What I Think of the Tiger 10.4.2 Update

I've been waiting for the Tiger 10.4.2 with bated breath for a couple months now. Why? Well, there are lots of bugs and annoyances in Tiger that make it much more painful to use than one would like. And yet, there are enough good reasons to move to Tiger that I am gradually doing so. I'd heard a lot about how the 10.4.2 update was supposed to fix a great many of the problems, and frankly I was really hoping this would be the update that gave me the confidence to move ahead with Tiger. Instead, it's just pissed me off. The list of fixes is so obscure I'd not heard of most of the listed problems, and I scour the tech sites. Some are even just downright bizarre. After all the hype, I find myself disappointed again.

Here's what Apple had to say about the Tiger 10.4.2 Update, complete with snarky comments by yours truly.

This update offers many reliability and compatibility improvements. Here are just a few of the enhancements and improvements included:

With this update, logging out of Mac OS X automatically disconnects the computer from an AirPort network if it is using WPA Enterprise security settings (this does not affect WPA Personal WEP-secured networks).

Oh, good. I'm glad we have a new way to get disconnected from Airport. I was getting bored with the old ones.

The AirPort menu extra displays more information when you enable a Software Access Point with this update installed.

Yeah, I know that was bugging a lot of people.

Adds support for AES encryption of WPA-PSK networks, which are supported by many wireless access points.
The Try Again button behaves as expected when attempting to join a third-party, WEP-enabled wireless access point with this update.

Hey, here's a thought: Why not get the Apple hardware working first.

Improves reliability when associating with wireless networks after waking from sleep.

Which is promptly broken again with the arrival of Airport 4.2.

Improves WPA2 wireless encryption support for AirPort Extreme cards.

I don't know about you, but I live in constant fear of any update that affects my Airport connection. They usually seem to break more than they fix.

In Mail, if you retrieve and sort IMAP mail using multiple email clients, the counts of unread IMAP messages in mailboxes other than what's in your Inbox are more accurate with this update.

Um... So you're saying you've finally taught a computer application to count? Nice.

Addresses an issue in which IMAP messages deleted in Mail could unexpectedly "reappear" after a few seconds.

And you've taught it to delete stuff. Genius!

In some situations, a Mail message's attached graphic displayed as a small blue box with a question mark inside the message window, even though the attached file was just fine; this update addresses the issue.

And display stuff. Amazing!

Mail no longer tries to print an HTML message's remote images if the "Display remote images in HTML messages" option is deselected—the message is printed without the graphics instead—after this update is installed.
This update addresses an issue for Mail in which signatures with graphics were not appearing as expected.

Yeah, what about the problems people were having getting their Mail! Apparently, not such a big issue.

With this update, you can successfully send and receive AIM messages using iChat after changing network locations (without having to log out and back in)—from wireless to Ethernet, for example.
If iChat is logged in to your AIM account in Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.4.1, logging in to the same account on a different computer disconnects the Tiger computer without warning—this update adds a preference choice to iChat to avoid this, if desired.
iChat no longer states that the network is unavailable if you intentionally disconnect from the Internet using Internet Connect without first quitting iChat.
Improves video framerate for iChat when certain kinds of background processes or applications are running.
Resolves a situation in which iChat could incorrectly report "insufficient bandwidth to maintain conference," even though enough bandwidth was available.

I don't know. The list of iChat fixes is just plain boring. I'd like it better if it said something like, "iChat now has the ability to grant Godlike powers to it's users and smite their enemies." Alas, it does not.

Addresses an issue in which the Finder could unexpectedly quit if Show Package Contents was chosen several times from the shortcut menu for the same package.

This is a big issue? A problem that affects maybe five people, is difficult to reproduce, and that is easily avoided by simply not opening the same fucking package over and over again? Why don't you just write a patch that address the issue of people being morons. That would fix at least 75% of all your OS problems.

The Finder slideshow feature should now always work as expected.

How very reassuring. You know, seems to me like the Finder slideshow should have always "always worked as expected." That's what that means. Now it either works, or it doesn't. Which is it?

If ACLs were enabled on an SMB volume, a Get Info window in the Finder wouldn't show the Details section when getting info on files stored on the volume—this update addresses the issue.

Glad Apple is fixing Get Info problems on SMB volumes. But what about Get Info on AFP volumes? Or local volumes, for Chrissakes. I guess that nut's too hard to crack, 'cause guess what, folks: still broken.

Addresses an issue in which a supported burning device could unexpectedly be seen as "unsupported" by the Finder.
The duration of MP3 files is accurately reported in Get Info windows in the Finder with this update.

It amazes me, sometimes, what gets fixed first in updates.

Other applications
With this update, many applications, including Safari, work better with proxy servers that require authentication.

Okay. Good.

With this update, you can use Safari to log in to MyAccount on cingular.com.

Okay. Huh? Is this Apple scratching Cingular's back because they're about to do a mobile phone with them? This seems totally out of left field to me. Anyway, thanks for scratching my back for being a loyal fan and customer for the past 7 years.

Safari pages scroll better with this update when scrolling with a scroll wheel (such as one on a third-party mouse or keyboard).

Actually, this is one of the two real improvements I noticed in 10.4.2. Still not as good as in Panther, but acceptable now. Thank God.

Orange iCal calendars, with alarms that go off while iCal is not open, no longer change color after the alarm is snoozed.

What, just the orange ones? Alright, this is getting ridiculous.

Addresses an issue in which Stickies.app notes could disappear unexpectedly if Stickies opens automatically during login (if it was set as a Login Item in Accounts preferences).

If you're still relying on Stickies, you're a loser. Go buy the paper kind. Problem solved.

Addresses an issue for Adobe Premiere 6.5 in which the application could unexpectedly quit when exporting a file.

If you still use Premiere, which isn't even made for Mac anymore, you're a moron, but Apple supports you.

With this update, the Reduce File Size option in Preview works as expected when saving a file as a PDF from the File menu.
Addresses a Keychain Scripting issue in which the "password" property of a key often could not be retrieved.

It's just getting embarrasing.

iDisk, WebDAV
Improves .Mac iDisk syncing after changing network locations—an iDisk could incorrectly appear to be offline after switching networks, causing syncing to stop working.
With this update, you can access iDisk or other WebDAV servers through HTTP and HTTPS proxies.
HTTP/HTTPS proxy account and password settings defined in Network preferences are now used by the WebDAV file system as expected.
Addresses some issues that could occur when saving files directly to an iDisk.

Who gives a fuck?

Addresses an issue in which some Apple internal modems would not dial, and the PPP log would include a message such as "Failed to open /dev/cu.modem: Resource busy".
Adds improvements to Active Directory support.
Addresses an alert "Error code -8065" that could occur when copying a file through SMB to a Microsoft Windows-based PC volume a second time, if the file had previously been deleted from the PC.
Includes other enhancements related to connecting to and using Windows-based file servers (SMB/CIFS).
Allows Active Directory users with Mobile Accounts to authenticate without being connected to the Active Directory network.
Allows Active Directory users to log in after a restart.
Resolves an issue that prevented Active Directory users from accessing certain Kerberized services, such as ssh, on a Windows 2003 server.
Active Directory users can be given local admin privileges on a client computer, with this update.
Other enhancements

Are all the networking updates for non-Apple protocols? No, wait, there's that one for the 17 people still using Apple internal modems.

Software Update no longer unexpectedly quits in certain situations after upgrading to Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and changing Network Port settings, after installing this update. More....

Whatever. I'm getting tired.

With this update installed, Disk Utility (and fsck) can better resolve "Overlapped Extent Allocation" issues that could appear when verifying or repairing a disk.

This is actually kind of cool, I must admit. An improvement to fsck. Wow.

Xgrid can now map multiple input files using the inputFileMap key, and retrieve results from multitask jobs using the command line.
The Dashboard widget Unit Converter requires much less CPU usage after installing this update.
Improves performance for the web-based Power School student information system (http://www.apple.com/education/powerschool/).
Improves compatibility when using an HP Deskjet 5850 printer wirelessly.
Improves compatibility for HP LaserJet 1320 printers.
This update ensures that periodic background maintenance tasks run as scheduled in launchd.conf.
Addresses an issue in which custom installations from a Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger Install disc that don't require starting up from the disc could cause Installer to stop responding ("hang") for a couple of minutes if the destination volume was write-protected (eventually, a "There is not enough space for this item" message would appear).
External disks no longer unmount unexpectedly when switching users, if Fast User Switching is enabled.

Who cares?

Addresses an issue in which after performing a NetInstall or restoring Mac OS X from a disk image, you may see certain files and folders at the root level of the Mac OS X volume that are not supposed to be visible, such as etc, tmp, and var. More....

Actually, this affected me, so I'm glad to see it fixed. Of course it got fixed about two hours after I'd found the workaround. Better late than never, and I have to say, it's good to see little admin stuff like this get fixed. But only when it helps me.

With this update, the ttys file can be edited in Tiger; for example, if you're creating a login hook.
Addresses an issue in which the computer might wake from sleep with a black screen if it went to sleep while prompting you for a keychain password.
Allows users to log in with Kerberos authentication when using an edu.mit.Kerberos file.
These Automator actions are updated in this update: Add Files to Playlist, Add Songs to Playlist, Import Photos into iPhoto, New Mail Message, Run Shell Script.
The AppleScript "do shell script" command has been revised.

This last bit is obviously for the Geeks. We'll take it.

Like I said, overall this update was diappointing. Seems like there are a lot more prominent bugs that could have been addressed but weren't. I can't figure it. And what's worse, this update leaves me completely unmotivated to switch to Tiger. Until the worst of the worst bugs get squashed, I've decided to stay with Panther.