Mac OS X: iDisk idiocy

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
August 1st, 2003 • 10:54 pm

Another aspect of Mac OS X that definitely rubs me the wrong way is iDisk. Apple obviously never tests the feature with a modem connection, because it is downright unusable. Since I keep forgetting whether the “File Inspector” window in Mac OS X’s Finder is invoked by cmd-shift-I or cmd-option-I, and since cmd-shift-I is the keyboard shortcut for mounting the iDisk on the desktop, I often accidentally ask Mac OS X to mount my iDisk when I meant to just open the File Inspector. That’s bad enough.

If, however, I happen to be downloading a big file over my modem connection at the time, then it becomes hell on computing earth. The Finder becomes completely unresponsive for extended periods of time, with the spinning pizza taking over while Mac OS X is trying to access my iDisk through the very limited bandwidth. And the lack of responsiveness extends to other aspects of the system, including the Dock and some Open/Save commands in various applications.

Even if I immediately click on the “Cancel” button in the progress dialog that Mac OS X’s Finder shows while it’s attempting to mount my iDisk, nothing changes. Mac OS X still continues to try mounting the iDisk. I have effectively no way of stopping it from doing so, once I have accidentally pressed cmd-shift-I. And then once it’s finally mounted, after several minutes of excruciating lack of responsiveness system-wide, it is almost as difficult to unmount the iDisk. I keep dragging the iDisk icon from my Disks Dock in DragThing to the Trash — and DragThing itself ends up locking up in the process of trying to get a response from Mac OS X.

In other words, a single mistake in a keyboard shortcut triggers a whole cascade of incontrollable events that almost make me fear that the whole system is going to crash. Fortunately, it doesn’t (I know this from experience now, if you wait long enough, things finally go back to normal) — but what an ordeal!

Of course, there is no way to remove the cmd-shift-I shortcut for mounting the iDisk. In fact “iDisk” menu item is there in the “Go” menu in the Finder even if you are not a .Mac subscriber and don’t have an iDisk. This makes absolutely no sense. It’s software features designed by marketers rather than real computer users. Even though I am a .Mac subscriber, I rarely ever use my iDisk because of the abysmal performance. I just want to get rid of the thing. Instead, it keeps getting in my way.

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