be careful about new operating systems, to take the process seriously.

At least I had taken precautions, with three full backups (one online) and a second Mac on hand to manage the radio show if something went wrong.

It didn’t, but I wouldn’t assume that Sierra is going to be the perfect experience for everyone. There are far too many variables, so it’s best to prepare for something to go wrong and have a backup. It is also a good idea to check online and see what sort of problems others are reporting. While almost anything can happen to someone, if you see a number of Mac users describing a specific problem, it has to be taken seriously, even if it may not impact your setup.

So I read one article suggesting the onset of Wi-Fi connection glitches. This takes us back to OS X Yosemite, which produced similar problems for many people until it was finally resolved not long before its successor, El Capitan arrived. I wouldn’t assume the causes are the same, or how many people are affected. I don’t generally use Wi-Fi on my Mac, since it is connected via a cable to an Ethernet switch, but I did switch to Wi-Fi, temporarily, to see if anything might go wrong. But I didn’t have any problems, nor did I encounter any issues of that sort with Yosemite.

Now if you were a public beta tester and installed the GM Candidate earlier this month, well, the final version is several builds newer, so you’ll want to download a copy and install it. No doubt stuff had to be fixed, which made it necessary for Apple to seed another Golden Master candidate, which is the one that was actually released to the public on Tuesday.

On the very next day, developers were able to download beta one of 10.12.1, the first Sierra maintenance release. It became available to public beta testers the next day. If there’s a normal beta cycle, this release will go public before mid-October. So far, there are no reports of what has been changed, but if there are any serious issues to be addressed, perhaps some Mac sites will have updates.

Since installing the release version of Sierra, I did run into some glitches. As reported earlier this week, first was a third-party Facebook Messenger app, FreeChat, which failed to launch. I haven’t heard about a new version. The second problem involved an interaction between the popular Open/Save dialog enhancer, Default Folder X, with one of the audio apps I work with, Amadeus Pro. It’s a two-stage issue, one being an incomplete open dialog, and the second involving the inability to paste another audio file into a waveform. I add the opening and closing themes to my radio shows that way. Disabling Default Folder X resolved the problem. No doubt just excluding Amadeus Pro would accomplish the same result but still keep the utility running in other apps.

The third? Well, the default toolbar set in yet another audio app, Sound Studio, all of a sudden split apart, with the three icons at the right thrust to the corner of the screen. I basically crafted a fix by bringing up the Customize Toolbar window and moving the icons back to their normal position. A curious symptom indeed.

In case you’re wondering, I’m using the current versions of all these apps. Checking for updates confirmed it.

But nothing is crashing. The inconveniences are minor, and I’m able to accomplish my work otherwise without any other problems— at least so far.

I may be lucky, of course. I have a select number of apps that I use from day to day. Others I might not touch for weeks on end, so it’s quite possible I’ll run into something in the next few weeks that I overlooked, or do something to draw attention to themselves. This is to be expected. Even though Sierra doesn’t have that many new or changed features compared to previous releases, there are enough under-the-hood alterations to cause trouble. So it doesn’t hurt to check the App Store or the sites run by the developers of your work-critical apps to see whether there are any problems with Sierra.

Overall, my impressions are positive. Performance on my iMac remains good, but I haven’t installed Sierra on my 2010 17-inch MacBook Pro, which is listed as compatible. One reason has been to make sure I could do my work in case something went wrong with the installation on my iMac. But I will update it soon, so I can see how an older Mac notebook manages the upgrade.