More on QuickTime Player freezes

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
August 4th, 2004 • 9:21 pm

Two days ago I wrote about a problem that I was experiencing with QuickTime Player freezing my entire system.

I’ve since found reports at that seem to indicate that the problem is not limited to QuickTime Player. iTunes is affected as well and, by the sound of it, the freezes could be caused by any Mac OS X application making relatively heavy use of virtual memory (see Rohan Lloyd’s post dated August 2).

The encouraging part is that Apple seem to be aware of it and are working on it. The less encouraging part is that the problem has been with us for a while… Indeed, it could very well be that many of my Panther freezes are in fact related to this particular issue.

I am going to have to keep a close eye on Apple’s release notes for future system updates. If they fix the bug and mention it in their release notes (which is far from being a sure thing), then it will probably go something like this: “Fixes a rare bug in Virtual Memory that could lead to system freezes while playing music in iTunes or using other applications.” I can’t guarantee that this will be the exact wording, but I’d be willing to bet that it will include the word rare. And thousands of Mac OS X will collectively go, “Yeah right!”.

4 Responses to “More on QuickTime Player freezes”

  1. MacDesigner says:

    “And thousands of Mac OS X will collectively go, ‘Yeah right!’.” And thousands more will say, “What bug?” I’ll be one of those thousands that have never experienced any problems with iTunes of QuickTime.

    I always find it strange the different experiences individuals have with the their computers.
    One user never has any problem and others have multiple bad experiences. To me this just shows the complexity of the computers we use today. Add in all the different configurations and the chances of a problem increases. The engineering mantra of “K.I.S.S.” has been lost on the world of personal computers. Hence, the great bloat monster of MS Office.

    Unfortunately, the bloat will only increase as systems improve. How else to keep revenue flowing, than by increasing the ability of the program? No one wants to pay for an update that only improves speed or fixes a bug, we want those free. Look how much complaining happens with the OS X upgrades. Imagine if car manufacturers had to update all the cars it sold last year when a new fuel injection system is designed. Or a new tread design was created, so we all get newer tires.

    A lot of money is spent developing each incarnation of OS X, and Apple has a right to charge for it if they want. And most users are not forced to upgrade.

    Sorry about the off topic rant, It’s late. :-)

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Of course, people’s experience will always vary. But I believe that there is a large enough number of reports on these freezes…

    It’s always a balancing act between ignoring problems and exaggerating their importance. And when you experience a problem, you want to think that you’re not alone. In other words, you want to think it’s the machine, and not you :).

    In this case, I am pretty sure it’s not just me. And you are just lucky :).

    As for simplicity/complexity, it’s a tough one. We want computers to be as simple as possible, but at the same time we want to be able to do so many different things with them. Complexity is unavoidable. The challenge is to keep the complexity simple enough. Another balancing act… (Needless to say, Microsoft’s balancing skills are particularly poor.)

    As for the Add New Features vs. Fix Bugs thing, again, it’s not just a marketing issue. When Apple releases a program such as GarageBand, for example, they don’t just add a new feature to “keep revenue flowing” (although that’s part of it, of course). They actually come up with a whole new way of using computers for the rest of us. Does this add to the complexity and run the risk of spreading Apple’s resources thin? Of course. But it’s a risk worth taking. It’s, in one word, the beauty of innovation.

    For what it’s worth, as long as Apple keeps coming up with things like GarageBand, I’ll gladly pay my upgrade fees :).

  3. MacDesigner says:

    The point of my rant was not to say you were alone in your experiences, but to point out how the experiences can vary among users. You happen to use your computer more extensively than I and on a more consistent basis.

    The complexity issue was more about the complexity of the computers internals, the motherboard, hard drives, and all the controller chips needed for the smooth operation of the system. Add to that the intricacies of software and you have a huge caldron of potential problems brewing. That’s where the Unix underpinnings of OS X has an advantage, the system has been tweaked and modified for well over 35 years. Most problems you or others experience are with the new features, the Finder, USB, FireWire.

    Most companies balked at the idea of having to rewrite their major programs from the ground up when OS X was announced, hence Carbon. However, this just added another layer and increased the number of ingredients in the brew.

    What I appreciate about Apple is their regularity of updates for the system. They are no where near perfect, missing some fixes or introducing more bugs, but as a user of each system upgrade I can see definite progress and improvement. Many of the larger developers release minimal updates to their software between major version changes, (cough) Adobe. And if you have ever been unlucky enough to find yourself at the MS update page, there always seems to be 5 upgrades needed, but you have to apply the 3rd and 5th upgrades before the 1st and 4th listed and restart between each.

  4. Pierre Igot says:

    Yes, I am also fully appreciative of the fact that Apple has been consistent in releasing minor system updates. They seem to have found a good balance between major and minor updates. Adobe, Microsoft, Macromedia, etc. are all guilty of a far too great emphasis on major updates. Most of the time, if you want bug fixes, you have to buy the next version. It’s very frustrating — and it means years of waiting for bug fixes that should be provided immediately for free. It’s definitely a major problem with those software vendors.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.