Frustration thy name is Mountain Lion

Posted: October 2, 2012 in Apple, hardware, Mac OSX, software
Tags: , , , , , ,

Argh. Double argh even.  One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  So what does it mean when doing the same thing causes different results?  Well, for me, it means I’m dealing with that fickle cat Mountain Lion, the latest Mac OS.

One of the issues I had was opening files of certain types.  No longer can you just click them and have them open or give you a warning ensuring you want to open them.  Now with some files, you get cryptic error messages instead and no option to open them at all.  It all seems to come down to revised security settings in Mountain Lion (ML).  One that proved particularly annoying was the fact I could no longer read the downloaded offline MacLife magazines that were in a “xxxx.dmg” format.

Even looking at the Console gave me no clue (see below).  It seemed to be indicating there was a space issue, which wasn’t true, unless the .dmg wasn’t mounted properly and it was trying to expand inside itself.

Argh.  It had me pulling my hair out thinking something was goofy with the file, I even downloaded it again to check and contacted the support for Coverleaf where i get my subscription from to no avail.  I had no trouble opening them before the ML update, so I tried again on a computer not updated and the .dmg mounted fine and allowed me to read the App inside.

Next idea was to try on another computer that was updated (our MacBook Pro) and sure enough it worked on there too.  So now the trick became figuring out what was different between them.  I took that one step further and asked my friendly neighbourhood Nerd via twitter if he could open the .dmg and the App inside, knowing he had the same MacBook Air as I.  He couldn’t either, but for some reason he got a slightly different error message that was actually helpful and it pointed towards the real culprit – Security settings.

Allow applications settings


There are two things getting in the way, the “allow applications downloaded from” and the Firewall. And the annoying thing is, they are fickle.  If I toggle the firewall off then change from “Mac App Store and identified developers” to “Anywhere” and then when i control-click i can finally allow the app to load.

All it is is a web archive that opens in your browser.  I tried to add the App or the .dmg into the allowed developers under advanced Firewall settings (see below), but because each monthly archive has a different name you would need to add them every time.  Not a solution.

So in the end, turning off the firewall and then mounting the .dmg is the only way, just remember to turn it back on again after.

That brings us to double argh.  Mounting a network drive.  It works to browse to the share once and then try again later the same day and it won’t mount properly.  Or sometimes browsing doesn’t work at all. Sometimes using “connect to server” and spelling out the actual mapping, (i.e.: smb://192.168.X.XXX) works and then other times it will mount incorrectly and not enable you to work with the existing files or add new.  The only option you get is to “eject”.  Since we work on a network with numerous files in various places this gets real old real fast.  Haven’t found a workaround for this one yet.  Although restarting seems to work most of the time.

Another annoyance along those same lines is mounting a Firewire drive using the new Thunderbolt to Firewire connector, which has turned out to be a fickle thing as well.  If I connect the power to the drive first, wait a second or two and then connect the cable to the drive and the MBA it will usually work.  But not every time.  At first I thought it didn’t work at all which was a big disappointment, but perseverance allowed me to eventually figure out a way that works about 75% of the time so for now I’ll take it.

It seems naming the OSes after cats was a bit of a premonition since they are such quirky and fickle animals. The new big cat on the block wasn’t quite ready when it was released, and even now with 10.8.2 installed, two fixes later, it is still having issues.  Thankfully they can be overcome, but really, should we have to?  Take a little more time and get it right first Apple, just because you are getting a bigger piece of the pie doesn’t mean you can start letting the quality we have come to expect from you slip.


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