More from Dave Winer on Macs crashing

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh, Technology
August 17th, 2006 • 8:34 am

Dave Winer has obviously felt the need to respond to people’s response to his post titled “Yes Virginia, Macs crash too,” on which I commented yesterday.

So now he’s posted another item insightfully titled “Computers crash.”

Obviously, Dave Winer needs some help. So let’s give him a hand, shall we?

Dave says, “I don’t install experimental stuff on my computer. I’m really conservative.” Apparently, he seems to equate computers crashing with the use of “experimental” software. This is a very outdated conception of the computing experience. There used to be a time when, yes, using beta versions of stuff could cause frequent crashes and bring your whole system down.

These days, however, there are things such as protected memory that tend to guarantee that, when an application misbehaves, it will only crash by itself and will not bring anything else down with it. I use such “experimental” software myself all the time, and it very rarely has any consequences for the stability of my system as a whole. (Of course, I carefully avoid beta versions of things like kernel extensions and hardware drivers. I am talking about experimental stand-alone applications here.)

On the other hand, the sad reality of today’s software industry is that there is a lot of software out there that cannot be said to be “experimental” in any way, and still is very badly written and can cause all kinds of problems. So let’s examine Dave Winer’s list of applications, shall we?

He says, “These days it’s Firefox and OPML, Handbrake, Azureus, The Sims (v 2), Flickr Uploader, VLC, iTunes. I have an HP printer and scanner, iChat, TextEdit.

iTunes, VLC, iChat, TextEdit, Firefox, Handbrake… No worries here.

Azureus I have no experience with, being on dial-up myself and everything. The fact that it’s a Java BitTorrent client makes me a bit suspicious. Java applications are not known to be particularly reliable, and BitTorrent involves lots of network traffic. If it’s running all the time, I might have suspicions about it. But I’d have to do more investigating.

The real suspect here is: “I have an HP printer and scanner.” If I understand correctly, Mr. Winer has one of these atrocious “all-in-one” devices. And that makes me very suspicious. My advice to Mac users is to avoid such devices like the plague. They are not only very expensive to maintain (the cartridges are usually expensive), but HP’s software is pretty horrible at the best of times. For stand-alone HP printers, luckily, most of the time the drivers are built into Mac OS X itself and you don’t have to install anything coming from HP. But with all-in-one devices, you have no choice. You have to install the HP software. And it’s rather atrocious. And it’s got components that run all the time in the background, even when the device itself is not in use.

I would not be surprised at all if the HP software was the culprit here.

It’s just an educated guess, of course. I would need to see his machine and run some tests. But if Dave Winer doesn’t know that all-in-one devices tend to be the source of significant problems, and that HP makes very lousy Mac software, it certainly is not Apple’s fault.

Instead of accusing Apple of misleading advertising, he’d be better off doing a bit of research and experimentation himself. Maybe that would lead him to write a scathing post on HP hardware and software instead. And maybe he would end up with a much more stable machine!

But obviously that’s too much to ask of Dave Winer. It’s much easier to avoid doing any research at all and blame Apple instead.


3 Responses to “More from Dave Winer on Macs crashing”

  1. chris says:

    I have experience this same crash in 10.4.7 (iBook G3). Both times it happened when I ejected my ipod shuffle from iTunes. Below is the crash log from the latest time (something which Dave Winer should have posted so people could see what exactly was the cause of his crashes). I haven’t experienced this before 10.4.7, and in fact have successfully ejected my shuffle using 10.4.7 in the past. It seems to be random.

    ———————-

    Tue Aug 22 12:13:34 2006

    Unresolved kernel trap(cpu 0): 0×300 – Data access DAR=0×0000000000000010 PC=0x000000001DEB2C9C
    Latest crash info for cpu 0:
    Exception state (sv=0x1A3B6000)
    PC=0x1DEB2C9C; MSR=0×00009030; DAR=0×00000010; DSISR=0×40000000; LR=0x1DEB2C98; R1=0x0A2438B0; XCP=0x0000000C (0×300 – Data access)
    Backtrace:
    0x1DEB2C98 0x1DEB2C34 0x002D13B8 0x1DEB3298 0x1DEB3104 0x0043E9E8
    0x0046ABF8 0x0046FE34 0x0043E8A0 0x0046A634 0x0046A338 0x0046B6E0 0x0046BA14 0x002D0D00
    0x002CFBC8 0x000A9914
    Kernel loadable modules in backtrace (with dependencies):
    com.apple.iokit.IOUSBMassStorageClass(1.4.5)@0x1deb0000
    dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOUSBFamily(2.5.6)@0x43c000
    dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOSCSIArchitectureModelFamily(1.4.9)@0×580000
    dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOStorageFamily(1.5)@0x4de000
    com.apple.driver.AppleUSBOHCI(2.5.5)@0×467000
    dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOUSBFamily(2.5.6)@0x43c000
    dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOPCIFamily(1.7)@0x45d000
    com.apple.iokit.IOUSBFamily(2.5.6)@0x43c000
    Proceeding back via exception chain:
    Exception state (sv=0x1A3B6000)
    previously dumped as “Latest” state. skipping…
    Exception state (sv=0x1A3B8780)
    PC=0×00000000; MSR=0x0000D030; DAR=0×00000000; DSISR=0×00000000; LR=0×00000000; R1=0×00000000; XCP=0×00000000 (Unknown)

    Kernel version:
    Darwin Kernel Version 8.7.0: Fri May 26 15:20:53 PDT 2006; root:xnu-792.6.76.obj~1/RELEASE_PPC
    panic(cpu 0 caller 0xFFFF0003): 0×300 – Data access
    Latest stack backtrace for cpu 0:
    Backtrace:
    0×00095718 0x00095C30 0x0002683C 0x000A8404 0x000ABD80
    Proceeding back via exception chain:
    Exception state (sv=0x1A3B6000)
    PC=0x1DEB2C9C; MSR=0×00009030; DAR=0×00000010; DSISR=0×40000000; LR=0x1DEB2C98; R1=0x0A2438B0; XCP=0x0000000C (0×300 – Data access)
    Backtrace:
    0x1DEB2C98 0x1DEB2C34 0x002D13B8 0x1DEB3298 0x1DEB3104 0x0043E9E8
    0x0046ABF8 0x0046FE34 0x0043E8A0 0x0046A634 0x0046A338 0x0046B6E0 0x0046BA14 0x002D0D00
    0x002CFBC8 0x000A9914
    Kernel loadable modules in backtrace (with dependencies):
    com.apple.iokit.IOUSBMassStorageClass(1.4.5)@0x1deb0000
    dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOUSBFamily(2.5.6)@0x43c000
    dependency: com.apple
    *********

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    I don’t think you can say that your crash is the same as the crash experienced by Dave Winer. There are apparently different situations where crashes can occur and lead to that same dialog box popping up when the computer boots back up.

    That said, it definitely looks like your problem is linked to your USB device. Are you using a USB hub of any kind or is your iPod connected directly to the computer? Have you been able to reproduce the problem with another USB port?

  3. chris says:

    My iPod is connected via a USB extension lead. Haven’t tried without it, or on the other port. I’ll give that a go.

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