OS X 10.8.2: Event-handling bug and other glitches

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
October 17th, 2012 • 8:48 am

Apart from the kernel panics, OS X 10.8.2 is a fine release (it fixes the most outrageous flaw in Mountain Lion, which was the crazy behaviour of the Save As architecture). But it sure feels rather glitchy to me.

I’ve already talked about the selection highlighting issues after hiding background applications. The problem is on-going.

I’ve also noticed that, whenever I have a kernel panic, after I restart my computer, several OS X applications, including TextEdit, fail to reopen the document windows that were open at the time of the crash. It’s only a problem after a kernel panic. If I quit and relaunch TextEdit, it correctly reopens all the appropriate document windows. But when I have a kernel panic, after the reboot TextEdit reopens with zero document windows. I have to reopen them manually via the “Open Recent” menu. OS X’s Preview seems to have the same problem. (Since I don’t trigger kernel panics for fun, I haven’t been able to verify that this occurs 100% of the time. But it certainly happens quite often for me.)

Another problem that I have noticed is that, after a reboot or restart, OS X 10.8.2 often fails to restore certain third-party applications in a usable state. For example, more often than not, after a reboot, OS X appears to reopen BBEdit for me with all its document windows, but when I switch to BBEdit, I get the Spinning Beach Ball of Death and the foreground document window is greyed out with a spinning wheel animation in it that goes on forever. I end up having to force-quit BBEdit and relaunch it, and after that things work fine. I don’t know if this is somehow due to the fact that I still have several aliases to BBEdit documents and projects in my BBEdit Startup Items folder, since this probably conflicts with OS X’s built-in architecture for reopening documents. I haven’t had time to investigate this further. But I certainly didn’t have any such problems in Lion.

Microsoft Word is another application that seems to be affected by similar issues. Quite often, after a reboot, I end up with Word 2011 in a rather weird state, where there is both a foreground document window that I can work with and one or several background document windows that somehow remain inaccessible. Clicking on them fails to bring them to the foreground, and they are not listed in the “Window” menu as currently open document windows in Word:

word2011-nowindow

As you can see in the screen shot above, Word 2011 says that I have no document windows open, and yet there is mostly definitely a Word document window open in the background.

I believe I have also seen a similar problem in Photoshop CS6 on occasion.

Another problem that is new in OS X 10.8 for me is the fact that sometimes, there are apparent glitches in the communication between applications. For example, I frequently use LaunchBar’s built-in interface for entering a Spotlight search query, which is better than OS X’s built-in interface because it only starts the search when you press Return. But occasionally, when I press Return after typing a query in LaunchBar, nothing happens.

It’s not limited to LaunchBar either. When this happens, I also cannot get the “Reveal in Finder” feature in OS X’s own Spotlight interface to work. I can type a search and the Spotlight menu shows me the results, but when I select a search result in the menu and press command-Return, nothing happens. So it looks like there is some more general, system-wide issue with event handling. This appears to be confirmed in this discussion thread on the BBEdit forum, which describes a communication problem between BBEdit and the Transmit FTP application. The BBEdit developers indicate that it’s an intermittent bug in OS X 10.8.2 that they cannot do anything about.

I am also experiencing a number of glitches in TotalFinder, the Finder extension that gives you tabs and other features in Finder windows. Granted, these are probably bugs in TotalFinder that the developers are going to have to fix themselves, but again these were issues that surfaced after I started using 10.8.2. (I’ve just noticed that my version of TotalFinder is 1.4.2 and says it’s up-to-date, even though the version on the web site is 1.4.3. So maybe there was an additional glitch preventing the software from checking for updates properly. I’ve just installed 1.4.3. We’ll see if it’s any better.)

All this to say that, in my experience at least, even when not taking into account the kernel panics, which are a royal pain in the neck, 10.8.2 has been a rather glitchy update so far. Yes, some of the glitches only manifest themselves through the use of third-party applications, but still… I do expect applications such as BBEdit and Word 2011 to have been tested and to work properly, including with OS X’s more recent features, such as Auto Save and the automatic reopening of document windows after a restart or relaunch.

10.8.2 is the first really usable version of Mountain Lion as far as I am concerned (primarily because of the Auto Save issues), but it certainly is far from perfect, and I hope that Apple is already hard at work on 10.8.3 and on fixes for all these bugs and glitches that are still making computing with OS X much less pleasant than it should and could be.

UPDATE: More on the AppleEvents bug here, here and here. It’s obviously a bug that affects a large number of applications/uses of OS X. Killing the appleventsd process apparently helps alleviate the problem (until it returns), although it doesn’t fix the problem with LaunchBar’s Spotlight feature on my system.


2 Responses to “OS X 10.8.2: Event-handling bug and other glitches”

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