Mac OS X and USB

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
September 3rd, 2003 • 4:19 pm

I am afraid that, even after all these system updates, all is not well between Mac OS X and USB. This morning, I woke my machine up from deep sleep, as usually, and started doing my stuff, getting connected, checking my mail, etc.

Then I wanted to place a phone call, looked up the name in Parliant‘s Phonebook and clicked on “Dial”. As expected, PhoneValet instructed me to pick up the phone so that it could dial the number. I picked up the phone. And nothing happened. I quit and relaunched PhoneValet and tried again. Still nothing. I then noticed that the small red LED on the PhoneValet gizmo wasn’t flashing as expected. I unplugged and plugged the gizmo back in. Bad move.

The red LED started flashing alright, but there were no dialing tones. Then everything appeared to be frozen on my computer screen. I could still move the mouse pointer, but its movements were obviously “shaky”. And nothing else worked. Clicking on things didn’t do anything. Using the keyboard didn’t do anything. Force-quit didn’t work. The machine was, with the exception of the mouse pointer, effectively frozen.

Suspecting some USB-related voodoo, I started unplugging various USB devices and plugging them back in. Second bad move. Unplugging the mouse and plugging it back in resulted in the mouse pointer no longer responding either. Everything was really frozen now, and I had no choice but to do a hard reset of my machine.

I’ve now unplugged a number of USB devices that I only use very infrequently. And things appear to be working again. But wasn’t the promise of USB technology precisely that you could unplug and plug things in at will, without worrying about the stability of your computer system? What did they call that again?… “Plug-and-play”, I think, right?


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