July 26, 2012

Mountain Lion Attacks Early Adopters

Once again, Apple have released a new OS. Once again, it is named after a giant kitty. Once again, it is not ready for pro users to rush over and expect every little thing to go well. Once again, I find myself scratching my head and wondering how people seem to go through this every time. 

The problems I am aware of at present are as follows:

1. Mountain Lion is having trouble with some audio interfaces. I am not at all shocked by this. Initial reports of the newer laptops with USB 3.0 ports expanded to older models with the release of the new OS. Specific to our audience, Native Instruments have been attempting to resolve issues their users are experiencing on both sides of the equation. See Native’s support statement below:

Native Instruments has conducted compatibility tests with its hardware products under OS X 10.8, connected to USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports of both recent and current-generation Mac computers. Some NI products are experiencing a degraded audio signal caused by USB driver issues present in Mac OS X 10.8. The same issues are also present under Mac OS X 10.7.4 on current-generation Macbooks with USB 3.0.

If you just can’t stand the idea of going over and looking for yourself, the known affected devices are:


So, while this was initially supposed to have been a USB 3.0 problem, it is becoming clear that the shenanigans extend into the OS as well. Native are busily working on a fix for their users in conjunction with Apple and there are currently Beta drivers available for the fix. Based on what I am reading, there are also some Core Audio issues with some Avid hardware running non-Pro Tools applications. I assume there will be other issues that pop up as people that own the various interfaces make the jump.

2. Gatekeeper and unsigned software and plug-ins are not working out. Gatekeeper is a new security feature for the OS that is, depending on who you ask, either a security measure to protect customers from themselves, or a restriction on third party developers Apple have implemented to force all future software to funnel through the Apple Store. The long and short of it is that unsigned software packages, plug-ins and apps won’t install when Gatekeeper is enabled. Fortunately, it can be disabled, and those of us who still think we know what we are doing can proceed onward towards happy, unsecured, apparent oblivion. Native, presumably for the sake of helping their customers in initial encounters with the problem, have also posted a convenient set of instructions for disabling the security measure.

Avid have reportedly been working to get their usually lengthy qualification process under control. However, they are also not yet signed for Gatekeeper’s purposes.

I’m not personally going to make a ruling on the whole Gatekeeper thing. It certainly isn’t for me, but I do like purchasing things from the Apple Store, as every time it has gone well, and I can always re-access my downloads in the event I switch computers. As for whether or not it protects my grandma or someone like that from malware, I am unsure. I feel those susceptible to such things will doubtless write checks to and share bank info with foreign princes trying to hide their treasure in times of conspicuously unreported upheaval in their country. I also want to go on record as saying that MY grandma would never do something like that. At the very least, she would call me first. As computer savvy types, it is all of our duty to take the time to discuss important issues like this with our at risk seniors.

3. Make sure you have 8GB of RAM. Otherwise you are shooting your performance in the foot. Much as with Lion, the performance of this OS requires more resources, which will therefore affect all the other things you do. Looks like my i5 at home will receive an upgrade that my aging MBP will not.

That's right, buddy. Imma eat all your productivity for the next few weeks.


At a glance, the Internet seems to be littered with both complaints and reports of business as usual depending on the device and software combinations present in the case of individual upgrades. My advice to you is this: If you have a big show/DJ performance/ whatever coming up in which you depend on things to work as they currently do, don’t make the jump yet. If you depend on your Mac for any kind of pro user related income, don’t make the jump yet. If you just can’t deal with losing the coming weekends to trying to get things back to normal in your studio, don’t make the jump yet.

Basically, making the jump right away whenever Apple drops a new OS is a move best saved for people with redundant systems, time on their hands, or those who are far more concerned with having the new OS than getting anything done on their applications of choice. Unless you’re the latter, it’s usually best to wait out the storm. Jump when the pioneers and bleeding edge types have made theirs. Patience is a virtue.