A Crashintosh Fix

September 4th, 2003  |  Published in Uncategorized

Been a while since a Mac post, so here’s one:

href=”http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2003/09/03.html#a791″>Jon

Udell has a column up about Mac flakiness, specifically when he

changes the network under which his Powerbook is operating. The

engineers at Apple haven’t quite figured out how to keep OS X from

going into a screaming tailspin when a Samba share disappears out

from under it. It took me about two weeks of crashing my iBook when

I first started taking it on campus to figure out what was up and

come up with a solution:

The problem seems to be related to some hidden level of complexity

under the Mac surface. Sure, you can tell it to dismount a network

share, but it doesn’t seem to ever give up a belief that the server

that share came from is out there lurking somewhere. So I created a

network location entitled “Nowhere” that handles the job of shutting

down all the network interfaces “officially,” so the Mac gives up its

belief that secretly it’s supposed to still be connected to that Samba

share somewhere. This beats dismounting shares one by one, because it

will handle multiple shares at once, and it seems to be more thorough

than a simple “drag to the garbage can.”

The way to do that is to hit the Apple menu, pull up “Network

Preferences” under the “Location” menu, select “New Location” under

the “Location:” pulldown, and create a “Nowhere” location. Under the

“show” dropdown, select “Network Port Configurations” and uncheck

each of the interfaces (ethernet, airport, and modem).

Selecting the “Nowhere” location has the net effect of turning off

all network interfaces, which in turn causes OS X to perform an

orderly and complete detach of any open shares. At least, that’s the

way it has worked in my experience. Since adopting the “Nowhere”

location, I’ve cut my crashes and hard-locks from a few a week to

never (when it comes to changing networks). (Quick added note: It helps, by the way, to switch to “Nowhere” before you shut down and move, not after you’re peered up with a new network.)

This doesn’t all go toward the substance of what Jon has to say

about how much we let Macinbigots get away with ignoring the

ever-increasing stability of Windows. Having run WinXP Pro on a

fairly consistent basis for a few months now, I’m happy to admit that

it’s much less squirelly than Windows 9x or ME ever managed (even on

the day of a fresh install). Apple isn’t in a position to rest on

its laurels yet, even if I don’t think I’ll ever like a notebook more

than I like my iBook in terms of sheer “pack up and go and expect it

to work” simplicity.

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