Miker

17th level Hacker

Rebooting OS X as Problem Resolution Considered Acceptable?

I’ve been using a PowerBook G4 for just about a month. It’s pretty nice actually, I like the environment quite a bit. And it’s the first time I’ve had a nice modern laptop to use. Normally I have some rejected hardware kept alive through the necromantic power of Linux. Today I had my first real disappointment though. I use the builtin Bluetooth to connect to my phone and use my GPRS connection from my laptop on my way back and forth on Caltrain. It’s nice and slick, I just whip out my laptop and click on the little phone dealie, and magically I have a connection (well, after I downloaded the dialup scripts that actually use GPRS instead of just saying they support GPRS, but that’s another issue). Every once in a while the Internet Connect app apparently hangs however. I’ll try to disconnect and that little phone handset up in the menu bar will constantly scroll “Disconnecting…” and never stop. Of course, I can’t form another connection at this point, as the menu affords only a “disconnect” option, something which is apparently already and process and not affected by repeated frusterated clicking. I tried all sorts of clueless noob stuff like shutting off the bluetooth and turning it back on, putting the system to sleep and waking it up, turning off my phone and trying to clear the connections on it (holding down the hangup key on a Nokia apparently clear all open descriptors for all connections by the way), and even killing the apparently hung pppd out from under the Internet Connect tool. Nothing worked though, so I would just reboot the system. It happens pretty infrequently, and when it does happen I’m normally in no mood to dig at the issue. It happened this morning however, and I was finally ready to deal with it. So I left the “Disconnecting…” scrolling and found an access point to search out potential solutions. Google turned up nothing. Some mentions of people saying they’ve also seen the Internet Connect hang when disconnecting and they had to reboot. But no proposed solutions. So I decide to give the folks at Apple a call and find out how to reset a hung Internet Connect. Their answer is to reboot the system!!!! I was floored. There’s apparently no way to deal with this hung process except to reboot the system. So we have a Mach microkernel running an abstracted visual user interface… but if I want to use Bluetooth to form an outbound connection sometimes I might have to reboot to do it a second time? I don’t even have words for that. To me it seems odd that the “super-modern operating system that combines the power and stability of UNIX with the legendary elegance of the Macintosh” would require a reboot after using Bluetooth. Perhaps the good folks at Apple have a slightly different definition of super-modern in mind than I do? An unavoidable and unpredictable persistently nonfunctional state arising from normal usage is not what I would consider a trait of any operating system at all, let alone an super-modern one. And a forced reboot is about as elegant as an icepick lobotomy. Disappointed. I’m very very disappointed.