Tue 06 Sep
About a month ago, I started seeing some weird problems with Open dialogue boxes from within Mac OS X applications: when selecting Open from the File menu or invoking command-O, many applications would hang for what seemed like an interminable period of perhaps two or three minutes, and I’d be presented with a spinning beach ball. Eventually the application would snap out of it, but as you can imagine, that kind of behavior is a major impediment to productivity.
In searching for a solution, I tried repairing permissions on my hard disk, updating from Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.4.2, and removing the indispensable Default Folder X enhancement for Open and Save dialogue boxes — all to no avail. After some digging around on Apple’s discussion boards, it turns out that the culprit is Apple’s .Mac suite of Web services, specifically the WebDAV-enabled iDisk feature when it’s set to automatically sync. Disabling that feature in the .Mac preference pane instantly releases troubled applications from paralysis — if you’re seeing this problem, this is what you should do.
I was even able to re-enable the automatic sync for iDisk after a decent interval, effectively “resetting” the iDisk without bringing back the problems with the Open command. At least I thought so, but after a few weeks, it’s back again, hanging for a good two or three minutes each time I try to access the Open dialogue. So I’ve disabled the iDisk again, which is a shame, because I really like that feature, but it’s clearly broken.
It makes me wonder, really, whether Apple really pays sufficient attention to .Mac, a service that could use a serious overhaul both in marketing and technical execution. It’s an offering that is clearly marketed towards novice and intermediate users, but I often suspect that the bulk of its subscriber base is really Apple fans, like me, who’ll buy almost anything with an Apple logo on it — even if it’s not as capacious a product as some free alternatives, or if it wreaks havoc with the major pieces of software that I really do need.