Mac Encounters: Mountain Lion Lurking

With Apple Macintosh computers you upgrade the operating system as though it is just another update albeit one you pay $19.95 for the pleasure. And with Macs updating the operating system is usually a pleasure and if not a pleasure at least a mildly entertaining adventure. So is the case with this blog post.

With Windows machines I simply don’t upgrade my operating systems. I typically get Windows from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and leave it with that operating system way past its useful life. Upgrades are either not a good idea or you realize you can’t really get there from here directly. Windows XP to Windows 7 is an example of a round about upgrade path. You can’t upgrade XP to Windows 7. You have to use Windows Easy Transfer to move your files and settings to the new operating system. Windows hasn’t {yet} conditioned me to upgrade when new versions come out. In fact they may have trained me that sometimes you just don’t want the OS offered. Good (err, bad) examples were ME and Vista. My friend Don won’t upgrade to Windows 8 until the first Service Pack 1 for Windows 8 is released. Is that a healthy lack of confidence or is it experience talking? We’ll be watching to see if that is how it turns out for him! <click> Enough already about Windows. </click>

I know I named this a “Mac Encounters: Mountain Lion Lurking” and so far that is pretty true. Today I’m running Mountain Lion and all is pretty smooth so far. But I can’t help but feel Mountain Lion may be lurking in the background waiting to bite me! The uneasy feeling comes from living in the mountains for the last 37 years and rarely seeing those cats slipping through the night lurking in the darkness. Shudder. I’m pretty sure that the big cats lay around on the limbs of the trees overhanging anywhere I might walk at night. They are lurking! I know they are really good at it — because you just don’t see ’em! I’m not going out there walking at night and that’s just how it is.

Apple has me trained and I wanted the new big cat because it was the new big cat. The buying experience was a pleasure. Insert iTunes money, click the button, and it downloaded overnight 4.37 GB onto my disk into my applications folder. At this point I knew from my Lion experience that I needed to stop and not do the install in order to preserve the download file. Apple cleans up and removes the ‘Install OS X Mountain Lion’ application from the applications folder after it is installed. Neat but maybe too neat. The MacWorld article, “How to make a bootable Mountain Lion install drive” will guide you through making a USB drive to install Mountain Lion on your other Macs.

The install was rather painless. No big deal. The install politely informed me that my old copy of Parallels was moved to an incompatible software folder — some where but I didn’t care as I use VMware and wasn’t keeping my Parallels license up-to-date. No problem. Mountain Lion did pounce unexpectedly leaving a ghostly question mark  “?” on my Dock where Server Admin used to live. R.I.P.

I understand moving forward has a price. I knew the price wasn’t just $19.95. In this case it all makes perfect sense once you read Apple KB, “OS X Server: Admin tools compatibility information”. The short story is, “Note: Server app from OS X Lion and the Server Admin Tools 10.7 are not compatible with Mountain Lion.”

I think you know I love technology, right? So I really loved that I can legally install Lion 10.7 in a virtual machine, use 15 GB of disk space to do so, download 2 GB of Apple Software Updates, and then download Server Admin Tools 10.7 {again} all to do what I was able to do without an issue with Lion. All things old are new again… the same thing happened going from Snow Leopard to Lion last year so I really shouldn’t have been too surprised that it would take a virtual machine to do what I used to do with a real machine.

How do I like the lurking Mountain Lion? Just great! Lots of new tech things to explore. It hasn’t seemed to fix any problems that I had under Lion. One such problem is pictured below.

Screenshot of Kernel Panic

Kernel Panic: I’m glad to report this problem to Apple!

Kernel Panic — reassuring that is still part of the Mac computing experience. I provided comments to accompany the report to Apple in the hopes they’ll fix this one in time for next summer’s new cat or sooner! <g>

Seriously, I do recommend moving forward with the Mac Operating System’s latest big cat. Just be prepared to work around what doesn’t work and have fun wondering when the lurking Mountain Lion will pounce!


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