I remember when Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard came out a few years ago, I updated the day it was released. A few days later, I asked my next door cube neighbor Pat Mueller what he thought of it and he made a face like “are you serious you dipshit?” and then said “I’ll try it in six months or so. I was sort of stunned.

Fast forward to this year. In July I got a new high-end iMac and upgraded to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion as soon as it was released.

Then the problems began.

Problem 1: The computer video would freeze often if I viewed videos either in Safari or iTunes. Given that one of the prime use cases for the Higgins family iMac is for Higgins children to watch cartoons, this was a big problem. The only “fix” was to power cycle the computer. Not good.

Problem 2: Wi-fi networking would just crap out after several hours. The workaround was to restart the computer whenever networking crapped out.

Problem 3: After a restart, user switch, or wake from sleep, the OS would report “Could not find any of your preferred wifi networks” and then proceed to show a list of available wifi networks… with my preferred network at the top of the list, which begs the question… if you can display the fracking network in the list, why can’t you connect to it?

Some strange data points:

– My two year-old MacBook Pro has exhibited exactly zero problems since upgrading to Lion.

– The new iMac had zero of these problems before I upgraded to Lion.

So the bad combination seems to be new Apple hardware + new Apple OS. My only speculation can be that the folks developing the new hardware and new software were testing with the previous generation of each others’ stuff.

Alas, as of a couple of hours ago, all of my problems are fixed. Problems 1 and 2 (video freeze + networking crapping out), were fixed via the first Lion fix pack (10.7.1) – in fact these two problems represent two of the four bullet points in the release notes. I became semi-obsessed with problem 3 and spent approximately twenty hours troubleshooting it by myself and with the help of Apple level 2 support. Finally tonight I decided to throw a hail mary and Google the symptom to see if anyone had discovered a fix since I first encountered the problem. Lo and behold, the first or second Google result had an Apple forum thread where someone explained that if you simply create  a bogus new “Location” for your Networking preferences, it fixes the problem. I tried this and for reasons I won’t even attempt to comprehend, it worked.

The lesson I learned from this little fiasco is that Pat was right – best to wait six months or so and let other poor schmucks work out the kinks with Apple.

On the bright side, at least I don’t have to use Windows or Linux on my desktop every day 🙂

Now I can’t wait for iOS 5 and iCloud… I bet they work great…